Archive for the ‘Grandson’s world’ category


June 6, 2017

D-Day:  The Sixth of June.   1944.     Lest we forget.


Some of you know Cooper is my grandson.   He’s a typical six-year-old;  he plays and swims and skis and kayaks and white-water rafts (down the beautiful and rather tame Truckee River)  and he golfs and he takes dance lessons and he plays violin, he’s just discovered reading —  and he appreciates some good red balloons!

Cooper aNd bigred balls cr

That’s his home, on Donner Lake,  California.

He can do all those activities  BECAUSE   American   young people did this:

DDay arricing


16, 17, 18 . . . 20 year olds  . . .   24,  30, 32,   38 year olds . . .  and every young man in between arrived on those Normandy beaches for an impossibly difficult mission.


Not everyone made it to the beach:

dday dragging

Up and over, right into German artillery – firing at them.

DDay hump

So many died.   I don’t think they’d want us to forget their story.

Because our young people in uniform do things like that,  Cooper can remain safe and play and learn . . . .



We MUST make sure our young people are taught this, once again.  




March 7, 2017

Week after week after week this year,  my grandson Cooper has been receiving snowfalls by the feet!   I kind of wondered if they’re able to move around or something.

Cooper on his sidewalk 380 x 500

Daddy’s been working hard!     That’s the walkway to their house!     Kind of looks like Cooper has his backpack on.   Ready for school?

Behind him,  over his shoulder, you can just about see  Donner Lake.   This is where they live,  somewhere down there on the lake shore.    I’ve been on that lake in the summer, and those mountains stay snow-covered – and beautiful.

donner lake jewel

Between snowstorms  you can “get there from here”  —

road to

Meanwhile,    I heard about their weather this week:

snow total

48 hours.   They got more feet of snow than Cooper is tall.



Cooper’s Mommy is in India this week where the temperature is in the 90s.

What a planet!



February 22, 2016


Jesus said “Unless you become as a little child,  you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Okay.  Start there today, on this Second Sunday in Lent.    “As a child.”   But not childish.  a little tricky,  but my grandson can help.    When he’s being childish,  he’s just being silly and unpredictable and a little annoying.  He’s not himself.

But when he’s being a child, something he does brilliantly,   he displays childlike simplicity,  directness,  honesty,  affection, courage,  tenacity,   and much to my delight,  he sees the Obvious,  which I often miss.


Now, I have several sermons written more than a thousand years ago on this day of the Liturgical Year:  The Second Sunday in Lent — the Lesson has always been  The Transfiguration.   By reading these sermons I enter the minds of great men who came before me,  and yet we are in agreement and in communion, across the years.

It’s a familiar Bible story,  but first I want to demonstrate  some of these childlike qualities which Jesus prizes so much.

Cooper and I exchange pictures sometimes.  Pictures that we draw.  Today I received this one:


(“Today” — Sunday.  I’ve been sick for a few days and only made it to the mailbox today.)

That picture is a little more sophisticated than it would appear at first glance.   For one thing,  it is a Mixed Media picture, and I complimented him for using mixed media to achieve such an interesting result.    (I was a first grade teacher, remember?  This takes planning,  foresight, the ability to see a result and work your way to it, and stick to the theme. . . .)

But look at the water.   That is stroke after stroke of blue crayon.  He stuck to it until the fish had enough water to safely swim in.   I thought of what it would take for ME to keep at it like that,   concentrating,  achieving the result I want.

Dedicated.   Focused.  Single-minded.    Persevering.

I know,  because I’ve done this recently for him.

A short time ago I sent to him a little meteorite.  A genuine, actual  interesting little meteorite.   He and I share a love of “things” up there in the heavens.   He called to thank me and then proceeded to tell me where meteorites come from:   “….and then a big fireball smashes into an asteroid and the pieces fall to the ground! !!!!!!!!!!”     (Well, it’s an exciting concept.)

Can’t improve on that explanation.


I made a picture of his words.  Here’s part of it.   Cooper lives in the mountains, in a forest, near a beautiful lake.   I wasn’t sure how to make a “fireball”   but after a long, long time,  I think I had it right,  just like he explained it to me.

And so now I know for sure what it’s like to be “childlike”  with  pencils and paper.

