Monday, April 30, 2012


I have mentioned before how I am cleaning my house thoroughly while I have some time.  I have de-cluttered throughout the past year and now I am in my basement working on decreasing the amount of "important mementos" we've managed to keep for the better part of 50+ years. (since childhood) I have recycled and up-cycled and tossed away boxes of papers, small appliances, books, and clothing; given away toys, school supplies, clothes, and boxes.

Someone asked me why I was bothering to clean all of this out now?  Isn't that what children and grandchildren are supposed to do? Everyone has to take time out of their busy lives to clean up and sort through years of collections when their parents/grandparents downsize to move to "the home". Won't they have fun going through old things and reminiscing about found treasures? Didn't I have fun doing that with my Grandmother?

Well of course! In fact some of that is down in my basement now! I am not giving away everything! I still have a lot to sort through. All of my sons sport trophies, balls, bats, football helmets, knee guards, and deflated footballs are down there.  Professional pictures we had taken when they were in sports are sitting in boxes waiting to be displayed in their next place of honor. Going through all of them brought many smiles and happy memories.  Man, do I miss the days of youth sports!

We have old Christmas ornaments from my our deceased relatives and little trinkets and souvenirs from Ireland and Germany. I bring them up now and then but I don't have the room to display everything at the same time.  I have had fun going through old boxes of memories. Sitting down there in an old comfy chair, with the music blaring, sneezing from the dust, sometimes I run across something that makes me laugh out loud.  Like a book my son Nathan wrote in 1st grade.

Every now and then however, I stop to catch my breath because a box of clothing or books will remind me of journeys we are still on.  Like my son's drug addiction for which he is still in treatment.  I think of everything he is missing out on now or has missed in the past.  Watching his niece grow up, spending time with relatives who will not be here forever, the death of a friend, the aging of his Grandparents ~ life.

While in the basement the other day, commenting about the "hundreds" of boxes of possessions that belong to my kids, my son Nik said to me, "Mom, that is all Zack owns - it is his whole life ~ please wait until he comes home to go through all of that with him". I will.  Especially when I look at it all and take into consideration that it only takes up a 3' x 6' section of space. All the possessions he owns in the world. I can certainly wait for a better time that I know one day will come.

Friday, April 27, 2012

5K Update, Part 2

Can you imagine my surprise, not to mention excitement, when I answered the phone and the lady said, "Hello Beth, this is Tammy from the Packers. How ya doin'?" That just sounds so cool! She went on to tell me that the 5K is tentatively set for July 28 and that they have a couple of details to finalize before they post it to the website.  I shared with her my struggle to get healthy, my problems with the knee over the past year, and my fitness goal.  I said not finding the information increased the fear that I was not going to be allowed to fulfill my dream of participating in the PACKER 5K.  That any other 5K would be OK but just not the PACKER 5K.  She laughed and told me not to worry.  She wished me luck and told me that if - in 2 weeks - I still did not see the information confirmed on the website, I should call her back. Personally.

I told my new best friend to say hi to Donald, Clay, and Aaron for me and she said she would.  Oh boy!!

So now I am REEEEEEALLY getting excited and NERVOUS. But mostly excited. Monday the training kicks into high gear.  Well high gear for me, which is lower than most people's low gear.

But seriously, now I need to create a fundraising website so people can donate money for the two causes I will be supporting. I will be raising money for the Arthritis Foundation and Diabetes Association.  I will post the details next week.

My husband at last year's 5K

The field where I will be walking on July 28

Garage Sales

Every year, I am inspired to have a garage sale.  Every year I also ask myself "WHY?????"

This year is no different.  I used to pay for garage sale ads but after years of paying more for the ad than I would bring in, I decided to just "wing it" and place signs around the neighborhood and hope for the best.  What didn't sell would be donated. I also decided to approach it more like a business and set up my junk valuable goods in displays that would attract buyers. Mother's Day is coming up so that was the theme I used.

Yesterday, the first day, I had quite a bit of traffic come through.  Unfortunately they were looking for particular items I did not have.  They were polite and possessed much more self discipline than I have as they left without buying anything at all. Not even a 25 cent picture frame that had never been used! Everyone needs extra picture frames!  Even the kind with basketballs on it.

Halfway through the day, I started asking myself, "What would Martha Stewart do?" And that inspired me to find out and it must have helped. Martha has a lot of sites listed for what you can do with everything you want to get rid of. You can find that list on and search for garage sale ideas.While Martha suggested painting garage walls, I couldn't very well do that this time, but I will keep that in mind for next year.  She did have a lot of craft ideas on her site so I got one of my quilts out and set it beside some old clothing and suggested they use the clothes to make a quilt! I took some of the clay pots I had painted and set them beside about 50 clay pots I am trying to sell and gave people ideas for how they could purchase all those pots for just $5.00 and create beautiful gifts!

Someone asked me if my quilt was for sale. I said "no - it is just a sample of what you can do with all of these t-shirts and jeans".  I could have sold the quilt for $2. Nobody wanted to buy the unpainted pots, but I did sell one of my samples for 50 cents.

At the end of my first day, I had made $5.50!!!  25 cents was from my husband who bought back 5 of the many hangers I had taken from his closet to put in the sale.

I guess I cleaned too much.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Wow!  What a busy morning it has been!  Yesterday I posted (complained mostly) about not finding a job.  Today I have had 3 offers ~ but two are volunteer positions. I know that volunteering doesn't pay money, but I do know from experience that when you volunteer your time, you do receive benefit in other ways.

I have many skills that I can offer a company however, I also have many others that need polishing so that is the benefit I will receive from volunteering my time.  Also, non-profits have a very difficult time finding money to pay people. I know, I have been there. I also know that sometimes a volunteer position can lead to full time paid opportunities. So that is my update on the job front.

Right now, I am preparing for a garage sale.  Maybe I will be able to put gas in my car with the money I make!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I remember when I was just out of high school looking for a job.  I didn't have a hard time finding work because I really didn't care to start a career.  My career goals at that time included getting married and having kids.  People always asked me what I would do once my kids were grown, and like most girls at that time in their early 20's ~ I felt I had a lot of time to think about it.

As time passed, my kids grew up and started school and when I decided to re-enter the workforce, I was told I needed better skills, a college degree, and more experience. Having three young boys and bills coming out the ears, I felt getting a degree was out of my reach and couldn't figure out how to gain experience and build skills when I couldn't get my foot in the door.

I mentioned in an earlier post that my sons had learning disabilities, depression, etc., and I began to attend meetings that ultimately led me down a path to a new career. During those years I discovered I was passionate about helping other people who were going through the same problems as me.  I developed a set of skills I would never have imagined learning which included blazing new trails for other parents like me. I also found a way to attend college full time while working full time and raising my family. Thanks to online education, I could travel and do my job and never miss a class or chance to post an assignment. The skills I had to learn, the self discipline, dedication, and determination I needed to move along that journey should qualify me for something.  Right?

I never had to look for a job after that.  A new opportunity always presented itself when I was not looking.

I started to complain to my son the other day that I felt my age was preventing me from getting an interview. I explained that I am well networked and even have a twitter account! (Like that really matters or helps) He reminded me that my age is not on my resume ~ it is merely a fear I have. I only need to go back 10 years on the work history section of the applications.  And now I can proudly say I have years of experience.

So why is getting my foot in the door with a company still a problem? Maybe it is time to stop looking so hard and just get out there an volunteer to attend meetings again.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Grandma love

As usual, on Saturday, I spent the day with my granddaughter. We played all day.  Literally.  We played with stickers for two hours and from there we had computer time, book time, music time, exercise time, chalk and marker time, and sitting on the porch being silly time.  We are just silly a lot and sometimes that includes "posing" in front of the camera, singing silly songs, or just sitting there making faces at each other. On Saturday, we ended up putting stickers all over our faces and taking a picture.

We play like this every time we are together.  Someone asked me how long this might continue and I have to admit, I hope forever!  I realize that as she gets older the silly time and playing will look very different.  I remember having silly moments with one of my Grandmothers when I was in my 40's so yes - I do plan to have these moments for a very long time.

Children need people in their life who will spend time with them just letting them be themselves, however that looks.  I certainly do not advocate for dangerous or illegal behavior, but sometimes adults need to expose themselves to different ideas.  Kids go through phases when they experiment with clothing styles or too much make-up or trying risky skateboard stunts.  I can't imagine watching Avery going through a "goth" phase but I sure can see her wanting to try her skills doing an ollie or a boardslide with a skateboard! She loves to dance so I am hoping to attend some ballet recitals some day.  But if not ballet, whatever she wants to try.

I understand that as she begins to make friends her own age, Gaga time will diminish, especially after she starts school. I will then have to share her time with many others who share her interests.  As she enters the teen years I fully expect to be grouped with all of the other "not cool" adults although, I will rank slightly higher than her parents during that phase of her life because she will know that I love her unconditionally (even though her parents will too, she will not admit that during the terrible teens) and that if she ever feels disappointment from her parents and others, we will talk about it and move on to focus on what she does right.

Yes, I dread the time when she would rather go with her friends than come to Gaga and Poppy's house.  I anticipate crying a little when she tells me that she has decided to attend an out of state college or accepted her dream job miles away. Or that she has fallen in love, will be getting married, and will move away to raise her family.  (If moving away from family ever becomes an option - which I fully expect to advocate strongly against). But for now, I will appreciate every minute I can get with her, playing silly games, snuggling up to watch Sesame Street or the favorite movie of the week, and kissing and hugging 40 times just leaving to go home.  These moments are building a solid foundation for the future and will influence not only how she engages with others, but how she loves, parents her children, and acts with her own grandchildren some day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

5K update

Well, I still do not know when Green Bay is holding the 2012 Packer 5K. In spite of efforts taken earlier in the week, and checking the website daily, I am still holding out hope that one of the people I spoke with was right and banking on the fact that it was held on a Saturday last year, it will be this year as well. So I am planning on July 28 until I find out otherwise.

In the meantime, I am cross training in preparation for the big 5K.  By cross training, I mean lifting, climbing, and running.  Yes, me.  I am lifting boxes, climbing stairs multiple times a day, and running around the house looking for things to get rid of. Don't laugh. I call it moving with a purpose and this time last year, it was difficult to even walk across the room for any purpose.

I am also attempting to learn certain yoga moves.  It makes me laugh to think of how uncoordinated I am and how I almost fall over trying to keep up. I will persist however.

I have discovered that I get bored walking the same route every day.  I love walking in our local park but not every day in the same circle, so I have mapped out my own version of a 5K route with shorter distances that lead up to a little over 3 miles. I have three different 3 mile routes to choose from now so hopefully that will help keep it interesting. I have also downloaded music for my iPod shuffle that are of various lengths and speeds.  Once I have developed the stamina to sustain the whole 3 miles, I will coordinate the music to keep me moving at a certain pace, and start timing myself.  I have always said I just want to finish the 5K and I really don't care if it takes 9 hours. But truth be told, the more I get into this, the more competitive I become with myself.

The other day my son and his wife told me how good I am looking.  They must be proud of the fact that I am consistently taking measures to improve my health.  I may not follow all the rules every day, but I am certainly taking steps each day to accomplish my goal of completing the 5K in July.

Or whenever they have it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paperdolls and babies

Remember paper dolls?  I used to play with them all the time.  Now kids have so many toys to choose from but that didn't stop me from introducing Avery to the concept of paper dolls yesterday.  In her world, paper dolls are replaced by stickers.  She is only two so she hasn't grasped the idea of putting them in any particular place yet, so we improvised.  Our stickers talked.  They told stories.  They hugged and found their way onto our cheeks and arms and bellies and even the dog at one point which made us both giggle because ~ well we hadn't put it there. Buerle just happened to walk too close to my arm and one jumped onto his tail. We had a good laugh watching the dog wag his tail with Rapunzel stuck to it.

Sometimes I worry that children are growing up without the ability to play make believe.  Toys and games have the stories created for them.  Toddlers are given toys but they still end up playing with the boxes or bowls.  Why play with a drum when you can bang on a pan or bowl with a wooden spoon? As they grow older video games take over the entertainment factor.  Who wants to read books when the video can be watched?  All of the new toys have their place, don't get me wrong.  I love watching Avery react to the sharks in Nemo or Puss-n-Boots in Shrek, but it's important for us to balance make believe with what is already provided for her.

I supposed my grandparents felt the same way.  I was never at a loss for making up stories.  Like the time I dropped the can of toothpaste powder in the sink and water got into it.  I told my mom that my imaginary friend put it in there.  With an airplane.  I can still remember (vaguely) demonstrating how it happened.

Avery is at the age when you want to foster that creativity. While playing with her stuffed animals, babies, and Elmos, I witness her ever growing ability to show concern, care, and empathy.  She has been teaching her Elmos for several months now.  Yesterday her buggy fell over and she was so concerned that the Grinch had been hurt.  It broke my heart, but it is an emotion she will have many times over the years. I hope as she gets older she will continue to play and not fall victim to so much structure that she doesn't have time to make believe. It was fun playing "paper dolls" with the stickers yesterday.  While we can't dress them up with different clothes, we can stick them in different places, and that is fun too.  Watching her sing songs and talk to the stickers and her "babies" brought me so much pleasure, and hopefully she will remember someday how Gaga played with her.

"Sorry Grinch, Love you!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Last year when I found myself unemployed on sabbatical I set some goals for myself. Goals are important to have, as are lists of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the goals.  Even more important is remembering where you put the lists so you don't end up with 5 lists of different tasks, some of them the same as what is on the other lists, some different.

I just had a conversation about goals with my son.  He never took goal setting seriously when he was in school.  His uncle/godfather and my brother had a goal book that he referred to and updated every day so I would often point that out to my son as inspiration. He didn't buy it. NOW he has goals and was just explaining to me that I need to have them.

Last year my goals were very different from what I set for myself 20 years ago. 20 years ago my goals included moving to a small, friendly community that had good schools, finding a job that required no real skills and allowed me time to be a mom, losing 20 pounds, and saving money for my children's college education. We moved to a small farming town that we quickly learned was on the fast track to becoming a mega suburb but for a short time the schools were OK; I did find a job but it was not supportive of being a mom and while it paid well, I ended up leaving it to work for a very small hometown newspaper that didn't pay very much at all; I gained 15 pounds; and saving - well thank goodness my kids didn't want to attend college.

10 years ago my goals included graduating from college with a degree, traveling, losing 40 pounds, and paying off all my debt and starting a retirement fund.  In 2009 I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Management; Over the past 10 years I found employment with non-profits that allowed me to travel all over the states; I gained 40 pounds; and until my sabbatical I had a good start on saving and paying down debt.

Last year I set seven short term goals and gave myself 1 -2 years to finish them, with the hope I would complete them all by fall of 2012.
  1. Simplify my life
  2. Get healthy (Lose 70 pounds)
  3. Create a secret garden in my back yard for Avery (and Gaga and Poppy)
  4. Write a book
  5. Finish Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary scrapbook (which was in 2005)
  6. Finish all the projects I have started over the years
  7. Read all the books sitting in boxes and on shelves and send them to other avid readers
I am very proud to say I have crossed numbers 6 and 7 off the list because they have been completed!!! I have read and given away more books than I can count at this point.  I have 4 bins of books in my garage sale pile and they will go this spring. And last year, with the exception of Mom and Dad's scrapbook, I either finished the projects or gave the supplies away because they were no longer relevant to my life. All part of the process of simplifying. My Mom and I will spend time together finishing her scrapbook (hopefully before their 60th anniversary) and the plan is to do it this summer.

Goals 1, 2, 3, and 4 are part of a larger process and so far I am on target. Getting rid of years of saved "treasures" and "important" papers, magazines, clothing, broken appliances, and other "stuff" has contributed to a more peaceful environment. It has also helped me feel like I have accomplished something important. I had my knee replaced and have lost 30 pounds; while the remaining 40 will take longer than a year, my new love of exercise and healthy eating is sure to keep me going in the right direction. We have outlined a design for a "secret" garden in our back yard and over the next year I can see it taking shape; and maybe it's not a book yet, but I am writing this blog.  Who knows what the future holds? Maybe once the house is all clean and painted I can sit in the secret garden and write.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Simplify ~ to make less complex or complicated; to make easier

While on sabbatical for the past year I have been doing some serious cleaning, sorting, downsizing, and purging of junk. We have also painted most of the rooms in our house and thanks to some rather extensive hail damage to our siding, we now live in a gray house instead of the ugly gold one we used to have. My husband commented last night that it appeared I was getting our house ready to sell.  Eventually I would like to move again but no, that is not why I am cleaning and painting right now.

It has more to do with the journey of reflection I have been on recently.  By recently I mean 5 years or so. I now have the gift of time to really take action without having to feel guilty that I should be doing something else. The older I become, the less excited I am about holding on to things that are no longer useful or bring happiness.  Whether material possessions or relationships, I am learning that sometimes you need to let go. 

The following quote really hits home for me, especially after spending time in my basement yesterday:

“Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.” - Peace Pilgrim

Wow! I needed to hear that. I do not understand why I have kept some of the "important" possessions I have held on to for years. Many things remind me of a happy time or hold tremendous sentimental value.  Like the purse, nylons, and shoes my Grandma wore to my cousins wedding about 8 years ago. I have them prominently displayed on a shelf and every time I look at them I smile and remember the day we drove through the country looking for the church where the wedding was being held. 

We had never driven in that part of the state.  We ended up on gravel roads and got lost.  How we found the place I will never know but we had a blast.  Unfortunately our little excursion caused us to be late, but that didn't matter.  We walked into the church and Grandma explained who we were to the usher and before I could say "we will just slip into a pew in the back" Grandma, (with me dutifully following behind) was marching up the aisle.  To the second row, behind the brides parents, with the wedding halted and all eyes on us.  Even now as I write this I am giggling, and have tears in my eyes, because my Grandma was so very proud of her family and she was not going to sit in the back of the church for such an important occasion as her nieces wedding!  Not when she had a seat saved for us in the second row (whether we knew that at the time or not). She held her head up, explained that we got lost, and smiled at me while she squeezed my hand letting me know that all was right with the world now, we were safe and we had found the wedding.

Before it was over.

But then I look at other things I have kept throughout the years - broken dishes and appliances, just in case we can fix them; 3 pairs of crutches (like we'd all have broken legs at the same time); magazines from the 80's; clothes we haven't worn in years; files and files of papers ~ receipts and warranties from things we no longer have; I could go on and on. Clutter that has no meaningful purpose taking up space in our home, or with sentiments that have far less meaning or carry memories of a bad time.  Like the hospital receipts from when my sons were both in Loyola hospital at different times, one for a burn, one from a head injury sustained in a car accident.  Both files brought back memories I'd rather not remember and I will never need to refer to them again, so they went through the shredder.  Finally after 20 years I rid our home of that cloud of dust and negative thoughts.  It made me feel so good I kept shredding.

Here is an explanation of minimalism that I found online: "a reassessment of priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff ~ the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities ~ that don’t bring value to your life".

