VA Hospital, Parking, and More

It’s 10:17 am on a beautiful, sunny morning. I’m currently waiting for Dan (Babe) after a check in with his research team for the study he is participating in. It’s been awhile since I’ve been down here, and wow, has it changed.

Isn’t there always chaos when any entity attempts to change the configuration of their campus, grounds, territory, or property. What do you view as the most impacted service during the chaos?

I believe it is parking. No matter what, I believe parking is impacted the most. The VA Hospital tries quite hard, providing shuttles to ride. So many of these veterans have conditions that prohibit them from walking far. And face it, I’d venture to say most of the patients here have at least one disability. You must arrive early to attempt a spot in the Handicapped Lot. The rest of the day, you get one by dumb luck.

The Visitor/Patient Lot is a terrifying place. Just observing here for the past 30 minutes, I know my life will be on the line backing out of this parking place. Cars all gather, each vying for the spot. Pedestrians are everywhere, not really looking for a car backing up much less out of said parking spot.

I see the parking for construction workers is close to their worksite, a luxury never afforded by the hospital workers. I wonder what would happen if someone were to park in the “Hard Hat Area”. Might the earth swallow them up? You never know.

When I worked at Mutual of Omaha, their lack of parking was well known. As their employment level dropped along with their insurance business, it became routine for a new employee to be assigned a parking area on the first day. In my time, it took five to seven years to creep up the list. Many folks would not work these that long.

The Midwest may be different from New York City or Los Angeles as far as vehicles go, but I’d like to hope we are “Nebraska Nice” with how we deal with driving during construction while parking is chaotic.

Parking will be disrupted with all the people out Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping too. Please stop and think about being kind and cooperative while you are out on extra trips during the next month or so. It will help things go a lot smoother. If we are all thinking only of ourselves, there will be much more of a chance for tempers to flare, accidents to happen, and failure on our part to remember the reason for the season.

Give a like, make a comment in WordPress, and I’ll put your name in my drawing for the $50 Visa Gift Card. Thanks so much for reading, and make sure you come back tomorrow. I’ll be right here.

Three Young Sailors

Back in the Korean War, three young men from South Omaha, Nebraska, set out on the journey of their lives. Soon, they were trained in Naval flight deck procedures and set off to protect their country. Two were brothers, Joseph and James Conrad. And a fellow named Bob Blakeman. All three served on the USS Essex. I never knew this bit of family history until my uncle, Joe Conrad, passed away a few years ago. The Honor Guard from Benson VFW Post 2503 provided Military rites at his service, along with the Honor Guard from the Omaha Police Department.

The next time I saw Bob Blakeman, he and his wife, Mabel Vankat, were at the VFW. Bob told me about his connection to Joe Conrad, and asked how Jim was doing as well.

James (left) and Joseph (right) Conrad

I posted this photo on Facebook for Mabel to show Bob. In her nineties, Mabel was up on FB and loved it. Back to the story though, it was awesome to know the three men had a connection, and I knew them all. That sort of thing happens frequently in South Omaha. Everyone is connected in some way or another. Directions are given by “You know where Darby’s is?? Go up the hill across from it, and you’ll find our house.” Bars are the way to find your way around, and Lord knows there were enough of them.

Bob Blakeman felt awful he was not physically able to attend my uncle’s funeral. It really touched my heart. That’s how these older veterans are. If they knew someone, they felt they should see them home. Band of Brothers and then some.

The next person to lose was Bob himself. He had many struggles with health issues, making it difficult for him to get around, Mabel had to drive, his prosthesis didn’t fit or work properly. Struggles that were hard to witness. And such a nice man. I think he didn’t give compliments readily, but when he acknowledged the job my husband Dan was doing as the Post Quartermaster, he told him he was doing a good job, and thanked him. You could tell he meant it.

All that was left was Jim Conrad. He just passed away this week. I immediately thought of these three young kids, these three musketeers, these three amigos from South Omaha. I hope they have one heck of a reunion, reunited and swapping stories for eternity. We here on earth will miss the three of you. Thank you all for what you did for the world, the United States Navy, the Korean War, your families, friends, and the folks you were kind to. This world is a better place for your kindness. Be kind to people today, it’s National Kindness Day, and it would be a great way to remember these three kids in uniform.

A photo, an Eagle, and Bob’s favorite beverage at his table in the Canteen. It took my breath away. God Bless Him.
Joseph Conrad was laid to rest next to his wife, Lois. VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard and the Omaha Police Department provided honors for this good man. God Bless You, Uncle Joe.

