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Inscrutable Daisy

My mother-in-law died last week. She turned 94 last October, so her passing wasn’t unexpected. In addition to dementia (which prevented verbal communication), she suffered congestive heart failure. Bed-bound over the last six months, she slipped away quietly in her sleep. That was a blessing.

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Previously in this space, I’ve shared tidbits about the complex relationship betwixt my mother-in-law and myself. Certainly, I have always admired my in-laws for crafting a long-term marriage. I’m sure they had their share of struggles … but they celebrated 65 years together before my father-in-law’s death. Continue Reading →

Between Friends

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. You’ve probably heard a version of this message from the Ad Council, a gentle caution for drivers and passengers alike.Friends-Dont-Let-406606-web

I’ve decided a similar message should apply with respect to social media. Maybe something like this:  Friends don’t let friends contrive junk. I know, I know! It’s clunky and doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as the Ad Council declaration. But the meaning should resonate.

The sterile contrivance that is social media purports to keep us “connected” to friends and family. In truth, it’s a time-consuming distraction that draws us away from numerous activities and human interactions which once occupied our time and attention.

Social media in its varied applications also tends to work as an echo chamber … a mishmash of individual posts to which others respond by clicking share or like. But for me, the dreaded copy, paste and post if you agree is most exasperating. What if I agree with a post but choose not to copy, paste and post? Is my non-compliance misconstrued? (Oh, dear! What will people think if I don’t comply?) Continue Reading →

The Big House

On separate occasions over the last couple weeks, two of my grandchildren have asserted:  “My house is bigger than yours.” Perhaps this is a twenty-first century equivalent to the claim from my era:  my dad is stronger than your dad!strong man

When the five-year old initially made the statement, I gently disagreed with him. “Yes, you live in a big house, but not as large as this one.” Factually, I was correct but this grandson would have none of it. Some weeks later, when my four-year old granddaughter posited the identical suggestion, I admitted the possibility. (She does live in a larger home than the grandson.) Continue Reading →

Ten, Two and Four

For people who are into fine dining, there’s big news in our locale. The news revolves around the Texas chain of hamburger joints, Whataburger, now introducing their brand to northwest Arkansas. (Yes, the fine dining reference is written with tongue-in-cheek.) I think I’ve eaten at a Whataburger maybe twice in my life.whataburger

All the buzz about this new chain coming to town reminded me of other local burger places I’ve enjoyed. Though fast food is mostly off my list nowadays, I’ve relented from time to time when I’m entertaining my grandson (actually, when he’s entertaining me). He likes kids’ meals … cheeseburger (no pickles), fries and a toy. Recently, his parents have stressed healthier choices, so Sonic and McDonalds are slightly verboten. Continue Reading →

Exult In Monotony

Children (and grandchildren) are such great fun! When we’re at play with them, they have a way of wringing every possible measure of delight from whatever activity has captured their attention at the moment.children_at_play Push a child on a swing, push him or her high, high, and higher! You’re bound to hear the child squeal, “Again! Do it again!Ring around the rosy, all fall down and inevitably, the activity must be repeated. (They scramble quickly to their feet for another round.) It’s rare for any child to lose interest before the adult begs off from the tedium.

I’ve heard my young grandson tell me from time to time, “I’m bored.” This high-energy kid loves to be active and doing-doing-doing things non-stop. The idea of a child being bored amuses me. (I wonder if boredom is simply a modern invention.) What my grandson is really telling me … he needs direction. As I guide him to a new activity, he’s immediately distracted by it and moves forward quickly to entertain himself. Continue Reading →

Don’t Move Me, Bro!

When our five-year-old grandson is here for the day (as he was today), he’s always anxious for the male members of the family to show up at end of day. He looks forward to playing video games (XBOX) with our oldest grandson … and he can’t wait for my Beloved to arrive home so they can “drive” the big white truck (a Ford F150) together. The child hops onto his granddad’s lap and they motor around our 3+ acre lot. (The other grandchildren are equally thrilled when they’re given opportunity to get behind the wheel.)semi-truck-image1

If this little guy were allowed to drive a truck like the one pictured above, I think he’d be more than pleased to give it a try! He has been interested in vehicles since he was a baby. The other day he showed me one of his Matchbox cars, which I immediately identified as a fire truck (it was red, had a fireman insignia painted on the side) and he respectfully (but adamantly) corrected me:  “It’s actually a tanker truck.” (Yes, he uses the word actually.) Continue Reading →

Inves-Deflate

From the moment the Wells Report was released, social media lit up – once again – over the scandal of under-inflated footballs appearing to be a common practice for New England Patriots football games. Call it Deflate-gate if you like. Detractors and Patriots slam the report, others are demanding Tom Brady’s head … or at least a season-long suspension.deflate_1708The story/scandal has provided fodder for a slew of coarse jokes and innuendo. Given three months for sifting through information that resulted in a 139-page report – which generally blames lower-level employees while stating the quarterback Brady was “generally aware of inappropriate activities.” Frankly, when I read a few of the text messages released online, it seemed more than likely to me that deflating footballs was standard operating practice and after the press ran with the story, obfuscation and cover-up followed. Continue Reading →

Mother, May I Mayday?

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Today is the first day of May. Having watched numerous television shows in my youth where the pilot or ship’s captain grabs up his microphone and utters those three words in hopes of rescue, every May 1st, I’m reminded of those dramatic scenes of video terror.MaydayLandPlaneOf course, I would never actually utter this standard distress call in real life (I’m neither pilot nor ship’s captain) … since making a false distress call is a federal offense. Continue Reading →

Vive La Difference!

The world is a fascinating and diverse place, isn’t it! When I peer out my windows in the morning, I see the gently-fluttering leaves on half a dozen different kinds of trees. (Unfortunately, with nary a leaf between them, two apple trees my Beloved planted a year or two ago appear to have succumbed to the elements.) I’m fond of this season as trees transform almost overnight from bare-naked stick figures into full-bodied lush green finery! Diversity.diversityOutdoors isn’t the only place where diversity is easily recognizable. We have eight splendidly diverse grandchildren … five grandsons, three granddaughters. Each of them exhibits a completely unique personality with divergent interests and proclivities.

Since he was old enough to make basic motor noises, our youngest grandson, near to celebrating his fifth birthday, has expressed an interest in vehicles of all kinds (more diversity). He can identify things about trucks and tractors and farm implements that I’d never have known without his explanations!

Another grandson, soon to celebrate his tenth birthday, is less expressive, but his brain is absorbing everything he sees. His specialty (among other things) is grasping how mechanical objects work. Diversity. Continue Reading →

Let Them Be Little

Poor Connor. He is possibly the most infamous little fellow in grade school because almost everyone has heard his mom’s frustrated voice as she speaks into her smart-phone, summoning iPhone’s version of the Shell Answer Man and she asks:  Why is Connor having trouble focusing in school? The question appears to bamboozle Siri who answers:  Having trouble finding Connor’s middle school? The mini-drama goes on for sixty seconds in the video, less in the radio spot.

Yes, it’s part of an ad campaign. Yes, if you follow the link to understood.org, you’ll find a website offering helpful resources and encouragement for parents trying to address the perceived learning disabilities of their offspring. And maybe, I’ll even cede, consulting Siri as a primary resource for professional advice is a clever tongue-in-cheek approach to the issue. Continue Reading →

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