The Gloaming

Weather is a little strange here today. It’s warm but cloudy and the wind picked up, causing the eucalyptus tree to snow its little seed pods everywhere.

There’s a slight ominous feeling, a hold your breath and look around kind of day.

“During the gloaming mother nature holds her breath. She lowers her eyes and there is a eerie stillness much like that in a moment of silent prayer. Night slides over her as her day is done. Everything about her is now secret, hidden in the darkness just begun.”

Credit: https://www.facebook.com/Snowwolfswoodlandnook/
The Gloaming.by Helen Osbourne
Artist: Philippe Fernandez

Soccer Fever | Goal Oriented

Oh my goodness, this almost six-year-old is growing in all directions by leaps and bounds–and goals.

“Grandma Grandma Grandma, I kicked a goal, it was crazy!”
“I was running and running and then I kicked the ball and I scored a goal!”

“High FIVE to you, buddy! “

(We high-fived through the phone.)

“Do you LOVE It?”

“Oh yes, I love it so much. Daddy says I can sign up for lessons.”

And there you have it, the birth of a future soccer superstar.

There’s video but he’s just a blur, running back and forth FAST, curls bouncing along with him, eyes on the ball, giving an assist to a teammate (where did he learn THAT?)

I think back to when his dad was that age and had no real interest in team sports AT ALL. The coaches always asked him to join: soccer, baseball, football–cos he has those long arms and legs and he was fast too, but he never really cared about stuff like that.

I guess it skipped a generation.

The last time I saw my little buddy, we played ball in the backyard and he was so proud to teach me the proper way to throw a baseball.

“I learned this in PE, Grandma.”

“First you swing your arm, step your foot, and throw. Swing, step, throw.”

“No, like THIS.”

He was very patient with me. I followed his directions and he caught ball after ball and threw them back with determination and accuracy.

“I taught YOU something, Grandma!” “Don’t ever forget…swing, step, throw!”

“Don’t worry, T. I will never forget. Never. I promise.”

Rest in Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh

Today is a sad day; another truly good human has transitioned…

The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism announced “our beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh passed away peacefully at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at 00:00hrs on 22nd January, 2022, at the age of 95.”

In honor of his life of kindness, how about we do this:

Practices to help cultivate self-love and loving-kindness from Sister Dang Nghiem (ordained as Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh).

From her book ‘Flowers in the Dark’ (Parallax 2021)

Update on Saturday to add this from the Dalai Lama:

“In his peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war, his support for Martin Luther King and most of all his dedication to sharing with others not only how mindfulness and compassion contribute to inner peace, but also how individuals cultivating peace of mind contributes to genuine world peace, Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh lived a truly meaningful life. I have no doubt the best way we can pay tribute to him is to continue his work to promote peace in the world.” https://bit.ly/35dUncV

From The Grandma Archives: An Audience of Two VIPs

It’s been a while since I recounted a moment in time with the Angels…here’s one that brings a smile to my face and a glow to my heart.

I couldn’t help but hear the thundering footsteps of the familiar dinosaur stomp down the stairs at 6am which is marginally better than 5:30 am.

“Wake up, Princess Grandma Coyote Rose!” (He thinks long and hard about how he’s going to address me. It’s different and ADORABLE each and every morning.)

“Warm my feet up, Grandma, feel how cold they are!” “Are you still sleeping? You didn’t get up before I came down, did you?” [He hates when I do that because he’d miss out on our early morning tradition.] Did Daddy have a Batman tower when he was five?” “See my squishy? “I brought lots of stuffies down, too. Here’s Daddy’s teddy with the torn off ear.” “See?” “Give him a kiss, Grandma.”

“Did you have any dreams, my beautiful little buddy?”
“I DID but I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Was it scary? Do you want to tell me in a little while?”

“Yes.” “I’m hungry. Oatmeal first and then buckwheat pancakes when Char comes down.”

“Here are your slippers, Grandma. Hurry!”

First comes blueberry cinnamon oatmeal with a side of sliced apples; coffee for me, and more chat about the day. I never did find out what that dream was all about.

Angel Girl wakes a bit later than her ever/always on the move brother, so I prepped the buckwheat pancakes to be ready when she came down, which she did while AB was still eating his oatmeal. She climbed up on the bench next to him — “I’m in my spot, Grandma!. I need my pink spoon!”– to eat hers as I started the first batch.

