Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One of my blog readers has been hinting that I've been away from it too long and need to get back at it. My answer to her was that you have to be able to string 3 thoughts together in some comprehensible fashion in order to write. She knows, full well, that I've been entertaining two granddaughters this summer, and my thoughts have been revolving around their interests, ideas, and activities. There's not much time for thinking, other than that.

Thinking about kids and their schedules and needs, and how to best keep them occupied is a challenge at times, especially when they are not your own children. You always do what you think is best, but have something in the back of your head which asks you, 'would this be ok with their mother?' or 'how do I make both of them happy?' That's a tough one, when with nearly three years separating their ages, and very different personalities, their interests vary to great degrees. As I said, you just do what you think is best, and let the chips fall where they may.

This summer we've done far less than we did last year. I had a list of things that we'd planned to do with the girls, but for one or another reason, many of them haven't been accomplished. We've done the usual painting and drawing and some beading. Much time has been spent crafting at home. Each of girls has a sewing project, some woven pot holders, an artificial flower arrangement, and a creatively-formed scrapbook of photos to take home. We've visited with family in Georgia twice, with pool time and a birthday celebration. We've got another Aunt and cousins coming on Saturday. There was a visit to a bluegrass pickin' session. We've had some church activities and we've spent some time with friends. On Friday night we'll have a hot dog roast and s'mores around our neighbors fire pit.

There have been other challenges, as well. Gram and Papa are a year older this year, and each has a physical ailment that has slowed them down a bit since last year. Add to that one pre-teen with mood swings and one very fussy eater, and you can see how my thoughts have been directed! I'm not complaining. It's just life with children, as all parents and grandparents know. Time is not your own when you are involved with children, and you must think about them with every thought.

Now the visit is nearly over and we're planning the trip home. My brain is being taxed as I try to help them locate all of their electrical gadgets (hand-held Nintendo DS, cell phone, dvd player, etc and all assorted wires and chargers) Since I'm technically challenged, I don't even know what these things are called in some cases! I wish I'd made an inventory list when they arrived, as I'm not aware of what they brought, let alone where it might be at this point. Their clothing needs to be gathered, laundry needs to be done, and bags packed. Since we'll be taking four days to travel the 900 miles to their Mom, we've decided that the easiest way to pack would be to put 3 outfits and night wear into an overnight bag that will go in and out of motels with us, so that 4 people don't have to lug huge bags every step of the way.

Trips always require a good deal of planning. Lists abound: bank for cash, new cell phone, don't forget PRESCRIPTIONS, store for traveling food and drinks, reservations, attractions to see and things to do, how to best pack the van. The calendar is full this last week: youth night at church, brake job for the van, visit from relatives, hot dog roast, ice cream social. The calendar is empty, however, when compared to this head on my shoulders!

Having said all of that, there is no better thought than to think of those we love. I've been blessed to have these girls here to think about and share my days with since the end of June. Already, I'm looking forward to our next time together. I know that my long months without them around will be full of thoughts of them and what activities they are involved in that we can't be sharing because of the distance between our homes.

Blog thoughts will just have to wait until my return home. I hope I'll still have a reader left by that time!

Monday, July 13, 2009


What's on my mind this morning is sleep! I have always been an early-to-bed, early-to rise person with a period of light sleep in between. I don't ever remember not hearing things as I sleep and there's absolutely never been a time when I've slept past 7:30 a.m. When I was a child, I'd be raring to go before my feet hit the floor. I had to wait for literally hours until my friends opened their eyes to begin their days. How in the world could anyone sleep until 10 a.m.?
The day was half over!

It's not that I'm vexed with stress or pain that keep me awake. I don't have any earth-shattering or even niggling problems to work through. I just don't sleep well.

When I had my first baby, things got worse in the area of sleep. Of course we had the usual middle-of the night feedings, and that's expected. What I didn't expect was a button that went off in me to make my ears much more atuned to any tiny sound. Not only did I listen for my baby's every whimper, but I could tell from many feet away if her soft breathing changed it's rhythm. From that day forward, I haven't found the shut off switch to the listening in the night.
I hear everything from the occasional vehicle on the street above us to the sound of the neighbor's dog paws in our yard. I'm not kidding.

