Saturday, August 30, 2008

INTERNET/NETWORKING GRANNIES

One of the joys of writing this book(“Super Granny”) in this technological age is the number of super grannies I have connected with, some of whom have been so helpful to me. One granny whose blog I admired gave me practical help in setting up my own blog. Another gave me a recipe that my granddaughter loved making – and that we all enjoyed eating. And another helped to put me in touch with a woman I had known and admired years ago but had fallen out of touch with.

And now I had the chance to connect two of the grannies I interviewed for Super Granny. I was interviewed myself last week about how grandparents can involve their grandchildren in planning a trip. I immediately told the interviewer about Dee (whose story I tell in the book), who used some great ways to involve seven-year-old Michaela in planning their trip to London. When I then contacted Dee to tell her I had given her name to the interviewer, she told me she was now thinking about taking Michaela on an intergenerational Elderhostel trip, maybe to Costa Rica. I immediately thought of another interviewee, Shirley Bee, who had told me about taking her granddaughter, Kelsie Lee, on an Elderhostel trip to Costa Rica, and how much both generations enjoyed it. (Kelsie Lee told me so herself.) So I put Dee and Shirley Bee in touch with each other, Dee was able to ask questions, and Shirley Bee able to answer them and to share her enthusiasm for the trip.

It’s a whole new world for us grannies!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The magic of modern technology

In case you're wondering who the people are in the photo on the rock -- there's my husband, Mark; my three daughters, Nancy, Jenny, and Dorri; and my five grandchildren, Stefan, Maika, Anna, Lisa, and Nina. And of course, granddog Buddy. All the grandchildren are always in my heart, but on this particular day last month, only four of them were with me in the flesh.

However, since Stefan wasn't there in person, he was there in my heart. And so I asked my daughter, Dorri, a whiz with PhotoShop, to make the picture complete. And so even though he was thousands of miles away at the time, here he is. Just shows that we can't accept photos as evidence of true events any more. I thought of this when I saw the photo published by the National Enquirer supposedly of Senator John Edwards holding a baby on his lap. Was he really doing this? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes the camera does lie.

To go to the days before technology, it's nice to note where Stefan was when this photo was taken. He had gone to a temporary job found through his university, by which he worked part-time in Tuscany, Italy, for room and board. Fortunately, he was able to go to Florence when he finished his assignment, where he met my friend, Vinicia Russo Masi, who drove him around to show him the sights in this glorious city. Vinicia and I became friends over 50 years ago when we were students and would meet weekly, Vinicia to practice her English and I to practice my Italian. We stayed in touch, dropped out of touch, were brought together again when Dorri went to Italy, once again stayed close through the mail, and have been able to see each other occasionally in recent years. This is the first time she has met any of my grandchildren. It was a thrill to me to bring them together. Vinicia and I usually communicate the old-fashioned way, by mail and telephone. Happily, there's still a place for that in modern lives.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Volksmarching with grandchildren

First of all, I have to tell everyone that if you tried to access my blog over the weekend and couldn't do it -- it wasn't MY fault or YOUR fault -- it was Blogger's. They had some computer glitches that knocked out a number of blogs, claiming they were "spam" blogs. Now here I am, a nice peaceful granny, accused of being a spammer! Fortunately, Blogger resolved the problem and restored my good name.

Today I received a note from Dena Nisenfeld Forster, a fellow alumna from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, and also a fellow grandmother. She sent some wonderful information about a great activity to do with your grandkids. I'm copying her note here with hopes that some of you will be inspired to take up volksmarching (a word derived from the German term for "people's walking").

>>My husband Stan and I have been actively involved with the American Volkssport Association for seventeen years. Volksmarching is for the most part a planned 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) or 10 km (6.2 miles) walk. Local clubs all over the world organize these walks and advertise them, giving the level of difficulty, the type of terrain, location, dates and times the walks are offered and other pertinent information. There are approximately 400 clubs in the United States hosting these walks. Many special programs have been developed in conjunction with the walks such as walking all fifty states (which my husband and I have done), walking all state capitals (which we have also done), walking all of the counties in a particular state (Maryland is ours.), and programs such as walking in all of the original colonies.

>>When we became active in the organization, we began to involve our children and grandchildren. At first we and/or their parents would walk pushing the kids in strollers. Later the grandkids would proudly walk the 6.2 miles on their own two feet. Our five oldest grandchildren walked with us in each of the original thirteen colonies. This feat not only exercised their bodies, but their minds as well. Each of them now knows with a certainty the names of the original colonies. In addition, as we motored with them from place to place we would teach them the names of all fifty states and their capitals. They were very proud at our oldest son's 40th birthday party to quiz the adults on the colonies and state capitals and show that they knew this information, especially when an adult did not.

>>Thanksgiving weekends are especially memorable for them because a Pennsylvania volksmarch club hosted walks in Hershey, Pennsylvania every year. The walks would begin on Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday noon. There were specific times during which one could walk, i.e. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday afternoon, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday. For many years we traveled as a family, our three children, their spouses and our grandchildren, and spent Friday night and Saturday in Hershey walking and the kids' enjoying the park and, of course, the chocolate.

>>These walks are remembered with enthusiasm and fondness by every one of the grandchildren--we have nine. It is also gratifying that when their parents ask who they would like to invite on a trip that will include hiking, our names immediately surface as the only grandparents able to do so.

Anyone interested in this activity should refer to the very informative website <>