Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2021

Yesterday, Bob and I picked up the Grands from their morning day camp and offered them a choice for an afternoon activity. Rain was in the forecast so outdoor fun was limited. How about a visit to the Frist Art Museum? The children’s section is closed so, no thanks. Would they like to go to “Top Golf” and hit some golf balls from a climate controlled and covered bay? https://topgolf.com/us/nashville/

In this transition Covid time, the thought was we could keep socially distant in our very own individual box/bay. You can order food and drinks to be delivered, and we had been there before so I knew they’d love it. Much to our surprise, the L’il Pumpkin declined this too, in favor of our other choice – the Adventure Science Center! https://www.adventuresci.org/

Since both children are too young to be vaccinated, we pre-empted our visit with a few rules. We must wear our masks at all times even though the Pumpkin has another loose tooth, we must try and stay 6 ft apart from others, and if it gets too crowded, we leave. Well the stars must have been aligned, because the scheduled show in the Sudekum Planetarium was about the origins of FLIGHT… right up Pilot Bob’s alley.

This delightful science museum was built for children to effortlessly interact with exhibits and explore their world. We learned about gravity and wind tunnels, and fulcrums, and germs. We stood in front of a mirror and our refections turned into skeletons! Unfortunately, the virtual reality exhibit was closed, but that didn’t matter. Just being able to see our Grands run free, inside, in a “safe space,” was reward enough for me.

And finally sitting back in a dark planetarium, in our masks with lots of empty seats around us, we looked up at the stars as the film began. Have you ever dreamed you were flying? Starting with Aladdin’s magic carpet, and then watching Leonardo DaVinci sketch his idea of a flying machine, the Grands were mesmerized. As the narrator spoke, while we “flew” over France, about the development of hot air balloons starting in 1783 Paris, even the adults in the theatre were transfixed.

Did you know the first balloon passengers were farm animals – a sheep, a duck and a rooster! And that even though Kitty Hawk, NC saw the Wright Brothers first successful flight, it was the French who began to mass produce airplanes.

The Love Bug turned to me and said, “Nana, I’ve never been on a hot air balloon!” I told her she has lots of time ahead to plan for a special trip and I remembered a friend from NJ whose Grandmother took her on a hot air balloon tour across France. This particular nana, who looked exactly like the Old Lady in Babar’s books, is my grandmotherly mentor.

Today we can all travel across the world in record time, and we are busy exploring space. But today is also the anniversary of Galileo having to recant his conviction that the SUN, and not the Earth, is the actual Center of the Universe. In 1633 the Roman Church was large and in charge of everything scientific and otherwise.

“Galileo lived at a time when the centuries-old Almagest of the Egyptian scholar Claudius Ptolemy, written in 139AD, was still being used by the Church as “evidence” and “confirmation” for the Aristotelian idea that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe. Galileo was part of the Renaissance, the centuries-long ferment accelerated and intensified by the invention of printing in the middle of the 15th century. He was not alone. More or less contemporary with him were physicists and mathematicians Willebrord Snell (the Dutchman who conceived the law of light refraction), the Belgian Simon Stevin and the four Frenchmen Marin Mersenne, Pierre de Fermat, Rene Descartes and Blaise Pascale. Yet it is Galileo’s name that survives as the “founder” of physics.”

https://www.newscientist.com/people/galileo-galilei/#ixzz6yWqhznCN

Of course, it’s impossible to know where the Center of the Universe is, whether it’s finite or infinite. And we would be pretty selfish still to think that other galaxies beyond our ability to see them don’t exist. All we know is that the universe is expanding and though we don’t know its exact size, “…we only have a lower limit that it must now be at least 46.1 billion light-years in radius in all directions from our perspective.”

From my perspective, my universe is a bit smaller.

Read Full Post »

Daddy Jim could play the spoons. We’d be standing in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner, and he’d break out in a big smile while jockeying spoons like a pro! I’m not sure if anyone does that anymore, but most dads have some entertaining trick up their sleeve. Bob can pick up a guitar, start playing Puff the Magic Dragon, and even today the Bride will tear up.

But today’s dad has to compete with screens for a child’s attention. I always knew the Groom had a wicked sense of humor, I didn’t know it could be inherited. So far, he and the L’il Pumpkin like this one:

“What does the janitor say when he jumps out of the closet?”

“SUPPLIES!”

Along with helping to steer Vandy’s Covid ICU response this past year, the Groom also commandeered his whole family outside to ride bikes, he makes up silly songs with the kiddos and plays them on the piano or his guitar, and he is solely responsible for the newest member of their family of pets, a small lizard named Fred has joined forces with three canines!

In fact, the Groom is an expert fly catcher, almost Obama level, when it comes to delivering fresh food to Fred.

But what makes a dad star quality?

Time: Taking the time to listen to a child, to play, to just talk without criticism or distractions.

Creativity: Helping a child develop their artistic sense – gardening/cooking/building and painting together.

Humor: Buffering life’s ups and downs with a positively funny outlook – sometimes known as

THE DAD JOKE!

But if there’s one feature that can immediately categorize a joke as a “dad joke,” it’s wordplay, especially of the unsophisticated variety. Examples: “Hey, do you know what time my dentist appointment is? Tooth-hurty.” “You know why they always build fences around cemeteries? Because people are dying to get in.” The purposeful confusion of “smart feller” and “fart smeller.” This famous exchange: “I’m hungry.” “Hi, Hungry. I’m Dad.” 

“Most jokes rely on some semantic ambiguity or grammatical ambiguity,” Dubinsky says. “The things people call ‘dad jokes’ are the ones where the ambiguity is crushingly obvious.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/09/deconstructing-the-dad-joke/571174/

I mean, we all manage to embarrass our children, but who doesn’t love getting an eye-roll from a pre-teen. Dads like to remind their children that in fact they were once young too, and suffered from “… a combination of exhaustion and your kids laughing at anything when they’re very young, which creates a perverse incentive system and endows you with false confidence….Then you spend the rest of your life doubling down on dad jokes.”

So in effect, dads pass down their particular sense of humor in a funny, feedback-loop. Their children learn resilience, it’s hard to worry about things when your dad says, “Someday we’ll laugh at this…”

Like when the Love Bug told me her stuffed manatee’s name is “Hugh.” Get it?!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

 

Read Full Post »

The important part about buying a souvenir when you’re traveling is, will it fit in your luggage? Summer is here and Americans are back on the road, in trains and planes, searching for just the right trinket for a special someone…

… but buying a gift for someone you love is an art.

I’m not talking about a teeshirt from Key West. In the past, I’ve returned from Provence with pillow covers and napkins. I’ve been known to stuff a beautiful woven bread basket in the overhead returning from Charleston. But mostly, I was always on the lookout for anything with a bluebird – tea towels, tiny blown glass tchotchkes, silk scarves in an aviary print.

Today, we rarely have the opportunity to express our individual gift-giving skills; to think about the recipient and their quirks and desires. Whimsy has been subverted by The Gift Registry, just check something off an online list and poof, you’re done! It’s the opposite of thoughtfulness, it’s commerce. And sure, a wedding registry may be as unavoidable as ants at a picnic, but at least with a first marriage I can understand the need for it.

We all need to outfit a kitchen, whether we plan to cook or not. Still, I loved strolling through a foreign farmer’s market to find just the right present for Great Grandma Ada. She always returned from her travels with a small treasure for me. Maybe it was handmade beads from Russia, or a piece of pottery from Japan.

On one of our last nights at the beach, we went in search of the perfect ice cream cone. Thank God the Blue Mountain Creamery was still open because all the tourist shops had closed at 5! I strolled along some still open, open-air artist shacks, looking at the stained glass, the paintings of surf and sand, the tiny clay sea turtles. And without warning, a frog jumped into my throat; I no longer needed to find a bluebird for Adala.

June is her birthday month. She would have been so happy to see the world coming back to life. To see Joe and Jill meet the Queen. She would have smiled when she learned I was feeding the birds like she did. She would tell me it’s OK to light a candle on her birthday, and not on her death day.

And she would laugh to learn I was featured in a music video, pink hair and all! Here is the Love Bug and her buddy post-ice cream, did I mention she made a Clip with the L’il Pumpkin about the trash they found on the beach? Ada would be so proud of their nascent climate activism.

Read Full Post »

We are on our annual pilgrimage to the beach. To recharge, refresh and hopefully not get sunburned. But a “coup de soleil” on the nose is unavoidable.

We head to the emerald water in the early morning before the crowds. I notice there are no shells to speak of and the L’il Pumpkin noticed there was garbage in the dunes.

He also noticed a large turtle crossing the main road in our golf cart. We stopped and a guy in a truck got out and helped the turtle across and placed him gently in the pine needles.

We always take naps at the beach. The sun and sand take a lot out of you. The Love Bug is rapidly turning into a preteen. No one is ready for that, but she can’t wait for a cell phone!

Today we had fish for lunch and fish is on the menu for dinner. The dining table is covered with a jigsaw puzzle of baby animals. So we’ll eat on the couch and maybe watch a movie.

I love our time here. No news, just lazy days. June has crept in on puppy dog paws.

Read Full Post »

We met the Bride et al for lunch, and a trip to our favorite bookstore, Parnassus. Ann Patchett walked in as we were checking out. Then I decided to check out this sneaker/running store in the same shopping center, they scan your feet and really know their stuff. I knew I had a high arch and instep, and this proved it! Instead of my usual Asics, a brand I’d been wearing for 20 years, I bought a pair of Finnish sneakers – Karhu. Maybe my feet will thank me, we’ll see.

As Bob and I were leaving, a woman about my age asked me how long we’d been married. I smiled and said “42 years today! It’s our anniversary!”

Then she proceeded to tell me how special and rare that is, that she could tell by the way we touch each other. She must have been watching us interact with the salesperson for awhile. We talked about building houses, and then she said her marriage ended in divorce.

I didn’t tell her it was all a bed of roses. I didn’t say we’d had our tough times, but we slogged through. I forgot to mention that the way he drives, drives me crazy, or that he likes to eat his food separately, and hates being told what to do. Especially if he was just about to do a thing, like take out the garbage.

I didn’t tell her that it was his smell I first fell in love with, back in high school, like freshly washed clothes hung out to dry on a line in the sun. I forgot to say he was my music man, my Nathan Detroit. That we have totally different tastes in almost everything: films; books; furniture. He has no use for style – he is the consummate scientist and I’m the artist. But we agree on most of the important things.

Like parenting and grandparenting and politics.

Religion or lack thereof.

Our mostly positive outlook on life.

Netflix this past year was hit or miss. But it’s rare to find him sitting down for a long period of time anyway. I’m currently watching The Kaminsky Method, and he sits in every now and then.

As we drove home today with my new sneakers, I thought about how lucky I am. Bob tends to the garden, he still loves to fly, he’s taking his (every 10 year) emergency medicine boards re-certification test online even though he’s retired, and he’s taken to doing the dishes which is only fair since I do the cooking. Although he has become the pasta chef extraordinaire! So maybe that’s a part of it, we still find each other interesting. We actually talk to each other.

And he will hold me when I can’t sleep.

Tonight we’ll celebrate at a swanky local restaurant, and tomorrow I have to be on set at 8 AM!! Believe it or not, I’m going to be a “hip nana” in a music video. Maybe this will be my second or third act?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: