Posted tagged ‘Cooper’s World’

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.

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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.

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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:

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

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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!

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

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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  –

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.   

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

2-here-he-comes

 

Cutting into my driveway:

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

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And then it dumped it into the dump truck:

4-5-dumping

 

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

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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.

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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,

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

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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:

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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.

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 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?

sept-went-to-the-moon-250

Our solar system is a big place:

pl-saturn-big-place-325

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:

sept-kathy-cooper-and-apple-tree-350

“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!

spraying-daddy-gets-cooper-350

Must have tickled!  

Then Cooper gets Daddy

spraying-got-hius-daddy

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

eyes

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.

B Beignet plate

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:

B Beignets 2

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 . . . .

 

B gitche gumme fish

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:

B Fish

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.

Ch Museum outdside

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.)

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD OMENS

January 20, 2016

With the loss of my mother-in-law last week,  death on my mind,  grieving,  missing out on the funeral,  issues of past family history,  I needed to take a few days off to get some perspective.   I was open.   And the “perspective”  came.

On Monday morning,   I made eggs for breakfast.   Morning:  “sleepytime”  for me.   I clumsily turned the eggs over in the frying pan and stared down at this, staring back up at me:

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I could have chosen to say,  “Well, hmm,  look at that!  I couldn’t have done that if I tried!”   But instead I chose to take it as a good sign,  a good omen for the time ahead.    My choice;   a Rohrschach pan.  My choice to be reminded of love — God’s love!

A step forward this week with a new understanding of Life and Death and the Meaning of Being Alive, and being loved.   Going forth in a world so full of love and caring from God,  that it can manifest in a pan of eggs!

Sometimes “signs” are repeated, as if to say you’re on the right track.

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I cleaned the kitchen after breakfast,  dusted the shelves… and there I discovered two little coins that Cooper had given me.   Cooper is my five-year-old grandson,  rather remarkable for maturity and spiritual insight.  (His early birth and his presence had brought an aura of peace into  Hubbie’s hospital room during his final days.)

Cooper was visiting here at Christmastime.   We enjoyed each other’s company.   But one day,  in the kitchen,  he stopped and reached into his pants pocket and said,  “Here, Grandma,  because you’ve been very good.”   And he handed me the contents of his pants pocket —  30 cents.

My first thought of course was to say, Oh no, that’s your money,  you keep it!   But he was very solemn.  He was serious.  He knows how things work.  In his mind, I had deserved his coins.  This was not the time to contradict what was going on in his mind and in his heart.  It was his gift to me.

I will never forget the eggs, which my clumsiness had formed into a heart, a message of love.  And I’ll never forget the burst of love that came out of my grandson that day.

I will pay him back manifold, someday, somehow.   And for the rest of my life I will try to live up to his opinion of me that day.

Those two little coins will never be spent at  a store.

 

LITTLE HUDEA

April 1, 2015

This is Hudea.    Little Hudea.

Little Girl raises hands

She is about 4 years old.    She knows what she’s supposed to do when someone pulls a gun on her.

Only it’s really, really scary.

Because she has seen many guns pointed at people she knows. The Daddies shout and run around and look very afraid.  The Mommies cry and try to pull their children close to them.  And some people fall down and get very, very hurt.

This is the only world she knows.   She has seen the Islamic forces overpower her village on their way to conquering the whole world to turn it into an Islamic caliphate.

They are being successful in Hudea’s area of the world.  They are being successful in Europe and America by using other very clever and subtle means.

No one is doing what ought to be done to eradicate this barbarian army.

children under gun

And that’s why Little Hudea held up her tiny little arms when she thought a gun was being pointed at her.

Only it wasn’t a gun that day in her refugee camp.   It was a journalist with a camera, taking a picture of her camp,  with telephoto lens.

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From the UPI/BBC story:   “At first such a photo was thought to be staged, but now, the BBC has tracked down the photographer, Osman Sagirli, who recounted how he had taken the image of the four-year-old girl, Hudea, at the Atmeh refugee camp in Syria in December last year. . . .”

From Hilaire Belloc,  Anglo-French writer  (I’ve written of this before):    Belloc was asked in the early 1930s, when the world was first becoming aware of the rise of Hitler’s National Socialism,  what is the greatest threat facing the civilized world in this century;   this is his famous reply –  “Will not perhaps the temporal power of Islam return and with it the menace of an armed Mohammedan world, which will shake off the domination of Europeans – still nominally Christian – and reappear as the prime enemy of our civilization?”     

If we are defeated,  if little children like Hudea are destroyed, I believe it will be because of the meaning of those three words:   “still nominally Christian.”       Nominal  Christians fight over who has to bake a cake for whom,  while the world they live in is being destroyed by others.

And it’s Hudea’s world.   And my grandson’s world.

 

NOT MY 2015

February 8, 2015

I have a lot to learn from my grandson.

This was Cooper’s New Year’s Eve:

Cooper with 2015

He was on “California time”…three hours behind us.  Staying up past midnight had been easy for him for the past five days at Grandma’s house.   And then it was News Year’s Eve and we planned a big noisy funny happy party,  mostly for his enjoyment.

happy 2015

While we were getting everything ready,  Cooper picked up his iPad  (yes, his very own)  and got to work.  (Play is a child’s work,  you know.)    A little later we were all astonished to see him fast asleep, still holding his iPad!    What?  Way too early!  He knew something big and happy was coming.  He even explained to us that this is going to be a whole new year for good things to happen.    (We don’t know where he got that idea;  we think one of his teachers must have told him that.)

 

He was sure of it.  He was sure his Mommy and Daddy were happy that night. He was sure he was loved and respected and listened to.   He was sure and confident.

Why not sleep?

It was supposed to be just a cute family photo of him sleeping there;  but it sticks in my memory — as an admonishment.    So far my 2015 has given me more trials and challenges than I could handle, and I’m not confident about the future.

The two things “out there” that mean the most to me,  my Church and my country,  have both been taken over by foreign elements who are proceeding to raze-and-revolutionize”  us into their own image,  to align with the needs of world governance.

one world church and state

Interestingly,   both Church and country are being “transformed”  by the same agenda.  When I read the news,  I can think either Church or State, because the same thing is going on within both, and  with the opposition of its members,  but it’s happening anyway, because self-defense has been carefully bred out of us.

No Global Warming

No Global Warming

(A joint encyclical about the spurious climate change?  Good grief!)    Soon one-world state interests will be perfectly aligned with one-world religious interests.   It won’t be pretty.   (See Revelation chapters 8 – 13.)

Knowing all this,  knowing what’s coming,   it’s ironic that I ended that last fireplace” posting with Psalm 4:8:   I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep,  for you only, O Lord,  make me to dwell in safety.

Time to actually practice my faith, I guess.    Rest in peace, in God.    Maybe I could have Cooper’s kind of 2015.

I could learn a lot from my grandson.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – 4-YR-OLD STYLE

January 5, 2015

Byt –Hope you don’t mind:  I’m still fascinated with Time (whatever that is)  and still learning from my grandson.

time marching

 

“You know what, Grandma?   Pretty soon it’s going to be the New Year!!   And we’re going to have a whole new year for happy things!!”  

I thought this was another example of the good positive teaching coming from his parents,  but when I talked to my daughter and son-in-law about this, they expressed surprised.    They didn’t know where he got that idea from.   (Maybe a good teacher who taught the children to look ahead, positively and exepctantly, to the New year.)

time accurate  We talked about a four-year-old’s perspective on the “New Year”   and how nice it is that he thinks it’s a whole new time that holds the possibility of happiness and learning and all kinds of bright happy things.   We got to thinking about how New Year’s resolutions carry with it the “burden” to change and to reform  — and so we list our resolutions to be better people.   How much happier to receive God’s gift of the next “bundle of time,” and to experience the new year with eagerness.

 

But —  There will be good things in the new year!  There will be growth and maturity!   There will be unexpectedly pleasant opportunities!

kick the bucket sign

So Mommy, Daddy, and I decided to help the New Year’s opportunities along a little bit by making our own New Year Bucket List, not resolutions.   We each spontaneously revealed a couple of things that we hope we can do . . .   And it was fun and strangely uplifting.

I’ve always loved New Year’s for the solemn responsiblity it brings and a chance to “prove” myself.   But now….

I have a Bucket List for this coming year!

 

TIME: The Whatever Clock

January 4, 2015

Cooper has a great sense of humor!    He’s only four years old,  but he “got” the humor in my kitchen:

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Cooper is being taught how to read an analog clock –  good for him —  and so I pointed out my kitchen clock to him.   He loves numbers.  He very much loves order.   And this clock violated both his sense of order and where numbers belong  in such a surprising way that he laughed with delight at seeing the numbers in a pile at the bottom.

He said, “Hey, Grandma,  your numbers all fell down!”

I laughed too and said:  “What time is it?    Oh….whatever.”

He just loved the incongruity of that question and answer.

(An important question; a seemingly dismissive answer.)

Although we can’t “explain” time, and  we can define it only with reference to a specific scientific  focus,  we all have Time  to use  in this New Year, and most importantly, we can all enjoy the Time we are given.
Sometimes during the holidays Mommy or Daddy would ask Cooper:  “What time does Grandma’s clock say?”

And he’d get that fun look in his eyes and shrug his shoulders and say:  “Oh, I don’t care!”

Whatever.

“TIME” IN THE NEW YEAR

January 4, 2015

This is Cooper, my grandson.

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I had just brought him to the airport for his return flight home.    That’s his own luggage next to him.       Mommy and Daddy were discussing things with the  Airport Gestapo officials.

While Cooper and I  were sitting together, waiting,  I noted to myself what a remarkable sense of the use of time he has.   Time is for living in the present moment and then extending that present moment onward, if you need to.    He and I were fully experiencing the sadness of parting,  but each fully anticipating  what we can do when we got home.      And this present sense of sad and happy would continue on for several minutes more until he strapped himself into his airplane seat and I strapped myself into my car seat.

And then it would be another “present,”  another reality before us each.

pulsar isolated

I’ve written of this before, of my inability to understand what Time is.  I can’t even define it satisfactorily.  And neither can anyone else.   Once, as I was teaching a class and we were having a lively discussion,  I brought everything to a screeching halt by asking “Does anyone have a good working definition of Time?”

Time is…uh.

Time is a measurement of…

Time measures the change in…

pulsar

Even after I’ve read a complex scientific article about Time, after the writer has peered into the atom to point out its regularity,  and then pointed out the amazing periodicity of a pulsar,  there is always that conclusion…”but we really don’t know everything about Time.”

Just how to use it.

” Time is for living in the present moment and then extending that present moment onward, if you need to.”