Posts Tagged ‘grandkids’

Gift for the grandkids – I’ll never outdo this one


I must say, I was inspired this year.  I doubt I’ll ever think of a gift as good as this one for my grandkids.  I started by thinking that gift cards were the most useful gift, and although not boring to get, they are boring to give.  So what could I do to fix that?

Being a photographer (at least in my mind), I of course thought photos.  And personalizing, so I took a look at Shutterfly and Kodak to see what they were offering this year in the way of calendars.  I found desk calendars, and just like that, a thought was born.

These were for the Bakersfield Seven, so I made each one a “page.”  First was Danny, the oldest.  To see each page better, click on the photo to enlarge it and then arrow back to the main page.

This was the plan, then.  Line each page with photos from events during the year that had been memorable or fun, and put a gift certificate on each page.  For example, on Danny’s Page I wrote something about it being cold outside so go get some hot chocolate at Starbucks.  Each kid got exactly the same gift cards on every page.

February was “Ali’s Page.” I said to get something sweet because Valentine’s Day was coming up, and put a Coldstone gift certificate on.

March was Sarah and itunes to put a little music in your life.

April was Daxton’s page and a Ross gift card.  Remember, every grandkid got every gift card.

May was Sophie and the movies.

June was Joe and Barnes and Noble.

July was Xavier and Jamba Juice

Uh oh, I had run out of Bakersfield grandkids – so I started going through the families.

August was the Smith/Castellanos’ and a Target gift card for school supplies.

September was the Constantine’s and a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card.  I tried to match card to month.  In September, it’s getting ready for sports.

October was the Davies and Subway.

November was the Davies Four and Michael’s for a little holiday creativity.

And December was Gramser and Gramp with a $20 bill to help with Christmas.

This was so much fun – and I wanted to share it so you could all use this idea on somebody.

And there was a cover.

Fun in Alta Sierra: Sledding and Skiing only 1.5 hours from Bakersfield


Yesterday was a fine day to have fun in the snow – since our cabin is in Alta Sierra, which is having unseasonably low temperatures like much of the West Coast.  And with the temps comes more snow than usual also.  So while we were up for Thanksgiving, I took advantage of the location to do photo journals for Art Every Day Posts.   And you know what? It’s Day 27 and I haven’t missed once.  That takes discipline, something I often find in short supply.

So on to the fun.  Everyone skedaddled to sleds as soon as possible.

I don’t think the temperature got above freezing once but that didn’t deter anyone.  But me and Jennifer.  We were deterred.

We’re on our third year owning our cabin and that white truck hasn’t budged once.  What they are all walking on? That’s our street, Connifer.  Right.  Doesn’t look much like a street – it’s not plowed, and the snow just grows and grows all winter long.

We also use our next-door-neighbor’s driveway when he’s not in residence.

Sledding always gives way sooner or later to combat.

Snowball fights.

Friday morning most of the group headed out for Alta Sierra Ski Park just a hop and a skip away from the cabin.  Everyone wanted to go tubing but as it happened, the tubing wasn’t open but neither was the park!  Opening day was today.  By some miracle, however, Benjamin, Sophie and Joe ended up skiing.  For Benjamin it was old hat.  Sophie and Joe had never been on skis before but they ended up having a lesson (perhaps the park staff used it as part of training day) and it was sure good PR because they are hooked.

Look how rapt Sophie is.  Both she and Joe took right to it, skiing down the slopes with no problem.  Alta Sierra has seven slopes from ultra-advanced to easier and I’m sure Sophie and Joe were on the easiest.

Sophie is on the lift, which she said was on her bucket list – riding a ski lift.  I don’t know what to think of a 13-year-old with a bucket list but I guess it never hurts to know what you want to do.

Now she has just gotten off the lift like a pro – first time.  Joe has already landed there on the left.

They each had an instructor – three kids, three instructors.  What a deal.  This photo looks down from the top of the lift.

And this photo looks up.

Sarah just watched.  She’s recovering from strep and mono and although she’s been cleared to do whatever she feels like, her  energy goes only so far.

The Three Skiers – the twins and cousin Benjamin – had a wonderful time and we know much more skiing is in their future, for which their parents are gearing up.

By the way – all you Bakersfield readers – did you know that barely 1.5 hours away you have seven ski runs, two lifts, and a tubing and all-terrain park?  Check it out. Don’t miss out on the fun in your own backyard.  It’s snowing now and more is predicted for tomorrow.  Aunt Anne from Anchorage said we have more than they do right now –  so take advantage of it.

