Otis and the Geese


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Grandmother, Growing UP, Memories, Relationships | Posted on 14-12-2016

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My grandmother used to read me the story of Angus and the Ducks. Angus, the curious Scottish Terrier, got into mischief. One day, he was off-leash and ventured on the other side of the hedge, encountering two ducks. They stared him down and proceeded to hissssss at poor Angus. This hissing scared the crap out of Angus and he ran back to the safety of underneath the sofa in his living room. He never ventured to the other side of the hedge again.

The thing was, my grandmother made the most amazing hisssssssing noise when she read that part. During my childhood, I made her read that page over and over. We both would get the giggles.

Fast forward 30 + years.

While on a run, Otis, the curious Yellow Labrador, and I encountered two hundred Canadian Snow Geese. We stopped for a moment to take it all in, with Otis nearly ripping my arm off. He was raring to go get into mischief.

The pause in our run made me reflect upon the wondrous moments reading about Angus with my grandmother. When I visited her–even until I was pushing 16–we would snuggle up to read Angus and the Ducks and we would giggle at the hisssssss. Every time.

I have read that book over and over to my children. But it never had the same effect.

I guess some things are best kept tucked away in the memory vault. Best kept as my own magical moments.

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Sunshine in Human Form


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Family, Grandmother, Memories | Posted on 27-01-2016

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Sunshine in human form? That was my grandmother. She was pure sunshine.

She created miniature marshmallow happy faces in my Cream of Wheat.

She always reassured me, “Everything will be all right.” Read more here about how my grandmother and Bob Marley were alike.

She hummed while she scrubbed stains from my clothing. Her hands always smelled like Clorox.

She played her favorite hymns with gusto at the piano in the evenings.

She patted my knee when she sat by me on the sofa and always told me how happy she was to see me.

She swung on the teeter totter with me, even when we were both too old for teeter totters.

She made the perfect goose hisssssssss sound when she read Angus and the Ducks.. I always had her read that page over and over. To this day, I giggle when I think back at that hisssssssss.

The other morning when Otis and I were running, I missed my grandmother so much that tears welled in my eyes. I had to stop to cry it out. On that grey, overcast morning, the clouds suddenly parted.

The blue sky and sunshine emerged. I knew at that moment that my grandmother and I connected again. Everything will be all right.

Blues skies ahead. #positive

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The Box of Memories


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Grandmother, Growing UP, Happiness, Life, Memories, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 15-07-2015

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When my grandmother and I used to play the game Memory, there was always more talking and laughing than matching. We played every time I would visit. We’d get out the tattered box of Memory cards, flipped them over and start grinning. As each card was flipped, a picture rich in memories would appear.

The tiger with the eyes that resemble peas.

The girl in the blue dress, with the braids flying.

The long white rabbit.

The mother and baby owls perched.

The king with the big belly and short legs.

The triangle “quilt.”

The lion cub peeking from the striped awning.

The lion with the hairy mane and sad face.

And of course, sly fox.

When my grandmother died, I packed up the “box of memories” and took them with me. Decades later, the box itself disintegrated but the cards were intact and full of life…and memories. They cards now reside in a Ziploc bag on the game shelf and have been resurrected! My daughter and I play regularly. And we talk and laugh and have our favorite cards…

The tiger with the eyes that resemble peas.

The girl in the blue dress, with the braids flying.

The long white rabbit.

And so on.

As we play, I am filled with happiness that my grandmother’s hands touched these exact cards and laughed at the same king with the big belly and short legs.

I guess you’d say, the memories are alive and well.

Marigolds and Counting Cars


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Grandmother, Life, Love, Memories | Posted on 04-06-2015

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One car. Two cars. Red cars. Blue cars.

When I was a girl, my grandmother and I played a game. We sat side by side on the grass in the shade and stared out at the highway to count cars.

My grandmother lived outside of the town limits. Alongside a country highway. Where you could hear the train’s whistle blow. Catch a whiff of a skunk at the wood’s edge. And where you were surrounded by an abundance of marigolds, which my grandmother tended with love and care with her green plastic watering can and expert dead-heading skills.

When I visited, she let me care for the marigolds. And when we needed a break, we counted cars. I picked blue. She picked black. Then we’d count. Whoever picked the most colors won.

Sometimes I picked red and she picked blue. Your odds were best if you picked black, blue, and red. Trust me.

Time stood still for us, as the cars whizzed by.

