Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

I Double Dawg Dare You

FOR THOSE OF US WITH JUST A LITTLE BIT OF “CRAZY” IN US.

OK, consider yourself challenged.  Pick one of the above and try it out.  My personal favorites are number 2, 3 and 7.  Return with your stories of how it worked out for you, ESPECIALLY if you choose number 9.  Add pictures or videos to support your claim that you took the challenge if you wish.

Now, just because I am challenging you does not mean I am responsible for Bail money should things go wrong during your performance of the task.  I have to run to McDonald’s now so I can try out Number 4.  Wish me luck!

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This is a great blog about writing book reviews.

Linda Taylor: Writer, Editor, Speaker

I just got off the phone with my friend, L. Marie, who recently created a blog, “Thoughts about writing and life.” I’m thrilled that she’s blogging! We chatted about Literary Citizenship and how she needs this online presence in order to impress the agents where she’s currently shopping her young adult fantasy book. She has an MFA and is a terrific writer—but she realized that she needed to get online and join the literary world. I talked to her all about what we’re doing in our class; we talked through WordPress and how to add hyperlinks and tags. She’s on a roll now!

She’s also an avid reader, so I encouraged her to do reviews of books (her current blog is a movie review that ties into her writing). And wouldn’t you know it, our Lit Cit class is talking about that very topic this week. Book reviews are…

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Life Before Cell Phones

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Oh, yes, contrary to popular beliefs or fading memories; there was life before cell phones.  For some of you younger readers, this will be a small history lesson; for my fellow Baby Boomers, it will be a hip and a hop down memory lane.

In the beginning, phones were not slim, attractive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Phone conversations required you to yell into the mouthpiece to make sure you could be heard over the miles or when calling your next door neighbor.
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Early phone use required a middle man, known as a phone operator, who used what was called a switchboard to connect you to the person you were calling.  Rural areas usually had a woman operator with a first name like “Jenny.”  The Jennys of the world held a place of great honor in the community.  Since she could listen in to phone conversations, she was the “go to” person for local gossip.  She was also the person that you could count on to get a doctor to your house, send a sheriff to chase those trespassers off your land or round-up your neighbors when your barn was on fire.

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With the entrance of direct dialing, we waved goodbye to Jenny and only called her when we needed to make a long distance call.  Party lines were the norm now, and the new source of gossip, since you could listen in to the conversations of the other parties on your line.  But, it wasn’t as good as having Jenny; you often didn’t have any idea of who that person was that shared your phone line.  But, many people passed the time by listening anyway.

With the departure of operator assisted calls, we got phones that we didn’t have to crank; the new phones required a one-finger operation to turn a rotary dial.  These are the phones that I remember growing up with.  Believe it or not, I still remember our phone number: EDison5-2612.  Different towns were assigned different names so you could use word association to remember the first two letters of a phone number (park, trees, FOrest).

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Now, rotary phones had one major drawback.  Once you stuck your finger in the right hole, you had to make sure the dial went all the way to the right.  If you paused mid rotation, you had to start all over again.  There was no such thing as making a “quick” call with these phones; it took at least a minute or two to dial the damn number.

The phone industry felt our pain and developed the touch-tone phone.  Now, we still had to use a finger digit, but we could do it faster! Answering machines could now be attached to or were built into our new touch-tone phones.  We could record those important phone calls that we missed when we were away from home: bill collectors, your nagging ex or the person you drunkenly gave your number to in the bar last night!  It was a wonderful thing!

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With the popularity of cell phones (or the downright necessity of having one, according to some people), the home phone is beginning to slowly fade away.  People have no use for the clunky design and limited features and find it redundant to have a home phone and a cell phone service.  People today cannot imagine waiting until they get home to find out who called in their absence, and you can’t text on a home phone.  God forbid we not be able to text!  What would we do all day?

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson or trip down memory lane.  I will leave the history of the cell phone to the younger generation.  I don’t think that I could live long enough to list all the changes in the cell phone industry.  But, I’ll start them off with a picture of one of the first cell phones on the market.