A new addition to the dining room table


Up at our cabin we have a dining room table that was a cast-off when we took it.  It couldn’t have gotten much worse, so I decided to paint it. Then I decided to put the name of each grandchild on the table? Why? I don’t know but it sure seemed like a good idea.  This is what it looks like.

Some of the family is coming up here for Thanksgiving, so I needed to make the new addition to the table.

Half of the Bakersfield Six will spend Thanksgiving with the Colorado Four – grandkids, that is.  We’ll miss them.  For anyone checking in on this blog for the first time, I just returned from Paonia, Colorado, where I was helping as Samuel, my 10th grandchild was born.

Costume Party – who needs Halloween?


My trip to photograph Colorado’s fall colors was derailed by a trip to Wal Mart.  And I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  Karen, Steve, the four kids and I went.  And we realized that the costumes were on sale!  Formerly $20 and $30 costumes were $1.90!  We bought many because the kids use them all year to play dress-up.

When we got home, nothing but a fashion show would do.  So here we go.  Does this fit the Art Every Day Month theme?  The fashion show was a work of art.  I should note that everyone tried on  every costume no matter what the size.

Cooper showed up first in a pirate costume.

Annabelle took her turn as a pirate.  At this time the fashion show had devolved into “take pictures of us while we’re running” and run they did around the couch.  I’m lucky I got any pictures at all!

Jack went straight for Luigi.  The shrieks and laughter were getting out of control, and there’s nothing better.

Abbo got in on that act right away.

Cooper put on her new winter hat as she sped across the room in her spiderwoman costume.

While Cooper remained Spiderwoman, Jack became Iron Man.  Whoever he is.  I’m pretty out of date on my super heroes.

Cooper put on Annabelle’s new winter hat with a flapper headband around it.

If she isn’t the cutest little thing…

Nothing was sacred.  Abbo stretched herself in Sam’s 18-month-sized costume for next year!

There was lot’s more, but this’ll do.  We had so much fun.  Merriment to spare.

Jackson and Bartholomew have adventures


Week two of Art Every Day Month.  Still being in Colorado helping with the new baby and the other grandkids, how to make art? Well, photos are art – sometimes even if they aren’t good photos, sometimes if they’re photos taken on the fly.  You know the kind? The ones involving squirming kids when “OK, everyone hold still” doesn’t mean at the same time or even in the same place?  That’s the story of much of this week.  But bravely, I pushed on.

I asked my daughter if I could pick the kids up from school and take them shopping with me at City Market, perhaps stopping somewhere for a treat.  The idea was to give Karen as much time as possible with the baby and keep the house quieter for just a little longer.

I went to get Jackson and Annabelle at school and Jacks emerged with an additional backpack.  He had Bartholomew, the puppet that goes home with a different child every day to share adventures and have an essay written about the experience. (I’m pretty sure Bartholomew is a bear, but he’s rather bedraggled by now.)  I don’t think Jackson’s teacher was thinking that perhaps there would be a better time than this week, what with a new baby in the household and all.  But here it was, so we took Bartholomew to City Market with us.  Thank God I had the wits to take a few photos for Jackson’s essay.

He got to ride in the shopping cart.  Jackson, with that cute little face, pushed, but Annabelle validated the “hold still but not necessarily in the same time or place” principle.

The kids love City Market because they get a free cookie.  It used to be a mad dash – hold on, we’ll get the cookie in a minute, hold still, wait!  Now they are more patient and we navigated the entire store before getting to the cookies.  Jack shared his with Bartholomew.

No place in Paonia or Hotchkiss that would have ice cream, cookies, etc. – some place you could sit down and enjoy a treat –  is open past 3.  So I told the kids they could each pick out some ice cream, and that worked.

Later on, Bartholomew watched TV with Jack.

Bartholomew doesn’t seem focused.  He must be waiting for a lick of Jack’s sucker.  Like a dummy, I brought See’s Candy Halloween boxes for the kids, not thinking about how much candy they would get trick-or-treating.  Oh well.  Grandma’s prerogative.

I took over with Sam, Karen helped Jack write his report (he’s only in kindergarten!) and all was well in the household.

The final score: a perfect ten


A perfect ten.  I’m talking grandkids. With the arrival of Samuel Mark Jefferson Davies on October 28, we went from an excellent nine to a perfect ten.

