Thursday, April 2, 2020


My first overseas trip with Mr. Ralph was in 2006, starting with the wedding of his regional sales manager, in England.

Ian and Gilly.

Bangers and mash followed by Strawberries and Devonshire cream.

As you might guess, the air travels and meet ups at airports was screwed up due to a plane on fire at the airport where we were supposed to land.  Other work mates were driving or flying in from other places.
The first night we had fish and chips at an authentic pub ~ 100+ years continually running.  It was delicious and just as I envisioned ... served on paper with vinegar!

The buildings are so old!  Our hotel had doorways that even I had to duck into.


After a weekend of fun, we went visiting customers for the next two weeks!

Sunday, March 29, 2020


I am awed at how many corporations are stepping up to help people stuck at home.

Audible has FREE books to listen to.

Verizon just gave each phone number 15 extra GB of data.

Comcast/Xfinity has opened up hot spots for wi fi.

Yale is offering FREE classes (not for credit)

Google is offering G Suite customers free access to their advanced Meet features. Customers can host meetings with up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers, and record and save meetings to Google Drive until July 1. 

For the more cultured readers:

And so many home teaching sites.

Our local police are delivering prescriptions.

Kanopy: If you have a library card, you can access tens of thousands of films and videos for free through Kanopy.  (5 per month at this point in time)

Rosetta Stone: Students get free access to courses on Rosetta Stone for three months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s one of the best ways to learn a language, and quarantine could mean more free time to study.

And leave it to Google to offer even more arts and culture!

SHARE some of your favorite freebies!

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Yep, my kids won't let me go anywhere ... not even to get the mail!  Kate picked up a prescription for me today ... and wiped it with a lysol wipe before giving it to me.  She has an acquaintance who has Covid19 and is being VERY cautious.  

Technically, we are on Spring Break ... but I'm trying to do some fun learning activities with the boys every day. I don't tell them I'm teaching them, I just say who wants to play with Gramma!??  Trust me, they don't always say yes ... Mr. 6 will say "no thank you, Gramma, but thanks for offering".

Mr 9 has learned to video chat with friends ... giggling and showing each other their room and toys and books and games ... all while spending an hour on Gramma's phone (since I'm always home!).  It's a bit of work for me to always be "ready" for someone to look at my face!

Mr. 6 can make Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls by himself!  From setting the oven and the timer and asking a grown up to take them out of the oven.  He frosted some of his favorite shapes (um, WHO wants a plain looking cinnamon roll?) .. a heart or a snail or a snake or an 8, putting on frosting and serving Mom and Dad in bed.

They both can get their own breakfast but still love it when I offer.  B loves egg and bacon sandwich and D loves pancakes.  Some days they make their own lunch (supervised by Mom) and they always bring their dishes to the kitchen when done.  I usually put out a small snack about 4pm and let them know their "rations" are at the table, they can eat it or not.  Fruit, cheese, goldfish, etc.

Today I gave them my mason jar of candy (treat jar).  I asked if the would sort the candy, count each kind of candy and make a chart.

Jelly beans, mini m&m's, Valentine hearts and Hershey kisses

Mr. 6's chart ... jelly beans by color (?)

Mr. 9's chart of family preferences of candy bars

And a few days ago, they got to go on a camping trip ... in the living room

They kept each other up, woke each other up to use the bathroom then the sun woke them up at 6am.  Needless to say, they both fell asleep the afternoon after!  In the tents!

Tomorrow we may have paper caterpillar races (based on a MESSY trick that Poppa taught Mr. 9 ... and his mother ... so every time we go to a restaurant, they do it)

So we are going to try this DRY method ... blowing them through a straw

Alexa has been very busy.  How many people died in the Civil War? (620,000)  Alexa ~ play "One Eyed Purple People Eater"  Who was the BEST president (everyone has their favorite but Abe Lincoln scores the highest in surveys)(she's such a diplomat)

The Montessori school has short videos from the Spanish teacher.  Each room has suggestions of things to do and updates their posts once or twice a week right now.  Write the world's longest list of animals.  Keep a daily journal.  Practice telling time and duration of time.  Write and illustrate a story.  And so on.

I have a handful of food ideas ... making bread, making gummy bears, making waffles, cheese quesadillas, etc.

Stay tuned.  So far everyone is getting along!

Sunday, March 22, 2020


We have been lucky enough to have 7 sunny days in a row.  A feast for the eyes!

Right in front of the Clubhouse
(my building in the background!) 

Just off our front patio!  
Until the HOA Patrol deems it in violation...

Native Oregon plants 

The bird fountain!  Also used as a bath! 

 Winter camellia

Taken on a walk around the complex

Oldsters catching some rays

Thursday, March 19, 2020


People are continuing to HOARD items.  Our closest grocery store is now offering "vulnerable people" shopping times, 7am til 9am, two days a week.  I'm heading over at 6:45 to see if it is possible to get a few of the hoarding items (hamburger, meat in general, fresh produce, bread and milk).  I hope they are rationing!

WLLO meetings have been on video conference this past week and WOW!  I like it.  Some other Villages are offering virtual happy hour and we may try one as well.  

Not all of our members are tech savvy but those who are may be interested.  It seems much more personal when I can see the faces.  Although the downside is, I have to put ON my face...I didn't for a meeting today and no one asked me if I were sick, so maybe I'm not as ghostly without mascara as I thought.

I've been calling family and friends.  Scanning in old photos from shoebox full of lots of duplicates and telling the boys stories when they see photos of their Mom when she was their age!  Emailing socially much more. And .... NOT BUYING ON AMAZON so they can supply necessities rather than my luxuries.  Backed up my computer (which has been shutting itself down at least once a day) and learned how to transfer all the stuff on the old laptop to a new one, should I just order one from Apple (they used to do that for me but it looks easy enough, just time consuming).

This morning the boys played doctor to care for all the stuffed animals who had coronavirus.  I do believe they found a cure!  Braeden has written and mailed two letters to school friends.  It was a great learning experience as he has never addressed an envelope.  Also learned that some new ink pens have a plastic protector over the tip that has to be peeled off.  He loved that so much that he did ALL of the pens!   We played some learning games.  They watched a short program on making plastic from oyster shells.  I think we will visit a National Park virtually tonight.  

Oregon schools are closed til April 28 ... and I have a feeling they will be closed until September.  

Stay home and save the world.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


It's important for people to use their dictionary BEFORE getting hysterical.

pan·​dem·​ic | \ pan-ˈde-mik  \
1.  occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population

What I am witnessing in my little town of 30,000 is PANDEMONIUM. 

pandemonium, noun
pan·​de·​mo·​ni·​um | \ ˌpan-də-ˈmō-nē-əm  \
1:  a wild uproar (as because of anger or excitement in a crowd of people)

SYNONYMS: bedlam, chaos, mayhem, uproar, madness, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, confusion, disorder, anarchy, furore, frenzy, clamour, din, hubbub, hue and cry, babel, rumpus, fracas, hurly-burly, maelstrom

Yes, this is a serious epidemic, one step higher, actually a pandemic.  But I don't think it is necessary to have pandemonium.  Stop the hoarding.  Buy what you need, maybe enough for the two week quarantine, but for goodness sake let others have milk and bread (not to mention toilet paper).  

I love what Costco is doing.  Letting only a certain number of people IN the store at any one time.  To help keep shoppers in a calm mode AND to be able to have 6 ft distance between people.  They are limiting high demand items.  Some local grocery stores are also doing that.

So far, we are healthy and happy.  It snowed Saturday morning (1/2 inch!) and the family went sledding.  The parents had a "date" since the 1980's Prom put on by the school was cancelled.  The boys had a mix mash of leftovers and milkshakes and cookies while we watched "Are You Afraid of the Dark".  And, yes Braeden was.  We had all the lights off, streamed it so no commercials, and we had to watch part of a more gentle movie to end the night.

Calm down neighbors.  Have a two week staycation, if that is possible for you, and enjoy your family.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Raising children is a a lot of work.  Even in a three adult household!

I am mostly in my room, especially after the boys get home.  They knock and pop in many times wanting to borrow (insert your choice ... tape, scissors, markers, pencils, paper, stapler, step stool, grabber, and so on)  I love it when one comes in just to hang or research something on the computer (think dung beetles, big foot, toys in the "olden" days, weapons, candy).  They are also allowed to make ONE copy a day .. sometimes GI Joe or stuffed animal, a special page in a book, treasure maps, something that belongs to the other).

Usually when they want to borrow the step stool or grabber, I follow them out to understand what's happening.  Yesterday, at 5pm, Mr 6 wanted to microwave four sausage patties for his SECOND snack of the afternoon.  After much discussion, he settled for one now ... and if he ate all of his dinner and was still hungry, he could have more.

Sometimes one or the other wants to take a shower in the morning.  We ask them the night before (so they can get up a little earlier) and there is not time for both of them to take one (they don't like "sharing" that any more).  One night Mr. 9 wanted to take a "soaky" bath with boats and soldiers and weapons.  Of course, Mr. 6 wanted to do it after.   But, it was too close to bedtime so I promised him a big bath on the next day.  He begged for a two hour bath and I compromised for 55 minutes.  

I ran the bath while he was having dinner, got the foaming colored cleanser, a bath bomb and a surprise rubber ducky.  I brought in our sand timer (15 minutes) and told him he could have TWO timers worth.  We have never seen a child enjoy a bath so much.  Candlelight, heater on, fresh towels AND a washcloth.  He fell asleep 2 minutes after his head hit the pillow.

Last night, they both needed showers from playing in the mud but there was much hue and cry they both clamored no way!  Dad said they could eat a popsicle IN the shower if they both shared.

Parenting.  I hope we stay one step ahead of those two!  Need to reread the Art of Negotiating.