Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School

Back to school.

"Why can't I go the first day?" Sydney complains. Sixth graders go a day earlier than the rest of the middle school. Gabby will go off to the fourth grade at the same time.

"I don't want summer to be over!" Gabby complains. Back to school.

Every time I sent my kids off to school, my stomach ache appeared. Would their teachers be kind? Would they struggle with harder classes? Would those kids who were mean the year before be nicer this year? Would they have friends in their classes? Ah, the school stomach ache.

Now I find I have the same concerns with my granddaughters. I know how mean kids can be. I know that some teachers lack patience. Pettiness is such a girl thing at these ages. Friends one day can be the enemy the next.

Well, looks like I need to take a Tums and get myself ready for school. I'm working on my positive dialogue. My smile and enthusiasm seems to be working. I want strong girls. Sure they will face problems, disappointment. They will be hurt and saddened at some point. Home is a place to grow strength, to learn to handle problems and most of all, to find constant support.

Bring it on, School!!! It looks to be a good year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Storm Too Weak

"Too much media hype!"


"Inconvenience for no reason!"

A hurricane hit Vermont with a force that killed and destroyed. Today homes are still without power. Trees lay across homes in violent sleep. Bridges are washed away. Lives are in shambles. Yet masses complain that actions were too extreme. They were inconvenienced.

We seem to forget, don't we? We seem to forget that if one person suffers, if one town is in peril, if one home is destroyed, it could be us. To what extent do we go to protect our families? What would you do to protect your grandchild, your child, your community, your country? We have seen what has happened with the tsunami in Japan and Thailand. We have seen what damage earthquakes create. We have seen the damaged caused by violent storms that wipe out schools, Joplin, Missouri. We have seen volcanoes spew storms of ash and rock that crushed homes, cars, Spirit. We have seen famine and war destroy families, countries. Why do we turn a blind eye? Why do we believe that if we are not affected, actions are too extreme, too much hype?

I was in Indiana when a storm came through ripping tree roots from the ground. Live wires crossed the streets. Houses and cars were smashed. Neighbors known and unknown stopped to ask if they could help. Neighbors helped to drag away the debris. Friends helped friends clean up the damage. Where is this concern and neighborliness that once prevailed.

Governors, mayors, our President risked a great deal by making decisions for the safety of the people. They prepared for the worse hoping they would not need to say the words, "We just weren't prepared."

Firemen swam to a fire because the road was washed out. Police cars roamed the streets to secure the well-being of citizens. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles were driven by courageous men and women who put duty first. Yet, we criticize those in power because the storm wasn't worse. What is wrong with people?

I thank those people who make the hard decisions and who make them on the side of caution. I thank those people who rush into collapsing buildings to save the occupants and yet are not remembered once the job is finished. I thank the National Guard who protects our shores and our homes when tragedy strikes. I thank the firemen and women who daily put their lives on the line. I thank the police who don't think twice when faced with potential danger. I thank the politicians who make decisions not for the powerful but for the people.

Why are people upset when a storm doesn't do enough damage?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Pact

"Are your feet sticking to the floor?" I asked Sydney as we stood in the kitchen.

She, too, noticed that her feet seemed to leave a little bit of themselves on the floor with each step. I stood back looking at the light reflecting on the floor. The surface swirled a bit and small pieces of dirt hung to the crevices under the stove. So I took a little cleaner and paper towel hiding on the floor, quietly cleaning off the surface once more.

I say once more because Gabby mopped the floor this morning. It all began with.....

"Grammy, can I mop the floor some day?" she asked a couple of days ago. "I can do it."

"Yes, Gabby, its about time to learn," I answered.

So this morning we pulled out the Wet Jet. I showed her what to do, then she took over. Sydney was sweeping off the patio and vacuuming the stairs. I was dusting and vacuuming the living room carpet. Family cleanup day. Puddles was confined to the kennel.

It was after the work was finished that we started lunch. Two girls were proud of their accomplishments. What fun it would be to see Mom's face when she came home! There was no way that I was going to point out to Gabby that her floors needed a bit more attention. Sydney and I made a silent pact to keep our sticky feet to ourselves.

Gabby picked up the rugs, moved the dog dish, swept the floor before beginning and tackled her job with determination. I could not be more proud.

The critical eye, the carelessly tossed word can crush a child's desire to try. Our sticky floor was just perfect.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Still Crazy After All These Years

The back door opened and a woman walked out smiling. I quickly tried to see the girl I had once known. It had been forty-three years since last I saw her. It was a time of mortar boards and tassels.

Again, Facebook brought friends back together. It all started with a note saying, "Hi. I hope you remember me." From that point on, the two girls, now women, went on to create a new friendship.

My friend came to see me while I was visiting my sister. She walked through that door and back into my life once more. The conversation began and ended several hours later. The years dissolved. Old times were remembered, then the forty-three years away from our youth were shared.

The time of saying 'good-bye' wasn't easy, but promises were made to keep in touch and see each other as often as we could.

A door opens and old friendships grow new. A door opens......

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Benefit of the Doubt

Idiom: (Free Dictionary)
benefit of the doubt
A favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence.
How many things do we say that we really don't think about? What idioms do we use? What lays in waiting in our brains that falls on our lips creating a light that goes on in our heads? Okay, maybe not everyone has that happen, but I do. 

I was teasing a friend of mine this morning giving her memory 'benefit of the doubt'. I've said those words many times over my 64 years. Until this morning, I never gave them a second thought. Now, I love that phrase. Not only does it sound good, it feels good. Giving someone benefit of the doubt is a pretty incredible thing to do. To take a positive step. To give a second thought to our own thinking. To respect that there might be another point of view from someone else. Benefit of the doubt.

In dealing with my own children, it was difficult to go from that "I am mother. I know all" to an open mind taking in all circumstances of a situation. Even with gossip, that 'bene' should be the first thought, doubting whether something is true and, most importantly, whether it is something to be discussed....that small window of time when we stand on the precipice of diving into an action or dialogue without consideration of other views, other actions.

I seriously don't know if I'm making sense. I hear parents yelling at their children not giving them the 'bene', that thought that there might be extenuating circumstances, that things might not be as they seem. I have stepped into a situation without giving it the 'bene', not slowing down enough consider other ways of looking at something.

Benefit of the doubt. What a lovely saying.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear Mr. Senator

Dear Sentor Wyden....

Yes, this morning I did what I talk about. I wrote to my senator. I wrote for me. I wrote for those of you in the same boat. I tried to be a voice for those of living on a shoe string, those of us living with our children, those of us unemployed, those of us who are baby boomers and those drowning in Medical Insurance rates.

For those of you I've heard from who are hurting and those with concerns, please write to your senators. You have a voice. You have a chance to do something for yourselves. We have to believe in the system. We have to believe that we are a great country who cares about every citizen. We have to try our best to be our best.

I decided to write to Senator Wyden right after I had written to my state senator. Late last night our neighbors next door were by their house messing around their plants. Their house is about 10 feet away from ours. We know they smoke marijuana. We smell it every day and night. Our house often reeks of it. I was sure the plants were marijuana.

This morning I decided to check it out. I peaked through the fence and saw the plants growing next to their house. So I called the police. The officer came out and indeed it was marijuana. He counted the plants.

"I'll call you after I see if he is a registered grower."

Well, my readers, he is registered. We are stuck with this guy, with the smell in our house and with our girls living around marijuana. My daughter, a pharmacy tech, wonders why, if marijuana is going to be legal for medical use, it isn't handled through a pharmacy. How can we allow it to be grown outside my window???? So I wrote to my state senator.

I can complain all I want to my friends and family. I can complain to you. But, if I don't voice my concerns to the proper people, then how can I expect them to be heard?

I wrote my two emails. My granddaughters were sitting next to me. I hope that I am showing them a proper way to handle their problems. I hope that they will learn from our conversations and not just from complaining.

Go to Google and look up your state senator's information. Write your letters, your emails. Let them know that you care.

Critical Eye Disease

"She wears too much make up." "He certainly is showing his age." "I don't know why they bought that." "They need to control their children better." On and on it goes. The critical eye disease.

So what can I do about any of the above? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Yet over and over we run off at the mouth about other people. I announce that the critical eye disease is contagious and taking over the world. Casualties? Yes, the children.

Many of us were raised with the critical eye residing in our homes. Neighborhood gossip, small comments made at the dining room table, critical eye focused on the clothing decision of a child. What's wrong with us? Why do we think we have the right to judge other people? Why do we voice opinions when not asked? What are we doing to find a cure for this rampant disease?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Gem

"Better watch out," I told Sydney. "You might be like me someday."

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see shades of my mom. Is it my mannerisms? My voice? What is it that reminds me of you, Mom?

All of my childhood and early adulthood, I did not want to be like my mother. I didn't have grandmothers to admire. None of my teachers had changed my life. But we do absorb personalities. We inherit some traits that we can't deny.

I didn't have any superstars that I idolized. I didn't know who I wanted to be or what I could be. We more or less settled for how we lived and what we would probably be one day.

My grandchildren talk of teachers they admire, parents of friends, their mother, their aunt. These are the people who treat them with respect and love. They are women who nurture and give support.

"Better watch out," I told Sydney. "You might be like me someday."

"Yes I will," she replied.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Parenting on a Budget

"We went to Disneyland." "Our family went to Europe." "We spent the summer at our cottage on the beach." Hm. I'm getting a little tired of this. "We have season tickets to the theatre." "We went on a shopping spree." Argh! Get off my back!!!!!

Not all parents experience this lack of funds to buy what they want or to go where they want. Their summers are filled with camps, horses, vacations, etc. Well, darn it, folks, our summer has been on a budget. It's hard keeping our chins up when it seems like the rest of my grandchildren's friends are off enjoying every minute with rich abandon. Old memories of the financial struggle raising my children hits me between the eyes once more. Sometimes I think I have always been way below middle America since it seems most of other kids' parents have money.

So what do we parents and grandparents do? How do we compete? Well, first off, we don't. Life is what it is, but that being said, it does not mean that it is less bad, ah,, worse! Perhaps we are in essence giving more than what money can buy.

We discovered nearby a wilderness trail, er trails. Only about five minutes from home, we can start the trail overlooking the valley. A big sign announces that there just might be a mountain lion....rare, but possible. I tell the girls that we are to stand tall, look big, flap our arms and roar. After they finish laughing, they inform me that I can do it. They plan to be standing behind me. In case of a bear, we are to play dead. Dead!?!? You would have thought I was suggesting us offering a meal all laid out for a hungry bear.

"Bears don't eat meat."

"What about us?"

"We are meat. Be quiet and play dead."


"Stop talking; let's walk. We will have fun."

A local park is designed with a row of fountains. Parents and children flock to the park. The girls wear bathing suits with t-shirts over them. We take food, water, cards and beach towels.

"Don't take your shirts off," I tell the girls as they dash to the fountains. I have some alone time with a book

They stop. "Why?"

"Because we don't know who hangs around the fountains. There could be someone who means harm to children. I just want you safe."

My alone time was short.

This is not to say that we don't have fun. We do. The girls put shows on for me. They dance, sing and catapult themselves across the lawn ending in splits that are aptly named. The school is always available if we want to take tennis rackets and hit the balls off the back wall. Millie's bathing/wading pool comes in handy for a quick cool off. Sometimes even rearranging a room holds interest.

"Grammy, will it ever be like it was?" What do I say?

Maybe we can't offer riches, we who parent on a budget. Maybe we can't offer big gifts and rewards. But one thing I am absolutely sure of is that we can give the children our creative thinking, gifts of the heart, memories from the past and the present. We can open a box of pictures and giggle for hours. We can play school or have acting classes. A batch of cookies or a loaf of bread offers snacks and loads of fun.