Back to today’s  Transfiguration.   It’s the very important story  of Jesus taking three close friends to the top of a mountain where He then proceeded to show to them some of His actual glory.


This was a very important lesson for them because they had begun to dimly perceive His Divinity,  but they were grown men and it was getting “complicated.”  They needed to have this knowledge affirmed and their faith strengthened  before they witnessed the next events in the life of Jesus,   which will soon be His Passion and ignominious death.

The presence of Elijah and Moses for a brief time also confirmed for them that this was the work of God.   No room for  complicated, tricky theological explanations;  this IS the Son of the God of Moses, the Lawgiver,  and Elijah, the great prophet.  It is a simple, straightforward conclusion, profound but uncomplicated.  Even a child could understand that Jesus is of God.

Why don’t more people know this?     With a childlike mind,   look at the obvious.

The Transfiguration happened here:

view from the top

I have a friend, “My-Friend-With-The Camera” that I write about once in a while,  who jogged up the winding road of this mountain,  Mt. Tabor.  I still remember how he talked about that view!   You are so high up that you can see amazingly far in every direction!  It rises out of that plain like one huge bump.

While the “bump” is Mt. Tabor,  that plain you’re looking at unfolds itself near Mt. Megiddo — which some of you will know is the location of Armageddon.

“You are so high up”   . . .”that you can see. . . ”

And that’s the obvious thing to spend some time with.    The Transfiguration had to happen at the top of a mountain.     It’s not for the man whose life is lived among lower elevations, content with earthly things.

Experiencing the Transfiguration is not for those who are reluctant to climb.   Climb upward.   Understanding takes willingness and effort and purpose and focus and persistence and you keep at it until you’re there.

Like a child.



December 22, 2015

(A little posting of explanation for my absence) –

Almost finished preparations for Christmas.  Just a few more pieces to go:


But I had a little setback.    Blindsided by a 5-year anniversary.

We think we  “know ourselves.”   But the “knowing”  is really just  familiarity.  After “many”  decades of life,  you’d think I’d know myself by now.   I thought I knew me:

Descendant of Vikings.  Daughter of a Marine.   Rough and tough tomboy, playing football and “war” with my friends.  Emperor Frederick II of Prussia was my hero during high school;  he’s the reason why I drove myself to manly excellence in academics and physical strength and  . . .  well,  flute.  I can intellectualize my way out of anything.  and I thought I was pretty well self-disciplined . . .  .

But I had an unexpected setback.  Blind-sided.  Emotionally.

The 5-year anniversary?    Is this:

Grandpa and Cooper

I write about Hubbie here.    I write about Cooper.    Five years ago,  one of them was just arriving;  one of them was just leaving.   An unexpected early arrival;  a very unexpected early departure.   (Again,  I chronicled all this in the November 2010 archives here.)

So I’ve pieced my life together;  reinvented my household, as all of us have to do from time to time.   Stayed true to the one who departed and “inserted” into my life the one who arrived.

That’s how December began,  with the residue of “feelings”  I had thought I had managed fairly well but had to wrestle with again.

And then I put some old photos up on the wall —


Yep.   Me.   And Hubbie.    (A “few” years ago.)   December 21st is our Anniversary.

A lot of years were to follow on after that photo was taken.

And then it’s . . .   history.   Just history.

I was a history major at the university.  I still study history,  but somehow I didn’t expect my own life to become . . .  history.

So that’s where I’ve been lately – away from The Spruce Tunnel.    Perhaps I should get back in and get on with things.    Some busy cheery things have happened this month too.

Today is Life.

There are still a few more pieces to fit together in my puzzle.


Bar Cross in middle




December 1, 2015

Yes, good.    We’re leaving some dark thoughts:


I must have been in a Deep Blue Funk in November,  more affected by the memory of Hubbie’s death than I realized.  I wanted to write about our last weeks together, I really did,  for they are not only sad, they are sweet — and, well,  very precious.

I wanted to write about the surprise miraculous premature birth of Hubbie’s first grandson —  whom we all acknowledge came early so he could meet his grandfather . . .  and so his grandfather could pass on to this tiny baby all the things that a man passes on to his sons and grandsons, just by being near, living and  breathing in the same air, holding on to each other, which most surely happened during Cooper’s time of nearness with his grandfather, in his grandfather’s hospital bed.

