November 2 – Grateful & NaNoWriMo

What a great day it was yesterday! Sunday, the Trick o Treater’s honored the lights off indication as we were not participating, and only one rang out bell. Worked out great. Our Doc suggested we not hand out candy after having COVID a few weeks ago. There could already be yet another variant not yet identified. His prediction is we’ll have COVID for a long, long time.

I had such a great visit with my Frankie, and we had a great breakfast. We were finally celebrating his birthday, and it was the best. I always feel I go back to my roots when I’m around one of my kids. Nothing helps you remember living your young life like your kids do. And I’m grateful to have three of my own and two of the best step kids ever created. All five of them are individuals, team players, and hard workers. Their spouses are the same. Frankie is the only single person of the five. That’s ok. He’s very happy. He does what he wants. Only has himself to answer to. Nothing he does hurts anyone else. That’s what it’s like to be single.

Then, home to write my first 1,667 words for NaNoWriMo. I found it took me quite awhile to get settled, figure out where I left off (even though I researched it Sunday), and figure out where I left off. I had a few minutes of doubt, but started writing and it was like I hadn’t quit. A year is a long time to leave a manuscript untouched. Or maybe it isn’t. Any authors out there, how long have you left a manuscript alone? Do they change? Do you change? Of course you do. And they do because your ideas change. It’s inevitable, isn’t it? I would think so.

It’s a little hard at first to wrap my brain around the fact I’m writing into the future; i.e., what I write about will be published at 4 a.m. or so tomorrow morning. It’s the best I can come out with during the month of NaNoWriMo. The shift is from the blog being the most important to the NaNoWriMo taking precedence. It’ll be fine. Just takes a few days (or 21) to form a new habit. Maybe we’ll be going gangbusters by December 1!

And that reminds me: I’m wanting to get back to doing squats every day. It helped me keep focus on my Veterans projects during the summer, and I’ve sort of lost that a little. This month is Veterans Day, and we have a lot planned for the entire week. I’ll devote a full blog to that later in the week. I’m proud to be a volunteer for Veterans. They deserve our support.

Since it’s a lot later in the day than I’d like it to be, I’d like to stop for now and start a lot earlier tomorrow with our visit. It will happen. Just grateful for the flexibility retirement allows us and so very grateful that, despite being “disabled,” I’m still able to get out and about on my own. Many are not as fortunate. This is my gratitude for the day. From deep withing my heart.

Thanks for reading today, Happy Tuesday! See you again tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Gavin!

Our Grandson Gavin turns nine today. We get to watch his last home ballgame this evening and have dinner with the family afterwards. What a great day this was! The family was ready for a happy, happy event after losing two people to cancer. Gavin, you restored our faith in living.

It’s been a ride watching you grow from this little baby, who had tummy troubles constantly, to this big boy who claims to eat anything “but sushi.” You make us laugh and you make our hearts feel warm. I swear, every time we see you this summer, you’re taller. You have a great group of friends in the neighborhood, and you’re responsible enough to ride bikes with your homies. What fun! I cannot wait to see what you do in your life. It’s exciting to be your grandparents! Love you.

Today, the year of 2021 is half over. After the year of 2020 and all the disruptions in life, we have enjoyed freedom this year. The Babe and I are fully vaccinated, and I’m happy about that. Many folks disagree with that, but I believe it was the best action we could take. The quarantine time led us and many folks to have serious discussions about life, living, and what we want after death. Most people never have these hard conversations. I’m glad we can.

What do you want to do with this precious next six months?

I want to help others. Volunteering is very fulfilling.

I want to finish my kidlit book and publish it.

I want to sell some of my kid books.

I would like to finish the other two ideas I have and get them ready to publish early next year.

I want to spend as much time with my family as possible.

I want to become more physically fit.

I want to lose some more extra pounds. I’m straying badly from Keto right now, but not gaining any weight, so that’s good.

