Rainy to Sunny Wednesday

We’ve had all sorts of weather already today. Rain, chilly breeze, and now it’s partly sunny day. Great week is on tap. We have a wedding on Friday, so the weather will cooperate for the beautiful bride and her groom. This couple was fortunate, their wedding and reception was not postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Her sister’s was, and they will have their reception next month. It all works out.

We’re kind of wondering what to do with ourselves. Gavin’s Mom took vacation from today until next Thursday, so we won’t get to have him today or next week. Hard to believe school is starting. He and his sister attend Papillion/LaVista schools, so they are taking the plunge, right back to a full schedule, onsite, masked, no lockers for older kids. I think they need it, psychologically. They need the safety of school, the friendships, the learning to get along with others in a large group, and the learning you can only have in a classroom. The impromptu discussions that happen randomly are important to learning, too. Sometimes you get more from those than from textbooks. My only hope is for all students and teachers, staff, aids, resource officers and the like to have a safe year.

Tomorrow is my conference with my book coach. I shared my list of books I’ve purchased randomly to learn about writing, publishing, Legalities of self-publishing, etc. The list is about 30 books. So much to learn! I also have a GREAT COURSES class on writing. I forgot I had it, I only watched the one I bought about drawing. Time to rotate the writing one out to the DVD player.

Way back in the old days, before we knew about COVID-19, I ordered some cute paint by number canvases. Didn’t realize they came from China. Never got them, I emailed them frequently to let them know I had not received what I paid for yet. Finally, this week, they arrived. I think they look like a lot of fun. These will be a winter project for sure. Here they are:

This is for my granddaughter Kayla’s room.
This one is for our home.

It’s the time of year again the butterfly bush is huge right outside my studio window. The Painted Lady butterflies are beautiful! It makes me feel calm, sometimes there are ten or more lighting on it. Such a sight. We have a bush that is nearly as large as the butterfly bush. It has large leaves, had a few little white flowers in the spring. The fall and winter isn’t supposed to have red berries. We’ll see what it does this year. It may end up transplanted to the back, near the Wetlands. The Hydrangeas are almost large enough to place in the front flower bed as well. We’ll see how the Babe feels about it. Fall is the best time to transplant all this stuff, I think.

Today is a take it as it comes day. I’m going to work on my quilt again. It should go well. Hopefully, photos tomorrow! Stay safe out there, wash up and mask up. The kids need us to all cooperate, so they can learn, feel safe, and get on with their education. Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous. Your day will go much better. See you tomorrow!

Oh Honey, You Have No Idea!

Magical Monday

Today was bittersweet. Mom asked me to take her to the ENT today. We made a stop at her favorite Half Price Bookstore afterwards. She has terrific trouble with her vision from a stroke several years ago and has extremely poor hearing, even with hearing aids. Either of these things will cause a person to be isolated from the rest of us. She has not wanted to attend the last couple luncheons for the retiree group from my dad’s job at the Omaha World Herald, and has turned down invitations to the two wedding receptions our family is looking forward to. It’s probably part due to her age and infirmary, and part due to more isolation because of COVID-19. Last November, she was not comfortable attending the wedding of a one of her favorite grandsons, because she wouldn’t be able to hear the ceremony.

The Old Days . . . Come and Gone.

I can see a vulnerability in Mom I have not seen before. She is aging, she has taken excellent care of herself, and that can be a double-edged sword. Her independence has been reigned in due to limitations. I’m eternally grateful she quit driving on her own. With her hearing issue, it was easy for her to get rattled in traffic. It was hard at first, but we went on in-town errands and always had lunch. The first Wednesday of the month was always Shopko day. She’d stock up on paper products and what not. We’d ooh and aah at the baby clothes and laugh at goofy things. It was fun. I’m sad Shopko closed, it appears she’s kind of been declining bit by bit since then.

Of course it’s expected, especially at her age. She’ll be 91 later this month, and I’m astonished at that. She hasn’t had an easy life. Our Dad worked nights, and she was in charge 24/7. I was a junior in high school before he transferred to working days. Our two younger brothers had Dad at home while they were in high school. They had different parents than my older brother and I did. It was different at the end of the 1960s when we graduated from high school. Our younger brothers graduated in the mid 1970s, a much different time. A different generation.

We lost Dad in 1988, just after he retired. It was so unfair for him. He worked hard all his life to provide for his family and never got to enjoy retirement. He died six months after he retired. Half of the time he was fighting cancer, the other half, he was home alone while Mom tended to her dying mother with her sisters. Grandma died in September, Dad in December. What a burden on Mom. No time for grieving, there was business to attend to.

