CURRENT JOURNAL (11/4/04)
Thursday - November 25, 2004 - happy THANKSGIVING DAY!! Happy Turkey Day to us. Well, it seems more like Christmas than Thanksgiving but it is QUITE beautiful out there. I'm just glad I wasn't traveling anywhere yesterday because it was brutal. Whenever the first snow is a big one, I think it takes people by surprise. Plus, it's one of those very wet and heavy snows - heart-attack snow. In a few days, it'll melt anyway! I found this picture of me on Thanksgiving Day 1985 (the year of the SUPER BOWL BEARS!!). Bob and I had gone over to his folks for Thanksgiving and then we stopped at Alan and Veralee's house where this picture was taken. I can't imagine that I was this HUGE on Thanksgiving and Andrew wasn't born until February 15th. Yikes!!! I'm sure you all have a lot to do besides sitting around here reading this. So, I'll let you go about your business. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is a great holiday. Food, family, fun, football. bye for now, djb
Donna with baby on board - Thanksgiving 1985
Wednesday - November 24, 2004 - Okay, I was wrong. As soon as I finished my journal yesterday, I realized that it's not going to snow on Thanksgiving. It's going to snow TODAY! Yikes!! I put all my outside stuff away. Plus, I got out the snow shovels - just in case! Oh boy. Snow. I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving. Last night, I got an early Christmas present. Bob bought me a ring with Andrew and Jarrett's birthstones in it. Amethyst and garnet - purple and red. It's very beautiful. I took a picture of it but it's kind of hard to take a picture on my right hand with my left hand. So, it's not quite as clear as I'd like it, but you'll get the picture. haha It's quite windy outside today. For some reason, they came to pick up my garbage earlier than usual. When I went out to get the cans, they were blowing all over the place. Of course, the leaves that are still out there can get blown away any time. Last night, I heard this really LOUD noise outside. It sounded like an airplane or something. So I went out and it was the farmer to our south picking his corn at 9 p.m. I guess they have to do it whenever they can. Plus, with the snow coming, I imagine he's going to want to get it done ASAP. Most of the farmers seems to have their corn and beans picked already. There are a few fields still to be picked but not many. Well, I'd better get going. I have things to do, ya know. See ya, djb
Christmas ring with Andrew & Jarrett's birthstones
Tuesday - November 23, 2004 - This morning I heard that we're going to have an inch of snow on Thanksgiving. That's so exciting!! Yesterday, I didn't go to the big grocery store, I went to the Grocery Store instead. I spent a few hours mulch/mowing and then I put down the winter fertilizer. The yard is really looking pitiful. Hopefully, in the spring it will perk up. The leaves are STILL falling off that tree out back. As I was driving around, they would just fall right on my head. Isn't that rude? Yes. Right now, I'm trying to get everything that's outside cleaned up and put away for the winter. Brrr. I can't believe HOW MANY flowers pots I have. Can a person have TOO many flowers?! no. I'd better get going. This is pretty boring. Let me see what picture I can find to put in here today. I want to see Andrew and Jarrett, so I'll find a picture of them guys. See ya around, djb
Andrew on Senior Night at Kaneland High School in 2002
Jarrett on the patio during Grandpa Burkholder's Memorial Birthday party in 2002
Monday - November 22, 2004 - It's so weird that it's November 22nd. Since I'm older than some dirt, I still remember where I was when I heard that JFK got shot. I was in Freshman chorus at RTHS. We could NOT believe it. Then, when I went to Spanish class, we were told that he had died. Whoa. That was heavy duty stuff at that time. It was all so sad. I'll never forget it. That was when the TV cameras were just starting to get more intrusive and we watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot on TV. How bizarre was that?!? hmmm It gives one pause, that's for sure. Grandma's continuing her big Illinois adventure. It's so cold up here compared to Florida, but she's trooping along. Drove down to Bill's house this morning. On Wednesday, they drive over to St. Louis for Thanksgiving festivities. I put my famous DONNA holding TURKEY WITH MICKEY MOUSE HAT on the Casa Page. We love to take a picture of our bird before he gets cooked. Enough reminiscing - I'd better get going here. I have to go to the grocery store and that will definitely NOT be fun. It will be packed with last-minute shoppers. Let me see what I can pop in here. See ya, djb
Julie with the delicious cooked bird from 2003. YUM YUM TASTY!
