Playtime

It’s Friday and that means, I get to watch our youngest granddaughter, D. She has a delightful, vibrant personality that continues to unfold week by week. On this particular day, she managed to get a hold of her sister’s dolls and the fun began.

Apparently you first had to love Baby and smother her face in kisses.  Lots of slobber was required. Once Baby knew she was loved, D tossed her aside and grabbed the other doll. Attention span is short with a 10 month old!

In no time at all, the new Baby was placed on the ground and D began pushing on the doll, just like when giving CPR. Funny thing was, she placed her other hand over the dolls face, effectively smothering the victim! I think D needs a refresher course in life saving techniques!

It is always an adventure spending time on the floor playing with little D. Retirement is such a blessing. I can’t imagine not being able to spend these unique and special moments with her.

Road Trip

Hitting the Road

Retirement and Road Trip seem to go together, don’t they?  This past spring we had the opportunity to head for the Grand Canyon with our son, Brian and his wife, Jenny.  Dan and Brian shared the driving and it seemed like the long trek went quickly.

Judging by all the creature comforts we packed into the car you would have thought we were going for a week instead of 4 days! But we had a great time taking pictures, tasting beers from local brewery’s and sharing family stories. New memories were made like Brian bringing a hammock and stringing it between 2 trees so we could lookout over the canyon! Can you imagine how beautiful it was?  It was a bit scary too!

 

 

 

 

Three of the four of us are NOT morning people, but we were all up and headed for the park at 4:15 to see the sunrise beam light over the red canyon. Dan drove and parked the car inside the park. By moonlight we hiked in to find the “perfect spot” to watch the day begin. My pictures don’t do justice to the magnificence of the Canyon, but I did manage to capture a few good shots.

Brian and Jenny waiting for the sun to rise.

And yes, later in the day as we were hiking, an elk wandered up to a public drinking fountain to have a sip of water. A park visitor was happy to give this big animal a slurp before moving on.

We had a great time traveling with our grown children. Now we have our free “lifetime” National Park pass. As senior citizens it cost us a big ten bucks. Who knows where we will go next…

Smarty Pants

Three year old lunch conversation went like this:

“Grandma, your game doesn’t have a trapezoid shape.”

“You’re right!”

“There’s another tricky shape I know. It has a point at the top and then another one on the side (she drew this in the air).” It’s umm, it’s umm, it’s a hexagon.”

OK, how does a grandma respond to this?  This conversation was so casual and matter of fact.  She and I occasionally play Cookie Jam on my phone. She likes to help me match the shapes. I am certain that back in the “olden days,” we learned about a trapezoid in 7th grade geometry. What do they learn in preschool these days?

She quickly moved on to talk about her dolls, Woodzees, bubbles, and all the other things that drift through a three year old’s mind.

 

Thimbles Around the World

I’ve discovered that traveling is a great way to be on the hunt for my favorite collectible: thimbles.  They are easy to collect and store, but not necessarily easy to find. I started collecting around 1983…long before retirement!  But over the years, the collection has grown to just over 200!

Just a few “Thimbles Around the World”

I don’t look for what I call “airport” thimbles, which are inexpensive and usually have  tacky machine-stamped logos on them. In a pinch these little icons will do, if they represent a city or place that has meaning and there are no other choices. I tend to look for the unique or unusual that will remind me of a special location or event.

When we travel with friends, they all know to be on the lookout for these hidden treasures and give me a heads up. They are often shelved almost out- of- sight in shops, as I suspect they aren’t great sellers. It’s like an adult scavenger hunt! An added bonus is that they take up no space in a suitcase and don’t add any weight. And, I save lots of money by not collecting jewelry!

These tiny souvenirs are very affordable as far a collectibles go. Some of my favorites cost under $8. Some can be more, a lot more, but those are typically passed by. No one will want my collection because of its value! It’s purely sentimental and a beautiful reminder of places we’ve been.

I’ve managed to acquire thimbles from every continent but Antarctica. Hopefully, I will make it there one day. Then I can declare I’ve been on every continent!

 

Volunteer Teaching

In February, I began volunteering twice a week with the Laubach Council for Literacy. Seems rather ironic to think I am now volunteering to do what I got paid to do for 20+ years! I am working 4 hours a week teaching adults English as a Second Language (ESL).

I have 7 amazing women ages 30-70 who are beginning English speakers. The women represent the countries of So. Korea, Ukraine, Mexico, Columbia, and Iran. We work on building vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and conversation skills. They need help with simple things, like ordering food from a restaurant, making doctor appointments, or even answering the phone. I love being able to help and I didn’t realize how much I missed teaching until I began working there. I don’t even mind the prep work that goes into preparing lessons.

The organization serves communities all over the area (I think the US as well). I am located at a local community center that is 3.6 miles from my house. The center offers several English classes designed to meet the needs of the participants. Some folks don’t speak any English and are illiterate in their native tongue. It is so hard to see people in this situation.  I wonder how I would do if I was in their shoes. Our job is to teach English, as well as to help them assimilate into our culture. I am blessed I have the time to volunteer and grateful that teaching is a gift that I can use to help those in need.

 

Gardening Successes

Cymbidium

Yes! It bloomed after last year’s plant surgery to saw the plant in two pieces. I kid you not, the plant was so root-bound that I couldn’t get it apart. There was almost no dirt left!  I tried a shovel to break it apart. I tried prying it apart. At last I took it to my son’s house and he sawed it in half. Success! I was left with two halves that I was pretty certain would die of shock. But given the winter to  be dormant, they enjoyed the rains we had and eventually seemed

Orchid cactus

to come to life. Both halves are blooming and doing well. I should not have doubted my skills with plants.

I also managed to save this orchid cactus. It will be blooming soon with beautiful bright red flowers. The wind blew it over earlier this year and not knowing what to do, I just stuck the broken pieces back into the soil and walla! It’s a giant plant now! The red blooms should be ready to break-through any day now.

My red mandevilla plants are vining and showing bright red flowers as well. Even my Christmas cacti are still blooming. They began in October and are still going strong. So I guess I can say I am a gardener after all! Now if I can remember to water everything as summer approaches. LOL

Little “D” Day

At long last I get to begin watching the youngest grandchild, better known as ‘Little D” every Friday.  She is the happiest baby and an absolute delight.  She’s now almost 7 months old now and embraces life with gusto. She’s always up for a walk at the bay or to simply watch the pinwheels go round and round in the backyard. Like all babies, if it fits in her mouth it is her new favorite toy.

Forget the bottle, she just wants food. She loves it all; homemade, store-bought, or a combo. But you do have to be prepared, because once she’s in the high chair, you had better be ready to start feeding and have plenty on hand. She loves eating.

Retirement is so great. I love my tutoring days, I love my golfing days (well, when I get back to it), but this is my favorite day of the week. I call it Little D Day. I’m sure there will be many more posts about my adventures with Little D.

Is this not a face to just spend endless hours staring at?