“Here’s What We Do”

Two children thump down the stairs like a herd of bison.

Very loud whispering…”OK, Charlotte, here’s what we do.”

“Every morning, we go into Grandma’s room and we say ‘Get up, Grandma, make breakfast.'”

“Like this…”

“WAKE UP GRANDMA! MAKE BREAKFAST!”

“Now you do it.”

“It’s OK, she likes it.”

“And then we jump on the bed; come on.”

“Char, you want me to turn the light on?”

He runs over to me, whispers in my ear, “Pretend to be asleep, Grandma.”

“Now you do it, Char!”

A very tiny voice says, “Grandma?”

I respond, “GOOD MORNING, you guys!”

And so my day begins.

Honestly, is there any better way to wake up than to be the first person two angels want to see every morning?

I think not.

GRATITUDE.

Full House, Full Heart

“GRAMMYGRANDMAGRANDMAAAPRINCESSROSEBUD!!!!”

THUMP like a dinosaur as he jumps from the top step.

Crawling in bed with me at 5:30 a.m. to chat about dreams and breakfast and plans for the day,

“Grandma, did you make more cookies?”
“Grandma, did the coyotes come last night? Can we check the camera?”
“Grandma, can we do the slip and slide now?”
“Grandma, are there a lot of kids at the park now?”
“Grandma, Char is still sleeping, so is mommy and daddy.”
“Grandma, when Daddy was a little boy and went to Kelly, did he play outside too?”
“Did he have a slip and slide like mine?”
“I’m going to kindergarten in September but not at Kelly.”
“Grandma, can I have this rock? Can I bring the giant transformer home? Can I bring the red ball home?”
“Grandma, we are staying here for a really long time, right Grandma?”
“How many more days?”
“Can we go to the lagoon today? It’s not as salty as the beach.”
“I counted all the steps up to my bedroom. I can jump from almost all the way up. Want to watch me, Grandma?”
“Where’s Dad going? WHERE ARE YOU GOING, DADDY?”
(Early morning surf sesh, that’s where.)

“Get up, Grandma!

And so it goes…

Sliced fruit, oatmeal, buckwheat pancakes, breakfast burritos, bagels, and toast–all before 7:00 a.m.

Second feeding after park or beach at about 10 a.m. Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Char down for a nap at noonish. More play, crafts while I get ready for after nap snacks to include my famous smoothies, cut up veggies and hummus, and probably a tofu hot dog or leftover dinner from the night before.

The beach, south of the jetty. There’s a dolphin out there but it’s impossible to see.

Slip and slide, two kiddie pools, running around. And around. And around. AND AROUND.

Indoors for a little inside play while I start dinner; maybe another trip to the park or a walk around the neighborhood. Here they are fascinated by the kindergarten kids.

Early first dinner at 4:30, more play, bath at 6ish, nighttime snack of sliced apples and almond butter, books and bed at 7pm.

For me? Exhaustion and joy equally by 7:30.

And then there’s almost two-year-old Charlotte…

“Grammy, come HERE! Help Charlotte take off shirt.”
“Cookie for Charlotte!” NO! Not that one, other one!”
“NO, I can do it!”
“NO. STOP IT!”
“Cuppa tea for Charlotte!”
“Super cute baby at the park.”
“Stop it, Theo! Don’t say that!”
“Grandma, find mermaid!”
“Grandma, water, please.”
“Not that hat! Where’s Peppa hat?”
“Go to park now.”
“I see bunny. Theo, come see!”
“Charlotte touch lizard?”
“Bagel with cream cheese and jelly.”
“Where’s Daddy and Mommy?” (Surfing, of course.)

Like I said, joy and exhaustion, but JOY wins every time. This is their first visit since Covid, the first time they left their house to fly anywhere in more than a year.

We had excellent weather except for one odd drizzly day. We spent hours and hours outside exploring the garden and backyard; watching the bunnies and lizards (Char had never seen one) and monarch butterflies and all the hummingbirds and other birds that live in the trees. One morning we checked the wildlife camera and saw a bobcat. That’s only happened one other time! Sharing my love for animals is high on the list of what I want my grandma legacy to be.

At the airport, “I miss you already, Grandma. Can we come back in two days, Mommy?”
“Miss you, Grandma”, from Char.

Hugs and kisses all around.

Now it’s SO quiet. No children laughing, screaming, no one yelling at the top of his lungs from the highest point in the garden, “GRANDMA, CAN YOU SEE ME?”

