Posts Tagged ‘humor’

My grandchildren are fabulous and funny. (Erica Jong)

Nine-year-old Rebe (Rebecca) announces that it is time to play. Her tone suggests Grandma hasn’t been feeling well and needs more entertainment and less work. At the same time, she is here to entertain and be entertained. It’s the nature of the grandparent/grandchild relationship.

Imagination explodes through these small rooms as Rebe and thirteen-year-old Kate feed off one idea after another.

“I’m getting married,” Rebe announces.

She’s marrying a famous film star Kate suggests. However, Rebe constantly calls him by the wrong name, Ansel.

“You’re marrying someone, and don’t know his name?” I ask.

“That’s okay. I’ll just call him sweetie.”

She leaves the room to hunt for bridal gowns—at a local dollar outlet.

On the offbeat wedding day with the famous-actor-without-an-identity groom. Kate and Rebe design the veil: a shawl, held securely on her head with a pair of antediluvian white cotton underwear.

Then, seconds after Rebe removes the bridal dress, one of my white t-shirts, she is ready to deliver her first child. Or rather fifteen babies.

I don’t have anywhere near that many dolls and stuffed animals. Our fertile mama’s hyperbole delivery lowers to ten infants. Kate improvises the last child. She designs a creature from some of my summer clothes, and a pillow, held together with an Ace wrap and stretch band, with a toy Dora, the Explorer backpack head.

My grandchildren’s ingenuity can’t stay wrapped around pillows and scattered across the floor as make-believe infants forever. However, I celebrate this moment and cough through laughs.

No life is perfect. Illness, as well as problems both personal and world-wide, interfere and must be faced. Yet, beauty is not dead. I see it in two pair of bright eyes and hear it in two young voices.

I can echo Erica Jong: my grandchildren are mighty fabulous and funny, too. And I am grateful.



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Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. (Carl Sagan)

I laugh at my middle granddaughter Rebecca’s antics long after she leaves with Daddy. She loves to play with an old pair of crutches that are too big for a nine-year-old girl. Each time she has a different pretend reason why she needs them.

Today’s reason: “I have boneless disease.”

She relays the surgical procedure, including plastic-skull placement with an occasional ouch; then she rises from a chair and reaches for the crutches. The OR is our backyard. She claims that all she needs to sustain her now, besides the beloved crutches, is a house filled with medicine. She pretends to swallow the first roomful.

I smile on the outside and chuckle internally.

“You raised my daddy. You raised my daddy,” she repeats the same line with a rising chuckle. Yet, I know she wants to be just like her father.

Rebe’s daddy, Gregory Petersen, is an author and a stand-up comic. Rebe’s wit is already sharp. Moreover, she has my complete attention, and she thrives on it.

When she is not in pretend-mode, Rebe is one-hundred percent honest. Two years ago, when I gave her a signed copy of The Curse Under the Freckles, a middle-grade fantasy, she took one look at it and asked where the pictures were. She knows I write, but she sees me as her ancient playmate.

Imagination doesn’t need to disappear with childhood. I happen to be a very old youngster.

By late spring, early summer, the sequel to my first book will appear—Stinky, Rotten, Threats. (No link yet. All is in progress.)

Chase Powers and his magic woods friends are attending summer school. Chase failed sixth grade—he studies both everyday fractions as well as how to use magical skills. His friends are self-motivated. They have natural smarts; they grew up with magic.

Of course, even school in a magical setting doesn’t follow the teacher’s plan. The adults in Chase’s family enter the woods for instruction, and Chase sees how much trouble newbies can be. Add interference from the evil Malefics… Then, Chase sees a change in the magical world he could never imagine even with the most potent tools.

Boneless disease never appears in my story. That fantasy belongs to my granddaughter.

Chase Powers is a fantasy character in a world that does not exist. However, his character thinks, feels, and acts like a twelve-year-old boy.  Anna, his friend, is a near-genius who has a knack for unintentionally getting under Chase’s skin, the way real people do sometimes.

Even so, something incredible is about to happen.  In the story, and in real life. Yes, a lot of bad news rolls off commentators’ tongues with the same tone of voice used to forecast a partly cloudy day. Ugliness is real.

However, so is beauty. A friend calls. A child draws a picture—just for Grandma, Mommy or the dog. Not all brightness comes from sun. Hope is like a seed, or a plot. You can’t tell how it will grow in the beginning.

I do hope you will bother to turn a page that promises a lead out of darkness. Of course, I would recommend my own work. However, if anyone has suggestions for inspirational titles, go for it. I am always glad to hear about a good, positive-minded book.

Peace, and may something incredible touch all.

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You can never spend enough time with children. (Dwayne Hickman)

Dakota sits in the Captain’s chair as he punches tickets for passengers. When he isn’t driving an imaginary boat, I use that seat to work at the computer. (However, when I write I don’t use the swivel function for steering.) Dakota is spending time with me and Jay because his mommy is working toward a degree. She is in class, and Dakota isn’t. He is recovering from an ear infection. With the same speed he does everything else, quickly.

“How much are the tickets?” I ask, knowing that as a crew member this question would be ludicrous. Uh, shouldn’t that be printed somewhere on a board with letters the size of the E on an eye chart? Dakota is in a fantasy world. I am investigating his play. For fun. Imagination adjusts the rules.

“Three dollars.”

That sounds reasonable. However, after a few more hole punches and the tiny centers create confetti on the rug, he hands me the next ticket. “Four dollars.”

From my point of view the cost difference is either for inflation or the cost of clean-up. Then he turns, eyes wide. “This one is twenty-three-hundred dollars.”

For the boat? “Wow! That seat must be really special.”

His eyes sparkle. I manage not to laugh out loud, and he nods. I place the ticket, representing the position of the paying passenger, next to his chair.

My little buddy is priceless.

I had other plans for today, nothing set in stone, only in intention—to finish more projects than possible. Instead, I received the opportunity to meet heart-to-heart with an almost six-year-old boy, a far richer time for my spirit.

Dakota takes a picture of me while I take one of him.


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Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. (John Lennon)

Today. Finally. I’ll get a few errands completed. Even though old man winter is mocking the bright blue sky by plunging the temperature below ten degrees. My key opens the lock on the door of my 1997 Toyota on the second try.

The ignition responds. Unfortunately, the door doesn’t close—not because the seat belt is in the way. I pull the door shut and try to hold it sufficiently tight to lock, with the false hope that it will stay there. Oh, sure, the lock catches, but the door is not properly positioned—and I can’t get it unlocked again.

Great! I. Am. Stuck. Inside. This. Car. And Jay is at the auto repair shop now getting an oil change for his car. Naturally, my purse and phone are in the house. I am simply warming little green for a minute or two. My old car has decided it doesn’t want to go anywhere.

Now, if I can get the window to open… I press the buttons. The windows lower only on the passenger side. That means I get to climb over the gear shift, pray I don’t drop the keys out the window, and open the door from that side.

Hallelujah! I’m sprung. Little green Toyota remains iced, but at least I can call to see if Jay is still at our friend’s repair shop. Our friend suggests Jay make a simple repair with a spray; it does not work. Jay and I both drive back to the shop—not in our neighborhood. He follows, as my car-dian angel.

The warm drive allows the door to relax and behave as if nothing had ever been wrong with it. Ack! Ack! Triple ack. At least my-car-that-could-be-almost-classic-if-it-didn’t-resemble-a-demolition-derby-look-alike gets an oil change. And I learn to cover my key with the point of a pencil (graphite.) Graphite in the form of a pencil point or graphite spray helps to loosen the lock.

Of course, this cure only helps in models old enough to earn rust stains. My vehicle fits in that category. Little green is not old enough to remember carburetors, however.

My errands will wait for tomorrow. Maybe. Fate, the weather, Armageddon? Whatever tomorrow brings, I’m grateful not to be a four-foot eleven-inch ice cube.



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Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it. (Mike Myers)

I watch my sons interact with their children. Both the games and the more serious moments. And I see men who are creating relationships, not simply setting rules from an I’m-boss position. Sure, my sons set limits. But they also let Katie, Rebe, and Ella know it is okay to reach for stars. The girls are worth whatever effort it takes.

In addition, my younger son helps with the care of his fiancé’s son. When Dakota was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered, “A daddy like Steve.”

What more could I want?

And yet my sons give to me as well.

A few days ago I called Greg, my firstborn son, when I was in a difficult and frightening situation. I was away at a writers’ retreat and my wallet was not in my backpack. I knew my husband was swimming at the Y. I asked Greg, “Are you home?”

He didn’t say yes or no. He answered, “What do you need?” And while he had very little time he stopped at my house and searched my couch cushions for the missing wallet. And then he called my cell and let me know he had not found it, but would help in whatever way he could.

I figured out where I had left my wallet with all its essential interior parts later—after stopping credit cards and replacing my driver’s license. All my money and identification cards were locked in a restaurant safe. And I sent Greg a voice message to let him know all was well. However, he must not have received the message yet when I called about something less important. He answered his cell even though he was busy at work. Of course I told him we could finish the secondary business later. And we did, while making plans for Father’s Day weekend and for the next day Grandpa and I have with his girls—our grandchildren.

Once again, what more could I want?

Not that long ago I called Steve in a state of near panic. I’d gotten lost on my way to a funeral. And never made it to the service. My husband was out of town at the time. While I knew my friends would forgive my absence, I had difficulty forgiving me. Steve, his girlfriend Cecelia, (also my good buddy) Ella, and Dakota seemed to know exactly what to say—and exactly when to simply listen. Yes, even the children seemed to be aware on some level.

When I was able to let my husband know about the incident, Jay offered me the same kind of listening ear and positive feedback.

This is a blog, not a full-length memoir. I can’t tell every story.

I am blessed. What more could I want?

Then, of course, there is the humor the men in my life provide. All three of my Petersen men know how to enhance a celebration or lighten a sad situation. Greg and Steve have a mock rivalry going about who is the good son. They have even signed cards or notes that way.  It’s the family inside joke.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Jay, Greg, and Steve. My mantra of gratitude repeats: What more could I want?

Happy Fathers Day


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Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it. (Jodi Picoult)

I read the notice, but my brain interprets it in its own way: This road will be closed from April 23 until it is ready for the landing of the Apocalypse ship. Sure, I know another way to get to the Y. But, I’m not certain where the construction begins and ends. And part of that road leads to our friend’s auto repair shop.

My car is running okay, but it is a 1997 model—old by mechanical standards. And I have no idea how soon the ship will land. Okay, I’m exaggerating. However, the detour sign has become the new travel standard.

Expect long delays. Great! I need to pick up my granddaughter. At least back streets are available. And my direction-deprived brain knows them.

Life detours are another matter. An old friend learned her cancer has returned. Another friend battles a second bout of sepsis, cause unknown. I talk to someone I haven’t seen at the Y for a long time. She moved to Arizona, and then returned to Ohio because her daughter developed MS. The daughter needs constant care.

Even on a less serious level I woke up last week with pain in my shoulder. Too sharp to go back to sleep. Fortunately, I was able to figure out that movement made the discomfort worse. I had no shortness of breath. No heart problem. No reason to wake my husband.

Nevertheless, I had no idea what had caused the muscle pull. Even holding a book caused pain. I tried anyway. A day and a half of heat and rest revitalized me. The perfect time to notice the beauty of the moment. I fought the urge to get up, clean a dirty corner, work on my next book, jump through the next hoop, cross the next bridge, or detour, before I came to it.

Rest. Sometimes I get lost in my own overdone good intentions. Maybe the good intentions don’t matter as much as what I can do when the detours appear. This is the season.

enjoying scenery on a detour

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Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. (Maya Angelou)

Ella finds two dolls inside the top floor of the dollhouse set up in the library. The male figure is noticeably smaller than the female doll. Nevertheless, they become Daughter and Daddy. Daughter and Daddy are their names.

One staircase and three floors is incidental. No problem. The characters move to the higher levels as if walls and open air did not exist. Hops are required on stairs. I become Daddy. Ella is Daughter.

When I comment that the leap from Daughter’s bedroom to attic has been a doozy, Ella does not respond. Either she is too involved in the game, or the slang term doozy is outdated.

“Carry me to bed, Daddy,” she says.

One plastic doll next to the other looks more like the letter X. But I have been living in the real world too long.


And the same scenarios repeat. In cycles so rapid day and night have no meaning. The relationship between child and father does.

“Carry me to bed, Daddy.” Followed by, “Daughter needs ear drops.”

And Daddy carries Daughter safely—over the chasm of rooms that have no entrance or exit. Her ear infection disappears within two minutes per the library clock, and perhaps four trips up one set of toy stairs and one jump into the impossible.

I am Grandmother. Playing a role. When I first sat down on the floor my mind was immersed in the plot for a short story for grownups. It got sidelined temporarily. Somewhere between make-believe and the profound. In make-believe I enter the imagination of a little girl with special needs and special love.

Daddy is always available, whether he is big enough for the task or not. He shines. Daughter’s physical problems dissolve. Ella idolizes her father.

I speak in hushed tones. This is a library. Ella talks as if she were in the toy room in my house. A woman sits at an adjoining table. She does not complain. When Grandpa pulls out his car keys as we get ready to go, Ella offers to drive.

The woman bursts out laughing. She has been amused, not annoyed. I am happy to have the job of grandma.

Ella has left a few blessings behind.

Ella back view at Mt. Airy Park April 2015


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