• Tag Archives Ruth
  • Grandkids

    Beltane                                                                   Rushing Waters Moon

    20170503_165022Finished assembling Ruth’s reading chair here in the loft. Two footstools to go, one for her chair and one for mine. I want her to have a safe place, a quiet place where she can read, just hang out.

    Ruth struggles with some unidentified emotional quirk, one held at bay right now by Risperidone, an anti-psychotic. This drug is worrisome to both me and Kate, so we’re pressing for her to have a formal evaluation. Use of such a powerful drug, it blocks or dampens dopamines and regulates serotonins, needs to have a sound medical reason for its prescription, a specific diagnosis. She doesn’t have one right now.

    When we moved to Colorado, it was with two primary intentions: be a part of our grandchildren’s lives (and Jon and Jen’s) and live in the mountains. In both cases we’ve exceeded our own expectations.

    Being nearby grandparents presented challenges from the start. Jen was never happy with our move to the mountains. “Too far away.” We said we were 900 miles closer. No joy there. Now of course we know that the marriage between Jon and Jen was in its final months, creating various layers of conflict, most of which we were ignorant. No more.

    20170422_112445The onset of the divorce has, of course, had outsized effects on the kids. Uncertainty and instability are poison to young kids. Where will we live? Will mom and dad ever like each other again? Who will take care of us? Were we responsible? Attach this world altering anxiety to two already troubled kids and the difficulties multiply.

    Being a grandparent in this situation has sometimes been an exquisite torture. We can see what’s happening, empathize, support, but we have no direct impact since Ruth and Gabe are not our kids. In our culture this is as it should be, I’m not contesting that, but being so close to the problem and being unable to act requires a level of zen I don’t always reach.

    Gabe has his own struggles. He’s too often by himself at school, sometimes bullied. At home he sways from sweet to angry, petulant and destructive. In his case we often encounter behavioral issues that we can deal with directly because he exhibits them toward us.

    20170422_130638He tells the dogs he loves them, pets them, while occasionally pinching them or twisting their ears. We immediately put limits and consequences on these behaviors, but they slip back in from time to time anyhow.

    We had not expected to have this kind of experience, definitely not, though we have been and continue to be glad that we’re here. We’ve been able to shelter Jon and the grandkids over a difficult year, to provide a place for them to regroup. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy for us, it hasn’t, but family is about family, not ease.

  • She Went Over the Rivers and Through the Plains

    Spring                                                                                       Planting Moon

    We set our first new low temperature since 2004.  Probably another one today, too.

    Kate’s been in Denver since a week ago Thursday.  Long enough time for Grandma to settle in and be part of the day-to-day.  Last week she went to Ruth’s school and ate lunch with her.  A big deal for Ruth, an even bigger deal for Grandma.

    (one of the lamer attractions on the road to Denver)

    She’s had 8 inches of snow.  Then quarter inch thick ice on her rental car.  Later, she picked up a bolt in the tire of her rental and had to rely on the kindness of strangers.  Has not dulled her enthusiasm although that flat tire coincided with some crankiness on the grandkids to make a not so very good, if not exactly horrible day.

    For those of you who wonder, we travel independently largely because of the dogs.  It’s very expensive for both of us to travel and board the dogs.  We have a mutual travel fund, but it’s modest.

    Though I would not describe us as living on a fixed income, we have much less flexibility than we did.  This is a reality for most retired folks.  (I can hear Kate.  Sell that book.)

    (the trail to Denver crosses all of Nebraska)

    Revision is the first order of business each day except Fridays, so I’m on it, sweetheart.  Fridays (or Thursdays) I retain for art related matters.  Ovid is in the afternoon.

  • Becoming a doctor instead of a professional sewer

    Spring                                                                          Planting Moon

    Granddaughter Ruth, turned 7 last week, asked Grandma, “Why did you become a doctor instead of a professional sewer?”  Grandma has been teaching Ruth to sew.  “Because I’m good at being a doctor, too.”  Lots of great information in that exchange.

    Vega just came in from the outside carrying one of the green toy balls.  She brought it all the way inside, deposited it beside the water bucket and continued onto the living room to lie down on the rug.  It’s a dog’s life.

    We’ve been talking, here and there, about the third phase at our Woolly meetings.  Maximize life now.  While we have it.  Say yes to life.  Do what only I can do.  A few approaches, still being tried out.  We had two new third phasers join the group in the last couple of months.  There’s one outlier at 64 and another at 60.



  • Better Now

    Spring                                                                 Planting Moon

    The healing power of love.

    Up this morning, working on cleaning chores, feeling raggedy and run down.  The snow and the cold have become the house guest who does not know when to leave.  Granted the three day rule is too short for seasons, but we know when the time to go has come.  And it has.  Two weeks plus past, I think.

    Feeling slow, then Kate called.  She talked about Gabe who taught her how to find Thomas on Youtube on her I-Pad.  And 7 year old Ruth whose favorite color is now blue, no longer purple because purple is too young.  “How much is 10 divided by 100, Grandma?” Ruth asked.  “I don’t know.”  Ruth, “0.10.”  Oh, my.  She cooks, sews, does gymnastics, reads with inflection.  That’s Ruth, not Grandma.  Grandma does not do gymnastics.

    Anyhow after talking to Kate my feelings pushed back up to energized.  Amazing what the human voice and a long term relationship can achieve in just a moment.  Thanks, sweetie.

  • A Serial Watcher

    Spring                                                     Beltane Moon

    A gorgeous day.  Sun, warm.  Daffodils in bloom.  Bees buzzing in the orchard.  Dogs playing in the woods.  Kate’s on her way home.  

    Ruthie told Kate she was her favorite grandma.  I told her she was my favorite grandma, too.  She’s coming back a happy gal.

    During the grey cold days of the weekend I did something I’ve not done before.  I wrote here sometime ago quitting Comcast cable tv.  Too damn expensive and a time suck.  In it’s place we have dvds, netflix and hulu.  Hulu (and Netflix, too for that matter) has whole TV series from beginning to end.  For instance, it has the entire Battlestar Galactica Sci-Fi channel series.  And many others.


    That means you can do what I did on Saturday and Sunday.  I found a new series, Grimm, that tells the story of a descendant of the fairy-tale compiler.  Turns out the Grimms can see and hunt all manner of thought-to-be imaginary creatures like the big bad wolf, pied piper and a whole menagerie of others.

    So I watched 1-12 of an 18 episode run.  That’s the thing I haven’t done before.  You can watch TV serials as if they are, in a sense, a video novel with each episode as a chapter.  Now I wouldn’t defend this as a way to increase your brain power, might have killed a few gray cells, but it sure was fun.  Felt very decadent though.

  • Dogs and Granddaughters

    Spring                                                         New Beltane Moon

    Homes have needs.  This one needs Kate to feel full and she’s gone.  I’m lucky I have the dogs or I would feel lonely.

    The dogs get up very early, thanks to Gertie, usually around 5:00-5:30 am.  Kate, with her residency experience of sudden waking, working and going back to sleep handles this if only because I sleep through it.  She gets up, feeds the dogs and comes back to sleep.  Most mornings all four dogs come inside after their meal and then wait quietly until we get up.

    This morning Vega and Rigel, our two coon hound/Irish wolfhound dogs, decided, as they occasionally do, to stay outside.  Vega will bark, sometimes 30 minutes later, to come back inside and Kate will get up and let her in.  Well, I slept through it this morning, letting her back in.

    When I finally got up, I let Vega and Rigel inside and Vega was so happy she came in, spun around, jumped up on the window seat (her place), back down and spun around again.

    Talked to Kate last night and apparently Ruthie, 6 year old granddaughter, really liked her rhinestone studded belt I picked out for her at the Stock Show this January.  “Are those real diamonds?” she asked.  She has the hat, the vest and now needs only the boots to be a real Jewish cowgirl.


  • Jumping Horses

    Winter                            First Moon of the New Year

    Sometimes you do something for one reason and have an unexpected outcome.  Tonight was like that for me.

    The Great Western Stock Show, Colorado’s winter State Fair-like celebration of things Western, has become my time to visit with the grandkids.  I take the kids to a couple of shows, walk through the exhibition hall with them and get down into the stock barns, too.

    This afternoon at 5 we boarded a shuttle here at the Best Western, making it out to the show around 5:15.  Gabe had his picture taken on a Clydesdale.  3 year old Gabe and this giant horse made quite the shot.  Very big horse, very small Gabe.

    After a dinner of polish, briskets and chicken nuggets we wandered the merchandise and exhibition halls, seeing John Deere implements, cattle chutes, Western clothing, candy, baby chicks, several cages filled with chickens, a bee exhibit (I chatted with some Colorado bee keepers) and bought Ruth a lavender cowgirl hat.

    Before going to the main event, we wandered through the horse barns, stopping to communicate with a few.  On the wall opposite the last of the horse stalls were some larger stalls.  In two of them  were Texas Longhorn cattle.  One came out of the stall while we watched, he had to angle his head to maneuver those huge horns through a three foot + opening.

    Then we went to the event center for the Grand Prix, a $40,000 steeple chase, which pitted 27 horses and several riders against an 80 second clock and a series of jumps designed by the top steeple chase course designer in the US.

    I’d never seen horse jumping live.  It amazed me.  These huge animals and their relatively small riders approached jumps of various heights, widths and construction.  One had water and another had a brick wall, both difficult for horses to cross.

    The horse would gather itself in stride, then leap, stretching out those four legs, legs meant to have contact with the earth and follow their momentum across the obstacles.  This is an act of courage, skill, athleticism and beauty.  On the part of both rider and horse.

    I would do this again.   Never occurred to me I might like it.



  • The Triangle Hotel

    Winter                        First Moon of the New Year

    Worked this morning on the novel.  Finally finished editing all the stuff I’d written before and got back to actual writing.  A bit of stop and go, flushing out the pipes, reorienting the fiction side of my brain, but a page or two got put into bytes before lunch time.

    Kate was over at Jon and Jen’s helping Ruthie clean her room.  Lunch at the Renaissance Hotel, a ziggurat inside with open balconies narrowing as they get toward the top.  Plants dangle from a few planters, the paint is an egg shell gold.

    Gabe and Ruth refer to the Renaissance as the triangle hotel, a landmark visible when returning from Ruth’s gymnastic practice.

    In the gift shop you can buy Stetsons, belt buckles, items carved from deer antlers and many accessories decorated with large flared crosses, studded with rhinestones.  This is Great Western Stock Show memorabilia and disappears when the horse and cattle trailers pull out headed for Wyoming, Montana or Texas.

  • Shopping in the Physical Universe Is So Last Millennium

    Winter                                       First Moon of the New Year

    Off to Joann Fabrics with Ruth.  Kate and Ruth found fabric to make several dresses, some for Ruth and some for Elizabeth, her American Girl doll.  Granpop went off into the wilds of mall land, proving to himself once again that shopping in the physical universe is so last millennium.

    Searching in real time for objects that can be in one of several locations takes a lot of time and, as happened to me this morning, is not always successful.  I did get a new battery for my watch…something that has to be done in the physical world since I don’t remove my own watch backs, though I could I suppose.

    Finding a camera strap and a lens cap for my camera proved impossible in the amount of time I had.  Best Buy had neither one, but I did pick up some double A batteries.  The Wolf Camera, supposed to solve my remaining problem acted like the ivory pileated woodpecker.  It just wouldn’t appear.

    By the time I got back to Joann Fabrics, an hour plus later, Ruth and Kate had made it to the cash register.  They paid, we hopped in the car and went to Panda Express.  Big fun all round.

  • Zoo Interreptus

    Winter                            First Moon of the New Year

    Gabe, Jen, Kate and I settled into the Nissan rental for our trip to the zoo.  We headed down the boulevarded Martin Luther King to Colorado, took a left, south, and followed the signs to the zoo, not far away, especially not far away compared to the zoo…

    This entry was cut short by the call from Jen to go pick up Jon.  The zoo faded into the afternoon as Jen and I drove out Hwy 70 into the Rocky Mountains, crossed Loveland Pass and dropped down its far side to the Arapahoe Ski Area or A-Basin as skiers here call it.

    The clouds had an unreal rose and gold tint and the mountains in front of them looked like a movie set.  We drove up Loveland Pass behind a gasoline tanker truck and descended in 2nd gear.

    Denver traffic coming and going from the mountains during the snow months, especially on weekends, can resemble a good-old fashioned Chicago rush hour, but this particular evening the road had plenty of space.  Ruthie and I scooted home ahead of Jon and Jen.

    On the way out I noticed several vehicles with Co-exist bumper stickers, a sure sign of paganism.  Made me feel good.

    Kate says Jon’s head knock is a serious concussion, the kind that, if repeated, could result in brain trauma.  Nothing to play with.