Cookies and the Law

I recently had the opportunity to combine an old activity with a new activity—baking cookies and attempting to make us safer. As you all know, I have been involved in the group, Moms Demand Action for Gunsense. Contrary to what those who are not familiar with the group believe about MDA, the mission of this organization is to work for common sense laws to eliminate gun violence, not guns.

As a member of this organization, I have participated in a few rallies and attended committee meetings of our local senators. This week, the call to action involved baking and delivering cookies to our local sheriff’s department as a way of thanking them for a recent initiative in which they removed close to three hundred illegal guns from the streets.

What a great idea, I thought, because moms are known for baking cookies! We met in the parking lot and assembled our treats on a plate and wrapped it in cellophane to give it that professional look.

After relinquishing our driver’s licenses in return for visitor’s badges, we were ushered into the press room, where we presented our cookies to six officers. We then had an extremely enlightening exchange of information with the men and women in uniform.

We were all shocked to learn that the majority of gun thefts are carried out by children as young as fourteen, and many of the sales of the illegal guns are done via an app on their phones. Many of the thefts are from unlocked automobiles. The officers explained that they try very hard to convince these young people to choose the path of right over wrong. They clearly were upset at the ages of these gun thieves.

Our meeting concluded with the exchange of contact information for the purpose of collaborating in some manner in the future.

Mission accomplished!



Storms Clouds are Rolling In

I think we can all agree that children are intelligent. They are constantly absorbing details and listening to what we are discussing. (Remember this before you speak.) It was therefore no surprise that Bryce has become interested in weather forecasting, just like his father.

During his recent vacation to our house, we spent the day at the home of our friends. We all swam in their pool, had a lovely lunch on their deck, saw the bees in the nearby hives, and enjoyed the view of the lake.

While I was satisfied with merely enjoying the scenery, the children wanted more. For Bryce, that meant trying to catch fish with a net and eventually, falling into the lake.

It did not take long for his eyes to wander away from the water, where he discovered a rowboat sitting idly by just waiting for attention. Before long, the three men were preparing to load the boat into the water. That was when the weather gene kicked in. Our little forecaster pointed to the cloudy sky and asked if we should be concerned about a potential storm approaching us.

My friend, Mary, was impressed, but not I. On more than one occasion, he has looked skyward and stated, “Grandma, there are storm clouds rolling in.” His dad is the family weatherman and is very savvy with interpreting weather maps, so this concern came as no surprise to me.

Bryce has discussed his dilemma in trying to decide what to be when he grows up, because “there are too many choices.” So now he is thinking about working in an office with Dad, helping Mom with her camera, becoming a teacher like Aunt Jamie, and alerting South Carolina of “storm clouds rolling in.”

Has the Plant Curse Been Broken?

As you all know, I do not have a green thumb. When one of my plants survives and begins to peek through the earth the following year, I am joyously surprised rather than smugly rewarded.  My expectations are low. I have killed far too many flowers and plants over the years.  Still, I love them. I am particularly happy to live in an area with a long growing season where plants which existed as annuals in the North are perennial here in South Carolina.

With all that in mind, I am happy to report that my experiment with planting the seeds from last year’s Jack-o-lantern appears to be working quite well. Five days after I placed those seeds in the soil near the backyard palm tree, I decided to see if there was any progress.

I screamed in astonishment when I saw that not one, not two, but forty pumpkin plants were beginning to grow. Perhaps there is hope. Maybe the kids can set up a pumpkin stand in our driveway in October. This is not the end of my pumpkin story.

Time to Figure it Out

As I prepare to create another sign for yet another rally—”Families Belong Together”—I think back to a post I wrote on my other blog titled “Not Their Decision to Make.”

Immigration is a hot topic these days. A big question is what to do with the young children crossing the borders into the United States. It’s an issue which I am not trying to solve, but I considered  this problem a great deal while I was writing my father’s story.

 When my Russian-born grandparents decided to return to their homeland with their six New Jersey-born children, none of them could refuse to go. Like all children whose parents relocate to a new town or different state, they had to live with their parents’ decision.

 Years later, when the family decided to leave the Soviet Union, much of the world was already involved in the Second World War. My father was the first to leave, and once German forces invaded, the rest of the family was stuck there.

 My aunts begged the American Embassy for shelter and financial assistance to leave but got little help. The attitude was that they chose to move there, so they were on their own.

As I read the correspondences between the State Department and my father’s family, I could not help but think how wrong this was. They were children when they left New Jersey. It was not their decision to make.