In the month of July, I want to commit to doing 71 squats a day, making 2200 during the month. I will also do 22 wall pushups a day. This will help me focus on creating ways for our VFW Post to help Veterans. We cannot have 22 family a day lose their soldier. It’s way too many.

We all have the same 24 hours in each day. What we do with those is important. I always have known that. Now, it means a lot more to me how I spend my time. Small changes daily will help me do that. Do it with me. I want July to be a meaningful month as I make changes to be a better person. Do Good. Perform my Passion. Make the world a better place. I think it’s definitely worth the try. As wise Yoda said: “Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.”

Let’s do this, friends! See you 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!

Aww, Babe; You Did It Again!

Happy Birthday to ME! The Babe isn’t much for words, but he always slams it out of the park with the cards he selects for me. What a thoughtful guy. We don’t do gifts, we figure we’ll just attend things we decide upon. This morning, I signed up for a Painting of the Month Club for $20 per month. Cancel at anytime. They’re the kind of paintings you might see at a Sip and Paint session. Our VFW Auxiliary friends did that several times in the past ten years, and it was a lot of fun. I have a lot of supplies, so I’ll only need some canvas. Why not? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the rest of my life is going to be about those very things. I’m so blessed to be able to do them. Painting, here I come!

And back to the card. It is celebrating the “woman that you are.” How sweet. I know he doesn’t want me to get over-extended, since I tend to do that, but he also knows I’m a giver, helper, coordinator, and compassionate person. This last year of coordinating donations for Moving Veterans Forward Nebraska has been so fulfilling. The generosity of our friends and members at the VFW Post 2503 and Auxiliary is overwhelming. These men and women know they could be homeless, have addictions, and and suffer PTSD. Many have PTSD. We work hard to make a safe place for them to be. For them to help other veterans. And be involved in our community. “There But By The Grace of God Go I.”

When this wonderful man, the Babe, asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, 1997, I told him it would be an honor to be his wife. It still is, more so every day. I’m grateful all over the place. So our gift to us this year is go see Billy McGuigan perform (frequently) this summer. We have the good seats for the concert with the Omaha Symphony. It’s going to be awesome. Yes, it was a lot of money. Last time we saw him with the Symphony, we sat in the very last row indoors at the Holland Center. The acoustics were phenomenal, and the music played very well together. It reminded me of the old days, when you’d have an orchestra recording with music, like Sinatra, TransSiberian Orchestra, Rock and Roll, the Beach Boys, and the like. Go, people. Treat yourselves to the time of your life. Kick the summer off right. And catch all his other productions as well. You will be as hooked as the good people of Omaha are.

As I continue this special day, I’m grateful for friends and family, who make being on this planet more fun than I should be having. I’ve enjoyed getting to know all my adult cousins the past ten years. When they were all little “devils” I was the oldest girl, so I had to watch them. Ugh! The Bobell cousins grew up ok. I love you all.

The Jewell cousins are fabulous people in their own right. I never baby sat them, so all was good. Their fathers all had an impish grin and played pranks, and many of them do that very thing now. The impish grin is inherited by all the boys. I love seeing it. I love you all, too.

Our five kids make a great blended family. Five kids in four different cities is tough, we could never collect them all together at the same time. We enjoy visiting them all, even if it’s just in the Omaha area. They were mostly grown when we got married. I’d highly suggest that for people marrying later in life. We would have had a very full house if we’d met when the kids were young. Love all of you and your beautiful children, too.

There are some stock photos above, some actual photos. They’re all photos of what I look forward to doing this year, along with imags of what I’ve loved most in life so far: Babies, Music, America, Grandkids, Doing over Doubting (took me awhie!), My Doctors, who saved me from becoming paralyzed, Baseball, Ice Cream, celebrating (with a cherry on top!), writing, reading, trying out what comes next. I love what I’ve been through because it’s made me who I am. And I’m eager for all the fun we’re about to have publishing my book in a few months. It will be a real trip to go to the library or book store and see OUR BOOK on the shelf. Cartney will get a kick out of it, too.

This list is not complete yet, it is still growing. I am on a mission to make the rest of my life count for something. I want to make a difference, somehow. Join me along the way. We’re going to have a fun year. Thanks for being here, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be Safe. Have some ice cream with me today.

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Cartoon character Garfield is quoted as saying; “The truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” I would modify that to say, “YOUR truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” Yes, I’ve been miserable by my truth; my first marriage was never a good one, I lied to myself about everything and was not one to raise my voice and say, “This isn’t right.” I went along to get along. People were shocked when the Ken and Barbie of the neighborhood split up.

Denial is powerful, especially when your world is small. You may have few new friends, your friends are family, if you don’t have a job or career. You live in an old neighborhood, with retired folks who are your friends. I would see how unhappy their lives were. They complained about their spouses, living or dead. Is this what life is? I couldn’t believe it. I was so unhappy, I rarely smiled. “This can’t be right,” I thought.

Yes, the Babe and I are far from perfect. But we are perfect for each other. We are blunt but not hurtful with each other when things aren’t going well. Yes, the truth hurts sometimes. We check ourselves and learn from the kerfuffles of living with another human. Isn’t kerfuffle a great word? I heard Judge Judy say it, It just isn’t used that much. It’s a commotion or fuss, especially by conflicting views.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Humans often want their own way. I find myself tamping down disagreement; not to “go along to get along,” but to check my ego and realize two people live here, and we both should be able to decorate, garden, whatever we want to do. My truth now is pick my battles. The Babe does the same. It’s called being a grownup. It’s also what you do when you love someone. It’s part of being a couple. Equality in marriage is possible, and it’s wonderful. It’s now part of my truth. And the Babe’s.

If you embrace the truth you find a way to deal with whatever problems are around you. You have to make decisions that may hurt. Change and growth do indeed hurt. Rejecting the old truth for the new real truths creates room for growth. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. The insights you gain help you dissect your current life and learn the skills to make the hard choices. With choice you begin to have a voice. We talked about Choices and Voices this week if you missed it.

Don’t get me wrong; I had to experience life as it was for me in order to learn and grow to where I am now. My soul is satisfied with life. I loved the part of my life when I was a Mom. My kids were the best job I ever had. They grew and left! No one told me what life would be like without them. I also knew I couldn’t keep them from having their own lives. Letting go of them was painful. And now, I’m learning how to fill that void. Writing has opened my eyes and given me a clear direction of how I hope to spend my next thirty years or so. Lord willing, of course!

It’s a warm but very windy day today. The Babe and I are both working on projects today. I love it when we’re both here, doing our own thing. He often comes in my office studio and announces, “Break time.” We both stop, sit down and have some water or other beverage, and talk. I enjoy that so much. Sometimes the break lasts all afternoon, but that’s OK. Whatever we’re doing, it’ll still be there tomorrow. I’m hoping it’s less windy downstairs on the patio. I can listen to the rest of my Kid Lit training. Then Cartney McGuigan (my illustrator), and I will conquer the Kid Lit World! We meet again in a few weeks, so I have some work to do – after I learn what to do! Busy and productive is always good!

BTW, Happy Birthday to Cartney! She turned 18 this week, and the world is now before her. She has a sound plan to begin. I’m excited for her. This young woman is considering all of the possibilities before her and planning how to get there. This is how life should be approached, my friends.

Thank you for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. Have a beautiful spring-like day today. Hope you’re not dealing with the wind, too! It’s brutal. Our new flag is snapping in the wind. What a great sound, though. The sound of our freedom. God Bless America, and all of us! See you tomorrow!

Vaccination #2; In The Books

Once again, the nurses at Immanuel Medical Center (CHI) in Omaha did themselves proud. Mom got her second vaccination today, so she should be good to go. We picked up lunch and took it to her house. She told me in two years, her house will be 100 years old, so she wants to have a party then. OK, we’ll see how it goes. Always looking forward to parties. That’s Mom.

