Miracle Patients – JusJoJan

This year will mark six years since my sister passed away from kidney cancer. Her doctor called my sister her miracle patient. The normal prognosis was maybe two years, but she fought the odds for eight years before she lost her battle.

I am not sure I will ever get used to the truth that she is no longer here and I try to be thankful for all the extra years. The odds of her surviving all the surgeries and complications – there were many – were always against her. But my sister never let that overcome her will to live.

On her last birthday, she gave me a present – that was just like her. Unfortunately she gave me a plant and I am not good with plants – especially indoor plants. Since her passing, that plant has become symbolic to me of her survival. I have fought hard to keep it alive. Not an easy task for me.

We had a history with this plant – a purple passion (or velvet) plant – a Gynura aurantiaca. There was a time we both lived in Alaska. We each kept these plants in hanging pots supported by macrame hangers (yes, macrame which we both made). They were beautiful with their purple fuzzy leaves cascading in the sunlight. This was the plant she gifted to me. It was a tie to a different place and time when we relied on each other and transformed from sisters to best friends.

To say I have struggled to keep this plant alive is an understatement. It has come close to death on a few of those cold 19 degree nights. But now, that one single plant is in three small pots. That means they have a three times greater chance of survival. And survive they must. Anything else would feel like losing my sister all over again.

I know this feels sad, but if you knew my sister you would know she is somewhere laughing at me – the sister with the brown thumb – trying hard to keep one little purple plant alive. Laugh away, sis. I’ve almost made it six years! Me and my little miracle patient.

Written as part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan.

Prompt word today (surviving) submitted by Wendy from Wendy’s Waffle.


Grandchildren – The Race Against Time

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.

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.


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.



The Rise of Graphic Novels for Children

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 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.







1LinerWeds & JusJoJan – Road Trip

I am off to see two of my grandchildren today. It is an impromptu trip because they are out of school. We are going to lunch and who knows, maybe somewhere to buy some books. I love to buy them books.

Our granddaughter’s reading level is advanced beyond her class. Her teacher encouraged her parents to buy her some books that would encourage research. I found a print on demand book about a wolf named Journey who was tagged and tracked from Oregon to California where he found his mate and his pack. She loved it and has already done a report on the book. (I know because she read the entire report to me over FaceTime. 🥰)

Our grandson is younger and he can also read well, but he does not enjoy it like his sister. He dreams of being a “YouTuber” someday 🙄 even though he is only allowed on YouTube with his parents. Tech Wiz’s both of them.

Today they are excited I am coming over. Even if we do nothing, they are excited to see me.

“Our faces will become works of art that our grandchildren will treasure.”
Adriana Trigiani

1LinerWeds and JusJoJan are both brought to us today by Linda Hill. Check out her blog for guidelines and why not play along?