Sometimes I think it’s harder for someone to release their independence if they’ve had it for a long period of time. If you’re still independently living in your 80s, it will be hard if you have your wits about you and you need to give some independence up. Many older people don’t get a real choice, some tragic circumstance dictates the end of their driving, or living alone, or walking without assistance. Mom was really brave to give up driving when she did. It could have come sooner in my opinion, because I could see how shook up she would get in traffic.

When the low income high rises were popular in the 1970s, Mom swore if she had to live in one of those, she’d die a slow death, filled with misery. She helped my brother Steve with his South Omaha Sun paper route, and saw the inhabitants of the 10 – 12 story high rises first hand. After her mother died, she swore she would leave her affairs in good order. For that, my brothers and I are grateful. We know she’ll leave us someday. It’s just a matter or when. It will be unexpected, but it will still cause sadness.

But we will celebrate her because she did the darndest things (quote from her mother-in-law). She was a docent at the Zoo for over 25 years. Babysat the baby gorillas and orangutans in the nursery, and was on tiger-birth watch if a female tiger would start labor in the middle of the night. She might call me up and say, “If you call late at night and you can’t reach me, I’ll be at the Zoo, doing . . . .” We’d tease the hell out of her, but were always glad she was so active and out and about.

So yes, we’re grateful. And sad at the same time. She’s having a hard time not being able to go about her life. And we have to be patient even in the worst moments. My two younger brothers are good men and help her out a lot. Taking care of a house is a chore at 91. Heck, it is at 68, too. But at least I have the Babe. Another thing my brothers and I are be blessed with; she has wonderful neighbors, who help her, and who scold her when she’s pulling weeds where she shouldn’t be. Thank you, David _________. We appreciate it!

So as I recall her telling me the ENT’s mother (also in her 90s) was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor before her cleaning lady came over, and how she was scolded by her son the doctor, I will also remember the story of her pulling weeds in an unsafe area. The neighbor simply said, “What do you think you’re doing?” several times, relieved her of her bucket and loppers, and waiting in the driveway until she went inside the house, and say, “You kinda are doing silly things too, that aren’t good for you.” She laughed, and said, “Well, I suppose so.” And all I can say is, “Rosemary; you do the darndest things!”

Winning Wednesday

So much to create, so little time. Do you feel this way? Not just about writing, but crafting and creating together. Unfortunately, I have interest in a lot of creative endeavors. I sewed my own clothes for many years. To dress like the job I wanted, I tailored my own suits for nearly my entire working career. As I progressed in salary, I did purchase them, but still sewed for myself. I’ve probably also made about 40 bridesmaids dresses, and two wedding dresses. I loved doing it all.

Then, after I could no longer work at the age of 48 due to my wacky spine condition, I went on Medicare at age 50. And straight into depression. I felt washed up and useless. I was used to being very physically active, and just couldn’t anymore. Over the next 18 years, I had breast cancer, two foot surgeries, a badly broken ankle (all on the left foot!), and been through the Babe’s extensive visits/procedures thanks to the US Government’s use of Agent Orange during his tropical visit to Vietnam, and thanked God every single thing has eventually turned out well.

The new passion I had for quilting and creating ended the depression, I needed the creative outlet to feel like I was worth something. It worked. And even now, when I start to feel less than great for a period of time, all I need to do is make a quilt, a wall hanging, something, to bring me joy again. There is a sense of accomplishment I receive from that. It’s cheaper than meds or therapy and does the trick. The quilters I’ve met both in person and in Facebook Groups are the best people I know outside of longtime friends I have. Generous, creative, supportive, sharing, and willing to teach and learn. Good stuff.

So, I signed up to make this cute little picture for my laundry room. It needs something on the walls. If anyone would like to sign up, go to the above FB posting. It’s $10. Three one hour sessions teach the techniques. It runs August 2, 4, and 6 and the time zones are posted worldwide. 6:30 p.m., CDT. The project is called “Laundry Day.” The Website is: and it appears there is a waitlist for the class now. The project I’m making is pictured on the right side of the website page.

No, I don’t need more to do. I have plenty to do. I just want something to spark my creativity. So, something different is in order. The idea is to use vintage patterns, fabric, trims, buttons, etc., and you’ll recall some memories and good people from your treasures. I need to do this. A scrap of lace trim my Grandma Bobell crocheted or tatted, a button from Aunt Lois’s sewing treasures, and some fabric that was used long ago. It’ll make me smile, and enhance creativity, too. And calm my restlessness.

