Not on the Basis of Sex

When you were little, I was very crafty. Among the crafts I made were homemade Christmas ornaments, a plethora of ceramic decorations, and that Halloween ghost. I don’t have a picture of it, but I found one on the Internet that resembles my homemade creation.

As you recall, it remained up after Halloween and became a multi-holiday decoration—the best being the ghost of Christmas past. Now I am resurrecting that activity.

I recently purchased a Ruth Bader Ginsberg doll, which was initially meant to go to Lily if she liked it. Miss Ruth, as I like to call her, is very soft and cuddly, so I thought it might be a nice bedtime pal. Before Lily’s next visit to my house, I placed Miss Ruth on the windowsill in the living room and waited for our playdate.

I borrowed a book to read to her—I Look up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and introduced her to RBG. Although I thought the book seemed boring for a three-year-old child, Lily did not agree. She wanted me to read it over and over. She learned that “Ruth is strong,” “Ruth is a leader,” and “she believes in her opinions and shares them in a way that people understand.”

I decided to keep Miss Ruth, and if Lily wants one of her own, I will purchase a second doll. I went out to Michael’s and purchased supplies to decorate Miss Ruth for Christmas. She now sits on the windowsill alongside a Christmas gnome I believe I acquired from my friend Wendy and a snowman made by Casey many years ago.

When the Christmas decorations are packed up, I will return to Michael’s to choose my Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day Miss Ruth decorations. I look forward to fun with Miss Ruth as well as finding more strong women to introduce to both children, because I want them to know that they can be whatever they choose. Their careers should not be on the basis of sex.


Let’s Talk Timor-Leste

We all learn something new every day, and I am especially excited when I learn about a new discovery or hear about a fact which one of the kids tells me. Now that we have two “yutes” in the family (see My Cousin Vinny for context), we are continually being enlightened and challenged to keep up with them.

Next on the docket is the country Timor-Leste—aka East Timor. I know little about this island country, and I bet none of you do either. All I know is that it is southeast of Indonesia and it has been a country for less than twenty years.

I will soon be presented with a Power Point presentation in which the story of East Timor will be told to me. I admit that I am blown away by the fact that a first grader knows how to put together a Power Point presentation, research the subject on the Internet on his own, and create a Google Doc to write or share the report with his teacher.

Apparently, while this is shocking to me, it is not unusual for young children today. But when I was a first grader, I was still struggling with “run, Spot, run” and “look, Jane, look.” We did not have computers or smart boards in our classroom or streaming televisions in our home.

I look forward to hearing about Timor-Leste. I am just sorry I was not part of the first grade class when a pumpkin/onion/beans dish was served, which is an example of a favorite food in this country. I wonder if the class was as enthusiastic about this dish as he was.

Where Was the Broccoli?

As you all recall, your elementary school did not serve lunch, so twice a month Margaret and I sent out order forms to each child in the school, calculated the amount of food and beverages to purchase, placed our orders, and bought the supplies from the vendors. One vendor happened to be a local nursing home, who had the best price on the hotdog rolls.

Reflecting back on those lunches, I am astounded that we were able to feed those young children such unhealthy lunches: pizza (not too bad) or hotdogs (bad, bad, bad), soda (so much sugar and no nutritional value), and potato chips. In my defense, I will say that I did not craft the menu. It was thrust upon me by my predecessor, Gladys. I naively agreed to take on the task for one year year but ended up cooking hotdogs and storing soda in our garage for years.

I bet a million bucks that those awful lunches that every kid loved would never pass muster today because those lunches were full of way too much sodium, sugar, and fat, and not a single carrot or piece of fruit to be found.

Now we are so much smarter.

Choose Your Campsite With Care

It’s time to pretend we are moving again, so I have been going through closets, cabinets, and various cubby holes deciding what stays and what goes. The first hit was a bunch of clothes which I donated to a local thrift store whose profits goes to a homeless shelter.

Next, I donated sixteen wine glasses to one of Dad’s golf tournaments, which he had a nearby printer engrave for him. That freed up a shelf in the kitchen.

Now I am working on organizing my photographs. I purchased a box which contains sixteen sleeves, and each one holds the contents of one album—minus duplicate pictures as well as just awful photos that have no idea why I chose to immortalize in a book. I have been referring to old school pictures to date them based upon hair styles.