There was a gentleman there who had a birthday today. Once the nurse noticed on his paperwork it was his birthday today. She started us in singing Happy Birthday to him. It was so nice! Mom commented how wonderful the staff was, they were positive, encouraging, and it was another great experience. Mom is pleased she is finished with the vaccinations, and hopes I get mine very soon.

Later this afternoon, the Babe received an e-mail from our docs office. They have some vaccine that had delivery issues, so our pharmacy will be administering the vaccine by appointment only. I’m glad I got an appointment on Tuesday. Yay!

Today I missed my last segment of Identifying my type of creativity, etc. I didn’t arrive home on time to see it. I’m not sad about it, either. I was getting confused trying to categorize myself, and I decided I’d rather spend my time writing or learning how to brand myself, rather than go down a path and get stuck somewhere. And so it goes!

And now it’s Saturday. I apologize for not finishing this yesterday. There wasn’t enough time between Mom’s Covid Vaccination and leaving for the VFW Post’s Fish Fry. The Babe is on the Kitchen Help Team for this event. It was another success, and we overheard people we didn’t know saying they heard about it last week from friends. Word of mouth is the very best advertisement!

Today, volunteers are working to paint the North Room at the post. It’s the larger room they rent out for weddings, parties, etc. It has new ceiling tiles, light fixtures, vinyl flooring, and next week will have cleaned carpeting and new artwork. It will be a more versatile room to rent and decorate. The volunteers are doing a great job!

The generosity of people is something to behold. There is nothing a focused group of people can’t do. It doesn’t matter if it’s collecting canned goods, essentials for a Veteran’s apartment after being homeless, clothing drives, and sprucing up a facility housing a VFW Post. People are generous with their time, their resources, and are so willing to help if you just put the word out. Moving Veterans Forward is a non-profit organization we work closely with. They help furnish apartments for formerly homeless Veterans. It’s very rewarding to publish lists of what’s needed, and to see it appear in the donation bins. Like magic. Thanks to all who participate.

I am officially registered through my doctor’s office @ Think Whole Person Health Care for my first Covid shot. I will receive it on Tuesday morning. I’m relieved, I’m somewhat compromised due to asthma, but pretty healthy otherwise. It’ll be an experience, that’s for sure. I know many people won’t get a shot. I would rather be safe than sorry about the whole thing. I think back to the Swine Flu in the later 1970s and just recently. I got the shot both times. I had no ill effects. I trust that will be the case again.

Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it. See you again tomorrow, and we’ll visit again. Be Safe out there, it’s a beautiful pre-spring day. The winter hasn’t left yet, but we will enjoy a warmer day whenever we can get one. Be Kind and Courteous, too.

Dear Dad,

Things are coming along here. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen how crazy this planet is, and especially the country we live in. I’d love to get your opinion on all the goings on, from the Pandemic to Politics, to our Military, to technology. I’d love to linger with you over a keyboard and show you what you could read, right at your fingertips.

I know how you loved Kaiser’s Book Store in downtown Omaha. You’d most likely still want to hold the books in your hands to read, I prefer that, too. It’s an option, though. As quickly as you read, you might enjoy it. Speaking of books, I’m writing several. Too many ideas that seem good. I couldn’t pick a favorite, it would be like picking your favorite child.

I’m also working with an attorney to establish a publishing company. I want to have control over my publications. I’m concerned if I publish traditionally, I’d may not recognize my work. If someone makes me an offer, I can’t refuse, great. Otherwise, I’ll go it alone. I think you’d be proud; I am. That’s hard for me to get used to saying; I’m not used to saying it. It’s not ego talking, it’s confidence. I’ve gained more of that since you died. I remember where we all came from. Humble roots. I thank you for all you provided; not just physical things, but also the example you set every day. It is one I try to follow, and one I hope my kids remember.

Writing a book or several has been a dream of mine for a long time. My Becky encouraged me to get going. She’s a wise young woman, married with two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. You would love them. Nick married and lives in Kansas City. Frankie still lives in Omaha, he’s still cooking. He’s quite good at it. They’re all good.

Today would have been your Happy 97th Birthday! What an accomplishment it would be! Maybe I’ll make it to that age. I’m hoping. You weren’t born yet during the Spanish Flu, and I can tell you, living during a pandemic is scary. I don’t need to tell you that. You always kept us away from harm, in your own way. Even though other kids went barefoot and wore thongs, oops, Dad, thongs now refer to underwear, I mean sandals or flip-flops. Yes, I’m serious, Dad. You wouldn’t believe some things people are doing.

We’re actually wearing masks when we’re around other people; I know with your medical knowledge, you’d be all for that. Masks, questionnaires, drive up testing sites, and people just staying home from March last year through December 31, 2020. It came from China, and I know you wouldn’t approve being friendly with them, or with Russia. Even North Korea. Yes, that god-forsaken place where you served your country during the “Conflict.” I know a couple Korean Veterans, and I tell them about you. I’m still proud to be your daughter. You left an imprint on my heart and my being, and I miss you, but not weirdly. I just wanted more good times with you. Conversations. Sharing. And you seeing your grandkids grow up. They’re up there in age now (but then I am too!)

Mom let me send for your military medals. You were a badass! Sorry, I know I shouldn’t talk like that. It’s true. Yes, you never called attention to yourself. For anything. I didn’t know you carried a black rosary in your trouser pocket every day, just like you did in WWII and Korea. You were deeply spiritual, and no one knew. It was between you and God. I like that. You always were a very “do it, move on, and don’t brag about it.” That is one of your best qualities. I hope to be that way, too. I don’t enjoy talking about myself and the Babe. He’s got to be the one you pulled strings for to meet me. It wouldn’t surprise me. He has a lot of your qualities, including loving me unconditionally. You’d love him, too. Thanks.

I’m going to keep writing in 2021. I want to publish some books. It would be so cool to hold a book with my name as the author. It’s not to make a living, it’s to make something in my life. It’s the achievement I’m going for. You taught me well; I’m just going to go for it. Doing my homework all along the way. Learning all I can. It’s enjoyable. I love it. Stretching, reaching, serving. Thank you. Happy Birthday, Dad.

The Babe and I Wish You All a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, Joell’s Birthday!

How is everyone out there doing tonight? All across America, people are picking up ingredients themselves, ordering online for pickup or delivery, and changing menus accordingly. We’re having our first Thanksgiving in quite a while without family. We usually travel for Thanksgiving/Joell’s Birthday, but this year we’re all being safe. I feel for the young man, we all have so much fun with family and friends together. It just isn’t safe right now. Even when you’re the ripe old age of thirteen, you still look forward to your birthday. I’m a lot older than he is, and I love my birthday. Only one day of 365 is yours. Unless you’re a twin or other multiple; or unless you’re born on the same date, another family member celebrates their birthday. Joell, sorry we have to miss this one, and I hope you’re finding something fun to do today.

Birthdays have always been my favorite. Sure, Christmas is great, but it’s not yours only. And I hear the poor kids unlucky to be born near Christmas get cheated. My dad was born on January 1, 1924. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa could get many gifts during those years, pre and post depression-era. Granddaughter Addison shared birthday’s with her Grandma Sandy. Our family lost her several years ago to lung cancer, but we still remember her in heaven. It was nice to celebrate with both of them.

Joell amazes me every time we are with him. He has a very kind heart, one you do not see often in some kids now. He is polite, walking in crowds, waiting to speak when it’s appropriate, it’s all what kids learn from their parents. The other grandkids are, too, but this is his birthday, and I hope he knows how very special he is. As we looked back on my Facebook photos over the past years, we’ve seen him grow up again, right before our eyes, all in one day. Happy Birthday, Joell! We love you!

So as we go back to figuring out how to make some Keto substitutes for the traditional meal, we’re aware these changes and sacrifices our family is making to keep Covid away will be worth it. We look forward to spending time together again. It may not be as soon as we like, but we will be able to, whenever we all feel safe.