Any minute now, the Babe will return home with Gavin. We’re having sliders for lunch today, it should be good. After that, I’ll work a little on my quilt, and more on my additional characters for Katie to deal with in “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” my novel. Little bits, and I’ll accomplish a lot.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you are well. I just found out today my COVID test is negative. That’s great news. I’ll see you here again tomorrow. Be careful out there.

Masterful Monday

Can that be right? Masterful is defined as imposing one’s will on others. It’s being domineering, imperious, imperative, and peremptory. Huh? It does sound pretty unflattering, even to call Monday. But I don’t mean it in a bad way. My intent is all that matters here, and my intent is good. It’s a good thing. How so?

I do not want to be a person who regrets not doing things they always wanted to do. I will publish a novel and some children’s books. Before I don’t have the opportunity any more. In order to do that, I need to have my ambitions and my skills and my purpose defined, mapped out, and get with the work. In a way, I’m imposing my will to do this on my ability to procrastinate. I’m making it the most important thing to accomplish in the next couple of years. Seriously. It’s got to be first. The hitch is here: it can’t be more important than spending time with the Babe, our families, our grandkids. Moderation is the key. And work like hell in the block of time I can spend on it every day.

Some Days!

Song of the Day: “I’m Going to Love You Through It,” by Martina McBride. I’ve been the woman waiting for that phone call. I’ve been the woman who hung up and thought, “Shit, now what?” It was terrible calling the Babe at work and telling him. He cried out, “No!” And he said, “I’m on the way home.” I felt terrible telling him on the phone. We always know when each other is upset, by the tone of voice. I couldn’t hide it at all. No, I’ll never play poker.

The month was October. Boy, was I aware of Breast Cancer by the end of the month! My mammogram came back needing an ultrasound. I went to have that done. The radiologist and nurse told me, yes, it’s a definite lump, and I’d need a needle biopsy. All through this, I was thinking about Dan’s ex-wife, Sandy. She was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She had immediate chemo and radiation. We were establishing a friendship, as she was no longer working. I wasn’t either. It was wonderful talking with her about her kids with Dan. We were blessed to be able to be friends.

The Babe went with me to the biopsy. He told them he was going to be in the room with me while they did it. They tried telling him, “You might want to wait outside.” He wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I was in Vietnam, so nothing bothers me.” They talked throughout the whole procedure, and as I placed my right arm above my hand, the Babe took hold of it. He didn’t let go until the doc and nurse left the room. I knew he’d love me through it. There was never any doubt about that.

The doc seemed almost cocky, though. She said the three samples didn’t look like cancer at all. I chose not to believe her. The Babe, however, believed her. So much that he was dumbstruck when the news came. I wanted to scream at her. How could she give us false hope like that? Wow. I hope she never did that again to another woman and her family. I was angry for how hurt the Babe was.

Next step was surgeon, he was quite thorough. The lump(s) were too small to be felt, trust me, everyone tried. To get clean margins, he removed enough tissue that was baseball sized. Ponder that. I’m pretty lopsided, but not bad, didn’t have reconstruction. I was in my late 50s, and I’m so fortunate to be an eleven year survivor. I don’t like the fact the medication added 30 pounds to me while removing all the estrogen from me. I’d had a hysterectomy at 39, so I was already a “quart low.” Or more. I don’t know. It’s not ever been the same, but I’m so grateful to God. Screw the 30 pounds.

Tell Your Much Needed Story

My friend Sandy, mother of the Babe’s children, lost her battle. Her sister also had the same cancer, she is gone now, too. Oral cancer claimed my sister in law, Laura. All around us, it’s been a battlefield. How it picks and chooses is a mystery. Sounds strange, though, I have always felt I would have breast cancer. I don’t know if you’d call it a premonition or not, but I was not surprised at all when I got the call. Hard as it was to tell the Babe, it was the worst to tell my baby brother, Tim, all 6+ feet of him, lean and lanky, tattooed man. He is the kindest person I’ve known. I’m lucky he’s my best friend after the Babe. He was still reeling from his loss.

Somehow, we all made it this far. And we’ll keep going. It’s what’s in the plan for our lives, I believe. Without being cocky myself, I do find it easier to see the signs God gives me. They are everywhere. See if you can tell where your signs are. They are things you would never have considered, they must be acted upon with logical thoughts and plans, not reckless abandon. While it might be God’s plan for us, we have to do our part. Just practice, it will come to you.

Thank you for all your support and reading. You’re giving me a boost that is important. We’re getting closer and closer to that year mark for blogging. It’s kind of fun to look back, and see how the writing has changed, and how many things I discover about WordPress. I’m a work in progress, and it feels so good! Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

“It’s Not Too Late and I’m Not Too Old!

