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 “Mother, May I Mayday?”

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 “Vive La Difference!”

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 “Let Them Be Little”

Winning On One’s Own Terms

An article in today’s The Guardian caught my attention. In an especially humanizing piece, author Ed Pilkington (in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the byline notes) offers a thoughtful presentation that Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas Friends reveal a woman wanting to win on her own terms.

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AP / Seth Wenig

As with the aforementioned post, my post also originates in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And I, not normally a Hillary-watcher, found Pilkington’s observations interesting. The piece is an effort to set into context Mrs. Clinton’s email debacle news conference (earlier this week). Contrasting her admissions of failure, er, stupidity, er, desire for privacy and convenience to the frustrations of her earlier years and a determination to do things her way, Pilkington unveils a canvas painted by those closest to her. Continue reading “Winning On One’s Own Terms”

Reach Out and Touch

My mother-in-law phoned this morning. For many people, this might be an ordinary event. More often than not for me, phone calls from her send a tremor of worry through me.

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With one of her granddaughters, 2010

Because of her various life challenges, using the phone has become a complex operation; her dementia makes communication problematic, plus her hearing has diminished so she can’t always hear information clearly through the receiver. When I receive a call from her, my first thought is she needs emergency care or she’s fretting about an imagined crisis. (Prior experience has borne this out.) Continue reading “Reach Out and Touch”

Salutations Small and Great

Whenever our grandson comes over to the house to play, we trade greetings similar to what many people do. Usually, I greet him with an eager smile, howdy and “How are you?” He smiles back, a broad smile. Then in his most sincere voice, he responds with, “Great!” (Not just good, but great … and not a bored “great,” but a lingering, meaningful “great.“)

20140308_162814Today, many greetings tend to have a throwaway aspect to them. I’m not saying we’re not genuinely interested in how someone is doing; it’s just we have these greeting phrases that get thrown out and are responded to in casual, almost absentminded, fashion … we do this so we can move on to the meat-and-potatoes portion of our conversation. Continue reading “Salutations Small and Great”

Onward To 2015

Okay, we’re coming up on the hour when you’ll want to grab that bottle of bubbly and pop the cork to welcome in another New Year … or is it the time to give the old year a boot in the rear as it slinks out the proverbial door? Or, maybe it’s both?

happy_new_year_2015_desktop_wallpaperWhatever your understanding is, tonight’s definitely the night and I know there are plenty of people hoping 2015 will be a better year for them than 2014 was. (As my guys sit and watch their football games, I’m hearing this bowl season has turned into a disappointment for SEC hopes. I’m philosophical about it … there’s always next year.) Continue reading “Onward To 2015”

Granny Style

When we woke up this morning, it was not to the sounds of an alarm clock. Three-year old V. opened our bedroom door and announced, “It’s seven o’clock. Time to get up!” (I have to admit, it was actually seven thirty. All this recent focus on the cuckoo clock has provided her with a sense of time, but no accuracy yet.)

HogsGameAs to timing and accuracy, the Razorbacks enjoyed both last night in their win at the Texas Bowl. While some sports columnists seemed blasé about Razorback Nation’s 31-7 win, others described it as a “beatdown” with Arkansas clearly dominating Texas. My daughter and her husband enjoyed the festivities and (as always) calling the Hogs. #WPS Continue reading “Granny Style”

Secondhand Mom

Last week, my daughter-in-law (DIL) scoffed at me. She suggested I had a monumental challenge ahead of me this week:  watching three of my grandchildren while their parents traveled to Houston to attend the Texas Bowl. (The game takes place this evening, beginning at 8 p.m.) With her usual candor, DIL asked, “How are you going to handle three little ones?

2014-12-29 17.06.00When my DIL threw down this gauntlet (as it were), of course I defiantly scoffed back. I reminded her I mothered four children under the age of eight. These three children, ages 9, 7 and 3, could hardly be as difficult, I assured her. (Naturally, I’d never admit to her my high level of anticipatory stress – she doesn’t read my blog! – but I won’t deny it here. I was concerned. One never knows how even the most relaxed children might panic at ten p.m. when it’s finally apparent they’re not going home!)

Continue reading “Secondhand Mom”

Time In A Bottle

A number of years ago when my parents traveled in Germany, they sent a gift of a cuckoo clock back to the States for me. Having grown up in a home with a cuckoo clock, I have always loved them! My Beloved … not so much, but like many of my idiosyncrasies, he tolerates them because he loves me. Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve positioned the cuckoo clock – in deference to him – on a wall far enough away that its twice-hourly soundings don’t wake him at night.

2014-12-26 19.42.25In the years since our clock was initially delivered, it has suffered occasional mistreatment as well as the expected insults of old age. (Almost immediately upon arrival, one of the deer antlers at the top was broken and had to be glued.) Pulling the chains to raise the weights is necessary to keep the clock running, but children who watch this being done tend to follow suit and frequently yank too hard. As a result, the clock has required several trips to the clock-maker for repairs.

When I was a kid, the cuckoo in our home had two weights hanging from chains – one to regulate the pendulum, the other to turn the gears (behind the face) that move the hands forward and trigger the cuckoo’s action. It was a relatively small clock but sweet-sounding. I remember many a night in childhood hearing that clock sound as I lay abed. Continue reading “Time In A Bottle”