Yup. I miss them already for sure, but they’ll be back in a few weeks so I need to REST up.

The aftermath.




Galaxies in a Kaleidescope: Contemplations

From pickles to the contemplation of broken glass and mirrors; apparently that’s how my mind works!

I’ve always been fascinated by kaleidescopes.

Peering into one, it seems as if this human-made created and patterned universe of colorful swirling glass morphs into artificial realities.

What’s the question here? Is it that reality doesn’t seem real anymore.or are we simply a fractured, fragmented view of another reality?

In a kaleidescope, that which exists for an instant will disappear; ephemeral, never to be seen again in that same way, even though the original, organic pieces are still there.

Reality: the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. Or, the state or quality of having existence or substance.

One small flick of the wrist and our entire universe can change. Just like a kaleidescope. In any reality. Or any sort of purgatory.

I like to share quotes from others:

“It was as if her life was a huge kaleidoscope, and the kaleidoscope had been turned and now everything was changed. The same stones shaken, no longer made the same design.”
Author: Betsy Byars

“Forrest Gump had it wrong. Life is not a box of chocolate; it’s a kaleidoscope. In the flip of a wrist, realities are shredded and the world takes on a totally new shape.”
Author: Carolyn Haines

Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope; a slight change and all patterns alter.
Author: Sharon Salzberg

I like to know how things work. I like answers.

Science tells me that it’s the incline of the two mirrors inside a kaleidoscope that determines the number of times the pattern created by the reflection of an object is repeated. However, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a repeated pattern. At least, not that I remember.

A kaleidescope is an optical instrument with two or more reflecting surfaces tilted to each other in an angle, so that one or more (parts of) objects on one end of the mirrors are seen as a regular symmetrical pattern when viewed from the other end, due to repeated reflection.

Each component works together synergistically to create an illusion of reality–and then it’s gone.

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Obviously I have zero answers to all deep questions; my pondering and contemplations are ephemeral and transitory–kaleidescopic. My brain can only handle a tiny bit of this at any given time; now I need to watch a couple of episodes of the new Dynasty. Balance. It’s all about balance.

If you have time for a great read, check this out via the Exploratorium: Facets of Light: Colors, Images, and Things that Glow in the Dark
https://www.exploratorium.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/facets_of_light1980.pdf

Chatting with Angel Girl

For a long time, I’ve only FaceTimed with Angel Boy 2.0, but lately this titian-haired Angel Girl grabs the phone from him and runs away with it.

“Me Grandma, MEEEE Grandma!”

An explosion of epic proportions ensued until there was a conversation about sharing Grandma. That was an agreed upon solution to end the dilemma. I also simply hung up, and that was effective, too.

This time, it was Angel Girl 2.0 who called…

Daddy prompts her…

“Tell Grandma what your favorite animal is, Char!”

“Chimpanzee! Chimpanzee! Chimpanzeeeeee!”

Always the supportive Grandma, I reply, “That’s awesome, Char! That’s a very difficult but fun word to say.

Hey, Char, what’s your favorite COLOR?”

Chimpanzee! Chimpanzee! Chimpanzeeeeee!”

(Hmmm, seems like we went from genius IQ of 200+ to a normally bright twenty-month-old in a split second.)

Show Grandma, show Grandma!”

Says Mom, “She wants to show you a green ball.”

“I like your green ball. What color is the ball, Char?”

“CHIMPANZEEEEE”

OK, I definitely see where this is going.

What’s TeeTee doing?

I hear him…“My turn! I want Grandma SHARE GRANDMA! MY TURN!”

“Grammy? Show me the transformer again. When are you sending it?”

“First, tell me what did you eat for dinner, T?”

“PIZZA!”

“Was it a kale pizza?”

“NO, Grandma (laughing), you always ask me that.”

“Grammy, look at Char. She wants you to see her jump.”

“JUMPING!”

“Me show Grandma JUMP!”

“That is such a great jump, Char! I’m so proud of you!”

Then T says, “I’m going to jump over you, Char. DON’T MOVE.”

Oh no, this could be a disaster. But it wasn’t. It was a successful jump, but no more of that, I said.

“Where did you go today, Char?”

“CHIMPANZEEE!!!”

I knew they had gone to the park and the beach, but chimpanzee is clearly a favorite new word so there was no way I could disagree with THAT.

This call lasted for about thirty minutes while I was passed back and forth.

Finally, Mom said, “Say goodbye to Grandma, it’s bath time!”

