Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Out and about with the sprout...

Take a good look! Yes, these are light sabers from a private collection that were used in the Star Wars Prequel movies. They are on display at the Science Center. Liam and Papa Dave love playing with light sabers. When he saw this display he was fascinated and said, "Want to show Papa Dave." So of course we emailed the photo to him. Then Liam said, "Want to hold the light sabers." I acknowledged he WANTED to and explained he could not. They were just to look at. 

We purchased tickets for the Discovery Room.

 He enjoyed the water table. He fished with nets and splashed with hands. He had fun rerouting
 water and making cages for the plastic fish.
 The walkway over the highway is a delight for old and young alike. There are radar detectors to see how fast traffic is traveling. He looked through this viewer, discouraged he couldn't see "nuffin."

At home he enjoyed expressing his creativity with paints. Sometimes you just have to mix the colors and not worry if the colors touch or blend to blah.

 When I asked what his favorite activity was, he said, "The air." He spent a long time sending the scarves up the wind tunnel and watching them escape and float back down.
 His absolute most favorite thing costs me every time, but only a few nickels or handful of pennies. He loves the gravity cone. He watches the coins spin and spin into the opening. This is how we end our outing at the Science Center.
 But this time he was in for a real treat. As we were leaving, a red helicopter flew over our car right above the tree tops. He was so excited. We watched as it hovered and then descended. Luckily on our way home, we saw where it landed. He said, "Oh Nana, it needs gas."
We all run out of gas, so if you are worn down, need to refuel, do something that catches your interest, something to spark your creativity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Does it matter where you sit?

A lesson in humility. We live in the home on the right.

As we came out of our back door and got into our car, we saw these Muslim women sitting on our lawn. The younger one was smoking a cigarette, and the older woman looked worn out. They had been carrying bags of groceries. They looked startled, apprehensive, probably afraid. Bill asked if they were okay or needed help. They said they were fine, just resting. We went on our way to lunch.

Makes me sad to think what some intolerant people might have said or done.

As long as I am talking about sitting, let me share what happened at the senior buffet. Bill left me sitting at our table to get change for a tip. Our table was by a small divider. I waited and waited for him to return. He sat down at the table by the divider and waited and waited for ME. A lady next to him said, "Someone is sitting in that chair." My funny honey said, "I know. It's my wife."

She shrugged. He waited impatiently. An older, African American woman came to his table and said, "That's my seat."

With a smile, my funny guy said, "Well that's probably your soda I've been drinking, too. I'm waiting for my wife."

She asked, "Did you touch my silverware?"

He said no, apologized, and walked to where I was seated... waiting for him, by the divider, a section forward from where he had been waiting by a divider, at some other woman's table... for me.

As if that wasn't bad enough, he had to  go back to the woman's table and remove the tip he'd left there. He said, "I need to give this to OUR waitress."

I laughed all the way home.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Stone village

Unbelievable! 72 degrees on January 21st. Hubby and I took a ride across the river into Illinois for Eagle Days which draws hundreds of people who come to photograph the majestic bald eagles.

Typically they migrate south when the waterways freeze. Eagles populate the trees and the river floes as they hunt and rest in the bird sanctuary, on the river bluffs, and along the river banks.We didn't see one eagle; due to the crazy warm weather they don't have to come this far to find food.

We drove about ten miles past Alton to a small village, Elsah, Illinois. This river settlement on the banks of the Mississippi was settled in 1840's by James Semple, a supreme court judge, who owned a stone quarry nearby. He gave a free property lot to anyone who agreed to build a house of stone there. This charming village, with a population of less than 700, is on the Illinois Historic Register and is not a museum town. Residents live there and maintain a peaceful and quiet life in this little village, which still maintains its 19th century appearance. If you'd like to know more about Elsah, Illinois or take a virtual, informative tour, click here. http://www.escapetoelsah.com/

These are some of the photos of the stone ruins and homes. So much history here!

