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Thank you for visiting Grandma's Briefs, where I write on the good, bad, humorous and heartwarming of being a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife and writer. Peruse the place, leave a comment or two, and feel free to email me any time at

Meet the family

 grandma and grandpa
Lisa (me) and Jim (aka PawDad)

blended family
Brianna (oldest daughter) and hubby Patrick with his son Bud (bloggy nickname) 

 grandsons and parents
Megan (middle daughter) with hubby Preston and Jak, Mac, and Bubby (bloggy nicknames for our grandsons)

youngest and her fiance
Newlyweds Matt and Andrea (youngest daughter)


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    Saturday movie review: Queen of Katwe

    I don't know how to play chess. Disney's QUEEN OF KATWE is about chess. Despite my lack of knowledge of the game, I found the film intriguing — even suspenseful at times — but most of all inspiring. Because QUEEN OF KATWE is about much more than excelling at a board game.

    Queen of Katwe

    QUEEN OF KATWE tells the true tale of a 10-year-old girl living in Katwe (pronounced CAT wee or CAT way), a slum in Kampala, Uganda. Phiona Mutesi (newcomer Madina Nalwanga) and ...

    Click to read more ...


    Game review: Gigamons from Blue Orange Games

    I used to have an amazing memory. I could recall faces, names, numbers, events, location of pictures and text on printed pages, a fair amount of trivia, and more. Age and MS have done a number on my noggin', though, so you won't hear me bragging about my sharp skills in that area any more.

    Instead, I seek out ways to continually sharpen my short-term memory. Playing games certainly helps. And is fun. Especially games enjoyed with grandkids. Double that when played with my grandkids and my adult kids.

    Which is exactly what I recently did with Bud (grandkid) and Brianna (adult kid). I received an intriguing game free for review from Blue Orange Games — Gigamons this time — and recruited Bud and Brianna to go a few rounds with me on the magical memory boosting game.

    gigamons game review 

    The official description of Gigamons, The quest for magical Elemons!...

    Click to


    Text to Gramma: Jak and the Lord

    I used to visit my three grandsons in the desert far more often than I have recently. Preston, the boys' dad, used to regularly attend work-related conferences, and Megan usually joined him. Which meant Gramma (that would be me) was flown to the desert to babysit the boys while Mom and Dad were away.

    Add in a desert visit initiated by myself — sometimes with PawDad (that would be Jim) in tow — and the time between hugs and face-to-face fun were rather short. Which was fabulous for being aware and awed but not shocked by the growth of Bubby and Mac between visits.

    That's not the case with Jak, who is now nearly 2 1/2 years old. Preston attends fewer conferences of late for various reasons; I haven't had the time or money to schedule many trips to see the boys myself. So I don't see Jak as often as I did his brothers during the toddler years.

    Because of the limited in-person connecting with Jak, I'm regularly flabbergasted by how much he grows between Facetimes and photos and phone calls. He never fails to advance by leaps and bounds physically, socially, verbally, developmentally in myriad and magical ways.

    A text from Megan on Monday demonstrated...

    Click to read more ...


    Fall in Michigan! Plus, GRAND Social No. 223 link party for grandparents

    Fall in Michigan

    Fall is sneaking its way into Colorado. The Aspens are changing in the high country, I've heard, and I hope Jim and I get a chance to traverse a mountain pass or two before a cold snap renders leaves of  brilliant golds, reds, and oranges instantly burned and browned.

    I do love the changing of the Aspens in my home state, but I must say I've yet to be as awed by fall in Colorado as I was when visiting Michigan last year. I haven't revisited my video of that fall adventure to The Tawases, Alpena, and beyond since late last year.

    Considering that autumn officially begins this Thursday, seems the perfect time to do just that. Come along with me!


    Happy fall to...

    Click to read more ...


    Saturday movie review: Learning to Drive

    LEARNING TO DRIVE is a chick flick. Literally. The touching dramatic comedy was written by a woman (Sarah Kernochan), directed by a woman (Isabel Coixet), produced by women (executive producer Eleni Asvesta and producer Dana Friedman), and stars always intriguing Patricia Clarkson in a story primarily about a woman.

    LEARNING TO DRIVE also stars a few men, Ben Kingsley most prominently. Which factors into the film resonating with men as well as women. Yet Kingsley's presence isn't the only reason men might enjoy the insightful movie made primarily by women. That can be attributed most fully to the engaging, uplifting story of a broken marriage, a new marriage, and an unexpected friendship forged.

    learning to drive movie

    The film opens with Wendy (Clarkson) and her husband...

    Click to read more ...


    Farewell from the ranch

    Jim's oldest sister lives on a ranch outside of Hot Springs, South Dakota. My sister-in-law's property has been the scene of many a family celebration over the past 20-plus years.

    Last Saturday it was the spot as many extended family members as could make it gathered to celebrate the life of Granny, beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to all who were there.

    In between taking hundreds of photos of the family, I wandered here and there to shoot a few shots of the spot that holds so many cherished memories.

    ranch life 

    The expansive, history laden...

    Click to read more ...


    Dive right in: GRAND Social No. 222 link party for grandparents

    Dive right in

    I returned yesterday evening from a weekend in South Dakota, where Jim, Brianna, Andrea and I along with other family and friends who loved her so, celebrated my mother-in-law's life and bid her a final farewell. (Megan was, unfortunately, unable to make the quick trip from the desert to the Black Hills.)

    Due to the emotional time as well as many hours in the car traveling there and back, my brain is shot at the time of writing this post. Meaning, I have nothing witty nor wise to share to kick off this week's GRAND Social link party for grandparents.

    So we will simply dive right in!

    GRAND Social No. 222

    Welcome to the GRAND Social, the link party for grandparents! I'm so happy you're here!

    grand social link party

    How it works:


    Saturday movie review: Max Rose

    Jerry Lewis is back in business. Back in the movie business, that is.

    For many, many years, it seems Jerry Lewis' primary business — and passion — was supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association in myriad admirable ways. It's been more than 20 years, in fact, since acting was his primary gig, since he starred in a movie.

    That last movie — FUNNY BONES — was released in 1995. Like most of Lewis' films dating back to his first in 1949, FUNNY BONES was a comedy. Lewis plays funny like no other.

    MAX ROSE proves Lewis plays serious and heartbroken like no other, as well. At 90 years old, Jerry Lewis is back in fine form, albeit a form most of us might not expect from the comedic genius.

    Jerry Lewis in Max Rose

    MAX ROSE stars Lewis as the title character, a retired...

    Click to read more ...