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!

Friday German Lesson: Die Vorfreude and Waldeinsamkeit

Vorfreude is Schadefreude’s happier little sister.

In honor of my fully tenured German professor son, (since I am and will always own the title of obnoxiously proud mom), I’ve learned a couple new words to toss around at the dinner table.

Vorfreude is pretty much the opposite of Schadenfreude and it roughly translates to “joyful anticipation” which is what the Angels (and ME) are definitely feeling a week before Christmas! I love the holidays like I’m still five years old.

Waldeinsamkeit refers to the feeling one has while being alone in the woods, usually a sublime or spiritual one.

I feel a lot of Vorfreude before a hike in the forest, where I experience intense Waldeinsamkeit.

Here’s my attempt at a complete sentence…I’m sure I’m torturing the pronunciation, but my son will happily correct me.

Ich verspüre viel Vorfreude, bevor ich auf eine Wanderung im Wald gehe, wo ich erlebe Waldeinsamkeit.

I hope that makes sense, if not, please help me with my grammar, thank you!

Good times, everyone!

For Angels From Angels | The Gift of Home

Isn’t this amazing?

A halo-wearing neighbor gifted me this gigantic dollhouse for my angels. Their daughter had outgrown the playing house stage of development.

We had to dismantle it and reassemble when it got to my home.

The toilet WORKS, makes flushing sounds, can you believe it? Most of the furniture was included, (not all) so I ordered a bunkbed to match the one in their real bedroom here at Grandma’s house.

The refrigerator and pantry are full of the most exquisite miniature replica foods I’ve ever seen.

I had a dollhouse when I was little, but nothing this extravagant!

The original Angel Boy also had a dollhouse. I very carefully set up all the furniture in each room in anticipation of all the fun we’d have together and his only joy was to shake the house until everything fell over as he shouted, “Earthquake!” I’d reset the furniture only to have him shake it again and again until I finally gave up.

Being a good mom, I also got him an anatomically correct boy doll and his response with that was to twist off the head and use it as a ball for our Border Collie and laugh maniacally as he retrieved it, tossing the head to roll at our feet to throw again. That’s my boy…Good times.

FYI…My son DID have stuffed animals and dolls that he loved and treated with empathy and kindness so I wasn’t too worried that he was going to end up becoming a sociopath.

It’s almost as tall as I am, 60 inches, and about the same width. I had to move things around to make room for it in the living room because the angels’ bedroom is full of other toys.

They are going to LOVE it!

In case you were wondering, YES, I’ve been playing with it. I need to add more members to my doll family along with a barbecue and a jacuzzi.

An angel for my angels. I am SO grateful. Despite the neverending pandemic and its variants; violence and racism and cruelty, there are still wonderful people all around us to reinforce our hope for humanity.

Was that a wild animal or what?

Last night I totally freaked out. I was watching my new obsession, Aussie Gold Hunters, and I heard a noise. My heart started to pound…

It sounded like there was some kind of creature in the house–in the room where I was on the sofa watching TV.

I muted the sound and looked around to try and figure out if it was coming from under the sofa, under the table, or near the patio doors.

It was a regular sound, kind of like scratching, scrabbling or fumbling, almost as if something was caught or stuck.

I got out a powerful little flashlight and looked everywhere. Then I thought that whatever it could be was trapped behind the entertainment center but there’s no way I can see behind it or move it.

After spending quite a while searching,I was pretty super stressed out. What to do? I straightened up the kitchen, put away in the refrigerator a half bottle of cayenne kombucha that I hadn’t finished, and went to bed, making sure my bedroom door was closed tight just in case IT tried to find me while I was asleep.

The first thing I did this morning was to check and see if I still heard the noises.

Nope.

I made my coffee and while it was brewing, I took out that unfinished bottle of kombucha, had a few sips, put the cap back on, and set it on the tile counter. I went to my bedroom to unplug my computer and bring it out so I could read emails and learn about what fresh hell the Supreme Court was doing while I was drinking the fresh French roast.

I HEARD THE NOISES AGAIN!

“Scritch, scritch, scritch…”

Now it seemed to be coming from the direction of the tile counter where I had placed the kombucha. I put my ear near the cap and heard the very same sounds that had alarmed me last night.

OMG. Apparently, my “wild animal” was merely the bacteria-friendly fermented carbonation trapped in the bottle of kombucha.

Did you know this? When making kombucha, bubbles are created during bottling (also called second fermentation). At room temperature, the yeast eat the sugar and create carbon dioxide (CO2). … This is how kombucha becomes fizzy! If your kombucha sprays out of the bottle as soon as you open it, it’s because there is too much pressure inside.

I quite honestly got weirded out over NOTHING. I really am crazy, but very glad to know that no critter was trapped in my house. Whew!

“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?”

BF607BA9-C66F-4599-B127-A6B2A94341DF

“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…

A Day in the Life: A Naked Lady and a Wandering White Egret

Or how I became the spirit human to a wandering white egret. Do you have a spirit animal? I’m sure we all do, but today I became a bird’s spirit human. At least that’s the story I told myself.

(I’ll not bury the lede and confess that I’m NOT the naked lady, just in case you were curious.)

I don’t know if it’s because of the lingering full moon energy coupled with another Santa Ana heatwave, but this was a strange and interesting Sunday.

I’ve been able to increase my mileage according to the doc’s plan, as long as my foot doesn’t hurt. It can be bit sore, but if I start limping, that’s my cue to give him a call. So far, so good.

On today’s walk, I got a late start and didn’t want to walk to the beach because that’s about 7 or 8 miles round trip, much more than the five miles he approved.

