Sunday, September 25, 2016

Acadia National Park - Maine

Acadia National Park is the oldest national park East of the Mississippi, located on the East Coast of the USA, in Maine.

During our visit, it was cloudy, foggy, and sometimes raining.  Here is MY photo of  the area called, "the Bubbles".
The view of "the Bubbles" on the day I was there
Here is one of the more official photos of "the Bubbles." The two mounds in the distance are officially called "the Bubbles" but the locals have called them "the bubies" (or boobies) because it is obviously a woman lying on her back exposing her boobs.

The Bubbles at Arcadia National Park
Because my photos of Arcadia National Park are all pretty much crap, I'm linking to some photos to show how beautiful and peaceful the place really is.

Acadia National Park - Maine
Rocky Coast Lines
Cadillac Mountain Summit
The area was carved by glaciers and the place is filled with granite rocks, making the geology of the place pretty spectacular. You can feel that sense of calm, beauty, and purity, even in the fog and rain.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Toddler Ponderings

"These are the things I want us do and play today..."

"no, no, no...I don't want to hear about the things we are SUPPOSED to do!"

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Point Reyes National Park in California

Point Reyes is one of the National Parks in California. It is a peninsula that includes wild coastal beaches, headlands, estuaries, and uplands. It is also THE windiest and foggiest place on the Pacific Coast (according to official weather records). It is also the closest National Park to San Francisco.

Here is a high level view of this coastal area (photo from Wikipedia).
There is also a lovely and sandy beach that Sir Francis Drake, the English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era, most likely saw when he landed here. He thought the cliffs were similar to the white cliffs of Dover, and that was the same impression I had, too.
Tamales Bay is beautiful with very calm waters and a great place for smooth water kayaking. There is a place to rent kayaks as well as take lessons. I took the fam here once to go kayaking, and we saw so many jelly fish. There are also oyster farms in this bay, so if you like oysters, it's a great place to satisfy that desire, too.
The different National Parks have a different kind of feel in each park. Point Reyes, for me, is a place filled with the "energy of calm and support." It is a rather nourishing place. A few hours here seems to fill you up in ways other places can not.  It's just a lovely little place to get your tank refilled.

Shark Bite Ice Cream from Nova Scotia

While visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, we saw this advertisement on the sidewalk of this fishing village.

Daily Special - worms with bite
"Freshly caught gummy worms wiggling on shark bite ice cream with strawberry sauce and pop rocks, allured a cloud of whipped cream and a cherry sun. $5.00 + tax"
I thought this was the most awful marketing ploy I had ever seen! But ya know what happened next? We went INTO the store to SEE what this was. The next thing you knew, we were getting a taste of the Shark Bite ice cream, and then we both went YUMMMMMM! This is SOOOO GOOD! It is made with fresh local blue berries and had swirls of strawberry jam (to depict the blood from a shark biting you).
This awful marketing sign made me change my mind about their tactics. After all, it worked! It got me in the store to try their product. I left with a smile on my face, a satisfied tummy, and wanted to see some of their local sharks dripping strawberry syrup from their teeth.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I can help you with your lunch

What a wonderful big brother the Bambino is. He can even help his sister with her lunch, even doing some of his own tasting along the way...

Monday, September 5, 2016

If I want it, I'll get it

The Bambina is one of those kids who loves her pacifier and she has effectively trained us to always keep one handy.

But what I found amazing was her recent ability to swoop down and get the pacifier in her mouth without requiring any hands or outside help.

I was a bit in awe when I first saw this - that little tyke had the motivation and focus to get what she wanted. She no longer needed us to be ready to plop one in her mouth when she felt the need for comfort. It was an example of another baby step toward independence - a problem she solved all on her own. I thought this was rather remarkable.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Observing the Intuitive Learning Process of 2 Grandkids

As a relatively new grandma, I've become fascinated with what the grandkids learn on their own versus what they mimic from others. For example, when the kiddos were around 3 months old, each became fascinated with their hands. For the Bambino, he focused much of his time and energy on this discovery. This seemed to last several weeks and it was fascinating to observe.

For the Bambina, the whole hand and finger discovery seemed to quickly begin and then end in the blink of the eye. It almost was if she said, "oh, I have hands and fingers. Hmm. I better figure this out and see what's next. OK, done! Next..."

This experience of observing what the two kiddo's discover and learn on their own, and then how it may be the same or different from their sibling, really resonated with me. It was as if I now had a front row seat of the human development process, in part, just because I was a grandma!

The two kiddos change quickly, easily, and constantly so watching and interacting with them is absolutely fascinating! But what is so great about watching this show is that it always ends with a hug, kiss and a loving wave good-bye. Now how cool is that? 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Guardian of the Playground Galaxy

"Are you SURE you want to go in there?" asks the Bambina. "It may change your ENTIRE life!"

"It changed mine - it even made my hair stand up it was so thrilling!"

Thursday, September 1, 2016

California has 9 National Parks

We are on a new quest, in the Q family, to visit all the National Parks. There are 58 National Parks

and 9 of them are in California.

And so the adventure begins...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Oils for the skin

There are lots of different oils a person can use on their skin.

Essential oils come from a plant and are considered "essential" because it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance. Essential oils are used for things like skin treatments, aroma therapy, and massage.

There are also other plant-based oils like olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, macadamia nut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil - all which can be used on the skin (as well as in cooking).

And THEN there are oils that come from the process of refining crude oil, like mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and baby oil.
  • Mineral oil is a liquid by-product of refining crude oil 
  • Baby oil is just perfumed mineral oil, and  
  • Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is also from crude oil refining, originally coming from the coating at the bottom of oil rigs
If you are interested in essential oils, I thought this was a good overview of the different essential oils and their uses.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bike Riding with the Q's

Bike riding is fun!  Especially if you are the passenger - and also get snacks.

New Kingdom of Trains

Since his b-day, Bambino now is the king of many trains and his sister has assumed the role of a lounging princess.

Harry Potter in Training?

California is in a drought. We no longer have fountains with water. So, my question is this; Did the Bambino get a magic wand and get the water to flow?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bambino turns 3!

The kiddo turned 3 and celebrated this milestone moment with friends and family at Arden Farm

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The unleashing of an engineer in training

The kiddo is expanding his use of household raw materials....

to construct a new railroad system in his abode.

I'm glad he's not exploring chemistry.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Office food fight?

"I had a hard day at the office...

and NO, I don't want to talk about it!" says the Bambina.

Life's Pleasures are More Intense When you are a Senior

Anyone 62 or older is considered a senior citizen. How do I know this? Because the local Chinese Restaurant has a sign posted giving 10% discounts to senior citizens, and in small print (which is obviously from their attorney) it clarifies this means 62+.

Many of my senior citizen friends will bemoan the fact how growing old has left them with crows feet, a sagging neck waddle, and age spots. These types of reports seem to imply that everything about being a senior citizen is yukky. Well, it isn't. There are some pretty amazing things that happen when you become a senior citizen that often are not shared. It's like everyone wants to keep it a secret, but really, we should be shouting this from the rooftops, because there are some other things that happen that are pretty darn incredible!

We all know that each life stage has pros and cons, but we sometimes forget about the yukky stuff in a prior stage, like acne. Remember that one? But in THIS stage of being a senior citizen, the pros are pretty incredible and in fact, some are downright unbelievable!

During THIS stage, the LIFE PLEASURES ARE MORE INTENSE!  It's almost as if everything is now CLEAR AND VIBRANT, and you didn't even know it had been cloudy and filtered.But NOW, you are suddenly experiencing ALL of life's little pleasures with much more intensity and clarity than ever before.

For example, I was eating a banana and SUDDENLY my entire self was engaged in this and the intensity of the flavor, textures, and whole experience became AMAZING. I mean, how many times have I eaten a banana before and hardly noticed? A lot. But NOW, almost every time I consume food, it is an EXTRA-ORDINARY experience. All my taste buds are ON as if this is the time in their life they are in full bloom. Textures, smells, and colors of the food also contribute to this sensual orgy.

And it isn't just food and the flavors that are more intense - all my senses are now in overdrive. I will be taking a walk and suddenly stop because the shape of the oak tree is absolutely exquisite and I feel the need to pause and be part of that trees history. The connection I feel to NATURE is now something so deep, it is almost mesmerizing.

Or, when I go outside in the early morning hours, I am hit with the cool, clear air and a big smile suddenly breaks through my face because of the joy that morning chill brings to my entire being and soul.

Witnessing a sunsets, or smelling a new gardenia that just bloomed, or listening to music - anything where the sense are engaged, now places me in almost a meditative-like zone" of total inner peace.

I believe the intensity of these sensual experiences is something that just kicks in at a certain stage of life, like puberty kicks in for a teenager. This heightening of ones senses seems to now be in overdrive just by reaching this stage of life.

I am absolutely astonished by this. I had no idea there was something so amazing to look forward to and experience - but there you have it! This stage is like the cherry on the top of a hot fudge sundae. Pretty WONDROUS!

For all the other senior citizens out there, I hope you are also feeling this heightened awareness with your senses so that life's pleasures fill your entire being. Undoubtedly, this is best life phase so far. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Beat Bugs - a Cartoon a Grandparent can also Love

If you are a grandparent who grew up with the Beatles, you should know about this new kids cartoon series on Netflix called "Beat Bugs." The stories use songs like “Help!,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Come Together,” “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Magical Mystery Tour.”

As soon as the first cartoon started I thought "WHAT? Hey, I know this song!" and started to sing along. The kidlets looked at me like I was from another planet, but hey, part of what they have to learn in life is to suck up grandparent weirdness and just go with the flow. So, I continued singing along, enhancing to the quality of the cartoon.

What is also surprising, is the cartoon series uses singers you probably know. I was amazed to hear P!NK, Sia, and Chris Cornel - all of who are part of my favorite artists - which was pretty cool, too - especially since these artists already "know" what I can bring to their renditions of music.

Netflix also recently announced they are next creating a new season using Motown songs from Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder.  Now, THAT will be something to look forward to.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Strut and pose

She just learned to walk, and now it's the "model strut and pose"...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kids at Play

The Bambina is starting to chat more and seems to have lots to say while playing trains with her brother, Bambino.
I find this video absolutely delightful - they not only play well together, they seem to have a deep respect for each other - even at such a young age.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

this is what happens at gramz house

This is what we do at Gramz house; we eat...

we play ball....

we gather rocks

we let dad nap

and stop letting dad nap, then we laugh.

Good times!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Last of the monthly photoshoots

"It's time for ANOTHER monthly photo shoot?" asks the Bambina.

"What am I this month?  I'm TWELVE?!"


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Lessons from Granddad

Granddad teaches the kiddo how to change a tire.

This is a much better instruction than in my playbook - which would have been showing the kiddo how to call AAA.