Unforgettable Moments

a alina painting with me

Monday, March 12, 2018

Today I am grateful for unforgettable moments.  Because I’ve been actually “living” life instead of just writing about it, I’ve been a little out of touch.  That means the stories are backing up in my brain and ready to explode like the backfire of an old Buick.  It was hard to pick where to start.


But that’s a lie, too.  It wasn’t hard to pick at all.  What was hard was listening to what I wanted to write about even though I’m going to be a pain-in-the-ass grandma by my own choice.  I’ll catch you up on other things when this is out of my system.


My son brought his not-yet-two-year-old daughter over on Saturday for a nice long visit.  What a treat.  This is the kid who LOVES grandpa but has been a little hesitant about me from time to time, so I tread carefully and slowly.


I wasn’t home when they got here and when I walked in the door I heard her say, “Anja?”  her big sister.  “Nope, just grandma,” I said.  Her face drooped a little, then lit up anyway, even though I wasn’t who she expected.  She’s not a very cranky child anyway, but on Saturday she was in a very, very good mood.  Why not?  With toys and books carpeting the living room floor, she already had grandpa doing her bidding.


“Maybe today is the day I should take her in the basement for her to do her first painting,” I said.  My son agreed that the timing seemed right, so off we all went, into the dungeon of Himself, which is a virtual toy box of distractions for someone under two. . .and over 80!


We let her horse around with grandpa as he showed her marionettes, magic and dragons, while I set up an easel for her, got the paints ready and put on my smock.  Her dad peeled her shirt off and put her in an old, too-big top that was still here from when her sister was young, as her smock.  She crawled on the chair and waited.  Patiently. Her eyes were like saucers as I squirted yellow, blue, orange and green onto a disposable pallet from tubes of acrylic paint.


Handing her a big brush and keeping one for myself I showed her once how to dab the paint and put it on the canvass.  She did it.  Over and over.  Calling out a color or saying “more blue” as she created her masterpiece.  If I showed her a fast upward stroke, she did it.  If I dabbed, she did it.  She never fussed, cried, whined or squirmed around.


She was having a blast. . .and so were the rest of us. . .after the first painting, so I hauled out another canvass and she went at it some more, leaning her little head to the left, or right to get a different look, a new angle, then stroking the brush, thick with paint, like Van Gogh.


“Bumpa,” she called to Himself when after an hour of watching her, he had the nerve to go work on something in his area across the basement.  “Bumpa!”  He came running like a well- trained puppy, which is pretty much the same thing as a grandpa.  At least this grandpa.


It wasn’t until someone on Facebook mentioned that I must have a lot of patience that I realized it didn’t take any patience.  Why, I wondered?  Was it because she was a joy and absorbed the experience like a sponge in a full bucket?  Was it because her dad wasn’t concerned about her getting paint on herself, or even him when she turned fast wielding that brush?  Was it because I did not have any expectation of what her painting would be, but rather encouraged her to just paint?


Yes.  All of the above.  It was a Bermuda Triangle of perfection, with all elements in order like the stars of a constellation in the night sky.  There is no WRONG way because it was only HER way.  As adults so often we automatically edit, censor, critique ourselves every step of the way.  But if you let a child go. . .just go. . .they will show us what true joy is.  We could take a lesson from this. At least I sure could.


What fun.  I am grateful for one of the most unforgettable moments in my life.  There!  Now I can write about other things, but today it had to be this!  BING!  Heartprint!


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A lenny w pillows on floor

Turns out the pillows are not annoying. . .as long as they are on the floor!

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Lenny’s Going Home

Friday, March 09, 2018 – Lenny here!

Today I am grateful I’m going home.  I got in trouble yesterday.  Don’t go calling social services, no one hit me or even yelled, but when that old woman came home she said, “I see you’ve been a busy dog.”  There was something about the tone of her voice that upset me as you can tell by my face.  The devil made me do it!


Let me ask you a question.  When you have a big, puffy, comfy couch that is at exactly the right height for the rental dog (me)to crawl up on, why would you cover it with annoying pillows?  Not fluffy, poufy, cozy pillows, but flat, hard ones.  Why?  It makes no sense.  So I moved them.  You’re welcome.


Also, since both of the old folks decided to leave me alone in their house, why wouldn’t I haul his jacket off the chair and sleep on it?  Isn’t that why he left it there?  I tried the boots at first, but they are about as comfy as the aforementioned pillows.  So I needed that jacket.


I’ve been a really good boy and I confess I like to hear that a lot.  I have gotten almost enough hugs, but not quite.  There are never enough.  This morning the old man got up after her, so she let me out and fed me.  I sat by the bedroom door waiting and waiting and waiting and finally he got up, but didn’t open the door, so the old woman did.  But then she didn’t go in right away so I had to barrel through and help her.  She didn’t fall so get over it!  But boy, she can move fast if she’s pushed!


That old guy she calls Himself, scratched me and petted me and kept saying, “Get out of the way, moose!”  Who is moose?  Is there another animal here that I haven’t met?  Does he have just a head like that creepy pillow-dog?  Yikes.  I’m outta here.


I was nudging and poking and tripping that Himself guy while I was helping him go to the kitchen so he could give me a treat and he said, “You could be a new breed, Leonard.  A Loverhound!”   Loverhound?  Works for me.  Can’t wait to get home and straighten out those chickens.