Happy July First!

Good morning from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It was a rainy night last night, and all the lawn chairs, cushioned or not, are soaking wet this morning. And, much like any other humid July in Nebraska, well, you know the rest. It will probably be this way until school starts again, in about five weeks.

I feel badly for parents when school begins again. Blended families, families with students in different levels of education, working parents, and parents who work at home, are all in for another round of, “Will my child really benefit from the education he or she will receive during the next phase of the pandemic?” One can only hope and pray. I really don’t know what the answer is. I am leaning towards masks for all, then sanitizing to beat the devil.

I’m making a bootleg calendar for my next couple of months. Trying to carefully measure out what is possible while meeting deadlines and Zoom schedules. We all need a little structure in our lives. At times Ihen wonder if I need as much as when we were younger? No, I think no. Retirement is supposed to be about spending time whatever way you feel like. That said, I believe we should still be contributing something to others, to still shine our lights out in the world. The Babe has his Quartermaster duties at the VFW. I love to watch the kids, and yet, there needs to be more than that. You can’t count on having enough grandkids to spend your time that way.

That’s probably a lot of the why I decided to write. I’ve always wanted to write Children’s Books. My daughter encouraged me over and over, until finally, I decided, “Why Not?” In the nearly two years since that revelation, I’ve worked on a novel, started another, and have outlines for several children’s stories. One is about the loss of a family pet based on our experience last summer, losing our Roxie. I think it could do some good for kids.

I had a very loose outline when I began my novel. I definitely see now where I could have made an easier time of it to have a better outline before. Those who never outline are called “pantsters,” who write by the seat of their pants. The planners are “outliners,” who know exactly what they will write. I suppose each writer learns what works for them, then proceeds. What a learning process!

I’m going to organize all my information in a sectioned binder, so everything is organized and together. I hope this works. Time will tell, won’t it? I have the “Personality Isn’t Permanent” book to finish, too. It will help describe the transition my character experiences through her life.

Reading is a Joy!

I just printed countless photos of all our dogs who have known Gavin. I want to have a themed book for him about all of his doggies. He loves the stories he has in his mind, and I want to preserve those for him. It’s neat to listen to him talk about his doggies. What a good thing we can share with him.

The school district our grandchildren hasn’t announced yet how they will handle the school year yet. Three districts in the area will do full time, every day for everyone. Two others will have a split schedule, 3/2 and every other week they switch who has 3 and who is the 2 group. Too complicated for me. It has to be hard for working parents, single parents, and those with no one to help them out. I think we’re all a few cases away from home schooling again and stay at home suggestions again.

We have to dig in, be positive, wear masks, and think of others than ourselves. I know, that’s what we have been doing. It is going to take all of us. It is going to take a very long time for the danger to subside enough for us to abandon our efforts. Our generations have never had to make a sacrifice for a national cause, for a unified effort. Most wars in my lifetime have been undeclared (Korea, Vietnam), and lack of national support deeply affected the veterans and the outcome. Lack of national support in this pandemic is affecting us and will affect the outcome.

Let’s put our pride aside, and our sense of entitlement, and wear a mask. Always in public. Shopping, in the stores, and if we go to eat. Remove it while you eat and drink. Be vigilant. Be on your guard. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Clean frequently used items such as your phone; all the remote controls, the controls on your stove, oven, and microwave, and your refrigerator handles. Door knobs and handles. Yes, it’s not fun, it’s necessary. It’s boring, but it’s necessary.

Make sure you are around to attend all the postponed weddings, graduations, and family events. Make sure your grandparents are, too. Let’s take better care of each other. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it a lot, and am now going to do some more cleanup on Chapter 1 of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” I’ll see you back here tomorrow. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful.

Saturday Fun

Saturday already! Wow, more ball games for Gavin, but we have a banquet to attend tonight. It’s for The Honor Guard at VFW Post 2503. They are the largest Post in the state, and I believe they do the most funerals with military honors. This past week they had seven funerals. That’s a lot for young guys, however, the age of most guys is over the age of 70. Always looking for a few good men, so please spread the word! You must be a veteran of a foreign war, honorable discharge, have a DD214, and a join the Post. Males or females welcome.

What I love most about the Honor Guard is their camaraderie the guys have. All veterans seem to share that, and I love to see it in action. When the Babe had his quad bypass surgery, I couldn’t tell you how many of them called and told me (during his recuperation) if we needed something, just let them know. I trusted them to keep an eye on him when he went back to his duties. Their concern has stayed with us even six years later. They’ve all been through the ischemic heart disease in all of it’s glory (remember Agent Orange), so they understand. It’s a wonderful group of friends.