And now, Jim’s family will be laying him to rest too. Thank you, God, for allowing all three of these kids in uniform to come home, meet their sweethearts, and raise families, contribute to their communities, and help make the world a better place.

Today is National Kindness Day. Be kind to people today. It would be a great way to honor these three kids in uniform. Please leave a comment, like this post, and like the Blog, please. You’ll be entered (limited to once a day) for every comment and every like (limited to once a day) to win a $50 Visa Gift Card, in honor of NaNoWriMo. Drawing is December 1, 2019. Who couldn’t use an extra $50 at this time of year?? Thank you for reading, I appreciate it very much.

Veteran’s Day, 2019

Today is a day to thank all of our veterans for their service. All who served honorably deserve for us to show gratitude. Not just for today, but for every day we live with the freedoms we enjoy. No matter what, we need to be respectful of them and what they have done for us, and for our freedoms.

I read a Facebook post earlier that makes me angry. In West Virginia, there was to be a “21 gun salute”, and the administration cancelled it due to the fact that “loud noises scare their students,” and “the administration felt it was inappropriate due to the amount of gun violence in America. “

I commented, telling them from what I understand a “21 Gun Salute” is only for honoring a national flag, the soverign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President, and President-elect of our great nation.

It is often mistaken at a Veteran’s funeral that they have a “21 Gun Salute.” Three volleys is what they receive. There could be seven Honor Guard people to shoot. That adds up to twenty one, but it is still three volleys. If there are only three Honor Guard people to shoot, it is not a 9 gun salute, it is still three volleys. It’s a common mistake that is present in America. Please, let’s help correct that error by teaching each other what it is, and what it means. God Bless our Veterans, and God Bless America.

I also mentioned that perhaps people need to really learn the real story of our history. All of it. You cannot sanitize the Holocaust. You cannot sanitize the early days of slavery. You cannot sanitize the unrest in the country during the 1960’s. It was all messy, brutal, and disrespectful to the races and religions involved, and to the American people, whom I would still like to believe are good and just. We need to regain our sense of unity and what is right. Politics aside, every veteran deserves our respect and thanks. Please do your part to make them know we are grateful for their sacrifices.

Maybe as children we learned too much about the harsh things in the world. We Boomers grew up with a sense of duty, and history was important for us to learn. Now I don’t remember all those dates the teachers made us memorize, but I do know why WWI started. And WWII. Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan, etc., etc., etc., Rather than leave these countries to fend for themselves, we became involved. We wanted to share our great nation’s governing with other parts of the world. Dictatorship cannot allow people to life a free life. Socialism also does not allow people to lead a free life. We are simply trying to help these countries by helping demonstrate what is right. I do not believe we should be demonized for trying.

Proud to be an American
All the men in the Jewell Family. Thomas Jewell Sr was Grandpa, Jr was my dad, Joseph and Robert were his brothers.

My grandmother always had an 8 x 10 or larger of the portrait each enlistee or draftee has taken when they finish boot camp hanging in her living room. They stayed up the entire time she ived there, and they were returned to each son’s family when her house was sold. My father had already passed away by then.

We Cannot Thank You Enough!
This was my father at the tender age of 19.
Every Generation of Soldiers has the Next Generation to Follow

The photograph above reminds me of the Honor Guard at Benson VFW Post 2503. They are all getting on in years, yet still continue to do over a hundred funerals a year. They are dwindling in numbers. Younger members work during the week and often spend weekends with family on weekends. It is a concern. If you have served in war time in a foreign country and would like to join, please join us at Post 2503, 90th and Military in Omaha, NE. We have a plane in the parking lot.

Thank you for reading. Comment on how you have been aware of Veterans Day in the past and how you honor it in the present. Please like this post, the blog in general, follow me. I am giving away a $50 Visa Gift Card to one lucky winner. You can have two entries per DAY!!

One, like the post. Two, like and follow the blog. There will be ample opportunity for you to enter. In fact, go back and read all the posts for November, and you can be entered twice for each entry you read, like, comment on. A person could have sixty chances! Thank you again. More on NaNoWriMo tomorrow.

The Day After

Yesterday, my adrenaline must have been excessively high. Today, I’m wiped out, but very happy inside. The family wedding was beautiful. In the words of my late Aunt Carol, ” It’s just so fun to see a young couple so in love with each other, who have plans for their life together.”

Yes, it is. I had a blast sitting with my brother, eating cake and drinking ice water, watching the crowd of friends and relatives. Dan wasn’t feeling up to attending, so he stayed home.

The girls and young women who appeared single were belting out magical, love charged songs. You could tell they were wanting what they were singing about.

There were very few young men actively dancing. One young black fellow could really move with the groove of the music. The others were standing about talking, some were in line at the bar. My brother is going to take dancing lessons when he feels ready to meet some ladies again.

I have to say, he is a catch. Good job, devoted, reliable, gentleman (like our dad), and an all around good man. He lost his wife to oral cancer. We could feel her presence last night. He misses her terribly, and I do too. He finished raising her youngest two sons after her death, and had always been so good with all four of them.

Yes, I’m a bragging big sister. More than that though, he is a very good friend. I used to help our mom with him when he was a toddler. Yes, he was the pesty brother I wanted to make vanish when I was in high school, but no matter what, we would always be friends. And it’s such a gift.

Sitting with him at midnight at his wife’s bedside, we had some very deep discussions. I was honored he shared his thoughts with me. As I reached for his hand, I remember thinking, “when did he get into our dad’s hands??”.

The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Since that night, I’ve many times felt him reaching out to care for me. Life has taken us both to the place where I may need his help some day. We share a strange sense of humor, and many folks may not understand, but we are family. I tease him and tell him, “You’re the sister I never had!” Well, at least I had my own room!

Tim, left, Don, right.
My brother and nephew.

As unhappy as I was when he was born, I’m so very happy to have this great guy for my baby brother.

Hope you all had a good Saturday! Leave a comment, like my post and follow my page. I’ll enter you in my giveaway. $50 Visa Card Giveaway. Drawing held Dec 1, 2019.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Nick on his Kindergarten Graduation Day.

Nick is my second son, born this day in 1975. Wow. That seems like such a long time ago. I was twenty-three years old. There was the blizzard on January 10 1975, the tornado May 6, and then along came Nick in November. Here I go with a story he has heard probably too many times.

Since their father couldn’t miss bowling night, I took Frankie, his older brother, Trick or Treating that night. In an old neighborhood like ours, many houses on a street may have one side of the street up on high banks, with two sets of stairs going up to the houses. It was crazy. There were fences in between the yards, so there was no cutting through the yards. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. Up the hundred stairs, trick or treat, then down the hundred stairs. And so on, over and over again.

With all this activity, I prayed God would not make this baby come tonight on Halloween. I’m glad he wasn’t, it really didn’t matter. I would have loved him the same. He was one of three babies in the hospital nursery who had black hair at birth. He always looked older, I thought. One baby was black, and the other dark haired baby was our neighbor’s grandson. Nick was easy to pick out in the nursery. As time went on, he did bear a resemblence to my father, who had black hair and big brown eyes. So did Nick.

Nick has a big heart, loves to help people, is a talented handy man, has learned a lot of things from taking stuff apart and puttinig it back together. He was always tearing apart his wagon, bike, and toys. He didn’t try with my car, however.

He amazed me as a toddler, he loved being read to. I was shocked because he could read at the age of four. I thought he should go to kindergarten early so he wouldn’t be bored when he got older. He wasn’t, and he loved numbers. When he was three, he spread the financial page of our newspaper out on the floor, and moved his index finger along the lines of numbers and said, “I just love the little tiny numbers.”

Today he lives with his husband in Gladstone, Missouri. I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like, he has an odd work schedule. I do miss him, it’s always fun to get together. Hope we can soon, Nick.

Lve me some Snoopy!

As far as writing goes, it’s 4 p.m. and my blog isn’t finished yet. Had to get Dan out to do his duties at the VFW Post he Quartermaster’s at, I got to see our dentist, we did some errands, had lunch, and poof, it was 3:30 p.m. I swear, the days go far too fast.

Still adding flesh to my characters, it takes a bit more than I thought. Describing everything about these characters may be overload, but I most likely will edit out anything that is a back story to the story at hand.

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon, only 34 degrees, though. The early darkness is helping make it cozy by the fireplace in the evening. I’m wishing you a cozy evening, too.

What do you like to know about characters in stories before you begin to read?? Or do you just like to discover quirks and faults as they become evident?? Or should they be spelled out in a prologue?? Let me know what you think. I’m interested in your thoughts. Leave a comment, give a like and you will have two entries in my NaNoWriMo giveaway, one $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing will be December 1, 2019. It could be you with a little extra Christmas cash!

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

Wacky Wednesday

Have you ever been friends with someone from over the pond who pronounced all the syllables in Wednesday?? When I worked at ConAgra, a lovely lady named Janet Richardson interviewed me for the job I started in April of 1982, my first job in twelve years. I was newly divorced, had three kids, the house payment, and for the first time in my life, confidence.

Janet became a good friend and ally, I learned a lot from her and enjoyed working for her. In the 1980’s, ConAgra had their fabulous Christmas Parties first at the Red Lion, then at Peony Park in the Royal Grove Ballroom. I could not believe the first one I attended. It was a very dressed up affair, and was a lot of fun. Subsequent parties were also a lot of fun, and arranged by Janet.

She was from England, met her husband Rich while he was in the Air Force. He was from Milwaukee, and they were stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. Nice couple. If I ever hear someone say, “Wed-Nes-Day,” I think of Janet. There were a couple of other words she pronounced differently, but they fail to come to mind right now. She was a great lady. I believe she works at Blue Cross Blue Shield by now, if she isn’t retired.

Working on Today’s Word Count. Hope to reach 1,677.

What ELSE Can Happen Category??

Dan’s nearly new dentures broke late last weekend. I dropped them off at our dental office, they cannot be repaired, they need to do impressions for a new lower plate. Today, he has an appointment at 2 p.m., I’ll grab the granddaughter in Papillion, drop her at home, get his cargo pants order from Kohl’s, get him and we’ll go to the Post for dinner. Unless I get too forgetful. That’s happening a lot these days. P.S. I NEVER say, “What ELSE Can Happen,” out loud. Because then it usually does. Don’t jinx yourself!!

Talked with my cousin Joey on the phone this morning. He’s about 6 or 7 years younger than I am. He lives in western Nebraska with his husband and they are such good friends as well as relatives. We were talking about his parents and I told him how I remember his dad and mom from before they were married. He told me I needed to write those things down. What a great idea!! That will be my project after “These Walls DO Talk.” Our extended family was pretty fascinating and pretty funny, all things considered, and boy, could they put away the beer. We pretty much only gather for funerals and weddings now. Stay tuned next year for thoughts on that.

I find it really fun to talk with my adult cousins on both sides of the family. Usually, news was passes along through the grapevine of their parents to my parents, and now just my mom is living on her side of the family, and my dad’s sister Mary Ann is the only one of my dad’s siblings left. Both sides turned out a good representation at Mom’s 90th Birthday Party in August. Right now, that seems like such a long time ago. We all have settled back into our own lives again, waiting for some new special events. A wedding and a baby shower (two different families) are coming up in the next two weeks, two very happy occasions to gather for.

Gavin and Goldie really know how to pose!

Family history – do you find it fun to hear old stories about your parents and aunts and uncles?? It can be a blast to hear about their antics. It can also be surprising. Whem Mom and Dad were young, Mom helped a teenager across the street sneak back into her house after curfew and the door was locked. They laughed pretty hard about it. Wow, our mom. Queen of the Curfew, thought it was OK to help Sharon sneak into the house. Wow. What a surprise!

This day has lots of miles left in it. I need to get back to the book. I’m describing characters again today. Or I’m describing the basement most old houses have. Wherever it takes me, that’s where I’m going.

Remember! In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’m counting each daily like and/or comment you leave so you will be entered in a drawing on December 1, 2019 for a $50 Visa Gift Card. You can have two entries a day for 30 days!!! I’m keeping track by hand, as I’ve not joined MailChimp for that yet. I’ll get there. One baby step at a time Share with your friends! Let’s have lots of entries!! Thank you for reading, sharing, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it all! See you tomorrow.

Puppy Update/Grateful for . . .

We have had new puppy for about ten days. Ten days of jumping out of our chairs when she has sniffed out a spot on the floor, ten days of saying “Good girl” when she whimpers to go outside, and ten days of reassuring Lexie that we love her more.

Gavin is coming to visit Goldie today.

It’s funny how this little creature has brought a lot of work to our home, yet she also has brought a lot of joy, happiness, and something to distract us from Dan’s difficult recovery. I do think it was part of the vast plan to change our lives yet again.

Dan (a/k/a Babe) and I are talking about a lot of things most retired folks discuss. We reminisce about our world’s as kids, we discuss the four most intelligent and beautiful grandchildren to Grace the earth, and we tell each other how much we love each other. We don’t ever want to forget to tell each other we are grateful to have each other.

Yes, we get irritated with each other. We can both be stubborn. We get tired and frustrated. But we each know the other is always in our corner. Devotion trumps irritation.

Just as Goldie trusts us to take care if her, we trust each other to care for the other. Anyone can have trust issues. Puppies, children, teenagers, men and women all can have trust issues. If you are fortunate to love someone you can trust, your life is so much better! You won’t be in danger from them.

Goldie and Gavin can trust us and are learning to trust each other. Lexie is more timid, and we’re not sure why. It could have with her lineage and temperment. Those things fall outside of home and heart. Some things you just can’t train or love out of an animal. She just was never the affectionate pup that Roxie was.

At 9 a.m., I met with a research group about participating in a study to test an RSV vaccination.  I was willing, however, I was eliminated from the study. There are so many criteria to meet, and I didn’t fall on the right side of the investigation. Oh well, I was paid very well for my time. That’s cool. 

Dan’s home health care nurse was pretty late yesterday, 4:30. She is coming at 8 a.m. tomorrow. That will start the day out early. She is amazed at the number of people she has for patients who do not want her to come before 10 a.m. We are the exception, so it will be another early start to the day. We’re both up by 7:00 a.m. anyhow. It’s a blessing these angels travel to your home to save you having to make trips to a clinic three times a week.

After awhile, we will pick up Addison and Gavin, drop off Addison, bring Gavin home with us to play with Roxie, and wait for our son in law to pick up Gavin. Hopefully, by then, the dogs will be tired and sleep on the couch so we can just sit down.

New Years Eve, 2018/2019
I cannot believe Babe stayed up this late!!

I’m grateful today for the love I wake up to every morning. We might have slowed the step but I have never loved more deeply or been sure I was loved this much. It’s the best!

Dan has a way to go with his healing.  Many folks are praying and sending good thoughts.  We thank you all for doing so. Keep them coming!

My writing for today will include creating some character depth. I’m trying to describe in more detail the people in the novel who live in the house that is telling its secrets. They are based on real people, so I’m sure my family will be wondering which character they are. They’re all a bunch of characters, believe me!! It’s a good study in human nature, making sure my characters aren’t flat or predictible. Again, I can assure you my family are neither!!

Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment at the end, and like the post. The contest is stil going on, all you have to do is like the post in WordPress, and/or leave a comment in WordPress. You can have two chances a day to win the drawing on December 1, 2019. This will run through the end of November, so catch up if you’d like. I’d love to have you all have 60 chances each for free!!! The prize is a $50 Visa Gift Card. Hope it’s an offer you can’t refuse, and that you love our journey on the way to finishing this book! See you tomorrow!

Gratitude Journal – November 4, 2019

It’s a chilly morning in Nebraska. The temperatures fall around freezing every night, and the warmth of the day depends on:

If the Sun is out.

Our Roxie (RIP, dear) loved to lay under her tree in the shade on a hot day. Looks like her sister Lexie (brown dog) joined her that day.

If it’s windy or not.

Weather must be perfect for hot air balloons. A gentle hint at a breeze is perfect for these balloons to gracefully lilt along.

The high temperature is during the sunny part of the day.

Roxie and Lexie were inseparable.

Any precipitation falls. Any. A 50 degree day with rain can feel like icicles piercing your face if it’s windy. It feels icy all day.

This was an early spring hail storm. Not fun!!
A snowstorm from late last winter. I’d rather have snow than wet, icy preccipitation. Yes, I would

I’m grateful to have all these seasons. It seems there are many more than four at a time now. I don’t think it would be the same to only have the warmth of California or Florida all year around. It just wouldn’t be the same. What would I do without the arthritis rearing it’s ugly head every cold, wet, snowy day. Or every horrific humid day that makes you have a headache all day long.

The four seasons are kind of strange to be grateful for, but I am happy to know all of them. The warmth or lack of it just goes along with the brand of Christmas, New Years, Easter, 4th of July, etc. You’ve got to have the weather.

Saturday, the home health care nursing started their regimin with Dan. They will come three times a week to change the charcoal sponge in the wound and each time attach a new container and tubing to the wound vac. He’s fortunate so little infection is left, so not much drains, but it’s still the procedure.

The nurse trained me on how to take care of Dan’s packing, etc., in case of an ice or snow storm and no one can get to our home to take care of the wound vac, etc. I am capable of doing it and am not queasy about it at all. They are part of the deal, and I’m grateful for the help, truthfully.

Goldie is doing great. Doing well with potty training, sleeps almost all night in her kennel, tolerates her collar and leash when necessary. I think Lexie is warming up to her, as long as Goldie doesn’t get in her face.

Back to working on the book and word count for today. It’s been four days, haven’t missed one day yet. I’m just writing freestyle, I guess I’d call it Going to write paragraphs and fit them in where they will read the best.

The Business of My Day

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate your company on my journey. Invite your friends along, please. And please like the blog, the individual post, and comment. You may earn two chances a day at a giveaway I’m having at the end of NaNoWriMo, a $50 Visa Gift Card. Two entries a day, for liking and commenting on each post. It’ll be fun! See you tomorrow!