I applaud all of us who are raising children. Those of us who seek answers and create a safe, inventive world for our children. Those who might not want to be in the circumstances that control their purse strings, but who are in circumstances to change the world one child at a time.

Parenting on a budget starts with a parent who says, "I can do it."

Friday, August 19, 2011

At Any Age

Fourteen and forty. Sixty and twenty. Five and twenty-five. It doesn't matter. No, wait. It does.

My nieces and nephews live far away. On my trip back to my roots, I had time with my nieces and nephew whom I have seen only few times over their growing up. Conversations are always a little stilted until you catch on to the rhythm then they feel more comfortable.

I grew up sitting on the periphery of adult conversations. Visiting was a popular pastime back then. It was a day when children were seen and not heard. That was fine with me, because I was shy and really didn't have much to say to any adult let alone another child. I guess I've made up for lost time.

"Why didn't she talk to us, Grammy?" my granddaughters asked after a friend came to visit.

I didn't know how to answer. I always try to recognize children when I go visit. I don't always feel comfortable when the kids are unruly, but it is what we do, isn't it? At a young age, the attention we receive from an adult tells us that we are important. When we are around twelve, we try to avoid adults preferring family pets for conversation. Teenagers prefer hang with their own kind. Then something happens. A child goes off to school. Even adults seem to prefer their own.

Once we are required to be on our own, we seem to find conversations pleasurable, informative. Spending time in conversation is rather nice. Going home to see family takes on new meaning. Parents and grandparents aren't so bad any more.

I spent the most time with my niece, Whittney. She is a working woman also attending college. There is an ease that comes with time spent. Ease that graduates from childhood discomfort into adult companionship.

I love conversations that include all ages. Conversations skills are important no matter the matter the age difference.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

If The Shoe Fits, Then Buy It

My daughter went to a bridal shower. They played the standard party games. In this game, the participants were to finish common phrases. Well, maybe I should say they are common to some generations and not others. The first section are the original sayings.

A woman's work never done
A happy house full of laughter
Behind every great man a successful woman
A stitch in time ...saves nine
The path of true love ...never runs smooth
Variety is ...the spice of life
Every man's home his castle
True love ...conquers all
Marriages are ...made in heaven
A watched pot ...never boils
If the shoe fits ...wear it
A penny saved a penny earned
Home is ...where the heart is
Too many cooks ...spoil the broth

The same set of sayings was given to the hostesses teenage daughter:

A woman's work ... is good work
A happy house a rich house
Behind every great man stupidity
A stitch in time a weird saying
The path of true love oh so nice
Variety is ...different types of different things
Every man's home a messy home
True love very nice
Marriages are ...sometimes okay
A watched pot something I don't understand
If the shoe fits ...then buy it
A penny saved ...will not make you much richer
Home is ...a place to sleep
Too many cooks ...makes a lot of food

New interpretations of old sayings. Messages from another generation. Observations made that tell a story of present day.

If the shoe all means, buy it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rain Drops on Roses

Rain drops on roses. Whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles. Warm woolen mittens.

My granddaughters had not seen Sound of Music. It was time they did. We gathered around the TV and watched an old favorite take us to the hills which were, by the way, alive with music.

I saw Sound of Music when it first came out. The cinematography was incredible. Costuming perfect. And, we all fell in love with the Von Trapp family. Now while watching it, I also watched my granddaughters. Those first few moments that captured me in the 60's failed to pull them in.

"It's a dated piece," I told myself.

We no longer see nuns in the long, black robes. New methods of cinematography have changed what we see on the screen. Some of the old songs from musicals fail to capture a younger audience. I could see the differences from my view and theirs. I knew what was going on in Europe at that time. I understood what it was to fall in love.

My daughter sang every song along with the movie actors. Her daughters sat quietly listening and watching. We were having a family night learning about another family.

The movie ended.

"Let's watch it again!" Gabby shouted.

Perhaps I project my feelings too quickly. Perhaps I need to stop worrying about how everyone else feels and concentrate a bit more on myself. This wasn't about the movie. It was about a family cuddled up together on a sofa taking in a bit of music, a bit of history, a bit of each other.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You Aren't Alone (adj.)

