The Science Fair… Who gets the Blue Ribbon?

I don’t know about you, but when my own kids were growing up, I was a little less than enthusiastic when they came home from school with the packet for the yearly science fair. Twenty pages of instructions and regulations outlining the criteria to have a project accepted. The do’s and don’t’s, the what’s and how’s, methods, directions, set up. You need a topic, investigative question, hypothesis, procedure, data collected and your conclusion.
My granddaughter’s parents keep long hours with full time jobs, lengthy commutes and school, so of course, “I will be glad to help.”
Day one, I kick around ideas suitable for a second grader. I come up with a brilliant plan. We will test food items to see what will float in plain water vs salt water; using carrots, broccoli, a chunk of hot dog and an egg. Sounds good and best of all, easy.
There’s a paper to fill out for the teacher to review to see if planned project will be acceptable. In bold print “PLEASE READ ENTIRE BOOKLET” before turning in ideas. OH! There are ten bullets pointing out what CAN NOT be used in your experiment. Number 10 – NO FOOD ITEMS. Seriously?!
So… it’s back to the drawing board. While I am looking up ideas on the internet, my husband comes up with a suggestion. Why not test her pulse and blood pressure after doing certain activities. We can start with resting, then compare how it changes after exercise and other actions. We have a blood pressure monitor. Perfect!
Our plan passes inspection and we can start. But… being tickled pink we landed a project, we don’t; we sit on it. Yesterday at our house was a whirlwind. The three of us are running around like crazy people getting this assignment completed. Getting a board, printing information, doing the actual experiments and writing out our data on cards. Occassionally I would give my input on where I thought something should be placed on OUR display. “No Gramma, remember this is MY science project! I want that over here!” Oh…
We made the deadline this afternoon and set up our project in the multi-purpose room. The judging will be done before tomorrow night when the actual fair begins. I can’t wait to see if WE get a blue ribbon!!

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For crying out loud… Can you kids pipe down???

For crying out loud... Can you kids pipe down???

How many times growing up did you hear your parents hollering at you for making too much noise?
“You’re making so much racket, I can’t hear myself think!” That was a good one. What does that mean? Why do we need ears to think?
I have to admit, I probably said this same thing to my own kids. If you have a two story house, it sounds like thunder when your kids are upstairs and you’re on the ground floor. As soon as you run up there and open the door, they’re all sitting quietly and staring at you like you must have just been released from a mental institution.
“What are you kids doing in here?”
“Nothing…”
As soon as you get downstairs, the thunder returns. You can run back and forth as much as you’d like – the results are the same. They have this down to a science and win every time.

Now that I am older the raucous coming from my grandchildren’s playroom is music to my ears. Listening to them rambunctiously enteracting and playing is so pleasing and entertaining. I find myself hearing no noise at all. I just see happy kids, being kids, and having a great time. They bring a smile to my face, put joy in my heart and make me feel so alive.
I don’t ever want them to “pipe down.”

I love you Mom, I love you too…

Remembering Mom and Dad...

Eight years ago today, I was visiting with my parents in the apartment I had moved them into months before. Assisted living was my first choice. Mom had Alzheimer’s and it was difficult for Dad to take care of things and her all by himself. I thought assisted living would be the best thing to do. But mom hated it and so I moved them into an apartment and cared for them myself. I made visits to take care of laundry, housekeeping, shopping and whatever else might need tending to. Some days it was just to keep them company.

For some reason on January 21st, 2006, I had a feeling I should stay a little longer with Mom. We layed on the bed together, holding hands and just talked about old times. People afflicted with Alzheimer’s really only remember old times. When interviewed at the assisted living place, Mom was asked what it is she likes to do. She said, “Oh, I like to ice skate and play tennis.” Growing up near Lake Erie – she was an outstanding ice skater as a teen. She also excelled at tennis. But let’s face it, you probably won’t be so great at this in your 80’s. LOL – Dad and I smiled.

