God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Am Tired of Know-It-All Pundits

There is a whole new category of people who thrive on each other and their own positions in the mix. Somehow this gaggle elevates itself to the role of our "most intelligent, perceptive, knowing, intuitive" brothers and sisters, metaphorically speaking, intent on impressing us and holding our thoughts captive to theirs.

It used to be that my dislike was reserved for Rush and Anne; however, it now seems to encompass them all--Wolf, Rachel, Campbell, Chris, etc., etc., etc.--not Keith as he is funny--and all those others who sit around tables, pontificating with righteous certainty of the correctness of their views on everything and anything political--including the appropriateness of Michelle Obama baring her arms.

We are in the midst of great crisis for our Nation. The magnitude and multitude of the problems facing those in Washington and around the country is nightmarish. The success and rightness of the decisions and steps being taken can not and will not be known for a long time. And yet, these pundits, who do not know the complexities and interrelationships of problems let alone the interconnectedness of potential solutions, feel called upon to issue judgments, discuss in detail pros and cons and even offer their own answers.

If someone from inside or outside of the party issues a statement or proclamation of probable failure of an Obama administration's direction or action or implies incompetency, our pundits give credence to such utterance by bringing the perpetrator on the show and elevating obstructionism to the level of viable reasoning. Nay saying is the fall back position for those who seek self vindication, sometimes orchestrating the failure of others rather than attempting reconciliation and partnerships. And our television brethren, believing in their own wisdom, interpret all of this for us.

The reason that all of this upsets me so much is that there has been no action yet taken that has had the time to be evaluated in terms of success or failure. Those in a position to enter homes and speak to the nation via the media should have the responsibility to caution against premature judgments rather than actively validating and encouraging such rushes.

These media people--from funnyman Rush and bizarre Anne to professorial Wolf and loudmouth Campbell--who crown themselves the fonts of wisdom, need to back off or do their jobs right. They are key players in creating distrust, confusion and unrest. Their true shallowness becomes very apparent when on a slow day (if there is such a thing), they resort to discussing the First Lady's appropriateness by how often she bares her triceps and biceps and what she wears to dig the White House garden.

Of course, I could quit watching these people but then it can be fun--not educational or informative but fun--as long as I shrug it all off and form my own opinions which, of course, are spot on!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Boy and The Velveteen Rabbit

And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped close round him all night long.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, written in 1922

I know this boy. He lives with me.

Does he live with you? Is your little boy a little girl?

If ever we doubt that the tenderness of children crosses time and boundaries, this child and this rabbit teach us otherwise. And the magic for us lies in the tenderness and purity of love which fill our hearts as we respond to innocence in our lives.

And once, when the Boy was called away suddenly to go to tea, the Rabbit was left out on the lawn until long after dusk, and Nana had to come and look for him with the candle because the Boy couldn't go to sleep unless he was there.

At 10, my Boy is still the Boy of the story. His Rabbit is a furless, treasured Dog. Sleep doesn't come if Nike is not snuggled under the chin as Boy holds Dog tight all night.


...he always made the Rabbit, a little nest somewhere among the bracken, where he would be quite cosy, for he was a kind-hearted little boy and he liked Bunny to be comfortable.

In the morning, my Boy puts Dog in his own little bed, in his own little house so he can rest during the day and be ready for the night.

He has given Dog a pillow to rest his head and his own velveteen companions. Dog has a place to dream until his Boy needs him again.
...the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and the brown spots faded.....he scarcely looked like a rabbit anymore, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all the Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.

And that is what I hope I teach my Boy.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Soliciting

Well, yes, that's what I'm doing in this rather unusual, out-of-the-ordinary, non-entry blog entry.

Casey (well, the two of us) redesigned Casey's blog appearance. He decided the other day that he was tired of the old polka dots. He picked a new template from the very limited options blogger offers. Then we doctored it up a bit with my limited editing HTML skills. And voila---a new look.

He has a poll to see what people think. So, if you have a moment--move on over and tell him what you think.


Thanks and I'll try to write something worth reading soon.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Out of the Mouth....

So, here's one of the reasons being a parenting grandparent brings joy--in the form of laughter. Casey was very busy reading Harry Potter last night so asked if I would type his latest writing assignment -- "What Would I Like to Tell President Obama." I promise I typed it exactly as he wrote it. I hope these excerpts cause you to smile as they did me. The first one causes rants and raves every time he hears it. The economic remedies are his own, developed from his fascination with listening to the news as he plays with legos.

*****

If I could tell the President my hopes, I would ask to please stop the inappropriate commercials. When I'm watching TV and a commercial comes on, it says, "Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for sexual activity." It makes me go crazy. I mean it's right after a kids show: KIDS SHOW!

*****

Another thing I would say is that kids should be able to do more things. It doesn't seem fair to kids; it seems like we can't do anything. I don't like it. But the truth is for me, I get to do most things I want.

*****

One of the other hopes is to go green and use solar power. We really need it to help with global warming. And by that we could enhance our technology for the world's safety. I would really like these hopes to be real.

*****

One other thing is to please save the endangered animals. Some of them we need to survive. Se we need to help them survive.

*****

I also really don't think my school work is that hard; so I would like it to be a little more difficult for seminar/smarter kids like in my class. (My note: I found this to be quite strange as getting him to do his work is not easy.)

*****

We need you also to keep working on the economic problems to help save people from losing their homes. He could keep sending out economic stimuluses so people can have the money to pay their rent and stay in their homes. They also need the money for food and resources to stay alive.

To get money for that he also could raise the taxes for the rich people. Those people do not need that money.

That is the end.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Reaching 100

As I have written before, life brings surprises--some big, some small--some good, some not so good--some we hope for and others we fear. Everyone experiences each of these moments. Hopefully the good ones prepare us for the ones we wouldn't choose.

Today more and more grandparents are raising grandchildren. We are among that group. I suspect that we are even at the older end of that spectrum. Our boy-joy is now 10 and has been with us almost since the beginning. Parenting as grandparents was not in our "choosing" category but it came.

Fortunately, God seems to have equipped us for this job, at least in most ways. Our bodies, while not as they were in earlier years, are still fairly flexible and strong--not inflicted with arthritis or other debilitating disease . Our health, while having a few question marks, is basically sound and, at this point at least, free from the illnesses that the onset of old age can bring.

He's equipped us in other ways, too. Financially, though as with most everyone these days we don't have what we did a few months ago, we do have the means to support a child again. We have minds that embrace the new and keep up with changes time brings. We're quite techie and internet savvy; although I must admit the myriad remote controls still puzzle us at times. Bose--TV--Cable--DVR--Wii--DVD--somehow they all work together but there are times when we must call the 10 year old to show us how that is and to get us out of whatever mess we find ourselves.

So--we're not doing badly for all our years; however, the other night at dinner we were reminded that years do count and that the future does become shorter. Casey wants us to live till at least 100--and sees no reason why that is iffy. He wants us around for his children so that we can be great-grandparents and love them. Not a bad idea, is it? As long as we don't have to raise them, I'd sort of like to be around, too.

I have a pact with God which I believe He has agreed to. We are doing the job given us--parenting in our retirement years. His part of the bargain is to keep us healthy of mind and strong of body long enough to do this. So, the question is: Will he carry his part through long enough to give Casey his wish? Time will tell.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Roasted Garlic Crab and Drunken Noodles

Yum-Yum! So Good!
If you look at the tags in the sidebar, you see that this is not a food blog. I have several friends who, on their blogs, do specialize in wonderful recipes and presentations. Our most frequent form of entertaining involves the barbecue, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, salsa and chips. Luckily we live in delightful So Cal.

But--sometimes I do end up with something worth sharing and last night qualifies. If you like crab, lots of garlic and noodles then this is for you. If not, then best read no further.

Roasted Garlic Crab
Adapted from Recipezaar

3-4 Dungeness Crab--cooked, cleaned, cracked
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic large cloves finely minced (or amount to your liking)
Salt
Fresh ground pepper (I used a lot)
  1. Preheat oven to 500ยบ
  2. In a large oven proof-bowl (I used a big dutch oven) heat olive oil and butter in the oven. You want the container to be hot when the crab goes in it.
  3. Stir cracked crab pieces (legs and body) into hot butter and oil mixture; add minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Toss and stir well.
  5. Bake for 6 minutes and toss well.
  6. Bake 6 minutes or until crab is heated through and garlic is light brown.
  7. Remove from oven, toss and, if you want, add lemon juice (I didn't.)
  8. Leave crab in bowl or pot so it will keep warm.
  9. Serve with good crusty bread to dip in juice.

Drunken Noodles


16 oz. wide egg noodles
6 Tbsp. butter
7 cups chicken broth
Minced garlic--3 or so large cloves
Salt and ground pepper

In a large skillet, melt butter. Lightly brown uncooked noodles (won't brown evenly). Add chicken broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until they're the softness you like..

(My son thought it was really good to use some of the garlic sauce from the crab on the noodles.)

Enjoy! You probably don't want to prepare this on a night when you're going someplace involving people. Forum Smileys