coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Grandma gets tired

I picked up my 6 year old grandson from school yesterday. My daughter asked me to take him to the mall to buy plastic animals for a diorama he was making. I'm an amiable sort. I said,"Sure!" O wa ta foo lie am!

Picking N up involves parking 2 blocks from school and walking to get him. Walking back involves dodging rotten older boys on bikes and getting N to keep moving. He's inclined to stop every few steps and pick something up to stick in his pocket, or pluck flowering weeds to make a bouquet for me. He also has a mania for collecting rocks. It was raining, so he had the pleasure of wielding his own umbrella, too. No one was safe.

Halfway to the mall he decided we must play the alphabet game. This involves each of us taking turns finding the next letter of the alphabet on a passing road sign. Try dodging traffic with children's music blaring and a kid screaming "It's your turn, Grandma, find a Z!"

We went to a craft store that sells plastic animals. He was enthralled by the children's aisles, and each step was a negotiation. He knows Grandma is a sucker. He kept disappearing behind stacks of toys, only to emerge with something in hand. Then I had to wrestle him to put those things back.

I agreed to buy one kit for him to bring home. He chose an unfinished wooden train set with acrylic paint and stickers. Yes, acrylic. I didn't realize that when I bought it. I assumed any child's kit would be washable paint. Wrong. Note to self, always read the box, especially when your daughter buys her son expensive designer t-shirts. 

At check-out he announced with the cutest damn smile, "Do I look different?" Well, that's code for "I have something in my pocket you don't know about." We retraced our steps to put it back when we saw a blank puzzle board where a brilliant child could design their own puzzle with markers. I really HAD to get that. When we finally made it to the cashier he yanked a wet umbrella out of the cart. Before I could yell "Stop!" he punched the button to open it in the store. Water spurted everywhere. 

One of reasons I buy him toys he doesn't need is that he will play quietly with them in the car on the way home from the mall. 

At home I collapsed, picked up my iPad and played solitaire at a manic pace. Grandpa took N to the lanai to paint. N kept yelling for me to come out and paint with them. I played solitaire all that much faster, yelling back "Grandma needs to rest, honey." When I forced myself to go and see what transpired, he was already covered with paint. What did I care?

After a much needed shower, he dove right into the puzzle. That would have been fine, except he became bored and decide to turn the puzzle over and draw on the back, too. I tried to stop him. I shrieked "No, don't do that! You'll never know what pieces go with which side!!!" He didn't believe me. I looked the other way and played solitaire with great vigor while he finished.  

I love this kid

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Waking up without a smile

I sort out a lot in that short period of time between waking and rising. 

I have said this before, being able to enjoy the morning is perhaps the greatest joy of retirement. I find the experience evolving as I become more comfortable being less productive. It is now less a stolen pleasure and more an important part of my day. 

If I can remember my dreams, I try and pay attention to what my unconscious mind was trying to tell me during the night. Unfortunately, I don't often remember my dreams. Too bad, because they can be quite informative. If only our unconscious minds could learn to speak English instead of Symbol, right?

I am now at my most mindful and self-aware in the morning. This is a huge change from my working years when mornings were spent on autopilot. It took me at least a year to figure out what to do with my mornings in retirement. I'm getting the hang of it, but for some reason I am still not "happy" once I get out of bed in the morning. Is this because of habit, guilt, or chemical imbalance? I don't understand. I am a reasonably happy person. I just can't get get rid of the morning blues. It takes a cup of coffee or three before I let my shoulders down.

I'm curious, does anyone over 7 years old wake up feeling like a million dollars? I use 7 as the cut off point because that's when the Catholic Church decided a child reached the age of reason, and I suspect reason is what obliterates joy. Actually, I think 5 might be a better age. Kids grow up faster these days.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I went to a psychic recently for a mediumship reading. Yes, I know that's a wacky thing to do, but it was fun and eerily accurate. The outing was my birthday present to my daughter and we went together. We figured we knew all the same dead people, so why pay for separate readings?

Many years ago, my friends and I would attend a few Spiritualist Church camp's Wednesday night readings each summer to hear what we could hear. We tried to be respectful of religious aspect of the service, but I'm afraid we were a naughty bunch of heathens looking for a good time. Still, there was always "something" said or revealed that was close enough to truth that it brought us back.

One summer night, the poet Diane Ackerman was there with a posse of loud and confident women. I heard one describe the evening as a field trip. That was how it was for my gang, too. A field trip. This is where I should include that smiley face emoji with a clenched toothed smile. 😬

I'm a staunch agnostic, so I am never convinced it is real, but I am also never convinced it isn't. I take what I can get, and I enjoy the process. When the psychic is faking or trying too hard to convince me, I smile (a little too hard) and ignore the BS. When s/he is spot on, I get big eyes and know I won't be able to sleep that night. There is usually some spine tingling accuracy thrown in to justify the payment.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Aches and Pains

I ache from gardening today. I am battling a specific flowering plant propagating via underground suckers AND volunteer seeds. It is called Mexican Petunia, a non-native perennial that was here when we bought the house. Mexican Petunia is choking out my canna lilies! This  formidable enemy will take me a long time to vanquish. I have fought this particular battle many times before with invasive plants. I am not worried. I will prevail. I know what to do. Although it is a frustrating struggle, it has to be done. Can be done. Will be done. I am sore, but that's why God invented ibuprofen, right? 

Time is the forgiving nature of gardening. One does not have to do all the maintenance at once. I take as much time as I need to get the perennial beds ready. I take longer now that I am older than when I was younger. I love getting my hands in the dirt. I love digging things up with large, impressive gardening tools and metal implements. I love cutting plants back with both large and small "cutting tools." Mmmm, "cutting tools!" I am a cold-hearted weeding machine. Bring it on!

Here's to spring, my friends. She is already here in Florida, and soon will arrive for you, too. I promise.

See - my yellow canna is being invaded by the beautiful, but greedy Mexican Petunia!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Another blog

I have started a second blog.  It is a simple effort, not as verbose or reflective as AFBB is.  In fact, I don't use words on the new blog.  I will occasionally post one photo as a blog post.  It seems a simple way to showcase some of the photos I have taken and particularly like.  I won't post all that often, maybe a few times a month.  I have put up a number of posts already, so you can see what I'm "shooting for."  I would like to invite you all to view it, and perhaps follow that one as well if you like.  I hope you enjoy it. 

You can find this new blog, Photos Now and Then, at


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Love hurts

My daughter, M, texted me that little N cried and screamed for her at the kindergarten school's door this morning. Teachers had to hold him back so he wouldn't grab on to her. She is heartsick, and so am I. 

My sincere hope is that he bounced back quickly once she left. It happens. My rational mind knows all is fine, but my heart aches for this little 6 year old boy who wants to stay home and play. I can't help it.

Love really does hurt sometimes, especially when it comes to loving children.