Our next door people are moving by the 30th. They’ve been such perfect neighbors. They have grown kids and they all drive. No noisy teens gathering around causing trouble (we’ve had that before, believe me). It’s been so quiet. The house may go up for sale, and I know it won’t last long. The other neighbors didn’t, and neither did ours three and a half years ago. Gretna is a small town right now, 5K population, but many of us haven’t been annexed yet. I understand that usually happens after the debt of the SID is paid down.

Funny thing, as kids if we couldn’t spell a word, Dad always said, “Look it up!”

We’d ask him, “How can you look it up when you don’t know how to spell it?”

He would reply, “Do your best to sound it out, then look. You might not find it right away, so just use the time to learn a few new words. You’ll find it eventually.”

I laugh about this now, because I just tried to look up camaraderie and it was NOT in the dictionary I was using. Can you believe it? I had to Google it. I don’t mind looking words up, it’s a good refresher and way to keep your brain sharp. Old fashioned? Sure, why not? Old school is more like it.

The flowers are looking so nice. It makes the work worth it, doesn’t it? Important tidbit about a common outdoor plant, Hostas. The grow profusely without a lot of effort. Great in shade or sun, depending on the variety. I googled them today, to see if they are poisonous to dogs. Yes, very poisonous, as it happens. For some reason, Goldie will pull a couple out by the roots and eat them. They have a sticky substance that expands in the gut, and can cause all sorts of problems. The Babe is going to put a chicken wire fence around them to keep her safe. Can’t have our girl get sick from something so simple. Be safe, secure your Hostas from your dogs.

Writing is sometimes a challenge. No, not for ideas or words. I’m talking about while Goldie thinks I’m her personal playmate. Throw the ball, I may just get my chair back to the desk before she brings it back. Sheesh! It’s a good thing I’m not doing NaNoWriMo.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is “National Novel Writing Month.” The goal is to write 40K words. I succeeded last year, and have the t-shirt to show for it. It’s free participation. Blogging counts. I wrote the bulk of “These Walls DO Talk” during that time, so I did produce a lot. At times, folks don’t produce a lot that is useable after all is said and done. I can certainly see where having an outline, a plan, and following it would help.

I’ve learned that people who don’t outline or plan are “pantster” writers. Yep, “by the seat of their pants.” With the idea in my head, it seemed as if it would be no problem at all to follow the map in my mind, and automatically end up where I could type “the end.” I am becoming convinced outlining may be a better way to go. The outline can be modified while writing, so I would need to be flexible with it. What I don’t want to do it write myself into a corner with no way out.

I’ve read either way is acceptable, with some very famous writers never outlining. Until I get the hang of it, I’ll commit more to planning than just an idea to run with. Some of this will start this weekend, and continue into early next week. I’m planning what to do when for July and August, since I’ll be working with my book coach. Another new adventure! Retirement is not for the faint of heart after all.

I was amazed by an article I read last night in the current issue of Writer’s Digest. It discussed being a travel writer. The article stated you do not have to travel to the places you write about. I would think that could be a drawback, since for me a new place has sounds and smells and music all of it’s own. Sure, you could regurgitate information about those things from other articles on the same places, but would it be as effective? I’m voting no, what do you all think? Leave a comment in the Comment Section, below, please! Convince me I’m wrong. To me, you can’t review a show or restaurant if you don’t attend of dine there, how can you tell what it’s like to travel to a place you have never been?

This afternoon, we’re taking it easy. Since we’ll be out later, it’s a sure thing we’ll need to. It’s going to be hot and humid this afternoon. Be careful out there! Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it a lot. I’ll be back later in the day tomorrow, Mom and I have an early wedding shower to attend. It’ll be great to see my cousins again.

Sunday Summary

This Grandma feels so much better since getting to see our grandson Gavin play baseball again. He has moved up to a league where he is younger than a lot of the kids. The good thing about that is his skillset is way better than the kids his age, and he will be better challenged to grow his skills with the more practiced and older kids. His dad is a coach, and was a great player himself. The boy has had a ball in his hand ever since he could clutch something with his tiny fist. I just absolutely love it. The whole thing. I told him this is the first normal thing I’ve gotten to do in a very long time.

One thing I discovered last night was I’m getting slower and slower walking through the grassy outfield to where we were able to sit. That’s the chronic pain, arthritis, and old age creeping in. That’s the way it goes, you know? I’m so grateful to be able to get to the fenceline and watch him. He’s lost his other Grandpa and Grandma, and the Babe and I are still standing. That’s all that matters.

