Inside my very own magical snow globe

The snow falls, each flake in its appropriate place. ~ Zen proverb ~

That’s what it feels like. A beautifully bewitching soundless shelter, muffled voices and cars and barking dogs. Silence. It’s like living in my very own Chanel snow globe. (Of course, the reality might be that my 102 degree fever from the flu is making me a bit crazy. On that subject, I used to have this very special blanket that would make me feel 100% better when I was sick and I really miss it. Sad.)

But here I am in the snow. SNOW!!!!

The Japanese have a word for the sound of snow falling.

It’s shinshin (say sheensheen). The word “shin” means silence or, more accurately, the absence of sound where there was sound before.

So “shinshin” is more of a feeling than anything else, a protective blanket of silence. The enchanting sound of silence.

Physicists say humans cannot hear falling snow; the pitch is too high. Wolves and bats can, which may be why right before a snowfall they seem to disappear into shelter. 

And then more and more and more snow, covering cars and houses and the streets and trees. So clean and fresh, like white sparkly frosting on everything.

It’s been years and years since I woke up to the magic of a snow-covered world.

I stepped out into the pure and awesome whiteness of it, snowflakes settling gently on my face and hair, and I recall the wondrous and extraordinary exquisiteness of being alive. It made me want to twirl around and around with outstretched arms, at one with the cosmos. (I did.)

Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness
MARY OLIVER, “Snowy Night”, What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems

I took video of the gigantic snowflakes but my free WP account doesn’t allow vid uploads, so I hope these pics capture the glory.

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PS If anyone wants to gift me that Chanel snowglobe, it really exists. Google it.)

 

More chat with my brilliant human…”You love coyote poo, don’t you, Grandma?”

“You love coyote poo, don’t you, Grandma?”

Those words warm every part of my heart.

“Yes, I do, Angel Boy! I love it so much when I see coyote poo on a hiking trail. It makes me very happy. Sometimes animal poo is called scat [spelling it for him], S-C-A-T.”

“I love coyotes too, Grandma. I’m just like you.”

“You love love planting in the garden, don’t you, Grandma?”

“I do very much, you’re right!”

“I love to garden too, I help Daddy in our garden at home.”

“I know you do, buddy. You’re a big helper.”

“You love your bunny slippers, don’t you, Grandma?”

“Yes, they are my 100% favorites.”

“I love them, too, Grandma. See, I’m wearing your bunnies! My feet are as big as yours.”

“We are a lot alike, aren’t we? We like many of the same things and that is so cool.”

“Do you love Spiderman, Grandma?”

“Well, I can say that I LIKE him, but I don’t really love him.”

Jumping up and down while showing me his new Spiderman…”I do, I do, I do. I love love love Spiderman.”

“Sometimes we can like different things and that’s OK, too, because you are your own person and so am I, right, T-man?”

“I can’t wait to see you, Grandma.”

“See, now we’re exactly the same. I can’t wait to see you, too!”

“Can I push the red button now, Daddy?”

And then, just like that, he’s gone.

Our light, bright vision of magic.

Celebrate the life and death of a gentle mourning dove

What does it mean to see a dove?

“The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose.” (http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/602-dove-symbolism)

Walking up the steps to the third level in my garden, I came upon this sad sight, a pile of dove feathers. It was obviously the work of one of our resident hawks.

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As I mourned the loss of the mourning dove and pondered on the circle of life, I thought I should gather the feathers and create something to honor this little bird’s life.

It’s been quite a while since I felt crafty, but I found my beads and shells along with a perfectly delicate piece of latticed wood that I had brought back home from my last camping trip. I plugged in my trusty glue gun and got to work.

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Almost finished. Now I need to figure out how to hang it up. Delicate and sweet, just like the sad, plaintive song of the dove.

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The completed project.  I LOVE the way the feathers create their own shadow on the wall.

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Sleep softly in the breeze, little one.

 

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Birds of North America online

“All roads lead home”

Not necessarily true in all scenarios, but it’s a lovely thought–especially when it’s a text from the original Angel Boy.

