Monday, March 27, 2017


Those three P's are what I want for my life.  Peaceful.  Participatory.  Predictable.

The best part of growing older is being able to choose my lifestyle.  Sure, when we were younger we thought we were choosing and we were, up to a point.  Yet careers, mates and children contributed a lot to the "drama" of how we lived.

Now my life is peaceful.  Almost boring perhaps.  I never schedule more than one thing per day...which leaves me open for doing something equally fun with a friend or grandson should it arise.  These days I move in slow motion it seems.  I love it.

I feel so much better participating in this small extended family life.  Jesse is FINALLY allowing me to give him a hand.  He is so particular about everything, it's taken him a while to decide clean, dry and folded is a good thing ... not necessarily HIS way of hanging all shirts up to finish drying after 5-10 minutes in the dryer.  I'm great at jammies, towels, socks and undies.  Now I can do little boy jeans and t-shirts as well.

Yesterday I made dinner.  This is my most difficult entry into t/his life.  About once a month I ask if I can cook.  And I get the groceries ... the GOOD stuff.  Last night we had homemade scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, asparagus and your choice of steak, halibut or salmon.  The boys like the beef and we two girls love the fish.  Kate and I are trying to eat more healthy, so the grilled fish can be put atop a salad and the final day we will make fish salad for crackers or sandwiches or patties.

Best of all, predictable.  No turmoil.  Few crises.  Happy and hopeful.  My teenage drama queen has matured into a busy Mom.  The financial strains of climbing the corporate ladder and growing a company is over (and paid off pretty well).

Peaceful, participatory and predictable.  The right life for this Awkward Widow.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Getting Jesse a plot at the community gardens is one of my best ideas ever.  He has always loved putzing around in the tiny bit of dirt in front of their apartment and then in front of our condo.  Mr. 6 LOVES tomatoes so it's exciting for him as well.

Jesse spent a good month or so researching what to grow ... things that are expensive to buy ... and how to get a good amount of produce from a small spot.  You would not believe how many free software programs are available to help you plan.  He watches YouTube videos from other NW farmers.  One guy makes his living by selling to restaurants and Farmer's Market from just one acre of land.  Now he plants exactly what the local chefs want.

At first he thought he could never use all the space in a 10' x 10' so was going to plant flowers in half.  Now he has upgraded to a 20' x 20' garden!  He researches seeds like they were nuggets of gold.  He's started a small compost bin (ssshhhh ... don't let the mean crabby lady know) and has been reclaiming used pallets to make panels for his raised beds (yes, she complains about that a lot!)  (The Board told her as long as he was actively working, this is not an issue.  So then she complained about the noise.  Board asked ALL of our neighbors if the pallets bothered them or if the noise bothered them ... Nope!)

(the red squares are being cleared for new "farmers")

We have seedlings sprouting in all window sills.  He planted the seeds 10-14 days apart so not everything will be ready at the same time.  Now he has turned our second bathroom into a gro-light environment.  (Yes, five of us sharing one bathroom ...).  If the sun comes out, he carefully loads his little pots onto trays to take them outside.  Every night, he brings them back in.

And it's not just HIS/our garden he's working on.  He had to take two 3 hour classes on gardening.  He has to contribute 5 hours a month to the Luscher Farm park ... cleaning out old beds, putting down cardboard paths, working with kids at all the camps they hold for them.  They still have not told him which plot is his!  He's chomping at the bit to transplant.

Every year there is an "auction" for open plots.  IF you already have a plot and want to keep it, you can putter year round.  If you don't like the location of your plot, you get first dibs on any plots that are open.  There is a small barn where they keep community tools and wheelbarrows and wood chips for spreading on pathways.  You can keep all produce or you can donate to the Adult Community Center for their daily lunches.

We may not have as much fresh food this year since he is building his infrastructure, including amending the soil and adding more soil.  He has compost tea bubbling outdoors.  He bought worm castings and next year he will have experience!

Let me know if you'd like a $30 tomato!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Believe it or not, I enjoy Oregon weather.  

In Maui, it is 95% sunny and warm so I couldn't blame a blah mood on the weather.  I couldn't use the excuse that the weather was so nasty I changed my mind about going out to lunch with you.  Oooops!  Can't do that yard work because of the weather.

Living in the land of 8 months of rain, occasional snow and black ice makes for a whole different scenario!  Remember that Weight Watcher meeting last week around noon?  SUNSHINE and 60, so I went with Kate and Deacon to fun (and beautiful) park on the other side of town.  Cheese, grapes, crackers and juice for Mr. 3, iced coffees for the ladies.  Because in Oregon, sunny days with schedules in alignment means head outdoors!

Are you busy working on taxes to get them in by April instead of October?  Oh wait!  Temps in the low 60's and no rain!  Take the Dad to his community garden plot and play with the boys outside all day.

I have so many good intentions!  Finish organizing the kitchen cabinets.  Organize my bedroom baskets.  Do the ironing.  Go to Walmart to get the best buy on non-perishables.

I think my good intentions meet up with the socks in the washing machine ...

Monday, March 20, 2017


Being a grandparent is fun.  I feel like I have a magic wand as well as a tiara.  They love to listen to me read books.  Being boys, they especially like books that include mud, burping, gas and bad babies getting into mischief.

Living here also has given me some responsibility.  I'm not just the Disneyland Grandma anymore.  I have to help the parents teach them to do as much for themselves as they can.  Clean up time is hardest.  I was always making a game of it and racing to see who could pick up the most toys.  With me mostly picking up the toys.  Now I'm merely a cheerleader ... often physically helping Mr. 3 pick up a toy and put it in the box.  

Same deal with getting dressed.  When Mr. 3 wants to change his outfit, it's unbelievable that he can do it all, almost by himself!  Now that I have witnessed that, he can start dressing himself every day.  He usually says things like "I too tired, Gramma.  You have to dress Deekie".  It's hard to know how much to help and how much is enabling him to be a lazy little fellow.

Mr. 6 does everything for himself on school mornings except pack his lunch and make his breakfast.  But it is his job to brush teeth, use potty, comb hair and put everything in his backpack.  It's hard on my heart but I have had to send him back to the house to get his lunch or library the rain.  But he does much better remembering now!

Both boys take their used dishes to the kitchen after a meal, usually without a reminder.  They put dirty clothes in the hamper.

Sometimes making them do things themselves is hard on my heart.  They are only little for such a short time.  But I know it is better for them in the long run!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Besides being a test site for the Center for Disease Control, Kindergarten is sure interesting ... from a Grandma's point of view.

Mrs. Cole, Mr. 6's teacher,  during the first week of school announced NO HOMEWORK for Kindergarten.  (Well, of course there should be no homework for the first three grades ... in my humble OLD opinion). 

Mrs. Cole is a big fat liar.

I am overwhelmed at what these kids are learning and doing in Kindergarten! Reminds me of second grade!  He has worksheets every single night (notice the "s" at the end of worksheet). Math. Penmanship.  Short vowel sounds.  Consonant sounds.  Silent letters.  Long vowel sounds.

He is supposed to "Drill and Kill" at home ... practice writing capital and lowercase letters.  He has a family project at least once a month. He is supposed to read for 15 minutes every night. Number and "sight" word flash cards. Writing in a journal every day. 

It's way too much!

Tonight's project is to build a leprechaun trap ....

Monday, March 13, 2017


Sunday, March 5 was the "official" third birthday for Deacon, Mr. 3.

Mom awoke Saturday morning with a severe headache, upset stomach and general malaise.  She actually was too sick to go to work!  These kidults do not plan very far ahead but had invited six people over for a little party at the Clubhouse.  Late Saturday afternoon, I told Jesse we had better go buy a cake.  He said oh no, we can make one, don't worry.

At 8pm I was baking a strawberry fire engine cake (I bought a shaped pan earlier in the week ... just in case)(and food coloring, accessories to top the cake, etc)(just in case).  Then I made 24 vanilla cupcakes.  Sunday morning I made bright red buttercream frosting and began to do my best.

I tried to talk them into postponing the party but that thought was quickly cast aside.  Kate finished decorating the fire engine and the cupcakes.  Jesse put together a fruit platter and a veggie platter with fire related toys mixed in.  They actually pulled it off!  Jesse's Mom and her fiance, plus a young couple with a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old made just the right size party.

The next day, while giving the boys a bath, Mr. 3 decided to play restaurant and drink bath water.  Mr. 6 laughed and encouraged him, so he drank a LOT of bath water.  With lavender epsom salt.  Five minutes later, the water geyser began.  Finally at midnight, after calling the Poison Center, they took him to the ER.  Thankfully he expelled the salt water quickly so it did no harm to his little body, and they returned home with a prescription for some vomit stopper meds.

He is still not eating and barely sipping Pedialyte.  And still barfing but just 2-3 times a day.  Usually after midnight.  So Kate has relapsed.  No, the prescription does not seem to help.  She still has tomorrow off work so Dadda will take over the little guy.

I'm really looking forward to the "in health" portion.  It seems like Mr. 6 brings home something new every other week.

P.S.  Monday March 13 Update
Turns out it was the FLU!  I have never had the flu but it is wicked.  Today was the first day I have had the strength to sit up and eventually take a shower.  Everyone has had it except Mr Mom.  Who is complaining of the initial headache.

Kate finally went back to work on Sunday.

I will be super busy if he is down and out for a week (or more).  Getting out my apron, chef hat, tool belt, Early Childhood Development degree, laundry uniform, head dishwasher outfit and rubber gloves, and a maid costume....