This humid weather is great for arthritis, you know? If you do, I’m sorry. If not, hope you never do. When I think of my beautiful Grandma Jewell’s hands, they were knotted with arthritis and age. What things she did with those hands, though. I couldn’t count the babies she held, the dough she kneaded, the change she made at Grandpa’s Drug Store, the embroidery she did, and so on. It is amazing when you consider all those things.

I’m looking at taking a couple days and work on a quilt instead of working on my new manuscript. The name is, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” I’m working on the second chapter now, and they’re short. They always are at first.

My little puppy, Goldie, is sleeping on the chair mat in my studio. She must be tuckered out from the Babe playing with her and walking her this morning. He is off doing some office work at the VFW Post. When I was very young, about twenty-five (gosh, that’s young!), my doctor told me the older you get the faster time flies. If I thought that was fast, it’s a million miles an hour now. Make the most of your time.

I get so frustrated I get too worn out to do everything I’d like to do in a day. I have so many projects to do. That’s the problem with being creative in several areas. Embroidery, clothing construction, quilting, writing, and drawing. I’m convinced I’ll just go ahead and do my DVD Learning to Draw Art Class over the winter later this year. After all 2020 has thrown at us, don’t you think we’ll have a lot of snow? Haha, nothing will surprise me at the point in time.

Yes, God Will Make Good of the Mess Called 2020

At what point does a person become elderly? Is it merely a comparison of others in a crowd? Is it how you age in your heart and mind? Is it a number? I suppose I haven’t thought that much about it. My 50th Class Reunion was to be this summer. Now, it’s cancelled until August, 2021. A number of us wondered out loud on Facebook hoping we’d all still be here to attend. That’s where we are, I suppose. I’d like to think since Mom is 91, her mom (smoker) died at 84, and Dad’s mom at 97 that I have a pretty good chance at living into my 90s. Hope so! I have a bunch of grandkids we need to see grow up.

Many years ago, 1980 or 1981, I was called to Jury Duty. I had to get a babysitter for my daughter, and took the bus to the Courthouse to arrive on time. I was picked on about three juries. I had the perfect face and demeanor of a perfect juror. I was totally honest, and gave people the benefit of the doubt. I totally enjoyed the experience. Most folks don’t. For the first time in my life, what I thought mattered. It mattered so much because I could find someone guilty who would have to go to jail. It was at a time in my life when I didn’t have a lot of say so in my life. I had an awakening.

If I could help put someone in jail, why couldn’t I pick out my own washing machine? My ex had the idea it was “his” money, so he was to spend it how he wanted. I loved being a stay at home Mom. It was the best time in my life, teaching my babies what they needed to learn, and loving them all the way. It’s hard to believe I was a doormat. I let it happen, I didn’t know any better. When I pushed back, the marriage didn’t work at all. I no longer went along to get along. I found my voice. And it was a relief. And I haven’t stopped using it, either. My life has gone many different directions after that. All good, mostly.

We are a bit paranoid right now. Our neighbors on both sides are moving. One was a renter who purchased their own home. The other was a homeowner looking to retiring to an acreage. Both are great people, and we’re sad to see them go. With two slots open, we’re hoping we get people just as nice as are here. It’s quite a gamble, you know. Right now, we value our peace and quiet, especially in the morning when we’re outside having coffee. It still feels like vacation to sit there, in the quiet, and hear only birds calling out to each other. We’re hoping for good people, cross your fingers for us! Speculation can make you crazy.

We’ve had the greatest neighbors all along. When I bought a house in 1987, a retired couple were next door. They kept an eye on my kids during the summer. It was a blessing. We’ve had a neighbor who had a long criminal history, theft, assault, drugs, dealing, etc., etc, etc. I pray to God that doesn’t happen again.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate your time. C’mon back tomorrow, I’l be here. Hope to see you then. Be safe. Love your kids. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Let’s all live to 90!

Wednesday’s Words

How do we use ordinary words to explain to our kids and grandkids what is going on in the world right now. Give me the pandemic back, please! They understand they don’t want Grandma and Grandpa to get sick, really sick. This unrest? They don’t, because it can come into their neighborhood, to their school, to their grocery store, or to the place Daddy or Mommy go to work every day. When it turns violent, everyone is at risk.