Here’s the backstory:

I didn’t want to go the gym ‘cos it seems like everyone is sniffing, sneezing, or coughing, and I don’t want to get sick.

It was a beautiful sunny SoCal morning,  so I thought it’d be fun to try out my new hiking boots, spend a few hours out in nature and soak up the new growth sage-y fragrance blooming after our recent rains.

It is a fact that I have hiked this hill at least a hundred times. It is also a fact that when I go solo, I get lost 100% of the time. I don’t know why or how it happens, but I start out with a solid plan and by the time a couple hours has passed, I’m all turned around and can’t figure out where I am, how I got there, or how to get out.

One time I was lost until dark. I wouldn’t call for help and stubbornly walked until civilization emerged. However, I was fully prepared to sleep with my coyote family if necessary.

I don’t panic anymore. In my head, I say, “Well, Princess, it looks like we’re lost again. Let’s just enjoy the journey.” And then I laugh crazily to myself.

True to form, I got lost. Knowing that my DIL added me to the tracking GPS on her phone, she could be counted on for support if I was in real danger.

I texted my son, “Guess what, I’m lost again.”

He texts back, “All roads lead to home.”

Which wasn’t really helpful in my current dilemma, but it was awfully prosaic of him. (And snarky.)

After a couple of hours wandering around in an aimless pattern, I spotted two young boys riding their bikes. I asked them if they could point me in the right direction to get back where I started. They very kindly did (super nice that they didn’t start laughing at me) and I proceeded to follow their accurate directions.

Love my new hiking shoes, loved the hike, but glad to be back at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Apparently, all of MY roads DO lead home. My Angel Boy is a genius.

Who can guess where I was? It’s embarrassing to admit how often I’m clueless up here.

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I can see snow! It was hazy today but that’s definitely snow.

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Bright red toyon berries.

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Coyote scat and my awesome new hikers!

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Power plant off in the distance.IMG_8593

New cairns have arisen.

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I bet a lot of locals know where this is. Do YOU?

 

 

 

What’s YOUR mantra for 2020?

I don’t usually share things from others but this was too good to keep to myself!

Happy New Year, Happy 2020, and Happy New Decade!

Here’s mine: I am curious, passionate, and worthy. 

What’s your mantra?

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From Sacred Soul Healing’s Facebook page
@sacredsoulpage

Call to action for Luna, a coyote

What has happened to Luna is nothing short of intolerable cruelty. 

Personally, I am absolutely heartbroken and disgusted. There is no justification for her suffering.

One of the valuable tools of being a blogger with a following of about 5,000 inclusive of all platforms-is the ability to ask for help, to send a message, to build awareness. 

This is an urgent call to action.

Please read this post, visit the links to learn more, make the calls, and do something good before the end of the year.

Friends , this is very important to me personally as well as to our wolf and coyote communities. PLEASE HELP.

Please try to help this tortured soul Luna get back to her safe haven of 13 years with Tomi Tranchita  in Illinois.

This is an emergency.

The State of Illinois is trying to get a judge to dismiss her case NEXT WEEK

We need you all to make calls immediately asking that the  Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton‘s office steps in and stops this nonsense that continues to hurt Luna.

Please comment and make calls to her office as well — Be prepared to leave an informing message asking her office to step in as we rightfully expect this judge to order the state DNR attorneys to STOP BULLYING Tomi and to mediate and settle this matter — NOT DISMISS IT.

Phone: (217) 558-3085

Fax: (217) 558-3094

Phone: (312) 814-5240

Fax: (312) 814-5228​

Fax and/or calls better than emails right now. 

Luna should be allowed to return to Tomi’s Federal and State licensed facility without fear of another illegal raid.

Bring Luna the Coyote Home
https://www.facebook.com/bringlunathecoyotehome/

Tomi Tranchita
https://www.facebook.com/tomi.tranchita

Donate:
https://www.facebook.com/donate/2687929711226109/10156970303414353/

History:
At dawn on April 24, 2019, Tomi Tranchita’s Wildlife Education facility and her home were invaded by armed officers brandishing assault rifles and beating on her doors. These Illinois State agents seized Ms. Tranchita’s four coyotes, needlessly shooting them with tranquilizer guns, and dragged the animals by their throats with pole chokeholds, leading to the death of all but one of her perfectly healthy animals. The brutal handling of the animals was in violation of federal regulations governed by the AWA. In actual fact, the raid itself was done on a fraudulently obtained warrant, violating Tranchita’s property rights and her 14th amendment right to due process.

