“Are you my Grandma?”

I got the Covid booster at my local CVS because it was easier and closer than the location my doc’s office was using. I didn’t want to drive home all the way from Del Mar just in case I had another allergic reaction.

**** You can read about that experience HERE: https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/01/23/rainbows-ivs-my-covid-vaccine-experience/ ****

There was a line even though we all had appointments, but I was glad to see so many people getting vaccines and boosters.

The woman behind me had her four-year-old daughter with her and clearly didn’t anticipate a wait so she hadn’t brought any books or toys for her little girl who was becoming slightly impatient. (Me too!)

I’ve learned that sometimes it helps to distract kids by engaging in conversation and told her how much I liked her sparkly shirt and that did it; I had a friend for life! She responded by telling me she loved my curly hair. I showed her photos of my adorable Angel Kids, the one with hair curlier than mine and the other with fiery titian hair.

“Hey, mom, LOOK! She has red hair just like me!”

“Are you my grandma too?

“No, honey, I’m grandma to this little boy and this little girl.”

“Can I see more pictures?”

Her mom nodded approval, so we spent a few minutes looking at pictures of T and C, which distracted her until it was my turn for the vaccine and we said goodbye.

It wasn’t as fulfilling as spending time with my own angels, but it still felt good to share some of my grandma magic.

It’s been an hour post-booster, and I guess I’ll live. I had a very slight allergic reaction, a little throat issue and asthma. They brought me Gatorade and readied an EpiPen but I didn’t need it because my albuterol inhaler helped forestall a severe respiratory issue. Even thought I had forced hydration for the last couple of days, I was PARCHED and drank the giant thirty two ounce bottle in about five minutes.

When I got home, I took Benadryl and Tylenol because I already had a headache and chills which tells me that I still have a robust immune system, nothing that ginger tea and a soft blanket can’t fix.

Oh, and the nice people from CVS gave me stickers for my Angel Kids, so I’m a happy, fully vaxxed grandma.

Kindergarten Angel Boy

It’s not possible, I keep shaking my head.

It’s time for that brave little bird to take another giant step into autonomy and individuation outside of his nuclear comfort zone.

NOOOO! I’m not ready. Angel Boy 2,0 MIGHT be ready, but I’m not.

I had this conversation with AB 1.0:

  1. If T wants to come home FOR ANY REASON or NO REASON AT ALL, bring him home. No questions asked.
  2. School is a place to have fun and learn new things; it’s not a prison.
  3. If he ever wants to STAY HOME, allow it.
  4. If he ever wants to CALL HOME, allow it.
  5. Again, school is NOT a prison.

These are the guidelines I lived by (and also made sure the teachers and admin knew) and it served us well. During his elementary school years, he called home only one time and that was to merely check that I meant what I said so our trust was never broken. AB loved school, loved to learn, and that’s one of the main reasons I believe why he’s now a professor.

Dad said he remembered, promised, and reminded me they’re only two blocks away from school, so I won’t have to worry.

School should NOT a prison.

School is not a punishment. Going to school shouldn’t be a threat. Neither should threatening to call the teacher if a child misbehaves at home. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Learning and being creative and imaginative is a JOY. I don’t care about attendance; that’s just the district’s hidden agenda to continue the flow of dollars. If a child doesn’t wake up in the morning excited and eager to get to school, it’s the teacher’s fault, and they really do NOT want this ghetto grandma showing up to find out why.

Teehee, that’s not an idle threat, by the way…’nuff said. Fingers crossed that he’ll LOVE it as much as his dad did. Or else.

P.S. In case I forgot to mention it, I used to teach school, K-6. Kindergarten is the most important and pivotal year in a child’s life to set the stage for academic success and nurture an inquisitive mind. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a positive kindergarten experience.

It’s a Pink Kitty Cat Kind of Day

“Owl or kitty cat, what will it be?”

“PINK!”

“What kind of birthday cake should I make for you? Pink owl or pink kitty cat?”

“Pink PIGGY!”

Too late, I already baked and decorated a little pink strawberry frosted kitty cat cake with a pink sparkly collar.

Two-years-old today; bright and beautiful.

This cake might not win any design awards at The Great British Baking Show, but it was a total hit with one particular little girl who loves the color pink and all kitty cats.

Happy Birthday, little princess!

Happy Valentine’s Day From Me to You

My plans were to post this on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, but I’m getting the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow and if predictions are correct, I might be too sick to do anything but lay on the sofa rolled up in a warm blanket and watch Netflix or reruns of Bewitched, so here it is!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image result for 1960's old fashioned vintage valentine cards

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day in spite of the commercialism. In elementary school, I looked forward to the day we’d give and receive those little Valentine’s Day cards (including the inedible heart-shaped candies.)

Later on, I especially cherished Angel Boy’s handmade cards –which I saved–every single one of them.

There’s something lovely and old fashioned about being thought of as someone’s Valentine, and I like that a lot.

I have simple wants; a bunch of wildflowers is treasured as much as a dozen red roses; all gifts from the heart are appreciated whether it’s a Chanel or a seashell. Or a handmade card from the Angels.

These flowers are called alstroemeria. Native to South America. I prefer their other name,  Lily of the Incas, ‘cos it sounds exotic. I’ve been growing them for about fifteen years. Surprisingly, they do quite well here and are drought tolerant. I’ve even been able to successfully dig up and divide the tubers.

I hope you’re having (will have) a happy, happy day!

To Pee or Not to Pee

That’s the question (with apologies to William Shakespeare).

Quick post:

There’s a lively discussion on NextDoor about a woman who was walking on a local trail with her nine-year-old son when he needed to relieve himself and did so a few feet off the trail in the bushes.

This is not a remote trail, it’s pretty much in the city, paved and well-traveled.

Apparently a woman stopped to stare and made the boy feel uncomfortable. There were quite a few negative comments directed toward the woman who (allegedly) was looking, comments like “mind your own business”…

Mine seems to be the ONLY comment that talked about the possibility that it might be inappropriate for a boy that age to urinate in public.

In my opinion, I think this would be a different story if it was a toddler in the middle of toilet training, but a nine-year-old is too old for that behavior.

Normally I don’t respond to NextDoor because it’s a dark hole like Facebook, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

What if it was a nine-year-old girl? Does that change anything?

Obviously, they were in plain sight. I wouldn’t want my son or my grandkids to see someone else’s body parts or something that should be private.

What if there was a predator around?

I’ve hiked a lot in many different wild places and had to find a secret spot myself, but this location isn’t a forest or a remote mountain trail. It’s a mile-long walkway paralleling the railroad tracks with houses and windows all around.

Your opinion?

“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.

Beach Walk

I got up early, made my French roast coffee (black), observed from the video in the outdoor camera that my coyote came to visit last night around 3:30 a.m.,  got dressed and walked to the beach while it was still overcast and relatively cool.

It’s a hilly walk and I was already sore from a hard workout yesterday, but I kept going. I wanted to avoid the crowds that were sure to descend as soon as the sun came out.

Here’s a couple pics of a very flat Pacific Ocean, although it’s so crowded, I don’t think epic surf was anyone’s goal.

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And then I saw this gem of sage advice on the sidewalk in front of the house where a couple of feral children reside. I know they’re little assholes because at one time I saw them throw rocks at their cat and I told their dad, who turned out to be a bigger asshole. Apple def didn’t fall far from the tree in their genetic pool. He didn’t respond in a kind manner when I told him he was successfully breeding future sociopaths.

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What’s NOT the best choice for a bedtime story? Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.

There sat my mother
   With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
   And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
   And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
   Frozen dead.

 

Since I was lucky enough to become a grandma (thank you DIL!) I’m always searching for new and interesting books to tempt Angel Boy 2.0 and his voracious appetite for words and pictures and language. One of my favorite photos was of AB 2.0 at around two months looking intently at AB 1.0 while he read a story. We swear he was paying attention. Maybe/maybe not, but we like to think so.

I went to our local library where they have a store staffed by volunteers and always find great books-sadly some never even cracked open-and grabbed an armful.

I parked myself in a little child-sized chair and briefly skimmed through my treasures. I found a book by one of my son’s favorite authors, James Herriot, who wrote All Creatures Great and Small and Moses the Kitten, along with about a dozen other really good stories, mostly about animals (my personal interests shining through).

Somehow, though, this book slipped by…

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay, illustrated by Beth Peek.

Visually stunning, I anticipated a lovely illustrated poem that Theo would enjoy, but waited until I had already driven home to fully read this one.

UH OH, thank goodness I read it first and I’m even more grateful that Theo can’t read at all.

I know I initially read it in high school, because as soon as I saw this page, the horror I had initially felt–returned.

A bedtime story? I think not. Not unless you want to seed some traumatic nightmares! I can’t imagine what kind of positive life lesson there could be here, can you?

I didn’t remember that it ended with the mom dying, having sacrificed her life for her son, and it’s not even that I DISAGREE with that concept because I believe a good parent should place her/his needs beneath those of the innocents we bring into this universe, BUT the guilt trip that little guy will most likely endure isn’t an equivalent value for having his loving mother ALIVE.

No wonder it appeared that this book looked as if it had never been touched.

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver

“Son,” said my mother,
   When I was knee-high,
“You’ve need of clothes to cover you,
   And not a rag have I.
“There’s nothing in the house
   To make a boy breeches,
Nor shears to cut a cloth with
   Nor thread to take stitches.
“There’s nothing in the house
   But a loaf-end of rye,
And a harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody will buy,”
   And she began to cry.
That was in the early fall.
   When came the late fall,
“Son,” she said, “the sight of you
   Makes your mother’s blood crawl,—
“Little skinny shoulder-blades
   Sticking through your clothes!
And where you’ll get a jacket from
   God above knows.
“It’s lucky for me, lad,
   Your daddy’s in the ground,
And can’t see the way I let
   His son go around!”
   And she made a queer sound.
That was in the late fall.
   When the winter came,
I’d not a pair of breeches
   Nor a shirt to my name.
I couldn’t go to school,
   Or out of doors to play.
And all the other little boys
   Passed our way.
“Son,” said my mother,
   “Come, climb into my lap,
And I’ll chafe your little bones
   While you take a nap.”
And, oh, but we were silly
   For half an hour or more,
Me with my long legs
   Dragging on the floor,
A-rock-rock-rocking
   To a mother-goose rhyme!
Oh, but we were happy
   For half an hour’s time!
But there was I, a great boy,
   And what would folks say
To hear my mother singing me
   To sleep all day,
   In such a daft way?
Men say the winter
   Was bad that year;
Fuel was scarce,
   And food was dear.
A wind with a wolf’s head
   Howled about our door,
And we burned up the chairs
   And sat on the floor.
All that was left us
   Was a chair we couldn’t break,
And the harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody would take,
   For song or pity’s sake.
The night before Christmas
   I cried with the cold,
I cried myself to sleep
   Like a two-year-old.
And in the deep night
   I felt my mother rise,
And stare down upon me
   With love in her eyes.
I saw my mother sitting
   On the one good chair,
A light falling on her
   From I couldn’t tell where,
Looking nineteen,
   And not a day older,
And the harp with a woman’s head
   Leaned against her shoulder.
Her thin fingers, moving
   In the thin, tall strings,
Were weav-weav-weaving
   Wonderful things.
Many bright threads,
   From where I couldn’t see,
Were running through the harp-strings
  Rapidly,
And gold threads whistling
   Through my mother’s hand.
I saw the web grow,
   And the pattern expand.
She wove a child’s jacket,
   And when it was done
She laid it on the floor
   And wove another one.
She wove a red cloak
   So regal to see,
“She’s made it for a king’s son,”
   I said, “and not for me.”
   But I knew it was for me.
She wove a pair of breeches
   Quicker than that!
She wove a pair of boots
   And a little cocked hat.
She wove a pair of mittens,
   She wove a little blouse,
She wove all night
   In the still, cold house.
She sang as she worked,
   And the harp-strings spoke;
Her voice never faltered,
   And the thread never broke.
   And when I awoke,—
There sat my mother
   With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
   And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
   And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
   Frozen dead.
And piled up beside her
   And toppling to the skies,
Were the clothes of a king’s son,
   Just my size.

Gratitude + Joy

I don’t often post pictures of Angel Boy 2.0 because we are all protective of his image but every single time I look at this photo, it sets my world right again, so I thought I’d share it with my friends.

With hurricanes and floods and fires and murders and other toxic disasters that seem to engulf our consciousness lately, there’s the opposite and equally powerful tug of LOVE at our hearts and minds and souls and spirits.

He’s the reason why my sun rises every single day.

Pure in his magnificence, my heart softens and melts. And heals.

Just a boy and his Peppa the Pig plate full of a lentil burger, broccoli, hummus, and tomatoes.

Pure love. We all need a big dose it right about now.

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Another Empty Nest, Another Sad Mom

Another empty nest

Poor mama bird, I know how she feels…

 

I found a broken shell from a newly hatched baby under the ficus tree. A pair of warbling vireos make a home year after year in this birdhouse.

 

It’s so sad that she puts all that work into building a nest and feeding her babies and they always fly away.

They always leave mommy. *sniff*

I guess that’s the way Mother Nature intended it to be, but it still sucks.

Facebook is full of moms who can’t wait until their children turn eighteen, almost pushing them out of the nest with a packed suitcase and a sigh of relief so they can resume their “lives”, but that’s not the way I feel about it.

As much as I’m bursting with pride at the independent and successful young professor he’s become, his bedroom is still quietly waiting — just as it always was, with fresh sheets on the bed, clean clothes in the closet, and his favorite books lined up on the shelf.

In the beginning, when he first left for college (years ago), the hardest thing to deal with was the silence — the QUIET was deafening. I have no idea how one child could fill up the space with his presence, but he did.

Now, nothing makes me happier than a call telling me he’s coming home for a visit (sigh) so I can load up on the ingredients for his favorite foods.

You know how mama birds feed their young, don’t you? They regurgitate partially digested insects and worms directly into the beaks of their babes.

I’m not THAT extreme, but you know what I mean.

It’s one of my greatest joys to watch my son eat.

I admit it. I do. I sit across from him at the table and soak it all in, every single mouthful.

(Don’t feel sorry for him, he’s used to it.)

And then he leaves again, and the quiet fills our house and our hearts.

Can you guess that I’m missing my Angel Boy right now?