Posted tagged ‘Cooper’s World’

POSTCARD SENSE – (A useful post)

September 13, 2017

I’m from a time that when you went on vacation, you sent postcards back to the people at home.

fish image

It’s still a fun thing to do,  but we don’t actually do it anymore, even though they still make really nice postcards.    Nowadays I buy a few postcards, but mostly as souvenirs, or as interesting additional little bits of information for me to save.

donner post card

Vintage Donner Lake postcard

On my way out West, I heard about an app that allows you to take a photo on your own cell phone and send it in and “they” would make a postcard out of it,  write your message, stamp and  mail it!      How convenient –  how personalized!

I promised Cooper I’d send him a “thank-you”  post card made from a photo his Mommy had taken of us on Donner Lake,  when I got home.

I didn’t use an app.

Postcard front 370

Here’s the front of my new postcard,  from Mommy’s cell phone.  I printed it out on stiff poster board paper,  the 7 X 11 size,  printing the photo on the glossy side so I could use a pen on the matte side.

Postard back blurred 370

A ruler, a pen,  a stamp, and an address – looks official!      The size of the printed photo is 4 X 6 and I could fit two of my choices on one little poster paper.

_____________________________

 

The color on my  printed postcard  did not seem to easily smear or run,  but if I hear of any trouble,  I’ll just use the stuff you to save  jigsaw puzzles.  It dries into a  clear and tough coating.

Cooper says he likes to receive mail.  He’s got this unique, adult-type relationship with his mailman but in a conversation I overheard,  he told the mailman that he hardly ever gets anything in his own name.  I think I just found a fun way to send him things.

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MOUNTAIN LIFE

September 3, 2017

 

A Flowers 370

Beautiful mountain flowers, just one of many photos.    I’ve been living for the past few weeks at about 5900 feet, altitude,  but for the people here,  they find their fun way up higher — say  7200 feet.

So up we went one fine day.

A Preferred Travel another view.jpg 380

I loved loved loved these open chair lifts,  feet dangling,  the wind in my face!   I discovered, though that they only go part way up – and not down –  so then you have to use the covered “gondolas.”

A Mt Bike from gondola 370

This is  a view from inside a gondola.  We’re going down.    Your ears can pop from the altitude change!    We’re looking down about 50 feet onto a mountain bike trail.    Cooper’s Daddy teaches mountain biking . . .   winter mountain biking,  in the snow.   He’s probably a good teacher,  but I’m never going to find out!

Cooper was excited to be up in the mountain tops.  There were many things he wanted to do.    Gem panning, for one.

A Gem Panning 370

Panning for gold and semi-precious gems were one of the historic  draws to this area,  so I guess he’s learning his own local history.    He found some really nice ones, including a really nice portion of a geode with amethyst crystals inside.    I’m the grateful recipient of that —  his idea.

This was his second choice:

A Coopers Legs 370

Well, it was hard to capture this activity with the camera.

A Cooper Up 370

In case you wonder how he likes being catapulted 25 feet into the air  —

A Cooper Smile 370

So much fun!   Wish I were six years old again!

The third place he wanted to go while we were up on the mountain tops was a trampoline place.   They actually do some serious practicing for the Olympics up here.

A Cooper Tramp 370

There were dozens of trampolines, side by side, as well as gymnastic floor areas and  things you tie yourself up in to do aerial tricks.   The place was busy with all ages of kids working on their moves.     Cooper  enjoyed the jumping, and his Daddy got into the trampolines too and displayed some spectacular dives and twists.

But it isn’t all for fun:

A Cooper Snowboard practice 370

This is a place to learn your snowboarding tricks.   You can jump and spin and somersault safely, because when you do it in the snow,  it’s going to be a harder landing!

And, yes —

A Cooper bike 370

You practice spinning, jumping, twisting tricks on your bike too.

And when you come down from all the activity what do you do next?

A Soccer 370

See the long shadows?   That’s  “evening on the soccer field.”

After soccer practice . . .  a bike ride to a restaurant . . .

And then the next day . . .  another full round of activities!

(See why this lady is ready to come home soon?)

 

LAKE LIFE

September 1, 2017

Here’s where the Little Blue Car has been parked for the past week:

L Blue Car 370

Beneath a mountain,  at the lakeside.    You can just about see it at the bottom right corner of Cooper’s house.  Cooper’s Mommy and Daddy have worked very hard and are working hard and long hours to be able to choose a home in this location,  but, nevertheless,   every day they told me how lucky and how grateful they are to have a home like that.

So, good.

The Little Blue Car hasn’t had much to do lately.    This is how we got around:

L how we got around 270

Cooper’s family spend a lot of time in that lake –  Donner Lake.

L Viking Dive 370

Tbere’s  a  fearless jump  into the Lake!   Daddy is close by in case he’s needed,  but by six years old?

Nope:

L Viking alone 360

He spent two hours  in  that Lake.     The whole family did.

And after lake time,  Cooper piloted the boat:

L Viking driver 370

Ahhhhh.   Viking blood runs true in the newest generation!

 

viking ship

________________________________________________

 

Active, active, active.   Everyone bicycles, serious mountain biking;   everyone does water sports in the summer,  snowboarding and snow mountain biking in the winter;   and lots of other sports all year round.      All the men.  All the women.  All the children.