My attitude has changed. I used to say that sleeping was a waste of good time. I was young and energetic in those days, and apparently I got enough rest between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to keep my mind sharp and my machine running. However, somewhere between then and now, I started going to bed earlier, 9 o'clock, waking around 4 a.m. with restlessness in between. These days, I am not full of energy, have a few aches and pains, and do not rest. I don't know if the reduced energy level results in the lack of rest or the other way around. All I know is that something's got to give.

I'm not pleased to take pills for any reason, so I fight the idea of a sleep aid. I did try Tylenol PM one time and felt as if I had a 'hang over' the next morning. The drowsiness after waking with the sleep aid was worse than the waking from a fitful night's sleep. I don't know what the answer is, but I need to get a proper night of rest. Yaaaaaaaawn.

Has anyone got a suggestion?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today's Technologies

I'm finding it challenging to keep up with kids in the technology department. When I was a child, the best technology we had was a TV set..and there was little tv to be watched during the day. Other than that, there was not a single piece of technological recreation to be had. I don't know what they're talking about when they tell me about their hand-held computer gadgets, so Heaven help them if they run into some sort of problem. I'm not privy to 'Webkins' and how they work. I can set a VCR to record, but for some reason, the DVD doesn't respond to my command to do the same. I do not know what an Ipod is or how to download music to a....whatchamacallit, oh MP3 player. I just bought my first real cell phone, to replace the old pay-as-you-go walkie-talkie phone that we had when my husband travelled so much. Sadly, I must tell you that my 9 year old and 12 year old granddaughters had to help me with my choices when I purchased it. I didn't have a clue. All I knew was that I wanted it to make and receive phone texting was necessary, no camera please, no music, no videos, no music, nor the rest of the fancy, confusing gadgetry. When I got it home, the pre-teen had to instruct me on how to set up my contacts and ring tones and how to retrieve my messages. Sigh....

A little more than a decade ago, I bought my first computer. Now, I'm glad I did, but up until that time, I was afraid of it. I feared I'd mess it up in my ignorance, and it would never be right again. However, my excuse was...'machines already put too many people out of work, I won't be a party to it by buying one of those things.' Little did I realize how many people have jobs because of computers! Anyway...I learned to use it, and learned to love it too. I don't know how I'd get along without it now. Such is the way of technology, I suppose. At first we are cautious of the 'new', but once it becomes familiar, we can not do without it.

I must be really showing my age, but life was so simple when I was growing up. We might have had a moment here or there when we were bored, but not often. There were friends, and physical activities. There was the beach to go to, and guess what? We walked or rode our bicycles the three miles or so to get to it from our house! There were bbq's on Sunday evenings, with the family...aunts and cousins all around. We kids didn't need to sit still and listen to every word the adults were saying...we played together away from the grown ups. We didn't know the details of crime, or the latest happenings in Washington or even what was happening to the family next door. If those things were discussed, they were adult conversations and we were not privy to them. In many ways we were protected and kept innocent, and I'm quite in favor of it.

Today life moves fast and children grow up at lightening speed. With access to the entire world at their fingertips from pre-school age, they hear everything and they learn about adult life far too quickly, in my opinion. There's no way around it, though, I'm afraid. We've gone too far to keep them from hearing all the news reports and the local gossip. Our children are intelligent and aware of all that goes on in this world, and the days of innocence and being protected from the evils are gone.

I far prefer the days when I was a child...those 'good old days' when I could play and breathe fresh air and think no further than what time Mom told me to be home for dinner. I did not concern myself with serial killers and wars across the world, and it was a much nicer way of life, I think. I had my transistor radio with the AM station, and I was happy. Today's kids really seem to 'know it all', and I feel somewhat lost as an elder in this world of endless technology. I'm too far behind, and can't imagine that I'll ever catch up. I'm even prone to calling myself 'old-fashioned' now, rather than the 'open-minded' term I used to pin on myself. I am, however, one step or two up from my husband, who doesn't want to know about a computer or a cell phone. He's still prefers a manual typewriter and a dial phone! Does anyone even know what that is today?

Time does march on, it's true, and even if we're lost in it, we're dragged along with it. We'll learn what we must, even if it takes a 12 year old to teach us.