We also drove a few miles further along the river road to Pere Marquette State Park. We went into the lodge and sat by the three story fire place and people watched.
This picture does not begin to show the intricate handiwork put into this quilt of vibrantly colored cloth leaves hanging from the rafters.
This building was originally a corn crib, converted in the 1930s to a visitor center until the new one was built in 1997. Can you imagine the work that went into building this structure?
Do you like taking drives to explore communities near you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A bit of confusuion

Talk about confused. Last week we had freezing rain and ice. Then a warm spell with temperature of 68 degrees. The sedum, a hearty plant, has already started to sprout. 
 Then a few days later, while there was still a thin sheet of ice on the park lake, the sun came out and the temperature soared again. I asked hubby to stop so I could walk around the lake. I spied this canteen at the base of the tree. Then it moved its head. Turtles were coming out of hibernation. In the middle of January we are experiencing spring temperatures. I am not complaining. The weather man said this morning that conditions are ripe for a big snow...if it were cold. I am thankful that we are a day closer to spring and don't have the white stuff. The ice storm fizzled, even though every precaution was taken and metropolitan and counties closed down last weekend. THIS weekend we will have way above normal temps. This is wild.
Now as if that isn't confusing enough, Liam's mom went for her ultrasound. She was 7 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The baby measured 3 and 1/3 inches long. At this stage it's supposed to be the size of a kidney bean, not a french fry. Hmm, maybe she's further along. They will know on Valentine's Day. Meanwhile she's worried she's having a  giant baby. Right now the due date is near Bill's birthday, and we are all excited!

Some of you may already know my step brothers who live in Florida are both hospitalized in ICUs at different hospitals. Steve was involved in a head on collision and suffered extensive chest/abdomen injuries and aortic tear. He's had seven major surgeries in 9 days, and I am waiting for an update.

John developed an infection which went into his blood stream, probably from pneumonia. Both were on life support, but showing improvement as of Monday night. Would sure appreciate prayers for Steve and John Cooper. Thank you.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fool me once

You might think that this full moon picture was taken on a cold wintry day. 

 Actually it was 68 degrees with whipping winds and 54 mph gusts. Liam went outside at my daughter's home and said, "My Nana, Liam's hair's going to blow away!" He held onto it for dear life.
I took a brisk mile walk last evening and did it in record time because the wind was against my back pushing me.

Hubby and I had a friendly dispute, each of us thinking the other had flipped his/her lid.

He said, "You always complain about my crumbs and mess on the counter."

I do! The sink is six inches to the left and all he has to do after making a sandwich is brush the crumbs into the sink.  But he never can remember how simple it is.
He walked into the living room, looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "So why did YOU leave the lettuce out?"

"I didn't eat any lettuce."

"You may not have eaten any, but you took it out of the fridge and left it on the counter. YOU left a mess on the counter this time." He did not say "Nah-nah-nu na na!"

I insisted, "I did not! There is no lettuce on the counter. If there is, you probably took it out and don't remember."

Finally, I went to see the lettuce. I laughed and laughed until tears were rolling. Can you figure out why? Come on, tell me what YOU think is in the bag.

Okay, here's the answer: I took Liam to the pool, so I packed a bath scrubby filled with shower soap in a plastic bag to give him a quick shower after swimming. The green glob is a nylon net shower scrubby. I must admit it does look like lettuce.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Adrift on air, land, or sea? Discover your purpose.

Take a good look at my desk while it's cleaned off, because it will not stay this way. There is a reflection of my honey on my computer screen as he sits at his desk. Love my new calendar. I will be sitting in the office chair, but I know you know that I will be "lounging" in that beach chair.

Everybody needs a great escape, a place where you can go in your mind to escape the reality of daily drudgery and doldrums. It's great to have a visual.   
 Be sure to use imagery in your writing. Make the reader feel, see, smell, taste, and hear what you do.

Trade winds rustle the palm frond umbrella which shades me from the blistering sun. My bare back sticks to the plastic cushion; my outstretched legs crisp; and my feet dangle. I arch my sandy toes  toward the curvature of the horizon and breathe in humid tropical air. The lapping waves soothe me into a five minute snooze. I awake, lick my salty lips. I'm sweaty and ready for a dip in the Caribbean Sea, my great escape.

I found this easel at the curb. A perfectly good  easel on one side and a chalk board on the other.
 I still cannot give up teaching. I so enjoy Mondays with Liam.  I spied the cute duckling in an empty box corral at the grocery store, on the side of a Downy box. I retrieved it, took it home, cut out the downy duckling, and after Liam painted the circle blue, we glued it onto his paper. Then he told a story; he used three related sentences. Every story has to have a balloon in it! Literacy begins when children make the connection between their spoken words and printed words. "Look what you said. These are YOUR words." Then we took a field trip.

 We spent the morning at the Science Center exploring air movement of objects. He was fascinated that he could balance a ball on a stream of air. He thought it was a hoot when he aimed the flex hose at me and it blew my hair. Wish you could have heard him giggle.

 At the float zone, children chose different colors, textures, and weights of cloth squares to design their own parachutes using pipe cleaners. Lots of thinking and reasoning going on. If the object was light enough and had an air pocket, the air gust would lift it up through the air tunnel, and it would blow out the open top and drift down. Wise guy realized the ones with many pipe cleaners were too heavy, so he found a cloth with no pipe cleaners, laid it on the white air vent, pressed the button for a burst of air, and was fascinated when his cloth floated gently and continuously to the top, then soared out and drifted down. He played here for half an hour.

Next he discovered air-forced ball play and gravity with tubes, PVC pipes, elbows and Ts. He placed the ball in the opening on the other side and air shot it out. He followed the ball's path...and loved every minute of this activity.
After a nap and late lunch, we went to the indoor "fwimming pool." I told him to say the "S" sound.

"Nana, I want to go to the SSSSSSSSfwimming pool."

It's fun to be two-and-a-half. This was an enjoyable, but a bittersweet day for me. My little guy is becoming a big guy. I was peeling an apple in the sink for his snack when I realized he was standing next to me looking into the sink. He has had a tremendous growth spurt.

You know, we grow in many ways: as writers, parents, grandparents, people. If you are adrift, floating without purpose, stretch yourself. Learn something new, maybe a new word; make a discovery, and surprise yourself.

Now I am off to fill in those little squares on my submission calendar...if I don't get lost at sea.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Is the anticipation worth the wait?

Liam spent the night with my daughter, his nana. He calls her "My Nana." He woke up this morning, looked outside, and said, "Oh! My Nana, it snowed. Liam wants to take a BIG bite of that white snow."
She told him they would go out and play in it, later. 

It is so hard to wait for something you really wish and hope for, isn't it? Did you ever want something so badly, you could almost taste it?

After breakfast he looked out the back door and said, "Wow! Look at THAT, My Nana."

He was excited when he saw dozens of birds and squirrels at the bird feeder.

My daughter asked him, "Why did Nana put food out for the birdies and animals?"

He looked at her and said, "HUNGRY!" With the "duh!" inflection in his voice.

She said she felt it was a teachable moment, so she posed a question to help him develop compassion and think. "Yes, and when it's so cold and snowy, the birds can't dig in the frozen ground for worms and food, so we help take care of them. Who takes care of you?"

He looked at her like it was a trick question, because HE knew, and he thought she was asking him for her benefit.

He cocked his head and said, "GOD, My Nana, GOD take care everyone!"

Let that be a lesson to each of us.

As you can see, Liam got his wish. He played indoors in a pan of snow, and he also got his wish for a BIG bite of that white snow. Now he is playing outdoors in the fluff.

Sometimes the anticipation is worth the wait. Do you agree?

I have procrastinated five whole days away. It took me three days to tackle the stacks of papers etc. on my desk. I could only do such much at one time before feeling overwhelmed, but I am almost there.

Like Kenny Rogers sang, "You have to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em..."

When life or a task seems overwhelming, chunk it, tackle the task one or two steps at a time. Don't try to do everything at once. 


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Are you following your dreams?

I have a story posted at Sasee.com which you can read if you click this safe link. I hope you enjoy it. It is always helpful if you leave a comment on their website, but you don't have to.  http://sasee.com/2017/01/01/joy-riding-with-nana/

 Liam was delighted when I told him I was taking him to the Jumpy House Place. He loves Monkey Joe's, a large room with inflatables. The first three bouncers are for children three and under, so he had the run of the place, in one bouncer and out the other. I reminded him he was to look for my pink sweater, locate me, (I was sitting right in front of the bouncers) when he came out of each bouncer, come over to me, and tell me in which one he was going next. He listened, and told me every time when he moved from one area to the other. So proud of this little cutie.

Following directions is important, especially if you are a writer. Adhere strictly to guidelines.
 He was so enthusiastic when we arrived at 11:00 a.m. By the time we left at noon, he was one exhausted, happy little guy. He ASKED for a nap.
Life is sometimes like this, don't you think? We have great expectations and anticipate what's ahead. We tackle a story or an article with all our might, work ourselves into an exhausted state, then we must rest to recharge. 

I made an entry on the last page of my writing journal on New Year's Day 2017. My first entry was January, 1997. It is fun looking back and seeing what I have accomplished in the literary field in twenty years as a freelance writer. I am determined and mostly self-taught. Thank you for the many ways you have inspired me along the way.

Happy New Year. I so appreciate your following.

Follow your dreams!