Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mark Twain, Travel and dogs...

When Mary and I did our Ya Ya show in Beaver Dam, I talked about taking Lilly to New York City. And I shared one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes,

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."

The rest of that quote is:  "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

I believe that the trip we made to NYC, the year Lilly was 8, will change her life.  For example -- the first time Lilly listened to the music from Hamilton, she LIT UP when she heard the lyrics..."in New York, you can be a new man..."
She could understand those lyrics because  SHE WAS THERE.
And she felt the energy of that place.
When we did this NYC jigsaw puzzle, Lilly was picking out places we went...
She recognized Times Square, and the Staten Island Ferry...
Central Park, the carriages, that's where we met Ali...
Ali was kind, and gave us a WONDERFUL tour...even though the elements were conspiring against us. Ali helped Lilly count the number of dogs she saw in the park that morning...75 !!
She will never forget it.
She has a completely different frame of reference now.
Remember Lilly's steak dinner at Sardi's?
That steak was amazing...
IMAGINE how exciting it was for Lilly to see this article in People magazine!!
Rumor, the German Shepard who won the Westminster Dog Show...
Ate the same steak Lilly did!!
Oh, changing...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Grandma Camp Rain Day

Last Saturday -- my original plan was to go into town for Family Fun Day at Fejerary Park in Davenport, Iowa. We've never done this before -- but they advertised craft activities, refreshments and musical entertainment. Yes...that would have been fun...but it got rained out.

The weather was cold and wet. The rain had been coming down in buckets for hours...

I told the kids we'd have an indoor-daytime Slumber Party. That'll be fun, right? We all put on pajamas, I plugged in a DVD movie, and made some popcorn.

Lilly and I both enjoyed Emma Roberts in the 2007 Nancy Drew movie....but Warren fell asleep.
When Uncle Ross is here, I don't have to worry about the entertainment...
It was just me and the two kids...and after six hours -- they were bored. And cranky.

That's when I remembered how much fun they had doing the Easter scavenger hunt!

 Lilly enjoyed READING the clues...
And Warren enjoyed finding the treasures...

In the interest of KEEPING IT SIMPLE...I quickly listed TEN things for them to find. I gave the list to Lilly, who's job was to READ it. Warren's job was to carry the totebag to put things in...and count whenever necessary. Then I set the oven timer for 5 minutes...
  1. Tootbrush
  2. Six Kleenex
  3. Three Red things.
  4. Four things with wheels
  5. A letter from the alphabet
  6. 15 pennies
  7. A Swimsuit
  8. A flip flop
  9. Something green
  10. A flower napkin

If they managed to find everything before the timer went off -- their prize was a brownie with ice cream.

But, when they did beat the clock -- they didn't care one bit about the prize. They just wanted to DO IT AGAIN, GRANDMA...DO IT AGAIN...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Grandma Camp

Lilly and Warren are H.E.R.E.A.L.O.T.  And I pride myself on having quite a varied and exciting "Grandma Game".
Here they are, coloring Easter Eggs.
Another day, decorating the Easter Bunny Cake...
On a nice day -- we ALWAYS GO OUTSIDE!!
I'm the kind of Grandma who is okay with a carpet full of legos...
I also think everyday activities, like grocery shopping, can be turned into fun mini-adventures.
Impromptu picnics are ALWAYS  a possibility..
I don't know who's having more fun -- them or ME!!
And I am PLUGGED IN to the local libraries, theaters, and museum activities...
And we have a pretty good knowledge of every park in a 30 mile radius.
Scrambled eggs on the porch is our favorite lunch.
But, even with ALL THAT HIGH LEVEL GRANDMA GAME...sometimes, there isn't anything going on...and it's cold and rainy outside.

That happened last Saturday.