And then from AB 2.0, “I’m going to hit the red button now, Grandma!”

And they’re gone, taking the sun and moon and stars and my heart with them.

The Rainbow Kids

My Neighborhood

Yesterday started out sunny and peaceful and then we had a bit of excitement.

I was digging and digging in the front yard, trying to arrange sixteen pavers in the most perfect aesthetically pleasing design to create a stepping stone effect. I tried three times because nothing gave off the right vibe that I was searching for.

First I placed them in a straight row but that looked too cold and harsh and militant, especially as it was bordering a rocky dry river bed that had natural organic lines. The second time I mimicked that meandering shape. Nope, that looked too busy and didn’t seem right. The THIRD time I created a gently curving line like a rainbow that seems to work OK but I’m going to leave it for a day or two and see how that feels. That’s the beauty of it…I can simply dig them up and move them wherever I choose. I call it the Goldilocks effect or it’s just my OCD, either one.

Side note: Each paver weighs about twenty pounds. 16 x 20 lbs =320 lbs. No wonder my arms are sore!

While I was digging and pondering, I heard a commotion down the street. My next door neighbors heard it too so we both investigated.

We observed a stray dog walking up our street and another dog was barking at it. That’s a big deal around here because we don’t have many unaccompanied dogs in our ‘hood. Cars were stopping; everyone was asking each other if anyone knew who he belonged to.

He was a nice looking boy, well cared for, a mid-sized brown German Shepherd. He walked up to our houses, walked around, even in the garage, sniffing everything.

I gave him a bowl of water but he wasn’t really interested and continued to walk slowly and deliberately up the street. He had a collar but no tags and no one could remember seeing him before. Just as we were deciding who should collect him in their backyard, he walked away. Another neighbor came by, said she would get a leash and bring him to her home until the owner could (hopefully) be located, so we all returned to our outdoor projects.

Minutes later, a truck and SUV drove up. It was the owners and their children! They had accidentally left the garage door open and their sweet old boy had walked out.

The dad said his boy was a retired police dog, very nice, but still had the police dog training, so they REALLY needed to bring him home. I called my friend who planned to host him at her house but she said she hadn’t been able to find the fugitive but they were still searching. He seemed to have disappeared in a matter of minutes.

My neighbor and I got in my car and set off to help the search. Others in my ‘hood did the same. We all drove up and down and around and couldn’t find him. What a mystery!

Thirty minutes later, we circled back and stopped at the owners house for an update.

He told us that another neighbor had been outside bringing groceries in, their car door was open, and their dog jumped in and sat down in the car. She was still outside wondering what to do when she spied the family calling for their doggy, and he was returned to a happy and grateful family. Yay!

We went home and I continued with my day; staring at a pathway that didn’t really go anywhere.

While there’s a lot to bemoan about this hectic world we inhabit, it’s positive and uplifting when an entire neighborhood comes together to help a family find their beloved dog.

What a wonderful world!

Update: I dug up the pavers yet again to move them four inches back which seems to render the right kind of feng shui. Now I think I’m happy. We’ll see. I’ll post a pic when the project is complete.

Chat With a Brilliant Human: Dreams vs Reality

It’s been a while since I’ve shared conversational gold from Angel Boy 2.0.

He’s now reached five whole years around the sun; 1825 days.

When we were chatting about Daddy’s 40th birthday, he wanted to tell me something but it was too overwhelming for him to share, so he asked mom to tell me,

“YOU tell her.”

Sweet child. When he woke up that morning extra EARLY, he ran into mom and dad’s room and asked if it was too early to go down to the Grandma room and wake me up.

Mom said, “But Grandma’s not here, T.”

He was quite distraught.

Apparently he had been dreaming about seeing me and his dream was detailed and VERY REAL.

Emphatically, he said, “But you told me she would be here when I woke up!”

Like all lucid dreams, it takes a minute or two to separate what is real from what is speaking to us from our subconscious, even more difficult when you’re a little one.

For children, dreams can feel incredibly real. It’s a challenge for them to distinguish between what’s imagined and things that actually happened. Even if they can understand that the content of a dream was imaginary, the emotions felt during a dream are all very real.

“It was a dream, T, and sometimes a dream can seem very real.”

“What do you mean she’s not here! You TOLD ME!

And then he ran downstairs to check and sure enough, the Grandma room was still Daddy’s home office.

He was genuinely sad to learn it was just a dream and I wasn’t there.

I’m sad, too, but our bonds of love are very strong and that makes me the luckiest Grandma in the world.