But something else I noticed while here in the High Sierras:   I really didn’t see many people my age.   I think everyone must wear themselves out by age 50.

 

DESTINATIONED

September 1, 2017

Yes:  “destinationed.”     ” Destinationed out.”     As in “I got there and I’ve met my  . . .  end . . .”

These people are active!

It’s good.    I’m okay.    I’m exhausted.   Done thinking.    I’m sunburned,   been scraped and bloodied,    dizzied,     weak-kneed,    so-o-o-o-o-o thirsty,    tired,   and shaky . . .   and half-drowned at the bottom of this:

DL Lake Donner

I’ve  been staying there . . .  right about where that little boat in the bottom left corner is coming out of.     Donner Lake.    I’ve been on the Lake and under the Lake . . . .   Tricks on the Lake  you  shouldn’t do at my age, or at least while you’re still weak-kneed from other activities.

Do you know that after you peddle boat across the Lake and back again that your legs don’t work so well for a while?

I took that  Lake photo from up here:

DL Rainbow Bridge 370

 

Location of Rainbow Bridge:

2L The Rainbow Bridge

That little straight dark line in the center of the picture is the famous Rainbow Bridge.  Thanks to “Walt Disney Presents”  and my Viewmaster cards,  I learned about this Bridge as a child.    Almost never thought of it as real.

We got up there from Old US 40 – an old highway with breathtaking views and hairpin turns:

DL Old US 40

We parked our cars below and climbed up by foot further:

DL Rocks

There were more rocks to climb:

DL Boulders

Really was fun jumping from place to place, planning your footholds carefully.   Going down this mountainside was a whole different perspective.   You could see the depths.

Cooper was with me:

DL Cooper

He lives there at Donner Lake –  this is his back yard!    The mountains, the forests and the Lake.        We celebrated Cooper’s Daddy’s birthday — on a pontoon boat – and with ski lifts and gondolas and a bit of hiking at the Summit —  el.  7200 feet.

I did a few other thingsout here at Donner,  but I’m too tired to write about them right now.   Packing the car for the trip home is next on my mind.

I’ll need a rest from this vacation.

A MOM’S MIND AT WORK

August 5, 2017

(Hyberbole:  my favorite form of humor)

The last few posts have been about  huge problems “way out there.”      I’m returning now closer to home,  closer to the Spruce Tunnel.   

Or maybe not.

Alaska where cooper is

See that tiny little huge cruise ship in the middle of the Alaskan mountain fjord?   Well, my loved ones are on board, including my little grandson Cooper.  So tiny in a big wide world.

al overboard   On their first day I woke up  with a flash of a very vivid picture:  it was Cooper going over the railings of the ship,   plunging into the waters below.    It was a huge panicky kick in the stomach.     And before I could catch my breath,   there was Cooper’s Daddy taking a running leap over the rails to save his son . . .

(Not a good way to wake up in the morning.)

They sent me some photos.  Want to know what goes on in a Mom’s Mind when you’re out having your adventures?

Alaska Stream 300

Here are Cooper and Daddy,  halfway into their Denali adventure,  standing next to a pretty little stream . . .

. . .  Along with a little wildlife, also enjoying the stream and watching for whatever they can find in the stream:

Alaskagrizzlies watching mountains

It’s an Alaskan stream.   Close enough.

I hope those grizzlies know what else is available in that stream:

Alaska Salmon 260

I think my little family was standing too close to all those delicious salmon when they took this photo.

I asked Cooper if he knew what an iceberg is.  He told me he thinks it’s something like a big floating island made of ice.    And clearly that didn’t make any sense to him.   I told him it was more like a river of ice that flows between the mountains.

AlaskaGlacier River

Pretty big river,  pretty small ship.    But I think the river of ice  idea made some sense to him.   After all,  his home is on a lake between very high mountains.

The icebergs make a very big splash when they crack off –

Alaska Berg 360

They’re pretty close to this one that’s about to “crack off.”      A very big splash for a very little cruise ship.

Then I got this picture, very small size on my cell phone,  no explanation.     But it looked to me like Daddy got captured by some wild Alaskan mountain men and strung up between the trees   . . .

Alaska Zipline 290

Except that might be a smile on his face.

I just know I’m going to be getting some more photos.

One mother’s  (one grandmother’s)   worries, even though I’m pretty sure they are safe.    I worry about them all because I know how precious and vulnerable they are.   Family is pretty close to home, close to heart,  and everyone is part of someone’s family.   That’s how a Mom’s Mind works too.

I think that’s why I was writing  all those recent posts about the current development of an all-powerful State that will rule every aspect of our lives and negatively affect not only us as individuals, but our loved ones too.

“Big Brother evolves.”

 

al sky bots

e v o l u t i o n

If Artificial Intelligence trumps human intelligence,  then we and the ones we love will become little more than (dehumanized)  human resources to manage and manipulate in whatever ways are best for the system.

We’d better start there,  with the certain knowledge of the dignity and worth of every form of human life.  Each individual specially created and loved by the Creator.   No one can be discarded without greatly offending the One who made him.

al gr gr

As the decades roll past,  and you have fewer years ahead of you than behind you,   everything that you thought was important drops off until what you have left is  Love —    ideally,  the love God gives you to love Him, to love your family,  and to love yourself.

