Random Chat with a Princess: Secret Revealed

Those two little humans I’m honored to spend time with love nothing more than to perch themselves on the bar stools, four elbows on the countertop in order to scrutinize and narrate my every move in the kitchen like a TV chef.

From chopping onions to slicing red peppers for an afternoon snack, to helping roll out pizza dough, I’m the star of the show.

“We have that same kind of hummus, Grandma.”
“Grandma, my almond butter at my house looks like yours!”
“I go to Trader Joes with Daddy. He lets me get snack bars. I like strawberry.”
“Did you get your almond butter from Trader Joes, Grandma?”

“I have a Traders too, Angel Girl, and a lot of the food I get at my store is the same food you get at your store. The next time I go there, come with me and we can compare all the labels and the similar types of food. Won’t that be fun?”

There was a unanimous request for breakfast burritos, so I placed all the ingredients on the counter and started preparing them like a short order cook.

When I opened the plastic bag of tortillas, I saw that SOME of them had a TINY–literally microscopic– bit of mold on them. (Ooops.)

That did NOT escape the eagle eyed surveillance of a curly haired little girl. She doesn’t miss a THING.

“Grandma, we have tortillas at our house too, but ours don’t have little green spots on them.”

“Why do your tortillas have little green spots on them, Grandma?”

She was seriously conjuring up a memory of the tortillas at her house and comparing them to these with admittedly very TINY moldy spots on them. As a reminder, this child is two and a half years old and speaks in complete sentences like her kindergarten brother.

I couldn’t stop laughing to myself because I have a slight problem I’ve tried to hide from everyone. It’s this: once in a great while, I confess that I’ve been known to camouflage or cut out mold on bread or tortillas and this brilliant and observant child just outed me to the world.

I poked through the layers of tortillas and found a couple that did NOT have telltale little green spots on them and finished their second breakfast of the day.

(Don’t worry, I don’t make a practice of serving moldy food!)

Later….

“Grammy, why are there so many seashells in your house?”

“Well, you know how much I love seashells and rocks, don’t you? I save them every time we go to the beach at your house and I bring them home.”

In the upstairs bathroom as I ran the water for a bath, T (the math lover) counted all the seashells, forgot where he stopped, and had to restart the count about four times.

“Grandma, there are thirty two seashells just right here.”

“That’s a nice even number”, I said, as we toss all the toys in the bath.

“But they’re everywhere!”

“Well, my friend, I guess you’ll have a lot of counting to do, right? But now it’s bath time, so in you go and then it’ll be time for Char’s bath.”

“Out of the mouths of babes” is so accurate. You gotta be on the top of your game 24/7 with those two bright humans.

Taking Flight

After my detour yesterday into the real world of misandry, defamation, domestic abuse, and the legal system, I’m back with my normally benign, unremarkable, and less incendiary topics.

Once again cleaning out the photos on my phone to make room for new memories, I came upon a series of cool pics depicting a flight home from a visit to the kids.

I had a window seat on a smaller aircraft. When we were about thirty minutes from landing I could even kinda sorta pick out my house.

It’s always bittersweet to come home. There’s no place like home but there’s no place like being with my babies, either. Sigh.

Leaving rainy PNW.

Two 1/2 hours later, SoCal coastline.

Off the coast of Carlsbad. I see Agua Hedionda lagoon and if you know where to look, I can pretty much pick out my street. It’s too bad the airlines won’t make a stop to let me off at our local airport because soon I’ll have to drive all the way back up!

Pt. Loma and the Coronado Bay Bridge. On approach to land any minute as soon as the pilot turns around.

This is how you land aircraft when the airport is situated in the downtown area. Looks scarier than it is, I think. Anyway, home sweet home!

The Visit: Part Two | Joy

Do you know the definition of pure joy?

Pure joy is when I pick them up from the airport and T first spots me standing next to my car and he starts yelling at the top of this lungs, “I see her! I see GrandmaGrandmaGrandma!” and parents let him run through the crowd outside straight toward me and he throws himself in my arms, almost knocking me over, hugging so tightly it squeezes my heartlight into love energy.