This is how our grandkids go: junior in high school; sophomore in high school; freshman in high school; two in eighth grade; fifth grader; first grader; kindergartner; three-year-old, and newborn.  Quite a spread.  Thinking back to the first grandchild means thinking back 16 years.  How is that possible?  When Ali was born, her mom was still in college so we babysat Ali LOTS.  Finishing college was a priority; at least it was a priority for us that our daughter finish.

Ali was a wonderment. Mark and I would hold her and watch every little move.  We’d ask each other, “Did our kids do that?” If she fell asleep in my arms, I sat with her, no matter how uncomfortable it got.  Our patience was endless.  Then Sarah was born. She was just a little Jennifer – we saw so much of our oldest daughter in her right away.  Kim was next with her second.  The oldest and youngest daughter traded off.  After Daxton, it was Jen’s turn again and she had twins, Sophie and Joe.  There was a three-year pause until Kim had #3, Xavier.  Daughter’s #1 and #3 were finished.

And then came Karen, daughter #2. So exciting when Annabelle was born.  Then Jackson came along quickly – pretty hard having babies a year apart.  And the Colorado adventure commenced.  They moved and all of a sudden some of our grandkids were out of state!  We had the Bakersfield Six and the Colorado Three.

Three years ago I was out here for Cooper’s birth.  Taking care of a two and three-year-old was tiring.  A few days ago, along came Sam, and taking care of a six, five and three-year-old is not nearly as tiring.

I do have a way of complicating things, however.  I plan activities. Weeks ago I sent out a box full of fabric paint, glitter glue, Halloween candy, and assorted other decorations so we could decorate trick-or-treat bags. I sent out Halloween cupcake papers and paper umbrellas so we could make cupcakes.

Karen and Sam beat me.

My kids and I are pretty good at popping babies out, and they all weigh 8+ pounds.  Except the twins of course- they were smaller.

Sam arrived on the 28th and I got here on the 29th.  Steve picked me up at the airport in Grand Junction and we all went to the hospital to pick up Karen and Sam.  Annabelle, Jackson, and Cooper got their first look.

Jackson is scrambling – he must be headed towards Karen’s lap.

Abbo and Jacks took a closer look, and Abbo made a pronouncement: “He’s a girl.”

We’re pretty sure that by now she’s decided he indeed is a boy.

Abbo was still focused on Sam, and Steve had him ready to go home.  But Jackson got excited, so he ran around the room holding his pants up.

He thought this was the most incredibly funny thing ever.  Listening to his joyous laughter, we couldn’t help but laugh too.  I tell you, as the mom of three girls, boys are a different breed. When Joseph and I had our first tea party he was two. And when we were done, he threw his cup against the wall.  The girls never did that. The girls never did things like Jackson, either.

So we came home to Paonia.  And today being the day before Halloween, we did our Halloween activities.

First, decorating bags for trick or treating. Gads, setting up everything for the bag decorating was like herding cats.  Sit still, no, don’t touch, hang on, wait until we’re ready.  We’re ready.  Finally.

Abbo is a first-grader and she understands glue.  Cooper watched and then started gluing herself.

But none of that boring white glue for Cooper – nope, she used glitter glue, not quite understanding that she was supposed to use glitter glue on top for decoration.  Whatever – I didn’t bother to try to get her to change.  She was having fun.

Jackson concentrates intensely when he paints.

I had some googly eyes, and Jack realized it would be funny if he held them to his eyes.

Abbo loved that idea.

When Abbo concentrates, she sticks her tongue out, so her upper lip is chapped.  Plus she’s lost a tooth, has another growing in, so along with the googly eyes, she is quite a sight.

Sam made an appearance.

The finished products:

They turned out lots better than I expected.

Moving on to cupcakes.  I sent the kids into their room for quiet time while I baked the cupcakes.  The kids were decorating, not baking, and that meant eating frosting.

So that was that.

Yeah, I knew it was silly to buy pointy things to stick in the cupcakes, but I’ve always loved those little umbrellas.  Karen made an appearance and put one in her drink.

All in all, the day was a success.  Tomorrow I’m taking Abbo to Montrose to get her some winter school clothes, and then Monday it’s school.  How different it will be with both Abbo and Jacks at school all day!

