Posts Tagged ‘Grandmothers’

I got my first hater the other day on Twitter, “Captain so and so” I forgot his made up, cowardly name. The problem was, I was just getting out of the shower, so I made the mistake of favoriting him and actually retweeted because I didn’t have my glasses on; and it never would have occurred to me  that someone might hate me?! Little old me? But hate he did, pasting a link to an article where some Kroger clerks got beat up outside their store. Threatening much?

Why? Because I had the audacity to take a picture of my lox and bagel lunch and post it with the hashtag,

#Groceries Not Guns.

I was thanking Panera Bread for their delish bagel and for instituting a sane gun policy in their stores, ie no open carry please. Leave your ammo at home! Then later I took a picture of my grocery cart at Whole Foods, filled with produce and such and said:IMG_1084

Love @WholeFoods #GroceriesNotGuns too bad @HarrisTeeter n Kroeger     

That’s Twitterspeak for let’s all boycott Kroger and Harris Teeter because they allow open-carry-gun-toting-zealots into their stores and I don’t want to bear witness to such foolishness.  This campaign by Moms Demand Action recently resulted in Target changing its gun policy, and I must admit I feel a little thrill each time I post something; like a revolutionary, I’m proud to join the ranks of Shannon Watts and these moms.

At home in an Indianapolis suburb the morning following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Shannon Watts, a 41-year-old former public relations executive and mother of five, created a Facebook page calling for a march on the nation’s capital: “Change will require action by angry Americans outside of Washington, D.C. Join us—we will need strength in numbers against a resourceful, powerful and intransigent gun lobby.” The seed for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—today a national organization backed by nearly 200,000 members and millions of dollars—had been planted. “I started this page because, as a mom, I can no longer sit on the sidelines. I am too sad and too angry,” Watts wrote. “Don’t let anyone tell you we can’t talk about this tragedy now—they said the same after Virginia Tech, Gabby Giffords, and Aurora. The time is now.” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/moms-demand-action-guns-madd-shannon-watts-nra

Using social media in a way that MADD could never have dreamed – which one doesn’t belong? –10635909_879992738677881_2827510542402008695_nto change the culture of drunk driving, this movement is winning hearts and minds of people who own guns, and have permits, and store them securely, and would never in a million years carry an AK47 into a grocery store! Pointing out the absurdity of the NRA’s policy is one goal, changing our wild west culture and getting the NRA out of the pockets of lobbyists is another.

It’s about time we women fought back. The Violence Against Women Act celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday. If you’d like to learn more, this article is for you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-actual-facts-about-dom_b_2193904.html

“Number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614:
Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766”

I blocked my hater on Twitter, haters gonna hate. I refuse to be intimidated. Three women a day are killed in this country by an intimate partner. It’s not just the NFL that has a problem. Teach your children well.

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Happy Mother’s Day to one and all. This post will have to be short since I’m busy being  a Nana currently. Nothing can prepare you for the look in your grand daughter’s eyes when she sees you again. It’s not heart warming, it’s heart melting – literally your heart just implodes inside itself. Kaboom, or “TaDa!” as we like to say.

I know I’ll never have to pick dozens of bees out of my son’s clothes again. Or sit in an ice cold skating rink and cheer him on to do ice hockey battle. I’m done sitting on the sidelines for my daughter’s cheerleading at Mini/Mighty/Football games. And I’m finished hosting sleepovers of girls doing their nails while watching Dirty Dancing. Teaching them to ride bikes and drive cars was mostly Bob’s job, but the rest of it – the messy, miraculous ritual, the day-in-and-day-out care, love, feeding, clothing, nursing and management job was the job I signed up for.

And I was just starting to realize that my job was done. That in fact, they wouldn’t really need me for the rest of their lives. Meaning that Bob and I could pat ourselves on the back; after all, we’d raised two, count ’em two, happy, confident, compassionate and fairly successful kids! Ahem, I meant adults.

But before we could get too comfortable in our new roles as parents of adult children, we became Grandparents. And now I know that all the miraculous love and bliss that babies bring into their new home, it just gets squared when you become the Nana. Because you realize it’s not the end of the world when they bruise their knee, or follow behind you cutting down all the perennials you’ve just finished planting. We take a longer view, we know this thing called childhood doesn’t last that long.

So when the Love Bug just spontaneously snuggles her damp head under my arm while I’m reading her a story about a monkey named George, I melt. Being a Grandmother is the reward for all those sleepless nights and teenage moments of angst. Grandparenting gives us another chance, to love unconditionally.

Watching Little League Baseball last night

Watching Little League Baseball last night

Well I’m on my way, I don’t know where I’m going
I’m on my way, I’m taking my time, but I don’t know where
Goodbye to Rosie, the queen of Corona

By Paul Simon, Me and Julio



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Happy Mother’s Day! Mothers everywhere are waking up to breakfast in bed, or so we’re supposed to believe. I made myself some coffee in my new tiny, one cup Keurig since Bob left before dawn for the hospital. And the new mom, our daughter the Bride, is working at her hospital today too. But her Groom, “God bless him” as my Mother-inLaw Ada would say, did remember to send her flowers.

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Ada has been my MIL now longer than Nell Mahon was my foster mother. In fact, she went to Nell’s funeral with me. I can’t think of how many funerals we’ve been to together, and there’s nobody better to take to a funeral, or a wedding for that matter. I met Ada when Bob and I started dating in high school, and she was the one who found me in the hospital while I was visiting my foster father much later. Daddy Jim was dying then, just when Ada ushered me into Bob’s room to rekindle our friendship. Bob went into the hospital for a little minor surgery, and walked out with his future wife…thanks in large part to Ada.

Oh and one more funereal thought – Ada bought me my very own burial plot right after we married. To this day, we both think that was pretty funny! But she did purchase a whole space in the local cemetery for her family, her three sons, and their wives…

She always said she was on my side. That if Bob and I ever broke up, she’d take my side, “All the way baby!” You see, Ada was from Brooklyn. There was no pretense, no argument, what she said always happened. She had gone back to school while we were in high school, to get her degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and in the late 60s until now, has always practiced in her home. She was going through her own divorce when Bob and I met up again near Daddy Jim’s hospital bed.

The youngest of three sisters, Ada had led a privileged life. Like many Jewish immigrants, her father was a tailor who came from Russia with nothing, and eventually owned a coat company in NY. She had a private car that would take her to school. She was expected to live at home until she married, this was before Betty Friedan. And she married a physician, like one of her older sisters. Unlike her sisters, she promptly moved out to the country, to the wilds of NJ, and had three boys.

Four Bridges was the bungalow colony her father started near their home in Chester, NJ. It was his retirement project, but also a way to keep the sisters coming back together every summer with their cousins and friends. I once gave Ada a painting, it was a picture of a house that had her name on it as a B&B, because she never met a stranger. Every time I would visit her, with the baby Rocker and young Bride in tow, she would have a house full of people, coming and going.

Ada is like Dolly Levi and Ruth Westheimer combined!

Well actually, she doesn’t have that Russian accent, it’s more Bedford Sty. She did get a doctoral degree and a certificate in sex therapy. I can imagine that went a long way when my teenagers told their friends their grandmother was a Sex Therapist. Here she is with the Bride at the Bug’s baby shower.


This is the kind of joy she inflicts on everyone everywhere she goes! She is still living and working in the same house with my wonderful Father-in-Law, Baptist preacher turned therapist, turned woodcarver Hudson, who was the Officiant at the wedding. You know, that wedding in 2010 that started me blogging. Between them both, they now have 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. At 88, she is still as effervescent and full of life as ever. They just got back from a cruise to Spain. An amazing woman, I am so proud to call her Mother.

I’ve always said I married Bob to get this woman as my Mother-inLaw. Thank you Ada, for always being on my side. And I’ll always have your back too. Now if only someone could fix our knees.

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Today is day 4. My hope is running out since we live on the borderline of 2 counties, deep in the woods at the end of a power grid that supports 7 homes. Obviously, those big white Rappahanock and Dominion power trucks are busy servicing developments with hundreds of homes, so we sit and wait.

The good news is that we installed a generator right next to the heat pump when we built this house. So really I can’t complain. We have heat, hot water and even lights in certain rooms. My refrigerator is still running and so is the microwave; I can even cook on top of the gas range once we light a match. What isn’t hooked up to the generator? The laundry room, the ovens, the outside lights, my office. You might say the soul of the house is in stasis – my aviary. So I plug in the laptop in the kitchen overnight, and write upstairs on battery power.

We adjust, we accommodate in a crisis. I asked Bob if the dogs slept with us in Rumson after the NoName storm, when we lost power for 6 days in December. I remember the kids piled into our big bed since we had an electric blanket hooked up to a portable generator. Did the Corgis jump up and snuggle with us on those 2 dog nights? It was an adventure when we were living in the Berkshires and a Noreaster swept through. Cooking on the woodstove, cross country skiing in the backyard, we felt like pioneers, like rugged, sturdy New Englanders, even though we were both suburbanite refugees.

When the Bride was born, the Flapper came to stay for awhile. I proudly told her that we have this ingenious, solar powered clothes dryer. It was the 70s, passive solar was all the rage, along with woodstoves for ex-hippies. My Mother looked at my clothes line, and promptly called up the hardware store and ordered a Maytag clothes dryer. That’s the way she was, in fact listening to all the latest interviews with Sandra Day O’Connor on her book tour, I am reminded of the Flapper. Yes, she was that acerbic, that opinionated, that sure of herself.

Listening to the Justice tell Terry Gross that “NO” being discriminated against as a woman lawyer, being told by the 40 law firms she called out of law school that they didn’t hire women, and then taking a job for no pay and being put in the same office as the secretary had absolutely no effect on her deliberations as a Supreme Court Justice was downright stunning. Did you hear this on NPR? I loved this lady, she doesn’t look back.

This weekend it’s supposed to be somewhere in the 60s, and the crocus that had just popped up before the snowfall, will open their pretty blue flowers to an early spring. Bob said the Corgis didn’t sleep with us, that we invited them but they eventually jumped down. I guess it was too crowded. Since I was behind on the laundry when the storm hit, today I’ll be collecting quarters and heading to the nearest laundromat. I wonder how the Flapper did all the laundry for a family of 7 (not counting me in this) on a Monday, and the ironing on Tuesday. Do I even know where my iron is? I need to start packing for my next trip to the Music City, where I will whisper to the Love Bug about her tenacious and powerful Great Grandmother.

Here is the view since the storm hit:
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While I was searching for some old pictures, I pulled down a big Frye boot box from the top of my closet. Inside I discovered the purple sweater that my Nana knit, probably around the turn of the last century. It was chock full of cables, an Aryan style, and since I knew it was a tight fit at 16, almost six decades later I didn’t have to try it on. I want to give it to the Bride; and I want to teach the Love Bug how to knit like a laidback knitter when she gets older!

Yesterday I walked into the Haus of Yarn in search of a certain size needle and walked out with this book, “10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters, A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn and Life,” by Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza. Post Christmas sales were in the air, (as in, “Come back on Wednesday when everything is half off”) and a woman was delivering a big box from Nothing Bundt Cakes, http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com I love this knitting store, they had fudge in the back and invited me to their Thursday night knit club. Back to the book, there are all different kinds of knitters, on a spectrum from the up-tight anxious type seeking perfection all the way to someone who knits in a recliner and doesn’t mind a dropped stitch.

I have to admit, I don’t like making mistakes, but I’m aware that what I want to be is a laidback knitter. And now I know how! I may never do any spinning or roving, but I do know where most of the yarn I use comes from. And I can still walk down the road to the Rivanna River Alpaca farm and say “Hey” to my friend DeeDee. Her animals make the softest fiber in the world. Thanks to The Knitting Lady, I don’t fear dropping stitches or even ripping out rows of wool with abandon. I can say with satisfaction, I am the slowest knitter ever! “Slow” in the sense of the slow food movement; and to be fair, in the sense of time spent on a project…

Have a slow moving Sunday y’all. As our President said, “Drink some eggnog.” I’m working on a rosy pink dress for my little Bout de Chou – translation “tiny piece of cauliflower!” I intend to keep knitting…and writing about gun control, in light of the tone deaf statements of the NRA. Let’s bring our voices to Washington via petitions, phone calls and those really hard to ignore, snail mail letters. Slow and steady will win this race.
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Normally, you would find some smart-alec retort here about politics. Normally, I would try and weave some family story into my opinion, hopefully with a dash of humor or at least a dollop of wit. And don’t get me wrong, I watched a few snippets of both conventions. I loved the nun and the ex-President, and even Mrs Mitt wasn’t too saccharine sweet. But life stopped being normal on August 25th, when I found myself transformed from the Mother-of-the-Bride to the Grandmother.

Nothing really prepares you for this stage in life. Gone are the black shoes and stockings of my Nana from Scranton, PA. I’m not pickling things and storing cans on the shelves leading down to the basement. I still have the sacred memory of Nana taking me to my very first movie – Picnic, starring William Holden and Kim Novak. In 1955 I was 7 years old when this classic was released and Nana told me only big girls are allowed in a movie theatre and that I couldn’t leave my seat and run up and down the aisles. Of course I can’t remember the plot, but something “big” was happening in the grass and I was praised for staying put.

Can you remember your first anything? The first time you rode a real bike, the first kiss? Mine happened on the Kindergarten school bus. A boy named Lloyd, who’s mom was what we called then a “war bride” from London, cornered me and kissed me. i remember feeling somewhat terrified and proud all at the same time. Growing up can be challenging. The simple courage to try something new has prompted Jamie Lee Curtis to write her latest children’s book, “My Brave Year of Firsts.” Curtis said, “I started thinking about how often we ask children to try things, and it brought up to me the bravery of being a kid; for a child, jumping a rope, riding a horse, tying shoes, going to school — all are new activities. But adults don’t naturally choose to do something brave. We’re afraid we’re going to look foolish.”

It’s true. We ask our young children constantly to just try some new food, while we are content to eat the same old thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But last night I tried something new, and it was delicious! The Rocker rolled into the Music City with Aunt Cait and made us dinner. We feasted on yummy quinoa cakes with a cranberry curry and yogurt remoulade, all made from scratch! The kale salad on the side was the best I’ve ever tasted. Later we watched the documentary “Babies” and that was illuminating and fun!

The Bride gave her brother his first lesson in diapering. As I watched, I felt true bliss. My baby boy had cooked for his sister and his new niece. Better it couldn’t be.

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Bob and I lost the Bride and the Groom in the hospital parking garage. Well we didn’t really lose them, since we have smart cells and can always find them again, wherever they are. Except for maybe a Caribbean island, our collective happy visualization spot! We were headed for Labor and Delivery; we picked up the happy couple on another subterranean floor and as we’re going up in the elevator, I repeat “BJ,” maybe a touch too loud. That is where we will presumably find my car again, once we are grandparents. Basment level, row “J.” Except for a small giggle from the back of the elevator, the Bride turns to me and says, “Don’t you have that App?” “What App,” I say.

It seems there is an App that will locate your car for you when you are stuck in an airport or mall parking lot, or even a covered, cavernous hospital garage. Now not only will I never get lost, I’ll never lose my car again! “Interesting,” I said, “Have they created an App that will tell me – “‘Why am I here?'” The whole elevator had a smile about that one. But really, besides the existensial question in general, why do we need grandparents? Let me count the ways.

To Cook! Your children will be busy, very busy with a newborn. Cooking anything will be appreciated. I lucked out cause the Groom does dishes.

To Shop! Of course you need to shop for the groceries to cook, which should include all your daughter’s favorite things…avocados, peaches, grapefruit juice. Don’t forget the new Dad, he needs beer and beef. You won’t go wrong. And be prepared to go on special hunting expeditions for things like Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads – amazing things! Spell it out on your Notes App, L-A-N-S-I-N-O-H. ps Target carries them.

To Burp, Rock and Change the Occasional Diaper! Be prepared. Dads are way more involved than they were in our day. So the actual baby nurse duties will be minimal with a nursing Mom and today’s Dad.

To Give Nursing Advice! Who needs a doula when you have a Grandmother? Well, maybe we did. It’s been over 30 years since I nursed the Bride and for some strange reason this hospital doesn’t employ Lactation Counsultants on weekends. I had a 1-800 La Leche number, and now I have a post-menopausal brain that tends to forget the tough times of sleep deprivation and an inverted nipple. Lucky for me, the Bride has a very cooperative baby girl!

To Know When NOT to Give Advice! This can be tricky. I learned a long time ago never to give anyone advice unless they asked for it. But when it’s your daughter, and your brand new grand daughter you may start to feel just like one of those crazy, old women who would constantly tell you what to do when you were a new mom. “What do you mean the nurse recommends not putting lotion on her bottom?” “You’re going to swaddle her that tight?” Anyway, try very hard to keep most of your opinions to yourself – unless asked. My daughter said she only sees babies in the ER who are either dehydrated or febrile and septic, so I trust her to know what to do in most every circumstance. Still, that leaves a wide range of normal neonate behavior, right? “Wait, you want the dog to lick her face?”

To Take Pictures. My phone has like 4 or 5 picture Apps! Here’s the thing, you get to take pictures as much as you want! And you get to catch those unlikely times with the whole new family. For instance, I think this looks like a soap opera. First time nursing in the recovery room: nurse at the computer, BFF and colleague Kristyn comes in, off camera are many of their friends who are residents…all crying. And bam, the Groom turns. What is he thinking?

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