This raid wrongfully shut down Tranchita’s long-established, licensed Wildlife Education Program. Therefore, we ask the State to affirm that Ms. Tranchita has satisfied all state requirements to resume her Education Program and that her surviving ambassador coyote may be returned to her facility.

The excessive use of force and intimidation was orchestrated by one “peace” officer (“Officer M”) employed by the IDNR State Fish and Game Agency (IDNR). Having recently moved into her neighborhood and hearing a coyote howl, Officer M was determined to seize Tranchita’s animals. He investigated her program and found that she had inadvertently forgotten to renew a $25 state permit.

However, in applying for a seizure warrant based on that technicality alone, he neglected to inform the magistrate that Tranchita’s facility has been federally licensed the entire 13 years of its operation.

Fraudulent warrant in hand, Officer M led the violent raid showing no regard for the animals’ well-being. Beautiful, healthy coyotes, all crate-trained, were dragged by their throats, choking and bleeding. When Ms. Tranchita offered to crate the animals for their own safety, Officer M would not allow it, saying he was in a hurry because he was going on vacation. 

The traumatic, brutal handling in this seizure of her four long-established educational coyotes is portrayed on several videos like this one. These animals had never before experienced violence in their lifetimes. 

The brutality continues to outrage more than 40,000 citizens. The stress perpetrated on Ms. Tranchita’s animals resulted in three dying, still with no confirmed explanation. Luna, the last survivor, has been moved three times and was in state custody for five months — all on the taxpayers’ dime

Officer M also lied to Ms. Tranchita, saying her coyotes would be taken to huge one-acre enclosures. In fact, Ms. Tranchita’s facility is significantly larger than the small enclosures they were moved to. Before he left her property, Officer M told Ms. Tranchita he knew she was upset, and he suggested she call a mental health hotline. 

The IDNR denied Tranchita’s court-ordered visitation for weeks.

The agency still refuses to return any of Ms. Tranchita’s personal property, licenses, and documents Officer M took from her. 

Officer M attempted to instigate neighborhood concerns but failed. By his own admission, no other neighbors had any problem with the coyotes in the 13 years Tranchita operated her facility. Every neighbor, every facility visitor, and every annual federal inspection report for 13 years stated Tranchita took excellent care of the animals; they had no concerns about her facility, or her educational program, which has also had a flawless safety record.   

Indeed, the IDNR has known all along of Tranchita’s facility and her coyotes. They had been to her facility. They had themselves licensed the facility for years. They also knew of her USDA-issued federal license and that she’d held it for 13 years.

Even though this officer is under investigation by the Inspector General’s office for his failure to uphold due process procedures before instigating this raid, as well as his unprofessional and derogatory comments and brash behavior, IDNR proceeded to file charges against Ms. Tranchita instead of firing this rogue officer and apologizing for the damages his actions caused. 

Months of court hearings followed the seizure, beginning in traffic court. The judges there had no wildlife law experience. Therefore, they deferred to what the IDNR’s attorneys claimed the obtusely complex rules meant. 

So what did the IDNR ultimately conclude Ms. Tranchita was guilty of? 

The only violation they could charge her with was the lapsed $25 “furbearer” permit — a document you can simply acquire online from the IDNR agency’s website. Conversely, the USDA-APHIS license requires annual onsite inspections of the facility and the animals, as well as acquiring the same from the veterinarian of record. These requirements, and their costs, are mandated of all licensees annually. A renewal packet is sent to every federal licensee each year prior to their renewal date, while the state IDNR offers no such oversight, not even a renewal reminder.     

Is it unreasonable for a citizen to presume that she is not violating any laws when, for 13 years, her federal government renews its approval to continue operating? Further, is it unreasonable to expect that our federal and state agencies, which both regulate these activities, would communicate with each other?

Clearly, Ms. Tranchita’s missed permit payment was inadvertent; she was not trying to get away without paying a $25 fee (and immediately acquired the permit). Consider the expense and investment: She invested tens of thousands of dollars in her 13-year Wildlife Education Program and facility; and since incorporating the non-releasable coyotes as ambassadors into her program, she has paid all costs and requirements of annual inspections by both state and federal veterinarians and officials. Due to her investment and her dedication, her renewal has always been approved, and she has remained licensed under a USDA-APHIS Federal Class C Exhibitors educational use permit. There has not been a single infraction or complaint in 13 years. The facility exceeds recommended requirements for caging, public safety, and federal AWA animal care standards. And it certainly exceeds the IDNR’s standards.  

This disturbing, unwarranted, and completely unnecessary action was an egregious civil rights violation by the Illinois wildlife agency. The State is blatantly exhibiting a double standard. The IDNR makes many allowances for various captive wildlife purposes and pursuits, and Tranchita’s interests are not unique among them. Selective enforcement is unacceptable.

Wildlife values

Americans’ wildlife values have been shifting for decades. How long must we be forced to wait for our state wildlife agencies to govern accordingly? These agencies do not own our wildlife, we do. They work for us — for all wildlife and for all people EQUALLY. 

All non-releasable wildlife is required by the State to be euthanized. One of the very few exceptions is the rare availability of a licensed sanctuary or education program willing to accept such animals. Rare, because it is a tremendous undertaking requiring extensive knowledge, expenses and personal sacrifice to meet these animals’ needs for the duration of their lives. 

Tranchita took pride in these animals and found it rewarding to educate the public about coyote biology and behavior, their value to our ecosystem, and methods and solutions for coexisting with them to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

These animals were not house pets. The four non-releasable coyotes were safely held in large enclosures spanning her property. Tranchita’s program is clear about its position on the risks and challenges of responsible, qualified possession. Contrary to the State’s attempt to now repudiate Ms. Tranchita’s program despite its acknowledged approval, her program’s tutelage has fully supported the State’s opposition to keeping coyotes as “pets”. Education program animals are always given names and provided personalized care and attention. That does not define nor classify them as that of a house pet, and it is not a crime. Belittling the value of 13 years invested into such an animal is malicious manipulation of public opinion and of decision-makers unfamiliar with this professional pursuit. 

It is heavy-handed incidents like this — when citizens are denied their right to due process — that solidifies the public’s distrust of government authority and law enforcement. This display of authoritarian government was and is not acceptable.

We ask that Governor Pritzker advise his appointed IDNR Advisory Board to direct the IDNR agency to review its prejudice in this matter and immediately seek an amicable settlement agreement with Tomi Tranchita. Specifically, we ask that IDNR affirm that Ms. Tranchita has satisfied their requirements and may resume her Wildlife Education Program. Finally, we ask that in so doing, the State will allow Ms. Tranchita to immediately reacquire possession of her last surviving ambassador coyote. 

 

 

Brilliant nonstop chat and research with the most interesting human on planet Earth

Every day starts at around 5:45 a.m. It’s nonstop talking unless he’s eating or sleeping.

“Grandma?” Which really sounds more like “Grand-maw” if you’re sounding it out.

“I’m hungry. Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the big stool and watch you make my breakfast.”

Grandma? Why is it still dark out? Why do you love seashells so much? Can I have this rock? Why do you cut up my apple like that? Why do you make me oatmeal? Why is the stove hot? I burned myself one time and Mommy put ice on it. Why do you put cinnamon in it? I wish I was in a rocket ship and could fly off to space.I didn’t wet my bed last night. I’m wearing my Batman undies. Look, Grandma, look at me. Why do you love me so much? I’m your first little boy, Daddy is your second little boy. Right, Grandma? Right? Grandma, are you making coffee now? Why do you do that? That’s the same kind of coffee you get at MY house. We have a Trader Joe’s there, too. Is this safe, Grandma? (As he jumps from the chair to the sofa, and back.)