 

“Faith, hope, and love;  and the greatest of these  is love,”  right?    That’s instruction from the Bible.

Bible Rosary and Glasses 270

When you leave this earth and see God,  you’ll have no more need of “faith” in Him.   You will have no more need to hope in Him for your safety;  He’s right there, and you are safe  with Him.

But the Love will only increase exponentially, even beyond what we can imagine now.

 

 

COOPER’S “WEATHER UPDATE”

June 25, 2017

This posting is just for fun.

Some of you may remember  the kind of winter my grandson Cooper had this year —  buried under 20+  feet of snow.    It’s where they live.   Donner Pass.   As in . . .   the Donner Party.      I showed you some photos of Cooper and the snow . . . (here).

And this picture could look a lot like his back yard when the sun is just right:

Tahoe back 1

Well, their  giant snow cover is mostly gone,  but it’s still snowing!

bikinis in snow

This is a ski hill near Donner –  last week.   While we were having our heat wave,  they were . . .   well, it looks like a heat wave on the ski slope too.

Cooper’s Mommy is having a birthday on the Fourth of July.   A couple years ago, during a birthday phone call,  I asked her what she did on that day on her birthday.   She said,   “Oh,   we went to the beach and had a picnic, and then we went snowboarding.”    All in one day.    In July.

But it’s not all fun and games.     After Blizzard and Avalanche season, now we have the Snowmelt season.

Tahoe 12 billlion into

This is Lake Tahoe, nearby.   The slow-motion video showed the churning of the waters as  12 Billion gallons of water were flowing into the lake.

The video lasted until evening,  through sunset.

Tahoe sunset

 

Ahhhh,  the Sierras.    In a few short weeks I hope to be there.

To see my grandson, of course.

 

THE CHARM OF BOYS

April 20, 2017

(An update on Cooper)

(Boys and girls.   Nothing like having one of each to appreciate the differences!)

When Hubbie and I were expecting our very first child,  we didn’t know whether we’d have a girl or a boy.    I wanted a boy.    In my naivete I wanted a whole basketball team full of boys – and then maybe a girl later.

Well.     After knitting little blue sweaters,  I got a  girl.

Appreciated having a girl.   So when we were expecting another child,  I though how nice it would be if she had a little sister!    So I knit little pink sweaters.

And then we got a boy.

I will have to say that after each birth, my only thought was “How perfect!”

Now,  I was more used to girls because  as I was growing up,    I had become the big sister of two little girls.     I understood them,   I knew all the subtle little things to expect.

But boys!    That was a new experience!    Straightforward.  Direct.  Practical.   Honest.   Not afraid to show delight.   And their sense of humor is really funny.

So I offer you two “boy”  samples.   One is a joke.    But it’s a boys’ type joke.    Non-sentimental.   Non-fussy.    Just plain funny.   (It’s all over the Internet, associated with the name of  Corden,  that’s all the attribution I can make.)     Here it is:

A 16-year-old boy in Bosnia broke a world record this week by smashing 111 concrete blocks with his head in 34 seconds. When asked how it felt to break the world record, the boy said, “Lampshade tricycle is my favorite flavor of pizza truck.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha . .  .  really appreciated that!

And now there’s  another little boy in my life,  Cooper,  my grandson.     Just returned from a trip to Portugal.     Here he is,  straightforward,  direct, and matter-of-factly enjoying a visit with the pilot:

Cooper Pilot

He excused himself from his airplane seat and knocked on the “pilot’s door”  and had a nice long conversation about flying airplanes.    He knows quite a bit about airplanes — he’s on his SECOND passport book right now.  The first one got all filled up with stamps.    The pilot came out after a while and gave his email address to his Cooper’s Mommy, offering to help   in any way possible should Cooper ever want to become a pilot!   He called Cooper “remarkable.”

My word exactly.

This little boy takes on  the world exactly as it comes to him,  an attitude that is frankly quite charming.

Hawaii?    Just a place to express your joy.

Cooper Dancing Ocean 300

I think he’s ready for the whole world.

_________________________________________

(There’s a lot of “girl”  still in me,  but  I’m learning a lot from observing the boys!)

DADDY DUG HIM OUT!

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!

GLOBE

TIRED OF SNOW?

February 2, 2017

Well,  I’m not!

snowfall

This was my back yard a few nights ago.    So pretty.    I had a floodlight set up into the air so I could see the snowfall better.     We got only four inches, though.

Unlike my little grandson in the high Sierras:

snow-plow

 

This photo isn’t from his area,  but it very well could be.

A story from a nearby newspaper   . . .   (The San Jose Mercury News –   Do they still use the name San Jose?)  . . .   today discussed the  well over 100% of normal snowfall they’ve received this year.

SJM-SNOWPACK-0201-90

Now, “the sky is not falling,”   and no “climate change connection”   and they’ve had higher snowfall amounts in previous years from time to time,  but nevertheless, when you get a big year,  you’ve got to deal with it.   You’ll still find people who are happy with all the new snow for skiing and snowboarding  –  after all,  most of the people up there chose to live there so they could have plenty of snow to play in!     But the news article today said that people are beginning to show signs of “enough is enough”   and “we need a break.”

Normal life has been disrupted.    Schools,  postal delivery,   electricity,  cell towers.      Firefighters have to use  metal detectors to find the fire hydrants!

