The sweet music of chirp, chirp…

The sweet music of chirp, chirp...

Over the past few weeks my granddaughter and I have been watching two birds build a nest. They selected a space atop our ceiling fan on our back porch. Twig by twig, stick by stick, we watched it get bigger and bigger.
Being close to our kitchen window, we could observe the birds constructing it and happily chirping as they laid new pieces to their little bungalow. Very sparse in the beginning, it developed into quite a sophisticated little shelter.
Yesterday we noticed that one of the birds has been spending more and more time in the nest and we assumed their project was finished.
Today when the bird flew away for food, we took a peek. Inside we found a pretty blue egg. It looks like we will have a new baby house finch in about two weeks. Chirp, chirp… such sweet music to our ears.

Batter Up!

Batter Up!

Yesterday was opening day for Little League in many towns across the country. Spring has sprung and with it comes baseball. I love baseball. It’s probably my favorite spectator sport because I undersatnd it. I really don’t get football – the rules are confusing and when the clock says 2 minutes to go – that usually really means 30.
With a husband and 3 sons – our family room could be pretty LOUD during a football game. I would rather be out shopping.
But baseball? I will watch and root for my favorite team, the SF Giants. I grew up with them back when they played at Candlestick Park. I got to go to a lot of games when I was a kid and knew all the players names. Those were the days of Willie Mays – the “SAY HEY” kid, Willie McCovey, Bobby Bonds, Juan Marichal and the Alou brothers.
All of my sons played baseball when they were growing up. I was glad they picked that sport over some others. My oldest son was especially good at it and played in High School. My husband and I would often leave our jobs early so we could go watch his games. Always exciting to root for your own kid.
Now, that same son has a son of his own, old enough to play. He has a good throwing arm for a six year old and seems enthusiastic about the game.
As I watch my own little boy, watch his little boy, it warms my heart to see the pride I once had passed down to the next generation.
Batter up! It’s Spring! Let’s play ball!

Is this ME in ten years??

 Is this ME in ten years??

Add a good twenty, or maybe thirty minutes onto my travel time today and that would be about accurate. As I started out to run errands, I realized I had better stop for gas. I first went to my credit union’s drive through to get cash. In front of me was a little old lady that was standing outside of her car staring at the terminal. She had parked too far away to reach the touch screen from inside her car. I watched patiently as she tried to get her money, or maybe make a deposit, I’m not sure which. She would then stop and wait, look at the terminal and then start pushing options again. She did this several times and it was obvious she was not getting anywhere. I decided I should maybe back up and move over to the second terminal to my right. Just as I looked in my rearview mirror, a car the size of a small yacht came up behind me. A little old man was behind the wheel. I thought, okay… I am stuck and I should get out and go help this poor lady in front of me. Just then she decided to drive away without getting whatever it was that she wanted. I knew this because I saw her mouth the words, “damn it!”
I got my cash and felt bad. I was thinking… is this ME in ten years?
I went to gas up and there was a line. I picked an aisle, thinking this would be the shortest wait. Out pops an elderly woman from behind the ATM and instead of pumpng her gas, she goes into the store. I knew then and there she was having a problem. She walked slower than a snail and I knew I had chosen the wrong aisle.
Finally after a ten minute wait I got my gas and proceeded down the boulevard to start my errands. I did not get far and abruptly had to come to a stop. The light was green so I did not know why the traffic was coming to a stand still. I was able to see what was happening. An elderly woman had decided to make a U-turn from the opposite direction when she had a green light. Her large “senior sedan” was too big to make the turn and she had to stop, and back up several times to get back on the road. Oh dear… and again I thought, “is this ME in ten years?”
On my way home from finally finishing my errands, I was in the fast lane doing the speed limit; okay maybe 5 to 10 MPH over. Within 2 minutes I was forced to slow down. In front of me was a car with fins, (who drives these anymore?) but I knew… instantly. Anyone going 40 in the fast lane, using their blinker and clutching the wheel, is one of our senior “friends.” God love ’em!! They are trying… and yes… this is probably ME in ten years.

I KNOW I will love her.

I KNOW I will love her.

Ten days ago I had to let go of my beautiful yellow lab, Maggie. She had cancer. We have been waiting for the call to tell us her ashes are ready. Tonight as I was leaving a restaurant after dining with two of my very best friends, I noticed I had a voice mail on my cell phone. It was from my vet. Yep… it was THAT call. I am dreading the drive, probably tomorrow, to pick her up. I don’t really want to look at the box containing her remains. But I do want her buried in our back yard, along side her sister who belonged to my son. She will have a proper burial as we say our final goodbyes.

During dinner with my friends, I had also received a call from my husband who was on the phone with a friend. Our friend was checking out our NEW puppy, born four weeks ago in the town where she lives. I watched the video, studied her picture and shared these images with my friends. We kicked around some possible names and talked about how cute she is and what fun it will be to have a dog again.
Yes, she is adorable, what puppy isn’t? The thing is, is that I just don’t love her yet. My husband and I, along with our granddaughter will go and see her in a few days, on the farm where she was born. We will hold her, play with her, look into her beautiful eyes, take lots of pictures and smell her sweet puppy breath. She will never take the place of my beloved Maggie. But she WILL warm my heart and I know, I just KNOW… I will love her.

Sometimes I just want to look like a Walmart shopper…

Sometimes I just want to look like a Walmart shopper...

