Nana has tales to tell, and thoughts to share.

Lydia Came to Play

Lydia came to my house the other day.  Momma needed to go grocery shopping, and handling two and a half  kids at the grocery store can be very tiring for everyone.  So Lydia decided it would be nice if she went to Nana’s house to play while Peter and Momma went to the store.  Nana thought is was a nice idea, too.

Baba had to go run an errand, so it was just Lydia and Nana together at Nana’s house.  And since Lydia had a cold, Momma said we had to stay inside to play.  Lydia decided to just wander around at first, looking at all the things she has become familiar with at Nana’s house.

She noticed that Nana had a new plant on the coffee table.

” That’s a funny looking plant!” laughed Lydia.

Of course Nana had to tell her all about it, which in turn led to looking at all the stones in Nana’s special dish of stones.  Lydia decided that the polished Petoskey stone from Michigan was the prettiest.  Being a native Michigander, I had to agree .  I told Lydia how MY Baba found that stone and polished it up a long time ago.  Lydia thought we could use all the polished stones for money.  So just as Nana was gearing up for a game of shopping, Lydia’s eyes the couch and off she goes to play a new game – Lydia’s version of  Hide and Seek.

Oh!  Well, if Nana is going to be taking pictures, let’s take full advantage of the opportunity to make silly faces!

“Look at this silly face, Nana!  It will knock your socks off!

“Yes Lydia, that face certainly knocked my socks off!”

Once Nana put the camera down, Lydia decided it was time for something else.  She asked Nana about the strange pink and blue things she found in the kitchen drawer.  Nana explained that they were plastic lids to put on soda cans so we could close the cans if we wanted.  Lydia didn’t understand, so Nana had to demonstrate.  We needed a can of soda of course, so Lydia and I split a can between us. (I took most of the soda, and added lots of water to fill Lydia’s can)  We put the lid on Lydia’s can and sat down at the table for our snack of raisins and soda.

Lydia just looked at the can, trying to figure things out in her mind.  She wasn’t so sure she wanted to try taking a sip.

“Lift the can up like this and take a sip from the spout .  It will tickle your tongue.”

Well that was enough of a challenge for Lydia.  She hoisted the can and took a sip.

“I does tickle my tongue.” laughed Lydia. ” But why do we want to close the lid on the can?”  Uh-oh.  Here comes the whys!

“Um… Well, to keep bugs out for one thing.  You see, bugs like soda too, and every once in a while a bug gets to crawl inside a soda can to take a drink.”

Not quite sure she can believe everything Nana says, Lydia asked: “Did that happen to someone you know, Nana?”

“Oh yes.  I had a friend who set his can down on the ground and a bumble bee flew inside his can to take a drink.  Then, when my friend picked up his can to take a drink, both soda and the bumble bee fell into his mouth.”  Now I tend to embellish stories just a tad, and the more Lydia asked me to tell it again, the story grew more intense with actions and adjectives.

Oh, we were having a great time, just Lydia and I.  Not long after our snack and story time, Bubba came home and so did Momma and Peter.  And Momma brought us all a treat – ice cream cones!

What a nice day it was when Lydia came to play.


Coffee Anyone?

“More coffee?”

“Don’t mind if I do!”

How do you  like your coffee?  Black, with cream, with sugar?  Is your coffee  an early morning necessity, an after dinner relaxer, a brain-cell stimulater, or a cold-rainy-Saturday-afternoon-sitting-by-the fire-with-a-cup-of-coffee-and-a-good-book?  Or, maybe you don’t like coffee at all.  You still might find something interesting if you keep reading.

Coffee has been around for a thousand years or so, and has been consumed by folks all around the world.  Coffee has run the gambit from being a spiritual experience, to being an AMA  health hazard.  It’s that caffeine, you know.  For quite a while I have heard how drinking coffee was not good for you.  “It’ll stunt your growth, kid!”  Have you ever noticed how these health warnings are like a pendulum?  One day it’s good for you, the next day it’s bad for you.Tomorrow’s researchers will once again discover that it is good for you.

So, if you are one of those who like coffee (caffeine especially),  there’s a new study that claims it’s “all in your genetic code”. Yup, scientists have even named the little bugger that makes you crave coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.  You can’t argue with your DNA, so I say, “Indulge!”


As good as coffee is as a drink, it just happens to be good for a bunch of other stuff too.  Stuff I never even thought of!  For example; did you know that coffee is a stimulater of hair growth?  No, your hair won’t grow more just by drinking coffee;  you have to apply it topically.  In other words, rub it into the top of your head.  When washing the hair that you already have, you can rub  coffee grounds through your wet hair, then rinse.  It will leave your hair soft and shiny, dandruff free, and highlighted.  Your dog will appreciate a good rub down of coffee grounds after his bath.  His coat will be soft and shiny too.

Coffee grounds have been used for centuries as an exfoliant for skin.  Pat grounds on skin, massage, rinse.  Besides sloughing off all those yucky dead skin cells,coffee grounds stimulates new cell growth.  Since coffee grounds are acidic, it will help constrict your pores, provides a protective layer, gives the appearance of firmer, younger skin, AND helps fight acne!

Plants like coffee too.  Coffee grounds make good fertilizer for acidic loving plants.  Work it into the garden soil to add rich nutrients to the soil, and at the same time keep bugs away.  Coffee grounds are wonderful for your compost pile as well.  They help in breaking down the various ingredients into rich mulch.

Naturally there are some folks who just don’t like coffee or coffee grounds.  Ants don’t like coffee grounds one bit.  If you were to sprinkle coffee grounds around your house, why those ants would be so offended they’ll never come visit your house again.  If you sprinkled coffee grounds around the ants’ home, they will pack their bags and march away.  Slugs and snails do not appreciate the coffee grounds in your garden.  They will go else where for their meal.  And believe it or not, cats don’t like coffee grounds either.  They will refuse to use your garden as their litterbox.  Oh, and one more… fleas don’t take kindly to you giving Fido a coffee ground rub-down.


We all know that freshly brewed coffee is a heavenly smell, and just because we have emptied the coffee pot, doesn’t mean the nice smell is gone.  No, those spent coffee grounds can continue as a deodorizer in your freezer, as a sachet in your closets, and for cleaning smelly hands.

So, keep that coffee pot brewing.  Enjoy that cup of coffee.  It’s good for you – in more ways than one.

I Found My Rocks!

Hubby and I had cleaned house, cleared out, packed up, moved, unpacked and settled into a new apartment far from the old one.  And in so doing, I discovered that I had lost my rocks.  Not my special rock collection rocks.  I packed them special, and they were unpacked and displayed on a shelf.  No, I lost my sentimental stones.  The special little stones that grab your eye when you are in a special time or place.  Natural souvenirs, hand-made by God Himself.

I kept my special stones in a pretty glass bowl.  I remember wrapping them in packing  tape, around and around the bowl, nice and tight.  I remember sticking the bowl in a box with other stuff.  But what box?  When all the boxes were unpacked, no stones.  I was beyond crushed.  I was pulverized.

Well, this past weekend I decided to make some Watkin’s Cinnamon muffins.  My husband had ordered cases of the mix, and the last box was stored in the pantry closet.  The last box... You got it!  Upon opening the box of muffin mix, there on top was my bowl of rocks.  You could also say I “found the Lord!” because along with my rocks was our ceramic bust of Christ.  Special treasures safely contained amidst bags of muffin mix.

Speaking of rocks . . . Hubby and I took one of our romantic little dates strolling through Home Depot this past weekend.  Home Depot has a rather nice plant section, and I like plants as much as rocks.  Imagine our thrill when we discovered pots of Lithops – “Living Stones”.

They are succulent plants that originate in southern Africa.  What a find!  Since Hubby’s Arizona Cactus did not survive the mid January move,  we decided to replace it with a Lithops.  So now, our southwestern decorated flower-pot is home to a south African Living Stone.

Isn’t it great how I can be thrilled by such inexpensive little things?


Where I Stand

Dear God,

I think you’d be pleased with me!
So far today I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
lost my temper,
or been greedy,
or overindulgent.
I am very thankful for that.


In a few minutes, though, I’m going to get out of bed.
From then on I’m probably going to need a lot of help.


Nana’s House


‘Nana’s House’     by Lydia

This is Nana’s house.  It’s really big.  Pete and I like to visit Nana and Baba at their big house.  We like to run in the long halls, and climb the big stairs.  Nana and Baba have snacks for us to eat, and ‘Baba Juice’  (G2) for us to drink in sippy cups.  They have a whole big closet full of toys that we get to play with.  I like to go out on the deck and look way, way down at the ground. There is only one thing we don’t like about Nana’s house:  Nana says other people live there too so we have to play quiet.

Why does Nana and Baba let other people life in their big house?

When we go to Nana’s house, there are things we like to do.  Peter likes to sit in Great Grandma Amos’ little white rocker and watch old cartoons on TV.  I like to play games with Baba and Nana.  Sometimes Peter plays too.  We play camping in Nana’s bedroom.  She has a light that turns on when you touch it.  That’s our campfire.  Nana’s big bed is our sleeping bag.  Sometimes I play with Nana’s old Barbie doll.  Her hair comes off.  That’s silly!  Pete likes to dance with one of Nana’s teddy bears that plays music when you squeeze its paw.

Yesterday Pete and I went to visit Nana and Baba.  I was having lots of fun playing with Baba.  Pete didn’t have so much fun.  He was crying because Mommy and Daddy went bye-bye.  He learned how to open Nana’s front door.  He was going to run away to find Mommy.  We all decided to go for a walk all over Nana’s big house.  We would walk from one glass door to the next looking to see if Mommy and Daddy were back.  Then we were having fun climbing up the stairs and sliding down on our bellies.  But Mandy barked too much and one of the other people living in Nana’s house came out and complained that we were too noisy.  That’s when Nana had a really good idea –

Next time we need babysitting, Nana and Baba and Mandy will come to our house.

We don’t have any other people  living in our house.

From: Lydia, ( almost 4yrs. old)


Happy Birthday Starbucks

Happy Birthday Starbucks!  The big 4 – 0.  Really.  You’ve been around that long already?   Why, I remember when you were just an upstart little thing.  Some folksy little product found in Seattle.  I arrived in Seattle not too long after you began.  And while I did my share of expanding in the Pacific Northwest the 14 years I lived there, you really out did yourself.  You are now known world-wide.

Even though we started out together in Seattle, I probably can count on one hand the times I have actually held a genuine Starbucks cup of coffee in my hands.  (I’m sorry, but for my budget, you are on the pricier side.)  But don’t let that detract from your celebrations.  I collect coffee mugs, so the chances are that someday I will run across a Starbuck coffee mug at a garage sale or thrift store, and I will buy it.

Coffee has come a long way since you first opened your store.  It no longer is a 5 cent cup of bottomless joe at the local diner.  In fact, so much has been added to the single cup of coffee, one would hardly recognize it for what it is.  You have  flavored coffee, cappuccino, frappuccino, latte, and  iced.  And since I am somewhat of an ignoramus when it comes to gourmet coffees, I won’t even begin to discuss all the ways one can order their drink.

But while you have been around, influencing our coffee habits for 40 years; coffee itself has been around a lot longer.  Way back in the 15th century coffee was all the rage.  I always viewed coffee as a colonial rebellion against the British Empire’s  love for tea.  I imagined some American native showing Captain John Smith how to brew and drink coffee.  Boy was I wrong!  I found out that some unknown goatherd in Ethiopia first discovered the benefits of the  coffee bean.  Then it spread to the rest of the Muslim world where it was once revered as a spiritual drink.  The Muslim may have tried  to keep it to themselves, but it eventually spread to Italy, and then on to the rest of Europe and the world.

The process of brewing a cup of coffee has  evolved.  From the French presses to the campfire pot, to the delightfully simple drip coffee maker; it’s easier than ever to enjoy coffee.  Growing up, I remember my mother drinking her morning cup of coffee.  She had her own little routine.  First she would fill the tea kettle with water, put it on the stove and heat to a near boil, spoon some Maxwell House (“Good to the Last Drop”) Instant Coffee into her  cup and add the hot water.  She even used a spoon and a saucer with her cup!

Going to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner was something special.  Coffee was made from real coffee grounds in a percolator.  It  looked like a tall silver tea-pot that was heated by electricity.  After dinner Grandma would serve the coffee – in her good china.

I didn’t start drinking coffee until I realized motherhood required more awake time versus sleep time.  I started out using instant coffee like my mother.  Then my sweet Hubby invested in one of those new fangled drip coffee makers.  I was on my way!  Like the early Muslims, my  morning coffee became a spiritual affair.  I drank my coffee as I read my Bible before the babies woke up.  That’s a habit I like to continue even though my babies are all grown, and some with babies of their own.  They have discovered the wonders of the coffee bean as well.

So, once again, Happy Birthday Star Bucks.  Here’s to the next 40 years of good coffee!

Living Nostalgicly

Our new apartment is in a nice secluded, woodsy setting.  We are also located about a mile away from a well used railroad track.  Several times a day, if we listen, we can hear the whistle blow and the clackity clack of the train rumbling down the tracks.  It’s a nice sound . . . from a mile away.

My daughter and her family live a bit closer to the tracks.  Last summer we drove from our home in Wisconsin for a family vacation with two of our daughters and their families.  Knowing the house would be full of babies, Hubby and I decided it would make things easier if we set up our camping tent in the back yard.  So we pitched our tent among the trees.  Wow, camping in Northern Minnesota on Memorial Day weekend.  How cool is that?!

The first night sleeping in the tent brought back fond memories of past camping trips.  Back in Washington State.  Just as we were falling asleep, we were jarred awake by the ground shaking under our air mattress.  EARTHQUAKE!!  (Hubby is a Seattle native).  A few seconds later we heard the whistle blow, and then the rush of the train.  It went on and on and on.  Maybe camping near a railroad track isn’t so nice.

Sound is one of the senses that brings back memories.  The sound of the train brings back a special memory for me.  My maternal grandparents owned a little country grocery store in a little village consisting of  their store, the post office, a church, and a grain mill.  The post office sat between my grandparents store, and the railroad line.  A very well used railroad line.  Needless to say, at regular times during the day, things really rocked and rolled at Grandpa’s grocery store.

As young children, my sister and I had many opportunities to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Their ‘house’ was a large apartment above their grocery store.  We would sleep in the spare bedroom located near the back of the building.  On the side facing the tracks.  Sleeping in the spare room was an exciting and scary adventure for a couple of little girls.  It was a room seldom used, so it was full of mystery.  It had a dresser and a comfy old bed.  Boxes of Grandma’s yarn  stacked up in a corner, and the stairs to the attic added to the mystery.  But the greatest excitement of sleeping in the back room was hearing and feeling the train as it made its scheduled run past Grandpa’s store.

Every time I hear the train go by our apartment, I’m transported back in time to the big old bed  in the spare room above Grandma and Grandpa’s store.