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Lenny Back at Old Folk’s House

a lenny and dog pillow.jpg

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Leonard here.  Remember me?  Today I am grateful to be back at the old folk’s house.  The prison sentence isn’t as long this time so I think I can endure.  I actually was kinda glad to see them.  Who doesn’t like a field trip every now and then and even those chickens at home can get on a dog’s nerves after a while.


So I leap out of the car, dash to the house without even bothering to pee because who needs to pee when someone inside is happy to scratch your head?  I allow that for a few minutes, nearly knocking that old man over, then lumber through the rest of the house.  Gotta check everything out, you know!


“Wait!  Who’s that?”  I stop dead in my tracks, leaving skid marks (from my feet) on the carpet.  I turn tail.  “Mom!  Don’t leave me yet!  There is something strange going on here!”  I run back to get her.  She and dad follow me back to the spot that freaked me out.  “See!  It’s dead!  They killed it and stuffed the head, but threw the body away!  Get me outta here!”  I was jumping around and hiding behind them.  I’d take the stupid chickens over this weirdo any day.


They laughed.  All of them.  See the respect I get here?  (none) Mom grabs that odd beast and tries to tell me it’s just a pillow, but I’m not having it.  Poor guy.  How many times did he have to do something bad to end up like this?


I’m going to be on my best behavior this visit.  I don’t want to become another freaky pillow on the old folk’s couch.  Wish me luck!


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a gandhi on evil quote

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Today I am grateful for Gandhi.  Wow!  I guess snow makes me profound!  Did you ever watch a movie and think, “Man, I just wasted three and a half hours of my life.”?  Watch Gandhi.  You won’t have wasted one second.


I have no clue how I got to be this age and yet never saw the movie, “Gandhi”.  I think I’ve recorded it about 10 times and each time I never watched it; or I started and got distracted into going somewhere or doing something else; or I never wanted to give it the time it deserved.  So I always wound up deleting it without watching.


The other day I was feeling despair over the state of my country, yet again, and I had the time because I was icing my funky knee anyway, so I watched it.  The entire movie in one sitting.  What a gift.


Movies like “Gandhi” are loaded with profound words and images.  But the quote I include today struck me smack dab in my core.  I need to remember it.  Every second.  Every minute.  Every day.  Maybe you do, too, for whatever reason.  That is why I share it. Namaste!

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Blizzard Check List

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Today I am grateful for blizzard check lists.  Here’s mine.

  • Himself (At least I put him first)
  • Enough groceries until the end of time
  • Kahlua
  • Coffee and whipped cream (To make Good Shit before we lose power)
  • Wine
  • Vodka
  • Scrabble Game
  • New brush paint set
  • Books, newspapers, magazines
  • Candles
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries (Aren’t we soooo prepared)
  • New shooter lighter thingies (See. . .really prepared)
  • Fuzzy slippers
  • Chicken cooked
  • Soup made
  • Great big, goofy yellow rental dog, Leonard, to keep us warm if the power does go out.


We’re ready.  It’s going to need to snow for three days for me to do all of my snow-day stuff.  I’m going to be sooo disappointed if we get nary a flake.  Then it can be done.  All done until next year.  Promise!?


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Four Seasons


Monday, March 05, 2018

Today I am grateful for four seasons.  But I don’t want them all in one week!  What is going on?  No global warming?  All evidence to the contrary, I fear.  Imagine you are hearing an orchestra play Vivaldi while you read on.


Spring:  This season, from March to early June, in Pennsylvania is the prettiest of anyplace I’ve ever been.  The blooming trees and gorgeous shrubbery make it look like a living Monet painting.  It should never get so hot that the air conditioning has to be on before June first.  Thank you. Unfortunately Spring also brings a lot of pollen, so if you have asthma and allergies, while it can be pretty you might only feel that way from inside.   I rise above it.  Until I don’t.


Summer:  I like it fine from late June to the end of August, provided we do not have temperatures over 85 and it never, ever hits the 90’s with high humidity.  I can go from happy to bitch in five degrees and/or less than five minutes if it’s too hot.  I’d rather put clothes on because you can’t peel skin off.  Sweating to death on a beach, with sand sticking to every “fold” is not my idea of fun.

Fall/Autumn:  This is my favorite season, from September through November, again especially in Pennsylvania.  Just gorgeous!  Out the pumpkins, corn husks, gourds and beautiful leaves cover the landscape.  Days are light-jacket pleasant and nights are cool.  Sometimes the heat might need to be put on, but not every day.  Pumpkin cappuccino. . .oh hell, pumpkin everything is everywhere and life is good.


Winter:   I come from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin so unlike many people around here, I don’t hate winter, which should run from December through February no matter what the evil groundhog says.  The biggest snows should fall the week between Christmas and New Year’s when kids are off of school and can play with their new skis or sleds.  We should have a dusting of snow now and then and maybe one or two big storms in January or February.  Then it should go away.  I don’t care how.  Just go!


When we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia one of the things I missed the most was the changing seasons.  I found it boring and a little sad to always have it be hot and humid.  Not for me.   I still feel that way, but c’mon!  Eighty degrees one day, snow another day, rain for four days, then plunging temps and wind that even Dorothy couldn’t survive?  Enough already.


We had a life threatening nightmare storm last week and now another one is on the way.  But I got a few groceries today, filling the larder for another big one!  Except now even I am not in the mood.  Hey, powers that be – look at the calendar.  Take your nonsense elsewhere.  It’s March!  Time is up.  I want my four seasons in proper order.  (See above.) Move on winter!   You have overstayed your welcome.  We are ready for SPRING!!!!

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