And what happens when you open your door — and the door is still there!!

door-of-snow

I just keep thinking about their weather forecast for the rest of this week.   About a foot more  by the end of the week;   and another two feet by the end of the weekend.   The comment that followed was that the winter sports snowpack will last into  July.

Great.     Cooper’s Mommy,  my daughter,  has a birthday on the Fourth of July.   This wouldn’t be the first year she’s gone both swimming and snowboarding on her birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DADDY MADE A PLAY SPACE

January 24, 2017

(Life underneath a good snowfall) –

I could have entitled this, yet once again:  “Cooper RE-buried!”    but I think Cooper’s Daddy took care to keep him  un-buried.

s-1-daddy-made-a-play-space

That’s my grandson again,  Cooper,  pushing back the snow near his house.  Aren’t they getting cabin fever yet?    Aren’t they beginning to feel a little “suffocated”?     But Cooper and his Daddy and Mommy claim that they love living in the high Sierras, right near where the Donner Party had so much trouble with the snow . . . .   They claim they love the snow because then they have more to play in.

The base at upper Squaw Valley today is:   190 inches!    How many feet is that?

This is pretty close to what Cooper’s back yard looks like:

s-2-back-yard

Somehow, the kids find each other,  even after a third or fourth week of six-foot snowfalls.  Last weekend it was five.

s-4-neighborhood

Five feet.    This is quite near Cooper’s neighborhood during a snowfall.   I recognize those roads.  I distinctly remember pushing him around in a baby stroller in that neighborhood  —  in the summer.

Wonder what it’s like to really “play” in all that  snow?   Well, before anyone can go skiing or snowboarding,  they have to  PLOW the slopes!

s-6-plowing-the-ski-slopes

A Midwestern flatlander like me wonders why they have to plow up there on the peaks.   This is why –

s-7-plowing-because

You can probably recognize what those are;   they’re the lifts, the lift chairs – or the very tops of them.   The snow is too deep for them to work until some of the  snow is removed.

If you need help,  the California Highway Patrol will come – or try to come  –

s-5-police-car-coming

Don’t hold your breath.

Better to stay inside your house –

s-3-snowed-house

(I’m pretty sure I pushed Cooper’s stroller past this house too.)

Can you have too much of a good thing?

 

 

BURYING COOPER AGAIN

January 12, 2017

Cooper, the grandson.   Living in the High Sierras.    In the WINTER!

6-snowed-in-400

I wrote a few posts ago about the five or six feet of snow Cooper and his family got last weekend.     And now they have another six feet.

And no electricity.  No cell phone.   I got one last short text from them – and a photo!

I presume school is closed again, because it’s hard getting around on those roads.

8-route-89

I  know this place.  It’s where you try to find the exit leading into their little mountain village.

You can get around with chains on your tires.

10-good-tracks-cr

After the snowfall, you can get around in the village too:

5-downtown-truckee

But when you leave the village and want to go home,  you’ll have to drive on those mountain roads again.

7-driving

Say a little prayer for Cooper’s Mommy.    She’s supposed to return home from a business trip today, and it’s quite likely she’s out there on these roads just as I am writing this.  She needs to drive   UP about 3,000 feet of elevation from the airport to her home.

Into the snowstorm.

 

 

GRANDSON BURIED

January 5, 2017

  Taming that awful bug now; cutting him down to size.   

angry blue germ 25.jpg

I always say we were given Self-Healing Bodies;  that helps,  that  and keeping to a strict regimen of dozing-sleeping-dozing-sleeping-dozing . . .    (Heh heh — or is that just plain self-indulgence?)

Began to “return to the world” and  listen to the radio today and heard the national weather report.  Little Cooper, my grandson, is back at his home now in the Sierra Nevadas.    THAT Sierra Nevadas.   The one the weather service is giving three to five  FEET of snow to  this week!

I texted his Daddy and told him his weather has made our local news.    He looked out  his front door and sent a photo back.

snowbound-cr-400

That was the first two feet.   More to come later that day.    And then the three-five feet on Friday/Saturday.     They’re talking ten to fifteen feet in some places.   Not surprising, I guess –  they live near Donner Pass . . .    THAT Donner Pass — the documentary they keep showing on the Weather Channel about the ill-fated wagon train party that never made it over Donner Pass one winter.      Twenty-two feet in that snowstorm.      Cooper lives within a couple miles of the Donner Party Memorial.

Their story is actually worth knowing.  It has some elements of general human importance.      I wrote about it a couple years ago, so you can read the story,  here.    

If you read the story,   you’ll see a beautiful lake in the midst of the forest.   Cooper’s house is on that lakeshore.      It’s all grayed out in the above photo, though;   too much snow in the air.

The Donner Party was caught off guard, but Cooper and his family just take all that snow in stride.   They wouldn’t feel  “buried.”     Cooper shovels snow too.    He has a six-year-old size shovel.   But I happen to know that that area has  mountain-blizzard sized  snow plows!     Loud, horrendously screeching metal behemoths that move mountains of snow off the roads.    The sound still gives me chills.

I had been taking care of him for several weeks one winter, and  I was thinking about ending my stay, making the long, long cross-country drive that would take me home — and then they got one of those snowstorms.   In one afternoon, we went from almost no snow cover to three feet of snow, drifting all over the place.

