Friday, August 17, 2018

Running an Errand for Little Cuter

A room full of people much littler than I, each one involved in something fascinating.  Engrossed, no one noticed the grey haired lady in the foyer.

I stood there, admiring the controlled chaos.  Girls in the block corner, boys with crayons, the teacher surrounded by upturned faces - I was in awe.

Maintaining your sanity for 8 hours of answering questions, resolving disputes, explaining the days of the week and the months of the year, teaching the alphabet and counting and manners - those few moments watching the teachers work their magic put a giant smile on my face.

One of the students noticed that I was there, and suddenly I was surrounded by small bodies, clamoring for my attention.  I had to be rescued by the teacher.

FlapJilly was surprised that I was there; she thought her Mommy would collect her.  I overcame the momentary sadness by suggesting an unscheduled stop.

Frozen yogurt will put a smile on anyone’s face.

Just a quick errand, picking the kid up from Pre-K........ forty minutes of pure bliss for Gramma.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

New Math - A Snippet

Four of us, gimping up the stairs. Slowly.  Carefully. Painfully.  One foot then the other coming up to meet it before venturing on to the next.

Shattered hips and damaged knees were taking their toll. And then, amidst the grunts and the groans, TBG began to laugh.

“If you put cumulative IQ’s in the numerator, and operative knees in the denominator, we are rapidly approaching infinity.”

(If, like me, you are mathematically impaired, ask someone to explain it. It’s really funny.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


My brother came from Maryland.

The nanny from FlapJilly's infancy came.

And FlapJilly's friends were there, cuter and funnier and smarter than any group of four year old's ought to be.

Giblet and I sat on the couch, his head nestled on my chest, his eyes closed, his breathing rhythmic. Periodically, Little Cuter came by to pat my head, to hug my shoulder, to tell me she loved me, that I was The Baby Whisperer.

We went outside for Happy Birthday, came back to the couch for cake. 

A four year old's party is a fluid event. They put out their Bounce House, an inflatable joy palace. They put out the Slip and Slide and little bikini clad munchkins giggled and slipped and slid to their hearts' content. There was pizza and fruit and homemade Mac and Cheese, complimented by SIR's patented sangria.

Presents were opened, a young guest cried, most everyone remembered to receive a goodie bag, and then only family remained.  Somehow, FlapJilly managed to fall asleep, several hours after bedtime.

A fine time was had by all, especially the birthday girl, around whom  it all revolved.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Internet Connectivity Issues

We are traveling, taking a break from the kiddos and visiting old friends.  Old, long-standing, dear, true, kind, thoughtful friends.

They all have internet access.  I have devices that elude connecting.

I tried, with Mr. Dreamicakes’s assistance, to charge and attach my phone and my iPad to the World Wide Web.  I had the password, I was on the right screen, but an incomprehensible error message from my carrier kept appearing.

I went upstairs, I went downstairs, I used the devices with all the switches and buttons and on/off controls turned one way and the other.  I failed.

I tried in the car, driving from the suburbs to the city.  I failed.

Now, having deposited the rental car, comfortable on the Dr’s N’s couch, I decided to try again.

I have high hopes.

It’s not the post I intended to share, but it managed to get posted so I am satisfied.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Great Movie Endings

We turned in to the last few minutes of a movie with a great ending, and, not knowing what came before, were captivated.  That led to a discussion of other perfect movie endings.

Spencer Tracy's speech in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was TBG's first choice; I went to Scarlett leaning against her front door in Gone With the Wind.  TBG's choice is a more moral one, but mine is wrapped up in a memory that's sweeter than Miss O'Hara ever thought of being:  FAMBB and I, high school kids thrilled with the adventure of a day in New York City, watching a revival of the movie from the balcony of a grand old movie palace on Broadway.  The movie has not aged well for me, but the memory grows more potent with time.

Music Man's parade of 76 trombones through the streets of River City makes us smile and sing along and stays with us in a way that Hello, Dolly just doesn't.  I don't know why.  Perhaps it's the fact that we also carry around in our heads the sound of Grandpaw singing along with Robert Preston.

The clanking of swords and TBG's favorite last line - May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, Sire! - ends 1938's Robin Hood.  The closing of those over-sized castle doors is the perfect backdrop for The End....because all excellent movies have those words in the last frame.

Films where kids bring the grown-ups together and take credit at the end - Sleepless in Seattle and High Society and Parent Trap came immediately to mind - get extra points for cuteness.  Self-satisfied 10 year olds are, by definition, adorable.

Casablanca owns airport finales and Rudy owns football fields. Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald take the prize for riding off into the sunset in Naughty Marietta.  Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid wins for gun battles and heroic deaths, The Shape of Water for undersea transformations.

The list excludes movies with a coda, like Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The penultimate scene is amazing; the last scene is anti-climactic.  Hitchcock is, as usual, confounding; I excluded North By Northwest because the last scene is on the train, but TBG argues that it's all blended together from their hands grasping on Mount Rushmore.  He may have a point.

To Have and Have Not has a fantastic last shot, but the wonderfulness does not last long enough to be included on on the list.  Surprises - Charade and Psycho - are more pointed and so may be included, despite their brevity.

Those are the rules.  What would you add?

Friday, August 10, 2018

First Day of School

The parents were more anxious than the kindergarteners.  The children understood, for the most part, the need to stand in line and say goodbye .  The parents were trying to hold back the tears.

I found myself hugging more mommies than 5 year olds.  My heart was with them, as I remembered wailing into the phone to Seret as Little Cuter went off on her own for the first time.  I remember telling the teacher that she could tie her own shoes (why would she care?) and more, I remember the teacher's hug as she heard me.  She didn't care about the shoes, she cared about me and my breaking heart.

So, I hugged the mommies who were teary and the daddies who were being very brave.  I hugged the little ones wearing special First Day of School shoes and t-shirts and carrying backpacks bigger than their backs. Elsa and Anna (the Frozen princesses for those of you out of the What's Cool in Kinder loop) were everywhere, as was Paw Patrol - on shoes, on sparkly backpacks, on shirts.  Shyly, the kids noticed others who loved the same licensed products; the connections were tenuous, but they were forming.

I gave out stickers, introduced myself to newbies and received hugs from older kids who presented me to their siblings.  "This is Grandma Suzi.  She reads us stories and gives us stickers.  She's nice.  You'll like her."  My life at Prince in a nutshell.

I escorted wondering families to the big bulletin boards with the class lists.  I held students' hands as their parents ran back to the car for one last piece of documentation.  G'ma and Daddooooo wouldn't have waited until the first bell rang to begin the paperwork process, but judging didn't get the line moving any faster so I forswore the temptation and moved on, outside, where the big kids had already been corralled into their classrooms, and the kindergarten parents were having a difficult time separating themselves from their young.

As cameras snapped and parents cried, the teachers led their lines into the building.
 Some lines were more orderly than others,
but everyone managed to get where they were going.

Someone wet his pants; the teacher had a plastic bag waiting for the soiled laundry.Someone walked to the front from her place in the middle; Stay in line was said for the first time this school year, but not for the last.  

The lobby was calm when I left at 8 o'clock.  The classroom doors were closed, the kids were on the carpet or at their desks, the teachers were in charge.  Grandma will be around with stickers and hugs and stories and gardening .  Not every school has a Grandma - I am as lucky as they are to be the one for Prince.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Comment

Rep. Collins (R,NY) was the first Congressman to endorse President Trump.

Today, he was indicted and arrested for lying to the Feds about providing insider information to his family. 

I've tried to stay away from Trump-bashing. leaving it to Melania to defend LeBron. 

But after hearing the news this morning, I felt G'ma by my side, sighing and reminding me that Water seeks its own level.... you are known by the company you keep.... 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Back To School Love Fest

School starts this week..  The parking lots are fuller than they've been since May. The front door is unlocked, to facilitate the importing of band instruments and bulletin board accouterments and plastic crates filled with the things that will fill a 9 year old's own, personal, Fourth Grade Classroom.

Parents are still registering new students with Miss Mercy, but most of the activity is generated by the teachers and staff.  No, but thank you!, the band doesn't need any more yarn with which to reward progress. Did your daughter have her baby? and there was the ever handy photo that's my phone's screen saver.
Why was I there when there were no little shoe laces to tie, no ears eager to hear about Caps for Sale, no small gardeners to advise?  I was participating in GRIN's annual Back To School Love Fest.  It was a morning filled with smiles and hugs and Thank You's.  

We collected a cart filled with sweet treats donated by my favorite (but camera shy) manager at Albertson's, and then my Principal Volunteer and I went out to the parking lot to divvy up the goodies.  Donuts and fruit bowls and raspberry confections, cakes of all sizes and descriptions, lemon loaf and other drool-ables too gooey to imagine went into our trunks
Then, armed with my pre-printed, geographically organized list, we set off to thank those who are educating our future.

Two hours and eleven Teachers' Lounge's later, we were done.  We'd been hugged and thanked and looked at with surprise.  Yes, it was the community expressing our gratitude for the work you do.  Yes, we'd done it before and most certainly Yes we'll do it again. 

Christina-Taylor was with me every step of the way, making lemonade out of lemons, one triple layer chocolate fudge cake at a time.

Have I mentioned that I am really enjoying my summer vacation?  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My Summer Vacation, 2.0

Little Cuter wondered about my favorite joke.  

The Universe.

After all, man plans, God laughs.  If it's good enough to crack up the All Mighty, it's good enough for me.

But that joke keeps me sane.  I like my routine.  I don't do well when it is disrupted.  I can adapt, and put a smile on my face, but the initial shock is often overwhelming.  I'm often unpleasant when I am overwhelmed.  Therefore, I try to stay whelmed at all times.  (There's another of those if-it's-not-a-word-it-should-be's.)

So, when TBG, the original Mr. I Hate to Travel, wondered why we weren't staying longer in the Midwest, it took me a moment or two to adjust.  

I made these plans just a few hours after Giblet arrived in the world.  For future reference, I will remember to resist planning with a woman who has just birthed a baby.  On the other hand, her father loves sleeping in his own bed, so a short jaunt was not un-called for.  I sighed then I laughed out loud.  Why was I feeling angsty?  I was getting to spend more time in my favorite city with some of my favorite people, and TBG was instigating the whole thing.

I told Little Cuter that we were extending our stay in the Midwest, and wondered if she wanted us for the weekend.  It turns out that Gramma and Grampa could be useful, that our presence was a blessing, that she'd pick us up at the train station, that she was so glad.

Is there anything better than making your kids happy, just by being there?  

I'm having a really nice summer vacation, even if school is starting here on Thursday.  

Monday, August 6, 2018

It's Nice To Be Loved

Thanks to those who worried about me, and thanks to those who encouraged me to take it easy on myself.  It's such a difficult life I lead..... feeling the need to take a break seems, at times, absurd.

But shaking things up is a good thing, I've discovered.

TBG has been after me for years to get back to a regular routine in the gym.  He's a firm believer in doing the basic exercises, with perfect form, on a routine basis.  I know (and knew) that he was right; I just wasn't ready to jump in with enthusiasm.  Over the past year or so I've been testing the waters, going on a semi-regular schedule, reacquainting my body with the weights. It's been a challenge, emotionally and physically.

I was always the strong one, always the one to lift the heavy bag of groceries, the one to push the wheelbarrow or lug the reinforced garden hose.  Up until the past month or two, I was struggling to move two ten pound dumbbells from the rack to the bench.  There were so many muscle groups involved, and so many parts to consider, and the consequences of failure were high - crushed toes and a crushed ego.

Just before I left to help usher Giblet into the world, I noticed a change.  I was returning the weights to the rack when I realized that I'd been working out with plates and bars and never once did I worry about dropping one.

I had no excuses left.  I eased into it slowly, using Silver Sneakers in Indiana while waiting for the baby, skipping only those days I spent with FlapJilly, and picked it up right away when I got home.  It hel;ped that no one knew I was here; I had cleared my schedule.  There was nothing to do but go to the gym.

And I did.  Back and Biceps... Chest and Triceps.... Legs and Glutes mixed into almost everythig.  I'm not overdoing it, but I'm pushing my limits.  I need muscle, so I'm doing heavier weights and fewer repetitions.  And I'm doing it consistently.

I added swimming laps, because aerobics are necessary and my hip is in no condition to take a jog or a long, quick hike.  In the water, I can use all the muscles without gravity getting in the way.  And, it's right outside my back door.  And it's 108 degrees out there and a girl can't sit inside forever.

I'm stretching and pulling and keeping myself level in all sorts of dimensions.  I'm not lost in the moment, yet, but I'm trying to get there.  I'm aware of my aches and pains,  I'm starting to believe one of the affirmations plastered on the gym's wall.  Pain is weakness leaving the body.

It must be true.  I hurt every day. I'm getting stronger every day.

Thanks for caring.


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