What’s Your Inspo?

Friday thoughts…

(inspo = something or someone that serves as inspiration or motivation.)

deviantart.com/ignisfatuusii/art/In-the-Magic-Forest-3311904

I’m a forever child, never to grow up, still talking like the perpetual thirteen-year-old that I was/am, and sometimes a fairy princess in an enchanted forest with flowers in my hair surrounded by gentle creatures.

It used to irk my son when I’d repeat key phrases from South Park or Beavis and Butthead that were sooo INAPPROPRIATE, but now he laughs with me. A snarky chuckle, but a laugh nonetheless.

One day when he was in graduate school, we were eating lunch with a few of his friends and he put me on the spot and made me imitate Towlie from South Park. “Wanna get high?” in that Towlie voice. Good sports, we all laughed. I knew they were laughing AT me, but it wasn’t in a mean way. I laughed at myself, too. The jokes on them though, ‘cos whatever I did as a mom inspired my son to become a professor. HAHAHA.

Here’s Towlie in case you didn’t have a teenage son in the 90s…

NEVER GROW UP, that’s my mantra. (A girly Peter Pan without leaving all the narcissistic destruction in my wake.)

Just now at the ATT store I noticed that I was the ONLY one who was enthralled with two little starlings who walked all around me in a circle, not a care in the world with regard to humans and cars, and then I looked up and saw a gigantic White Egret. There was a UPS man parked right next to me and he followed my gaze as I was looking up, so I said, “Look at the beautiful white egret!” Nothing. “It’s a BIRD.” Nothing. “It’s really special!” Nothing. He continued with his stressed and frenzied pace to get those packages delivered and delivered and delivered. He looked at me like I was slightly off center but I wanted to tell him that he’d have a better day if he stopped just for a minute to BREATHE and LOOK UP.

There are miracles all around to be seen and heard. The simple things are the greatest bringers of joy and gratitude. It’s also true a Chanel handbag can bring its own kind of joy, as much as a seashell. Same.

Back to inspo

What’s MY inspo? Now it’s mostly Theo and Charlotte, and always my original Angel Boy, that’s a given.

I’m putting the finishing touches on Theo’s half birthday gift, another one of my personalized books with photos and beginner words that I write just for him.

Yes, we celebrate half birthdays around here. It’s a tradition started by my mom, the original Charlotte. Hee hee. Not only did I get presents on my dad’s birthday, I received gifts and HALF a cake on my half birthday in November. The same was done for AB and now his kids. I think it’s an awesome tradition.

When my son turned twenty-one, I embarrassed him (yet again) in front of his friends with my speech about my love for every breath he’s ever taken and then gave him a gift of a star that I named for him because he was and will always be my entire universe. Check it out: International Star Registry, Scutum RA18h 47m 46d D-12′ 24′

Do you celebrate half birthdays?

What’s your inspo?

Daddy’s Girl

Happy Belated Birthday, Daddy!

His birthdate was July 20, and he used to “give” me his birthday so that I could receive presents on that day as well as my own.

I’m not a narcissist, but here it’s all about me. And my daddy, the first one to refer to me as Princess and Rosebud. All I’ve done is combine the two to create my persona.

Nothing much has changed; that’s still about how much of my body gets wet in a pool. Can’t mess with my curls, right?

My contribution for #throwbackthursday

And There She Goes…

Like the metamorphosis of a butterfly, babies change from inert objects to crawling on all fours to becoming bipedal.

Uh oh, Angel Girl 2.0 started walking yesterday! You can see T in the water with Dad looking on. In the blink of an eye, they’ll both soon be at university.

Now and forever, they’re always walking away.
“Hey, wait for me!”

(Yup, it’s Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains off in the distance.)

Love the fashion statement, dinosaurs and polka dots!

That little red wagon has many stories to tell. I acquired the first one here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells when T was about a year old and he loved it so much that Mom and Dad got him a duplicate for their home. This is the same one: Radio Flyer 2-in-1 Walker/Wagon. If anybody needs a very sturdy, stable, well-made wagon, try it! If it can survive AB 2.0, you can be sure it’s worth every penny.

Same age, same wagon, always walking away. Nice outfit, though, and you can see the curls are already making their presence known.

“Hey, man.” Convo with the brilliant one.

No one can pinpoint the etymology of this phrase with regard to our extremely precocious almost 4.5 year-old, but yesterday was the first time I heard it.

We were FaceTiming so he could tell me about their week-long camping trip. He was regaling me with how much fun he had and how he went surfing and how his baby sister enjoyed her first time living on the feral, as we say.

As an aside, he started referring to his almost one-year-old sister as “Missy” and when I asked him who he was talking about, Mom took the phone and said he started calling her that after I sent an Amelia Bedelia book where the child she babysits for is called “Missy.” T has a very active imagination.

As, we’re chatting and he shows me some new crystals he got at a yard sale–green and purple, his two favorite colors–I heard Dad in the background say, “Tell Grandma about the lake we went to this morning.”

“Oh yeah, hey man, I jumped all the way in from really high, you would have been too scared, little Grandma!”

I said, “What lake?” and “What did you just say?”

And he replied, “Let me ask Daddy.”

He walks over to where Dad is sitting on the sofa (I’m dragged along on FaceTIme) and says, “Hey, man, what was the name of the lake we went to?”

My son started snickering and said. “It was Kachess Lake”.

T said, “Hey man, it was Kachess Lake”.

I replied, “Oh, I saw the pictures and thought it was Green Lake.”

He corrected me, “No, man, it was Kachess Lake. Hey man, did you see me jump?”

“I did. You are a brave boy. Hand the phone to Dad for a minute, please.”

“Hey J-boy. What’s up, man? Where did he get that?”

*snickering again*

“We have no idea; he must have heard it somewhere or maybe on Sesame Street, that’s all we can think of, but literally EVERY other word out of his mouth is ‘man this or man that’.”

“Hey man, I’m gonna hit the red button now. Is that OK, Grandma?”

“Yeah, man, that’s cool. Catch you later. Bye, Angel Boy.”

Have you ever heard a little one use that term in the proper context? He sounds so grown up, so sophisticated. SOOOO precocious. Heaven help us when he’s an actual teenager.

“Do you love me more than a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles?” More brilliant chat with a little human.

“You’re my little Grandma.”

“I know I am. I’m a very small person and now you’re almost as big as I am.”

“Let’s compare hands, little Grandma!”

“OH MY GAWD, Grandma. My hand is almost as big as yours now!”

“I know, T, remember I told you that you are growing and growing every day and I stay the same size?”

“You’re my old little Grandma.”

*Yes, I am. (Lolz.)*

“Grandma, can you carry me?”

“I don’t think I can do that anymore, but let me try. You are so tall and SO heavy. I can pick you up, but I can’t carry you now. Daddy will carry you if you’re tired.”

“Daddy, Grandma cut triangles and hearts and circles and squares and I glued them to a piece of paper. Do you wanna see? Grandma said that’s one of the things I’ll do when I go to Kindergarten.”

“Grandma, did your little boy Daddy do that too? Did he like to glue shapes? Did he like to read? Did he like to watch Sesame Street? My Daddy is your little boy, right, Grandma? But he’s a man so how can he be your little boy? He’s big. My Daddy is so big. He’s bigger than you, little Grandma.”

“If there’s no gravity in space, how did the astronauts not float away when they were on the moon?”

What a great and thoughtful question, T. Let’s research it and find the answer.”

“Grandma? Do you love me more than a chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles?”

“Hmm, that’s a really tough one, buddy. I do love chocolate a LOT. Let me think about it. Well, the answer is yes, I love you more than a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles.”

“Do you love me more than seashells and rocks?”

“Oh NO, that’s going to be so hard. Let me give it some thought.  *Sigh*. You definitely know how much I love seashells and rocks, but I love you so much MORE.”

This went on for the longest time until he was completely assured that I love him more than ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

This brilliant not-so-little-human.

