Two Humans and a Leopard Slug

Could anything be more adorable?

No TV, no video game, no tablet, just two angel children on a trail in the forest intently examining a Leopard Slug, or Limax maximus.

No fear, just curiosity.

Random Chat with a Princess: Secret Revealed

Those two little humans I’m honored to spend time with love nothing more than to perch themselves on the bar stools, four elbows on the countertop in order to scrutinize and narrate my every move in the kitchen like a TV chef.

From chopping onions to slicing red peppers for an afternoon snack, to helping roll out pizza dough, I’m the star of the show.

“We have that same kind of hummus, Grandma.”
“Grandma, my almond butter at my house looks like yours!”
“I go to Trader Joes with Daddy. He lets me get snack bars. I like strawberry.”
“Did you get your almond butter from Trader Joes, Grandma?”

“I have a Traders too, Angel Girl, and a lot of the food I get at my store is the same food you get at your store. The next time I go there, come with me and we can compare all the labels and the similar types of food. Won’t that be fun?”

There was a unanimous request for breakfast burritos, so I placed all the ingredients on the counter and started preparing them like a short order cook.

When I opened the plastic bag of tortillas, I saw that SOME of them had a TINY–literally microscopic– bit of mold on them. (Ooops.)

That did NOT escape the eagle eyed surveillance of a curly haired little girl. She doesn’t miss a THING.

“Grandma, we have tortillas at our house too, but ours don’t have little green spots on them.”

“Why do your tortillas have little green spots on them, Grandma?”

She was seriously conjuring up a memory of the tortillas at her house and comparing them to these with admittedly very TINY moldy spots on them. As a reminder, this child is two and a half years old and speaks in complete sentences like her kindergarten brother.

I couldn’t stop laughing to myself because I have a slight problem I’ve tried to hide from everyone. It’s this: once in a great while, I confess that I’ve been known to camouflage or cut out mold on bread or tortillas and this brilliant and observant child just outed me to the world.

I poked through the layers of tortillas and found a couple that did NOT have telltale little green spots on them and finished their second breakfast of the day.

(Don’t worry, I don’t make a practice of serving moldy food!)

Later….

“Grammy, why are there so many seashells in your house?”

“Well, you know how much I love seashells and rocks, don’t you? I save them every time we go to the beach at your house and I bring them home.”

In the upstairs bathroom as I ran the water for a bath, T (the math lover) counted all the seashells, forgot where he stopped, and had to restart the count about four times.

“Grandma, there are thirty two seashells just right here.”

“That’s a nice even number”, I said, as we toss all the toys in the bath.

“But they’re everywhere!”

“Well, my friend, I guess you’ll have a lot of counting to do, right? But now it’s bath time, so in you go and then it’ll be time for Char’s bath.”

“Out of the mouths of babes” is so accurate. You gotta be on the top of your game 24/7 with those two bright humans.

The Visit: Part Two | Joy

Do you know the definition of pure joy?

Pure joy is when I pick them up from the airport and T first spots me standing next to my car and he starts yelling at the top of this lungs, “I see her! I see GrandmaGrandmaGrandma!” and parents let him run through the crowd outside straight toward me and he throws himself in my arms, almost knocking me over, hugging so tightly it squeezes my heartlight into love energy.

And then comes Angel Girl 2.0, a bit slower but no less affectionate, hanging on to me like a little monkey while Mom and Dad bring up the rear with all the suitcases.

Two enchanted curly haired conveyers of intense happiness; more alive than any two humans I’ve ever known.

That is simply and perfectly PURE JOY. And do you know what else it is? It’s EVERYTHING.

Grateful.

Now for the important stuff…”After you’re buckled in, who wants a muffin or an oatmeal cookie?”

Never Empty | Full Cookie Jar | Full Heart

They’re back!

The return caused a flurry of repeated menu requests along with some new ones (veggie sushi).

Remember my broken/bruised ribs? Well, just as they’re almost 100% healed, I broke my toe. AGAIN. Different toe, same foot. It was absolutely and totally my fault because I run around with no shoes and was jumping from one step to another out in the garden and I missed…You’d think I’d learn by now; apparently NOT.

Within the first fifteen minutes, this is what happened when they walked through the door:

Played the piano for a minute…

Rearranged all of my neatly placed furnishings in the dollhouse.

Ran up the steps to the kitchen to open the cookie jar. “Grandma, yay, it’s full of cookies like always!”

“Come on, Char, let’s go up to our room!” (He knows that’s where I stash all the presents I accumulate.)

Then it’s backyard time along with, “I’m hungry, Grandma, did you make ice cream? Can we have cones?” (Yes and yes.)

“Char, look! This is where all the rats were! But they’re all gone, right?”

Time for more food.

Time for more food.

“Can we go to the park now?”

And…more food.

Where’s mom and dad? Surfing, of course!

Broken toe or not, that cookie jar will always be full. (As is my heart.)


Happy Birthday, Mommy

She’d be 107 years old today. I miss her more than she probably ever imagined.

Her legacy endures because Angel Boy 1.0 and DIL named Angel Girl after her. They have photos of her at their home and both children know who she is and how much of an honor it is to be named for her. She’s Daddy’s grandma, Grandma’s mommy.

Since my mom was an absolutely amazing grandma, I try to emulate some of the same things she did with my son; have endless patience with laser focused attention, play with them forEVER, and take each of them solo toy shopping.

“Look what Grandma got me, Mommy! Grandma said I could get ANYTHING I wanted” as my son showed me one Matchbox car, the only thing he chose. (He always was frugal!)

I knew it wasn’t the object that made him happy, it was spending time with Grandma that was fun and special. And important.

Happy Birthday! I wish we all had more time with her, that’s for sure.

Driving around doing errands this morning, I heard one of her favorite songs at least three times, a message for sure! She loved Prince’s When Doves Cry, and so do I.

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.”

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!

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.

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.

Reflections: Princess Rosebud Random Facts Revealed

I’ve been asked to share a little bit about who I am, so here ya go! I had to have three old crowns replaced this morning and while I’m recovering from the lidocaine numbness, I thought I’d string together random facts about me. Sadly, those aren’t the kind of crowns I’d prefer to wear but I guess I can say that I am now really and truly royal.

Why Princess Rosebud? I’m named after my paternal grandmother, a Jewish tradition, and her name was Rose. My dad started calling me Rosebud; other people began to refer to me as Princess (for obvious reasons), and thus Princess Rosebud was born. When my Angel Kids call me Grandma Princess Rosebud, it makes me laugh A LOT.

I grew up in Detroit and moved to SoCal during high school. I was a year younger than my classmates because I used to be SUPER smart and skipped a grade. However, that brainy-ness wore off fairly early, I’m sad to say. Since my dad wanted me to become a lawyer like he was or a doctor, I’m sure he would be slightly disappointed, but I’d still be his Rosebud, no matter what.

I don’t remember much about my high school years because I left early every day to intern at the Old Globe Theatre and to take ballet classes. I don’t think I went to a single football game, although I attended senior prom. As I posted a few months ago, I recently reconnected with a high school classmate who reminded me of the time we attended a Doors concert and I jumped on the stage. Hand to heart I didn’t remember one detail about that evening even though there are several newspaper accounts. As introverted as I am most of the time, getting close to Jim Morrison was the catalyst I needed to step outside of my natural tendencies.

Thanks to https://marthakennedy.blog/, I recalled a memory of the Old Globe. I interned mostly in the costume department where I learned the invaluable skill of sewing a breakaway sleeve for fight scenes. A few years later, I auditioned for a production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. It went so well that the director (famous Craig Noel) old me to keep going after I had finished a couple of paragraphs. The room was silent as I continued, and I was shocked to receive resounding applause. I didn’t get the job, though, but it was my best audition. I ALMOST showed up the following year to audition for Equus until I learned the role involved nudity and I couldn’t do it.

I stopped eating all meat of any kind in my junior year of high school. It took a bit longer to completely remove dairy and fish, but that happened, too. Right now in my refrigerator, all you’ll find is vegan pesto, tofu, mushrooms, and a fresh batch of veggie lentil soup. Avocados are a staple too, I eat one every day for the good fat.

I’ve always loved wolves and have no idea WHY since Detroit is the last place in the world you’d find one. There are wolves on Isle Royale, but I’ve never been there. According to a shamanic practitioner, I was actually a wolf in a former life, so that explains the connection. I like that scenario. Being outdoors with nature is where I’m happiest; tall buildings and concrete are disorienting and cause me a lot of anxiety so I tend to avoid the big city.

I went to college here, majored in literature, creative writing, and entered the elementary education teaching program, then I decided I wanted to be a famous movie star or director or something in show biz and switched my master’s focus to drama and production.

I thought about emigrating to New Zealand ‘cos I love to ski, but there was (and still is) a really long quarantine process for dogs so I didn’t follow through on that. I’ve always had a Border Collie in my life, at times along with a rescued wolfdog and other assorted cats and dogs.

After being cast in a few films and a stint as a casting assistant, I abandoned my Hollywood dreams because of a particularly scary and ugly casting director experience. Thank goodness I was saved before anything happened. Think along the lines of Harvey Weinstein…WHEW.

I interned at a local TV news station but didn’t enjoy it—a lot goes on behind the scenes and it’s way too competitive for me, but I learned a bit about investigative journalism. Mostly, I found it personally unsavory to shove a microphone in a mom’s face who had lost her son to a senseless street murder and ask her how she was feeling about it all…Not my cup of tea. I refer to those types of reporters as vultures…

A couple years later, I put all my effort, time, and attention into growing, birthing, and being mom to the original Angel Boy, still dipping my toe into local politics and passion projects from time to time, and always always defending and protecting and fighting for the rights of wolves and coyotes to exist.

Five years ago AB finally figured out the only way to deflect this Drone Mom is to have a baby (all about me, see how I do that?) which was a total success for him because my unparalleled devotion and obsessive attention is now laser focused on the Angel Kids, a win-win for us all.

As socially introverted as I am most of the time, I easily speak to huge crowds as I did when I testified in Sacramento to save wolves or stir up the masses at a packed city council meeting (I’m famous for that) or even to meet and speak with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I experience no fear at all in those situations but I’m most comfortable talking to my coyotes or my tomatoes or sitting on the floor discussing rainbows and kitty cakes with my Angel Kids. I can still hear T…”Grandma, why do I see a green bit? Is there any kale in here?” (Heehee, yes there’s probably always kale in everything I prepare, from muffins to smoothies.)

I literally never take a selfie but I was FaceTiming last evening with the fam and my son uncharacteristically told me I looked pretty which he NEVER does (AND he didn’t even have ulterior motives this time) so I had to snap a quick pic to see what he was looking at.

His exact words were, “Why are you all dressed up?” I wasn’t at all dressed up, but I can see his point since I emulate Cinderella most of the time. If I’m not scrubbing the floor or standing at the stove, what else could I be doing?

FUNNY!

Here I am. No filter and my necklaces are all tangled up. Straight-ish or curly, what do you think? Since I was at the dentist for such a long time, I showed him these pics and he liked the curly one. Random market research haha.