I went on home later that evening. A few hours later I received a phone call from Dad. The paramedics were there and taking Mom to the nearby hospital. I rushed to the ER to see her lying lifeless, with a tube down her throat. Dad was sitting next to her in a state of disbelief. The attending physician told me she probably wouldn’t pull through. Her heart had failed and her pulse was extrememly faint. Looking back, I whole heartedly believe Mom waited for me to get there and be with Dad before she took her last breath. That would be just like Mom.

Shortly after I had arrived, the doctor said, “Go ahead and call it.” Next thing I heard was, “Time of death, 10:08 pm.”

Eight years ago tonight, I said good bye to Mom. But more importantly, previously that evening as we lay on the bed together, holding hands, she had said, “I love you, Peggy Jo.” And I had said, “I love you Mom, I love you too!”

“Did you want to read this?”

Hi, my name is Sierra Rose. I came to my new home last April when I was just seven weeks old. My owners had a lab before me, named Maggie. I guess Maggie was a “good” dog. I keep hearing that… repeatedly. “Maggie never did that! What’s wrong with you?”
I like to chew. I like to chew everything! It doesn’t matter what it’s made out of. Wood, paper, material, metal – yum yum – it’s all so much fun! I particularly like to take things out of the trash. I guess that’s why every door in the house is closed.
I used to have a frisby. I ate it. I used to have LOTS of dog toys. I ate them. I used to have a soft pad in one of my dog beds. I ate it. The little girl that’s here after school used to have 5 Barbie’s. She now has 4. I ate one. There is an old chair in my parent’s bedroom that I have destroyed. I have crucified slippers, shoes, a pair of glasses and almost the entire drip system in my backyard. I try to eat rocks but they take them away. Something about ruining my teeth.
I guess I scared my owners the other day when I couldn’t poop. I tried, but it got stuck. Kind of resembled link sausages, connected with string. I had to have some assistance. Oh, and it was colorful too.
So now I am waiting for some new toys to come in the mail. They are supposed to be industrial strength, with a durability of ten. The toughest toys made, for dogs like me. They should be here any day. In the meantime, I found this magazine that someone forgot to put high up, out of my reach. Hmmmm… no one is in the room right now. Oh wait, here they come… “Did you want to read this?”

How Grateful I Am…

How Grateful I Am...

January 12, 1979, 35 years ago today. It was a Friday. I remember it oh too well. I was working at Pac Bell or was it still called PT&T? They changed the name so many times it’s hard to recall. Anyway, known as AT&T today, I was there in the office. I had planned January 12th to be my last day before taking time off with a baby due any minute. I could hardly walk. He had dropped and it felt like I was dragging around a 12 pound bowling ball positioned in my loins. We had a receptionist named Trixie. She kept asking me to take calls which meant rolling out of my seat, waddling to her desk to pick up a customer’s file card and waddle back to take the call. Seemed like she was doing this over and over, with plenty of other employees from which to choose. Was she not noticing my glaring expression, or that I was walking like an obese duck ready to lay the egg of an ostrich? You know the “glow” they say pregnant women have? I did NOT glow! What was WRONG with her? By 5 o’clock I was ready to punch her in the face.
I remember FINALLY getting to leave work. I picked up my not quite 3 year old and 18 month old sons from day care, drove home and fell on the bed. Exhausted was an understatement. My husband was in charge and I could totally just lay on the bed like a beached whale and not move.
Within an hour or so, I was moving…. I knew it was time. Baby was ready and so was I. I summoned my toddler to go tell daddy it was time to go have a baby. Away to the hopsital we went as my husband cracked jokes just like he did with the other 2 births. I was never quite sure if this was meant to calm him down or he thought it would take away the pain. At any rate, I am NOT in a laughing mood here! I remember the nurse asking me if I wanted drugs. HA! Are you kidding me? I’ll take whatever you got – this is my last kid and I don’t care about being a symbol of courage or bravery, in the name of womens’s lib or whatever – so popular at the time. Just kill the pain before I kill you. I remember looking at my husband with a scowl and saying, “I am never EVER doing this again!” I think he cracked another joke.
Saturday morning, January 13th, 1979, 5:45 am. My healthy, beautiful 8lbs, 7oz, baby boy is here. The pain is gone, and completely forgotten. (Okay, well almost…) Thirty five years later… I see this same baby boy with his 2 baby boys. I see him in their faces and him in their antics and relive MY little boy through his. Time marches on with the joy of new children, my blessings continue, how grateful I am. Happy Birthday baby boy!

The Family Photo Shoot… most of the time, this is as good as it gets.

The Family Photo Shoot... most of the time, this is as good as it gets.

As a proud mother of 5 amazing kids (counting my daughters-in-law) and 4 even MORE adorable grandchildren, I want pictures! Every time my family visits I want to capture our memories. Problem is, I never have my camera or iPhone handy at those opportune moments. As soon as I run for a device to take a picture, the moment is gone. I ask them to re-do whatever it was they were doing and of course get heavy sighs and grumbles, followed by “Oh Mom!” Little ones never cooperate. They might for maybe a minute or two, but as soon as I snap the photo, they turn their heads, close their eyes or just run off. I’m like “WHAT?? Can’t you PLEASE let Gramma get a picture? I’ll give you a cookie if you’ll just stand still and give me a smile.” (I hope I have cookies.) Sometimes this works but not always due to their short attention span. Then there’s the sun… okay – that’s a whole nuther source of irritation. Pictures with the sun behind the subjects result in shadows and never turn out. They need to be facing that evil, big ball of fire to avoid being hidden by gray. My seven year old grandson won’t hold his eyes open even when a dozen cookies are used as bribery. Almost every image I have of him is with a squint, and a pained expression on his face like this two whole minutes of his time is some type of cruel and unusual punishment. Of course, he IS from Washington so I guess the sun is some kind of alien.
I have come to the conclusion that if and when I do get a good picture of EVERYONE at the same time, it really is due to divine intervention and a complete miracle. I actually do have a few. Yes, a few. But most of the time… this is as good as it gets.

The Magic of Christmas… I want it to last forever!

The Magic of Christmas...

I can’t believe it’s been nine months since my last blog. I was thinking about when I started this last year and how I should keep it going. My grandkids are growing up too fast. This is a good way to record their lives and to save my sweet memories.
My mother passed on eight years ago this month and gosh darn it – she never got to meet her four wonderful great-grandchildren. She loved Christmas and all the decorating that went with it. Her home was always adorned with lights and wreaths and she and Dad would have music piped through outdoor speakers with carols playing. Her Christmas tree was packed with ornaments – including all the old ones that my brother and I had made throughout the years as kids. Her packages were always wrapped with beautiful bows and often with little angels, or holly, or tiny bells entangled in the ribbon. She didn’t throw gifts into Hallmark bags covered in colored tissue paper – she took her time and every present was enveloped with love. Her favorite Christmas song was “Oh Holy Night.” I still cry in her memory whenever I hear it playing.
Last week was spent with all four of my grandchildren and most of my family, ringing in the New Year in San Diego. Christmas was still in the air as we visited Sea World for two days. It really felt magical. Carols were playing, 400 Christmas trees were brightly lit throughout the park and Christmas characters dotted the streets. We even saw real reindeer. Two whole days of happy children and glowing adults. It was impossible not to smile.
My oldest son and grandson live in Washington. My youngest son and daughter-in-law live in San Diego with their two little boys, and my middle son, daughter-in-law and their daughter live locally. As my oldest grandson was packing up and heading for home, he said, “Dad, I want to stay here – I don’t want to go.” The times when we can all be together are priceless. More importantly, seeing my four grandchildren together, laughing and playing, smiling and making memories, is magical – just like Christmas. I want it to last forever!