Friday, September 24, 2010

All Grown Up

I had lunch with my eldest granddaughter last weekend. We went out to celebrate her nineteenth birthday. Lauren is a recent high school graduate, and is going to school to learn to be a medical assistant. She has her own car, so she was able to get herself to my house rather than me picking her up. She's growing up.

Lauren has a boyfriend - rather, she has a fiance. She and Cody have been an item for almost a year. He is in the National Guard, and he's been in basic training for a few months. And when Lauren went to visit him last weekend, she came home with a ring. They plan to get married - soon.

Since I'm only the step-grandma, I don't feel I have the right to voice my opinions to her. My husband and I feel they are both way too young for this step. My husband speaks from experience. She needs to have more life experiences.

My husband expressed his concerns one afternoon when our daughter was here. She asked if he had shared his concerns with the future bride. “No,” he responded, “It’s not our place.”

I guess I've got to agree. The young man is in the military. He graduated from a Christian school, so he's been taught good values. He seems to be a good kid. But still, he's very young. They both are. But it is not up to us. All we can do is be there for her. We need to support her decision, and celebrate with her. Maybe it will work out. We have to respect her decision, and support them as a couple. We need to have listening ears and an open heart.

That’s what families are for.

Friday, September 17, 2010

750 Words

I have a tendency to take on more than I'm able to accomplish. That's one of the reasons for the piles of “stuff” in several rooms. I look at a piece of fabric and think of something wonderful that I can make with it - and then it's set aside because I have more pressing commitments. My gym membership hasn't been used in three months, and I have a wii fit collecting dust and a stack of exercise videos. And I have a cupboard full of non-sugar sweeteners, weight loss powders, and vitamins.

But one thing I took on this summer has actually worked out. I love to write, but have had problems making myself sit down to write because I have all this other stuff to do. My writers' group asks for monthly goals and rewards us for meeting them. So I would often set a ridiculously low goal, like "100 words a day" so I could be sure and sit down every day and write something.

A writing friend shared a website with me that has really helped jump-start my creativity, at least as far as writing. It's called "750 Words" and it's changed my mind-set on putting words down. Every day, a blank page is presented to me and I am encouraged to write - anything. It's a personal, online journal. No one else can read what I write, so I can put drivel - and sometimes it has been utter nonsense.

Some days the blank page is filled with things I copy and paste into writing projects. I've written my blog posts here, as well as my "to do" lists, and lots of other things, like thank you notes to the relatives, and plans for the coming week. In Japan I used it to journal each day, so I wouldn't forget names of people and places. Just writing events and names down here helped me when I wrote facebook captions for my pictures, and later I’ll have them to write in my scrapbook. I love it!

Buster, the creator of 750 Words, has several incentives to keep you going. There are "badges" to reward you for various goals- a certain number of days, speedy writing, patronage, etc. This is all available absolutely free of charge!

It's amazing how integrated this exercise is in my life. My husband even knows when to not speak to me. If I just tell him "I'm writing my 750" he knows he needs to keep away until I'm done! Often I'll stay up and write at midnight for the coming day. But other times I'll get up early and write. It's just become a necessary part of each day, like taking vitamins!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy News

My husband and I are going to be grandparents. We already have seven grandchildren, but this one has several distinctions that guarantee he or she will be spoiled rotten:

1. This is the first child of a child we had together. This means it is also the first great grandchild for my mom, who is a bona-fide child spoiler - when the child is not her own.

2. This is the first grandchild to be born to a pair of working parents, which means this grandma will be called upon to baby-sit more often. Thankfully, the family lives less than a half-hour drive away.

3. This grandchild has a whole slew of Japanese relatives, who are curious to see whether this child will have blue eyes (a very curious event in their world).

4. This is the first grandchild to be born after my retirement, which means I have more time to make stuff for him/her.

It's this last criteria that I'm hoping will help me clear out some stuff. I have a ton of fabric and other craft stuff patiently waiting for me to work on it. Obviously there will be quilts. This child will be born in January, but will NEVER be cold - because I will personally see to it there are plenty of quilts and blankets around!

I've also got patterns for nighties and jammies and there is lots of flannel down there. The child will sleep in the finest of stuff, if I manage to get the outfits cut out and sewn together.

And there will be toys - lots of them - stuffed teddy bears, and a whole menagerie of animals. I’ll probably buy more than I’ll make, but I’ll have fun planning my projects.

Now all I have to do is find out whether it's a boy or a girl, and what colors his/her mother plans to use in the nursery. My daughter is a very particular decorator. Things will have to match. So I might have to get some more fabric to match the planned d├ęcor.

I can’t wait.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to School Shopping

So it's the first week of school for me. Classes started this week at GVSU. I got ready as most people do. As an instructor I got my copies ordered, my PowerPoint presentations ready and my class lists compiled for attendance. As a student, I got my bag filled with notepaper, and pencils, and I checked the class website for the required textbooks. Unfortunately, both bookstores are out of one book, and the other one hasn't been published yet! So I wait. I’m in third year Japanese this year, and I’m excited to see if my three weeks in Japan will help give me an edge. Probably not.

As an "unconventional student" (read: older) I have a few other items on my back-to-school shopping list that my younger classmates don't have:

- a seat cushion. Sitting for fifty minutes on a hard plastic molded chair is murder on my back. I always carry a special seat cushion that has a cutout for my tailbone. It makes life much easier. Of course, getting up out of the chair after fifty minutes is still a challenge ...

- orthodics. These aging feet have walked a lot more miles than those of my cohorts, and they're carrying around a bit more weight. They need help. I’m not quite at the walker stage yet, thank you very much, but the muscles occasionally complain.

- a recorder. I found out there’s one on my laptop! Technology is wonderful. My memory isn't what it used to be, and I can't write or type fast enough to detail EVERYTHING the prof says. Besides, he talks really fast.

So I have a few extra things in my bag. That’s okay. I’ve got a few extra years of life experience on my classmates. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.