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The boy who is my heart

Update Mother’s Day 2020: I wrote this post about my son lightyears prior to Angel Boy 2.0. because without him, I wouldn’t be a mommy at all.

Since the birth of his baby sister, AB 2.0 and I repeat this conversation pretty much every single time we speak or we’re together. (A little needed reassurance about his place in the world.)

“Who’s my very favorite boy?”

“I am, Grandma!”

And who’s my second favorite boy?”

“DADDY IS. DADDY IS!”

“You’re right! Now…who’s my favorite GIRL?”

“CharChar is, right, Grandma?”

“You got it, T. And then who’s my second favorite girl?”

“MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!”

Just keeping it straight for the second little boy who is my heart.

(P.S. My poem was published in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 34 #4)

 

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On one bitterly cold wintry afternoon, I embarked on a major yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
Then I saw it, a bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles, suffused with a gleaming radiance through the brown. 
steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discovered in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect four-year-old child, the same age that my grandson is right now, thirty-five years later.
I gently brushed away decades of encrusted soil and sand.
steamroller2
sandbox
I was engulfed in wave after wave of memory.
I was there. Really there. 1985. 
I saw him–my precious four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  
I watched him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is — and always will be — my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.

And what eventually happened to the steamroller? It’s still here in the garden, living a new life helping another curly haired, green eyed little boy weave his own stories…

In a way, a sort of homage to…
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

“I swear, Grandma!” More chat with the world’s most brilliant human

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Four going on thirteen. That’s Angel Boy 2.0, or as he likes to be referred to when he’s cooking: “Mr. Ovens”.

I have no idea where he gets that precocious attitude. Well, yes I do, but that’s another story.

Since the pandemic has eliminated all of our in-person visits, T-boy and I have been chatting on the phone a lot, sometimes several times a day.

If he sees my favorite breed of dog walk by his house, he likes to call me and say, “Grandma, I just saw a Border Collie, you love Border Collies, don’t you?”

Or he’ll call and flip the camera around to show me his weather, “It’s supposed to rain today but right now there’s some blue sky and clouds.” “What’s your weather like today at your house, Grandma?”

He likes to call me after dinner when Mom is giving baby a bath and putting her to bed and before his bath and bed routine. Dad is usually working in the garden and I’ll get a call.

“Hello, my special friend! How was your day? ”

“GOOOD. I’m outside with Daddy. You know what, Grandma? I had to call you. I swear. Daddy went on a skateboard and didn’t wear his helmet again. I swear. I told Daddy you want him to wear his helmet but he doesn’t. He wears it on his bicycle but not when he’s skating with me. I wear my helmet, Grandma.”

“Thank you for telling me about Daddy. And I’m so proud of you for making good choices and wearing YOUR helmet. Well done!”

“Thank you.”

“Let me talk to Daddy, OK?”

“OK, Grandma.”

And then I hear…

“Dad? Daddy? Jay? Jas? JASON NATHANIEL!! Grandma wants to talk with you. I told her about the helmet situation.”

It cracks me up every single time I hear T call his daddy by his other names using the same exact inflection that he’s heard. Pretty adorable.

“Oh you did, huh? Hello, Grandma.” Says the original boy who stole my heart so many years ago.

“DADDY, I was just informed that you are still not wearing your helmet when you skate with T. You do not need to be told about traumatic brain injuries, you know all about that. Who will take care of your babies when you are incapacitated?”

“Geez, he’s a tattletale haha. I wear it sometimes.”

“Dad, did you hear what Grandma said?”

“Hey, T, I have an idea. Tell Daddy that I won’t allow him to go surfing the next time you guys come to visit if he doesn’t make good choices and wear his helmet.”

I hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, “DAD! GRANDMA SAID YOU CAN’T GO SURFING IF YOU DON’T WEAR YOUR HELMET!”

Then I hear Dad, “OK, tell Grandma I will.”

“Grandma, did you hear that? Daddy said he would wear his helmet.”

“Awesome job, T. We love Daddy and we want him to be safe just like we want you to be safe, right?”