Whether the excess stuff is paper, magazines, books, weight, people, or negative thoughts, I am embracing the time I have been given to simplify my life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Becoming Healthier

In my desire to become healthier over the past year, I made the decision to participate in a 5K walk/run.  Not just any 5K ~ the Green Bay Packer 5K in July.  My husband walked in it last year and completed an activity on his bucket list ~ to walk on Lambeau Field. I was going to walk with him but I was on walking restriction from my doctor but this year, I have been given the "all clear" to participate.  Only I can't seem to find out the correct date.  I called yesterday and was handed off to 3 different people ~ all who found the lack of updated information on their website to be "interesting".  I will continue to prepare for my goal regardless because none of the three people told me there was no 5K ~ they just didn't know when.


I have diabetes so I am required to monitor my food intake and check blood sugar every day. I am also plagued with inflammation throughout my body and find that certain foods cause "flareups". Like most people with diabetes, I eat the wrong things from time to time. The result is a painful inflammation flareup and higher sugar count.  I have decided that in order to be at my best health possible for a 5K, I need to limit my "bad" foods to holidays.  By that I mean just the actual day of the holiday and not the 2 weeks on either side of that day. I have been eating less red meat and starchy foods like pasta and potatoes, more vegetables and fruit, and I've already lost 28 pounds since Christmas. 


If anyone had told me last year that I would enjoy exercise I would have laughed.  After my knee surgery I was sent to physical therapy.  Between Mike and my sons, and being inspired by my husband's 5K walk last year, I had a lot of motivation. I found that moving can be fun! I've always liked walking, but I needed to strengthen my core muscles and my hip flexors in order to improve the strength in my knee and back. Mike taught me a lot about the anatomy of the body and how certain muscles worked with each other and when you strengthen one set it helps another set of muscles. When I would grimace during physical therapy, Mike would say "This is all necessary in order for you to walk in a 5K".  That sold me on the benefits.  Having a goal is important for your attitude while learning to like something new.

On Saturday, my granddaughter and I were laying on the floor lifting our legs.  She moves without even thinking but I have to concentrate sometimes.  I was only lifting one leg at one point and she says to me "No Gaga!  One ~ two legs!!" (At two years old, she is still not using the word both.  If I had four legs she would have said one, two, fee, four legs!) Apparently I was doing it wrong by not lifting both legs at the same time.  After lifting both legs right for a minute and resorting back to my one leg lift move she stood up and came to the end of my legs and said "OK - one, two!!" and lifted both feet. 

She is one tough personal trainer!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reinvention; It's a Process

Being unemployed on sabbatical for the past several months, I have experienced a variety of emotions. Joy, fear, happiness, loneliness, hope, confusion, fatigue, and many others. In an earlier post I mentioned burnout, and I had problems with my knee which forced me to do a lot of sitting, icing, and reading. I read several articles about reinvention and how "older workers" were doing that more as they left careers behind (for a variety of reasons), or after admitting they were no longer happy with their current employment, just wanted to do something different.  So I gave that some thought.

Have you read the book "Eat, Pray, Love"?  If you have you will remember when she tried learning to meditate.  I laughed while reading what she had to say because I have had the same trouble "quieting my mind". Well, reinventing myself has been a similar experience.  For one thing, I have never known what I wanted to be when I grew up.  All of my jobs found me. Seriously. I was a stay at home mom for many years and did odd jobs to bring in a little money, but a career?  Eventually, as my kids developed health and learning problems I volunteered to attend some meetings and speak at a conference, and a career just sort of evolved over time. A rather intense career that I learned from and that introduced me to many resources and people I still value today. During that time, I decided to go to college.  I was 47 when I started and 51 when I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management, thousands of dollars in student loans, and a satisfaction that I finally completed a degree program that would help me earn the kind of money that people with initials behind their names earned.

Now I am trying to put the knowledge I gained to good use. It is important to identify what I am most passionate about. Well that is a "no-brainer" ~ my granddaughter ~ but unfortunately I need more than a beautiful child's love to pay off my student loans. The funny thing is that everything I list all circles back to one thing.  Helping people, specifically, the underdog.

So now all I have to figure out is ~ which underdog am I most passionate about?

It's so much easier to play with my little friend.

Avery playing Peek-A-Boo with Gaga.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Sabbatical - Time away from your normal routine - a time to immerse yourself in a different environment, a chance to see your life from a different perspective.

That has been my life for the past year. I wasn't thrilled when my position was eliminated from the non-profit where I worked however, looking back, I know now it was the right decision for my health. For 16 years I had been working in stressful environments plagued by conflict at every turn and always wondering where the funding was going to come from for my salary. When you are in the helping profession, consistently working under those conditions, after awhile burnout sets in. That state of mind had become my normal.

So why not just call this blog "Grandma is unemployed - Now what"? Because being unemployed sounds boring for one thing, but mostly because, I chose to use the time to my advantage.  I had become a grandma for the first time a year before so not working allowed me to spend more time with her.  Avery and I spend every Saturday (or more) together.  I had forgotten how funny, honest, determined, and literal toddlers could be. This past year with her has been rewarding and more fun than I could ever have hoped for.  She and I are developing a special relationship that only Grandmas and granddaughters can share and what has contributed to that has been time.

I also decided to clean my house.  I mean REALLY clean it.  I downsized clutter and threw away things I had no idea why I still had. I have read more books in the past year than I read my whole life prior to that. I also used the time to become healthy again. And cooked.  I love cooking again!  I even enjoy baking!  I am constantly inspired by Martha Stewart, Ree Drummond, Sandra Lee, and Ina Garten.  Who knew I would finally be able to say - I baked 2 dozen cookies and could eat all 24 because I didn't burn 18?! Certainly not my sons and husband!

I also became an exercise guru.  Okay not guru but advocate. I do some sort of exercise every day.  Mainly because of all the cooking I am now doing, but also because I feel better when I move more.  I even have a goal of entering a 5K.  More on that in posts to come. 

While cleaning, healing, and exercising I started to reflect about my career choices and the new direction I wanted to take. As the days go on, I will report on that progress but right now, I have a date with a very important toddler.

Friday, April 13, 2012

What's in a name?

Many people have asked me why my granddaughter, Avery, calls me "Gaga". My answer is - because she wants to!  I'm not sure really - but my sweet little cherub could call me "B*^@%" and I would probably think she is wonderful! Not really - I am sure as she gets older she will call me something else but for now - I am Gaga, her other grandma is "GriGri", her uncles are all "Quik", and her grandfathers are both "Poppy".  We try to help her learn the right words (ok her parents do that - we all just answer to her sweet little sounds), but for now - her language is her own.  For example -

"Kiki" is blanket, "Unc" is milk, and "beacon" is sippy.  She knows what the real words are but no matter how many times we all try to encourage her to say the right words - she remains true to her convictions as only a 2 year old can. They are just names - or labels - she has assigned to those three prized possessions. While labels can be limiting in some circumstances, they can also be changed over time with the right education and lots of patience.  But that is a topic for another day.

My new blog

Hello!  This is my first post on my new blog!  I am calling it "Grandma's Sabbatical" because I am a grandmother who for many reasons, has been unemployed for the past 11 months and despite my newly acquired bachelor degree, has found myself looking for meaningful employment, but not finding it.  What you will read about is stories about my life with my family, balancing my desire to be the "perfect" Gaga to my granddaughter in an economic climate that demands I find a job.  

In my previous work life I was a story teller.  I shared my experiences of having children who struggled with learning challenges, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction. I found that by sharing the struggles in my life, I helped encourage others, and that gave me some peace.  I found strength from other parents who were going through the same challenges while I offered support to them. I have many experiences I could share, but that is not my goal for this blog. Occasionally, I might bring snippets of those stories to these pages, but for the most part, I want to keep this fun. Maybe you will find yourself identifying with my experiences, some posts will make you giggle, and hopefully now and then, you will learn something that you might apply in your own life. Like learning how to be a good "Gaga".......