And then comes Angel Girl 2.0, a bit slower but no less affectionate, hanging on to me like a little monkey while Mom and Dad bring up the rear with all the suitcases.

Two enchanted curly haired conveyers of intense happiness; more alive than any two humans I’ve ever known.

That is simply and perfectly PURE JOY. And do you know what else it is? It’s EVERYTHING.

Grateful.

Now for the important stuff…”After you’re buckled in, who wants a muffin or an oatmeal cookie?”

Never Empty | Full Cookie Jar | Full Heart

They’re back!

The return caused a flurry of repeated menu requests along with some new ones (veggie sushi).

Remember my broken/bruised ribs? Well, just as they’re almost 100% healed, I broke my toe. AGAIN. Different toe, same foot. It was absolutely and totally my fault because I run around with no shoes and was jumping from one step to another out in the garden and I missed…You’d think I’d learn by now; apparently NOT.

Within the first fifteen minutes, this is what happened when they walked through the door:

Played the piano for a minute…

Rearranged all of my neatly placed furnishings in the dollhouse.

Ran up the steps to the kitchen to open the cookie jar. “Grandma, yay, it’s full of cookies like always!”

“Come on, Char, let’s go up to our room!” (He knows that’s where I stash all the presents I accumulate.)

Then it’s backyard time along with, “I’m hungry, Grandma, did you make ice cream? Can we have cones?” (Yes and yes.)

“Char, look! This is where all the rats were! But they’re all gone, right?”

Time for more food.

Time for more food.

“Can we go to the park now?”

And…more food.

Where’s mom and dad? Surfing, of course!

Broken toe or not, that cookie jar will always be full. (As is my heart.)


Our Fun Day at Legoland California

Live to serve, serve to live...

I didn’t coin this phrase. The provenance belongs to DIL, but it accurately represents me, too.

If I told you that I was up at the crack of dawn and my day consisted of making kugel, lasagna with homemade sauce, oatmeal raisin cookies (with kale as a secret ingredient), pumpkin spice cupcakes, mango/strawberry ice cream, and apple pie, would you be able to guess who’s coming to visit?

All menu items were requested — except the addition of kale is our little secret, OK? He never needs to know.

The rest of the list includes crispy tofu, pizza, breakfast burritos, buckwheat pancakes, and whatever else their hearts desire.

Live to serve, serve to live, it doesn’t stop with baking and cooking.

When Angel Boy 2.0 turned six in March, one of his presents was a first visit to Legoland. I live so close to Legoland — it’s across the lagoon — that we have front row seats to the (cursed) fireworks, cursed because fireworks scare animals. I think they should switch to a laser light show which would be even more spectacular and harm no animals but so far, no one is listening to me. Sigh.

The original Angel Boy, his curly clone, and I packed up hats and sunscreen and bathing suits for the waterpark feature (not me, though) and we drove three miles or so to the Legoland entrance. We were early but there was already a line of cars waiting to get in. After paying $35 for preferred parking, we walked in. AB 2.0 was SO excited! This was his very first experience in a crowd with a lot of noise and so many distractions.

I laughed to myself at all the weary grandparents wandering around wishing their day would be over even though it had just begun. Heehee.

Here’s my overall impression of Legoland California:

–It’s very clean and well maintained.
–The employees were all friendly and helpful.
–The Submarine ride was REALLY cool and we enjoyed that a lot.
— The Dragon Rollercoaster was perfect for a six-year-old, just scary enough not to cause lasting trauma.(It was scary for me!)
–The Waterpark and the slides were was amazing. I sat in a comfy chair while the two guys played for the longest time. I was so happy to see an abundance of very alert lifeguards keeping everyone safe.
–Dad won a stuffed animal for T at a ball throwing game which made Dad the hero of the day.
–They got pizza for lunch and it was REALLY good.
–There were lots of places to actually build with Legos and Duplos.
–The lines for the most popular rides like Technic Coaster were WAY TOO LONG. No child should be forced to wait an hour or more for a ride. That’s totally unacceptable. Since Legoland is geared for 12 and under, it was a real hardship and we didn’t stay in line so the little guy never got to ride it. We kept checking the app but it stayed busy all day and we were there midweek.
–Some of the rides weren’t open, not sure of the reason, but it was a disappointment.
–The music was too loud for me and slightly disorienting.
–I observed a couple of children become separated from their grownups and it’s a continual lesson to NEVER take your eyes off the little ones, not even for a second.

