Barbara Jessing

Barbara Jessing
November 04
Welcome to Radio Free Omaha. Expatriate writer occasionally broadcasts a message to the free world. Late nights mostly.


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MAY 26, 2014 9:09AM


I  arrived in  Nebraska in the month of June,  accustomed to the Mediterranean heat of California,  in the valleys of the coast range –  so all that summer,  I was  wonderstruck  by the furious, pounding summer storms, the thunder and lightning; torrentsRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 9:52PM

Disorientation. Try It.


In May  2013,  I  accompanied my daughter Allison on a transatlantic cruise.   She was working  on behalf of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery,  presenting programs on the  thirteen long days at sea, and I was her lucky sidekick.   It w/Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 8:51PM

There is a Season

In the morning it looks like the rain might wash out our plans for an outdoor festival.  Wine tasting, music on an outdoor stage,  a picnic in the grass.   But by one o’clock,  the clouds have scattered and the game is on;   and by five o’clock, from the/… Read full post »



When I step outside to clear my lungs of smoke and to breathe living air, I can hear the sand hill cranes down along the Platte River. It is an eerie counterpoint to the bright lights and disco beat of the Holiday Inn, a sound rolling and breaking inRead full post »

JANUARY 27, 2013 7:58PM

Awesomely Untranslatable Words




In the course of some recent research  on working cross culturally with interpreters in mental  health services  I came across an article about words  and expressions that can’t be translated precisely into English.       &nRead full post »

JANUARY 27, 2013 7:40PM

Bleak Mind in Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

(Old Christmas Hymn)

Leading up to the Solstice, darkest day of the year,  and the first major storm,  I/… Read full post »

JULY 23, 2012 12:56AM

Bread and Roses. Again.

Tuesday morning, April 24, 2012.  I am  ridiculously  excited.   I am having lunch with Michelle Obama today. Well,  me  along with 2500 other guests.  But still, I wake up thinking “what will I wear”?    For  my  jacket lap/Read full post »

APRIL 15, 2012 3:04PM

One of the Seven Simple Machines

basement door2I let him in through the basement door so he can park his truck nearby.  I’d guess he is in his 50’s, reserved, wearing a dark blue uniform that telegraphs the message  “service professional”.  I remember my grandfather wearing work clothes like this, darRead full post »

In my last two years of high school, when I was away working at a summer camp, I saved the letters I got.  The funny ones that came with care packages from friends; the sweet notes on pansy stationery from my grandmother;  large  penciled primary print letters from my two littleRead full post »

APRIL 15, 2012 2:19PM

Please Do Not Feed the Fears

feed fears 

 How not to panic in these days when a mere troubled thought can wipe out your retirement savings and your civil rights.

Although the risk of an encounter with a fear is low, it is increasing steadily as the 2012  election season approaches.   There are no guarantees/Read full post »

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APRIL 15, 2012 1:58PM


 There aren’t too many foggy mornings in Nebraska,  but occasionally, when the temperature is precisely right,   fog will form along the river,  spreading out in the lowest lying areas on either side, softening the sharp edges that a clear sunrise will raise. These mornRead full post »

NOVEMBER 3, 2010 9:17PM

My 60th Birthday Manifesta


 Manifesto:  A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions especially that of a political party.  Or a birthday party.  PS. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.  That’s mine.  Also, when it’s a girl writing it you can c/Read full post »

OCTOBER 19, 2010 12:01AM

The Watchman

May 2010   

   Walking in the Old Neighborhood  --  Livermore, California

 How far they let us walk, and alone.  We went everywhere,  on foot or by bicycle.  It’s not that a ride wasn’t available.  On rainy mornings we&rsquo/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2010 9:50PM

It's All Memory

“Life goes by so fast that it is all memory”… Tennessee Williams

May 8, 2007 Our daughter rides the subway from her apartment in Brooklyn to the NYU baccalaureate at Madison Square Garden, carrying her mortarboard but wearing the purple gown over her party clothes, ready f/… Read full post »
OCTOBER 18, 2010 9:46PM

Checking the Weather

I’ve gotten in the habit of checking the weather each morning, by internet, in four places – Omaha, where I live now; Washington DC and New York City, where our daughters live; and Alameda, California, my home town. Although I have been gone for a long time, my grandmother remained living… Read full post »
OCTOBER 18, 2010 9:39PM

If We Could Do It Over....

What is the allure of a reunion? What draws us back, on some deep emotional tide, to reconnect with the people we were young with, long ago? I don’t understand it really, but I do feel it. It’s irresistible to wonder “what if?” What if we knew then what we know… Read full post »
OCTOBER 18, 2010 9:28PM

September 11

When we visited New York City this spring, I wanted to see the World Trade Center site. Six years later it is a still a vast crater -- a scar that must surely be visible from the moon -- with few signs of reconstruction, and no memorial beyond the displays… Read full post »
OCTOBER 18, 2010 9:18PM

About "Notice Six Things"

I learned about this idea in something that Ted Kooser wrote. He was the poet laureate of the United States from 2004 to 2006, and he comes from the small town of Garland, Nebraska. He was an insurance agent all his working life -- he's now retired -- but wrote, and… Read full post »
OCTOBER 18, 2010 9:16PM

A Blessing for In Between

...Notice Six Things... About the weekend when the season tips from late summer into fall

One entire ash tree flames from red to gold in a single day. I walk around it with my camera but conclude there is no way to capture what the setting sun looks like… Read full post »

                                                  &… Read full post »