Alone. adj. separate, apart, isolated from others
Alone. adv. without aid or help

 There are many forms of alone. Some are wanted, needed. Some are lonely. Some are illusive. I think all of us experience all of them at one time or another. We wish to be alone. We feel alone. We are left alone.

I received an email from a blog friend. She is a grandmother taking care of her two small grandchildren on a daily basis. She dreams of pursuing a floral design career. Her husband works nights; she hardly sees him. She started writing, but still felt a void in her life. Babysitting has pulled on her financially and emotionally. Bless her heart, she feels alone. Not only feels alone but aches to have time alone.

As I read her message, I felt my own 'alone' coming to the surface. I have four days a month where I am not with my granddaughters. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am living with them and my daughter. I was laid off from a career in marketing and public relations. I lost my time alone, time to write, time to just be. Financially, we focus on what we can give the girls. My daughter and I make do. I'm tired of ICarly and Sponge Bob. I'm tired of always being up and full of energy that I just don't have. I understand alone.

In her email, she expressed that she has no one to talk to about her situation and wants to hear from others caught in the babysitting web. I'm trying to find a way to add a chat page to this blog, but not sure it will happen. BUT, I do have a place to comment at the end of each post. Please......please write and share your stories. Talk to one another. Give support to one another. I can only write and empathize with you. I can only voice what I am going through. We are in this game of life together. Your journey is mine. This is a place for not only a grandparent's voice, but a place for the child, the parent, the man and woman who want to join in an effort to create a healthier life for us all. One of peace and understanding.

To my reader, my blog friend, thank you for writing. You are not alone. Your story belongs to many. I hope the many are listening.

I look forward to your conversations.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Can You See Me Now?

Progress. Stepping up our game. Keeping up with the times. Finding new ways to communicate. Learning to embrace the new. Pressing a key and stepping into a home 2500 miles away. One word, one wonderful word changes everything: Skype.

It sat on my computer for weeks after I downloaded it. I had great hopes for this communication tool but wasn't so sure I wanted to use it....or try to use it. With Skype I could see my friends in Canada and Ireland. I could do what was only a vague possibility when I was a child. "Someday we will be able to see people when we talk to them on the phone." That's sorta like "Someday we will send a man to the moon." Hm.

I was determined to use Skype when I went on vacation in Indiana. Being away from my granddaughters for a month was going to be difficult. They aren't great talkers on the phone. I wanted more than one word conversations.

"Okay, I'm going to Skype you," I said to the girls on the phone as I tried to figure out skyping.

After a few attempts, Gabby said, "Grammy, we'll call you."

A message popped up on my my computer along with two lovely faces....and the skyping began as miles melted away. A beginning of daily conversations.

"Hi, Grammy," Gabby said, her computer rested on her lap.

"Gabby, where are you?" I asked.

"I'm in the truck."

"Where is the truck?"

"In the garage." Hm, again.

"Why are you sitting in the garage?"

"We're in a fight."

"Oh, I see. So you are sitting in the truck alone in the garage?"

"I'm not alone. I'm with you, Grammy," she replied. "Wait!"

She turned the computer and me around. "Watch me. I'll be right back."

On the screen I watched her dash across the truck bed.

"Grammy, I'll disappear then you can see me again," she said disappearing over the back of the truck.

"Can you see me now," she yelled as she went up the stairs.

"Gabby......Gabby!!!!" I yelled to empty air...trapped in a a garage in Oregon.

I sat humming a song waiting to see if she would return or get side tracked leaving me to my alone time in the garage, when suddenly three girls were pounding down the stairs then crowding into the truck cab. Motion sickness threatened as they jostled the computer. Then it happened. Skype took me home once more.

Ah......I hope I never get too old to learn new tricks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not on My Line

The birds sat on the telephone line. A squirrel decided to have a good time by jumping at each bird chasing them away one by one. Squirrel jumped. Bird #1 gone. Squirrel jumped. Bird #2 gone. Squirrel jumped and bird #3 turned to attacked. Another bird (obviously one already knocked off the line) joined the attack. The squirrel was determined to stay on the line. The birds were seeking revenge on the frisky guy. At last they knocked the squirrel off into a shrub and still went in after it.

Now my sister and I didn't walk down that street again before I returned home; however, I like to think that maybe that squirrel who pushed his weight around might have changed his ways.

What do I have against squirrels? They make the dog bark. They dig in the garden. They infiltrate attics, garages and storage sheds. They are irritating. Cute, but irritating.

The driver pulled out in front of my car. The car with my children riding in it. It was a dead end street. She had the stop sign. Our cars missed by only a couple of feet. I was not angry. I was scared. My had went into the air as if to say, "What the heck?!"

The woman, and I say woman, stuck her tongue out as she passed me. Now I was angry.

This is about the third idiot driver who has tried to run me down. Red lights, stop signs, impulses to pull into the 3' spot in front of me seem to take priority over safe driving. Well, folks! I'm here to tell you that I'm about to knock that squirrel right off the line! I don't want anyone hurt, but I don't want to be hurt either.

Okay, I don't know what I can do about it, but it worries me. My granddaughters will one day drive. They won't have the experience I have at playing bumper cars. They will be vulnerable to the idiots behind the wheel.

Lesson of this blog: Don't squirrel around. Birds of a feather flock together. (I thought that was better than saying something about the bird.) Most of all drive safely.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Old Dog New Tricks

"Grammy, will you teach me to write like that," Sydney said looking down at an old letter my uncle had written.

Evidently, cursive is becoming obsolete along with many other things that were part of my growing and that of my children. So how am I going to be keeping up with these changes? Am I going to dig in and refuse to change? Am I going to use the excuse that I'm too old to change? Am I going to pull away from what I no longer understand?

Well, heck no. That's not me. We had our changes in our time. Why shouldn't our grandchildren? I think it is my responsibility to keep up. I think it just might do me a heap o' good.

Back in Ohio, James, Lisa and I visited my old stomping grounds. We stopped at my Grandad Loxley's home place. Lisa is an instructor for Barre 3, a type of exercise that includes ballet, yoga and pilates. She wanted some shots of her poses with barn as her backdrop. A new type of gracefulness next to a historic barn. A long deserted hay manger fit her next pose. The old was graced with the new.

There is much to be learned from the old; there is much to be gained from the new. In reality, it is what we see in ourselves.

I could no more climb up on the manger let alone feed the cows at this point in my life, but I can appreciate the beauty of a wonderful idea. I can appreciate that my granddaughters have computers to type on. Maybe they won't have my arthritic thumbs. I love that I can learn new ways and reflect on the old.

I learned to blog. I learned the computer ins and outs by myself. I learned to be a woman alone. I learned that my ways aren't always the best. I learned that I can be an old dog learning new tricks.


Monday, August 8, 2011

A Grandparent's Voice

What is a grandparent's voice? Is it what we do for our grandchildren? Is it what we feel as older adults? Is it a role we play, the things we do, the masks we wear? What is a grandparent's voice?

For me, the voice is learning from what has gone before, dealing with what is and wondering at everything else. The voice is not what I know. No, it is more about what I am learning. Getting older is a gift. One I treasure. It has given me the desire to throw off everything I believed and to find new meaning in that which was thrown off. I have learned in these months of writing. I have learned because I allowed doors to open, ideas to change and observations to be more clearly seen. A world is waiting to talk. I am eager to listen.

Awhile ago my friend told me that she had finally said to her son, "You need to work it out because I don't own it any more. You do."

I don't own it any more. Wow. How many things have I carried along in my life sure that I owned them? How much guilt, anger, disillusionment followed me throughout my life that I could have left behind? Well, it doesn't matter now because.....I don't own it any more. Oh, how I like the feeling that goes with those words.