I walked up and around the lagoon. On the way back, I saw one police car and then two and when I saw the third one, my interest was piqued and I decided to follow it. They seemed to all be parked on a street that leads to a lagoon beach.

I stopped and asked a neighbor what was going on and he said he heard there was a naked woman wandering around the area. I then walked up to a police officer and asked him to corroborate what I heard, and he did. I exhorted (strongly encouraged) him to be kind to her since the police dog was there too, and it probably was some sort of mental health issue, not a “let’s unleash the hounds of hell” issue.

By the way, when did cops start dressing like urban warfare combat fighters? The ones I saw today were dressed in FULL ON body armor, in FULL ON FIGHT MODE to what was probably either a domestic or a mental health situation. They were incredibly intimidating looking for a little beach town, way too hard core.

I decided to move on and continue walking out of respect for whomever it was and whatever was going on. Sometimes I hang around to document possible police misconduct, but there were other people gathering, so I felt it was okay to leave.

After walking for another block or so, this is what I saw.

Yup, a beautiful white egret simply standing as still as a statue. S/he took a couple of steps…do you have any idea how SLOWLY egrets walk? It’s like doing a mindful walking meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh, something I’m not at all good at, ‘cos I’m not patient. At all.

But this time, I slowed down to enjoy the moment. S/he walked across the street SO S L O W L Y, turned his/her head and seemed to beckon me to follow, so I did. I stayed a couple feet back and every so often, s/he would turn to look at me and continue.

When it seemed as if (I’ll just call it a female, cos that’s the vibe I got) she wanted to cross a street that’s a bit busier, I went out in the street to warn traffic and to escort her safely. A mom and her two kids joined me and we all followed this queenly white egret up the street. Cars stopped to watch and it was so joyous and so delightful to participate in the Queen Egret Parade. The mom and kids went back home but I continued on our journey together to shepherd this magnificent bird.

I felt as if she was a bit timid, a bit unsure about where she was, and needed me. When we came to a clearing with a field and tall trees, I decided it was time for her to fly. I raised both of my arms outstretched like wings and silently communicated to her that it wasn’t safe on these streets and she needed to fly.

And she did. I watched her circle the area and land in a tall eucalyptus tree. Another egret flew by and my hope is that they all ended up back at the lagoon, safe and sound.

Honestly, I feel like in that moment, I became the spirit human to this pure white egret wanderer.

I don’t have any new information about the naked woman, and I’ll update if I hear anything.

It’s only 11 a.m. and I’ve already had a magical day. It’s time to put a clothes in the washing machine and check the video to see if my coyote or bobcat came to visit. For me, that would be the icing on the cake.

Check out how S L O W L Y she walks.

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

I like this idea and plan to do it with the Angels (also Mom and Dad) ‘cos we LOVE a good scavenger hunt and a little gratitude guidance is always appreciated.

I bet it won’t take long before someone hands me a seashell or a rock. I’m so easy!

Or T will say something like, “It’s me! I make you happy, right Grandma?”

Oh yes, my little friend. Always.

May be an image of text that says 'Gratitude Scavenger Hunt 1. Find something that makes you happy. 2. Something to give someone else to make them smile. 3. Find one thing that you love to smell. 4.Find one thing you enjoy looking at. 5. Find something that's your favorite color. 6. Find something you are thankful for in nature. 7. Find something that you can use to make a gift for someone. 8. Find something that is useful for you.'

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.

To Capture the Sparkle…and FAIL

During my recent period of enforced lack of strenuous physical activity, I tried to solve one of my major dilemmas; how to take a photo that successfully captures the sparkle of a rhinestone or a diamond or glitter. It’s so HARD!

Every photo I had previously taken seemed flat and lifeless. My research revealed it has a lot to do with aperture and lighting so I set up a little impromptu photo shoot with the correct lighting and my Canon for some experimentation.

I can’t honestly say that these pics look any better. None of them really capture the play of light or the vibrant colors that glint off the sparkly stones. I have no idea what I did wrong, but it was a fun diversion even though I didn’t achieve success.

This princessy sparkle-encrusted goblet is my newest special purchase and the beverage isn’t pink champagne, it’s my fave cayenne kombucha.

Here are the results…I’m trying something different because I seem to have reached my photo limit on WP. This is an embed by Imgur.

My Cinderella Moment

My poor little foot is finally healing properly because I FINALLY stopped re-breaking it since I didn’t know it was broken. It hasn’t been easy due to the fact that I HATE inertia coupled with the fact that I am an outdoor girl who NEEDS to keep moving. But I did and now I’m nearly ready to resume full activity.

The lingering issue is that my shoes might have contributed to the break. They had a lot of miles on them and had lost their cushion-y gel protection, which meant I needed to research and purchase new athletic shoes.

This is where Cinderella enters stage left…

There are SO MANY new brands. Asics had been my go-to brand for a decade, but I needed something more cushy and supportive, but NOT orthopedic, oh hell no.

I tried on all sorts of shoes…Hoka, New Balance, more Hoka, different versions of Asics-in all price ranges, until finally FINALLY, the nice person at Roadrunner suggested Brooks for high mileage walking. Hmmm, this was a new one, I had never worn Brooks, but research revealed they’re a great brand.

This is my Cinderella moment. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. It’s not a glass slipper but I’m more than satisfied that I’ll be able to hit the ground running as soon as my next x-ray. Plus, they’re CUTE, right?

Introducing my new Brooks. I’m not sure why the style is called “Ghost“, do you?