Having grown up in the 1960s, I remember all too well hearing stories about segregation. EXTREME segregation. Read anything about Josephine Baker (from the 1920s), Lena Horne (1940s), Sammy Davis Jr. (1950s-1960s and beyond), George Wallace and his hatefulness, the Tuskegee Airmen, and you will learn how one world was ok for us, and another was ok for them. Read “The Help” or watch the movie. It was true. All true. So much misinformation about how people of color functioned as humans. They can run faster. They cannot learn as well. They will pass diseases if they are allowed to use white only facilities. Really?? How sad. It makes me ashamed to be remember hearing these things. Not from my parents, but from “others.”

Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who had cervical cancer. Her journey to immortality took place at Johns Hopkins University where she was treated for her cancer. She was also experimented upon and used as a guinea pig by researchers. How they used her is sinful. It is criminal. And they just thought because she was black she couldn’t understand and didn’t bother treating her as one of God’s children, and experimented on the poor woman. After she passed, her family discovered all the ugliness that happened, and finally, her story was told. Shame on Johns Hopkins. Shame on everyone involved. The book about her life is called, “The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks.” It’s very educational.

Right in the middle of the 1960s, the unthinkable happened to my white, Irish (Polish, German, Dutch, Catholic School in South Omaha. My dad and all his brothers and sister attended there as young kids, too. We were getting a new gym teacher. We heard he was black. What? Tongues were wagging. How can that be? It was, and that was the way it was going to be. My folks didn’t say much, except to say he was attending Omaha University (now UNO), and he was a black man. We didn’t know what that would mean to us.

I’ll never forget the apprehension on his face as our class entered the gym. He introduced himself. He was a large man, very athletic. Muscular. He had a soft, gentle voice. Over the months that ensued, he gained our trust and love. Even through dodge ball. He was kind to us all. We learned he was married, with a little girl, and a wife who attended college also. Sometimes they were without child care and he would bring his little girl to class. The girls took turns playing with her. It was fun.

At Christmas time, my mom always went overboard doing what she loved. Baking Christmas cookies. She baked over 167 dozen cookies one year. This particular year, when giving my brother and me boxes to deliver to the teachers, she gave me one and told me, “This is for Mr. Hepburn.” I was happy and nervous to deliver it to him.

I approached him before class and handed him the package. “This is for you, Mr. Hepburn.” I was too shy to tell him it was from my brother and me. He thanked the whole class and they looked at me funny. I felt the flush in my face. After class I went to him and told him, “Mr. Hepburn, I forgot to say this was from my brother and me.” His eyes lit up. He was so grateful. I’ll never forget that look in his eyes.

A week later, he gave me a beautifully handwritten thank you note. My mom was tickled pink. He was always so nice to me as an individual person after that. In high school I learned he was on the semi pro football team the Omaha Mustangs. I was so proud to have known him, his name was often in the Sports section of the Omaha World Herald.

And then, in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, the worst happened. We heard Glen Hepburn sustained a serious head injury in a game played that Saturday night. He died two days later. I was stunned. He was such a nice man. And he had two little girls and his wife to take care of. How can this be happening? I never could understand that. But at least it was an accident. No malice or prejudice took his life. He was a good man, and I’ve remembered him often as one through the last fifty some years. A good man, gone far too soon. I wonder if his wife remarried, and I wonder about his children. I hope they had good lives, too. I just know their Dad is proud of them from heaven.

Kindness is a great teacher. I saw my mother’s kindness taught to me, her daughter, and reflected in the face of a kind black man. I’m grateful for that memory that is so fresh in my mind today. Care for each other. Share a cookie or two.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Have a good day today, be kind to someone new, and I’ll see you tomorrow. You know I’ll be here.

Memorial Day, 2020

May this day find you all free from threats, feeling safe, and remembering the selfless soldiers who gave their lives for our great country. This is a day we celebrate and think about their lives of duty, honor, and love.

By the time the USA was involved in WWII, many a young high school lad enlisted in the Army. Our nation stayed out of the war until we experienced the attack at Pearl Harbor. It was the absolute worst thing that ever happened to our country ever. Until 9/11 happened. How could we be attacked twice on our own soil? Did we not have the best military forces in the world? We did then and still do now. We let our guard down.

We let our guard down that Sunday morning in 1941 when most of those alive went to Church that day and may have been headed to Grandma’s house for dinner. Then it happened. A day that has lived in infamy. Many, many young men found their way to various recruiting offices to sign up for the Army or Navy, they wanted to defend our country against the aggressor. So many of those that died were fresh-faced teenagers who may have lied about their age to enlist. They left to go with others and defend our country. Many never returned.

