Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Decade Starts Tomorrow

My little sweetie pie grandson and his Mommy are coming over tomorrow to spend time with me on my birthday. We will have fun. We have wonderful parks here. I think I will be stacking my towels in a more orderly fashion so he can get in the living room, although there is much more room in here since giving two dozen to my friend and her daughter. At 40 I was working in a pizza shop and had my birthday on the sign outside, at 50, I was at a math workshop at a big ten school and my friends surprised me with a party, at 60 I have spent the entire summer swimming and exercising and laying about watching TV and reading. Maybe I will suddenly be ready for school to start in two weeks. I am having my very first twinge of readiness right this minute. That's how it begins. First a twinge, then "Let's get going!" If this keeps up, DH will have been gone the ENTIRE summer to work on this job in Maine and I can tell you that is a damn long time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Definition of Sweetness

I was leaving my toddler-care days and I told him I was going home. He said "Oh, Nonnie, don't go I miss you so." Head on my shoulder, sweet hug. Jeez, that makes leaving 3 days of playing with 80 matchbox cars on my hands and knees and getting quite a bit of reading done, some of it challenging, (David Mamet) almost impossible to walk out that door.

By the way, the bar is behind us! Whew.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


YES, to both of you, towels aplenty, at least a 10 year supply. and bathmats, too, and how about some 2 cup coffee pots? Get the picture, the living room is a literal Alps of off white towels, even after all the giveaways! And I haven't taken out my share yet!!

As for today, the little prince is napping. I took a darn long time to get to it, too. We played outside for about 2 hours first thing, and I mean before 7a.m. Sorry, neighbors if our singing got too loud! Then we watched some Sesame Street and what I hoped would be a fresh Caillou, it wasn't. We played trains in Daddy's office AND I got the music to play. All this plus some dancing took place before bath time. I promised Daddy I'd do the bath. That was fun until the hair. of course, but I got him to play past the hair and stay in the water for a while. It was 20 till one before story and nap, whew. In 10 or 15 minutes he was sound asleep and I only had to say, in a Billy Goat Gruff voice one time, "get back in that bed.. " I am leaving something out, oh yes, there was food, mostly a hot dog day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Bar

Untold thousands of law school graduates have converged in Chicago to take the high stakes test of their young lives. I myself am supplying care to my little prince of the Midwest whle his Mommy, law-daughter is taking this test. Today he is having his first nap in several days. After a few hours of rolling around on the floor playing with matchbox cars with him, among other things, and a hearty lunch of steamed garden veggies, a fresh peach, two hot dogs, and a glass of milk, off he went, somewhat reluctantly, but successfully for a NAP. I have had a much needed shower and some time to read blogs and even write on my own. I have washed a few windows and hope for a noticeable response to the missing toddler noseprints! Since this is not my home, I find it much easier to do a few chores. Things look better easily here as compared to my dark cave with 30 years of odds and ends built up. I do watch those shows where people come in and organize one into comfort and beauty, but my house isn't quite bad enough to qualify, except for the recent heap of towels which I am dispensing to the meagerly toweled as I meet them, I still have a path!

About those towels:
daughter, 10+10 handtowels+4bathmats
teacher 1 same
teacher 2 same
friend from the pool, 6
trainer, 6, no hand towels, no bath mats
Aunt B. 12, to share with cousin T and boys
Oh yeah! my cousin ya ya 10 or 12, I forget
just a small accounting of really nice towels that were going to the DUMP!
....and I still have plenty of towels to find homes for. They are housebroken and don't bark at the neighbors.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


What a wonderful day with my cousin/friend, we sat on her bed and yaya'd, we went to the kitchen for some tea and yaya'd, we went to crackerbarrel and ate and yaya'd, then we sat out on the porch of the crackerbarrel for 2 more hours........talk talk talk. 9 hours of talk, how do we do that? Childhood, children, grandchildren, work, moms..... what a super time, and her new digs are nice, too.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Don't Stagger Home

from exercise class anymore, I can mow, I can shop, I can sit at the computer and say how strong I am getting. My lunges have gone from 13 wobbly steps to the white line to 9 strong steps to the same white line. The first time I tried lunging, I couldn't even take 3 steps to any line and felt as if I were going to fall over at any second, I couldn't even pull my back foot up to my front foot! Progress is being made every day. I might be ready to take my 30 minutes on the elliptical to 45 minutes.


My dh just sent me 6--yes 6--skeins of alpaca yarn from an alpaca farm in Maine. Wintersgonefarm@msn.com. It is the softest yarn I have ever touched. I have no idea what do do with it, maybe make a baby blanket for ME so I can cuddle and touch it for the rest of my life! It is amazing. I looked at their site, and it isn't very helpful yet, but it does tell you where it is.

I had breakfast with friends from school today and gave away another half dozen towels, found future homes for more. It is easier than finding homes for puppies! or kittens. My weight loss was noticed, it in combination with a year of hard exercise is starting to show. That was somewhat gratifying. Yes, really gratifying.

I will soon be sitting for the prince of the Midwest while his mommy takes the bar. I have requested some tivos of reading between the lions, I am tired of Caillou's whining. The lessons are always good, but, let's get real, he whines! I watched Reading Between the Lions--research-- and it is an excellent replacement for that old classic, The Electric Company, for which I have pined in H's behalf. This is H's last week in day care until a law job is acquired and I think he will miss the other toddlers. I LOVE the school he has gone to, it has been such a good place to be in day care.

Another step up in the world of blogs, I actually put in a link to somewhere and it turned blue! You can click on it! Wahoo,

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I saw it yesterday evening and it was lovely. It was strange to hear Natasha Richardson speaking with Vanessa Redgrave's younger voice--exactly! The girl who was represented in old age by Meryl Streep looked as if she would age right into Meryl Streep. Claire Danes is fabulous. I thought the movie was touching. One thing that was off-kilter was that the "girls" in the movie, were growing up in the fifties, yet they are still of childbearing age-- I am sorry, but their eggs should really already be gone and grandchildren should be in the wings-- still, it was easier to suspend that disbelief, though it jarred me, than rats in the kitchen. I never got over the calf in the Billy Crystal movie being a Jersey calf instead of a Hereford, it pains me to this day.

2 days ago I spent 1 1/2 hours sitting with my MIL at the nursing home. She seemed especially cheerful and has a new chatty table mate who keeps conversation going, whether anyone is listening or not. I found it entertaining and she still remembers things that are downtown currently. I thought we might take a roll around the block, a very large block, NO in no uncertain terms-- nap time. I stayed a while longer, but I was really invisible and finally left. I should say all the table mates enjoyed their lunches and my MIL says the food there is great.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Saw the new Pixar--cute--but I simply could not suspend disbelief and found it creepy and disturbing on so many levels. Rats touching food in restaurants... It is definitely several years away from Henry seeing it, there were many things to frighten the very young child. I saw some not so very young ones who seemed disturbed. I am doling out towels and realizing the magnitude of the number of towels a 30 room inn would need to have on hand. There's a guy walking down the street, maybe he needs 10 large bath towels! I can't imagine that all this good stuff was going to the dump! The towels have a good ten years left in them.


DH is working at an inn in Maine and they are changing their decor from off white to pink. I have all the towels that were going to the dump--absolutely nothing wrong with them except they were not the chosen color. I have expanded my idea of toweling my family to also toweling colleagues with families. Sets of 10 with bath mats, too, and hand towels. I am fixing a box of towels and bed pillows for law-daughter and family. I also have enough two cup coffee pots, Mr. Coffee to give one to each faculty member at my school so they can brew a cuppa if needed. I have been bringing things into the tiny living room and the sofa is completely covered up to the window with towels and pillows. Soon my feng shui friend is stopping by before we go see the new pixar movie to pick up her life-time supplies of towels. Turned out to be in the nick of time for her with her two swimming teen daughters. She'll take those cute crochet lace pillows that adorn some people's beds, people who make their beds and pile them with pillows. She does that, now that surprises me more about her than any of her wild teen stories!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Extra Perfect

I have felt the noticeable regaining of flexibility in my hips in the past two weeks, so much to my happy surprise, I was able to get my leg over the bike in a normal but slow fashion. The trail is in beautiful condition and the smells and sounds are those of my late childhood in the country, lots of blooms, and birds calling. I even saw a real bluebird. I took ID and quarters to get water at the end of the trail--no water--no fountain, no machine....boo. Next time I will take water. We are supposed to have several low humidity days in a row here, so I will not be unprepared again. A huge deer appeared on the trail in front of me, 15 or 20 yards away, I have read enough of Gary Paulsen to never underestimate the wildness of a deer and rode with caution, I even barked a little bit as I neared where it might have been. That phrase you always read about deer melting into the brush? So true.

Talked with DH today, he has shipped all the boxes of goodies the inn owners were taking to the dump instead of giving to goodwill or something. Towels for the whole extended family and even friends! He says our number one grandson is a perfectionist and very very good at making models. DH said he is amazing. Maybe that will help inspire him to get the grades to stay in school, I mean the hope of learning something that he can do with his hands. He is plenty smart, he just hasn't learned to value education.

If I don't do a single other thing today, I feel good about this day. Oh, and Leah should be back in Chicago by now, that is unless the flights are delayed, what's the chance of that?


