Monday, August 31, 2009

Daddy Knows Best

Apples do not fall very far from the tree, but in our family of nuts, I have fallen very far from my Dad's side of the tree. But I have to thank him since he is why I am not only a writer but an Executive Director for a youth theatre company.

My Dad does not like musical theatre. He can't understand why anyone would break out into song in the middle of a conversation. Not being a big opera fan, I have to agree but musical theatre is driven by the tunes that surround the story line and the toe tapping results are magical.

So why do I thank my Dad for this passion? As a reporter in Southern California, he received complimentary tickets to the new Melodyland Theatre in Anaheim. Its unique format of theatre in the round graced the scene on July 2, 1963 with Annie Get Your Gun. My Dad was given tickets to Fiddler on The Roof. The last thing he wanted to do was to sit with these musical yahoos singing and dancing around him with no way to exit easily from the carousel seating arrangement.

My Mom LOVES theatre and gladly took the tickets and brought her three young children to watch the magical fiddler guide Tevye through his Traditions! We revisted that magical moment over 40 years later in Portland, OR. Sitting next to my mother at the Schnitzer Theatre, we watched Topol, who has played the role all over the world not to mention the movie 38 years ago, take command of his little town of Anatevka. We marveled at his agility, his voice and his personal and humorous conversations with God. An outstanding performance by the man born to play the role.

So thanks, Dad, for once again giving me the opportunity to spend a great experience with my Mom and enjoy one of my favorite musicals. My Mom and I have shared this off Broadway experience a few times, celebrating my birthday in the process. It is becoming Tradition! And that's exactly what a Wise Grandma intends to keep on doing!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Reason To Party

I have always been the go to gal for a great party. Since my mom gave me my first book on cut-up cakes and my first backyard carnival as a kid, I love the challenge of event planning. But not everyone shares my enthusiasm for creating the party as much as they do sitting back and enjoying the party.

One Hour Parties serves up the best of both worlds. This unique service comes to you wrapped with a bow of selections, themes, creative ideas and helpful staff. Their menu of one hour parties is extensive ranging from chocolate fountains to mocktails and breakfasts. You can choose what type of party and then what you want to serve at the party. The price includes the one hour set up and is priced by the number of guests and designed to be either self serve or you can order additional staff hours so you can sit back and relax. An option rarely given to a host or hostess at a party.

The One Hour Parties web site is easy to navigate and allows you to compare products and services in an easy clear format, saving hours of running around town shopping for the best price, or spending time on the phone trying to get quotes. The testimonials give you an opportunity to check references and the directions for ordering are straightforward and concise, detailing everything from the procedure to the customer service.

Now here is what I like the best about One Hour Parties - it is a franchise. For those of us who love the planning and are always in demand, it makes life a bit easier with the one
 stop shop. Everything is there from forks to centerpiece. In an economy where finding work is near impossible and more mothers are choosing to stay home with their children, this opportunity is affordable, creative and makes the catering business a bite any entrepreneur can sink their teeth into. I wish there were more information on the cost of the franchise on the web site but the details as to what type of training and the support you receive once you own the franchise was remarkable.

One Hour Parties was listed as one of the top entrepreneurs in Seattle and has been featured in several magazines for its outstanding products and service. Next time you are thinking about throwing a party, whether it be a wedding or backyard carnival, take a peek at what this service can do to make it a sure fire winner! That's What a Wise Grandma (and party planner extraordinaire) would do!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Impressions Mean Everything

The fear that accompanies that first day of school can be different for every child. It may be hard to express exactly what that fear is - being alone in a room full of strangers, being away from their comfort zone, where is the bathroom and how do I let my teacher know I have to go? All real concerns and despite our best efforts to reassure our children, sometimes it is just an experience they have to go through.

Dr. Ruth Peters, a clinical psychologist and regular contributor on the Today Show, weighs in on the fears that accompany the back to school anxieties. From Kindergarten, Tweens to High School, every phase and transition brings its own brand of coping with the unknown. Most of these concerns are based on the social aspects of the daily routine of the classroom, cafeteria, bus ride and recess. Talking with your kids with empathy can help discover and resolve some of the critical issues.

The challenges of academics, homework, the right clothes, even the right backpack cause apprehension as students approach the class room door. Talk to your kids and find out what is on their mind as the school bells begin to ring. That's What A Wise Grandma Would Do.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lost and Found

One of my biggest fears is being lost. Unlike my male counterparts, I will gladly pull into the nearest gas station and ask without shame or embarrassment, Where am I?

Perhaps my fears are based on my lack of navigational skills. I am hopelessly lost when it comes to compass directions. I turn the map to face whatever direction I am presently heading which, in my mind, is always north.

On the other hand, I am excellent at giving directions. The writer in me provides touches of color, sign posts, scenic pictorial views to let the driver know exactly where they are or how to get back should they happen to lose the breadcrumb trail.

For years, I depended on a suction cup with a ball compass attached to my dashboard. My husband has tried to teach me which way is truly north. He insists I navigate using compass directions and relay information based on coordinates other than the little pink house with the white picket fence or two houses down from the maple tree on the corner.

Surprisingly, my eighty-year old parents decided that technology was the answer. Sitting next to the bonfire of candles on my birthday cake this year was a GPS, a global positioning system. This technical marvel relies on satellites orbiting the earth transmitting signals that can pin point your exact location. It relays this information to guide you to your destination, point by point.

Some of these modern mapping marvels, talk to you as they direct each turn of the wheel. From “Turn right in 100 feet” to “You have reached your destination”, your journey is detailed by a precise, often commanding voice coming from a little black box. Some GPS have names like “Tom Tom” but the woman’s voice in my cockpit is Majel. I named her after Majel Barret, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. She was the voice of the computer navigational system on the Star Trek Enterprise. Since she went where no man had gone before, I thought it appropriate that she lead this woman through the highways and byways of Oregon.

Majel and I have a sort of love hate relationship. I taunt her by finding alternate routes or short cuts. Her voice becomes increasingly frustrated as her satellite positioning blinders continue to direct me to turn right…turn right…turn right. When she realizes that I passed on her recommendation, she hesitates for just a moment. She is not happy that I have chosen not to follow her explicit directions and replies in an annoyed tone, “Recalculating”.

Wouldn’t life be much easier from the cradle to the grave if we had a GPS to guide us through the tragedies? Turn right, turn right, turn right...but then being human, we would probably go left and that frustrated little voice would say “recalculating” in the hopes of steering us back on course.

What I like the most about Majel is her Go Home button. No matter where I am she recalculates and brings me to my favorite destination, home sweet home.

I must admit, I enjoy the banter and giggle mischievously when she has to recalculate. But I always follow her directions to the letter as she finds the way home. Because that is what a wise grandma would do.


Help! I’ve been Twitterfied, Tweeted and Retweeted. I have been Facebooked, MySpaced, and LinkedIn. I am followed and I am following. Welcome to the wonderful world of social networking!
Looking for old classmates, trying to remain on top of our techno game, and too old to cruise the bars, boomers have converged to reconnect and keep up with our kids and grandkids. From October 2007 to August of 2008, Facebook users increased by 179%. Just six months later that number jumped to 276% with users ages 35–54..
Twitter is a quick 140 characters telling your followers what you are doing at any given moment. Facebook and MySpace are more or less social scrapbooks where you can post bits and pieces of your life. It’s a virtual “Cheers” Bar where everybody knows your name and is always glad you came. LinkedIn is an online professional resume or dossier posting. It is a good place for people to network with other professionals in a given field or market yourself as an expert in your industry.
Hugh Delehanty, editor in chief and senior vice president for publications at AARP, is a self proclaimed Facebook addict. His recent article, Confessions Of A Facebook Addict, in the June/July AARP magazine, speaks to his personal journey through the mire of social media networking.
“What really got me hooked on Facebook, though, was the ‘friending’ thing, the addictive process of making new friends and reconnecting with old ones online,” Delehanty admits. “I was consumed by an uncontrollable drive to reconnect with everybody I had ever known.”
Everything in moderation, especially social networking. As for me, I prefer facebooking with the llamas out in the fields of Melrose, Oregon. The hawks tweet as they fly over the Callahan Mountains and my space is a bench by the pond watching it all. That’s What A Wise Grandma Would Do.