Right now, the wind is howling, there’s a smattering of rain, and the air is cool.  Winter is coming to Colorado.  All the more reason to get snuggly inside with the Colorado FOUR!

Someone’s in the cabin with Gramser and August’s theme of FIRE


I told you my life is a song! Why does everything I think of match a lyric? Or a paraphrased lyric – “Someone’s in the cabin with Gramser, someone’s in the cabin I  know -o-o-o.”

But first, Creative Every Day’s August theme of FIRE is getting literal.  There is a forest fire in the town of Riverkern, moving towards Kernville.  I don’t think it will get near the cabin, but it is in the general vicinity.  So while we think about fire in all it’s manifestations, sometimes it is exactly that – fire.  On New Year’s Day I drove through Riverkern with two of the grandkids to enjoy the Kern River.

This is my granddaughter Ali and grandson Xavier standing looking into the Kern River just above Riverkern.  Of course I digitally manipulated it so it looks like they are shadow skiing.  You can see more pictures of the Kern River here.  The fire is really moving I guess, and jumped the Kern.  But let’s get back to who’s in the cabin with gramser.

Actually, 11 “someones” were in the cabin with Gramser.  All nine grandkids and two daughters.  Got home from Orlando on Friday instead of Thursday (the trip from Hell), stayed home on Saturday, and went to the cabin on Sunday to prep for the onslaught.  I say onslaught as if it were negative, but there is nothing I like more than being with all the family.

The Davies Three were visiting from Colorado (in November, they’ll be the Davies Four when Baby Boy Davies arrives).

They are sitting in the metal chair I refinished and painted (boy, that was its own adventure) waiting for blue jays.  Cooper is holding the cup that held the peanuts.  I told the kids they had to be still and quiet for the birds to come.  They had very carefully lined the entire balcony railing with peanuts!  The birds must have thought they were in peanut heaven.

I had a small slate of activities for this visit.  Not nearly as elaborate as last year, but we did tie dye again.  Actually, Sarah wanted to and she helped me pick out shirts.  We tried colored shirts instead of white this time.

Does anything strike you about this photo? The older you are, the more you will notice.  Cooper is sitting with her legs twisted like a pretzel, and Annabelle and Jackson are squatting.  When is the last time you comfortably sat like this?  I know, me either.

The shirts came out nicely.  Even if they hadn’t turned out well, they would have been good.  If you know what I mean.

Since one picture is never enough, we lined them up by height.

And to think, in November there will be another little one on the end.

Gramser took a walk with Things One and Two. (The shirts were a last-minute purchase at Universal Orlando.)  Cooper is carrying Crookshanks while Abbo has Fawkes.  Jackson did not bring Fluffy because he was currently not liking Fluffy and wanting Fawkes instead.  For some reason (silly me) I thought a boy who loved dinosaurs and crashing toy cars would enjoy having a three-headed dog.

A group played Catchphrase.

Sarah sat with the Davies Three.

You’ll notice Crookshanks in this photo.

We used big bubble wands.

The big girls painted tissue boxes.

Then they helped the little ones paint coat holders for their rooms.

We went down to Kernville and challenged the Killer Kern.

Seriously, it is called the Killer Kern by some.  Do you know Merle Haggard’s song about never swimming the Kern River again?  It is deadly – the waters run deep and there are all kinds of entanglements down there to catch and hold you.  Every year there are drownings and usually they are people from Los Angeles who came up for the day.  The signs tell people to stay out, etc. but no one believes them.  This is absolutely as far as I would let the kids walk out.  A few steps more and they would be in the current.  I told them ahead of time, “When I say stop, I mean it.”  They knew I was serious as a heart attack – no messing around here.

Annabelle, who is fearless, was more interested in picking up rocks this time.

Jackson made a tower of blocks and dared anyone to knock it over.  I don’t know what he was intending with his lizard – to balance it on the tower or destroy the tower?

It was a good cabin trip. Although I enjoy the cabin in solitude, there’s nothing like having someone in the cabin with gramser – especially when they are grandkids.

Day two in Florida, and I’m already mixed up…


Only day two, and already the beaches are running together.  It’s just a giant coastline of one beautiful beach after another.  This was the day after soccer registration – Soccer Fest.  Brothers and sisters could play (along with, at least in Dax’s case, a cousin), and all the tournament players played.  Teams were mixed up so kids played with others from all over the country.  It was an all-day affair and again,  I opted out, as did Sophie, but she wanted to sleep and have alone time so I set out alone to explore.

I went to see what I could see.  And I know I went to Ocean Reef Beach this morning, so maybe I didn’t yesterday.  Aargh – which is which?  I know this is Ocean Reef, though.  I’m already mixed up which day is which.  Maybe the sun is addling my brains more than they usually are.

Anyway, obviously I’m happy.

Clouds again as there are every day.  (This morning when I got up, I thought, what’s wrong? What was wrong was the sky was all blue with no clouds.  But we got some later.)

This beach was covered with shells.

And rocks.

And tide pools.

And protected sea turtle nests.

Funny, isn’t it?  Yesterday I saw greyhounds racing so us humans (I always think of how the Ferengis pronounce HU – mons when I write that word)  can bet on them, and today I see great effort to protect the nests of sea turtles.  There are hundreds of eggs in a nest.  Something is strange here. Do the greyhounds not count because we can breed them? Control them?

It was of course very hot and humid.  Luckily, the hotels on the beach had placed umbrellas and lounge chairs so I could rest.

Ok, they didn’t put them out for me, but no one stopped me from sitting on one.  I tried to look like a hotel guest.  This is the best I could do for a self-portrait of the lounge chair, umbrella, and me.  Or my foot.

This is such a cool picture.  It makes me really wish my Blackberry had more megapixels.  Two just isn’t that many.  I might be able to get a clear 4×6 with two – maybe.  If I was completely still when I snapped.

The clouds!  The water! It just transfixes me.  And the different ways of seeing things.

I thought of these sand/rock formations as a mountain range leading to a vast sea.  The sea is vast, it’s true, but these were quite small.  Just seeing them differently.

Moving on, I more or less drove up the coast with nothing in mind.  When I saw this sign, I zoomed in.

John McArthur State Beach.  Now I was cracking up for sure.  As I checked my pockets to get out of the car – I fill them with my lipstick (because my lips get so dry), small camera, cell phone, car keys, money –  I couldn’t find my lipstick.  Darn. Maybe I lost it at the other beach.  I went into the nature center and bought a chapstick.  I went to the vending machine for water, had to return to the shop for change, put my hand in my pocket and came up with my lipstick. Arrgh.

I walked over Lake Worth Lagoon on a wonderful walkway, albeit a hot one, to get to the beach on the Atlantic.  If the wind hadn’t been blowing some, it would have been impossible.  And on the way back, the wind wasn’t blowing, so I returned to the car in somewhat of a hot and bothered mood.  I did want to take a picture of this with my cell phone, however.  Hand in pocket, I found no cell phone.  I figured it must be in the car, but just in case I stopped by the store again to see if I had left it on the counter.  No, I did not, but it was in the car.  Soooo cracking up.

I determined to find the Loggerhead Marine Rescue Center in Juno.  I went back and forth and back and forth until I was unhappy and hungry but finally figured out the way in.  It’s a turtle rescue center.  This turtle had his back right flipper bitten off by a shark, so he was being rehabbed until his nutritional status was strong and he could again go to sea.

Have you ever asked someone a question, and at a certain point in the answer you want to say, “Ok, that’s enough. Don’t tell me any more.” But you can’t of course because it would be rude, especially when it’s a volunteer you’re talking to, and especially when it’s a senior citizen volunteer who is just being helpful, but gives way more detail than you want.  Yes, that was my mood.

I’d been texting Sophie trying to get her to do something with me, but she informed me she doesn’t really like looking at animals, so the zoo was out as was the lion safari.  Thinking hard, I knew what Sophie would want to do, so I texted that I needed to eat lunch.  Would she like to go to Target with me and eat in the food court?  You have to understand that Sophie loves Target.  Some day she’ll realize what a selfless and remarkable grandmother I am, that I wanted to eat a hot dog in the Target food court.

Actually, it was a pretty cool Target.  On a second story so you took an escalator up and down, plus there was one to convey the carts down too.  She took photos to send to her friend Lizzie back home, who is also a Target aficionado I guess. This Target was enormous and uncrowded.  A year old, it is always uncrowded.  In fact, nothing around here is crowded, including the roads.

So that was the day.  When we returned and the others got back from Soccer Fest, which they enjoyed despite the grueling weather, I looked out of my room window and saw Sophie and Dax in the pool.

I looked out a short while later and saw this sunset.

It was just beautiful.  And none of the kids in the pool looked up once.

