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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 James 

 grandsons and parents
Megan (middle daughter) with hubby Preston and Declan, Camden, and Brayden

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


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    Lovin', touchin', squeezin'

    One week from tomorrow I'll be lovin', touchin', squeezin' this handsome little guy!

    Can there possibly be anything more exciting than that?

    I don't think so!



    Renewal by Andersen owes me money

    Soon after I was outsourced from the newspaper, I was contracted by Chelsea Welsh of Renewal by Andersen (many of you know her) to serve as editor of a lifestyle magazine Renewal planned to kick off in May 2009. I made sure the contract for myself, my writers and my photographer all included kill fees because of the wacky economic climate in which we live, especially for print publications.

    Well, we (my writers, photographer and I) did all the work for which we were contracted; I delivered it to Chelsea in March ... then in June, she cancelled the publication for economic reasons. Because of the kill fee clause, the writers and photographer were paid -- but I wasn't, despite having the very same kill fee in effect.

    After several months of trying to collect, even contacting the owner of Renewal and the BBB, I was getting nowhere and communication from Chelsea with me had ceased.

    So I contacted Angela Hoy, owner of, publisher of Writers Weekly (the highest-circulation freelance writing e-zine in the world) and longtime defender of the rights of freelancers. She graciously took up my cause and did her best to resolve the issue. It didn't work.

    Angela has included a full report on the situation in the weekly "Whispers and Warnings" section of her publication. Here is the link:

    Complaint about Renewal by Andersen

    Please read it and let me know what you think. I consider it an egregious act of greed when the Renewal by Andersen corporate coffers are overflowing yet they refuse to pay me the paltry (to them!) couple thousand bucks they legally owe me.


    Mystery of the scar

    This is NOT my arm, but it's the mark of which I write.On Saturday night, Jim and I attended a suprise birthday party (happy birthday, again, Kate!) and at one point the discussion turned to vaccinations. A few of us older folks talked about the smallpox vaccination scars -- the mark of an older generation -- we carry on our deltoids.

    As the weather was kind of chilly and most of us were wearing long sleeves, we didn't go so far as showing each other our owies. But that night when I was putting on my jammies, I looked on my arm to remind myself what my scar looked like. Oops, not on that arm. I looked at the other. Hmmm ... I wasn't seeing it. I looked again, this time using the mirror. One arm, then the next. No scar. But I had to have a scar.

    The next morning, I asked Jim to look at my arms; maybe I just wasn't seeing correctly.

    "Nope, no scar."

    How could that be? Smallpox vaccinations in the U.S. took place across the board up until 1972 (I looked it up!). I was definitely a child way before that year. Plus, one of the gals at the party, who is a few years younger than I am, DID show her owie -- proof that I should have one, too.

    So what's the deal?

    I know my mom didn't choose to not vaccinate me. Back in the day, parents just did as the doctors told them -- none of this choosing to not vaccinate your kids (which, in my opinion, is a very irresponsible thing to do and puts other kids -- and the entire population -- at risk, but that's another post). So maybe having seven kids, Mom just kind of forgot which kid got what and I fell through the cracks.

    Or maybe I did get vaccinated but my body has super abilities to repair itself and the scar just miraculously disappeared. Although then there would be no explanation for my remaining stretch marks 24 years after my most recent pregnancy and the goofy scar I have on my lip from falling on the metal blade of an old-fashioned ice cream maker when I was about 3 years old.

    Then maybe ... just maybe ... I'm an alien. When there's no plausible answer -- or way to end a blockbuster movie -- doesn't it always turn out to be aliens? I sure hope that's not the answer, though, because the alien-resolution ending to movies drives me batty and is one of my biggest pet peeves ... and I surely don't want to be my own pet peeve.

    I guess it's not all that important since I'm still alive, with few health issues. (Okay, there's one ... but I seriously doubt that is related to smallpox.) But it's definitely a mystery.

    Funny how I can be this age and still not know such a basic thing about myself.


    Introducing Grandma's Recipe Box

    How many times have you heard folks rave about a meal or dish or baked good, using the ultimate stamp of approval: "It's just like Grandma used to make"? Today I kick off a new Grandma's Briefs feature called Recipe Box, where you'll find recipes for some of the goodies this Grandma has gotten raves for making over the the past 25+ years ... and continues to make ... and hopes that you will now make.

    You'll find my Recipe Box at the top of this page on a tab called, fittingly, "Recipe Box." See ... right up there ... in red letters, right between Friday Haiku Contest and Brag Book? Yep ... right there!

    When you click on those little red words, you'll be taken directly to my -- believe it or not -- Recipe Box page.

    For the kickoff of my nifty new feature, my Recipe Box includes recipes for five family favorites:



    The Chocolate Chip Cookies you've already read about.







    A Heath Bar Coffee Cake I've earned countless raves for in the past quarter century.





    A delicious lemon bar recipe I recently tried out ... and have had numerous requests for already.





    An incredibly addicting, chocolatey, crumbly, yummy bar called Split Levels.






    And the heavenly Yeast Dinner Rolls that have rounded out the majority of our family Sunday dinners for countless years.



    I'll be adding more recipes as I make more goodies (I need to make them in order to photograph them for you) so check the Recipe Box often to see what's new and nummy. And be sure to let me know what you and yours think about any of the recipes once you've tried them out on your family.

    Bon appetit!


    Fave photo of the week


    The Saturday Post

    If you're like me, October doesn't really mean Halloween, it means "time to get going on buying Christmas gifts!" I usually have a few things bought by now ... and don't this year.

    But I recently read about this cool gift idea that reduces the amount of "stuff" you buy and give as gifts, while still providing your loved ones with what they've always wanted.

    It's called DreamBank and its tagline is "Give Dreams, Not Stuff." Because I'm not one of those bloggers who pushes reviews and such on readers, I'll give it to you straight by posting below the PR and How It Works info right from DreamBank. I will say, though, that it sounds like a great idea, and if any of my loved ones have a dream they want me to help fulfill (note I said help, not completely cover!), I'd be happy to contribute to your posted dream.

    Here's the info:

    The DreamBank Elevator Pitch is the ultimate gift registry where you can give and receive the perfect gift and do good at the same time. With DreamBank, instead of giving or receiving gifts that, although appreciated may not really be wanted, you post a dream gift on the site and friends and family contribute to your dream. It's really an all way win as you get what you really want, friends and family can avoid wasted hours shopping, you help spare the planet some of the nasty side effects of manufacturing and packaging unused gifts and your gift automatically generates funds that are given to important social causes. It's the new model for gift giving.


    How It Works

    With DreamBank, it's easy to give and receive the perfect give and do good at the same time. Here's how it works:

    Become a Dreamer: In just minutes, join DreamBank and create your personal dream gift or post a gift for someone you care about. All you need is an email address and to be 18. However, you will need a PayPal account to cash in your dream gift. If you have one already, great! If you don't, it's a relatively simple process and you can set one up anytime before you are ready to cash in.  

    Contribute to a Dream Gift: Use a major credit card or your PayPal account to contribute to your sister's grad trip to Costa Rica, your best friend's fantasy wedding, a colleague's school building project in Kenya or your own dream.

    Make a Difference: Contribute to a dream gift instead of buying a gift  that may not be really needed or wanted and you help the planet by reducing the waste caused by excess packaging and manufacturing. As well, with DreamBank, unlike many other companies that give a percentage of profits to charities, DreamBank has a unique business model that gives 10% of all net transaction revenue to our selected charities. This means that the charities receive revenue, regardless of our profitability. This "All Way Win" model is the foundation of DreamBank.

    Connect With Other Dreamers: Search the site to connect and exchange ideas with fellow Dreamers. Working together can be fun and can keep you motivated to fulfill your dream gift a little sooner.


    Friday Haiku Contest Winner!

    Once again, we had some really great submissions in the Friday Haiku Contest! Even the ones from the haiku bandit were excellent. But the winning haiku, of those using the theme word of PAST, is ...

    ... <drumroll> ...

    Summer days, now past,
    captured sun in Aspen leaves,
    covered soon by snow.

    ~ Ann

    Congratulations, Mom Ann!

    Yes, she's my mom ... but hers truly was the best of the bunch this week. (And reverse discrimination gets my panties in a bunch, so I hereby refuse to discriminate against my family when it comes to awarding haiku prizes ... at least until I get a few more entries each week!) 

    And the prize for her heartfelt haiku:

    "My Cat Hates You" by Jim Edgar!!

    It's filled with "More than 245 Sour-Faced Furballs Who Can't Stand the Sight of You!" You'll love it! I did (and even considered keeping it for myself!). E-mail me at to collect your prize.

    And never fear: There are more prizes where that one came from. Just enter this week's haiku contest and you just might be the winner of the next FRIDAY HAIKU CONTEST! Details are HERE.


    Time on our hands

    Well, tomorrow is Jim's last day at work; by 5 p.m. quitting time (if not sooner) he'll have officially joined the ranks of the outsourced.

    With no new employment lined up, I'm a little concerned about how being in each other's company 24/7 will go for us. We're not exactly to retirement stage yet and Jim will be getting a new job, so we don't need a permanent solution to hours on end together. And although I do have friends who make it work when both halves of the couple work from home, I just don't see it being something Jim and I would succeed at. We like our space.

    So this whole dual unemployment thing may be detrimental to our marriage.

    On the other hand, it may bring us closer together. It may bring us a level of joy we've not yet shared in our nearly 30 years together. It may even lead to us ...

    ... spending our days ...

                     ... like this:

    Ghost ridin' it will be far more fun than sitting around wringing our hands and worrying about where the heck we'll come up with money for the mortgage, I think!