You can read about these remarkable times in the archives, over on the side.  You can even see them “holding on to each other.”  Just go to November, 2010.

I didn’t review all this though in this blog.   Not this year.  Son and I are still going through “adjustments” that I know are perfectly normal, but it just turns out they are darkly internal and personal.

Hence,  the Deep Blue Funk.   I can funk really well.  I can be good at funking.

And then it becomes . . .  over.   It lifts.    I took that deep blue photo from my front yard yesterday, as November was ending.   Son and I were outside in the dark,  doing “yard”  things.    Darkness comes early up here in the Far North in November,  and sometimes there’s still outdoor work to do.

I was doing this:


Putting up our Christmas lights.  A little less elaborate than in years past,  but they’re pretty.  (Especially when seen in focus.)   I was surprised how the camera brought out the beautiful blue left in the very late twilight.

My eyes saw only a dark, black sky.   The camera pointed out the beautiful dark blue.


So what do I “learn” from this dark November night?   That there is beauty from darkness.   Beauty out of darkness.  Beauty after darkness.

Beauty waiting for us, after this life.    Because Beauty is eternal and good and holy.   God the Creator is not “beautiful,’  He is Beauty itself.   As St. Augustine cried out, “O Beauty, so ancient and so new!!  Late have I (come to) love thee!!”

What else comes out of these dark November nights?    Advent!   This year as November passes,  Advent begins.

The first candle, of course.

advent one urple

Hear the admonition of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of a few centuries ago when men’s minds were strong and vigorous.  He tells us to think about what we’re doing during this season of Advent:

 “Consider who He is that comes,  whence He comes, to whom He comes,  for what end He comes,  when He comes, and in what manner He comes.   This is undoubtedly a most useful and praiseworthy curiosity, for the Church  would not so devoutly celebrate the season of Advent if there were not some great mystery hidden therein.”


(Taken from “Sermons of St. Bernard on Advent and Christmas.” Easily accessible on the Internet.)



December 10, 2014

I do hope the Chimney Sweeper in the last posting had meaning for you all.    It’s been a part of my “literary memory”  for many years now.

Here is another “literary” endeavor:


I can read it!!   I’m sure you almost can too!

It’s a Thank You Note written by my grandson, Cooper, who has just turned four years old, about three weeks ago.

This is a thank you for  his birthday presents from me.    His Mommy and Daddy are teaching him to do his duty and fulfill his social obligations by writing thank you notes for whatever people give him.   In Cooper’s World,  he is so young that he will never know a time when he didn’t do this;  this will seem normal in his World  and will be second nature to him.

So –  “Making America Great”   again –   In a “great society,”  there are rules of  courtesy and consideration for others, based upon Christian kindness and  caring for others.   We may express gratitude or sympathy or concern or mutual happiness.      This is a “good” thing.   We learn etiquette  to help us manifest these expressions of our mutual humanity.

The rules of courtesy are the same for everyone;  for the very poor orphan in the last post  (we have to say “disadvantaged” now) and for the economically privileged child with parents who are present and loving and for everyone in every situation in between.    There are no excuses.  It has nothing to do with being rich or poor, educated or uneducated.     So much can easily happen between people that it’s essential to affirm our own dignity as human beings  by respecting the rules of a good society.

Somehow my grandson was born into a home with the most loving, attentive, and responsible parents.   I thank God for that.  It’s not easy to write a thank you note (especially when you’re just four years old)  but his way in the world will be easier for having learned such things.   He will gain self-respect, and the more he respects others,  the more self-respect he will gain!

Is this an unusual situation?   I don’t know.   But where our society has broken down, where we are cynical and suspicious about others and expect the worst,  we can make repairs.    We can teach and insist and demonstrate the importance of building and maintaining a civil society.      There are little social niceties to practice.     There are ways to speak to each other.     There are civil ways to disagree with each other.     And there are firm, respectful ways to disengage with those who insist on bad social behavior.

The responsibility lies with individuals.   We are each responsible to for the quality of our society.




December 20, 2013

I’m “brooding” a little tonight.   Or stuck in a thought pattern.