Sunday - November 21, 2004 - It's hard to believe that it's already the 21st (one month til Winter). Yikes!! The sun is out this morning - finally!! It's been so overcast and rainy for so long that we just figured it'd be like that forever!! It's so much fun to re-write the Christmas newsletters every day. It is cathartic. I get to recall our lives in some detail. Of course, the stuff I LEFT OUT is w-a-y more interesting!! ha ha. The mundane becomes your memory. As you're living it, the experience seems so tedious and boring. But, everything changes in life. Nothing is static. We're growing and learning all the time whether we want to or not. The thing that I found interesting with Andrew and Jarrett was their ability to recall things that I told them many years later. That's why you should always choose your words carefully when you have little kids because they don't forget what you say or what you do. Although it may seem that way, it's in their little memory banks somewhere. I am especially surprised by how fast those little babies we brought home from the hospital turned into little people. Just amazing! Well, with my newsletter today (1994), I recalled my baseball team. So, here are the kids who showed up for the picture with ME. See ya later, djb
Donna Jean and her mean green fighting machine (well yes, black and white, but that doesn't rhyme)
Saturday - November 20, 2004 - I just read in the paper this morning that our winter weather could be influenced by el Nino. This usually means less extreme weather, i.e., not as cold, not as much snow. It sounds good, but I prefer the ground to freeze so that my bulbs will know what to do in the spring. If it doesn't get cold enough then they might start sprouting in January. One year, my first crocus came up on Andrew's birthday. Yikes! Still waiting for the rain to stop and the sun to come out so I can finish mulch/mowing. Plus, I have to put fertilizer on the lawn after the last mowing. That could be in December the way this weather has been. Although, Tommy Skilling is predicting that we'll have a VERY cold Thanksgiving - possible sn*w flurries. oh boy!! Grandma Burkholder came to visit us for a few days before she goes with Bob's brother to their Thanksgiving in St. Louis. It's not really funny, but I saw the weather map for the USA and it's 82 degrees in Florida right now - THAT is my "perfect temperature" ever. But then, Grandma gets to remember WHY she left Illinois in the first place. ha. All righty. It's time for me to get to work. Plus, I ran out of coffee. Enjoy your day. See ya later, djb
Jarrett was 5 and Andrew was 7 in this picture - this was 1993
Friday - November 19, 2004 - Yesterday, I decided to recreate a newsletter from 1987. It covers it fairly well. That was what I did in those days....take care of Andrew. And he was a handful. Non-stop, whirling dervish - from sun-up to sundown. It makes me think of the moms who are home with their youngsters, bored out of their minds with the minutiae of the little-people world, but there is nothing quite as important as raising children properly. Talking to them, reading to them, playing with them. NOT talking on your cell phone for hours on end. When you think about it, our society requires more education for learning to drive a car than for raising a child. That is pitiful. Here's a picture of Andrew with his stack of presents at Christmas 1987. I think it's so funny. He made the stack and then it fell over --which he thought was hilarious. Best be going now. Gotta be putting my skeedaddling shoes on, djb
Andrew with his stack of presents in 1987. You can see his artwork on the right side by the basket.
Thursday - November 18, 2004 - The weather here in Illinois reminds me of winter in Florida some years. It's cloudy, humid and in the 60's. You really can't get a sunburn today. I'm going to put in a picture of my dear friend, Ginny holding her son, Chris. Isn't he cute? I think he was about 2 months old since this was taken in July 1968. Thanks so much for your help, Ginny. We did pick a nice setting for this picture - next to the clematis vine. When I see this picture of Ginny with Chris, it reminds me to tell all the young parents out there in the world to keep a journal when your baby is little. Or even do the Christmas card and newsletter. Sure, it's a pain in the butt to write something but in the years to come, it's worth it. The voice of experience has spoken! Must be going now. See ya later, djb
Wednesday - November 17, 2004 - It's supposed to get to 64 degrees today. That's just unreal. I'm in the midst of getting the garbage out to the street, but I felt like typing another Christmas newsletter. It's fun to revisit the past. It's nice to know that we had fun and enjoyed ourselves. Especially, going to Florida in January. At first we'd fly down, then in later years, we drove down following Grandma and Grandpa Burkholder. We did that for years and years. I'd put a bunch of pillows on the floor in the backseat and then make it level with the seat. Then, on top of that I'd put the big furry bear blanket. Andrew and Jarrett called it their "nest." Of course, they had their blankies and tons of toys, games, book, food, etc. In those days, I loved to drive long distances. Now, it seems like there are 100,000 maniacs out there trying to run everyone else off the road. It's so rude, ya know. Well, I'd best be going. Let me see what I can put in here today. See ya later, djb
We were out in the back yard in the early 90's and this went right over our heads! cool!