Overall, AB 2.0 had an amazing time. He definitely wants to go again when his sister is a bit older and tall enough for the rides.

Even though I live so close, I think it would be fun to stay at one of the hotels on the Legoland property especially since one of the perks is to be able to enter the park an hour before the public.

After the end of an exhausting day, after dinner and a bath, he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Best of all, I kept my promise of going to Legoland. In the car on the way home, he asked if I’d come to Disneyland one day, and I think I might have to decline that invitation–at least I need a while to recover from this theme park!

Our motto: Live to serve, serve to live…

Here’s a gallery of pics. As you can see, it was a beautiful blue sky day!


Future Seafarer

Here is the Angel who loves to be on a boat (with a careful grasp of the railing) as they leave Seattle on the way to a new adventure,

Birth

I just called my Angel Boy to wish him Happy Birthday as he was walked HIS Angel Boy to school just like I used to walk HIM to school, holding hands and chatting nonstop the whole way, a full circle moment.

I’m not seeing him today so I didn’t send a lot of gifts because they’ll be here soon and I like the idea of multiple celebration days plus I can bake his favorite strawberry cake roll with homemade ice cream.

Labor and Delivery:

After being in labor all night, I finally entered the stage called transition and it seemed as if things were finally moving along enough for me to push my baby into the world.

At that point, his big fat head got stuck. l tried and tried to push (in agonizing pain) but he wouldn’t budge. I asked the doc to use forceps which he was firmly against for all the right reasons and after a few more attempts, baby’s heart rate slowed.

Between contractions, I remember the doc very kindly tell me there was no other alternative than a C-section, not for my health, but for my precious child’s.

I couldn’t stop crying. This whole experience had turned into a nightmare, not the soft focus natural childbirth fantasy I had wished for, a quiet delivery at home surrounded by my beloved animals welcoming this new human into our family.

I hadn’t prepared myself for any other ending to my story. I had lost all control.

The safety and health of this child I had loved and grown for nine-plus months was paramount. Like I said before, it would never again be all about me.

I remember my mom doing her extremely patient nursey thing with me, but at the same time, she knew more than anyone how every single dip in heart rate was compromising my baby, and I was finally persuaded to have the emergency C-section.

I’ll never forget the feeling of failure as they prepped me and injected the saddle block with the promise that it wouldn’t interfere with nursing, and they were giving me only enough to pull out my still stuck baby. I was awake and could see everything as it happened.

At 9:52 a.m. on March 23, I was finally able to meet my healthy Angel Boy. At 8.5 pounds, it was obvious that he was too big to have been delivered any other way and it’s true that the anesthetic wore off as I was being sutured which was painful on a scale I couldn’t imagine, but I refused additional anesthetic.

I can honestly say that it felt like someone cut out my heart and placed it on my chest. I was born too that day, as a mom.

Like I told him at his 21st birthday party (in front of all of his friends and to his extreme embarrassment) I have loved every single breath he’s taken and that’s 100% true.

Happy Birthday to the original curly haired Angel Boy! (No matter how he got here.)

A Whimsical Flower Garden Bouquet For ME!

Tomorrow might be all about the original Angel Boy as it’s his birthday, but today is all about me, so I walked around the garden and picked all the flowers blooming in early spring to celebrate myself.

Back in 1981, he was already a week overdue on March 22. I had walked my dogs, Sabrina and Beowulf, early in the morning where I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell down.

Other than being annoyed at my huge bulky belly that got in the way of everything, I didn’t think about it. I felt fine.