After everyone had a few pancakes with agave for dipping and there was moment of calm, I asked Siri to play Swan Lake, one of our favorites. As the music embraced our peaceful eating, I asked them each to identify what feelings were generated by different parts of the ballet and was SUPER impressed by their accuracy.

With my captive audience of two, I stood up–in my fuzzy cheetah print bathrobe hahaha– and started dancing.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, Grandma?”
AG to AB, “Grandma is dancing, Tati!”

“You guys keep eating and I’ll do ballet for you.”

“Should I do a pirouette?” “And this is a plie and a développé, and the best one of all, arabesque!”

“Wow, Grandma!”

“Let’s practice our ballet arms, OK?”
“First, second, third, forth, and fifth. I like fifth position the best, because it’s the princess one.”

I observed wide-eyed Angel Girl reproduce all of the arm positions while shoving more buckwheat pancakes in her mouth.

“Well done, C!” YES, I thought to myself, she will absolutely love ballet classes in a couple years.

I’m not sure if T was all that enamored of my dance skills (or as embarrassed as a teenager would be), but it kept him sitting and eating, and that’s a win for me.

“Now, listen closely. Can you hear the music is telling us to become the swan? Let’s practice making our arms fly.”

“Here’s how we do it.” Again, only one is trying, but the other one is still there, intently watching me. I can’t tell if he’s impressed or if he thinks I’m completely insane; either way, I’m entertainment. As soon as it’s safe to go, I will absolutely take them to see Swan Lake. It’s a rite of passage.

“Now that breakfast and the ballet is finished, we always end with a graceful curtsey.”

“OK. Let’s play, Grandma!”

No applause, no bouquets thrown at my feet, no curtain calls…but my heart is full.

I hope they’ll always have that memory of Little Grandma dancing to Swan Lake in the kitchen after cooking a gigantic batch of pancakes. And laugh about it.

Do you want to know where mom and dad were? Sleeping in, of course!

“Why are the cookies green, Grandma?”

UH OH. AB 2.0 is growing up. No longer does he simply shove as many cookies in his mouth as he can, or muffins, or cupcakes.

Now he’s more discerning and I hear these words and the skeptical tone in his voice, because he KNOWS why they’re green and he wants confirmation.

“Why are these cookies green, Grandma?”

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“Green? Do they look green to you?” I say, stalling for time to think of the right thing to say. I really wanted him to eat those cookies.

“I know why they’re green. Why do you put kale in EVERYTHING, Grandma?”

“Do you love kale more than me, Grandma?” (That’s a joke.)

The last time this happened Dad saved the day by interjecting, “They’re spooky cookies for Halloween, T! Aren’t they so scary and cool and yummy?”

Good one, Dad, I thought to myself. Our eyes wouldn’t meet or we’d both start laughing.

He ate them, but was definitely not trusting the veracity of the response.

OK it was a lie. There was LOADS of kale in my lentil oat raisin cookies, and I didn’t do a good enough job to disguise that fact. I’ll do better next time.

I don’t condone lying, but in this case, T doesn’t eat enough veggies and this has always been my secret weapon to make sure he eats greens so I’m satisfied that he gets a balanced diet. He’s a clone of his dad, very tall and very thin with a metabolism that I’d DIE for.

It’s the same thing we do with smoothies (I did it when Dad was little, too). I fill it chock full of veggies, but with the addition of blueberries or strawberries, it really masks the green. Don’t tell him, OK?

Thank goodness his little sister hasn’t yet learned to question the provenance of the muffins we just baked and didn’t see me slip a cup of chopped kale in the batter. She’ll eat pretty much anything. So far.

Here’s the recipe for Kale, I mean SPOOKY cookies…

November Edition: Convo #854 with the Angels | Letting Go of Expectations

I found what I THOUGHT was going to be a really fun cooking and art project to do with the Angels…and it didn’t actually turn out as expected.

Focaccia Bread Art is a newish trend where you decorate focaccia with fresh vegetables and herbs to make beautiful edible art. Have you heard of it? It was started during the pandemic shutdown by Teri Culetto. The self-proclaimed Vineyard Baker of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, started creating art with focaccia bread as her canvas.

Focaccia is simple to prepare (see recipe below). I made the dough and cut up all the veggies and herbs, olives and cheese and tofu, so the kids would each have their own canvas to decorate. I parboiled yams and cut them out as jack o’lanterns since it was around Halloween time and themes are always good.

Each child received dough and a platter filled with more than everything they might need because I knew that there would be a lot of eating going on at the same time and that was my secret plan.

Then all hell broke loose with the 5.5 and two-year-old. With only one rolling pin, there wasn’t a whole lot patience while one rolled and one waited, so I had to save the moment and a melt down by creating another one with a dowel I found.

One angel (less than angelic) didn’t like it because their plates were DIFFERENT colors, so I heard a lot of “It’s not fair! Why don’t I have the same exact one!”

Dad solved the issue (which I was planning to ignore) by getting the SAME EXACT plate and all hurt feelings were soothed. With only one child, I didn’t ever have to experience that kind of behavior so it was a learning experience for me, too.

It was such a fun project and they enjoyed themselves so much so we did it another time, too.

Here’s the result from their first attempt….and below it is what I THOUGHT they were going to create. Letting go of expectations and allowing them to create their own masterpieces was a wise decision for sure, even though my OCD was slightly triggered.

It didn’t matter what they looked like, The Angels were very proud of their creations and ate them all up, including all the veggies, so it really was a success!

Do you see any resemblance at all? Nope, me neither.

For more ideas, go to Instagram and search for Focaccia Art and try it yourself!

As you can see, it didn’t matter what it looked like, it was a fun project for the Angels in spite of the sibling rivalry.

Here’s my go-to easy Focaccia Recipe. Pizza dough works great, too

1 + 1/4 cups warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 TBS olive oil
Using a heavy duty mixer (or a strong arm) beat all ingredients together for about one minute. The dough will be wet and sticky but resist the urge to add more flour. With the dough hook (or your strong arm) start kneading until the dough becomes elastic. Scrape it into an oiled blow, cover and let rise under double, about two hours. When dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Turn dough onto well floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Flatten with your fingers into an 8-9 inch round or rectangle. I had the kids use a rolling pin at first and then they dimpled the dough with their fingers. Brush on olive oil and start decorating with all of your prepped ingredients. Be creative! Let rise for fifteen minutes. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven.

Convo 918: “I love myself.”

“Look at what I made, Grandma! It’s a sculpture, it’s my creation!”

“That’s absolutely amazing, T! Make sure you put it in a safe place so I can see it the next time I visit, OK?”

And then he was off to play with the little girl next door.

“Gotta go, Grandma, Em’s waiting for me!”

Oh my heart. He’s FIVE YEARS OLD.

That gave us time for Dad to share an incredible story about Angel Girl 2.0. During her bath the previous evening, she stood up, put her arms around herself in a big hug, and said, “I love myself.”

Then she said, “Daddy love yourself, too.” directing him to give himself a hug.

C was napping, so I wasn’t able to chat with her.

T came back for a moment to grab a pile of grapes to share with his friend.

“Hi, Grandma! I’m still playing out front, you know how we do that, right? Em’s chasing me.”

“Hey T, do you love yourself?”

He said, “I love YOU, Grandma”.

I DIED.

“Oh, T, I love you, too. But do you love yourself?”

“Yes, Grandma, I love me too.” (I swear, it’s like talking to a teenager.)

And off he ran.

That boy. *Shaking my head.*

Where and how does a two-year-old acquire that kind of healthy self love? One of my favorite lady docs first shared with me Louise Hay’s suggestion to look in the mirror every day and say, “I love you” to my reflection. At first I scoffed, too embarrassed to look at myself any other way but critically, but because I liked and respected that doc so much, I gave it a try. And kept doing it until it wasn’t so weird. After that, I did some of Hay’s Mirror Work and Inner Child exercises. It’s tough work, that’s for sure, but insightful and nourishing.

That this little girl already has such a beautiful light spirit is glorious. Imagine if everyone felt that way, the world would be a very different place.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…

Try this Louise Hay Mirror Work exercise for a better morning routine:

  1. When you first wake up in the morning and open your eyes, say these affirmations to yourself: Good morning, bed. Thank you for being so comfortable. I love you. This
    is a blessed day. All is well. I have time for everything I need to do today.
  2. Now take a few more minutes to relax and let these affirmations flow through your mind, then feel them in your heart and throughout the rest of your body.
  3. When you’re ready to get up, go to your bathroom mirror. Look deeply into your eyes. Smile at that beautiful, happy, relaxed person looking back at you!
  4. As you’re looking in the mirror, say these affirmations: Good morning, [Name]. I love you. I really, really love you. There are great experiences coming our way today.
  5. And then say something nice to yourself like: Oh, you look wonderful today. You have the best smile. I wish you a terrific day today.

“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