And forget about driving home!

SAMSUNG

That was my little blue car,  parked under a car port!     We got more snow that evening and more snow the next day.    For a few panicked moments,  I could almost feel what the Donner Party had begun to experience.     Stuck!  Stranded!  Buried!

“GRANDSON BURIED.”      That’s not what they would say.      They live there and that’s their playground.        “Skiing!!”  is what they would say.

snoeshow-footprinting-380

Here’s Cooper on snowshoes a few years ago.    They  have no problem getting around.

We had a baby snowstorm today:  15 degrees;   40 m.p.h. wind gusts, and, oh,  maybe an inch or two of snow.   More weather like that coming this weekend.

n-snow-right-now-380

It was hard to get just the right photo of the clouds of snow swirling around, but the wind took the snow and made pretty patterns in the air.

Well, it’s winter, and we’re in for it for a while  –  all over the Northern Hemisphere.    How about a trip to the German Alps?   Like this  –

alpine-germany-380

Think how beautiful it all can be!!!

 

Ahhhh. . .   now I have something lovely to think about as I go back to my couch and doze off some more . . . .

 

“MAP” OF LOVE

December 14, 2016

Much to do for Christmas,   much accomplished today.      Late.    Late and tired.    Will have to do serious “Tuesday”   posting tomorrow.

Meanwhile . . .

cookie-map

There is no limit to what we’ll do for Love.     

If there is,   it’s not Love.

Those aren’t Christmas cookies on my cabinet tonight.   They are Cookie Maps.   It’s a joke that I hope a six-year-old will appreciate.

He flies to me next week,   all the way from California.    The cookies are so he’ll know where to find me!      (Grandpa’s origins are at the blue dot.)

No limit to what crazy things we’ll do for Love.

But it would have been easier if we lived in Wyoming or Colorado.

FOR COOPER’S EYES

October 5, 2016

(Okay, a brief break from hurricane news . . .  ) 

Dear Cooper,  here are some pictures of the trucks and the men who came to work on my driveway.   Wish you could have been here!

Here is my bad driveway:

1-my-driveway-400

I don’t know what this guy is called, but he’s  coming!

2-here-he-comes

 

Cutting into my driveway:

3-cutting-my-driveway

4-very-very-first

 

The shovel thing on the big truck scooped up the pieces:

5-poom

 

And then it dumped it into the dump truck:

4-5-dumping

 

Lots of things in Grandma’s driveway — and they were noisy!

7-two-trucks

 

Lots of men working too!

8-5-lots-of-men

 

This man got to walk on the hot, soft driveway with special shoes to pack it down smooth.

9-wkg-man-shoes

c-walking-m-3

This man got to use fire to burn the new asphalt into the old asphalt on the street so  the old and the new would blend together and make a smooth seam,

10-fire

 

Little car, big truck.   Grandma’s car was trapped by big trucks all day:

11-little-car-big-truck

Where’s my nice new driveway?     What does it look like?

Well, it rained.    I have to take a picture of it tomorrow, and then I will put the picture on a CD-Rom and send it and more pictures to you.

So check your mail in a few days!!!!

 

Bye!

 

PCDS

October 3, 2016

That would be “Post-Cooper Distress Syndrome.”     Cooper’s gone back  home to his mountain home in the High Sierras.     Been kind of slow, lately;  walking around from room to room,  looking at the last  “proofs”  that Cooper was really here.

A plate of acorns:

acorn-plate-300

(They’ll  be saved; they’re  waiting for an upcoming Christmas craft.)

A jungle:

toys-jungle-300-pond

Cooper and I watched Pete’s Pond and other African  live-streaming webcams.  When you’re five years old,  these animals can be just as “real.”

We have a few photos  now to remember our activities.    Cooper,   “Mommy,”  and I  took  a walk on campus.   We had tried to go to the university’s ice cream shop,  but  Cooper analyzed the length of the line and said it would be too long to wait our turn,   so then we went on a hunt to find the big statue of Sparty,  just like he has in one of his books at home —  but we ran out of time and energy, so we just ended up here:

spartan-stadium-350

Good enough.  He’s already a Spartan fan — in California!

We were on campus that afternoon to take in the children’s show at the planetarium.

pl-jupiter-325

 His Mommy and I sort of mentally rolled our eyes when we found out that Sesame Street characters would be teaching us things  . . .

How big is the moon?

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What would the earth look like if you were on the moon?

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Our solar system is a big place:

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Those Sesame Street characters were actually pretty interesting.

But it’s Fall, now,  and time to enjoy the harvest!   A trip to “Uncle John’s Cider Mill”!

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So here are the three guys, but . . . you know,  the Uncle John in the picture does not own Uncle John’s  —  we’ll straighten that out in a few years.      Right now he’s just glad his uncle has a  fun place we can go to in September.

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A seemingly endless pumpkin patch to stroll through!

And the apple harvest was good this year, a combination of just the right rain and temperatures at just the right times.  Cooper can tell you about that:

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“Do not pick the apples”  signs were everywhere –  but it doesn’t matter to a hungry boy.

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The days went by so quickly, and then there was the birthday party  (a couple posts ago)   and then there was all kinds of other fun things around grandma’s house.  Like the spray can that shoots out long, long strings –  and Daddy got Cooper!

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Must have tickled!  

Then Cooper gets Daddy

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Well, this posting is my remembrance,  things I’ll want in my memory for a long time.  It was hard to part, at the airport,  but I asked him about school, and I told him he  has to go back and be my “California schoolboy”  so I know where he is . . .   That worked for a while;  he’s taking his “assignment” seriously.

We’re going to trade pictures that we draw.    We both like drawing.    We both like dinosaurs.   That’s going to work.

Only three more months  without him  . . .  without those little arms around me. . . .

Three more months of PCDS!

WELCOME FAMILY

September 25, 2016

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Welcome, family,   Daughter, Son-In-Law,  and . . .  Cooper!

I’ve been baking and cooking and cleaning for you all,   and now we’re all here together and the days will be so rich and full with you and Son and me.

You asked me what I wanted for my birthday?    

You.

Family:    the Basic Unit of Society.

ALLIGATOR SEASON

August 23, 2016

It’s that time of the year!!!

Football

Football season!!   I know it’s pre-season,  but it’s not “just” pre-season;  it’s “you get to watch your favorite team many  times and see who all the second and third string players are and who can be a back-up for your favorite players”  season!

You really get a chance to see players on your team who you’ll probably seldom even hear of again – if you’re lucky,  because if you don’t hear much  about these “new” players,  it means your first string is all right.

Besides.   No pressure.   No season rankings.  Just plain, pure football playing.

So,  time for football to begin!!   And time to take out the knitting needles again!

ALLIGATOR 400 Football

Five-year-olds love alligators.

Last year Grandson Cooper got a bear in the woods with big pine trees,  just like where he lives in the High Sierras:

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But this time he knows he’s going to get that alligator — and he’s excited,  so I have to deliver.

I know,  the world seems to be in such serious trouble,  about to “break” – so how could we be thinking of football?

I could get all philosophical about the importance of recreation . . .   The saints caution us against too much frivolity.  But they also warn us against too much seriousness and tell us that a little fun and recreation spice up our lives and keep us from getting all tied up in knots.

The story goes that there was a young monk who was playing some sort of ball game, and a man looked on with surprise at the young man’s obvious involvement in the fun.  “You’re a monk!   What if you knew Jesus should come to take your soul right now and find you playing games?!”

The young monk replied, “If I knew that,  I would continue on playing because this is the hour designated for my recreation – and Jesus would find me doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.”

There are many variations on that story,  but it shows us an important point.   Do what you are supposed to be doing, right now,  in the manner in which it should be done,  for as long as it should be done, before you go on to the next thing that you should be doing, according to your station in life.

Just focus on your duty.  That ought to eliminate a lot of stress in life.

Meanwhile,  I’ll worry about not dropping stitches and getting the pattern just right – and I’ll worry about not dropping passes and working through those patterns . . .

Oh, well.

My team is, of course,  the

bears

 

 

 

 

 

BEING A BEIGNET

July 23, 2016

I’ll try not to be too philosophical here.   The food deserves to speak for itself.

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THAT is a beignet.    Delicious, one of a kind taste.    A French deep fried pastry with an interesting, though quite mild, flavor.   I had never had one until I followed Hiawatha to his home country this past week.

There in the Far Far North was a genuine Cajun restaurant,  with a chef actually from New Orleans!       Unfortunately – and unfortunately for the beignet – his restaurant,  The Lagniappe,  didn’t open until 11:00 a.m.  on the day I was supposed to leave.  I hung around and delayed my journey home until I could get an order of beignets and of jambalaya to take home with me.

The beignets didn’t quite make it.  Oh, the one I had as I started off was wonderful!   Warm,  light,  fluffy,  airy,  and oh, so tasty!     But then I had to drive some more.   Hours later,  the first bite into the second beignet was cool and chewy,  not quite . . .   good.

Home again,  I had an idea:

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Now it was warm again,  that unique flavor came through, but it just wasn’t the same.  The texture had been lost.     (Which is not to say I couldn’t overlook that!)

How perfect is the beignet at its right time and place:   immediate, in its “present moment,”  and close to its origins,  I’d say about ten feet away from the chef’s  deep fryer.

Its delicate existence has a perfect place and a perfect timing;  like the snowflake in winter that landed on your jacket and you run in the house to show your Mom – and it lasts about 7 seconds;    like the beignet,  about 7 minutes;  like a man,  whose common given lifespan is 70 years.

But I said I wouldn’t get philosophical . . . .

 

B jambalaya

The jambalaya was heartier.    I make good jamabalya so I wanted to taste the recipe of a master(new Orleans)  chef.    That’s his.    At home,  I took it off my red plate and doctored it up a bit.    I like more cooked tomato, more celery and green pepper.    And I added the rich flavor of filet gumbo!

I took what someone made –  and I made it better,  tailor-made to suit my tastes.      You take what is handed to you,  not passively,  not as a victim,   and you add some creativity and individuality.

But I said I wouldn’t get philosophical . . . .

 

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I visited the Land of Gitche Gumme.    Gitche Manito had given the People an abundance of food:   animals big and small,   plants that grew easily in the forest soil;  and fish.

I took some home with me, prepared the way Hiawatha would have known:

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One is a Menominee;  the other is a Whitefish.    Smoked.    Deep rich flavor.    They will feed me through many meals.    (Maybe too many;  they didn’t have smaller pieces!)

Eating from right out of the earth and the waters.

Right away in the early chapters of Genesis,  mankind was given for food the fruit of all the trees of the earth and of the herbs of the field.     Later in chapter 9 of Genesis,  flesh was added,  meat and fish:   Gen 9:3 – And every thing that moveth and liveth shall be meat for you: even as the green herbs have I delivered them all to you:

Fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, and fish.   Of course, we have to work to produce, catch, and prepare our food;  and the further away from nature that we get,  the more labor is put into the food.  But the more we labor and tinker with the food,  the less like natural food  it is.

Being a beignet,  then,  is tricky.     Labor-intensive;  short-lived.    Appealing not to our (natural) health but to our sensations only.

But then I said I wouldn’t get philosophical.

bar simple green dividerA beignet lover in New Orleans:

Cooper and Kathy

The French missionaries came to Hiawatha’s people from Canada.   The French Canadian people were forced out of their homes by the English Protestants and fled to New  Orleans.  The French cuisine there gave birth to Cajun and Creole food.    Now,  Cajun and Creole food has returned to the Far Far North.

I wonder if Cooper can take that all in!

Fun facts.     Not a  philosophical lesson.

Just eat!

 

 

LESSONS IN SMALL WONDERS

May 10, 2016

(continuing adventures in Indiana)

Wonder is the happy astonishment at what comes before you, either an occurrence, a sight,  a word.
It is happy because it increases  intellectual pleasure of a new insight  and at the same time it’s  delightful to the senses.
It is an astonishment because it came to you through no effort of your own.   It’s a bit humbling.      It came from some place higher,  a Higher Power, a Higher Force, a Higher Person, and it was gifted to you because Goodness and Good Pleasures draw you to Him.
    Therefore, wonderment is an act of Love from your God to attract you to Him – and as such,  a created being responds with humility, awe, love, and gratitude.
I’m writing about “Small”  Wonders,  because Our Lord God said:  Unless you become as a little child,  you won’t see . . .  (see the Kingdom of Heaven,  now and forever.)    You must have in you a childlike openness to Wonder.
Wonderment is available to all ages, races, material circumstances, conditions,  and geographical locations!     All you have to be is a created human being.

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Four-Storied Children’s Museum

I could tell you about all  our adventures at the Terre Haute, Indiana,  Children’s Museum,  but you, like me,  have probably seen children’s museums:    “been there, done that.”     I went because Cooper, my grandson,  wanted to go  (and so did his Daddy, actually).    I confess  I was prepared to be  slightly bored.

But I have some photos –   and after pondering them in The Spruce Tunnel for a while,  they became  lessons to myself.

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There were stars to learn about, of course.  The picture on the back wall of the display is easily recognizable as Ursa Major – you can see it every clear night – and only in the Northern Hemisphere!      But the bigger white dots are a representation of the stars as they actually exist in space, relative to each other.

So – from another perspective,  say if our space ship were coming in from a different angle,  it wouldn’t be a big bear (or a Big Dipper)  at all!

Nor would it have entered our minds to even think about grouping these stars together to make a picture of a familiar (earthly) object.

The Ancients knew,  the Greeks scientists knew,  the  Church philosophers knew,  they all knew that Mankind is only a small speck within a vast cosmos.   And they wondered at it!   Humans have dignity and infinite value only because God made us and cares for us.  And that’s a wonder too.

As a corollary:     It is another kind of wonder that Modern Man thinks he is the sum and summit of knowledge and importance;  and so much so that his reasoning must be separated from Faith and his attempts at science must be separated from the vast scientific learning of the Church.  

Ch Museum weather report
The museum had a Weather Station –  fun for me and Cooper,  except I love thunder and he doesn’t.     There was a television “studio” there where you could sit behind the desk and be televised as you give the weather report.

I refused.   I realized how “shy”  I still am.   Cooper refused.   He’s shy too.    What a happy little astonishment  to realize how alike we are — and how our traits and characteristics are passed down into our grandchildren — and how MUCH we love them for it, for being familiar to us.

Did you know that when God looks down on this planet,  He looks for and recognizes those humans who are like Him, and who are becoming more and more like Him?    He is Holy and Good, and only those who are like Him can survive  (can exist)  in Heaven where He is.

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Cooper and I share a fascination with music too;  or maybe it’s more a sensitivity to sounds.  Like his Mommy too.

They say the universe vibrates with energy and sounds.   The Music of the Spheres, the Ancient Greeks used to call it.   Everything reverberates with energy, within and without, making beautiful sounds which we can only hear a small range of.  Harmonious vibrations because they all have one Source.

If you’re “small”   —

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—  you can put yourself into a giant soap bubble and wonder how it happens.   Fun for little ones.   But interesting for “big ones”  when you think about all the forces that hold things together:  surface tension of the soap bubble;   gravity;   strong and weak atomic forces;  gluons;    . . .   and the ongoing will of God to keep it all together – for now.

I don’t.   We don’t.  No one knows how to “keep it all together.”   I live!   But I am not the One keeping my self alive!   Astonishing!

Okay.  Fewer words.

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Little boys love big . . .   things.  Vehicles and such.    Machines.

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If your heart stays  “small”  you need to try things out.  Get involved.     I had a turn in some of the farm machinery.  I sat in a huge … farm thing, and through the window was a display set up so you could see what a farmer would see if he were out working in that machine.

It was fun.    I was astonished at how much work there is to bringing our food to us.   The whole process of tiny little seeds growing into tall plants –  parts of which we can eat!   And we must eat food from plants!  

I’m reminded too about how much space it takes to grow our food —  and I remember observing how very much “space”  our country has.    It is astonishingly EMPTY of people and towns and cities!

It is we who turn our backs on all this wonderful open space and choose to live in costly, crowded city situations.   There is so much space available for us, but we think we don’t want it.       A small two-acre plot with a nice house costs a half or a third or even a quarter of a dwelling place in our cities!     Astonishing what is available for us – if we avail ourselves of it!

I’m going to eliminate, oh, about twenty other photos and get to this fun adventure in the museum.

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Little Blur

See that little blur?

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Big Blur

How about the big blur!

The blurs were Cooper and Daddy, and it’s called Run With An Animal.   And see if you can run faster than that animal!!!

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That’s the Display Screen.   You touch the planet earth . . .

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. . . .then you choose a continent.  Then you choose your animal.

The animal (and you) begin to run when you press a button — and the squares on the floor light up as the animal is “running.”

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There he goes!   He’s beating that one!    I think Cooper got smart and picked a turtle that time,  but I can assure you,  he and his Daddy could not beat most of the animals they picked.

Animals  are astonishingly – fast!

Animal life is not like our life.   There really is a “jungle out there”!!

Here is my standard advice to all my classes:   Go to the public library  (or buy books if you have to) — and see all the picture books,  the photographic books,  the science books about . . .   pick a topic:  Animals of the World.    All the Birds of the World.  All the Flowers of the World.    Alpine Flowers.   Desert Flowers.   Flowers Mankind Never Sees.   Ocean Life.  Microscopic life.    Stars.  Mountains.   Rivers and Seas.   Forests.  

Then don’t let anyone disturb you.   Be a child, with that book.    Be amazed.   Be astonished.   Be very, very small.   Be humble . . .  and grateful that you got a glimpse of this vast Creation!

I don’t think I want to stop.      So  I think I’ll go and grab a book now.

HUMAN LIFE: SUPERLATIVE IN EVERY WAY

April 28, 2016

I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now, back from my photo-scouting trip,    and wondering why on earth I still feel so tired.

Not really physically, I realized,  although we did our best to wear ourselves out each day.  I’m mentally and emotionally worn out.    Mostly because of this:

penske side truck

Inside a truck just like that was a very brave little boy,  trying almost successfully not to cry;   breaking  my heart because we had to say good-bye.     We had been together almost non-stop for two whole days, enjoying a “secret world” that only a grandma and a grandson can create.   We saw the world together;  were amazed at the same things together;  had the same shared feelings.   Bonded.

And then it was time to part and Daddy would be driving that truck  . . . away.    When you’re five years old, you know it has to happen,  but you feel sad about it.  When you’re many-decades + five years old,  you know it has to happen,  but you’re sad about it too.

map for snow

Daddy and Cooper had to continue westward along that red line.  Grandma had to re-trace the blue line.   (There will be  a southern swing to the otherwise straight shot across the country due to April snows along I-70 and I-80:    13-16 inches over mountain roads!   In a truck full of precious family cargo.

In that green spot in the middle there is where I got LOST in the woodlands of Indiana for an hour or so.   On foot.    Halfway through that little adventure,  every time I opened up my cell phone, it gave a pathetic little  “meeep”  and indicated it need a battery charger.    Which made me a little uneasy, being so far away from my car.

But the three of us had many interesting adventures in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we had met for a couple days.  Good stories and photos coming up here in the Spruce Tunnel, but I wanted to begin with that little “human” type experience of saying good-bye to your loved ones.

Because what I was doing out in the woodlands in the middle of Indiana, on foot,  is looking for Indian mounds,  from people who lived there about 2,100 years ago.   People just like us in almost every way.   Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Take a mental trip down the timeline of human history.    Make a mental stop every 2,000 years or so.      Technology changes.  What our clothes are made of changes.     What our buildings and homes are made of changes.   How information gets passed around changes.  How we obtain our food changes.   How we travel changes.

What doesn’t change is that we live in small family units within a larger tribe or clan,  or more artificially:  within a larger nation.    Again:     Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Put me in a shelter along a shore of a northern sea.   Put me in a cave in southern France.      Put me in a longhouse in the north American forest.  Put me in a fine stone castle.  Put me in a little suburban home.

But part me from my grandson  and I will have the same feelings in any Time.    Part us from our loved ones:  a grown child marries;   a parent dies;   a spouse dies;   a friend moves far away.   We will feel love and loss.

No matter what Time is your present Time –   it’s the people in  your family,  your close kin, and your close friends that matter to you; and  how you treat them and love them  that defines you as a person.

After I waved good-bye to Cooper and his Daddy,  I went backup to my hotel room and immediately began beating myself on the head –  “I forgot to show him this!”    “I forgot to tell him that!”      “I should have done this with Cooper.”      “I could have said more of this!”  

I could have – I should have –  I wish I did . . .

Silly,  I know.    But it’s because it matters.

 

(Fun stuff coming up in the next post.)