Holy Hailstorm!

Most people associate Colorado weather with cold, snow blowing and blizzards that can shut down our Denver airport for distressingly long periods of time, especially during the holiday rush.  But, here in Colorado we can’t escape that winter-like weather even in the summer.

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The storm begins around ten-thirty at night.  The lightning is like Kate Middleton stepping out of a limo at a red-carpet event, non-stop flashes of light and big booming thunder rolls.

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We start to hear what sounds like stones being thrown against the windows.

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The hail pounds for about 45 minutes, so loud that it is hard to even hear each other talk.

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The water begins to pour through the window well into the basement, one o’clock in the morning and we are hauling coolers full of water upstairs to dump outside.

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All the newly planted gardens are shredded,  the flowers are gone, my daughter’s car in the driveway is dimpled everywhere and roofs in the neighborhood will have to be inspected.

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But we are none the worse for wear and in the morning I am glad to see that the sun is shining brightly and the trees still have lots of their leaves.  Colorado is still beautiful!

 

 

  Oh, just want to add:   Go USA!

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Posted in Gardening, Nature, Photograaphy, Seasons | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Grandparenting and Alzheimer’s

We baby boomers are becoming grandparents at a very fast pace!  There is no doubt that being a grandparent is a joy.  I can only speak for myself when I say that I could just eat my grandson up with a spoon because he’s so sweet!  A lot of my friends and relatives have become grandparents in the last few years.  How much do we babysit the grandchildren?  That seems to be the big question!

It runs the gamut. I know a couple of ladies who watch grandchildren five days a week.  A close friend babysits two days a week, while some grandparents I know only babysit here and there with no permanent arrangement.  I guess the most prevalent is the one day a week stint.  I fall into that category as well as a few of my friends.

My friends and I are lucky that our children live near us and we get a chance to bond with the grandchildren.  I would be very sad if they moved away.  But, for grandparents, the decision to babysit all day for grandchildren can be a dicey one.  One grandma I know tells me that she is glad that she lives far away from her grandchildren, for while she loves them, she does not want to be pressured into babysitting.  Another tells me that she wants to be happy every time she sees her grandchildren, not tired and frustrated that she has to babysit all day again.

My daughter sent me a link to this article which proposes the idea that grandparents could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s if they babysit for their grandchildren.   Really?  Ah!  There is a little catch:

New research reveals that women who take care of their grandchildren one day a week are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This is because the mental activity derived from looking after youngsters can actually increase brain function. Women who looked after their grandchildren one day a week had a better memory for words. (Keep in mind, however, that if grandparents look after grand-kids five days a week or more, it can actually have a negative impact on their mental health.) Since Irene started looking after her two granddaughters once a week, she no longer has pain in her bones or a vitamin D deficiency — this is from being outside more often, as well as being more mentally and physically active. Check out the video to hear more about this study!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baby Boomers, Children, Family, Grandparents, Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

It’s The Simple Things

My grandson went to the zoo this week.  It’s such a simple thing, but it got me thinking about Father’s Day this Sunday.

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There were seven kids in my family and time spent with my Dad was precious and rare. But a few of those kid times have really stuck with me.  My Dad liked to garden, and he would let any one of us follow him around with our little shovels and pails and help him plant or pick the flowers.  A couple of times on Sunday afternoon, he actually took all of us bowling. That was a big treat for us, probably not so much for the bowling alley.  My Dad and his brother started a car dealership in the fifties.  The dealership was closed on Wednesday nights and every once in a while the whole family would pile into the station wagon and go to my Dad’s work after hours.  We were allowed to run through the offices and play on the ten key adding machines.  What could be better.

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My kids are thirty and twenty-seven but they still talk about  the list that my husband had on the refrigerator of the things that he and the kids were going to do over the summer. There was always an amusement park, but mostly it was going to the playground, riding the train in the park, going to the zoo or eating ice cream at the local stand.  Simple things!

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So I relish seeing my grandson starting to do these things with his family because I know these are the times that will stay in his memory for the rest of his life.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dads!

 

Posted in Children, Family, Grandparents, Holidays, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Summer Reading

Ah, it seems that summer is really here, and with it comes the urge to relax on a hammock, or at the beach or simply in the back yard while reading a good book.  I went to an all girl Catholic high school and before we were let out for the summer we were given the dreaded “Summer Reading List”.  It was full of classic literature ( Heart of Darkness, The Old Man and the Sea, A Separate Peace, Shakespeare)  thirteen or fourteen books to read over the summer and to be tested on the first week back to school in the fall. That list hung over my head all summer as I continued to read only the books that I loved and ignored “The List”.  Despite that, I still love to read.

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I have been following the Little Free Library movement going on across the country and just loving it.  My friend has put one in front of her store.  You can take a book to read or bring a book to put in the Library to share with others.  What a great idea.

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So, a couple of books I have read lately that make for some good summer reading.

