9/11/2001

No photos of burning buildings, no video of towers collapsing; simply think about where you were on September 11, 2001.

The lost are remembered on the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Who could forget that day?

I had just turned on the morning news and was drinking my first cup of cup when all hell broke loose.

In real time, I watched the World Trade Center’s South Tower burn at 9:03 a.m., (6am my time) moments after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175.

I put down my coffee and ran upstairs to wake up my then twenty-year-old son.

I didn’t know what was happening–if similar attacks were planned for the west coast–but we watched the unfolding of tragedy after tragedy.

Never forget the loss of life at the Towers or the Pentagon or Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania during an attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control.

Someone just sent me this graphic that says it all:

No photo description available.

“Grandma, something real bad happened.”

That story is now; we need to go back in time to a week ago before it’s Grandma to the rescue.

It’s all a bit convoluted, but I’m accurately depicting the chain of events. I hope you can follow along and it’s not too confusing.

Contained in the box of gifts for his half birthday was a little ball from the dollar store that caught my eye because it was soft and squishy and was an actual face of a tiger, not simply a cartoon rendering.

This:

He has lovely eyes and an endearing quality, don’t you agree?

When T FaceTimed me as he was opening the box, Dad set the phone down so I could watch him and we could chat about all the items. As soon as he picked up the ball, he fell instantly in love. He gave it a hug and stroked his cheek with it, which is the sign for mother (although he’s not aware of that).

He immediately said, “Grandma, I love love love this tiger. Do you know what I’m going to name him? I’m going to name him Tiger.”

I said, “It makes me happy that you love him, I thought you might, and Tiger is a perfect name!”

He gave Tiger another hug.

I said, “Hey T, how about whenever you hug Tiger, that will be exactly like a hug from me. It’s Grandma hugging you all the time. What do you think about that?”

“Every single time you hug Tiger, it’s ME hugging you back.”

“Grandma hug!”

And then he started kissing it. So yes, my heart overflowed again and broke at the same time because it’s still not safe to travel to give him real Grandma hugs.

Later on, Mom texted me that Tiger had become his new “favorite” and he wouldn’t go anywhere without him and slept next to him on the pillow.

So the backstory is simple. T really really bonded with Tiger and he was the object representation of my unconditional LOVE.

Now you’re all caught up, right?

Yesterday in the late afternoon, my phone rang and this is how FaceTime started.

No “Hello”, just “Grandma, I got to tell you. It’s bad, real bad. Something bad happened.”

“Hello, my T.”

“Oh yeah, hello Grandma, you aren’t gonna like this.”

Now if you’re wondering why I was so calm (which I was) it’s because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that if something really catastrophic had occurred, I would have heard about it from mom or dad, and they wouldn’t have allowed a four-year-old to become the messenger of something terrible that had befallen one of them.

Anyway, my Grandma-spidey-sense kicked in and I could pretty much figure out what constituted a crisis in his lovely little life.

“What happened, tell me!”

“OK. Listen. but I have to show you. You aren’t gonna like it. I’m gonna flip.”

When he flips the camera to show me what’s in his hand, my crystal ball vision was confirmed.

There was damage to the tiger ball. One ear had been slightly chewed off.

“Oh my. Poor Tiger. How did that happen?”

“Well, Grandma, Charlotte used those two little teeth of hers to tear off his ear. Can you believe it?”

“I hope she didn’t eat it, did she?”

“No. I was being kind and shared it with her for just a minute and she damaged him.”

“T, that is pretty sad for Tiger, I agree. I understand you are sad about it. How about if you put it up on a high shelf so that Char can’t get to it and I’ll fix him the next time I’m there. You know how good I am at fixing things, right?”

“OK Grandma, I will. I know exactly where to put him.”

“Now let me see your beautiful face for a minute.”

“There we go. That’s good.”

“I’m going to flip MY camera because I want to show you a surprise I have for you.”

I walked into his bedroom.

“Look, T. What do you see?”

“NO WAY!”

“Yes, way. As soon as I saw how much you loved Tiger, I went back to the store and got another tiger, just in case something happened to him. And the balls were all so cute, I got a kitty cat and a sloth, too. See?”

“DADDY YOU HAVE TO COME HERE AND SEE WHAT GRANDMA HAS.YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. HURRY AND SEE!!”

Soft Sloth Squeeze toys Mini Change Color Squishy Cute animals Anti stress  Ball Squeeze Soft Sticky Stress Relief Funny Gift Toy|Squeeze Toys| -  AliExpress

“A sloth? Show me again. Grandma, you know how much I love sloths, don’t you?”

(Says Daddy, “Good call, Grandma. He was really upset.”)

“T, I’m going to mail them to you first thing in the morning and you should have them by Saturday. That’s three days from now.”

“Grandma, can you go to the post office NOW and mail them to me?”

“It’s a bit late in the day, so it will have to be in the morning, but I promise I’ll do it first thing, OK?”

“DAD, GRANDMA’S GOING TO MAIL THEM TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.”

“Now we have that problem solved, don’t we? That will make everything better, don’t you think? Maybe it will be a good idea not to let Char get too close to the balls so that she doesn’t chew on them, right? She’s still such a little one and is learning what can and can’t go in her mouth. We need to be very careful with her.”

Apparently we were done with that subject and his fears were sufficiently allayed because he entered the Twilight Zone with his next topic…

“Grandma? I’m going to pick you up from the airport tomorrow. It might take me a week to get there, but I’m going to be there and the first thing you’ll say is, ‘There’s my Theo!!””

“Whoa, um, T, I’m not actually going to get on an airplane tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”

“It’s going to take me a long time to get there, probably a week, but I’ll be there.”

“I hope I can see you really soon, Angel Boy, and then I will give you the BIGGEST HUG ever.”

“OK, Grandma, Bye.”

And that was it.

Whew, good thing I’m Grandma to the rescue. Crisis averted.

If only all disasters were so easily solved, right?

If only.

Fog + real ducks in a fake pond.

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to walk before the devil heat returns.

Lucky for me there’s a deep marine layer and so much fog that it’s impossible to see across the street from my house. The fence around the school is barely visible; that’s how moisture-laden the skies are right now. Normally, it’s possible to see all the way to the lagoon from here, but not today.

It’s an hour-long walk around the lagoon and up the hill, and I hurried to beat the emergence of the fiery ball. All-time heat records were broken yesterday; it’s easier to comprehend nuclear fusion creating a core temperature of 270 million degrees on days like that.

These are real ducks in a fake pond on the street where all the paddleboarders park. They built this water feature and have since tried in every way to deter ducks from using it–but here they are. It’s literally feet away from the lagoon which is a natural body of water; how could they expect wildlife NOT to enjoy it??? Duh.

Hello, ducks! Have a wonderful swim. Welcome to Carlsbad!

…and so it begins

Here in SoCal, there are unusual excessive heat warnings for the coast; it could reach 105 degrees today. It was 87 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and now it’s 101 at 11:00 a.m. HOT!

The National Weather Service announced red flag warnings for high fire probability with humidity less than ten percent. The forecast also calls for areas of smoke. High heat records are being broken this weekend. Our desert temperatures could exceed 126 degrees. Crazy!

There’s ash on my car and deck from the fire in Alpine, fifty miles away in the east county. I tried to go for a walk at 7:15 and not only was it already too hot, but my breathing was compromised from the smoke so I had to turn back. As of right now, the (named) Valley fire is estimated to have burned 4,000 acres and is 0% contained. Ten structures have been destroyed.

And then I found this, the first one of the season. The first leaf fallen from the mulberry tree. Autumn in SoCal.

I see a few more yellow leaves up there; soon I’ll be raking them up and the branches will be barren.

Sometimes I hear the voice of my poetry professor and search for a poem to illustrate the bittersweet feelings of the changing season. This is a good one by Rossetti.

Autumn Song
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
By DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

3-Ingredient VEGAN Banana Oat Cookies

YES! It’s so simple and so healthy, a wonderful baking activity to do with children.

It’s your decision whether to stick with three basic ingredients or add extras. They can be as elaborate as you want.

The best part of this recipe is that it uses ZERO sweetener, however if you add granola, remember that it’s most likely made with sugar or honey. I don’t have gluten issues, but I guess you could call this technically a gluten-free recipe.

The secret to success is VERY ripe bananas, the kind that you’d only use for banana bread or think about tossing into the compost. That’s the level of ripeness we’re looking for here.

3 Ingredient Vegan Banana Oat Cookies

-1-2 very ripe bananas
-1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats) OR 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup granola, mine contained raisins.
-1/2 cup chopped nuts, I used raw almonds.

Directions: Mash bananas, stir in oats and nuts. (I sprinkled in 1 teaspoon cinnamon.)
Other additions could be raisins, flax/chia/hemp seeds, other dried fruit, coconut.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, chill for 30 minutes or so; then drop by a full teaspoon on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 11-15 minutes, depending on your oven’s thermostat. Let cool on baking sheet before storing.