One particular photo of Jamie appeared at first to be of her swollen little face when she had the chicken pox, but upon further examination of her hairstyle, I concluded that the picture was taken several years after that nasty illness visited us.

I realized it was when Jamie went “camping” in the backyard and decided to make a nest from a pile of leaves. I remember that she came inside and mentioned how she was relaxing in a cozy bed of green, which I later learned after her skin reddened with a horrible, unbearably itchy rash turned out to be poison ivy!

Poor Jamie! She could not bear anything touching her skin but a soft nightgown. The look on her face told the story of her misery!


Rated “T” for Toddlers

Warning: Rated “T” for toddlers. Adults may be offended.

Our daily trips to the bathroom are personal journeys—discussed with few (thankfully) except our physicians. This does not apply to three-year olds, who are quite happy to discuss their visits to the bathroom in great detail with anyone who will listen to them.

This week Lily was visiting us, and after several vigorous rounds of Candy Land, she headed off to the bathroom which did not contain the step stool. I followed and offered my assistance.

“I can do it myself,” I was told, so I turned to leave.

“Stay, Grandma,” I was instructed. Clearly privacy was not important, nor did she even consider filtering her thoughts on what she was doing. In fact, she preceded to describe her past toilet observations.

“Sometimes it looks like a snake. Other times, it looks like a hotdog,” she said casually. As she was speaking, I was thinking that Grandma will just love hearing this story.

After the deed was done and her hands were washed, we both had to do the happy dance. There was no arguing with her.

Doesn’t everyone  stop to dance after they poop?

Liberty Science Center: The Next Generation

Today the torch is passing to the next generation as the two kiddies head off to Liberty Science Center with Mommy and Daddy, Aunt Jamie (not sure about Uncle Geoff), and great Aunt El. This brings me back to those days when I was bringing the three of you there.

There was a lot to see, but two specific exhibits stand out in my mind: the touch tunnel and the thingy-dingy which expanded and contracted and was so cool that Aunt Linda bought each of you a miniature version of the display that hung from the ceiling.

I still have two of these playthings. Lily and Bryce use them as bowling balls in my living room. The pins are ten Styrofoam cups. They are quite entertaining. I am surprised none of you ever thought of using them in this manner.

The touch tunnel was probably my first (and forgotten-until-now) time I found a needle in a haystack.

I had gone to this amazing science museum with one of you on a field trip. I recall getting down on my hands and knees to crawl through the pitch-black darkness of the tunnel. It was kind of creepy, but I did not want to be the wimpy mom who refused to participate. Somehow, and I have no idea how I knew, I realized that my contact lens had popped out.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in my memory, I recall calling for help, and somehow I was able to retrieve that lens with the help of a touch-tunnel attendant.

That was the birth of my finding tiny-lost-items gift.


When I was a young mother, birthday cakes became increasingly more important. I remember being impressed by a neighbor who was adept at writing “Happy Birthday” on her cakes, while all my attempts looked pathetic by comparison.

During my fifth year of motherhood, I enrolled in that cake decorating course which I had written about previously (It’s all about the Cake). Now I am the recipient of cakes decorated by my children—the most recent being on my birthday this past weekend.

Dad and I went over to Kelly’s house for a birthday/Father’s Day celebration. We were sitting on the sofa chatting while the US Open was playing in the background. No one was watching Lily. Big mistake!

Suddenly, she made some innocent comment about showing me the cake her mommy had made for me, and after hearing that comment, simultaneous light bulbs went off in our heads.  Several of us leaped to our feet. By that time, the cake had somehow been removed from the counter (how Lily reached it, I really don’t know).

Lily was walking ever-so-carefully toward me, trying so hard to balance my cake in her tiny hands. Gravity was winning, and no one was able to grab it before it fell with a crash, landing upside down on the ground.

We all screamed, and Kelly, who had worked so very, very hard to decorate that cake, and chef Lily, who had proudly helped her mommy by adding the sprinkles, both began to cry. While I was sympathetic to their distress, I could not help but smile as the scene unfolded. I admit I even started to laugh.

It really wasn’t so bad. The cake was in a covered container, so it was still edible. We placed it on the kitchen table and pasted it together with icing as best as we could. Although the entire message was undecipherable—Happy Birthday Grammy (I am sometimes called Grammy by Lily)—the word Happy survived the fall.

So we repaired the cake, added the candles, and then carried on with the birthday celebration. It was still delicious. We will always remember the birthday “When I was 64!”