If you want to see more pictures of sunsets or waves or the ocean, check out the nature gallery here.

Homes have anniversaries too – the cabin is two


As I sit here at the cabin waiting for paint to dry, I realize that Memorial Day weekend, two years ago, we moved in.  I think that has to be the strangest, funniest, and most unusual move ever.


My husband and I used to go for drives all the time – up Kern Canyon, to Gorman Post Road, Rancheria Road at dusk to look for animals – but we hadn’t done that in a long time.   So approximately two years five months ago, I said, “I’d like to take a ride up the canyon.”  We did, we stopped at Cheryl’s Diner for lunch, and here’s how it went from there.

The Surprise Quest

  1. We talk about how we’ll never leave Bakersfield, even though our kids and my sister and even we are always talking about escaping.
  2. We talk about how everyone wants a place close to nature, with wildlife, better air, etc.
  3. I have a V8 moment: we could BUY A CABIN close by that anyone in the family could use to get away!
  4. We quickly do calculations in our head to see if we can afford it.
  5. We start for home and pass Alta Sierra.
  6. We see an open house sign and go in.
  7. We go back the next day and make an offer.
  8. We start escrow and then pull out when we find out improvements were made without building permits.

The Right Place

  1. Once started, momentum builds until we find the cabin we want.
  2. Being us, it doesn’t take very long.  Why confuse ourselves with too many choices?
  3. To get to this cabin to see it, however, we hike about ½ mile in deep snow.
  4. Our realtor slips and slides behind us in her Uggs.
  5. We get there, stand on the balcony, look down, and see a plowed road.  All the hiking for naught.
  6. Mark gets the car and brings it to us.
  7. We make the offer and wait for the brand new cabin (ok, a two-story house) to be finished.

The Preparation

  1. Ikea becomes our best friend.
  2. We make scale models of the rooms and scale models of the beds we liked at Ikea
  3. “We” means my husband because I can’t make anything precise that has numbers involved.
  4. Goal – sleep as many people as possible.
  5. We move the little beds around the little rooms and find we can sleep 12 if we buy two bunks that are queen sized on the bottom and single on the top.  Plus four beds and regular bunks.
  6. We make trip after trip to Ikea in Burbank, 90 miles away.
  7. Once, we pick up my sister at the Burbank airport and barely have room for her in the car.  Yes, we’d been to Ikea.

The Move, Memorial Day Weekend, 2008

That’s the cabin way up there.  The U-haul is in the neighbor’s driveway.

  1. Rent the U-haul.
  2. Enlist as many people as we can to help, which is the grandkids, our daughter, and her husband.  My brother showed up for a while too.
  3. Drive the U-haul and crammed cars and find we can make it easier by parking the U-haul in the neighbor’s driveway.
  4. Begin to understand just how steep our driveway (which is dirt) is as innumerable trips are made to the car.
  5. Realize stairs would be very helpful.
  6. Finally get it all in, realizing that tired Mark and Matt have to assemble all the beds by bedtime.
  7. Have the grandkids assemble all the lamps so we’ll have plenty of light.
  8. Turn on the faucets and find out we have NO HOT WATER!
  9. Call the builder in a panic, leave a message, figure out how to configure dial-up internet and send the builder an email.
  10. Get no response.
  11. Call the electrician whose name the builder gave us.

And next

  1. Watch the ELECTRICITY go out, negating the rush to put the lamps together.
  3. Calm down
  4. Walk a couple of houses away, find out their electricity is out also, borrow candles, and go out to dinner.
  5. Laugh so hard on the way back from dinner, probably about nothing at all although cows figured in, that emergency restroom moments occur.
  7. The electrician has stopped by just out of kindness (Matt didn’t go to dinner) and says the hot water heater is no good.
  8. Send more panicked messages to builder.


  1. Listen to your daughter tell the kids that they CANNOT STAY all weekend and they’ll be leaving the next day.
  2. Endure general displeasure.
  3. Sleep.

Settling in

  1. Get up Sunday morning to find the Bakersfield Six (grandkids) have made PROTEST SIGNS and “chained” themselves to the beds to prevent leaving.
  2. Have mom waver on leaving.
  3. Continue unpacking, go to Lake Isabella to pick up some needed items from a city that has a good hardware store, a Vons, but not much else.  Oh yes, a McDonalds.
  4. Return to find the kids washing their hair in COLD WATER just to prove they can do it without hot water.

Walking down to the Greenhorn Grill for lunch

  1. Go to lunch, get seated, look at the table next to us, and it’s OUR BUILDER who has not returned any messages.
  2. He says, “after I finish eating, I’ll install a NEW HOT WATER HEATER I have in my truck.”  (He only lives about 4 HOURS away.)
  3. His name changes from BUILDER to GOD.
  4. The mood lightens.

Monday morning

  1. We see a deer.
  2. Even though it’s Memorial Day, it lightly snows.

The rest of the weekend proceeds smoothly, but wow, what an introduction.

AND THEN we proceed to enjoy the cabin.  Mark builds stairs, we get asphalt put on the driveway, and we spend quite a bit of time up there.  I love going up alone.  I don’t think I’d be doing art if it weren’t for the cabin.  The kids come up, we sled in the winter, laze in the summer, and do a whole lot of nothing.

We have our Chinese lanterns on the balcony and I have my Star Trek flag hanging.

This is the wildlife we’ve seen, mostly on the drive up and back.

Wild turkeys

Wild turkey chicks



Stellar jays

Western tanager

Rose-breasted nuthatch

White-headed woodpecker

Black-eyed junco


Other woodpeckers


Martin – it was amazing to see a martin


Wildcats – I’ve seen four!



Looking back at older posts, I see I’ve written lots about cabin adventures.  I don’t think my husband is enjoying it very much – yet – but this year we can work on that.  The rest of the family loves it.  During these years, retired but not old, family seems to be what it’s all about.  Giving your family good times and pleasure is everything.

Don’t wait until you’re 63 to have kids, plus art journal entries



Creative Every Day, a blog I follow, has a monthly theme.  May’s theme is Intuition.  Intuition, da da dum; intuition, da da dum.  From Fiddler on the Roof – “Tradition.” Always a song.

Here’s what I have to say about that (intuition).  I’ve been taking care of three grandkids for a couple of days and two nights – ages 2, 4, and 6.  It doesn’t take intuition to realize you shouldn’t wait until you’re 63 to have kids.

I’m doing fine but I realize that much longer and I’ll collapse.  We have kept up quite a pace but it’s better to be busy with small kids than leave them with too much time.  Especially when you aren’t the mom and don’t have a regular schedule.  Don’t need intuition to know that either.

So last night, after I did my post, we had a quick but intense hailstorm.  We ran out to experience it but didn’t take the time for shoes.  Shiver me timbers; it was cold.

Jackson also enjoyed the hail.

Those poor little tulips, that withstood snow a few days ago, now had to withstand hail.

We came in and put on a movie, but  Cooper was so tired from no nap that I put her to bed.  She was just collapsing on the sofa.


Dawn’s cold but clear on Saturday morn,

A walk is called for.

Flakes come out of nowhere, but so what?

We soldier on briskly, even the smallest one.

Still smiling, I’ve mastered the art of cell self-portraiture.

Returning home, bobbling bobble heads beckon,

The frenzy of flying paint is ferocious.

Do you think we used too much?

How do you control three little ones at once?

Gramser has to rest.

Gramser has batteries to recharge.

Gramser is glad she had kids early.

The precious innocence of little ones is heartbreaking.


Go out to play.  Cooper’s napping.

With the imagination of small ones,

Umbrellas start marching out of the closet

One by one.

Of course, an umbrella fort.

Will it be strong enough to withstand stalking beasts?

Jackson all of a sudden becomes Christopher Robin.

Except his umbrella’s pink, not yellow.

Didn’t Christopher Robin have a yellow umbrella?

Cooper’s up.  Time for another activity.

We decorate the first letters of our names.

Thank God, or someone, for Michael’s craft stores.

I forgot to buy an S for Susan.  That’s me.

No matter, I’ll make a journal page with feathers.

Hard to herd two bags of feathers.

I knew it would be hard.

Bought them anyway.

Somehow we got through dinner and baths.

Dessert and snacks.

Laundry and dishes.

Floors and toys.

I am done for the day.

New Journal Pages

Desperate to be creative,

I create journal pages from my finger painting.

I don’t even care what it means

Or if it means anything

Or if it’s good or bad.

I wanted to do something.

Today I used the rest of the finger painting.

Today I used feathers.

Hope is the thing with feathers.

So says Emily Dickinson.

I’ve journaled that before.