Pythagoras:  “We can know the world. ”  And the world can be described in terms of numbers.  Amount.    Harmony.   Proportion.  Relationship.      Intensity.     Risk….Intensity of risk.


We have a “Winter Storm Advisory” this weekend.   60% chance of sleet and icy rain on Saturday afternoon.    80% chance of icy stuff overnight, into Sunday.    60 and 80;   the numbers that will affect my decisions about driving this weekend.

But the snow and ice and cold rain produce a different set of numbers, a set of numbers that also indicate Risk.    My little grandson, Cooper, will be arriving in a couple of days, so I thought I’d check the . . . numbers for him.

I stepped a little bit out onto my deck:

SAMSUNGThat’s my Geiger counter, checking Counts Per Minute.   The snow just outside my door is about twice normal.

I walked across my deck to the railing:

SAMSUNGThe ice melting on the railing,  the snow far down below,the melted surface of the pond. . .  About three times normal CPM.    Not too good.

I came in and measured my moccasin:


I measured the sole because I know you’re not supposed to walk around the house with radiation from outdoors on your shoes, because with the type of radiation I’m measuring also comes, randomly, occasionally,  some really, really dangerous particles.

Inside the house, just to compare,  just to see if my detector was working correctly,  I took a reading near where we would be spending a lot of time –

SAMSUNGThere.   Normal.    26.    We’re okay indoors.

But the little guy likes to ski and snowshoe and he wants to go ice skating on Grandma’s pond.

SAMSUNGHow do I explain to a three-year-old that Pythagoras gave us the understanding that our world can be described in many ways,  with numbers,  and the numbers aren’t looking too good —  and Grandma has something on her mind?

On December 5th we passed the 1,oooth day after the initial  explosions at Fukushima.    At this point the ongoing nuclear  processes  increase vastly in intensity and in output of dangerous radiation, into the skies above us.    Scientifically speaking,  this increased intensity will continue for about 10,000 days, before entering another phase.

That knowledge is part of the “brooding”  I’m doing tonight.    I’m okay.   I’m just getting a new appreciation of the intensity of the troubles  that mankind can create — and the intensity of our need for that Light which we wait for during Advent.    He came,   this Light of ours, and He will come again.

Deo gratias.  Gaudete.

Got any other remedy for the sadness of human evils?



September 27, 2013

All “spruced up”   for THE ARRIVAL:

27 keys down

Hello  —  a 90-degree turn in the Spruce Tunnel today – a new direction for a few days – and Son and I are prepared!     Inside, outside, top to bottom, all the four corners of our world.

We went to work and I needed to ask Son for some advice, but he went missing for a while.

27 disappeared

He’s up there somewhere with water hose and leaf blower, taking care of eave troughs, sticks and twigs and leaves and acorns. Have you checked your roof lately? They can become surprisingly messy.

27 mowing

Way back,  there was work being done.

Wearing “safety sunglasses”  –

27 with machine

Down on the patio, more work

27 patio machine

I was working too, taking care of grass and shrubs and all the things that don’t stay in their places outside in the lawn  — and inside the house, way down to the basement.

Son and I had to laugh at the end of that day.    We had just cleaned from the roof to the basement and all around – places that a 2 3/4 year old will never see!   But we couldn’t stop ourselves.

Then I got the kitchen ready too for the Big Visit.


Nothing Cooper and Grandma like better than dinosaurs!    (And some guitars and trains. . . .)

And there are some big boy cookies too – for Cooper’s Mommy. And lots of other food.


Then the ride to the airport.    You know what a wonderful feeling that is to be arriving, just as your loved ones are touching down.      (“An –ti – ci – pay – yay – tion …”)


Fortunately for us we have a very small,  simple airport. We were one of, oh, maybe ten people waiting for the commuter flight in from Chicago.


Then – at last!   A ride home through the “big city” — with the capitol dome in the lights –


And then…..the arrival.   The Little One comes into the house, he looks at the shoes in the entranceway and says:   “Ooooh, I better take off my shoes!”


And so…we are together.   All our little family… Son, Daughter, me, and Cooper.    What a gift.

It’s my birthday today.

Deo  gratias!


April 16, 2013

“Are you feeling better now, Grandma?”

SAMSUNGI dare not not get better…there’s a little one out West who cares.

About a week and a half ago, I was feeling very, very tired and didn’t want to lift my head up for long, but the laptop was nearby…and Cooper Skyped in.    My muddled head somehow thought I could answer and say, “Hello, I don’t feel like talking….”   but that’s not the way it works when a little grandson calls.

Soon as they all realized I was sick,  Cooper ran to his little plastic toy piano and began banging the keys and singing out the ABC song,  loudly, clearly, and firmly.   When he was done he ran back closer to the camera and looked right in at me and asked, “Are you feeling better now, Grandma?”

No!  Now there were tears stinging my eyes and my heart was burning and my arms ached to hold him close to me!    Yes!   I was feeling better.

And then the flowers came.




August 2, 2012

As long as Cooper came to the Far North for a visit,  I was thinking:   “a busy grandson is a happy grandson.”     At his age, his “busy-ness” is the learning business.

A day at the zoo,  meeting a burro:

And about a hundred other animals.    Cooper had comments for each one of the animals he saw, and  the noisier the better!     However,  I’m quite sure his favorites were not the caged ones,  but the little wild birds and squirrels that came up close to him.

Cooper experimented with Newton’s physics, hydrology, and gravity (for many hours, I might add):

A little Puddle-Stomping at the park, something this well-travled little boy has done in many countries.    Water is water, the world over:

More serious study time:

Cooper was learning…..   Oh, never mind.   He already knew everything on his I-Pad.      It was Grandma doing the learning here.

Then I showed him how children played in the Old Days.  Here he is on Uncle’s horsie –

Then it was time for some more Family Tradition.   Each year, on Hubbie’s birthday,  we add goldfish to the pond, as he so much liked to do.   Some make it through each winter, and it always gave Hubbie joy to count the goldfish each Spring…and all through the summer too.

Here is Cooper’s Uncle doing the job for Hubbie:

Oh, you can’t see them.

There are as many fish as would match Hubbie’s age;  one fish for each year of age.

It’s a tradition.    It’s  Tradition.    A fun, familiar way to pass down knowledge to the next generation.     Traditions build families.   Breaking with tradition breaks families.

 (Remember “Fiddler on the Roof” and Tevye’s great song “Tradition”?    Do you sympathize with the daughter who broke tradition, marrying someone who could not possibly understand her family’s  traditions?   Well, don’t.    She lost far more than she thinks she gained.    The story falls under the category of Tragedy,   happy music notwithstanding.)

There was one more thing for Cooper to learn on his trip to Grandma’s house.  We needed to tell him about the ones who have come before him, who are still  his family,  who are a part of his own history.

No, he doesn’t understand yet, but he seemed to know there were important things to say . . . .

So much to do!    So many things to learn!

 He did it all.    That was enough, for now.    Cooper and his Mommy and Daddy went back on a plane and are safely at home now.   His home,  his world, all as it should be.


July 26, 2012

The point of this trip to the Far-Far North with Cooper and the family was to introduce Cooper to his very own Great-Grandma.    He’s not yet two years old, but these experiences and all the photos and stories will be a part of his own autobiography as he finds his way into the history of his own family.

Cooper thoroughly enjoyed the nursing home where Great-Grandma lives.  There were so many new things to see, birds in cages, rooms with unusual, extra-ordinary objects and equipment, mobiles hanging down made of shiny tinfoil stars…..He has one word for anything which impresses him or pleases him greatly:  “Wow!”    He used it liberally at the nursing home, but the best, most sincere Wow came when a man rolled by in a wheelchair.    “Wow!!!!!!!!”  

He seemed to accept Great-Grandma as a part of “us” — a part of his family.  He watched how we interacted with her and knew we feel that she is special to us.    Cooper spent some time figuring out all of Great-Grandma’s “riding equipment”   –

And then he discovered her bed is SOFT and BOUNCY!   –

We went out into the Activity Room for some more “activity,”  and a nice lady invited him to play a game,  and Daddy said Yes   —


That was a good game of Bumper Cars, with an audience of  chairs and wheelchairs on the other half of the Activity Room, and indulgent smiles from everyone.

Cooper was absolutely indifferent to wrinkles or no wrinkles,  black hair or white hair,  uniforms or nightgowns,  legs or wheels….He just enjoyed being with the people.

