Posts Tagged ‘grandchildren’

It’s a double edged sword you soon find out, helping your granddaughter set up a Facebook page. We’ve both waited for this day and like all things having to do with technology, we aren’t quite sure why. We can’t know what the experience will bring, so I haven’t thought beyond seeing her cute little avatar right there on my page of friends. And there it is this morning. I check to see how her page is going.

In a few hours she has half as many “friends” as I’ve gathered in over a year. The following day that count surpasses me. So I make a comment to her and she answers me. “kk” What the H— oh, I mean heck does that mean? Conversations between her and friends are even more cryptic. So much for my solemn promise to her mother to be a watchdog. I don’t know what the * uh, heck they are saying. I have to confess here that I even looked up one word in Google dictionary. They had never heard of it either. And they are techies, so that made me feel as little less like a nodding lady in a rocking chair.

The other thing I didn’t foresee was my own words on my Facebook page. Suddenly I begin to go over in my mind what I might have uttered that I wouldn’t in my granddaughter’s presence. Do you know how long it takes to scroll back to older and older posts? At one point I said, “Wait a minute! You talk pretty much to your grands as you do anyone else.” In fact, some of my little stories and opinions in their presence have evoked a cringe factor from adults. Not “OMG Get her out of here before she sends them down the road to ruin” cringe, just a momentary catching of the breath. That will probably be the worst that will happen with my new “friends.” At least I hope so.

There is another thing on my side. With her friends count approaching Justin Bieber audience size, I really don’t think I’ll have to worry about her reading my posts. kk?


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When the freeze warnings hit Florida I knew the location of two Monarch chrysalises, which created a dilemma. The last time this situation came up the freeze was shortlived, and most important, I had my husband and granddaughters in the house that night. That was important because, as some of you know, I would be scared silly (yes, silly) with butterflies flitting around in my house. No worry as long as I had someone to take the Monarch out if it hatched overnight. It did. The broken branch was in a vase in my closed office so the cats would not harm it. That morning I opened to door to find him hanging onto the opened chrysalis. I quickly woke H-1 and she grabbed the branch and ran it outside to finish drying and fly away. We did not know where it was in this process. It was not far from flight as it turned out.

So back to the present. Not only did I not have aid, the freeze was to last almost two weeks. Releasing a fresh hatchling into that kind of temperature would probably have been sure death anyway. That fact salved my conscience as I covered the plants and reconciled the butterflies’ plight with nature.

Over the course of a week, I peeked at the one bright green womb with the brilliant gold crown. It had darkened and continued to darken long past it’s due date. Nature had taken care of the situation. Or so I thought. . .

This morning I spot a bright flutter in the driveway. It couldn’t be. It was. The Monarch was still wet from birth and the rain that had just stopped, but was trying to dry out. He looked fully formed and perfect. I was shocked. The sun was shining and wind blowing strong, so he would do just fine.

And now to check the freeze browned plant for signs of life in the leaves. There were a few green ones left at the bottom, but the real sign of life was another chrysalis, darkened and ready to soon release another butterfly. This is long past their normal gestation. I can only surmise that nature held onto the little creatures until the weather was hospitable. Now the challenge is for them to find a proper plant to live on. That is going to be a challenge for sure, but they have gotten this far so I have to think they’ll make it.

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Spaceship Earth - EPCOT

I am often asked, “Don’t you get burned out on Disney World living so close?” Never! I feel privileged. Monday was even more special. My granddaughter got in free because it was her birthday and was pinned with a badge marking the event. All through the park, people would say, “Happy Birthday, H.” At first she said it felt funny to be at Disney where she had been so many times on her birthday, but I think by the time the day was over, I think she felt very differently.

Bathroom tile in Animal Kingdom

Bathroom tile in Animal Kingdom

We covered three parks in twelve hours. The only casualty was my feet. Blisters rubbed on the balls of both feet in sandals. I’ll never again laugh at tourists with socks and sandals. I think they are on to something.

My girls and their mother are dare devils. Space Mountain was closed for repairs (what a shame), but we went on Test Ride and later Thunder Mountain in the dark, a different experience. My only disappointment was not seeing Meerkats at Animal Kingdom. I was told they were underground during the day in the heat. What about the Kalahari? I think it gets hot there. Maybe they don’t have to forage for food here and have turned soft. But we saw gorillas and lions and tigers, oh my. Also lots of giraffes and hippos. The shade at that park is amazing on a hot day.

There is another level of excitement surrounding the park adventure. Last visit in July the monorails were out of service because of a fatal accident the night before on one. Just last week all buses were taken out of service when a bomb-like device was discovered under one bus. Yeserday we had to apply hand sanitizer repeatedly because of the Swine Flu threat. But other than that, it was a day at the park, and a very special one at that.

Son & Granddaughters

Son & Granddaughters

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You know what they say happens when you are over the hill? You pick up speed, of course. Darned if it isn’t true and I think I may know why, at least in my case. Older people tend to cast off things that are no longer useful (my mother almost stripped her house) and eliminate activities and associations that no longer give them pleasure. Perhaps the feeling is that life’s fuse is burning shorter and we don’t have a minute to squander on non-rewarding things. I’ll leave that to psychologists. I just held a microscope over my own changes and found them interesting. Here are some of the things I now do.

  • Choose microwave over crock pot (all that planning, you know)
  • No longer compare purchases strolling store to store, but on Internet
  • Encourage e-mails instead of time wasting phone calls (anti-social, I know)
  • During commercials, play show recorded earlier on TV and get two in very little more time
  • Skim newspaper articles instead of reading every little thing. I’ve seen most on Internet anyway.
  • Crave news instantly from Twitter, treating “refresh” like a one-armed bandit in the casino when things are really breaking.
  • Revel in flash fiction and haiku (reading and creating)
  • Love challenge of squeezing my thoughts into 140 characters on Twitter, making every word count.

For what do I squirrel away all this time, you might be thinking. Family, friends, good books (or slutty books, if I like), working on my house and first garden, exercising, keeping an eye on government, doing photography, matching wits with my cats, any darn thing I enjoy – and nothing I don’t.

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Ashlyn-CheerleaderSomeone asked if this was posed. Not at all. My great-grand-neice had been talking with the cheerleaders and next thing her mother knew she struck their pose quite nonchalantly. I could not resist posting. They just get cuter every generation.

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P1060021My grandsons and I rode over to the Mayfair Country Club last week to see something very special. The golfing group my husband played with for years decided even before Jerry’s memorial service to dedicate a tournament in his memory. P1060013The plaques and trophies have arrived and the first winners have been engraved. They are both friends Jerry would be happy to see as winners.

P1060007 Our family is overwhelmed with the love in this gesture from the guys Jerry enjoyed so much every Tuesday and Thursday. He played with them up until the day before he was hospitalized. I will remind them what he has said to them many times, “It’s just a game, guys. We’re here to have fun!” And he did have fun.P1060009

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Fried Italian eggplant from my garden with no pesticides, no refrigeration, no shelf time went right on my plate last night.  It was the first fruit of my minimal labor. All I did was plant a few veggies among the flowers and water. I have never had such lucious eggplant in my life. There was no bitter taste, just fresh, fresh, fresh and perfect. Next year I will definitely buy more of these.

P1050922A second eggplant is ripening  and that one is special. It is for myeight-year-old  granddaughter Hannah, a PKU kid. Kids with PKU can eat few of the things the rest of us do, and get most of their nutrition from a formula. One particular amino acid, phenylalanine,  is responsible for the restrictions.  So all proteins are avoided. Hannah can eat eggplant and it is her favorite veggie, so this next one is for her. She likes to make her own recipe of eggplant parmesan.  I know it will be her best one yet.

I never imagined myself giving grandchildren gifts from my garden as my father did, but here I am, and it’s pretty darn wonderful. Especially for a reward like Hannah’s smile (below).P1050851


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My eleven-year-old granddaughter calls to tell me to check my e-mail. She has written a poem and sent it to me. The poem came to her in the night when the computer was off and she had no paper. She grabbed her cell phone and texted the poem to save it. Oh my, the evidence is unmistakable; my granddaughter is a writer.

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The way to my heart is through my garden. For Mother’s Day my daughter gave me this unreal pot of calla lillies to enjoy and later plant in the garden. Please don’t anyone tell the squirrels where the bulbs are. I want to see these again and again.

From my daughter, unreal calla lillies to be planted in my garden.

And from one son the mama birds and I got an amazing bird bath, one I have dreamed about for years. From the other son, there is something to scent the garden, Confederate jasmine. P1050536You must move in closer and see the frog band playing instruments around the rim. P1050544

In the searing heat, my son-in-law dug up two anoying stumps that marred the yard for years and moved my rain barrel to the spot on the side where it belongs. 

It’s good to be queen for a day. Thank you, kids and kids-in-law and grands for your phone calls. I won’t forget this one.









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endeavour… the random talk of people who have no chance of immortality and thus can speak their minds out has a setting, often, of lights, streets, houses, human beings, beautiful or grotesque, which will weave itself into the moment for ever.

Virginia Woolf


T minus 10, 9, 8, 7—   I grabbed my camera and bolted out the front door to the middle of the street, dark except for a dim street light and murky full moon. I felt my neighbor Chris’ tap on the shoulder before I saw or heard her. How many shuttle launches had we watched together? Usually Bonnie from across the street was with us, but not tonight. The car at the intersection came our way and we dared it to make us move and miss what would soon be appearing in the east at the end of our street. The car pulled over and stopped. Bonnie popped out, not bothering to close her door.


“Our pastor just died,” Bonnie said. The diffused light of the street lamp revealed her smeared makeup.

Then our eyes fixed on the familiar glow on the horizon. It expanded like a sunrise and became brighter and brighter until it formed a bullet shape with a reddish golden hue, the most brilliant we had seen in all our years of shuttle watching.



“This is the first launch Jerry has missed in over thirty years here. He’s in the hospital and I’m filming it for him,” I said.

Greetings from Bonnie and Chris went on the video.


The moon, diffused by clouds, seemed to know its place as Endeavour cleared a sharp, brilliant path through the sky. Then the spacecraft appeared to hesitate as a bright, white light burst against the dark background. The booster had jettisoned.


“I woke in the middle of the night recently and knew my father had pneumonia and called my mom in the morning. She took him to the hospital, though she didn’t think he was sick. He had pneumonia,” Bonnie said.


The shuttle was a small, but still bright spot in the sky, like a shooting star. Our eyes never left it.


“My son and his family moved out last week,” Chris said. “It’s nice and quiet, but I miss my grandson. He visited today and barreled toward my knees to give them a bear hug.”


A tiny spec still streaked across the sky as our front doors closed behind us. That this launch had been visible much longer than others was fitting. Three women on a dark street had important pieces of their lives to send into the night sky.

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