Reading about all the battles occurring at the state and federal level regarding what to do with the children today,  both those born here of non-citizen immigrant parents and those children living here who were brought here, I always think, “It was not their decision to make.”

Seeing and hearing the heart-wrenching video and audio clips of the children who have been separated from their parents at our southernmost boarder is why I am attending another rally.

This has been happening far too long. I wrote “Not Their Decision to Make” more than two years ago. More than two years!


Looking Ahead to the Fruits of my Labor

Early this morning, less than three hours after sunrise, I found myself on my knees in my garden. I had rushed outside before the temperature had risen over eighty degrees, knowing I would be unable to withstand the heat and humidity if I waited too long. After raking away the mulch and sprinkling some Miracle Gro-infused soil in the prepared area, I was suddenly whisked back in time many years and three states ago, when I accidentally grew a pumpkin in our front yard.

The surprise pumpkin appeared as a result of an act of laziness by me the previous year. I had waited too long to dispose of our Jack-o-lantern and ended up kicking the rotted carcass of dear old Jack to the side of the front steps. I did nothing to encourage the growth of a pumpkin. I did not fertilize it nor did I water it, so I was quite astounded when I discovered a vine of unknown origin which turned into a pumpkin.

Knowing how easy it had been, last year, after carving our Halloween pumpkin, I intentionally saved the seeds with the hope of purposely growing a few pumpkins. I first spread out the seeds on a cookie sheet to dry, and then stored them in an envelope in the back of the garage refrigerator.

Thankfully the seeds had not been thrown out, so a few weeks ago I researched the best time to plant the seeds in our state. The planting time in New Jersey and Maryland has long gone, but here in South Carolina, where the weather is oppressively hot, the time has come.

I created a raised bed with lots of room for the growing vines, and then ever-so-carefully placed the seeds in the soil. I then dragged out the hose and watered my seeds, thinking ahead to October when I will have a lovely pumpkin patch.


I wonder if it will work.



Time to Move

Dad and I are going to Alaska later this year as part of our 40thanniversary celebration. I am excited to see our northernmost state, but I am equally eager to finally visit Canada. In light of the recent events this past weekend and now with this new wacky administration, I am wondering if we should go in disguise. Canadians probably don’t like us now, but Dad and I like them. Perhaps we should consider relocating somewhere up there.

I am thinking that Vancouver may be the place to go. The climate has fairly mild winters and there is little or no snow. Unfortunately, they have more rain than any other Canadian city during that season.

Okay, so the cost of living is higher, but can it be higher than NJ? Listen to what we found.

There is a city just outside of Vancouver which allegedly has the best Asian food in North America. (Dad is already packing his bags and looking for a real estate agent!) This oasis of Asian delectability is a city of 200,000 residents with over 74% of Asian background.

Our potential new home is Richmond, British Columbia, and there are supposedly 400 Asian restaurants—half within a three-block area. You know that this is heaven!

And just look at the Canadian Prime Minister. Richmond, here we come!

Richmond Market- NY Times

Could Have Been Written Today

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s death, so the news has been filled with news accounts of his assassination, the newly-published books about his life, and discussions relaying memories of that day. At thirteen, I remember the Sixties as being a decade overflowing with anger and violence directed toward the Vietnam War, civil rights, and full equality for women.

Time to head for the box of Grandpa’s newspapers. An article written in my local paper, The Daily Record, caught my eye: “Violence Surfaces in America Life.” On the day RFK died, a New York psychiatrist wrote:

“Violence by gun is an American trait. We are still living under the legend of the Wild West where action was the easiest solution. On the frontier, settlers solved their problems with the gun.”—Dr. David Abrahamsen

Alongside that article, JFK speechwriter and Presidential Special Assistant, Arthur Schlesinger, called Americans

“the most frightening people on this planet. These acts of violence are not accidents. They have their origins in our national past. They began when the white man began the practice of murdering the Indians and enslaving those he deemed his inferiors because of the color their skin. We cannot blame violence in America on deviant individuals. We are stamped by society with a birthright of violence.” 

This could be written today. Just substitute the word Indians with Mexicans, African Americans, or Muslims. Nothing changes.

The final paragraph of the article was chillingly familiar to what we are seeing today when our president and his spokespersons attack the media and refer to any negative reports as “fake news,” or when Americans protestors are accused of being paid when they march. (I personally am still waiting for my checks to arrive in the mail since I have participated in the Women’s March, Science March, and the March for our Lives.)

“Calling a ‘season of despair’ in the legitimacy of libertarian democracy, Schlesinger warned   against suppression of individual liberties for the purpose of maintain order.”

These words were all written fifty years ago. Just let that sink in.