Tag Archives: Grandmother

Gramma Nettie is THAT kind

Yes, I am that kind of Gramma.  The kind the kids hate to get gifts from because they know exactly what it is.  In my case, hand knitted socks from home spun and dyed wool yarn. 


Long about June or July, I trace around the little peoples feet, marking both the position of the ankle and the ball of the foot.  This one tracing gives me measurements for both mittens and socks.  Then I spin up the undyed wool. 


This last year, Red Boy was old enough at 3.5 years to help out a bit.  He was very curious about the process of spinning, and he really got a kick out of thwacking the freshly dyed yarn against the side of the house before setting out to dry.

Yet, when he opened up his gift, he looked so dejected and forlorn, he cried – loudly – and tossed them away.  Orange Boy quickly followed suit.  Yellow Boy is still to young, but he cried too!


I told their Momma that I expected them to get tired of socks at some point, perhaps at the ripe old age of nine, or so.  I just did not expect it to happen at 3.  My heart was broken, and try as I might, I did take it personally.  After all, this IS a competition for Granny supremacy!  My grand kids have to like me better than the other Gramma, right?  Now I think my chance for the title of Gramma of the year is jeopardized.  How can I repair this damage?


Then I got a text from my daughter … “Guess who wanted his Christmas stockings before bedtime?”  Woo-hoo!  Who’s your Gramma now!?

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Posted by on 26 December 2015 in clothes, feelings, Grandmothers, Handspun, Knit, Socks, Wool


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Gramma Nettie loves music

I firmly believe music is very important to development of the young mind as well as to the flexing of the older mind.  We have all had that moment when a particular song plays on the radio and we flash back to a special time in our lives.

A variety of music exposes the mind to a lot of great ideas, expanding their horizons and imaginations.  According to PBS (here) music education helps other school subjects, too.  It works for the kinesthetic child who learns by doing things.  This child is using hands and even the body to play music.  He is also expanding his other two learning pathways in the process.  Music works for the visual child as well as the audio child, who learn through seeing and hearing respectively.

The article further states that learning to play music helps the child develop language skills by physically developing the part of the brain which processes language.  Amazing, isn’t it?

The article explains how music education can increase the child’s intelligence, make the brain work harder, increase spatial skills and improve test scores.

I love music of all kinds.  I enjoy a little Bon Jovi or AC/DC or Queen.  I like some Country music, but I tire of song about hopping from one bed to another.  I like eclectic music like Koyoto’s Princess Bride.  I stumbled upon it while searching for the music soundtrack from the movie Princess Bride.

When my kids were little, we played a lot of Wee Sing Silly Songs, and Patch the Pirate songs, and music from the Disney cartoons The Fox and the Hound and Cindarella, or “Ode to a Mother Skunk” from Hank the Cowdog. (click on the title of the song to hear it)

I also played a lot of Bethoven, Mozart, Chopin … but I found Wagner too dark and brooding.  I also will occasionally play some guitar classics, especially from a favorite youtube artist Per-Olov Kindren:

Or, perhaps some Gregorian Chants?


My two favorite instruments to play are what might be considered a Poor Man’s instruments.  The recorder is typically played as a beginning band instrument in fourth grade or so.  Most people do not get to know and love it as an excellent musical tool in its own right.  There are several types of recorders from the typical soprano taught in school, to the smaller sopranino or the even smaller geiklein.  They come in larger sizes from alto, tenor, bass … and even bigger than that:

The recorder is very easy to learn, but one thing I found frustrating is that the really great music requires more than one person.  I tried — during the tape cassette days — to make sound tracks and play with them but the quality was bad BAD!  I also tried playing for some geriatric folks, but to them it sounded screaching, so I stopped playing.

Then I tried playing a dulcimer.  The dulcimer is about the only distinctly American instrument around.  It originated in the Appalachian mountains, and goes by either Applachian dulcimer or the more common mountain dulcimer.  It is sometimes known as the lap dulcimer, referring to the method of playing it, which is to lay it on the lap and strum the strings.

The word “dulcimer” means sweet music, and is very easy to play.  It has three strings (okay, actually it has four strings, but the melody is doubled and played as if they were just one string).  The easiest is to play the melody on the doubled strings and let the other two strings drone.  This is somewhat reminicent of the Scottish bagpipes, but nicer.

Another way to play is to let your fingers dance on all the strings creating chords and beautiful music.  Here are two of dulcimer’s greatest players, Bing Futch and Steven Seifert.  I can only imagine I can play like they do:

My plan as my grandchildren get older is to expose them to every sort of music in the world.  Especially the ones I like, but also the ones I don’t like that much, including Wagner and – yes – the Oompapa music of the Germans



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Older woman cartwheel activist

This is an older woman who uses her ability to perform cartwheels (ending in splits, no less) to show her passion.  The story does not elaborate on what her passion is — or i simply missed the point of her cartwheeling demonstration.

The headlines make it seem like the poor old woman is forbidden to do cartwheels in public.  When you read the story, however, you find that the big-wigs do not want her performing cartwheels in the meetings.  That is a major difference.  I would love to see her doing her happy dance in the public park — or on the grassy areas betwixt the sidewalk and the road.

In the meeting hall is a different story.  The news media takes her side — poor creativity-squelched woman — but lets look at this from an attendee’s viewpoint.  I am sitting there, half asleep listening to the blah blah blah of reports and such.  Suddenly WHOOSH a blur of red circles past my vision.  After my heart attack, i realize that a female has just endangered my life.