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Before I forget!  You can still reach Jenny by dialing “O.”  She’ll help you with a call when you find you want to dump the charges on someone else or if you’re only allowed to make one collect call by your arresting officer.  Or, you can reach her by dialing 411.  You’ll find she’s still a wealth of information!

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Blogging From The Heart..Writing From The Soul

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I was talking to a friend a few days ago and I told her how excited I was to be blogging.  I explained that I had always dreamed of being a writer and I had finally found the venue to work on my writing.  She looked confused and I asked her why.  She said that she understood blogging to be part of a social network, where you post your family pictures, or silly posters and you kept people updated on your life.  So, what did blogging have to do with being a writer?  Bloggers write journals while writers publish books was her point of view, so what did one have to do with another?  I told her it was hard to explain and we moved on to another subject.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about that conversation.  I wondered if I was using my blog site as a means to socialize or to put some serious writing out to the public.  I’ve come to realize that I can do both and still achieve my writing goals.

The pieces I write can vary from one day to the next.  Some of the posts I write come from the heart; some of the pieces come from my soul.

When I write a post about a subject that I find ironic, funny or touches me in some way, I write from my heart.  I write about my views as I see them and I write these posts to get things off my chest or to to cheer myself up.  I enjoy writing them and from the feedback I get; some of the readers enjoy them too.  I visualize this writing as conversations with friends and when I read your posts, I am reading them as a friend, even if I don’t know you from Adam.  It’s fun therapy for me and I love it with a passion.

I have also written pieces about my past, about my family and about events in my life.  These are the things I have written from my soul.  It is sometimes painful to pull these memories and write about them.  But, I believe that these pieces were some of my best and will lead me to being a better writer.  I listen closely to the feedback from the readers and I learn from their comments.

I also learn different things from reading the posts of my fellow bloggers.  I learn about your lives, your feelings and your take on life.  I read some of these posts as a friend; I read some of them as a writer.  I learn daily from all of your posts and apply those lessons to expanding my writing skills.  And, I thank you for that!

My ultimate goal is to write short stories or even a novel.  I realize that what I have been trying to do by blogging is to find a way to write from both my heart and my soul, blend those two worlds together.  And I believe that blogging has me on the right path to achieving those goals.

So, there is really no difference between blogging and writing.  It’s all in how you want to use the medium to achieve your specific goals.  And, that’s what I’m going to tell my friend the next time I see her!

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A Little Gloating Going On

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Oh yeah.  Why? Well, let me give you a little back story.  Danny and I have a friend named Jerry; we have been friends with him for years.  His wife, who we loved dearly, passed away about four years ago.  Last year Jerry met a woman named Joan and they have become a couple.  I don’t like Joan, plain and simple.  She is loud, bossy, rude and generally unlikable; but Jerry seems happy with her, so we tolerate her..barely.

For the past year, I have had to listen to Joan brag about her 13 year-old granddaughter, whose beauty and talent is unsurpassed (according to Joan).  Now, I have a 13 year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth.  I am a proud grandmother, but I don’t flash pictures of my girl and exclaim on how she is the prettiest child alive.  Joan does.  I don’t claim that my granddaughter will be a star because she appeared in a school musical (once)  and I won’t flash the pictures that a professional photographer took to promote the event.  Joan does.  I don’t force people to listen to me brag for hours on end about her glorious granddaughter.  Joan does.  She gloats.

Now, for those of you who don’t know what gloating is, I’ll fill you in.  According to my pal Wikipedia, its to exhibit a conspicuous sense of self-satisfaction, often at an adversary’s misfortune.  In my book, it means shoveling up crap and rubbing it In Your Face!

I understand taking pride in the accomplishments of your grandchildren.  I get that..but to have to sit and listen to this woman go on and on and on gets tedious.  Now, you might think this is all sour grapes on my part but I would have to beg to differ with you.

Elizabeth has her own share of accomplishments, but I don’t yell about them from the rooftops.  If you ask me if I have a picture of her, I’ll show you the latest school photo.  I won’t carry a folder with the professional shots taken of her, I keep those at home on the walls.  I might mention that she won 3rd place in the town’s singing contest and quietly slide the newspaper with her picture on the front across the table for you to see.  I might complain of all the traveling I have to do to see my granddaughter sing at different venues in and outside of town.  And I might talk about her latest straight A report card and let you know that she’s been in accelerated learning classes since 1st grade.  But, I never gloat.