“Right, Grandma. Hey, look at me jump! Grandma, I can jump so high! Grandma, did you send me a box of presents? Did you send The Borrowers Aloft?”

“I did, you’ll get the box in a couple of days.”

“DAD!!! JAY!!! I swear, I told you Grandma sent the second Borrower’s book! I knew she did. I told you not to buy it, I remember Grandma said she was going to send it.”

“OK Grandma, I’m going to go now. I’m going to have a bath. High five, Grandma.”

He likes to “high five” the phone.

“Bye, T. I love you.”

“Bye Grandma, love you, too. I’m going to hit the red button now.”

And he’s gone.

 

 

 

My experience as the virtual grandma at Passover dinner during a pandemic

Wednesday marked the first night of Passover 2020.

Although my grandfather was a rabbi and we used to observe most of the Jewish religious dates, it was much more for the fun than any strict adherence to dogma.

Hanukkah was the fave cos of all the prezzies of course, and Sukkot is cool cos it was a gathering of the harvest, and Passover/Pesach was chock full of symbolism and the time for the youngest member of the family (usually me) to have center stage reciting the Four Questions to explain what Passover is all about. (see below)

How is this night different from all other nights? This is one year none of us will ever forget.

Growing up, my son wasn’t too interested in anything Jewish, probably because we don’t live in a Jewish community and the lure of beach and ocean and skateboarding was more important, so I didn’t really push religion on him because in all honesty, I don’t really care.

For me, seeing a butterfly or growing and eating our own fruit and veggies is equally as spiritual or more so than being forced to sit in a smelly synagogue and recite endless words.

However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my son and DIL’s interest in dipping their toes (along with Angel Boy 2.0’s) into the ritual and symbolism of certain Jewish holidays.

For instance, last night we all gathered together to celebrate Passover dinner. Since they are physically located in the Pacific Northwest and I’m here in SoCal and we obviously can’t be together right now because of the pandemic restrictions, I was able to be included via FaceTime, which was actually pretty awesome. I think the original Charlotte would approve.

Keepin’ it real, they set a place for Elijah, upon which my grandson placed a very realistic looking furry fake rat. Yup, he’s his daddy’s boy for sure. He had grape juice instead of wine, and if the way he drank it and kept refilling his glass is any indication of future behavior, well, ’nuff said.

I still have the Four Questions memorized, tucked away somewhere up in my gray matter, so I helped with the pronunciation, while my son read the story of Passover and they followed the rules of eating the symbolic foods on the Sedar Plate.

Angel Boy 2.0 ran off to find the afikomen (a piece broken off from a matzo during a Seder and put aside to be eaten at the end of the meal. (It’s traditionally hidden during the Seder to be searched for by the children.)  There’s a really funny Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about a Passover dinner, not sure what season, but it’s on Amazon Prime.

It ended with latkes and matzo ball soup (for them) and tofu for me. There’s always a silver lining and always a rainbow after a storm, if you keep your eyes open.

Here’s some info about Passover:
The story about the origin of Passover is also the story of the life of Moses. For a time, the Israelites lived in peace and prosperity amongst the Egyptians until a new Pharaoh saw them as a threat to his power. He enslaved them and ordered all their sons to be killed at birth to prevent a new leader from arising.

According to the story, one mother was able to conceal the birth of her son, Moses. When she could no longer hide him, she hid him amongst the bulrushes. The Pharaoh’s daughter noticed the baby and decided to adopt him. She sent Moses’ sister to find an Israelite woman to nurse him, so he was reunited with his mother. When Moses was older, he moved into the palace where the Pharaoh’s daughter raised him as her own son.

As a young man, Moses noticed the suffering of the Israelites and his actions in retaliation forced him to leave Egypt to become a shepherd. God appeared to Moses one day in the form of a burning bush and commanded him to return to Egypt to lead his people into freedom with the help of his brother Aaron. Although Moses and Aaron repeatedly begged the Pharaoh to free the children of Israel, they were not successful. As punishment, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians. After the 10th plague, in which all first-born children of the Egyptians died, the Pharaoh agreed to free all Israelites and to allow them to leave Egypt with their possessions. As they had to leave in a hurry, they did not have time to allow bread to rise, so they baked unleavened bread, known as matzoh (plural matzah), for the journey.