Friend/ship

This is funny.

A certain website I needed to access for an important document had been giving me a consistent error message to close out my browser every single time I input my password. No matter what I did, I encountered the same message.

I couldn’t figure out what the problem could possibly be, so I called the company tech support number. I wasn’t angry or frustrated; it seemed like this could be easily solved if I took a deep breath and asked for help.

An hour later, I have a new friend.

She instructed me to close out my ENTIRE browser, not simply the tab that was open to her website.

I said, “Oh my goodness, not that! All those tabs? That’s going to ruin my life!”

She started laughing and told me I made her day, and then I started laughing, and that in turn opened up a conversation about life, the weather (she’s on the east coast), and our kids and grandkids. We shared that each of our moms had lived with us and we both took care of them while they were sick up until they died, and what a blessing it was to have been able to give back some love and kindness.

She asked me why I was laughing about the tech issue instead of getting angry and yelling at her (which is the emotional state she usually encounters) and I explained to her that in the grand scheme of life, this seemed to be a minor blip on the screen of my universe.

She told me she had been depressed and I cheered her up and that in turn made me happy.

Oh, and she solved my access problem so I was able to get into the account and acquire the info I needed.

If I hadn’t had a problem, if I hadn’t made the call, I wouldn’t have connected with a beautiful soul three thousand miles away, and I wouldn’t have been able to shine a light and a laugh into her darkness. In my opinion, this was a win-win scenario.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

An outstretched hand.

Friend/ship.

Out of Darkness

The last five years have been a collective dark night of the soul for this country as well as for many people who have endured their own somber and murky life experiences.

We were collectively ravaged by a malignant sociopathic narcissist. By all rights, in 2016 Hillary Clinton should have been our president; there’s no argument that she won three million more votes, but because of our weird system of the Electoral College process, for whatever reason it didn’t turn out that way.

Ultimately she conceded, not by inciting riots and insurrection, but in a super classy way. However, she knew. She KNEW. And so did I.

Today we’re witnessing the tortuous climb out of the depths of hell, reaching toward light out of darkness.

Do you think I’m being melodramatic?

I don’t. We’ve all witnessed an absolute decline in humanity, of empathy, of compassion, of civility, and now, the universe is setting things right.

The kaleidoscope shifted just a bit, but enough.

Part of President Biden’s inaugural speech:
“Our better angels have always prevailed”

As above, so below.

Did you know that a good friend of mine recently died from Covid-19? He was only fifty-two years old and in good health. It was a mere three weeks from the first day he felt sick to the day he died in hospital in a medically induced coma on a ventilator and dialysis. I went to RiteAid for a sympathy card and noticed that all those racks were empty. There were a lot of birthday and anniversary cards, but slot after slot of folded pieces of paper designed to express our care and concern were empty. EMPTY. I went to another store and another and found the same scenario. That’s when it really hit me. There are so many deaths, now 400,000 — that we can’t keep up with the demand for condolence cards.

Witnessing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take the oaths of office as President and Vice President will once again allow us to feel proud of being Americans. We’ll have rational humans in charge again. Thank goodness.

I regret not being able to see and hear Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Namaste and I’ll end this with the great and beautiful Lady Gaga singing The National Anthem

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Here’s what I’m reflecting on today:

Since astrologers say that we’re in another Age of Aquarius, I hope 2021 marks a new desire to stop killing people because of the color of their skin.

This injustice needs to STOP once and for all.

The last few years have revealed a very dark and ugly side to the United States of America that I honestly thought no longer existed.

But parts of this country are as racist and filled with hate as they were one hundred years ago, and that’s incredibly disturbing. And disgusting. And ignorant.

Personally, I’m weary of the constant spewing of delusions and distortions intended to incite a base of brain-dead cult followers.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr….

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.The time is always right to do what is right.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

I know where I stand. Where do YOU stand?

Best Mantra for 2021

Let’s all take a deep breath and say goodbye to 2020. Hindsight truly IS 2020, isn’t it? At least now it is, haha.

I like to post a mantra to welcome each new year, and saw this one from the Dalai Lama to maintain peace of mind and remain free from worries.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

This mantra is often chanted to overcome physical, mental or emotional blockages, although it can also be used for blockages in relationships. It can help release hope for a particular outcome and bring the energy back to yourself, generating inner peace and clarity.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

To reap the most benefits, mantras should be chanted 108 times (mala beads can help.)

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

Happy New Year!