We should all find our voice and allow ourselves the freedom to express it. My expression comes in the form of words. For others, it might come in deeds or the creativity of perhaps a paint brush or a pair of knitting needles. Still we need the words, don't we? Sometimes seeing the words, saying the words, opens new avenues of thought, new relationships with others, a new me.

What is a grandparent's voice? It is the voice of a child, a parent, an adult, a voice of wisdom, a voice of pain, a voice on a journey into the one who holds the thoughts and memories. You are the memory of the past and the expression for the future.

You are the voice.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fascinating Adults

Good things happen when friends are truly friends. They grow into one another's life and in turn their lives expand as does that of their families.

My good friend Paulette is a wonder. She amazes me on a regular basis. She is part mother, part friend, part wife and part grandmother, and does all parts very well. We both know that when one of us needs something, the other will drop everything and be there.

I didn't dream that my friend would ever want to visit my home place in Ohio. Who would want to spend a vacation in farm country? Well, evidently my friend did. She flew in for a week spending time with me as I visited the nursing home and old friends. She walked through my old home place with me asking questions and learning more about the girl I was. We drove together to my sister's home in Indiana where she settled in like one of the residents there.

Last night Paulette had a cookout with her family and mine. A concert was held in the park behind their home. We ate. We laughed. We listened to music while families merged. My granddaughters loved every minute of this 'visiting time'.

Everyone should have a Paulette in their lives, a person who knows the meaning of friendship. I am blessed to have her in the lives of my family members.

Paulette and a few others were in the kitchen. A few others included my Gabby.

"I find adults fascinating," she commented to Paulette.

A wise observation, my granddaughter. One to build your life on.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Piggy Bank is Drained

The piggy bank is drained. The bank account is hanging a thread above the red. Life is tough in these days we are living. Not just for us, but for many.

I refuse to let the elephants get me down despite the weight of it all. In fact, we are in pretty good shape compared to thousands, millions of others. The world is weeping, struggling, sometimes feeling a bit too heavy, but we are not alone.

This morning on Facebook I had two messages asking for prayers for children ill with terrible diseases. The list of names praying for these children is growing as the day goes on. I added my prayers to theirs.

Last night I was thinking about my blogs. They aren't mine. They are yours, your neighbors, your community. Neff Road could be any road in the world. Each road has its neighbors and memories. My thoughts as a grandparent are just more of what grandparents have already thought. Reaching the age of sixty-four and discovering more about aging, about unemployment is nothing new. Everyone has tasted the passing of time and uncertainty of tomorrow.

I could let the elephants get me down feeling the weight of 'poor me', but that isn't me. I believe we all have a common goal. We all have God in whatever form her or she takes for each person who cares for us and our world. I believe that we are a world of people trying to find a way to be a singular positive power. We are each unique but reside in the same notebook. Good will outweigh evil.

I pray for these two children. I pray for the thousands in Kenya. I pray for a nation struggling to find a way to work as one for its people. I pray for the unemployed, the homeless, the ill. I pray that we can all find a light to hold on to that will in some way bring light to this world.

The piggy bank is drained, but the heart is ever hopeful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Plethora of Memories

There is the going. Then, there is the coming home. Being gone for a month has been an adjustment for all. Life moved on in both areas, memories were made on opposite sides of the U.S. Now since I'm home, it is the sorting through them all that fills my mind.

My welcome home was wonderful. The kids and the dogs were excited to see me. I seem to have one of the girls with me wherever I go. The transition is difficult. A three hour time change leaves me exhausted most of the time.  The energy level is a bit harder to keep up with. I'm worn out. My heart aches.

I know that I'm needed here. I could not leave my family to live elsewhere. However, I do know that my life needs to be shared with my sister and in my home area back East. The good thing is that I don't feel guilty for my feelings. And, perhaps someday I will live part of the year with my sister. I am done with guilt.

I have a plethora of memories to embrace. My trip gave me a new perspective on what I own emotionally and what I do not. It gave me a new appreciation for the people and the place I grew up. My return gave us all an appreciation of one another.

Sometimes we need to go away to find ourselves. Welcome home, Pam.