17454929You Should Have Known  by Jean Hanff Korelitz :  A New York therapist has written a book about the failure of women to use their intuition when meeting men and falling in love.  Before the release of the book a murder at her son’s school affects her entire family.

→The book can get too descriptive and wordy and the first part of the book is more compelling than the end.  But, it is a pretty good summer mystery.

 

13526165Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  by Maria Semple.  Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.  Then Bernadette disappears.

→A quirky, satirical, often biting look at life in Seattle, private schools, and the tech world.  I thoroughly enjoyed!

 

12752313Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen:  In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead—and celebrating it all—as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.

→Always love her writing and this Quindlen memoir is no exception.

 

 

 

P1000017_2Weather in my little corner of Northern Colorado:   Sunny and 66°

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books, culture, Seasons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hello Summer

I know that it’s not yet summer, but, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and last weekend felt exactly like that.   We had an unusual start to the weekend as we were enjoying some time out back after lunch.  I looked across the yard and thought that somehow a bird had built a large nest in the bush at the corner of the yard.  It seemed impossible that I could have missed it being built, as it was so big.  So I went over to take a closer look and stopped short as the buzzing sound sent up a little red flag…..

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….a swarm of bees had settled around the branches of the cistena plum bush and there was definitely a high level of activity around the area.  We Googled beekeepers in Northern Colorado to find out what to do.  Who knew???  There is a bee hotline in Northern Colorado.  Within the hour, a beekeeper volunteer came to remove the swarm.  He did say that it is better not to wait until they move on, as the scouts are out looking for a good place to build the next hive and it could very well be in your house.  So he donned the whole beekeeper suit, clipped the branches and dropped the thousands of bees into a box, waited until as many bees as possible followed the queen into the box, wrapped the box in sheets, put it in the back seat of his car and took the bees to his house.  It was great!

 

After he left another surprise rolled down my neighborhood street……

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I guess the holiday had started.  Beautiful flowers were blooming ……

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Flags were flying……

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Welcome, Summer!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Get Happier As We Age

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Ah!  Some good news for baby boomers as we age.  The Brookings Institute looked at the relationship between age and happiness around the world (as measured by a 2011-2013 Gallup World Poll).  According to a Washington Post article, the low point in the U.S. for happiness is roughly around the age of forty-seven.  From then on it looks like things get better as we age (as long as we are reasonably healthy for our age and we are in a stable partnership).  The poll shows that this is true across many countries in the world.

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It’s interesting that from about sixty-five to ninety-five the happiness curve increases greatly for most countries.  Is this because of retirement?  social security?  children grown up and out of the house?  In a country like China where the curve really jumps after age fifty-five maybe it’s because older people are more revered.  In fact, in 2013, China’s National People’s Congress passed a law stating that “family members who live separately from the elderly should visit them often”.  The law requires that employers should help make this possible.  An interesting idea, but I am not sure how it would go over in this country. Even in China, the law is drawing criticism for too much government interference as well as putting too much pressure on already over-stressed families.

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All I know is, it’s great to see that happiness increases as we age.  Let’s face it, as they say, growing old is not for wimps.  Contending with wrinkles, decreased physicality, aches and pains is not always fun.  But as the “sex, drugs and rock and roll generation”, we baby boomers like to have our fun without letting a little thing like “aging” getting in our way.  As a favorite author, Anne Lamott, says:

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

 

Or, maybe, Parrell has it exactly right:

 http://youtu.be/y6Sxv-sUYtM

 

P1010611_2Weather in my corner of Northern Colorado:  57° and sunny.

Posted in Aging, Baby Boomers, Inspiration, News, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Virulent Little Sucker

I am sure you all know how it goes.   You go on a trip, travel on an airplane, go through a couple of different airports and you end up getting sick.  It has happened to everyone.  So it was no surprise when my daughter and her husband got back from a short trip to Arizona and their 15 month old son got a nasty little sickness.  Ah, but that was only the beginning.  It was just like dominos!

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First the baby, then my daughter, her husband, myself, my husband and then my son.  I will spare you the gory details.  I am sure you can imagine!  For those of you who are fans of the Seinfeld show, remember when Jerry was so proud of the fact that he had not thrown up for twelve years or so.  That is, of course until he ate the black and white cookie.  Well we can relate!!

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But, a bad week was going to get better.  Mother’s Day was coming and we would all be together for a nice dinner.  There is nothing like a beautiful Colorado day in the Spring.  Crystal blue skies and fragrant flowering trees are the norm.  But, this week was anything but normal!

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But, neither snow, nor sleet, nor still being slightly sick could dampen the spirits for a wonderful Mother’s Day with the family including…..

beautiful flowers from my son…….

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delicious homemade almond cake with fresh raspberry sauce from my daughter…….

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and a dinner together full of laughter, love and gratitude!

 

 

 

P1010987The weather in my little corner of Northern Colorado:  58° and partly cloudy.

Posted in Children, Family, Food, Grandparents, Health, Seasons, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments