Wednesday, November 29, 2017


A young friend of mine has had such a hard life.  He's just 24.

His mother is a drug addict who moved back home to live with her parents and brought 4 year old Jeremy with her.  After about a year (never finding a job, tired of parents nagging her to get a job) she let them know she was leaving the next day.  And not taking her son with her "until I get settled".  

Some years on his birthday she sends him a card saying she's got herself together and is going to bring him home soon.  Every time he would get his little hopes up.  Then he would hear nothing for a year or two.  

The grandparents are Bible thumpers who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  They are estranged from all three of their kids which gives you some background about them and child rearing.

Jeremy was in 8th grade when we first moved in here.  For some reason, Mr. Ralph took a shining to him.  He talked to him like an adult, praised him when he earned it and gave him a loving lecture when he deserved it.  He would come screaming over when he got a good report card.  We'd have to ask when he didn't volunteer his grades.  He dropped out of high school ... but just for a couple of weeks.

We also had a friendship with the grandparents so boy did we get both sides of every story.  Mistakes on both sides for sure but honestly, we were usually on Jeremy's side.

He pulled himself around the last year or two of high school, joined the Marines, got a horrible ankle break playing LaCross, and the Marines gave him a year to recuperate.  He got a job, bought an old car and healed up nicely (a couple of surgeries in there).  He did make it into the Marines and graduated from boot camp.

Recently I heard a rumor that he was back in Oregon and the grandparents are not letting him move back in.  I reached out to him via Facebook messenger and gave him my phone number.  Today we have been texting back and forth.  We can't offer him a place to stay and he says he found a job already and has a place to live although it is not ideal.

Mainly I wanted him to know that we care about him.  He can tell me his story when he is up to it.  He was angry about grandparents not "being there for him" but I reminded him that they are doing what they think is best for him.  The past is the past and it is now up to him to make the future.  

What a life for a young man.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


How many of you have Alexa in your home?

I'm just so curious!  Is she really worth it?  What feature do you use the most?

It is not a necessity, but would it be a nice family gift?  Could the liddles use it to play music whenever they want?  We need music in this house.

Would they be able to turn on the TV and play a movie?  That would be a great feature as right now I have to use two remotes and two passwords!

I'm thinking I could set reminders on school days so I don't have to be the Bossy Bessy in the morning ... Braeden, you have ten minutes to be out to the car ... 

Could the boys use it to call one of the adults on our cell phones in case of emergency and we are outside the condo?

I like the idea of being able to add items to our grocery list.  Currently, I use Grocery IQ but am willing to switch IF Jesse and Kate can just "talk" in another item to the list!  He does most of the cooking so sometimes I don't know we are out (or dangerously low) on some items (like cereal ... I don't eat it so I don't know).

Personally, I'd check the weather and traffic before heading out the door.  Maybe each evening I'd have Alexa read a book to the boys for 30 minutes before they fall asleep, after Braeden is finished reading to us.  A nice delicious chapter book, one chapter at a time.

And then there is the Echo Dot!  We could put it in their room so they can play their music in there (they often play Dance Mania) and can ask Alexa silly questions (like they do with Siri on my phone).  Or ask her to read them a book.

Hmmm ... should I or shouldn't I?

P.S.  Bella Rum ~ email me so we can stay in touch

Friday, November 24, 2017


It's 9:30 am here and I am the only human up!  I slept in til 8:00 am and am enjoying my black friday shopping.  On the laptop!

I have never been one for shopping in crowds, especially when you know ahead of time it's going to be a mass of bargain shoppers!  I have one Grandma friend who takes two grandgirls shopping on Thanksgiving night!  Breakfast at an all night place, shopping and a movie.  What memories they have ... this is the seventh year she has followed this tradition.

Mostly I have my shopping done.  Well ... I think so!  I haven't filled the Christmas Countdown trees yet so may have more miniature things to find.  This morning I found Christmas pajamas for the boys (my tradition!) and they should arrive by Dec 1!  So many cute memories of dressing them alike ... I bet those days are numbered!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I am going to enjoy Thursday all by myself.

Kate and family are going to Jesse's mom's house for Thanksgiving Day.  I am always invited but usually decline.  Too many people, one wild, noisy and uncontrollable kid (two weeks younger than Braeden), excessive drinking and the hostess complains the entire time about how much work it is, how much cleaning she had to do, how expensive it is and so on.

A few condo friends have invited me but I'm just not in the mood to be with someone else's family.  Last year was fun (in Maui) as it was just friends without family nearby.  Very easy on me as hostess as everyone brought 1-2 dishes.

I'll gather up my dinner at the best grocer in town, one huge plate of my favorites.  And have a nice bottle of red wine on hand.  

After living alone for a while, and now sharing with four others, it will be a treat to have the condo to myself and a nice little fire going.  I might just lounge all day in my cozy pajamas.  I'll fill the boys Christmas Countdown trees with 24 little gifts (hoping I have enough but will have plenty of time to pick up a few more things if necessary). Hopefully Jesse will bring our Christmas decorations over from storage before then (especially the Christmas dishes). 

We grownups are all looking forward to the Christmas elf!  They move every day and are keeping track of naughty or nice.  This may be the last year Braeden believes ... so this year will be awesome.  The elves (of course we have two!) often get into mischief ....

Now that I've written all this .... maybe I will simply watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies and take 14 naps!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Oh yes, it's been a while since I've written about my fulfilling and rewarding work on the HOA Board.  (Yes, that IS sarcasm!)

Considering we have just 14 buildings (8 units per building, so 112 homes), there are a lot of interesting and challenging stories.  And background stories.  While I am as compassionate as the next person, if you are blaming your current behavior on your sad childhood 50 years or more ago, I think it's time to move forward and just keep that in the background.  Move on!

We have an Owner who emails one of us and/or the property management company daily.  Usually several times a day.  Telling us we "better remember to do this or THIS could happen" "no one seems to notice these fire hazards except me" "when I was on the Board"  "When I was chair of the landscape committee" and my personal favorite last week "you better notify people to stop using their fireplaces to warm up their condo"  Still not sure why she doesn't want us to use our wood burning fireplace!!! 

Then she emails again in 3 days with the same information ... despite me answering her email explaining that yes, it is being arranged and we will notify everyone when a date is set to have chimney inspections or gutters cleaned or leaves removed ... Now when she sends a repeat, I simply respond "thank you for your email".

From Saturday evening:  Parking has been a problem 3 times this week.... especially tonight.

I saw an older couple putting out signs and caution tape that there have been private parties and the front spaces are reserved? Is this board approved? With the handicapped designation, (which was never supposed to be there until XXXXX put it there), there is no where for our (this bldng) guests to park.

Please let me know. Owners should have priority and this is a new issue of late.

This Owner has lived here for 20 years ... and the "older couple" are the Clubhouse Managers!  Who have to go out in the rain to put up signs so that residents will stop parking in the visitor spots!  They even had to finally CALL two owners to move their cars.

My question is WHY does this Owner think her guests are any more important than the guests of other Owners ... who were parking there????  And ... I personally do not consider her "priority guest" a visitor as he comes over EVERY night.  People!!????  P.S.  There are 8 uncovered parking spots right in front of her building.

(that's me in 5064, just beside the pool)

Saturday's event was also the topic of whining.  Both rooms were reserved for 30+ people.  We have just one kitchen and one resident did not want to share the kitchen.  Said she signed up first.  They also went in the day prior to event to set up all their tables and decorations (did not reserve the room for that).  

The complaining party was in the other clubhouse room ... setting up five hours before the time she had requested the room (we have sign up sheets by each door for that room ....).  And sorry ... yes, I had to point that out to her ....

So really?  It's just the little things.  Apparently these little things really irritate some people.  Actually got a complaint about neighbors setting up "too many" Christmas lights and decorations, and too early (I do agree it is too early).  Unless we get 3 complaints, we are not going to be Grinch and make them shut it down.

Stay tuned.  Some of the issues ARE valid so I'm not poking fun of those.  But these little things ... oh yeh!

Friday, November 10, 2017


These two boys.

Every day I laugh.  Often my eyes tear up.  This is an amazing relationship that could only happen with intergenerational living.  I'm so lucky ... and thankful.

I get to see and hear the little day to day stuff.  And believe me, I still miss out on a lot!  Conversations when I am not around ... scenarios while they are out with Mom and Dad.

Yesterday Mr. 3.75 caught a wicked cold.  He got up early while Mr. 7 (he now says "almost 8" if you ask how old he is ... Oct 28 birthday) was getting ready for school.  Usually, Mr. 7 is NOT happy to share his Gramma time but knowing Mr. D wasn't feeling so hot, he became the best big brother ever.  He kindly asked little guy if he wanted to come in the bathroom with him while he got ready.  He let him brush his own teeth and comb his own hair (think hair gel ... about once a week Mr. 7 adds a bit of pizazz to his style).  He brought him out to show me and said "Gramma, I think he is ready for preschool now ... look at what a good job he did".  Little man beamed.  Then went to lay on the sofa.

When it was time for me to take Mr. B to school, he went over to the sofa and gave Mr. D the biggest best hug ever.  And then a high five.  I love you and hope you have a good day.  I'll be home before you know it.  (Teary eyes here).

Today was no school and very rainy, so we mostly stayed inside to play.  They played together for quite a while and then played totally separate for quite a while.  And then when I was in the kitchen I hear a VERY noisy Mr. D ... sounded like he was dragging furniture down the hall.  I peered around the corner ....

He was sitting in a Playskool chair, making it go down the hall while very loudly saying "stop it brovver"  "you're hurting me, brovver!" "don't kill me" then fell over with a big plop like a dead body.  Exorcist style playing.  Big brother was in a totally different room.  Dad came flying out to investigate what Mr. B was up to ... but I explained what I saw with my own two eyes!  Where does he get these ideas???  

Mom and Dad know to listen to both boys when one is screaming.  I rush out from my room occasionally because the parents allow them a certain amount of time to work out their own things ... and sometimes it seems too long to me!  I'm very thankful we live downstairs.  And that these condos were built back in the day they are pretty sound proof.  Did I mention Wrestlemania every night on the King bed?  Right before bedtime ...

I hope these little guys remain great friends.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

O'Dark Thirty

Gosh I will be glad when our clocks go back one hour this weekend!

Not that the little bit of daylight will last very long.  The two little guys were both thinking I was out of my mind when I got Braeden up to get ready for school at 7:15 am.  But it's still night out, Gramma!  Ha!  Don't I know it!

I used to be a morning person.  Until Mr. Ralph retired.  Then we morphed into night owls and slept in until 8 or 9.  Most people thought we were odd ... that old people get up at the crack of dawn, have dinner at 4:30 and asleep by 8.  We did the complete opposite.  And I've kinda stuck with it.

But it seems I am becoming more like the animals that get up with the sun and go to bed when the sun goes down.  I prefer to get 9-10 hours of sleep.  Getting up at 6:30 am on school days to help out the parents (who ARE late night owls) gets harder and harder by Thursday.  Finally, I asked for Wednesdays off!  Kate has the day off (she has Mon/Tues/Weds off from work) so she can give up one sleep in day.  It felt so amazing to sleep in ... I might just have to get a tiny coffee maker for my little room!

(Yes, I sometimes use rollers!)

Once I am home in the evening, I'm not so good about being spontaneous and going out for dinner.  Last night I was in my jammies at 7:30!  Hoping to stay awake longer than the children.  I had to turn on all my lights and get up and down a lot just to make it til 9pm.

How about your schedule?  

My buddy, Grandpa George, was about 80 when he started to set his alarm for 6:00 am.  My parents also set their alarm clock (7:00 am for them).  They just didn't want to miss anything!  I hope I don't set my alarm for no reason.  Listen to your body and get up when you wake up!!!