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    « 5 thoughts upon my return to the desert | Main | One word: Lonesome »

    Introducing Grilled Grandma Janie

     I'd like to introduce you to Janie. Ever since meeting Janie online, I've been continually impressed and inspired by her work ethic, her writing credits, and her cheerful heart. Oh, and her hair. I do love Janie's hair! And that was all before I even knew she was a grandma. That she is, though, and today she is a grilled grandma.

    What's a Grilled Grandma? A Grilled Grandma is a grandma whom I've grilled with some grandma-related questions, and she's graciously responded with answers and photos. Here is Grilled Grandma Janie:

    How many children do you have? One daughter. And a step daughter and step son who both live in Michigan.
    How many grandchildren? What are their ages? Three from my daughter  2 Boys and a girl. The baby, Enzo, is 19 months.  Joey 8 years old & Dylan is 10 years old.
    Three from my step daughter - 5, 8 & 11
    One from my step son - 8
    What do your grandchildren call you? Grandma or Grams and sometimes J-Gram.

     After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? That my daughter's wedding dress was going to have to be altered!
    Then about month before my granddaughter was born, I broke my foot and I was on crutches during her birth and for several months afterwards. What I hated the most was that I couldn't carry her around.

    How often do you get to see your grandchildren? I see the ones who live near me almost every day.
    What is the best thing about being a grandma? Being able to play with them. Having them confide in me. Tucking them in at night. And then going home. And being able to share being a "grandma" with my mother who is now a great grandmother. It's an unbelievable feeling, one that I'm so glad I get to experience.

    What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Hmm. This is hard to answer because I just love it all. I guess sometimes watching my granddaughter act with my daughter in the same rebellious way that my daughter used to act toward me.
    Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. Well, the youngest has a language of his own that always makes me laugh.  My granddaughter does impressions that crack me up. And my eight-year-old grandson tells the most amazing stories about his skateboarding adventures.  
    What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Snuggle with them on the couch and read books. I also make up stories for them and they in turn make up stories of their own.

    What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? Read books and play games. They have very vivid imaginations and like to play made up games such as Dry Cleaners ( who knew such a place could inspire a game) or restaurant. And we dance and put on shows. I'm pretty exhausted when I get home.

    How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?
    I text my granddaughter. We talk on the phone. Sadly, I don't have as much communication with the grandchildren that live in Michigan.

    What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?
    Creativity and imagination, whether it's writing or drawing or dancing. And I want them to believe in themselves and know that they can be anything they want to be. That they are the rulers of their own destiny.

    What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Fun. But I do know they call me "Funny, unusual & funky." And I have to add that they also think of me as "Big Haired." In fact, I'm working a picture book titled "My big-haired, funky Grandma."

    What has most surprised you about being a grandma?
    How much I love it and them.

    What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent?
    I can't really think of anything.

    What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma?
    Don't be afraid of acting silly.

    Do you have a website, book or project to promote?
    My recent release is a book for tween girls titled MERCURY IN RETRO LOVE. It is a sweet story about crushes, conflicts and astrological confusion.

    I write a weekly column for women -
    My website is:
    And I blog at - Anatomy of Baby Boomer - Life in Retrograde

    This grilling will now be permanently placed in the Grilled Grandmas Hall of Fame—AKA the Grilled Grandma Archives—under Grilled Grandma: Janie.

    Dear Readers: If you'd like to nominate a grandma for grilling—yourself or any other grandma—please e-mail me her first name and e-mail address and I'll take care of the rest. Thank you!

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    Reader Comments (35)

    You both are amazing grandmas. I am so ready to become one myself, but my kids are not there yet. I don't know about their biological clocks, but mine is ticking!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelene Bludman

    Lovely post. In Texas I grew up surrounded by big-haired grannies!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Tucker

    I had the pleasure of meeting Janie at our LA GenFab meetup, and her youthful attitude and energy are, I'm sure, a great pleasure for her grandkids! Great choice!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Greenthal

    This is such a sweet post with beautiful photos. I hope I am lucky enough to be a grandma some day. I wish I had Janie's hair!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Ruhlin

    Amyt - I'm sure my husband wishes you had my hair, too, instead of me. I can't tell you how many times we've needed the plumber. He's putting his kids through college on unclogging our pipes alone.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    You young Grandmas are fun to "meet" and read about; you are all doing the right things, in this Great-grandmother's opinion! Keep up the good work.