TUESDAY - November 16, 2004 - It looks like November outside - grey skies, no leaves, kind of misty. Yikes! You can see why people have to leave this place for somewhere warmer, sunnier, etc. in the fall/winter. I had to type the newsletter for Christmas 1991 this morning. I can't help myself - it just makes me happy to do it. I don't know why. Sort of like re-living the happy times in my life when Andrew and Jarrett were little and alive. Losing teeth, going to preschool. The good old days. Fighting, screaming, kicking - triple yikes!!! Yes, I choose to forget those times. hahaaaa Must be going. I have to go to the store - no excuses today. darn. See ya later, djb
Andrew and Jarrett in a picture I just scanned this morning - don't know the exact year.
Monday - November 15, 2004 - Okay, it's the Ides of November. That's funny. I just typed the Christmas newsletter from 1990. That was our first year living here in this house. I'll be back in a bit. I just want to get this up and running. Oh yeah, I did plant bulbs yesterday - 244 bulbs and three hardy hibiscus. It's so easy to do because the ground is not as hard to dig in the back yard. The front flower garden is like digging in concrete. whoa. bye, djb
This is one of my very, very favorite pictures - Andrew and Jarrett in front of Grandpa's staghorn
Sunday - November 14, 2004 - This morning, I've been trying to track down my Christmas newsletters from years gone by. Today, I re-typed the one from 1989. What a hoot! It's hilarious to read what I wrote 15 years ago. Wow! For some reason, I can't find the one from 1999. That was the year we went to Florida for the Eby-Brown Orlando Christmas party so it's possible that I didn't write one. Possible, but highly irregular. We took Andrew and Jarrett with us and they stayed with Bergs while we were at the party. I was still pretty sickly then, so maybe I rationalized not writing one somehow. The reason I started them was for Bob's fraternity brother, Uncle Dave Silverman (who is Jewish). He always wanted to know how we were doing, so I started writing to him and then I started sending them to other people. It's kind of interesting to me now that they're so precious and so valuable to me. It's truly the little things that really are the most important. Don't forget what Christmas is really about. It's about little baby Jesus being born. Not getting STUFF!!! Although I always say, "Home is where your stuff is." Better go, I have to plant hundreds of red and purple tulips that I forgot about - found them yesterday while cleaning the garage. duh!!! bye for now, djb
RED TULIPS - these were planted in the fall of 2001
Saturday - November 13, 2004 - So far this morning, everything is proceeding normally. Of course, that can change fairly quickly. I'm planning on cleaning the house, parts of the garage and the yard like a maniac today. We're thinking about going to the play at the high school tonight. I have some trepidations about going out there....e.g., we don't know many of the kids, we don't know many of the parents, plus I'm starting to get phobic about GERMS. Oh please, give myself a break! It probably has more to do with my comfort level than anything. This morning, I read something in the paper about research they've done on the brain that proves thinking positively changes the neural pathways. That was pretty interesting. So, I'm going to have to THINK (positively) about THAT. I found these pictures of Andrew and Jarrett with Grandpa Berg at the grade school playground that's behind their house in Florida. Someone was flying a kite. That's what Jarrett's pointing at. It seems as though they're 2 and 4 in this picture but I truly can't remember what year it was. My plan is to get the garage clean so I can paint out there. You know, like paint oil paintings! It's heated so that would work out pretty well. I MUST paint or I'll never get any better. Practice makes perfect - of course, Jarrett's corollary was "no one's perfect, so why practice?" I LOVE THAT!! bye......djb
Andrew, Jarrett, Grandpa Berg looking at someone getting ready to fly a kite
Andrew (the perpetual motion machine) doing something weird with his hands, Jarrett pointing at the kite and Grandpa smiling because whoever was trying to fly the kite actually got it up in the air.
Friday - November 12, 2004 - Some time during the night, the electricity went off. When I turned on the computer, the scanner was NOT working. It took me over an hour to uninstall the software and then reinstall, then uninstall, then reinstall. Finally, it started working but I have no idea WHY?! It's always a puzzle as to why these things happen but suffice it to say that I remain undaunted. Of course, they're scaring me again with the flu shot noise. So, I called the Visiting Nurse's Association and they referred me to Rush Copley. They have a flu shot clinic but basically no details and no guarantee that after you wait in line with a bunch of sickly people (like myself) that you're even going to get a flu shot. When I go to the doctor's office and have to get my blood drawn, we don't even wait in the waiting room because they don't want us exposed to germs/germy people/sickly people/etc. It's so bizarre - speaking of which... Last night, I watched "Saving Private Ryan" for the third time. There are parts of the movie that I can't watch (the fake blood), but I feel it's my duty to watch it and remember what those brave soldiers did for freedom - for OUR freedom. Wasn't it utterly incredible that some of the TV stations didn't run this movie?!! Excuse me, this Oscar-winning, thought-provoking, devastating account of what happened when our young soldiers went to war in World War II. If we don't remember what happened in the past, we're destined to repeat it in the future. Oops, we did it again. Now, we have young American men and women dying in Iraq. But, don't talk about it or show pictures of their flag-draped caskets because that's a bummer, man. The parents who are burying their children have my complete and total sympathy. Many of these servicemen and women are just a bit older than Andrew. How utterly useless. You can't tell me that this war is justified in any way, shape or form because I simply don't believe it. You can tell by reading my journal yesterday (Veteran's Day) that I've had a long, long history of military men in my family. I totally 100% support the troops, but I don't support killing other people. EVER. The thing that bothers me the most, even more than going to war, is that these kids have been mentally scarred for life. I remember hearing the soldiers saying that we have to kill people that we don't even know. We have to act like savages and then we come back to so-called "civilized" society and we're supposed to FORGET what we did. They're coming back from the war with no support system. Did you see Nightline last night? It's terrifying for every vet and their families. 8,000 have been injured. Who is going to take care of them? Not our VA. They sit in their offices and pontificate about how there isn't ENOUGH MONEY, but we'll try to get the 'FAITH-BASED' groups to "help." Excuse me, didn't we just spend BILLIONS AND BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars to FIGHT this freaking war?!? Why not spend a few billions on our own soldiers. I don't understand it. I never will. -djb
When I see this picture from the Civil War (which by the way, wasn't all that CIVIL), it makes me realize that we can't even get along with ourselves! How sad.
Thursday - November 11, 2004 - Today is Veteran's Day. When Jarrett was in fourth grade, his class was given a project to do for Veteran's Day. The kids were to bring in pictures of their relatives who were veterans. I think only 3 kids did the project. Of course, I was appalled by that. We spent a lot of time putting it together and learning about our family members who defended for our country. Here are the pictures that we had. I didn't have a picture of Bob or my brothers, Howard or Ron, but I will list them below. God bless America! -djb
Pvt. Sydney Vesta - World War I
(my Grandma Berg's brother)
Sgt. Gale Berg was in the United States Air Force
(Andrew and Jarrett's Grandpa Berg - my dad)
Lt.J.G. Glen Burkholder was in the U.S. Merchant Marine
(Andrew and Jarrett's Grandpa Burkholder - Bob's dad)
2nd Lt. Howard O'Malley was in the United States Army
(Andrew & Jarrett's Great Uncle - my mother's brother)
C.W.O. George Berg was in the United States Air Force
(Andrew and Jarrett's Great Uncle - my dad's brother)
Capt. David O'Malley was a Chaplain in Korea
(Andrew and Jarrett's first cousin once removed - my first cousin)
THIS IS MY BROTHER, HOWARD'S SPOT.
Memo to Howard: I need your Army picture and your rank. (thank you)
Spec 5 Alan Berg was in the United States Army
(Andrew and Jarrett's Uncle Al, the kiddy's pal - my brother)
(I have to find Bob's Army picture - I think he hid it somewhere)
Spec 5 Bob Burkholder was in the United States Army
(Andrew and Jarrett's dad - my husband)
THIS IS MY BROTHER, RON'S SLOT.
Note to Ron: I need your Air Force picture and your rank. (thank you)
Cpl. Steve Berg was in the United States Marine Corps
(Andrew and Jarrett's Uncle Steve - my brother)
WEDNESDAY - November 10, 2004 - Today I'm going to put in a day from Andrew's baby journal. Gotta run. Hobbes is getting his stitches taken out today. See ya later, djb
Monday (6/16/86) - Andrew woke up at 4:50 a.m. The thunderstorm was rumbling and the lighting was flashing in the distance. The Cubs are 18 games out of first place, but the Bears are still Super Bowl Champs and Andrew wasn't born on Super Bowl Sunday. He really loves to lie in his buggy and watch the trees. Today we sat outside by the tree waiting for Bob to come home for lunch. Andrew finally went to sleep after 2. After he woke up, he had a conversation with himself while looking in his mirror. He's really cute when he does this. Sometimes, he lies on his stomach and raises his head very high and steady and gazes at the other baby in the mirror. I gave him some orange sherbet to taste - he LOVED it!
Andrew looking at his rubber ducky while being reflected in the blue mirror
Tuesday - November 9, 2004 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SUE MIKOWSKI. If you know Sue, give her a call and wish her a happy birthday. She's one of the nicest people that I know. Plus, she funny and pretty darn cute. I won't say how old she is today but she's 5 years younger than I am. When they were younger, the boys spent a lot of time down at the Mikowski house. It usually involved sports activity of some kind. It always involved Andrew teasing Jarrett and then Jarrett would come home mad or sad. Sibling rivalry - Cain vs. Abel. Gotta love it. I got a posting on the guestbook from Annie. Thank you for your very kind words, Annie. I truly appreciate your prayers. I'm pretty sure the boys are sitting on my shoulders watching me work on their website. I don't think I could do this without some help! Plus, don't forget Nick's invaluable assistance! Hi Nick! Well, it's time to do some more organizing - so I'm off and running - okay, walking fast! See ya, djb
Sue Mikowski - the Birthday girl
Monday - November 8, 2004 - Yesterday afternoon, I planted bulbs out in the Andrew and Jarrett Memorial Pond garden. I dug a HUGE hole and just started putting in the tulips and a bunch of other bulbs. Now, I have to plant the daffodils but that should be fairly easy to accomplish. Dig a hole - put em in - cover it up! Not that difficult to do and the rewards are tremendous!! Beautiful flowers in the spring. So, I never did get to my washing the windows project - but I found some rubber gloves that I bought at Jewel for $1.00 - so I'll use those. A long time ago, we heard that using newspapers cleans windows the best so that's what I do. The only problem is that the ink rubs off on a person's hands, thus the gloves! Problem solved. I came across the picture of Jarrett in the cupboard - reminiscent of Andrew in the cupboard except that the flash didn't work. It still doesn't look particularly clear, but it's better than it was. Must be going now. I'm in a cleaning frenzy this morning. See ya later, djb
Andrew and Jarrett in the cupboard (on different occasions) at our house in North Aurora
Sunday - November 7, 2004 - We went to Bryar's birthday party yesterday. It was a lot of fun - LOTS of little munchkins running around. Mostly girls. Isn't that interesting? Took TONS of pictures for the DVD for next year. We're supposed to have a fairly nice day today, so I'm going to try and spend most of it outside planting bulbs and washing windows, etc. Tomorrow, I'm getting the furnace looked at by the Furnace Doctor. On Wednesday, Hobbes get his stitches out. So, it'll be a busy week. haha That's funny. I have a project to do on here which will be fun for me - you'll see what it is when I get it done! They're predicting "SNOW FLURRIES" for later in the week! Yikes! and Double Yikes!! Better go - have to look for my winter boots!!!! See ya later, djb
Jarrett and Andrew in their last picture together - 2003
Saturday - November 6, 2004 - Earlier this week, I found the following account that Doug wrote when Andrew and Jarrett died. It made my cry unstoppable tears. Gee, I wonder why? Apparently some people still don't GET IT. Your life can change in an instant when your child dies. Multiply it times two and the pain is sometimes unbearable. Don't parents understand that you HAVE TO treat your child like they're a gift from GOD - because that's what they are. They sure as hell didn't come from the grocery where you can bring them back for a refund if you don't like them. This is the day, the week, that changed my life forever. I will NEVER be the same. As I always told Andrew and Jarrett, "Be kind to other people." God bless, djb
Doug Nelson is in the back row under the sign that says [Burke] Brothers 4 ever
He's with the BEST friends in the world!
FRIDAY - November 5, 2004 - How annoying, it's 31 degrees here this morning...probably colder than that. Aunt Gladys and I are going over to Creston to Verna Gittleson Horn's funeral this morning at St. John's Lutheran Church. Bob told me that Fred's going to be picking corn today (he lives in Creston!). Fred Hill was in my class in high school and he works for Bob in the computer dept. at Eby. At Grandpa's visitation, we had 6 or 7 members of our class there - a mini-reunion of sorts, eh. We're everywhere!! haha Here's a very old picture of Verna's mom (Celia), my Grandma (SADIE) and the rest of the Vesta family - taken sometime in the early 20th century. Isn't it amazing?! Better go. Have miles to walk before I sleep. bye, djb
Back row: Celia, Lillie, Louie, Sidney, SADIE, Alice
Front row: Elmer, Rebekah, Sam, Anna, Clara
THE VESTAS - a long time ago
THURSDAY - November 4, 2004 - Thought it was time to start a new page. It was nice to see my cousin, Don and his wife Pat write in the guestbook. They live in Wales (if you're geographically-challenged, that's near Great Britain). I really do enjoy the posts. It makes me happy to hear from people. Yesterday, I mulched/mowed from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It was so much fun!! Let me put in a picture and then I have to go. Painting class today! See ya around, djb
Jarrett and Andrew in one of those black and white "artsy" pictures