Monday, March 31, 2014

A Book and A Margaritas

Everyone who knows me knows that a book is never far away. I have a stack of books at home to read. I always have one or two in my car for those times I find myself sitting for a bit. I love my books.

My friend was late. I was sitting at the restaurant with a novel sitting upright in a collapsible book stand. A young man came to take my order. "You don't see those very often," he said, referring to my book. "Most people have a Kindle or something else." Hm. I was speechless.

As a writer, I love the feel of a book. I love to have shelves full of my favorite books. The library is right down the street and one of my favorite places to visit. I cherish the pages of a book and the words written on them. Some books, such as Les Míserables, even have memorable phrases marked in them. I can't do that on a Nook or Kindle. I want paper and ink!!!

This seems to be a conflict for a woman who tries to stay progressive. For Christmas, I gave my oldest granddaughter a vintage collection of Jane Eyre. I collect beautifully illustrated children's books for my grandchildren. I read the classics and keep them to read again and again. If I have no books that I truly own, I cannot pass on the literature I hold dear. And, I'm not that old! I've only had sixty-six Christmas's, birthdays and other holidays. Not many.

Books have quite a history. Text has been found written on clay tablets, then in wax and on papyrus, finally ending up type-set on a printer. The written word has indeed been around a long time. We search in caves and in rubble looking for written word. Pictorials and images tell stories as well as do the words in ancient languages. Still they are all forms of books telling stories of people long ago. Certainly, I'm pleased that I don't carry around a slab of clay or a bulky papyrus. A book seems just about the right size. And, with a book, clay tablet, papyrus or wax, it can't just fade into oblivion if your computer is hacked.

I sat sipping a margarita with my book and book stand in front of me, wondering if perhaps the waiter might like to hold this vintage thing called a book.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tools of the trade

The chef has pots and pans. A gardener has a hoe, a spade, a pair of gardening gloves. The contractor has blue prints. The designer has pieces of fabric, pins and a sewing machine. On and on it goes with each profession having tools of the trade.

A woman dashed into the Hallmark store in a panic. "Do you have  party items for the movie "Frozen", she asked ."I can't find party supplies!" Well, no you can't find them because party supply stores are becoming a thing of the past. Hallmark doesn't carry them anymore. I refer more and more people to the pharmacies and dollar stores. However, finding a specific theme is next to impossible unless you go online. So I did what I do quite often.

"You know, you could make your own decorations and even have the children help." I went on to tell her about sugar cube projects, using styrofoam and flour or sugar to make snow, marshmallow snowmen and theme decorations purchased in the Christmas sale items. She left the store quite excited. My job was done. I was using the tools of my trade.

We seem to forget that we can be creative. Even if we don't have a knack for it, ideas can flow if we let them. The creative ideas are perhaps a bit more work but a whole lot more fun. As parents we sometimes are so busy that we forget that we have tools that we can use to help our children develop their own.

I have tools of my trade being the grandma that I am. They come from years of watching and interacting with children. I didn't have time to pull out the old toolbox when I was a young mother. Life was flying by, and I didn't have time to step back and look at what I could present to my own. As a grandma, I am an observer who wants to challenge my grandchildren to expand their creativity and to use their imaginations. There isn't room for failure, because all efforts are just perfect. So....what tools are in my toolbox. I have instruments that have come my way over time: a melodica, a ukulele, a guitar, a set of bongos (my fav), a xylophone, tenor and soprano recorders, a drumstick that works well on all surfaces and a strange little instrument that make a squeaky scale.

In large basket, I have art supplies. It is full of paints, canvases, crayons, colored pencils, name, I have it. Another bin has stickers, beads, cords and, of course, blank paper on which to create. The toy box has a variety of toys ready for imagination. The bookshelf waits for little hands to find a treasure. Children's books that are full of beautiful art are my favorite. Give the child a camera and see the world in a new way. The best tool of all is my imagination. The kids and I can find adventure everywhere we look. Those are the tools of my trade.

There is no age limit on using those tools. We always have something to share with those around us. We always have ways to inspire and create a learning world. We have the years behind us that allow us to open creative doors for those children given to our lives. We are the toolbox full of ideas and the love of sharing.

You and I are tools of the trade.