Friday, December 31, 2010

A fond farewell to the first decade of the 21st Century

It seems almost unbelievable, doesn't it?

Here we are at the end of the first decade of the 21st century! Where did the time go?

I have decidedly mixed feelings about these past 10 years.

On one level, the national and international scene, it has been a terrible decade. It began with the election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney--not a good way to start off a decade!

Then, of course, September 11, 2001 brought the terrorist attacks and we've been fighting them ever since.

Toward the end of the decade the United States experienced a crippling recession that continues to linger.

Finally, and in spite of the success of democratic policies, voters turned the House of Representatives back to the very party that brought us the first eight years of grief. Go figure.

So let's leave all of that. There's no use dwelling on the negative.

Is there anything positive to say about the first decade of the century? You bet there is--a lot.

Nearly midway through the decade I bid farewell to a successful and generally enjoyable career in education.

That was followed by the next several years of the best of all things--grand children!

All of this great stuff was interrupted briefly by some health issues but that too turned out to be OK.

And now to cap it off, the whole family has a second home to enjoy in Florida.

So all in all the reviews of these past 10 years are definitely mixed. But that's life. Thankfully life goes on. And more important the positive outweighs the negative.

So to one and all, Happy New Year and Happy New Decade. May it be a great one for you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's a winter wonderland

Mother Nature is up to her old tricks again.

Rather than tease us with a storm resulting in a few inches of snow, she decides to send a nor'easter our way.

Two to three feet of snow later and with the wind still howling, I'm finally dug out.

Cleared the driveway, shoveled the walk to the front steps, shoveled a path to the bird feeder, and, finally, shoveled a path to the wood pile.

To do the latter two paths, I suppose I could use the blower but if I get to close, it tends to chew up the grass so I might as well shovel.

The snow blower is cleaned up and put away--until the next one. Then it's right back at it.

Winter in New England.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to One and All

Christmas morning 2010. It is now 7 A.M. and I'm watching my favorite Christmas movie, A Christmas Story.

I remember the year I got my own Red Ryder BB gun like it was yesterday--but then again I can't remember the actual yesterday!

Soon grand children will be here to rip into the pile under our tree. Better get the camera ready.

Have a great Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A New Phase

Well, it's official. Three-year-old grandson, Cole, has entered a new phase in his rapidly growing life.

He has discovered stickers.

I went through this with Brooke and Courtney and it was always an adventure when I went out.

I would usually forget I have all sorts of stickers plastered over the front of my shirt so when ever I went somewhere, the people I encountered would either make some sort of sarcastic comment or give me a very peculiar look.

Given the condition of my memory these days, there's no reason to believe anything will change.

This will last only a year or two--but then there's his little brother right on his heels.

Live with grand children. Always an adventure.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Courtneyisms

My day yesterday with Courtney was the usual round of adventures.

Story hour was over so that gave us a little more time to visit grammy at her office.

Courtney loves to go there because she uses all of their stamps to cover several sheets of paper.

She then uses the copy machine to put together several papers all of which are covered with stamps saying things like "customer copy", "return attached", "need signature", "file copy", "delinquent notice", etc.

She calls these her 'business papers' and regards them as being very important.

When making copies, she gives her grand mother very strict instructions that she doesn't need help using the copy machine. Grandma's only role is to make sure Courtney doesn't fall off the chair she's standing on to press the various buttons.

After we're done with this, on the way home she asks me if I would like a band aid. I of course have to reply that I do so she gives me various choices of pictures that are on the band aids.

The choices yesterday were a taxi, a mail box, Mickey Mouse and a big building. I haven't a clue how she came up with these things but there they are.

Once home, we have lunch and play downstairs for a while before naps.

It's always an adventure with the grand children. They are all unique in many ways and they each have their own little rituals.

Santa will be here soon. Look for pictures on my website over the weekend

Friday, December 17, 2010

A New Game

Nicholas and Cole have established a nice little routine when I baby sit them every Wednesday and Friday. The activities they've dreamed up will probably continue as long as it's too cold to go outside.

So as soon as their mother leaves for work, they want to go upstairs to their rooms.

After jumping on Cole's bed for a while we go into Nicholas's room where there's a little more floor space.