So -- WHAT THEN??  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Funky Coffee Shops

Recently, when I was in Aurora, Minnesota visiting Mary, we had one day to do a little tour of the area.  We had a most delightful lunch at a wonderful funky little place in Virginia called The Shop Coffeehouse.
The outside was interesting enough...
But the inside was so unique, it screamed "I LOVE YOU"
Everything about it was spot-on...
Every mug is different and unique. This one says,"Does this make my butt look big?"
Every wall was full of art -- like this wall of shards of glass, which created a mosaic design...
Inside, it's bigger than it looks.
And the personal pan pizza was SPECTACULAR.
Like I said -- art everywhere.
Honestly -- everywhere you look, there is some spectacular piece of art.
See what I mean?
The coffeehouse in Virginia, Minnesota reminds me of the Mate Factor coffeeshop in Ithaca, New York. Remember that place? I was on a road trip with my friend Marion...
We were doing a little exploring of the downtown...
We went inside this wacky little joint...and Marion had some delicious spelt pancakes.
After our trip, we discovered the place is being boycotted by the locals because it's owned and operated by a "cult".

Really?  Like life isn't complicated enough??  You can't even enjoy a simple spelt pancake breakfast without feeling responsible for some kind of  David Karesh mayhem...
MMWI:  244.0

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Children's ART

Lilly loves to do "art". It really doesn't matter if she's painting a cardboard box or making bracelets out of rubber bands. She LOVES being creative.

We are VERY FORTUNATE in this area to have not one -- but TWO wonderful art museums.  The Figge and the Putnam.  (my best guess is both institutions are named after a rich white guy who died and left a pot of money).

The Figge has a partnership with all the schools in the area, whereby each school gets a "weekend" to display the best art from each class.  This year, Lilly was invited to represent the 2nd Grade for her school, Virgil Grissom.  She was DELIGHTED...

It was exciting for her to see her picture hanging IN THE ART GALLERY...
There was also a reception, where each artist received a certificate
Of course, Uncle Ross and I both went to let Lilly know we support her art. (Warren does, too!)
After the reception, the kids wanted to go to their favorite place at the Figge...
Oh,'s the Lego Studio...a room they are both very familiar with!!
Thanks to the internet, there is a new twist in the world of childrens' art. It's a service called "Artsonia".  (check out the link).

Here's how it works.  When Lilly (or any student in the world) creates a new piece of art, her art teacher takes a digital picture and uploads it to the Artsonia website.  Lilly's parents must approve the people who can go to Lilly's page...and we all get a notice when a new piece of art goes up.  And we are encouraged to write comments to Lilly...

AND -- of course -- you can ORDER THINGS WITH THE child's artwork!!  Mugs, t-shirts, aprons, prints, keychains, jewelry...all kinds of things.

I think it's genius.

There could be a turtle keychain in my future.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Happy Birthday, Deborah

MHAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister Deb. (thanks to some blogging mistakes, this is two days late)...

I think Deb had a VERY good year!! Because every time I saw her, she had a huge smile on her face. And I saw her A LOT this year. So, there was a lot of smiling...
That has always been Deb's nature.  Smiling is what she does. For her, it is more than a practiced skill. Her smile is a she gives to other people. I think it's actually her way of life...
Last summer, we had our first SISTERS SEWING WEEKEND!!
And I hope we do it again this year!! (gheesh, I was so fat!)
In 2009, Deb took ALL OF HER GIRLS to NYC -- (I was their official tourguide)  My sister Deb is one of the most generous people I know.  On this trip, she paid for everything...airfare and hotel for her two daughters, her daughter in law, and two granddaughters...
My favorite picture of 2009 NYC Deborah.
We got to go to NYC again -- in March -- with our granddaughters!! (yes, I am wearing the same black trench coat. It's a classic)
My favorite picture of the four of us -- with some of our NINE Featherweights!
I bought this vintage velvet polka dot coat -- hoping it would fit Deb.
It's a swing coat -- remember those?
The asymmetrical buttons were INCREDIBLE...
So, to honor Deb's birthday, I just want to say CALL YOUR SISTER. Don't have one? Well then, call your brother, or that favorite cousin you grew up with. Get in touch with an old childhood friend...because, the older I get, the more I treasure those relationships.

In many ways, we are most ourselves as children...before we've been pummeled by life and bullies and making a living, getting along with a man.... Life is a complicated roller coaster, layered with good times, bad times and situations we don't control.  It just goes better if you stay in touch with the people who loved you from the start ...