After all these years, whenever I see marigolds and smell their tomato aroma, I am reminded of my grandmother and the sweet, simple times we spent together.

Marigolds remind me of my grandmother.

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The Quilt


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Grandmother, Growing UP, Love, Memories | Posted on 29-06-2014

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I love quilts. I love the history, craftsmanship, and artistry of the American quilt.

I have a historic American quilt, made with fine craftsmanship and artistry. My grandmother made it when I was a girl.

She sewed it by hand. I remember sitting at her feet, playing with my dolls.

Her sewing skills were impeccable. Her seams were perfect and tight. If the thread line was off, she would rip out the seam and start over. The finest of craftsmanship.

The colors and patterns in the quilt were bright mixed with pastels mixed with patterns mixed with florals. I remember the fabric being leftover from actual dresses she had sewn and worn.

In the end, the colors and patterns formed a masterpiece of art.

It took hours, days, and weeks to sew that quilt. Then, it was tucked away for safe keeping.

Many years later, at my wedding, that quilt was gifted to me. Gifted with so much love.

For a long time, I proudly hung that quilt on my wall, to admire. Then, I realized it would be more loved if I used it for snuggling and comforting. So now, every time I wrap myself under it, I am reminded of my grandmother and how she loved me so much.

My grandmother made this quilt for me. What a treasure.

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The Banana


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Grandmother, Growing UP, Love, Memories, Nostalgia | Posted on 25-04-2014

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Remember Sleepless in Seattle? One of my favorite scenes is when Sam Baldwin (the Dad) is telling his son about some of his favorite memories of his wife who died. One of the reasons was how she could “peel an apple in one long, curly strip.” Read this article about 29 more reasons why this movie is the best romantic comedy of all time.

“It was a million tiny little things” why my grandmother was the best. Her baking pies and cookies. Her sitting by you on the sofa and patting your knee reminding you that she loved you so much. Her making the perfect duck sounds as she read you Angus and the Ducks. Her hands smelling like bleach as she scrubbed the stains out of your clothes.

Her reassuring you that everything will be all right. Kinda like Bob Marley. Read here about the similarities between Bob Marley and my grandmother.

One memory, like Sleepless in Seattle, was when she sliced a banana on your cereal, then she always popped the last piece in her mouth. Always.

And guess what? I do the exact same thing. Always.


Big Fat Bulbs


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Christmas, Grandfather, Grandmother, Grandparents, Holidays, Memories | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Remember those giant Christmas lights people used to hang on their houses? C9s in technical terms. Before the icicle lights. Before LED lights.

Those C9s are slowly becoming a thing of the past. We still have some ol’ C9s strung across our roof line. This may be their last year. Their paint is chipping. Practically every bulb has been replaced. The strings have been staple gunned so many times, I’m surprised we haven’t been shocked.

These jumbo lights remind me of Christmases past. When we’d drive up to my grandparents’ ranch-style home in rural Missouri. Bright red and green and blue and orange glowed, framing the window with a tree strung with the same big fat bulbs. Yeah, total fire hazard!

“Come in to our warm and welcoming house!” The lights beckoned. My grandmother would cook up and serve everyone minute steak and mashed potatoes and sliced bread and gravy. She would play carols like O Holy Night on the piano, while I would munch on stale peanut brittle. And we watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson while my grandfather ate his bowl of butter brickle ice cream and dozed in his chair. And I curled up on the shag carpet with my childhood blanket. I will always remember the happy, comforting, warm feeling of family and love that enveloped me. Maybe some of that warmth came from the Christmas tree lights that emanated so much dang heat. 🙂

If we’d run an errand, my grandfather would (thankfully) unplug the Christmas tree lights. Which is what I do still. Each and every time, out of habit, even though my tree has cool-temperature mini lights. When I reach down to unplug them, I smile and think of Christmases past.

Here’s wishing you the warmth of Christmas!


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The Cherry Pie


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Grandmother, Memories, Recipes | Posted on 04-09-2013

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When I was about ten years old, my grandmother took me along to her church function. A church ladies luncheon. She proudly carried in her freshly-baked cherrie pie with a fluted pie crust that glistened with sugar sprinkled on top in one hand, and ushered me along (also proudly) with her other hand.

What a beauty! The pie. I was too, as she had curled my hair like Shirley Temple just for the occasion.

The buffet was quite a spread. I remember deviled eggs and ambrosia salad (you know, the kind of fruit salad with marshmallows?) and ham sandwiches and pies. Lots of pies.

My grandmother’s beauty of a pie had a halo around it. I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Except, as we were lining up, as good church ladies do, I overhead one lady to say to another, “Looks like that pie is made from canned cherries. Harumph!” And she passed over my grandmother’s pie in disgust, as mean church ladies do.

My mouth sorta dropped and I thought what a mean thing to proclaim. I happened to love canned cherry pie filling. The kind that are neon red, with the oozing cherry sauce.

What a bitch that woman was. There, I said it.

Not to her face. But I sure thought it. Actually, maybe “bitch” wasn’t in my vocabulary back then, at ten. All I knew was, no one talks bad about my grandmother and her pie-making skills. Harumph!

When we were back home, I just had to tell my grandmother about the meanie. (Later, I kinda wished I had just kept it to myself.) But, my grandmother heartily laughed it off and her words echoed mine, “what a bitch!”

Ha! No, she didn’t say that exactly. But she said something about how there will always be mean people and to pay them no attention.

Golly. My grandmother was not only an excellent baker, but she had amazing self-awareness and confidence and integrity all rolled in, and a layer of toughness sprinkled on top.

cherry pie

My Sweet Delphinium


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Grandmother, Memories, Relationships, Women | Posted on 25-09-2012

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We had a plan to meet up for a visit. My good friend, Irma, and I. Easy enough, she eats at 4:00 p.m.

Admittedly, I scheduled our visit like she was another appointment in my busy day. Get the kids to school, jog, conference calls, dentist appointment, and client meetings, then meet up with Irma. I was to visit my “adopted grandmother” at her senior living community. I drove like a maniac in traffic.

I arrived late. The white-haired crowd had already dispersed from dinner. Dishes were clattering, as the bussers wiped away dropped napkins, rolling peas and spilled iced tea.

A friendly woman, named Barbara, walked me to Irma’s apartment. Apparently, all of the residents know her. How can you resist Irma’s charming smile, funny stories, and kind words? The door was unlocked, as always. I knocked and called out, “Irma! It’s me!” I didn’t want to startle her.

She wasn’t there. Her place was quiet and tidy. Silk flower bouquets. Hummel figurines. A loud ticking clock, marking the seconds. An afghan to cover cold legs.

I left the chocolate chip cookies I had baked on the table, with the lace doily. “Oh, you sweet Darling. You always do such nice things for me,” I imagined her saying. I wanted to hug her frail, ninety-something-year-old shoulders. And see her twinkly eyes and her dangly earrings. The pair I gave her a decade ago. Now, far too heavy for her drooping lobes.

Where was she?

She always showered me with encouraging, complimentary words. I needed my “Irma fix.”

I navigated the maze hallway, down the elevator, and outside to her raised bed garden. In the hopes that she would be tending her delphiniums. At that same moment, Irma was meandering the maze hallway, up the elevator, looking for me.

The delphiniums were a lovely shade of periwinkle blue–though a bit weathered through the heat of summer–and were staked up. With the hopes to stay strong and perky another month. Hopeful.

Circling. Searching. I must have passed the white-haired trio of women sitting on the bench gabbing and enjoying the evening air, four times. They gave me a perplexed look.

An hour later after I had left and was driving down the freeway, Irma called me with her sunshiny voice, “Hello, Dear! I am so sorry. I took a walk and checked my flowers and got caught up talking to one of my friends.”

Of course she did. That is just so Irma.

I smiled, “It’s OK. It was my fault for being late.” (And I mentally kicked myself.) “Let’s plan another visit in a few weeks.”

And I knew that when I said that, that I had better prioritize Irma in my over scheduled life.

Because friends should not be treated like appointments. And Irma, much like her beautiful delphiniums, will not last forever.

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Peanut Butter Cookies Like Grandma Used to Make


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cookies, Cooking, Grandmother, Ideas, Memories, Recipes | Posted on 07-09-2012

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This peanut butter cookie recipe is my grandmother’s. I have her recipe card–stained with butter–written in her curly script. She made these cookies in the Great Depression. So not only are these suckers tasty, they are best served with a glass of American history.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, eggs.  Add in baking soda, Then flour. Mix dough. Roll into balls and place onto parchment paper-line cookie trays. Flatten criss-cross with a fork (can dip fork into water so it doesn’t stick). Bake about 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. I take them out a little early for chewy cookies.

Then I proceed to eat about seven. These Great Depression cookies are perfect for the anti-dieters. 🙂