Cooper gifted everyone with a friendly Hi!  and when they said something kind and nice to him, he responded with a shy    “Thank You.”      When it was time to leave,  he gave people a very grown-up and serious:  “Bye-bye.”

Sure impressed me.   Wow!


March 6, 2012

The corner of …   whatever.   Doesn’t matter which turn you make.

Cooper and I had “no particular place to go”  this day, but unlike the rest of the song Hubbie liked we weren’t “ridling along in my automobile.”    Just ambling along the forested  mountain roads in Cooper’s neighborhood, feet and stroller.

Interesting things come up when you’re just “being where you are,”  rather than busy doing something.

For Cooper and Grandma it was a manhole cover that came up.   And Grandma’s chance to teach Cooper what manhole covers are for!

Jumping on, of course!   Stomping on!    They make the most interesting sound when your shoes hit the metal.  Cooper giggled and giggled at the new sounds his feet were making.  He laughed at the sheer joy of stomping his feet.

Cooper’s got about twenty years to learn all the new things he’ll need to get on with his adult life.   I’ve got about twenty years to learn new things, yes,  but more importantly, to come to terms with what I’ve learned and to understand and assess and reflect on what my life has been — should God think I need that much time.

Begining a life;  ending a life.

The sheer joy of discovery.


February 26, 2012

In yesterday’s post I showed you the beautiful road I take my walks on.

Today I show you my “traveling companion.”

You know,  there’s a stroller for him.   But he doesn’t always take the easy way.   Perhaps instinct tells him to get up and walk — march on, on your own.

I’ve just been thinking about this all day.   How often I’ve wanted things to be easy.    How nice to be just carried along by life,  sitting back in my own sort of “stroller” and thinking things are going well.

Looking at this little guy kind of reminds me I need to make sure I’m standing up, using my own power, and marching on. . . .


February 25, 2012

Strip away your familiar surrounding, your daily routine, take away your home and access to all your things. . .(as I’ve done now). . . what is left is the opportunity to focus on what is important.    Purley and simply important:

This was my pathway today, for about an hour.    I was pushing a stroller with a happy baby inside, talking and singing to himself all the way.

I tried to see this world of his through his eyes.    Trees around him, sky above, and a simple straight road ahead.   As his Grandma, I know that his “road ahead” will not always be so straight — and straightforward,  but I also know this:  that to give him the foundation he needs,  his family will teach him such simple things first.

If he learns these simple things well, he will have a firm foundation to build on, and his own personality and character will then be able to create solutions for the challenges that will come his way.

So let me remind you of two simple prayers that we teach our children:

“God is great;   God is good.   Let us thank Him for our good.   Amen.”

Is there any word that you don’t understand in that little prayer?    Is there any word that you truly do understand in its fullest?

And another:  

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

From the beginning of our life, to our end,  is there anything that little nighttime prayer leaves out?

If we could understand the richness of these simple prayers,  what a good foundation we would have upon which to build a greater understanding of God and all the things needful to our souls.

Keep it simple.   Be where you are.    Reach down into what you know to be true.


April 1, 2011

How did you celebrate becoming four months old?

How about a ride on a big boy swing.   In a park.   Across the ocean.  In London, England.

I received the video last week and enjoy swinging along with him.  This is a still shot from that video.

But this will be the last photo of Cooper in these postings for a little while.   Perhaps I’ll have a little picture corner in the right-hand column, just for my own smiles.     I just needed these last three postings about Cooper to remind me how beautiful the world could be…just as, at the same time,  I’m less and less able to ignore how dire the world is becoming.

There is seriousness pressing down on me.     On all of us.   I have no idea how to “make it better.”       I don’t think we can.     I’ll be posting now about some things that we did to ourselves, and how we don’t know how to un-do it.    And then I’ll return to Amos the Prophet to see what message he once had to deliver to the people of this planet.

The world we made is not a playground.  Not really.   We’re not four months old anymore.


January 14, 2011

Cooper Kenneth has had his first weekend in Tahoe.   His parents have a house up there, so I’m sure there wll be many more.

That requires his very own SKI PASS !

He might be too small to hold his own Ski Pass, but I”m sure they’ll figure something out.

And après ski,  one has a lot to grin about . . . before sleep takes over: