Monday, February 16, 2009

Empty book of life…

My granddaughter is pregnant. It was a surprise (they always are, aren't they?) and I am excited for her and wondering if I can be helpful. She's still just getting used to the idea, thinking of blue versus pink, researching infant bath tubs and changing tables, anxious for the sonogram in a little while, getting used to the terms Mommy and Daddy. I sit and watch and see the future in what I hear, the whole thing—diapers to baptism to sandboxes to kindergarten to school friends to buying a car to attending college or getting a job, then perhaps comes another generation! It's pretty amazing to be able to sit and imagine the whole thing a little. What a life this is! I try to imagine a book that would hold all the nearly infinite details. Would it be a 15 volume set? Like an Encyclopedia?

I am at the same time in the thick of producing a 160 page book of sayings and amusements for my 12 year old grand niece. It's a traditional family project, written by older female relatives to a younger one. I look at the "Empty Book" and try to imagine, in 12 years, writing sayings and comforts for the little girl my granddaughter could give birth to. That child does not even have a title page yet. Boy or girl, blond or brunette, etc. What will be written in the Empty Book or the whole book of life for my granddaughter's child?

Help and amuse. It's a motto for what to write in an Empty Book, from an old woman wanting to contribute to a young woman's life. For I know that is what I can offer to both these young women, no matter my long view. My mistakes are not lessons to my descendants—that's been a hard lesson for me. We all have to make our own mistakes, and there's a limitless variety of those!

Truth is–I really have no expertise in raising a child in 2009. My skills are decades old. I can read books on the subject, but beyond the basics, it truly is like a different country of customs. I used cloth diapers. I introduced solids at 3 months on the dot. I followed Dr. Spock and let the baby cry sometimes. And raising a 12 year old? Fugedaboudit! I too often tried to protect with stern directives instead of reasoned conversation. I lacked patience. We have come out of ignorance on so many issues and many of the old ways just don't work. This is something I celebrate with passion. Education helps everyone. Wisdom and peace can come from knowledge and experience.

In 2009, all I can offer my grand niece is some silly sayings and suggestions that at best will hopefully show her I care for her well being and understand. All I can offer my granddaughter is support that has love behind the offering, not ideas in current trends in parenting. I do know how to hold and burp a baby and change a diaper. I know that time will pass and the first few months are not endless as they appear. I know a baby is soothed by a light touch but is not overly fragile. I know that support from friends and family is critical to the health of the baby and parents. I know the poignancy of the very first time you leave the little one with relatives to go for a walk alone. I know that calling the nurse with worries is a privilege worth a King's counting house. I know that the absolutely most blessed feeling is looking in the eyes of a tiny baby, wondering again at the miracle of it all.

Help and amuse. The Empty Book writes itself. And I look forward to the chance to be on the outskirts of helping my granddaughter and welcoming this new baby person. Support and encourage. A light heart. As requested and needed. I'll bet I'm up to it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cooking Can Be A Page Turner

At 6 AM outside my door I found a 12" square box sitting beside the Seattle Times. It must have come after I came home from work. Poor UPS and Fed Ex--working at all hours catching up after our 10 day region-wide snow-in. I looked at the return address: Fulfillment Center. Yay! I am going to be fulfilled! Whomever thought of that moniker must have known she'd bring smiles to many many recipients of doorstep boxes.

Then I noticed "COOKING" on the box and
remembered a certain gift giver's response when, after Christmas had passed I asked her hesitatingly about the Christmas package she had said I would get: "I lied." she said. "You don't get the little cutting boards. I forget that I went over budget and there was a cutback. There might be a government bailout at some point, but the legislation is stuck in the house so you're out of luck for now. But the cookbook holder is on its way! It got stuck in the snow. Projected delivery date is Friday."

I had laughed my head off at that one, clever comedian gift giver! I opened the box and indeed there was a cookbook holder--a sturdy kitchen helper that I, with aging wisdom (a
nd eyes) know I will really enjoy.

I've tried all kinds of book propping methods and the closest I have come to this gleaming metal beauty was a bent coat hanger. Usually I just bend to the page to see. But now a visual bail out! There's also an equivalent chart for liquid and dry measure, and weight, in the transparent cover--been hankering for one of those ever since I came back from
LaJolla, where resides said item in that esteemed kitchen.

And frosting on the cake, so to speak, butter on the muffins, cinnamon in the stew, comes with knowing my new holder will do double duty as a novel holder at meal time. Yes, I read at dinner, something my Mother would have frowned on, but she is not here to suffer thr
ough it, so we can all relax. I'll enjoy being able to continue at mealtime (no cutbacks there!) with the good part of the story, hands free. Now I'm enjoying a personal massive rally and projected long term fulfillment!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

10 Year Journal - The Final Page

For the last 3,650 nights, I have written in my 10 year journal. Just a line to two. A friend recommended the journal as a way to track major events and doctor visits, and I added home maintenance milestones and a phone call log for people I didn't call often. Live a life and remember it, I heard a long while back. Well, I've filled the book.

Now I'll use my PDA to record events. It has the advantage to be search-able, a helpful thing for a forgetful person. Some decade-end remembering and excerpts from the last 10 years:

Off early to receive new Amana frig; old one to Holly. Hamburgers at H's and saw Joe Black. (3/21/00) Dug hole for steel barrel. Too many roots! (3/22/01) Cleaned woodshed. Mouse do. Ugh. Had to total shower. (9/1/02) Read all Range of Motion. Sooo good. (12/6/06) GREAT song by HC Seattle Unity "Operator." Long talk w JC re retire and San Diego (7/28/02) Scott says they'll have to wear bootees re mad cow disease in Paris; Mary here w new Goldie Honda. (4/1/01) 8:15 haircut by Donna. Bought 2 patio chairs for entry w HC at Pier 1 Lynnwood plus cushions, slate table and rug, mirror w doors; lovely!! (7/28/01)

Fighting cold w garlic & hot water successfully (11/16/04) Pat Olsen quitting (3/22/05) Wore myself out-bike w Mary to Magnuson-lovely. Put chicken & chips on front east half. Bed at 9pm! (5/10/03) Zoo with Tasha-all but NE corner again! TC drove Jetta on Perkins & to mall (8/10/02) Visited Mom at 7-she called me! Maybe Hillary got her to do it. (10/8/04) JB here for practice Hanalei-giggles gigantic. (4/19/04)

The older entries interest me more --they are history, and seem to come from some other, very interesting person. The later entries are still too much just me talking. Here's one I like from this year: Obama elected! 11/4/08

My 10 year written journal keeping experiment is over. All that time. All those days. What I'd really like is a Blackberry to record major events. Should I try to make the entries more interesting? Like times I stepped out of the mold? On July 10, 2006 I tried to watch Conan the Barbarian because it's so famous, but couldn't endure. Is this news? Only time will tell.