    Welcome, Janie, to Grilled Grandmas, enjoyed "meeting" you.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Welcome, Janie! I enjoy your pieces in the LATIMES every fall when we're at the beach house in Ventura for a month or two (to be near our grdaughters!) Childrens lit is important to me so that is one of my fave things to read! Congrats on publishing another book......going to recommend to my teen/preteen girls!
    Your grandchildren are adorable......and it sounds like you have such great fun with them! I love the idea of playing Dry's a favorite stop when I have the twins as they always get a sucker! I'm going to turn this into a playtime activity!
    I agree with's a pleasure and an honor to have someone of your expertise and credits joining us!
    Joan @

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    Oh, how I love Janie...and her hair!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHouseTalkN

    Great post, and I love seeing grandmotherhood through others' eyes! I'm so looking forward to that stage myself (though not wishing too hard...yet!), and it's so nice to see you enjoying it so much.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

    I am a some years out from being a grandmother, but I am going to remember Janie's advice not to be afraid of being silly!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTina

    Lovely post and lovely grandma! Congratulations on your special day Janie!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Sonoda

    What a delightful interview, Janie! Having just become a grandma, I'm envious since my grandson doesn't live near me, but I take advantage of Skype and visiting as often as possible.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda O. Johnston

    I loved the question and answer format. I had no idea that Janie was a Grandma and that she enjoyed it so much. Just another side of her amazing personality!

    Welcome to Grilled Grandmas! I love your hair. How great that you can share being a Grandmother with your own Mother -- it must really add another dimension of wonderfulness to the grandparenting experience. I'm off to check your links. Enjoy your day in the spotlight!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Lovely post, Janie! Your grand-kids are just the sweetest :>)

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Dolgen

    Helene - When they are ready, it will be great!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    Great photos, Janie! You've got a real passel of grandkids. Being silly and fun is the best. Welcome to the ranks of the Grilled!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRisa

    It doesn't surprise me that Janie is such a wonderful, dedicated grandmother. She is that way in all of her roles. I really enjoyed this interview and the great pictures. And of course, her hair. She is always easy to spot.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeri

    Mr.s Tucker - Maybe I should move to Texas!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    Sharon - It was great meeting you, too. I can't wait to do again.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    What a wonderful post, and fabulous pictures! Janie, you glow around your grandkids...and yeah, I'm totally envious of your hair! Cheers hon!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Ashworth

    What a lovely post. Thank you. I especially loved the kids reading with the dog (probably looking out a window.)You are lucky to have such a gorgeous, healthy, happy family.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrobena grant

    This was so much fun to read! I loved getting a glimpse into another side of you, Janie! I know your youthful spirit and generosity make you an amazing grandma! Thanks for sharing so many wonderful pictures - your grandkids are gorgeous.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Bielman

    Oh, I just love this post. My son is only 20 with no girlfriend in sight so I know being a grandma is not on the radar. Janie, you sound like such a cool grandmother! Your grandchildren will always remember the magic you bring them.

    My son is very close with all of his grandparents and for that I am thankful. He also got to know 2 of his great-grandparents (passed away at age 92 and 100!). My husband's grandmother was 100 and 4 months old when she passed away and was the coolest ever. I wear some of her jewelry because her taste was a mix of classic and modern but always timeless.

    Great, great post!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

    Joan - Thanks so much for the kind words about my LATIMES stories. I was really sad when they discontinued that section of the paper. Thanks for recommending my book. It's a sweet story, much needed in today's crazy world.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    Grandma KC - It is fun sharing the name Grandma with my own mother. It's actually a bit weird, too.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    LOVED the pictures! such a great interview - I enjoy my grandson so much because I AM the Gramma - let my daughter do the parental heavy lifting this time around. I dispense the cookies and ice cream LOL.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica Scott

    Hi Janie
    Just got time to visit your blog today. What a fun post. And what GORGEOUS grandchildren you have! I'm loving my Grandma status, though mine can't say my name yet. Still too little, but we have fun playing too, when they come over. I LOVE it, just like you.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlene Sands

    Wow! You make me look forward to being a Grandma! I want to be the fun, funky, big-haired kind too. Note to self: work on making hair bigger. Thanks ladies, for a fun, sweet interview.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam Beck

    Welcome to the Grilled Grandmas. I love your advice. Silliness with your grandkids is way under-rated.

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Valenta

    Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Being a grandmother is really terrific, as some of you know. Having so much hair is also not as bad as it used to be!

    January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    I always had a hunch you were the sweetest, coolest Grandma around. This just confirmed it for me!

    Janie has some great tips!

    January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaralee

    Thanks Kim. - They are all here with me today. Is it too early for a martini?

    January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    Haralee - I forgot to add a long bath to relax after a chasing after the baby all day!

    January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus
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