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JusJoJan – First Winter Snow

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Here it is the last day of January and we are finally getting our first snow of the winter. It will be fleeting, but for now, it is simply beautiful. It started as a wet quickly-melting snow and as the temperature dropped, the flakes got bigger and started to stick.

There is a magical quality of a slow-falling snow. I sit here drinking coffee with nowhere I need to be, just enjoying watching the birds forage for food in the new fallen snow. I cannot help but think how very fortunate I am to be here in this moment as an observer of the life around me.

This kind of snow seems to bring a halt to all the chaos outside my little world. This is such a welcome relief to those who, like me, feel things so deeply. Life moves at different paces, it seems, all based on the pace we choose to lead our own lives.

We had a lovely dinner with friends last night. Around the table everyone remarked about how they would love to see some snow. Ask and ye shall receive…

I am feeling at peace, wrapped in memories of my Dad and my sisters and their love of the simple things like this. My husband loves the snow, too. He and my Dad share the same childlike qualities of these types of magical moments.

I am a very fortunate woman.


This post is the last Just Jot It January post of 2020. Many thanks to Linda Hill for a month of writing inspiration. And to Robbie Ann who provided the inspiration word today, I thank you.

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JusJoJan – Stalking My Past

I generally stay busy and when I do have free time, I usually spend it catching up with friends or focusing on things I might have pushed aside. But, I will admit there are times when I am mentally exhausted and look for some mindless activity to pass the time.

A few nights ago, I sat with my iPad on my lap and engaged Google maps to look up places I lived at different times in my life. I was curious how the houses had changed from the mental images I carried with me. I was only able to find photos of one house.

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It is so funny what memories come rushing back when we see photos. This house was green when my parents bought it. My dad painted it a pretty pale yellow, but it took a while for him to paint the detached garage. When we gave someone directions to the house we always added ‘it’s the yellow house with the green garage’.

This is where my mother planted colorful portulaca and bleeding heart bushes in the flower beds. And a lilac bush in the corner. This is also where she discovered the cancer that would take her life.

This was where I lived with my parents and three siblings in 924 square feet which sounds small but seemed big to me. Six of us.

It was here my sister told my parents she was pregnant and they sent her away to live with my sister. I would never meet my nephew.

It was here we had Mulligan the Cat – a rescue my mother scooped up after a man kicked him outside a convenience store. And Whiskey the cocker spaniel my boyfriend gave me. My mom named him because she said he was the color of a nice aged whiskey. And Irish, the Irish Setter my mom wanted after we all left home.

We had an unfinished basement where we had parties and I had sleepovers where we chanted “I believe in Mary Worth”. It is also the place where my father met with his  “Boo Hum Ditt Dum O.M.A” secret society where they did some chanting of their own.

This is where I lived when I started to date. It is where Dave with his baby blue Camaro and matching baby blue eyes came over on Saturday to watch Scooby Doo. It is where my mother made “Wild Punch” a concoction of orange juice and lemonade.

This is where my father insisted I paint a mural on the living room wall that would be immediately sanded off by the new owners.

It is funny, we think we are finished with places and things in our lives, but they truly never leave us. They are there waiting for a stimulus causing the memories to come rushing back. It is up to us how we remember them and whether we attach any lingering emotion to them.

I definitely was not expecting this post to be the result of that idle search. Funny how things turn out.


This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot it January and today’s prompt came from my dear friend and fellow blogger, Lauren. Pop over and check them out. Lauren’s blog is especially poignant today.

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Grandchildren – The Race Against Time

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This week marked both my first born grandson’s 18th birthday and my second born granddaughter’s 16 birthday. Both major milestones. I can hardly believe it. I can close my eyes and see them both – their baby faces crystal clear. I am often in denial about how fast the time has gone. They have been a joy all these years. From the time I saw them swaddled in hospital gowns until today, they have been such a wonderful addition to our family. We have six grandchildren in total – six! That in and of itself seems impossible.

Our grandson lives nearby so we were able to celebrate with him. His parents chose to schedule some races at the LeMans GoKart racetrack. Those that have followed for a while know I suffer from vertigo so the idea of going around a sinuous track over and over for 20-30 minutes was not going to be my cup of tea. I opted to be the photographer and document the occasion.

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Hubby mastering the first curve

Every driver must have a valid drivers license or go through some specialized training before they are allowed on the track. Each driver must watch a safety video and the safety rules are fairly strict. As I watched the video and the other racers, I knew I was making the right decision by fulfilling the role of observer rather than driver.

C4F2AEA0-95EF-47C0-AEC9-B84A79AD99C4You have the option of wearing a racing suit and gloves, but everyone must wear a neck brace and a helmet. Before long, my family was suited up and in their cars. It was fun to watch and it was quickly apparent who the competitive souls were! My grandson and my husband. They ran two back-to-back 10 minute races. Then they came into the lounge for a break. Evidently it was cold on the track. Everyone was talking about how hard it was to steer and they could feel the effects in their arms and shoulders. After a rest, they went out for their third and final race.

After the races, we went to the local Outback restaurant for a celebratory dinner. It was so nice to listen to the chatter as all of them had a good time racing. I captured their lap scores from the closed circuit television in photos so they were able to talk a little smack to each other about their driving prowess. All lighthearted and fun, it was a perfect evening.

After hearing everyone talk, I was able to add to the list of reasons I was glad I did not attempt to race. If you are my age, you may want to consider these things before taking on such a feat:

  • the smell of gas/exhaust
  • the vibration of the car on the track
  • the noise of the engines for 10-20 minutes straight
  • my neck!
  • the cold

So, yes, I am a wuss, but I am fully prepared to fill the supportive role. Everyone, including me, had a great time. I kept thinking about the movie “Ford vs Ferrari“ and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. I do not know how professional drivers do it. There is a reason you do not see grandparents my age on the professional racetrack!


This post is part of Linda Hill’s Just Jot It January. Inspiration today from Barbara.

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JusJoJan – Busy, busy

I remember chuckling because my mother-in-law stayed so busy when she retired. Now I get it. We finally get to stay busy doing what we want!

I finally got around to taking some photos of the jewelry I’ve been making. These are some of the photos from David and Molly’s Silveramics ®️ Workshop. (Design concepts by David and Molly.)  I hear there are still openings for their February class in Mexico!

The focal points of the jewelry pieces are made from blended colors of porcelain clay. It was such a great workshop and now that I know more what to expect, I have more ideas!

58E1A9A1-4867-4C95-8812-9AECD519E141I also finally got around to polishing the last pair of earrings I made. These are my own design. Sterling silver with a textured interior. This is the thing. I worked hard to make these. Afterward, I learned a much easier way to make the curve. So, I live and learn! The next time, it will go much faster.

This afternoon we are going to help my grandson celebrate his 18th birthday. I cannot believe how fast this time has flown.

It seems like only yesterday…


This post is part of Linda Hill’s Just Jot It January writing inspiration. Today’s inspiration word was given to us by Saumya.

 

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The Rise of Graphic Novels for Children

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Wednesday, after our drive into town to get lunch, we headed to the book store. I noticed an interesting trend when I took my grandchildren to Barnes & Noble. The entire back wall display was entirely made up of ‘graphic novels’. These books which are written in comic book fashion are evidently the rage with young readers.

My granddaughter wanted one book in particular. I ran it by her dad and he said no, but it was more subject matter related than style of book. She was a little bummed and the book search went a little downhill after discovering she could not have the book she wanted. It is a little difficult because her reading level is much more advanced than her maturity level so book selection can be difficult.

Back to the graphic novels. These books are comic book style with pictures much like comics. They are wildly popular. As my granddaughter put it, ‘they are fun to read and not so boring.” It made me wonder if it was the storyline that was fun or if it was the reduced number of words on the page that made the books appealing.

I then took my search to Amazon – king of the book mountain. Sure enough, there is a category of children’s books – comics and graphic novels – and there are many, many books in this category. And they are extremely popular it seems.

It’s funny how book trends for children change. My soon-to-be 18-year-old grandson has never enjoyed reading. When he came to stay with us over the summers, he always veered toward the comic magazines. At the time they were rated so parents could choose what might be appropriate. We had many a disagreement about these books he wanted to buy that were not appropriate for his age. Our now-16-year-old granddaughter always read big thick books. She loved the words – the more complex the better.

The next grandchild read a lot of chapters books, but she was the first to read graphic novels. They were occasionally peppered in with other books so I did not see this as a developing trend.

I believe in reading – comics are better than no reading at all. It is too easy to squelch a child’s interest in books if not careful. I did notice that many of the classics are now reproduced as graphic novels. Books such as “Anne of Green Gables”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, “Black Beauty”, and “Anne Frank’s Diary” are now available as graphic novels. Is this a positive trend? Will children re-read the longer versions after having read the graphic novels?

I know images are so important in the early years of reading. Board books are vital in developing a young child’s interest in stories. I guess the psychology in what draws a child to a book has not changed and since the introduction of Manga, graphic books literally took off. According to what I read, school book fairs sell out of graphic books quickly. Libraries now have sections dedicated to children’s graphic novels.

Maybe I am old school and not wanting to change. I remember the magic of reading “Charlotte’s Web” imagining what every character looked like. I did not want the book to end. I felt the same about Nancy Drew and all her adventures. But I guess I should get on board. A search for ‘graphic novels’ on scholastic.com returns 462 books. A search on Amazon for ‘children’s graphic novels ages 9-12’ returns over 20,000 items.

I understand this new form of Young Adult literature is revitalizing the classics as well as enticing children to read more. I guess I just need to break down and buy one to see for myself. Or maybe I’ll check the library first.

What do you think? I might just be late to the party.


This post is encompassing words from the last two days of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda Hill. I am playing catch-up.