I don’t blame the leaders for asking her to refrain from wheeling in the courthouse.  Neither do I blame her for her passion.  Perhaps she should hold a cartwheel-a-thon to raise awareness for her cause.

This story certainly takes a particular bias.  It is written to highlight the woman’s plight in a way that seems discriminatory.  They wrote in a way that made me think poorly of the local leaders, yet I feel they were doing the right thing.

The story does not mention if she is a grandmother or not, but she is certainly old enough.  Oh yes — she is working on backflips, now.


Posted by on 5 June 2014 in exercise, expression, Grandmothers


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Article: Sacha Goldberger – Explore Create Repeat – by 4ormat

I ran across this and thought it was funny, and fun.  Then I wondered … what if grandson #1 did this with HIS gramma?

Sacha Goldberger – Explore Create Repeat – by 4ormat

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Posted by on 21 April 2014 in Grandmothers


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Gramma Nettie talks Baby Talk

I couldn’t help it.  I held my little grandson #2, as he was looking at me and cooing and talking with me.  And I talked back.  I used his language, and his inflections.  I basically said the same things back to him.

We have been told to not talk baby talk to infants and young children.  The rationale is that talking baby-talk is actually demeaning, talking down to the kids.  Yet, we all do it.  We extend the vowels.  We increase the pitch of our voices, and use a sing-song rhythm.  And we do this because the babies pay attention.  As grandparents, my grandsons have trained ME to talk to them this way using postive reinforcements.  Also known as smiles and eye contact.  These are just as important to me as it is to the baby.

The rhythms and the sing-song speach inflections have research behind them, too.  Jim Trelease “Read Aloud Handbook”  has done a lot of research on how children learn to read.  He shows how rhyming books, and reading out loud to children helps their brains develop, helps their language form, and helps later on with their educational endeavors.

And it all starts with the three-month old teaching Gramma Nettie how to talk to him.


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Posted by on 1 March 2014 in education, learning


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Gramma Nettie at a Birthday party

My first Grandson is two years old, now!  My how time flies.

He is the smartest little boy I know.  The party was filled with lots of Grandparents from both sides, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins.  Barely any room to move around!  And the noise was glorious, with the boys playing with drums and xylophones and recorders — GS#1 was funny, tooting into the recorder backwards.

He was so overwhelmed with all the activity, with all the colourful presents.  His most favourite thing is cars.  The first thing he says when he comes over is “cars?  cars?” then he has to go get the cars out of the freezer.

Of course, he got cars for his birthday.  Flashy new cars, great food and drink.  He got a riding McQueen car.  His eyes got big, he had a huge smile on his face, and he hopped right on.  He quickly found the horn button, the right turn signal button, the left turn signal button, and pushed them all.  He drove the thing into the wall, and was rescued by Daddy.  Then — THEN — he found the music button.  He had to get off and dance around the car.  Then he got down on his knees to inspect his beautiful new wheels.  The look on his face was pure bliss.

When he gets older and starts fixiing his own cars, I want to pull out this photo and show it to him.  It is also one of those photos that you could recreate in 16 years.

Gramma Nettie had to leave early.  I went to give #1 a kiss, and — as is his usual response — he turned his head “NO!”  In front of everybody.  I could have gotten my feeling hurt, but that won’t change anything, so I just said that is our routine.  Then, when I left, he looked at me like he wanted to hug me.  When I moved in that direction he ran off.  Oh, well.  He is only two years old.

I got to visit with Grandson #2, who is 3 months old.  He is curious about everything.  He has to look at everything, and leans into his looking.  He was very frightened when he woke up from his nap and his home was filled with all sorts of people.  It took a while for him to adjust to all the attention.  I was able to hold him for a while.  He talks to me, and I talk back to him.  We had a great conversation.  Don’t know what we talked about, but it was a great conversation.

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Posted by on 23 February 2014 in Grandmothers


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Grandmothers — The Rules of Engagement

According to Susan Hoffman in her article on Ezine @rticles, the rules for being a Grandmother has changed, and not necessarily in a good way.


She comments how parents have moved away, or how the parents are somehow alienated from their own parents, from the Grandparents.  she further mentions how the “Me” generation has adopted a new set of family values.  As they raised their children into adulthood, they wanted to give them a better life.  Unfortunately, they gave them too much; by overindulging them, they created an atmosphere of selfishness, of the inability to respect their parents.  although the grandparents did not intend to, they created a monster.

This, she says, creates Grandparents who are no longer needed.   But, Grandparents ARE needed.  Looking at how many young mothers go to the clinics and to the emergency rooms for ailments which Grandmother would have known how to treat is one example.  Most Grandmoms have experienced many childhood illnesses, and can easily support the mother through a difficult time of life.

But, no matter what, Grandparents still have to roll with the rules laid down by the parents.  Parents are the authority figure, and they get to call the shots.  The successful Grandmother will adapt to this change in authority, if ONLY to maintain the relationship with the grandchildren.

It is good to know that there are resources out there for Grandparents, to raise social consciousness.  Grandparents are needed, and sometimes it is up to us to figure out the special niche, the precious area in which we are able to connect with the children of our children.

To read the entire article, see Susan Hoffman’s article here:

Hoffman, Susan “Grandparenthood: Changing Rules and Roles.” Grandparenthood: Changing Rules and Roles. 7 Feb. 2013 6 Mar. 2013 <­Changing-­Rules-­and-­Roles&id=7493387>.


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