Notes to Grandchildren – March 11, 2023 (Fitness)

29 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Grandma is working on her physical therapy. We’re taking a break from The Mysterious Benedict Society (2021-2022) on Disney+. I tuned in WBGU. The program was Aging Backwards 4.

Grandma laughed at the people doing the exercises. Grandma admitted that there was no way she could do those exercises. I asked Grandma how old she thought the presenter — Miranda Esmonde-White — was.

Grandma guessed that Miranda Esmonde-White was in her mid-50s. Actually Miranda Esmonde-White is older than Grandma.

Miranda Esmonde-White has developed a program of dynamic stretching and strengthening to work all the body’s muscles and improve posture. Sounds interesting. Some of the movements are similar to Tai Chi.

We sit too much. We don’t exercise enough. We’re becoming like that characters in Wall-E ( 2008).

Check it out … and get active.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 10, 2023 (Ninjas)

28 May

Dear Grandson,

I liked your observation about ninjas.

If ninjas were covert experts in feudal Japan, how do we know about them? Folklore. Legend. Myth. Family stories. Perhaps you’re correct that our knowledge of ninjas come from the failure — the ones who got caught. So, if they got caught, they obviously weren’t true ninjas

Keep thinking. That was an excellent observation.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 9, 2023 (Bullies)

27 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Bullies are weak, small-minded individuals who must work to abuse, embarrass, and taunt others in order to have self-value.

Perhaps they will knock books out of your hands.

Perhaps they will throw snowballs.

Perhaps they will call you names.

Perhaps they will dunk people in the pool.

Perhaps they will criticize you.

Perhaps they will disrupt class.

Perhaps they will interrupt when you’re speaking.

Everything is designed to get you to lose your temper and get angry. When that happens, they win. As Epictetus said,

Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.

When the bullies act, smile, keep your anger in check, and find a release from the bullies. Walk. Run. Hit the punching bag. Lift weights, Work on a kata. Meditate. Swim. Direct that anger at something else but not people, pets, or walls. (Or yourself!)

The Hopi call anger a poison.

Confucius said,

When anger arises, think of the consequences.

Anger … you need to get rid of it.

Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person that harmed you. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

If you keep your anger in check and don’t respond to the bullies, the bullies will find easier prey. So take the advice of David J. Pollay:

  • don’t take it personally
  • smile
  • wave
  • wish them well
  • move on



Notes to Grandchildren – March 8, 2023 (Vocational Education)

26 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Momma’s friend, Kim, reported that one daughter has been licensed as an STNA (State Tested Nursing Assistant) and the other daughter has obtained her cosmetology license. This is through vocational education at the public school and should occur close to graduation. Both girls are planning on continuing their education. The STNA plans to work toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The cosmetologist wants to become an educator.

Ohio has encouraged the opportunity to earn college credits while in high school. This could translate into a tuition free year at the local community college. (I remember instances at Marion Tech when students received their diploma from their local high school and an associate’s degree from Marion Tech in two separate graduation ceremonies the same year.)

As you start investigating careers, don’t overlook the vocational option. With vocational training opportunities exist to work your way through college instead of borrowing money through student loans. (You create a pay as you go scenario instead of accumulating debt.)

Plus vocational training will give you a fall back position if a bachelor’s degree doesn’t provide opportunities.

Regardless, choose something that you want to do and enjoy. I always wanted to be a teacher. There were very few days that going to work was a chore. The most challenging days involved administrative trivia and never the students.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 7, 2023 (Develop a “Can Do” Attitude)

25 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Before my hip replacements, I got around with a walker. Mobility definitely was an issue.

Since my hip replacements I strive to stay mobile. I walk. I use the stairs. I spend time on my exercise bike. I want to do more. I’ve exiled the walker to storage.

I choose to keep moving. I don’t like the alternative. I only compete against me; did I do more today than yesterday?

Since Grandma’s reverse shoulder replacement, she has stayed at my apartment part of the time although she spends much more time at your house. (I’m the relief stop on this excursion.) It has become apparent to me that Grandma adheres to the philosophy of can’t. Every ache, pain, and irritation merits a chorus of “I can’t do that.”

My body rebels in the morning. I hobble around gingerly for a bit. If I sit too long, my steps are tentative. There are moments when my lower back is contemplating murder. (I have spinal stenosis and arthritis in the lumbar and sacral regions.) However, after some stretches and some Tai Chi I can keep moving. Should pain become excessive I get an injection from the pain doctor and keep moving. (I haven’t had an injection since December 4, 2020.)

Develop a “can do” attitude. Keep moving. Believe you can and you can; believe you can’t and you won’t. The choice rests with you. Decide.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 6, 2023 (Mistakes and Embarrassments)

24 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Every morning my life’s mistakes and embarrassments parade through my brain. It’s like a gathering of old friends who tell stories, laugh, and point fingers at my expense. I hate it! Those mistakes and embarrassments want control. They want to set the tune for today. They want to devalue today. They want me to be miserable. They want me to feel sorry for myself. Oh, have pity on me!

I scream at them to get out of my head. To let me alone. To not return. Those mistakes and embarrassments are like mice playfully scampering about the room who have discovered a cat’s presence and are now scurrying into hiding … to return later.

Thus far my will has been greater. I choose to put those mistakes and embarrassments aside. They belong to yesterday. Yesterday is beyond my ability to correct, change, or modify. I’m stuck with it. However, I choose to not allow yesterday’s mistakes and embarrassments to define and control today.

You get the same choice. Don’t allow yesterday to define the next 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 5, 2023 (Brownies)

23 May

Dear Grandson,

Congratulations on preparing a family meal and fixing some brownies for your health class.

Well done! (Did you get extra credit for the brownies?)



Notes to Grandchildren – March 4, 2023 (Momma)

22 May

Dear Grandchildren,

What do you know about Momma?

Momma is a planner. If we’re going to visit Sue at the Field Museum in Chicago, Momma will ask

  • How long will it take to get there?
  • What time are we leaving?

It’s possible that Momma would schedule a visit to Legoland at 3 p.m. if I mentioned that it would take five hours to drive there and departure should be after 9 a.m. That’s just a bit tight for me. What about the intangibles?

  • traffic
  • construction
  • weather
  • breaks to stretch and snack
  • unanticipated problems

My point is that Momma is a planner. Her calendar problems lists what she is doing hour-by-hour. Because Momma is a planner, she expects you to be a planner as well.

  • Are your clothes ready for school?
  • Is your uniform organized and ready for the orchestra concert?
  • Have you done your daily chores?
  • Have you completed your homework?
  • Have you worked on your Scout projects?

If you want domestic tranquility, then just winging it isn’t going to work. Winging it doesn’t fit into Momma’s life orientation. You’re going to have to take some responsibility on your own and demonstrate to Momma that you’re up to the task:

  • I’m taking my medication, as you do it in her presence.
  • My uniform is ready for the concert; check it out.

Taking a little responsibility at home, at school, at Scouts will relieve some of the frustrations at home.

You like to be respected. So does everyone else. To be respected, you have to give respect.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 3, 2023 (Third Term)

21 May

Dear Grandson,

I can’t believe that the third term is almost over. That means that your days as a Sixth Grader are coming to an end.

I understand your anxiety about the fourth term. I was never a fan of standardized testing and state-wide testing in order to move on or graduate. Fortunately, politicians were not involved in education when I was in Sixth Grade. Politician inspired proficiency tests, which the politicians probably couldn’t pass, weren’t required.

No one is demanding perfection. (That’s an impossible standard.) Just do your best. I hated writing in school; yet, I spent a half day writing essays to get into Findlay College and, at least, one day writing essays for the licensure examination to be an attorney.

Just do your best. You have a great foundation of knowledge to build on. I remember our conversation about green energy. You brought up some points that I hadn’t considered.

I’m fairly certain that the essays are more about sentence construction and paragraph development than what’s the most factually correct answer.

I love Mary Poppins.Mary Poppins (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by The Sherman Brothers,  Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke & Irwin Kostal on Apple Music

However, only Mary Poppins is “practically perfect all the time.” The rest of us make mistakes … regularly. That’s a good thing because we learn more from our errors than we do when we’re perfect.

Always do your best.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 2, 2023 (The Math Inspectors)

20 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Get acquainted with The Math Inspectors by Daniel Kenney and Emily Boever.

Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie, Felix, and Herman solve crime. It’s a school club for kids who like math, but math doesn’t play an enormous role in solving the mysteries.

I’ve read the first two books in the series and enjoyed the mysteries.

Why don’t you give them a try.



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