I spent the morning with my Mom, delivering her Mince Pie. To tell the truth, I tried to taste the mince filling. From the smell, I had to pass. Something sweet with apples and raisins should not have beef in it. She was quite excited. The epitome of the times happened between us today. She asked if she could hug me; I said ok. Over and over she told me how much she missed me. Wow. She’s never said that before. The Babe and I quarantined after our friends became ill from Covid. We remained well, but we try not to be around her after being elsewhere. She’s ok with that. It was a pleasant visit, and I was at home in time to bake some Keto Pumpkin Bars, and a loaf of Keto Bread.

We’re not getting too crazy tomorrow, it will be so nice to just sit and drink coffee until we feel like stopping. We rarely have that pleasure anymore. Life goes too quickly and we need these odd days to spend together. I hope you enjoy however you spend your day. I will think about the fun we can have in 2021, at Joell’s fourteenth birthday!

Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous, Be Patient. These times are trying, and I’ve learned myself anyone can snap. Learn to forgive yourself if you do. Apologize and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Focus more on continuing on your journey to finish this life in the best way you can. Be positive. Be Careful. Be Safe.

OORAH!

Today I’m publishing my #435th blog! OORAH!

I mean, Hooray! It’s also the #245th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday to all of our Marine friends and family. I’ve always wondered what OORAH meant. I set to do some research. It’s interesting what Google and Wikipedia tell you. I think you get to decide for yourselves.

They drill OORAH into every Marine Corps recruits brain. There are many, many definitions of its meaning. Depending on who you ask, it means “Let’s Kill.” It’s been common since the mid-20th century. The word emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. One Drill Instructor commented he assumed it was a tradition passed on from Marine to Marine. Many believe the true origin lies with the Korean Marine Corps Veterans. It began as the recon submarine shuttled Marines. The “Dive, Dive” command is followed by the piercing horn sound, “Aarugha.” You’ve heard it in any movie with a submarine in it. That aarugha became a mouthful, and the resourceful Marines shortened it to “OORAH!”

Same Ages, Marine – Blake and his Army Dad – Dan

These two guys could be twins! The family genes are strong between these two. Blakes Mom was a beautiful brown eyed, dark-haired beauty. The German won in the DNA, I think.

I would imagine tomorrow at our VFW Post 2503’s Dinner & Band, and Coat/Clothing/Food Drive, I will find a few Marines who will also give me different answers. I’ve just always wondered about it, and thought, “Let’s Find Out!” Dad always told us to look up things we don’t know in the dictionary or encyclopedia. They were cumbersome yet reliable. Kids don’t know how to do that now. “I’ll Google it” is now how they do research. You never know if what you select is truthful or not. “Google It” is now our nation’s chant, our catch phrase over “God Bless America.” I’d rather ask God to Bless America. We need it now more than ever.

The weather today is cold, rainy, windy, and icing slightly. I won’t know, as we’re both home today, all day. I believe it should be a good day for getting some more words down for my book. NaNoWriMo is not going too well. I’m pretty far behind. I’m the poster child for “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” I have another twenty days to write and add to that total. If I write 25K significant words, rather than 50K mediocre words, I’d rather end with fewer.

Goldie went to the groomers last evening. She is super fluffy and smells so good. She’s tired today from the excitement. Lexie whined the entire time she was gone. Poor Baby. Finally, I got Lexie to lie down in front of the fireplace and she calmed down. She was mad she didn’t get to go; I think.

It’s time to write some more. Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Birthday, USMC. See you tomorrow. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. And Wear Your Mask!

A Tale of Two Birthday’s

As I mentioned yesterday, today is Mom’s birthday. For 91, she’s doing great. Of course, the baby of the family (Timmy!) presented her with flowers last night so she could enjoy them all day. I kid a lot about how she really likes him best (it’s true), we now use that to our advantage. If she needs to be told something, he’s the one who does it. She listens to him. HAHA! All in good fun. Tim’s a good man, we just have to give him a bad time. Mom loves us all, each in a different way.

Mom and brother Tim (her favorite!)

I recall the story Grandma told about the day Mom was born. Grandpa and Grandma were married for six long years before they had Mom. On a 105 degree day, August 25, 1929, Rosemary entered this world. She was born at home, and Grandma said, “Once I got my hands on that baby, I forgot about how hot it was.” I believe her. Can you imagine giving birth at home in 105 degree heat? I can’t. Not at all. Grandma, my hat’s off to you. What a trooper! The Babe and I are taking lunch to her today, and will visit for a bit before we pick up Addison from school.

The other birthday I have a story about today is about our cousin, Rich. I believe he would be 63 years old today. Rich passed away earlier this year. He had cancer, and was in Grand Island, under the care of the VA. Like all of us, he had his problems. We all do. But I do remember him today. He was always so happy his birthday was the same day as Aunt Rosie’s. As kids, we couldn’t believe it, we didn’t hear much of two people in the same family being born on the same day, although many years apart.

As the oldest girl in the family, I babysat nearly all my cousins. Not so much the Conrad family, but the Wheeler’s and Burbank’s, yes. Uncle Mickey and Aunt Judy went out every Saturday night. Mom decided I would babysit, (I had no choice in the matter, ever), so either my uncle or aunt would pick me up. I ended up spending the night, it was late), after Creature Feature, by the time they got home. I’d sleep on the couch, then we’d all go to Mass at St. Agnes, where the kids went to school. Simple times for sure.

I earned a whopping fifty cents an hour at all my babysitting gigs back then. $3.00 for six hours. Sometimes the three kids (Rich, Mark, and Jolene) would be good, sometimes they were not. I’d feed them, clean up the kitchen, we’d make popcorn and watch TV. Rich was always building stuff, even at about 8 or 9 years old. He sorta had a temper, and often, he’d break his masterpiece apart because something wasn’t right. Bed time! I felt bad for him, and tried to cheer him up.

Fast forward a bunch of years, after he graduated from Creighton Prep, he entered the Marines. I was married and had my second son on November 7, 1975. Rich was home on leave, and came to see me. He wore his uniform, and I was so happy to see him, all grown up. It was one of the nice things he did for people. He continued his training, and became a guard at Camp David. He had to have a good record to qualify for that. I don’t remember when he crom hisame home to work for his dad, but he settled in back in Omaha. In later years, he became one heck of a carpenter. Maybe he inherited it from his biological dad who was also one heck of a carpenter. Gifted.

Fast forward to about 1982. He installed carpeting in my bedroom. He refused to be paid for it, and even went to Christmas Eve Mass with me and my three kids. I divorced in 1982, and Frankie was in the procession as an altar boy, Nick was 7 and Becky was 3. He offered to help me with the kids, in case they fell asleep. What a very kind thing to do. I’ve always remembered him that way. Offering help. He later married, had kids, and lived life. We lost touch until the wonders of Facebook reunited everyone.

I knew he was ill. So sad to see a young person suffer and die early. Mom is the only one of that generation left in her family. All her sisters are gone, and one uncle lives in Valentine, but we never see him. It’s an exception to lose a cousin before the previous generation is gone. Something just isn’t right about that. He cared for his mom before she passed a few years ago. Wow. Sobering. In September, other cousins, his children, grandchildren, and I will gather at the Omaha National Cemetery to tell him goodbye. Rich, tell Grandma, Grandpa, and all our aunts and uncles we miss them. And my dad. Especially my dad. Thank you!

Rich, on behalf of your extended family, we love you. We are glad you’re safe from all this world stuff. And we hope your first birthday in heaven is the best. Save a few spots for all of us. Whenever it’s our time. Then, heaven will see celebrations like never before, with the four fabulous Bobell girls and all their families. What a great thought!

Richard Wheeler, Sr.

Have a blessed day, everyone. Remember. Call you family. Tell them you love them. There’s never enough time. Be safe.