Saturday, January 26, 2008

my grandma Betty

My grandma died yesterday. She was a tiny, spunky, smart woman. I had the pleasure of living with her and my grandfather for a year after I graduated from college. She lived in Chappaqua, NY in a sweet house that was kept immaculately clean. She loved her house as much for the yard as for the house. She was an avid gardener and had bountiful vegetable gardens for years upon years. She was also a nature lover. She bought day-old bread to feed the raccoons, skunks and opossums that came to her back door every night. They would scratch on her door to let her know they were out there. Her favorite place to sit was at her dining room table with a large picture window looking out onto the backyard. I don't think an animal passed through her yard without getting fed. She had many different bird feeders that were always kept well-stocked. She knew all the birds that came to eat and sometimes even named them particularly. She had a grosbeak called gorgeous george that would come right up to her window and peck until he got her attention. She would go out and feed him special treats. She would also make a whistle to let the birds know she had just replenished the feeders, and don't you know that those birds knew her voice and came flying over!

This photo was taken just over 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Lindsay. In recent years my grandmother suffered from Alzheimers. I'm happy to say that she never had to leave her beloved house. Even though she wasn't able to always name the birds that came to her window towards the end, she still enjoyed them.

To her, I owe my knowledge and love of birds and other animals. I learned gardening and taking care of houseplants from her. She called my sister and me her "nature gals" and we were proud and loved it. She will be greatly missed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

my dad

My dad goes into the hospital today for an operation tomorrow. A year after finishing chemotherapy and radiation for cancer of his larynx, the tumor came back. He and his doctors decided the best thing to do is to remove his larynx entirely. After the 5-hour surgery he will have to re-learn how to speak. He's lived in France for 10 years without learning how to speak French. I hope he does better with this speech therapy. I will miss his voice. I'm crossing my fingers for a good outcome tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


When did people forget their manners? I'm not talking about people who wear white after Labor Day, or some other outdated rule by Emily Post. I'm really wondering about common courtesy.

Some examples:
1. A parent in Lindsay's class invited all of the parents to her house for a wine and cheese party. We were the ONLY ones who responded to her invitation. I don't mean the only ones who said they could come. I mean the only people who even acknowledged the invitation!! I was absolutely shocked by this.

2. Last year we gave what was for us a considerable amount of money to Lindsay's teachers as holiday gifts. They never said a word of thank you to us. There was some note in the next newsletter generally thanking the parents, but there was no individual acknowledgment.

3. This year I knitted scarves for Lindsay's teachers (different teachers than last year). I spent weeks working on intricate stitch patterns for both of them. What kind of acknowledgment did they give?? Not one word. The only reason I spent the time doing this is because they have both commented/complimented my knitting in the past. That and the fact that I think they are great teachers. I am so stunned by their lack of response, I keep wanting to say something to them. Ask them if they liked the scarves. Maybe mention that I knitted them myself in case that wasn't clear.

Aargh!! When did people get so rude??

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The sweet smell of childhood

Have you ever had something that transported you back to when you were a kid? It could be an old photo, a taste, a smell. For me it was this book last year. I hadn't thought of this book for at least 30 years, but when I saw it in Barnes and Noble last Christmas, I remembered having it as a kid. It had the added memory of the smells from the scratch and sniff. I seem to be thinking about smells a lot lately.

This year it was another book that transported me back. Crictor! I loved and forgot this book as I did the Christmas one. I found it in a box of Neil's old books that his mother had saved. I am thrilled to have this book back in my life. It's really sweet. I wonder if anyone else remembers either of these books.

Crictor the boa constrictor was sent as a present by the woman's son. After she identifies him as non-poisonous, she embraces him as a beloved pet. He holds her book for her as she knits him sweaters. You see him happily sporting the sweater she knit here in the snow. What better pet than one who enables and appreciates knitting??