One Tree: Two Hawks

From 2017 for #throwbackthursday

It was a great day to spend time in my garden with these two hawks. Do you know what they were looking at? Me, taking photos of them.

Magical September Moon

Image may contain: text that says 'TONIGHT SEPTEMBER 2ND 2020 MAGICALRECIPESONL.ING RECIPESONLINE THIS MAGICAL FULL MOON WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING A MAGICAL WINDOW OPENS TONIGHT AND WILL LAST UNTIL SEPTEMBER 13TH THIS Full Moon will bring pleasant changes, and it will support those changes we are trying to achieve. This blessing will last for the whole fortnight, but from the 13th onwards not as strongly.'

It’s been a crazy year so far with Covid-19, isolating quarantines and Zoom schooling, masks and social distancing, our country in lock down, fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and that’s just the weird stuff. The ugly shadow side to all of this is the senseless killing of black Americans and the unleashing of hatred by disgusting white supremacists, brought to the surface by an orange-faced agitator. In my opinion, he really is the most vile and evil creature, the real disease of 2020.

Anyway…2020 is almost over and we have a bewitching full moon tonight.

I wrote this little haiku five years ago. Innocent, unaware that dark furtive shadows were lurking.

For the first time in three years, the September full moon is in a unique situation: it’s happening so early in the month — a timing that gives it an entirely different name, the Corn Moon– instead of the harvest moon — and sets the stage for October to have two full moons, meaning a rare blue moon will shine this Halloween.

Full moons happen when the sun, Earth, and moon form a line, allowing the side of the moon facing Earth to be fully illuminated by the sun. Another name for this full moon is the Hungry Ghost Moon, which references the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival that happens on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. On this day, ghosts and spirits, including those of ancestors, are believed to visit the living. (From Live Science)

Wherever you are on the planet, I hope you’re able to enjoy the healing energy of this full moon.

“I am wonderful.”

Here’s another example of an empowered child, as told to me by my DIL (daughter-in-law).

Two years ago on the first day of preschool (I was there but didn’t witness it personally), T’s friend was holding her mom’s hand and as they walked up to the door, she stopped, threw back her shoulders and declared, “I am wonderful” and walked inside to face the world.

Apparently, no one could figure out exactly where the phrase came from, as mom said she didn’t recall saying it, but we all agreed THAT is the level of self-confidence we should strive for.

We could put that on our bathroom mirror to see every morning as a daily affirmation, our anthem. We are wonderful warriors.

Take a deep breath, hold your head high and say,

I AM WONDERFUL

Wonder full. Full of wonder.

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

We could hope for nothing less than to be full of wonder: tending to excite wonder; surprising, extraordinary.

It makes waking up every day just a little happier to be full of wonder as opposed to full of anhedonia; reduced motivation, unable to experience joy in any of the things one had previously found fulfilling. In the DSM-5, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.

It’s like living in a world that’s shades of gray as opposed to one that’s full of color.

Colorful/wonderful.

Convo #726 with the Brilliant One and a Life Lesson: “Here I am!”

Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, never ever forget that children absolutely absorb our words, positive AND negative.

If your goal is to raise happy, healthy, empowered, imaginative THINKERS, remember that every word you say to them becomes ingrained in their fertile brains and becomes a part of their belief system.

Although I really and truly believe this and it’s been my lifelong philosophy (minus a few weeks of Angel Boy’s angst-filled teenage years), this was reinforced yesterday in the most casual and BEST way.

During one of my FaceTime calls with T, he said, “Grandma, I’m gonna flip the phone and show you this. You’ll think it’s amazing, I know you will.”

He flipped the camera to show me a crystal that his other grandma sent to him.

“Can you believe how sparkly it is, Grandma? I’ll save it to show you after the virus.”

(It seems as if now everything is always “after the virus.”)

Then, wait for it,…wait for it…he says,
Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll flip back. Here I am, Grandma. Here’s your beautiful boy.

He smiled at me with his daddy’s Imperial jade green eyes and those curls that have a life of their own.

Without a trace of humor or artifice, he was very simply repeating exactly what I said a zillion times, “Could you please flip the phone back so I can see my beautiful boy?”

And when he does, I say, “Oh, good. there you are. That’s who I want to see; my beautiful boy!”

He ABSORBED the positive affirmation–and knows deep inside where it counts–that he is my beautiful and smart and very loved little boy. He KNOWS he is valued for being who he is, not for any accomplishments, but simply for existing.

Haha, my work here is done. He is truly and beautifully empowered, inside and out.

Here’s an easy-to-save graphic with a few important positive affirmations for our children and for ourselves.

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