Today is one of those rare perfect days in this part of the Midwest, low humidity, medium temperature, and nice breezes. The water at the Y felt like silk this morning and I stopped at my favorite restaurant here at the crossroads and had my once a week omlet. It was exceptional, then I carried my coffee out to the new outdoor seating to read and enjoy the lovely breeze. It is pleasant enough that I am going to take a mid day ride on my bike when I finish up here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


A friend introduced me to Nioxin brand shampoo for fine hair and I love it, I lost my last bottle at the Y--There were just a few teaspoons left, but the stuff is so expensive and takes so little to wash my wash'n'go hair. Today at Kroger they had a gel for thin hair and I bought it, and boy it works, I think I am going to use this often. I haven't been doing one thing with my hair this summer except washing it and wearing it completely flat and very very short. It is supposed to spike. Now I found the thing that makes it do what it is supposed to do. Remember, I promised in my first post that this would be a boring blog.

Monday, July 9, 2007


I remember the grasshoppers of my childhood in California as gigantic. I saw photos of them this week saying they are as big as your finger, they really were that big! I wonder if the carnations that grew everywhere really smelled so spicy as I remember? Not hybridized out of scent.

Something for Rose

Something flitted through my life yesterday that made me think of my grandmother we called Mammie. At 1604 she scrubbed and waxed the stairs to earn money to buy at least 12 grandchildren identical Christmas presents of the underwear kind. She wore shirtwaist house dresses and black clunky shoes size 10 with a quad A heel. Her hair was always carefully brushed and contained in a bun with a part on the side and a slight lift to the front before it was wound tightly into its bun then secured with hairpins and covered with a hairnet. I suppose the apartment was tiny, it was two rooms, a kitchen with her tiny white enamel table and her sturdy wooden box that she used as a stool. After she would wax the kitchen floor, she would cover it with newspaper to keep it clean. There was a dining section of the room with a table and chairs and one of those white metal cabinets where she kept our olives and our alka seltzer which Rose and I thought was a great treat. Alka Seltzer! I don't think we had much pop, so that must have been the lemony tingly thrill. Above that cabinet she hung a framed drawing of a horse I had done, it was so wonderful of her to do that for me. We could have a whole jar of those green olives with pimento as a treat. The tall skinny jar about the size of a 50 cent piece in diameter. WOW! those were the days! There was a "front" room with Papa's bed and Mammie's sofa bed where we slept with her when we stayed over.

The ice man actually still came to this apartment and carried blocks of ice up the back stairs. The bathroom was shared amongst the apartments on the floor and had a huge claw footed tub. My grandmother may have kept that clean, too. I think I remember four apartments on the floor. Everything was very dark. It was so much fun to get on the bus with Mammie and go downtown to Woolworth's. That special smell that Nancy Griffiths says smells like bubblegum on the bottom of a leather shoe ground into the wooden floors. She's right. My other grandmother took me to L.S. Ayres. Papa would come home from work, the machine shop, and throw his keys up to us from the sidewalk. He may have whistled. Papa was pretty scary and stern then once in a while he would surprise you. He took me downtown once and bought me a real drawing table--and a couple of learn to draw books by Walter Foster. It meant so much to me that they noticed my interest.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Just got back and they have 200 watt equivalent energy saving bulbs, now I can READ! Almost every bulb in the house has been replaced with a fluorescent bulb, but they never seem bright enough for a boomer to read by.

I got here just in time to get a call from my daughter in Israel, she is having a great time and will be headed back to the states next week. midweek.

My lawyer daughter once had a really bad allergic reaction to preparing fresh mangoes, did you know they can give you something similar to poison ivy? (in your mouth) I ate three in one day and my lips are verging on that Hollywood star injection look, just a bit. Maybe I shouldn't peel them either. This may be a warning to me! When I was in college, I didn't know mangoes were a fruit, I thought they were a green pepper, so imagine my surprise when the new Baskin Robbins in town had mango sherbet--and it wasn't green, I was mystified. A year in Florida cleared that up, the mango tree in one of the biggest trees down there and the fragile fruit falls all over the ground. Who knew?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Appropo of Nothing/Random Thoughts

1. I hate the new Home Depot commercial with the Asian family where the little girl is manipulating Daddy then Mom pays her-- yuchhh. I get angry every time I see it and want to run in here and write it down. So there.

2. I forced myself to go out and chop weeds in that hole DH left a year or two ago for the future studio-- actually the studio will exist by the end of this summer. Some people call it yard work or gardening, but it was merely weed chopping.

3. Spider Solitaire is a cruel invention.

4. A friend has the theory that summer break is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I am on saturday and we go back to school early Sunday afternoon. June is Friday, July is Saturday, August is Sunday. That really makes it seem short.

3. I am reading a Chris Bojhalian book, I loved "Midwives".

4. I read for a couple of hours in a local coffee shop today and noticed I am not the only person there just to read. It is a way to ignore the relentless distractions of home.

5. My niece who is awaiting her baby girl from China wants to get together this week and that sounds like fun!

Friday, July 6, 2007


Great tough workout last night, and the rain poured down sounding like buckets of bricks on the school's roof. I did stagger home last night and could not have mowed like I did on Monday. 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 on the treadmill, plus half hour of rather difficult floor exercises. I am feeling more flexibility coming back into my hip joints, it is noticeable. This morning I went off to the pool, it was closed and I was wearing sandals, but I went into the fitness center with another swimmer and we rode the new semi-recumbent bikes for half an hour followed by a two hour breakfast and chat with a colleague from school. I got to see all of the pictures of her new grandbaby on her new digital camera which is the same brand as mine, but much more compact, very nice.(Camera AND baby) It is a gorgeous day but it is fast becoming terribly humid out there. I have a bag ready to go to the park and draw. Maybe I will just do that and I will feel like I have accomplished one of my summer goals, or a step of my summer goals.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I am addicted to the morning swim classes, my whole sense of well-being is around that in the summer time. That may be unacceptable, I must work on that. I always feel fresh and new in the water when getting some laps and stretching out my muscles. Tonight is my really tough workout and I am going to try to get a full hour on the elliptical. I am not getting my summer reading done. What is it when there is too much time and you don't get things done? I can't really say that to anybody because that is not a problem for most people, they have too much to cram intheir day. I have many things I want to cram in my day and don't. If I had known what this summer was going to be, I would have scheduled some classes at the university, I need to get that done for next year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Oh Dear

Leah broke her camera and she is in Israel-- YIKES--no more photos of the ancient of ancient cities.

I heard loud noises last night, thinking man the private fireworks have gotten intense. My town had their fireworks last night on the wrong night! I wasn't going, but I didn't know I was missing them! 10 more days of being alone. I am not adjusting very well. I don't know how people do it except that they must. If I just track back through my mind, I have never been alone. HMM that's mind boggling. I looked forward to about 2 weeks of it, but the kitchen table is piled up again! I have watched too many movies. not enough paintings. and am here now, not there, wherever there is. I think I shall leave the bungalow and go out to hunt and gather for a while. Today is Sylvia Browne day on Montel, though, and I find her fascinating. Strangely blunt, but fascinating.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July 4--Oops It's Here

I just realized I have no plans--strange to have no plans with no partner at home to have no plans with. Hmmm. I sat in Denny's and read a painting magazine. I got a new tackle box for a hint I read about at least a year ago-- to put out your paint in a tackle box and do plein air painting-- the paint squeezed out of the tubes into the spaces in the top of the box. The seal is very tight when the box is closed, and the other recommendation is to spritz the paint with vinegar water to help it stay moist and not get moldy quickly. I think I will now be actually trying the tip instead of just thinking about it.

Walmart has fresh blueberries today for only $1.50 a pint and are they nice looking. If I hadn't had breakfast at 10 after swimming classes, I'd be eating them now.

My DH has our oldest grandson with him in Maine to "work"-- this week is probably the last chance for number one to straighten up and do something. Summer camp for a child who has had no discipline for most of his 15 years is rather difficult. It is difficult for a grandpa to find a line between employer and grandpa. Being a grandpa is supposed to be fun. I do hope they both make it back here for the remainder of the summer, but I have been teaching too long to think that we have the cure.

Monday, July 2, 2007

That's Not Fair

Henry is just two weeks short of being 2 1/2-- Sunday morning he said "that's not fair." What a hoot, do toddlers really say that already? He is so not a media boy, but he does go to day care...maybe that's it. As you can tell, I babysat last weekend with my favorite toddler in the world. We had a great time. Some new things that I have learned about him lately is that he really doesn't know when he gets hungry anymore, he just starts to fall apart and get mean. One must anticipate hunger, he doesn't. He needs his snack whether he realizes it or not. You should see him dribble a ball, I don't know if it is going to be football or soccer, he's quite the runner and just keeps that ball going. He lives next door to a football coach who is keeping his eye on speedy. I did just realize today that his mother and her twin sister began preschool at his age, they were so ready to be with other kids, I was ready, too.

On to today and me, I swam for about an hour and a half this morning, had a very late two hour lunch with two friends from school and then had my tough Monday evening workout. 45 minutes on the elliptical and 1/2 hour of continuous motion weight circuits. And THEN something completely different-- I came home and finished mowing the yard! Now that is a miracle, I remember staggering home from exercise class barely able to get into bed and now I can mow, woo hoo. Not to mention I am sitting here doing this and drinking a quart or two of green tea. I guess I will be getting up tonight--several times.