Saturday, August 25, 2012

But They Look So Cute in Those Dresses

Megan and Hunter at Hat Rock Park, July 2012

I miss my grandchildren.  Last weekend I called to chat with them and to find out if they received the box I sent them.  Hunter’s first question was “When are you coming, Nana?”   This year they will both be in school full-time and that makes it harder to find a good time to visit.  My schedule is wide open, but theirs isn’t.  I’m missing the care-free, unscheduled days of summer already!

I over compensate for not visiting them by shopping for them.  I love buying their frilly dresses and sparkly shoes.  When they were visiting in July we shopped for school shoes.  When I took them home my daughter commented that there was something wrong when her five year old had more shoes than she did.  That comment is not quite the truth.  My daughter also inherited the shoe shopping gene and has her own extensive collection of footwear.

When the first granddaughter was born, I promised my daughter that I wouldn’t be the grandmother who showered the grandchild with tacky gifts.  I opened a 525 account to save for college and I make small monthly contributions.  That, I told my daughter, was how I was going to spend money on the grandchild.

Over the years my resolve has weakened.  I still contribute to the 525 accounts, but I also enjoy shopping for their school clothes, and buying books, and ….well, buying just about anything that I think they will like. 

The grandchildren are responsible for putting their clean laundry away.  The laundry room is on the first floor and their bedrooms on the second.  They each have a small laundry basket that they use to carry the clean, folded laundry upstairs.  Last weekend Hunter was coming down the stairs with her empty basket when her mother told her that there was another load of laundry that needed to go to her room.  Hunter sighed and said “Again?  Tell Nana to stop buying us clothes!”

SIGH!  Out of the mouths of babes…


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Everything on the Internet is True

One of the unexpected rewards of starting this blog has been the people that I have met from all over the world.  I say "met" in the cyber sense of the word.  I've gotten to know so many creative, talented, and caring people through their blogs and the comments that they make on my blog.  I've only met one of my new friends in person.  Milt is a follower of my blog and writes a blog of his own.  He lives in the same small town that I do.  Last year I invited him to join a writing group that I belong to and we met face to face at a local used book store.  I think he was as apprehensive as I was...he brought his wife with him and I had my writing group to act as a human shield.  We were all relieved that he wasn't an ax murderer. 

Have you seen the State Farm commercial where the woman claims that "they can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true?"  She is dating a French model who she met on the Internet.  It's pretty funny. 

This fall I am going to spend a weekend with five female friends in a beautiful house on a lavender farm on Vashon Island. I've never actually met these women. I know them only through their blogs, but it feels like they are old friends. I know about their families and the challenges that they have faced. Several of us retired and started our blogs at the same time. We've shared laughs and loss. We seem to have a lot in common and we all write blogs. I'm excited to meet them, but also anxious. All they know about me is what I have chosen to share in my blog. Will I live up to their expectations? Oh, the anxiety!!!

So on an early fall weekend I will drive five hours  to find out if perception lives up to reality. I'm pretty sure that everything on the Internet is true. Bonjour!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Is It Still Work When You Do It In Your Pajamas?

I've been retired for several  years now.  I have adjusted to staying up late and sleeping in.  I do my grocery shopping when the rest of the world is at work.  I never go to Costco on the weekend.  When I travel I'm not limited to holidays or summer vacations.  I know how fortunate I am to live a relatively stress-free life.  I can't remember the last time I used the alarm clock.  This blissful existence changed last week when the school superintendent contacted me.

In my pre-retirement life as a school administrator I had great success in securing some big grants for the school district.  Grant writing was like a hobby for me.  Most of the grants were written in my spare time at home, usually while I was watching TV.  Grant writing was fairly stress-free because no one was paying me to do it or counting on the funding to keep a program operating.   If I won a grant it was like winning the lottery...a lucky break.  I got a reputation in the area as the go to person for writing grants. 

When I first retired I tinkered with the idea of freelancing as a grant writer.  I even took on a project with a neighboring school district.  That effort was not funded and I realized that I really didn't want to start a business and market my skills. I like to dabble and pick and choose my projects.

So, last week the superintendent asked for my help in securing grants for a project at our high school.  I went to a meeting and got excited about the concept.  I met with the superintendent and hammered out terms. All of a sudden I was employed .  This past week I actually had to be places at a specific time.  I had to go to meetings.  And last Wednesday I drove 400  miles to hand deliver a grant application to a foundation to meet their submission deadline (really, have they not heard about the Internet?) 

It's probably an ideal situation for me.  I work my own hours and most of the time I can wear pajamas, except when I have to go to meetings!  The downside if  I am not successful in securing grant funding, is public failure....I'm feeling the pressure!

This evening I attended one of the committee meetings.  The athletic director gave me a grant application for a grant that is a good match for our project.  The catch?  It's due in two days!  We are leaving tomorrow for three days camping in the RV at the Deschutes River.  Good thing I can do my new job anywhere.    I'll get the writing done lounging around camp and when I'm ready to post the application (this foundation has an online application) I will ride my bike to Biggs Junction where there is a McDonalds with Internet.    

I better go get my pajamas on and get started...I've got a job to do!
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