How many times have you tired on six different outfits trying to find something suitable to wear? When IS it, we become so fashion conscious? Like our “outfit du jour” will define us. Okay, men probably don’t do this – my own husband has faded jeans, semi stone washed and his darkest blues for weddings and funerals. Men don’t have bad hair days. Most don’t even HAVE hair at my age. They have 3 pairs of shoes. REALLY?? I have 50 pairs of flip flops – I need every color – I live in California. I have fat clothes, skinny clothes and in between. I don’t have enough closet space for all this. Half my wardrobe looks awful on me – I have no idea why I purchased a lot of this stuff in the first place.
Now just ask a 4 year old to dress himself. I love how they pick out stripes with plaids, cargo pants with a dress shirt, or rain boots with just spiderman underwear. They are good to go, look adorable and have a happy day!
Children don’t judge the content of our character by what we have chosen to wear. They look at the soul, the spirit, the true human being. They see our smiles, embrace our hugs, engage in our warm conversations and they think we are beautiful.
Some days, I just want to be around children. They don’t notice what I’m wearing, that my roots are showing, that I need a pedicure, or am not wearing make up. They love the real deal.
Tomorrow – I might just wear rain boots, with a pair of crop pants, dress like a Walmart shopper and have a happy day!

New friends, new family, new bonds, I would have never imagined.

New friends, new family, new bonds, I would have never imagined.

As we age, it sometimes seems like we have made ALL the friends we will ever make in this lifetime. I have BEST friends from childhood that mean the world to me. Relationships formed over 50 years ago that are golden. I have long time friends I made along the way from where I worked or from where I have lived.
Recently I have made some new “Grandma” friends. We have met because of our grandchildren. We met helping out in the classroom, on the soccer field, at swim lessons or gymnastics. We have so much in common. We are from the same generation, have the same wrinkles, graying hair problems, confusion over what our kids are thinking and doing. We relate and support each other in our quest to understand and keep current. We still know every Beach Boys song by heart. We become friends, we bond.
I also have new friends that I call “family.” We have been drawn together by the union of our children. Our paths would most likely have never crossed, if it weren’t for our children getting together and extending our family.
Life is on going. It changes a lot… but with these changes, I get to make new friends, new family and new bonds that I would have never imagined. How grateful I am.

This was NOT my picture of retirement… Cruise?? What Cruise??

This was NOT my picture of retirement... Cruise?? What Cruise??

It was hard when my children left the nest. Being close in age, it was one right after the other. My first son left right out of high school for the army, followed by my second son a year later, and then my third, two years later, off to college. Now what??? I retired several years later and then it was really, NOW what??? I felt lost actually. I didn’t know my role any more. I was a mom and an employee and then it was just me and my husband. It felt empty.
I received the book, “A Purpose Driven Life,” from a friend. I read it and then prayed to God to show me His purpose for me. As it turns out, God DID have a purpose for me. I always wanted to be a school teacher. I LOVE kids. God led me back to my home town to care for my ailing parents. During this time, my first grandchild was born. My daughter-in-law asked if I could watch our new 5 month old granddaughter when she returned to work. Of course! How could I say no?
During this new responsibility, the most wonderful things have happened. I took her to “Mommy and Me” library time, infant and toddler gymnastics, toddler and pre-K pre-shool. I was her co-parenting “parent” in co-op programs. I was there with young mommies who could actually do “criss cross applesauce” on the floor without getting leg cramps. I did it all.
These past two years I have been volunteering in her classroom at school. First, Kindergarten and now first grade. I couldn’t be happier. I am not traveling the world, going on cruises to exotic places, or living on the beach in my dream condo. I am fulfilling another dream – that dream of being a school teacher that I have wanted all of my life. Sure it’s on a voluntary basis and there is no paycheck attached. That’s not important. What is though, is that I have a purpose, more satisfying and more rewarding than a beach house or traveling to dream destinations around the world. I get the gift of helping children learn. Being there to help the slower ones understand by doing it one on one. The things a paid teacher doesn’t have the time for. I GET to be of service in one small way.  No… I don’t have a cruise scheduled… but what I do have, is a purpose, thanks to my asking God.

Ahh Spring – a time for new beginnings and maybe too, for MaryJane…

Ahh Spring - a time for new beginnings and maybe too, for MaryJane...

Well today I was up and down with my emotions and grateful that I had to pick my granddaughter up early from her minimum day at school. I can not handle “sad” for too long. My head tells me it’s okay to feel blue, but let’s move on and enjoy those happy moments when they pop up. My granddaughter is ALWAYS a “happy moment.”
After school, we took some time to play out back. We swung on the swings, walked around the yard and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We then went out front and decided to give our outdoor “hippie” cat some love. MaryJane is 16 years old and prefers to live outside. Somehow she survives the freezing temperatures in the winter and the scorching hot days in summer. She has long fur that gets matted and because she rolls in the dirt and leaves, she looks like she has dreadlocks. She resembles Sylvester, black with white paws, chest and long white whiskers. We get the scissors out from time to time and cut these hanging tufts of fur to clean her up. Today was one of those days.
I have tried endlessly to take this old feline broad into our house where she surely would enjoy ideal temperatures all year long. The dog she feared, is now just a memory. Our gentle Maggie would never have hurt her – but we could never convince her. She will not come in past the threshold of the front door.
For her sake, I will keep trying. She is like 80 years old in people years. Surely, this senior ball of fur has earned a place on the couch, snuggled on a blanket, warm and comfy.
A new season is approaching and with it, new beginnings.
Flowers are blooming, birds are returning, days are longer, and maybe, just maybe, my MaryJane will begin a new chapter too. I WILL keep trying.