Tag Archives: Grandchildren

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer

O Lord, this Thanksgiving, we give special thanks that our family knows You through Jesus. How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! (Psalm 133:1)—OMG, even if that togetherness is expressed through breakneck air hockey, euchre, Ping-Pong, and tossing sponge burritos at our relatives.

Cousins. That says it all.


Grandpa was beter at this than he thought.
And you believed this was the safer option? Think again!
The Carpetball Championship of the World!

Weird Things for Which I Was Thankful — Even in 2020

Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay.

(In this edited version of my newspaper column, I recall a Thanksgiving when COVID ran rampant.)

Have your children or grandchildren watched “Sesame Street’s” Oscar the Grouch? I worried, lest my offspring adopt him as their patron saint.

Fast-forward to 2020. Thankfully, my children don’t live in trash cans. Nor is Oscar their role model.

I, on the other hand, sound more like Oscar every day. So, this Thanksgiving, I choose to be grateful, even for weird things.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the following:

  • I don’t have to mask when I talk with You.
If praying with a mask seemed difficult, singing in the church choir was harder!
  • Because of COVID-19, I rarely try on clothes in stores. No multiple mirrors!
  • Squirrels playing nut-soccer on our roof don’t weigh 400 pounds.
  • Delivery drivers bring life’s necessities — like apple cinnamon air freshener and SunChips® — to our doors.
  • Potholders that aid in taking golden turkeys from the oven have not, unlike everything else, gone digital. I haven’t had to recharge one yet.
  • Not all gas pumps show videos.
Image by Artsy Solomon from Pixabay.

I also thank You that my husband has never, ever refused to open a pickle jar.

  • We use clean water I didn’t haul a mile.
  • Though some idiots — er, futurists — drool over human interfacing with technology, my Internet still has an off button.
  • Leaves filling my yard are not poison ivy.
  • I rarely worry about charging hippopotamuses.

Thank You, too, God, for pie. Any kind but mince.

  • Also for the fact no one has written or performed “Medicare Supplements: the Musical.”
My niece’s pie looked much better than mine, so I used her pic.
  • For the color periwinkle.
  • For the rustle and fragrance of a real book that keeps me up late.
  • For phone calls from Little Brother. When I was a teen with a boyfriend, and he a brat with mirrors, I wished him 2,000 miles away. Eventually, my wish came true. Now, I cherish the bittersweet joy of hearing his voice.
So thankful that the COVID situation improved so I could travel and visit Little Brother out West.

Finally, Lord, I’m thankful for my two-year-old grandson who sings in the night.

You hear that, Oscar? Probably not, as you have clapped your trash can lid on tight.

Image by Maaark from Pixabay.

Stay there, if you want. But if you change your mind, gratitude’s an excellent antidote for grouchiness.

Even for you, Oscar.

Even for me, this Thanksgiving of 2020.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: For which aspects of COVID’s wane are you thankful?

Home Ownership: The American Dream?

For Hubby, me and our newborn daughter, our rental house proved a sanctuary.

Apartments worked for Hubby and me — until a percussion major moved upstairs. Then, upon expecting our first child, we learned our complex was a drug trafficking center.

We rented a house.

The only upstairs residents were squirrels. They pattered across the roof, but none sold drugs or played xylophones.

We possessed three whole bedrooms and a garage. No more scraping ice off car windows. Hubby and I began to succumb to the American Dream. …

However, the driveway didn’t shovel itself. Our house boasted a real yard — whose grass never stopped growing. Flowers I planted attracted real weeds. We purchased a shovel, mower and garden tools. Lawn chairs. And …

The infinite to-buy list should have warned us about home ownership.

But tired of paying rent, I longed to choose the colors of walls and carpet. Bang nails to hang pictures without asking permission.

Our younger daughter welcomed her new brother to the little ranch we built. Thank goodness the water and sewer system had been connected!

So, we built a little ranch in a new addition … where roads hadn’t been completed. Also, water and sewage hadn’t yet been connected to the town’s system. During that inflationary era, the special 12 percent mortgage seemed cheap, compared to an earlier 21.5 percent prime rate.

We brought two newborns to that ranch. Mysterious stains marred my carefully chosen colors. I spent years watering grass and breastfeeding babies. Neither was ever satisfied. I also discovered I wasn’t handy. If I banged a nail into one wall, a gaping hole appeared in the opposite one.

The American Dream?

Our home for 24 years.
Before we knew it, the toddler had a prom date.

One other house we owned ate water heaters and softeners. Another featured a pillow-soft porch roof, as well as a toilet that randomly ran over and soaked anyone playing Ping-Pong in the basement.

We occasionally considered living in a grass hut in Bongo Bongo.

Still, Hubby and I have called all three houses “home.”

Home, where our babies took first, shaky steps. Where they learned to watch for traffic as they walked to school. Home, where we took prom and graduation pictures. Home, where they and their children now come for holidays.

Home is the only place where Hubby and I can put feet on the furniture. Where we can blow up and make up. Bake brownies, eating them all without anyone judging.

Image by Hans from Pixabay.

Our American Dream is no HGTV superstar, but at this address, we can be us.

At home.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What home-owning adventures have you experienced?

Must We Mess with Our Cell Phones?

Image by Esa Riutta from Pixabay.

When my car and I swerve to avoid someone hypnotized by a cell phone, I secretly wish for a water pistol. Though, even if I shot cold streams out the window, would the driver look up, confirming zombies have not yet conquered Planet Earth?

Only if I soaked her/his phone.

Image by Michael Hourigan from Pixabay.

My generation did not allow rotary phones to tyrannize us, right? Though how many Boomers refused to leave the house, waiting for a special person’s call. …

Nowadays, I grab my cell phone too often. I do know better than to text around younger generation pros. With help-this-old-lady-across-the-street compassion, some with speed-blurred thumbs offer to assist me.

Poor, overworked thumbs need a break. In fact, we should give data use, phone bills, and ourselves a break. What cell phone alternatives can help me break the habit?

Hubby and I have discovered one way: holding hands. On walks, we radicals converse, laugh, listen to cardinals’ songs and luxuriate in autumn beauty.

Image by Lenny Rogers from Pixabay.

Friends may walk together, too. Having only texted for 20 years, they may need to exchange photos for identification purposes. Soon, though, they’ll discover the joy of talking with a real person.

Other suggestions:

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.
  • Wave at passing drivers. Imagine your town if all drove like you.
  • Splash in puddles for fun instead of being sprayed while texting.
  • Mentally rearrange someone’s outdoor furniture.
  • Plant an imaginary flower bed at a plain house. Enjoy landscaping triumphs without an aching back and dirty fingernails.
  • If walking past an elementary school, thank God you’re not the old woman who lived in a shoe. Or the unnamed wife of Feodor Vassilyev, eighteenth-century peasants with the Guinness record for number of children: 69.
Image by Janusz Walczak from Pixabay.
  • While in educational territory, mentally recite U.S state capitals you memorized in fifth grade. Mrs. Baker would be proud.
  • Hop with one foot on muddy ground, so school kids think a single-footed alien visited.
  • Search for cars dirtier than yours. Write congratulatory messages on windshields.
Image by SD5432SD from Pixabay.

I offer final, unsolicited advice to young cell phone zombies: The love of your life could pass while you’re playing Super MarioTM. Or watching cat videos.

Wouldn’t holding that special human’s hand — maybe forever — be much more fun?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What could you do instead of fiddling with your phone?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Great Music and Great Food — What Could Be Better?

Lord, how blessed we are to see our handsome grandson march with his award-winning high school band!

Carmel High School Marching Greyhounds, Carmel, Indiana

And, OMG, thank You for the nearby food trucks, too. …

Hair We Go Again

Image by Vladamir Sládek from Pixabay.

Bad hair days didn’t exist during my childhood.

If my hair dripped from swimming, I solved the problem the way our spaniel did: Shaggy and I stuck our noses out the station wagon window and let God blow slimy locks dry.

My mother, however, used brush rollers that jammed into her cranium like a medieval iron maiden’s spikes.

She tried to teach her daughter well. By federal law, every grade school girl experienced two Toni Home Permanents per year. Little did we know “Toni” was an acronym for Toxic Onion Nuclear Inhalant. We’d inherited the ancient First Principle of Hairstyles: if it’s natural, if it’s easy, then it’s all wrong.

Even in fifth grade, I wore curls like everyone else.

Afterward, though, I liked wearing curls like everybody else’s. I cried, however, when my brother’s wavy blond hair was whacked into a crew cut — like everybody else’s.

During the 1960s, thousands of young people, including my brother and myself, freed ourselves from hair oppression. Away with Toni Home Permanents! Away with crew cut wax! Death to hairspray!

Image by Floritatheleaf from Pixabay.

The Establishment fought us, comb and scissors. They excommunicated us from schools, football squads, and church quiz teams. We sang our “Hair” anthem with noble defiance.

My mother pleaded, “Honey, your hair’s already straight. Why set it with orange juice cans?”

I gave the obvious answer: “Because soup cans won’t stay up.”

Poor Mom. What a square.

At a pajama party, hip friends and I made a radical discovery: wearing younger siblings’ underwear on our heads would keep soup cans up all night.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

My clueless mother didn’t “get” my soup cans. Nor why my friend Linda fried her curly locks on an ironing board. You’d think Mom, who’d suffered years of brush roller agony, would share our vision for hair that defined a new dawn for all humanity.

Decades later, we of the “Hair” generation are mostly thankful to have some.

We highlight our gray, lowlight it, blow-dry, messy bun and shave it. We color it pink, green and purple, hoping we’ll look like … our grandchildren.

Image by George from Pixabay.

Hasn’t worked. Maybe I should try soup cans again — with underwear on my head.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What did/do you endure to maintain trendy hair?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: No Marching Choirs

O Lord, such a treat to watch our oldest grandchild march with her college band on Family Day. But after the director invited visitors to a practice workout with our kids, OMG, I’m glad I’ve always been a singer!

The professional and the amateur. Can you tell who’s who?
Nothing like full uniforms on a hot day!

The Day I Faced Facebook

Image by Andreas160578 from Pixabay.

Scrolling through Facebook, I read family and friends’ posts. Accept friend requests. Delete one from someone who addresses me as “Warm Infant.” Perhaps the correct translation is “hot babe”?

Fourteen years after surrendering to Facebook, I sometimes wonder why.

When MySpace and Facebook first invaded our world, I imagined techno-geeks had invented one more way I could crash my computer.

I asked my children, “What is this ‘My Face’?”

Image by waterlilies from Pixabay.

I should have known better. They’d let their mother think an MP3 was a World War II jet. Why did I think they’d explain social media?

Image by PhotoMIX-Company from Pixabay.

Through the Moms’ Grapevine, I learned my grown children communicated with each other on Facebook. What?! When we lived in the same house for 25 years, I sometimes had to pay siblings to talk to each other.

What were they talking about now?

I learned they were displaying cute pictures of my grandchildren on Facebook.

I leaped into the 21st century … and accidentally signed up for Space Bookies.

Eventually, though, I became a Facebook member and read my daughter’s post: “When my mom joins Facebook, the world will end.”

My children had felt so safe. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

And they’d had no idea their mother was a warm infant.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your social media story?

I Was an Experimental Guinea Pig

Image by Bernadette Wurzinger from Pixabay.

Should humans participate in science experiments?

Some help us understand our behavior. In one experiment, children, left alone with cookies, were promised double that serving if they delayed eating 15 minutes. Those who complied did better in school. Hurrah for delayed gratification! For kids, anyway.

Years ago, I, a Psychology 101 freshman, was required to “volunteer” for graduate students’ experiments. The first involved mental manipulation of geometric figures. The experimenter asked me to rotate a dodecahedron x number of degrees.

Image by Petra Östrerreich from Pixabay.

“Dode what? Is that a dinosaur?”

By session’s end, he’d gnawed his nails to itty-bitty trapezoids.

I’d enjoyed messing with his mind. Maybe I’d wreak revenge on a second experimenter for absorbing my Saturday morning.

But he wound wires around my fingers. When told I’d receive shocks if I didn’t recall random words, my inner oink-oink alarm sounded.

“Leave anytime you want,” the Mad Scientist assured me.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay,

But I wouldn’t receive credit. Sacrifice another Saturday morning? I’d remember that list if it killed me.

Bad choice of words.

Image by Shurriken from Pixabay.

I aced a preliminary run. By the end of a second no-shock trial, though, I couldn’t remember my name.

Oink-oink-oink! I prepared to die.

Mad Scientist removed the wires.

“What?” I protested. “I won’t receive credit.”

He smiled. “We’re required to inform participants beforehand about any actual use of shock. Today, I merely measured anxiety’s effect on your learning.”

I considered measuring the effect of wires wound around his nose.

Years later, when I worked at a medical center, residents asked if I’d participate in an experiment.

No way!

The young doctors insisted, “No shock involved. No geometry. Just harmless sunscreen tests. We’ll pay $150.”

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay.

Hubby was in medical school. Our car had skated on bald tires all winter.

“Okay. But if you’re lying,” I said, “I’ll screen your girlfriends’ calls so you never date again.”

I earned an easy $150. My car retired from the Interstate Ice Capades. And the doctors’ dating lives flourished.

Since then, I’ve played guinea pig only in my grandchildren’s experiments. (“Grandma, can you go down the curly slide backwards with a straw up your nose?”) Worth it, though they haven’t offered $150.

Image by IIona de Lange from Pixabay.

If you encounter a grandparent experiment — or one involving cookies or sunscreen — serving as guinea pig can prove downright pleasant.

But if Mad Scientists wind wires around your fingers?

Heed that oinkoink-oink alarm. Run, guinea pig, run!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever been the guinea pig in an experiment?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Did This Really Start with Only Two People?

O Lord, so thankful for a fabulous time in Indiana’s Brown County State Park with the entire Phillips clan. But OMG, if we grow any more, the next time, we might break the bridge!