“Be ever so careful, my favorite boy!”

Silence as he’s eating his breakfast. But not for long…

“I’m really smart, ammnt I, Grandma?”

“Grandma?”

“Yes, T?”
“Is that a TV screen? I only get to watch it for special. When do you watch it, Grandma? Why are you so small, Grandma? Daddy’s big and you’re small. You’re my little Grandma. I’m going to be bigger than my Daddy soon. Like when I’m six or twelve. I will, I really will. I’m not kidding. For reals. My Dad is SO strong, right, Grandma? Why did your little boy grow up, Grandma?

That one got me.
“Hmmm”, I said.
“I think about that too, T. Sometimes I wish Daddy was still a little boy and then I think that he grew up so he could have a little boy like you and make me so happy. What do you think?”

“I think….I think that I want a breakfast burrito now. I’m still hungry.”

Yup, he’s his Daddy’s little boy, that’s for sure. No doubt about it.

The questions have been coming fast and furious as soon as he turned three.

It started with ” where do sloths live?” and I said, “Let’s go to the library tomorrow and do some research.”

The next day we went to the library and checked out a few book about sloths.

After that it was “let’s do research” about everything that had been cooking in his brilliant little mind.

“I love the solar system, my favorite planet is Neptune, I love Neptune because it has rings. We live on planet Earth. I want to know about astronauts.”

Another trip to the library; more books. When he learned that astronauts wear diapers in space, he had to repeat that fact at least a hundred times.

“What happened to dinosaurs?” “Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why are they only in museums? Why are they just skeletons now?”

“What’s lightening?”
“How does electricity work?”
“How does a volcano erupt?”
“How do bees make honey?”

That question couldn’t be answered very easily with a book, so we did something really special: computer research. We found a video that explained it in a way a toddler could understand. I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly how bees made honey and what we learned made me appreciate the importance of bees even more than I did before. For example, did you know that forager bees have two stomachs, one just to capture the pollen that will eventually turn into honey? Or that some of the jobs that other bees in the colony have is to vomit the contents of their stomach into a succession of about twenty other bees’ stomachs so that certain chemical changes can take place? Or that all the bees work together to flap their wings and evaporate the liquid when first placed in the comb and that when the liquid becomes thickened—well, that’s the end product—honey. In order to produce just one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. I’m THIS MANY YEARS old and never knew all of that. It took a brilliant 3.5 year old child to teach me!

Finally, my very observant little grandson said this…
“Why don’t you eat meat, Grandma?”
When I gave him a simple answer about how I love animals and don’t like to eat them, he said he didn’t like to eat animals either. His mom told me that later that afternoon, he asked her why Grandma doesn’t like to eat animals.

I’m so grateful to be able to generate a thought process like that. We are in desperate need of his generation to make the world a better place. Kinder, more compassionate. More empathy for all living creatures with whom we co-exist on this planet and learn to become better stewards of our oceans and the air we all breathe.

He’s so adorably exuberantly awkward in his joie de vivre. But me? I’m beyond exhausted with so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Inside camping nap because it’s so rainy today.

What does Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and depression have in common?

I was going to dip my toe into the world of writing from my gut, shining a light into my tortured personal journey as I stumble through the dark–I was GOING TO DO THAT.

But instead of spiraling down into that sad place, I grabbed my keys and drove into the village, deciding what I really needed was some therapy; retail therapy. Always the joker, the self deprecator; that’s me!

After a very rainy day yesterday, today was warm and fresh and shiny.

As soon as I walked into one of my favorite consignment shops, I spied a box of scarves and hats thrown haphazardly on each other like a pile of puppies. My eyes were drawn to a familiar brown and tan monogram on a scarf. I thought to myself, “it can’t possibly be authentic, but let’s take a closer look.” I picked it up. Hmmm, it sort of felt like silk. I checked the price tag. $12.00. TWELVE DOLLARS? It can’t be a real Louis Vuitton. Or could it?

I asked the salesperson, “Has this been authenticated?” She told me the owner didn’t think it was real so it wasn’t priced as a genuine designer. YES I WILL HAVE THIS, I told myself. Just then, my bad mood cleared up. I was firing on all cylinders.

One of my hidden talents is the ability to sniff out authenticity. Too bad that talent doesn’t extend to people, but that’s another story.

When I got home, I examined it more closely. The monogram was accurate, it was beautifully sewn, and I found a hidden tag that confirmed my suspicions- 100% soie Made in France. Yup, deffo genuine LV. SCORE!!!!!!

I also tried on an amazing St. John’s knit dress that I really really wanted, but even at resale prices, it was a bit too expensive, so I reluctantly put it back.

As I was meandering through the aisles, I spied a wall display. Draped over the shoulder of a red sweater was an oversized black and white houndstooth scarf. My eagle eye spied the logo in the corner: DIOR. Hold on, girl. Acting like it’s not a big deal so that no one else would want it…I grabbed it off the hanger–the original sales tag was still attached. It was 100% cashmere Christian Dior!!! And it was $20.00. TWENTY DOLLARS! How could I say no? This beautiful shawl-like wrap needed to be rescued. By me.

Instead of continuing to dwell on the things that weigh down my heart, these little treasures helped to cheer me up–perhaps merely a superficial bandage, but sometimes that’s all it takes to shake me out of a despondent mood. At least for a little while. Until next time.

The last time…(More heartstopping chat with a mini-human)

I haven’t written in a while because it took me such a long time to recover from a whirlwind visit with my Angel Boy 2.0 as well as being presented to the Court of ANGEL GIRL 2.0, Baby Charlotte, named in honor of my mom.

The very definition of “hell on wheels.”

Below you’ll find a a fairly accurate transcript of my final day…If this was paper and not a computer screen, it’d be blurry with tear-stained ink. My tears. Heart wrenching love.

6:00 a.m. I hear swift and stompy footsteps running downstairs and soon my bedroom door opens, “Wake up, little Grandma!”

He climbs under the covers and snuggles close.

“How did you sleep, my little Theo?”

I’m not little Theo, you’re little Grandma.”

OK, how did you sleep, medium Theo?

“Goooood.”

“Did you have any dreams?

I can’t even begin to tell you the details of the storyline of the dream he recounted, because the twists and turns of his brilliant little mind involved Saturn (his fave planet), a dragon, a dinosaur, a spooky ghost, rocket ships to space, and a boat in the sky.

“What do you want for breakfast, T?”

“Last oatmeal, Grandma.”

“WHAT? What did you say?”

“This is the last time you’ll make oatmeal for me”, he said with a sad sad voice.

“Oh T, break my heart why don’t you?”

“It’s not the last time I’ll make oatmeal for you; there will alwaysalwaysalways be a next time. This is the last time for NOW. OK?

Then he was on a roll…all day long…

“Last cuddle, Grandma.”

“Last playing with Magna Tiles.”

“Last breakfast burrito.”

Calling out to dad who was still asleep upstairs, “DAD, COME DOWN FOR LAST BREAKFAST BURRITOS!”

“Last walk in the neighborhood.”

“Last bicycle ride to the school playground.”

“Last time you’ll get me dressed in the morning.”

“Last time you’ll read me a book.”

“UNTIL NEXT TIME, Theo! Not the last time forever, my angel!”

“Last time you’ll tel me to wash my hands after going to the bathroom”.

One of our running jokes is to look up as a jet flies overhead and say, “You missed your flight, Grandma! You’ll have to stay longer!”

Or I’ll look up and say, “Oh my goodness, T-man, we didn’t get to the airport in time, there goes my airplane, now what will we do??”

On our way to the airport for real, we sing songs and play funny word games.

“Grandma, I’m coming to your house for 59 days. I’m flying home with you. Not in the same plane, but the one that goes after.”

“Fifty-nine days? That’s a good long visit for sure.”

“Oh no, Grandma, we’re here. Last time to say goodbye”, he says in a that same small sad voice.

We hug and kiss goodbye, “Until next time, not forever, OK?”

“OK, Grandma. I love you.”

“I love you SO much, my angel.”