Between the battlefield and the end of their lives, many soldiers met my father, Sgt. Thomas Jewell, Jr. He was initially a young medical supply/surgical tech and helped rescue the fallen from the battlefield, applying tourniquets or pressure to wounds and prayers with frightened young men. He was with medics all through Europe in General Patton’s Army. He served in Korea, caring for North Korean POW’s. He returned home to never really talk about things. Parts of him died with each of those young men. Many who survived told him at his 1987 Blackhawks Division reunion they had prayed for him every day because he saved their lives. One described him as self effacing, one who simply went about his work dodging bullets, carrying the wounded on stretchers. He was always an extremely modest man, never boastful about his accomplishments. He has always been my hero because of his unending support, quiet manner, and experiences in life that made him a good man. I am a very lucky daughter to have had that kind of father. He passed away in 1988, six months after retiring and three months before he was set for the first vacation of his life: flying with the Blackhawks to trace their steps through Europe on the liberation of Europe operation. Our mother still made the trip.

To help us think of those young fallen soldiers, here is an excellent video and rendition of TAPS. Jimmy Weber sings. Peace. Thanks. Gratitude. Let Freedom Ring. God bless you all. And God Bless America!

TAPS by Jimmy Weber

Saturday Fun Times!

So yesterday we went to the garden center and purchased some beauties. I planted a few things in pots earlier, and one in the ground in the front yard. A smaller hydrangea bush. It should look pretty good next to the butterfly bush that grew so huge last year. We’re planning to keep it trimmed up a bit as it grows, so it doesn’t encroach on the sidewalk to enter the house. Last year it needed to be trimmed a lot.

My back does cause considerable problems when I do work like this, so I sat down on the little front porch steps to rest it a minute. I untangled the wind chimes I purchased a few years ago at Shopko, when they were still open. It was tangled to badly, I was tempted to cut it apart and restring it. But then I started thinking about my dad. He could untangle necklaces that were twisted and tangled so bad you were tempted to throw them out. He was a man of incredible patience when it came to things like that.

I started thinking about him as I sat, trying to untangle the knots of all elements of this wind chime. The more I thought about him, the easier the tangle became. I was truly amazed at how the time passed, the tangles fell away, I thought of how my dad would work on things while working them out, I could smell the freshness in the air, I was aware of the coolness of the concrete, it was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. And this was the result:

Late getting started, but the front is looking better.

I’m sure now I’ll have those heartwarming thoughts of my dad when I glance out the window while writing or sewing. I’m such a “just look out the window at this or that” kind of person. I hope to experience many more things like this when I’m looking away to let my eyes wander.

The Babe is mowing the yard in between working more on the birdhouse bench he’s building. It’s amazing how thick the grass in the back yard has become, despite the dogs being out and using it as dogs do. I used to think only retired people had nice lawns. I remember mowing our lawn on a big banked hill when my kids and I lived on Nicholas Street. My son Nicholas sure thought it was great to live on a street named after him. I do believe it was named long before he was thought of, but I didn’t want to burst his bubble. I have a bunch of plants to keep planting this afternoon, and I’d better get back to it.

There are a couple plants I need to plant in nicer containers, like the Hibiscus tree, and hope I can keep it alive this winter. Maybe remembering to water it will help, too. Since we have lost our great cleaning lady, we’ll be cleaning now and should be in a better position to be watering plants that need it. Yes, I’m sad to lose Lori, but she needs some benefits and to be more secure for her future. I wish her well, and am glad to have had her since we moved into this home. Good Luck!

Below is an overview of the flower garden the Babe fenced in for me. There are Columbine, a small Hydrangea, and a couple Asiatic Lilies down there. We’re going to lay down Landscaping Cloth and decide where the annuals go. I hope to get everything in and thriving by tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of Potential

There is something about this meme that I love. I do believe many of us have been doing this since social distancing and stay at home were introduced. I know it’s hard for the Babe to put into words how he feels, he just knows things are “off”. I feel the same way. It’s kind of like listening to someone talk, but you feel and hear like you’re underwater. Or you go somewhere and don’t think about driving there, but realize you are there. That’s the time to do like these two little guys do above. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about it, maybe you just need someone to sit with you. Quietly. Just feel the being together. It helps. Try it with someone you trust, love, and respect. It is the best medicine.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time. Sit by someone you trust and love. Enjoy their quiet company. Or untangle your windchime from last summer. It will take your mind away from your troubles. So relaxing. I will be here again tomorrow, hope to see you then. It’s the Babe’s birthday. I’m off to bake a Red Velvet Cake. The store was out of German Chocolate. So the Babe bought our granddaughter’s favorite. Hope the others like it! Take Care. Drive Safely. Wash Your Hands!