Well,  the gloves are coming off.  I’ve got the right ammunition now to shoot Joan’s constant bragging down and bring her to her knees.  I’m gonna gloat and I’m gonna gloat big time.  How?

This is how…may I HUMBLY present my granddaughter, Elizabeth An D’Amico, shown here on the COVER of the March Issue of the Harbor Style Magazine.

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TAKE THAT, JOAN!

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The Gifts We Love..And Hate

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We’ve all been there.  A loved one or a friend hands you a gift, wrapped with care and watches as you open it.  You carefully tear off the paper and realize that you have just gotten another totally useless gift.  We’ve all gotten them at one time or the other: the orange sweater (you hate the color orange), the hand-knitted wool scarf (you’re allergic to wool) or the bottle of Tabu (you’ve always associated this fragrance with the smell of old socks).

You will smile and exclaim how this gift is just what you wanted!  The gift giver thinks that they have won the day and you are thinking of the shelves in the closet that hold other gifts from the past and wonder if there’s room for just one more.  At least, that’s what I do.

I have no wish to hurt the friend or a loved one’s feelings by acting less than thrilled with what they have taken the time, effort and thought put into choosing a gift that is meant  to please me.  It’s not their fault they failed, it’s mine.  They can’t know all my likes and dislikes (although my SO seems to turn a deaf ear to my preferences every once in a while) and I always appreciate the gesture.

Now, I have received some really memorable gifts from my SO in the past years.  I’ll never forget the new vacuum cleaner I received at Christmas; I’ll always treasure the pots and pans he presented me with on Mother’s Day, and who wouldn’t be happy to get a new leaf blower for their birthday!

I know that a popular practice for disposing of unwanted gifts today is to “Re-gift” those presents.  I can’t do this because my memory is not what it should be and I fear returning the item to the original gift giver.  I don’t think I could tap-dance my way around that embarrassing moment.

I’m afraid to exchange the gift for something I could really like.  What if I’m asked why I’m not wearing that hideous sweater and I’m unable to whip it off the shelf to prove I still have it?  And, there is always the danger of running into the gift giver at the return counter, just as I’m telling the clerk how much I hate Tabu.  No, not worth the risk..it’s not worth the risk at all.

Some people don’t feel the need to hold back their displeasure though.  I read a post from a fellow blogger that she bought her husband the wrong candy for Valentine’s Day.  He loved chocolate covered cherries, so she thought Italian truffles would really thrill him.  She was unaware that her man hated almonds and hazelnuts, which were used liberally in the truffles she had lovingly purchased.  So, instead of pretending to appreciate this upgrade in confections, he circled the offending ingredients on the label and left it out for her to “learn” not to make the same mistake in the future.  I’m sorry, Peggy, but I’m afraid I would have put those truffles where the sun don’t shine.

Although I may not be able to use a gift or it’s not exactly my cup of tea or I just outright hate the item itself, I love any gift that someone gives me and I will treasure it.  It could be an empty box and I would love it (sometimes I would even prefer it.  The shelves in my closet are starting to overflow.)

So, I hope that the next time you receive a gift that you’ll never use or really dislike, you’ll dig deep and give the gift giver a warm smile and a big thank you.  You’ll pretend that it is the Best. Gift. Ever!  Remember, one of your gifts that you thought was the perfect present might just be sitting on someone’s closet shelf, hated with a passion but stored with love.

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Put your politics aside and read this funny post.

Counterpoint

Political-Podium

by Keith Yancy

I couldn’t resist.

Watching the recent Ram Truck ad (click this link to see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMpZ0TGjbWE) and hearing the unmistakable, melodic voice of Paul Harvey inspired me to create my own version of his speech.  I wish Harvey could read it with that wonderful voice and style of his.  Not really sure why, just felt like writing this and having some fun with it.

And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a source of frustration — so God made a politician.

God said I need somebody willing to take both sides of an issue, argue passionately for and against the same principles, have lunch, take both sides of an issue again, pause for a photo-op, eat dinner then go to a political rally and stay past midnight reminding people of how you enjoy spending evenings with your family…

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What Do You Do When You’ve Got Nothing?

At times, my muse takes off to parts unknown and leaves me flat.  So, I got to wondering how my fellow writers tackle the problem.  When you’ve got nothing, and I mean nothing to write about, are any of the following the path you choose to take?

Do you spend hours dressing up your pet so you can take it’s picture?  This usually doesn’t bode well for human and dog relationships.

Do you dig through your photo library and dig out the only picture you haven’t shared yet, which happens to be a picture of you, stuffing your face with ribs?  The obvious display of beer, cigarettes and barbeque sauce dripping off your chin might not be good for your image!

Or, do you cruise through the Internet to find a special, motivational message?  One that you feel represents your true, inner feelings?

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Do you pull out all the stops and insert a video with cute, adorable kids because not many people can resist cute, adorable kids?

So, what do you do when your Muse has left the building?  Any suggestions?

Me?…I got nuthin!

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This must stop before we lose one more child to bullying.

The New B.P

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The sad truth, some can’t watch due to the story line and the realistic ending, the truth of the matter is, as long as we pay a blind eye, pretending our eyes don’t see, so by ignoring the problem, our hearts will not feel their pain, meanwhile kids are dying, taking their own lives, well I’m here to put it in your face until you see what I see, reach out and please share the video and help spread awareness of Bullying, to torment a child to this extreme, a silent killer of children.

Short Video on Bullying

Written & Directed by A.J. Carter. Winner of 10 international film awards, this stunning short film set in the rural wheat belt of Western Australia, provides a candid insight into the life of Ronan (David Lazarus), a 14 yr old boy who’s been bullied at school his whole life. This accurate &…

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Valentine’s Day – Not Just Another Hallmark Moment

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Valentine’s Day is here!  Little one’s are bringing their valentines for their teachers and classmates; woman are wondering what their lovers have in store for them and men are storming the stores to get the perfect gift for their girl.  Romantic dinners will abound, jewelry will be presented with the long-awaited question of “Will you?” and chocolates presented in velvet red boxes will be consumed by the tons.  Oh, yes, love is in the air!

But, who started this festival of love?  Well, against popular belief, it wasn’t Hallmark.  Valentines Day traditions started centuries ago and are celebrated in many countries.

The most popular legend of how Valentine’s Day started dates back to around 270 A.D., with a priest named Valentinus.  Now, the priest was imprisoned for thumbing his nose at the Roman Empires laws regarding soldiers marrying and he also had the nerve to give aid and comfort to Christians.  This was a big no-no in that day and age.  While he was in prison, he cured his jailer’s daughter, Julia, of her blindness.  Before he was executed, he sent a letter of farewell to her and signed it, “From your Valentine.”  After his death, Julia planted an almond tree in his honor.  And, so it began.  He was later proclaimed a saint and now Valentine’s Day is known as “The Feast of St. Valentine.”

Now, Chaucer was the first to write about this day of love in 1392 in his poem, “Parlement of Foules” where he wrote “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”  It’s been argued that February is too soon for birds to be mating; if you were born in November or you know someone who was, count back the months.  Someone was feeling the love in February!

In the 1700’s a publisher issued a book titled “The Young Man’s Valentine Writer” for those guys that couldn’t think up their own Valentine greetings for their gals.  Printers had started printing a few cards and verses known as “mechanical valentines.”  This started the card industry as we know it today.  Over the years, paper and lace cards were replaced with mass produced Valentines and now we have e-cards flooding cyberspace.

In the second half of the 20th century, cards were no longer enough.  The practice of giving candy, flowers and other gifts became the norm.  The 1980’s ushered in the jewelry industry pushing their diamonds as a must have for women with serious lovers.

So, guys, when you’re putting a dent in that charge card, you can blame St. Valentine.  And, ladies, while you’re flashing your diamonds; you can look to the heavens and thank the man who started it all with a simple “From your Valentine.”

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