Many aspects of Passover have a symbolic meaning. Cleaning the house to remove chametz, using a candle, a feather, a wooden spoon, and a paper bag, symbolizes the removal of egotism and spiritual coarseness from life. The matzoh represents the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, and the red wine or grape juice represents the blood of sacrifices and male circumcision. Special kitchen utensils and the Seder Plates are used in the special Passover meals.

The Seder Plate consists of 3 matzoh piled on top of each other on a plate or clean cloth, which are then covered with another plate or cloth. Next, small pieces of symbolic foods are then placed on top. The foods are: zeroa , a roasted shank bone or chicken neck; beitzah, a hard boiled egg; maror, freshly grated horseradish or the stalks of romaine lettuce; charoset, a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, and wine; karpas, a non-bitter vegetable, such as an onion or a boiled potato; and chazeret, more horseradish or romaine lettuce. A dish of salt water and wine accompanies the Seder Plate. Each item on the plate represent a different aspect of the Passover story and they are eaten in a particular order and in specific combinations during the ceremonial meal. From https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/jewish/first-day-of-passover

The Four Questions:

?מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת
Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?

1st Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה – כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin hametz umatzah; halailah hazeh, kuloh matzah.
On all other nights we eat leavened products and matzah, and on this night only matzah.

2nd Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה (כֻּלּוֹ) מָרוֹר
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin sh’ar y’rakot; halailah hazeh, maror.
On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs.

3rd Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים
Shebkhol haleilot ein anu matbilin afilu pa’am ehat; halailah hazeh, shtei f’amim.
On all other nights, we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.

4th Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin; halailah hazeh, kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.

https://www.kveller.com/article/the-four-questions/

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More chat with my brilliant human…”You love coyote poo, don’t you, Grandma?”

“You love coyote poo, don’t you, Grandma?”

Those words warm every part of my heart.

“Yes, I do, Angel Boy! I love it so much when I see coyote poo on a hiking trail. It makes me very happy. Sometimes animal poo is called scat [spelling it for him], S-C-A-T.”

“I love coyotes too, Grandma. I’m just like you.”

“You love love planting in the garden, don’t you, Grandma?”

“I do very much, you’re right!”

“I love to garden too, I help Daddy in our garden at home.”

“I know you do, buddy. You’re a big helper.”

“You love your bunny slippers, don’t you, Grandma?”

“Yes, they are my 100% favorites.”

“I love them, too, Grandma. See, I’m wearing your bunnies! My feet are as big as yours.”

“We are a lot alike, aren’t we? We like many of the same things and that is so cool.”

“Do you love Spiderman, Grandma?”

“Well, I can say that I LIKE him, but I don’t really love him.”

Jumping up and down while showing me his new Spiderman…”I do, I do, I do. I love love love Spiderman.”

“Sometimes we can like different things and that’s OK, too, because you are your own person and so am I, right, T-man?”

“I can’t wait to see you, Grandma.”

“See, now we’re exactly the same. I can’t wait to see you, too!”

“Can I push the red button now, Daddy?”

And then, just like that, he’s gone.

Our light, bright vision of magic.

Move over, Princess Rosebud; there’s a new princess in town!

Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte!

August 26, 2019!

Eight pounds, seven ounces of perfection.

She was named after my wonderful mommy. What an amazing honor!

I can only imagine how happy she is up there in heaven or wherever her free spirit has taken her. She died when the original Angel Boy, was only about seven years old, so she never was lucky enough to see him get his PhD or get married or be the best daddy ever to Angel Boy 2.0.

Check out these photos of Theo and Charlotte 3.5 years apart. They look like twins! That’s strong DNA for sure.

So far, her only accomplishments are eating and sleeping. Big brother looks intrigued…

What do you wanna bet she’ll have curly hair?