Once there Grandpa becomes a donkey (some may say that's not a stretch) and I get ridden around for a while.

When they (and I) tire of that, we go into the hallway which is a nice long run, and they run up and down into each other's arms.

We do that for over an hour. Then it's downstairs for a little snack & some TV.

Then it's time to get out the paints and crayons for play in the play room with any number of things in there.

Soon it's lunch time. When lunch is over we play a little while longer until it's time for Nicholas's nap at which time Cole goes to his room for little quiet time.

Cole comes down well before Nicholas gets up because he likes alone time with grandpa so we play until their mother gets home.

A routine like this makes the day go by pretty fast. And as soon as it begins to warm up, we'll have more time outside.

The only downside to the whole thing is Cole feels bad when I leave but I assure him I'll be back.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boo Hoo. Poor John!

Moving, isn't it? Watching future Speaker of the House John Boehner crying on 60 Minutes.

One would almost get the idea that he cared about the country he's in the process of screwing.

And did you get his reaction to Obama's accusation that he's is holding the middle class hostage? What a joke.

Come on, John. You're as phony as the rest of your Congressional colleagues. Man up and admit it.

You're on one gigantic power trip and loving it.

Oh, and Mr. President, let's not be quite so compliant with these bums. Let them do what they're going to do and then let them answer for it in 2012.

Don't you just love politics?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Calm After the Storm

Brooke, Courtney, Cole & Nicholas relax in front of a Backyardigans episode after dancing to crazy music and jumping on pillows.

That was followed by a general free-for-all wrestling match.

It's never dull when the four grand children gather at our house.

You can always count on a considerable amount of mayhem--along with the occasional injury.

But no one is ever hurt badly enough to prevent more fun.

The real challenge is getting them calmed down enough to get ready for bed.

Life with grand children. It's great!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Day to Remember

There comes a time in everyone's life when it's possible to recall exactly where you were and what you were doing on a given day of extraordinary events.

Other than personal stuff like births and deaths, the two that come to mind for me are the day John Kennedy was assassinated and Sept. 11, 2001.

But for older folks--even older than me--like those I visit at an assisted living facility, one of those days is most certainly the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

I remember my parents telling me about it numerous times to the point where even though it was a little over a year before my birth I remember what they were doing.

It was a Sunday morning and they were sitting around the kitchen table. In our family the kitchen was a common gathering place.

They were listening to the radio and reading the Sunday morning paper when the announcement came over announcing the attack.

There of course was no TV so news was spread via radio and newspaper.

The rest, as they say, is history.

What are some important days you remember?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Day With the Boys

Since the launching of my son's new business venture, I am now spending two days a week with my two grand sons--Wednesdays and Fridays.

Yesterday, we went to my daughter's house for lunch and for Cole & Nicholas to see the large earth moving machine--or as Cole correctly observes, an excavator.

It was a very cold day so we didn't spend a lot of time outside but we were there long enough to get some pictures one of which is shown here.

On the way home they both fell asleep which of course threw a wrench in their nap schedule. They both woke up as soon as we pulled in the driveway.

Cole got out of the truck, still rubbing sleep from his eyes, and wondered where the 'excavator' went.

I had to explain to him that he was home now.

I tried to get them to continue their naps but that wasn't going to work so Nicholas played in his crib for a while & Cole had some quiet time in his room where he decided to change his pants.

He's learning to dress himself so I guess he thought he needed practice.

They weren't in their rooms long. Just enough time for them to get their second wind so it was downstairs for a snack. Then they spread pillows on the floor and jumped on them from the coffee table--an activity taught to them by me at our house but for very good reasons strictly forbidden at their house!

I don't by any means make it a habit of breaking the rules my grand children's parents lay down but this one is difficult to enforce because they do it so fast.

I'll be cleaning up dishes or something and the next thing you know the two of them have laid out the pillows and they're jumping. I'm made aware of it as soon as I'm done doing what ever I'm doing or when I hear them laughing hysterically.

When ever that happens, I know they're up to no good.

Three-year-old Cole is the ring leader. One-and-a-half year old Nicholas is the follower--and follow he does. Everything.

I can see they're going to be a challenge for many years to come. Good thing I'm still young enough to deal with it!

Monday is my day with Courtney. Let's see what she has in store for me.