My mom came over to take me out for lunch and shopping, two of my most favorite pastimes (then and now). I remember exactly what I bought. She wanted me to have a pretty nightgown to commemorate the birth of her first and only grandchild. In fact, I still have that little rose sprigged lacy cotton gown, mainly because I never throw things away and besides, it’s a lovely reminder of that day with my mom.

As we were eating lunch, I excused myself to use the restroom. When I returned, I said to her, “It’s so weird, I don’t know why my pants feel like I wet myself.”

Well, my mom who NEVER freaked out, was always calm, freaked out, “Your water broke. Why didn’t you tell me? We need to get to the hospital. When did this happen?” “What other symptoms do you have?”

I told her about falling earlier in the day and she deduced that I had partially ruptured the placenta. I don’t remember much about driving home except for her repeating, “You might have introduced bacteria, you might have introduced bacteria. Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

Stubborn as I am, I did NOT go to the hospital right away, although I was having slight labor pains. I wanted to take a shower and walk my dogs again.

She and Daddy-to-be called my doc who agreed that I needed to get to the hospital to be safe.

I was extremely upset because for nine months I planned to have my baby at home with my mom attending. She was an amazing nurse, had worked for many years in labor and delivery and had brought home a sterile delivery kit, kinda sorta like Call the Midwife.

The fact that there was even the slightest chance that my baby was in danger caused my mom (and Dad) to refuse to allow me to play the role of Earth Mother and stay home. I had planned to have all my animals surround me to participate because their little brother or sister (we didn’t know) was being born.

I had to reluctantly agree with them that it wasn’t all about me, plus the vaginal mucous plug or “show” had started to separate from the cervix which meant actual labor was progressing. We arrived at the hospital about 7pm.

I’ll save the rest of the story for tomorrow, because after that day it was NEVER all about me ever again–it’s always and will forever be about my Angel Boy.

Here’s me on March 22, on that final walk, taking a break with my beautiful Sabrina, a couple hours before going to the hospital. I’m really happy to have this photo. My sweet Sabby looks so old.

I’ve shown this pic to my other Angels and they get a kick out of seeing their Daddy inside Grandma’s body before he came into the world. “There’s Daddy!” And “Grandma, you love Border Collies so much, don’t you?”

But not more than you guys. Nope. Never more than you, my Angels.

Think Pink

I don’t know why Angel Girl 2.0 and I love the color pink as much as we do, but we DO.

“What’s your favorite color?”

“PINK PINK PINK!”‘

A little research reveals that the color pink represents compassion, nurturing, tenderness, and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of nurturing.

A combination of red and white, pink contains the need for action of red, helping it to achieve the potential for success and insight offered by white. It is the passion and power of red softened with the purity, openness and completeness of white. The deeper the pink, the more passion and energy it exhibits.

Pink is feminine and romantic, affectionate and intimate, thoughtful and caring. It tones down the physical passion of red replacing it with a gentle loving energy. https://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-pink.html

All I know for sure is that all shades of PINK make me happy, from the pink of my ballet shoes to any and all flowers in the garden. After all, I was named for a flower so in my case, it was sort of predestined.

It’s a little early for my rosebushes, but here’s a very pink freesia:

And deeply pink peach flowers, Since this is the tree’s first year, I know I’m supposed to pinch off all the flowers so the tree will grow stronger but I can’t bear to do that.

Whidbey Island

I did not take this photo but I wish I had. I think my son likes to torment me and send me pics of places I wish I was. He loves the Pacific Northwest, so different from growing up as a Southern California native, so much green! And rain, of course.

It’s as beautiful as a painting.

Whidbey Island is in Puget Sound, north of Seattle. The island’s rugged terrain spans beaches, hills and farmland. On its northwest tip, Deception Pass State Park offers clifftop views, forest trails and freshwater lakes. To the south, Fort Casey Historical State Park is home to a lighthouse and gun battery. The coastal towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley have boutiques, cafes and galleries.

I have been there in the past and it’s absolutely gorgeous!