Hooray for Handwriting Day! Plus, GRAND Social No. 240 link party for grandparents

Hooray for Handwriting Day!

Today, January 23, is John Hancock's birthday. Yes, the master of the stylish signature was born 280 years ago, on January 23, 1737.

Forty years ago, on January 23, 1977, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association — pencil and pen masters such as Bic, Pentel, Pilot and more — honored Hancock and his spectacular script by making his day of birth National Handwriting Day, a celebration of scribbles spectacular or sloppy.

In honor of such, I invite you to read my one and only handwritten post here on Grandma's Briefs. Or, possibly more fun, take a gander at your own handwriting and what its dabbles and dots might mean:

 

Hooray for handwriting! And hoping...

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My dad's obituary and the difference between big newspapers and small

My dad passed away Sunday evening. I got the call from my sister Debbie 20 seconds before the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos in Sunday's overtime game. I missed the field goal that put the win in the Chiefs' column.

Priorities.

daughter and dying father
My last photo with Dad, October 27, 2016

My dad was unexpectedly diagnosed with a relatively obscure cancer — myelodysplastic syndrome — the very same week last January that my dog Lyla was diagnosed with her brain tumor. Lyla passed a month later. It took my dad 10 months longer.

Witnessing Dad's steady decline from a hearty, humor-loving 76-year-old to a shrinking (yet still humor-loving) 77-year-old sucked for family. Even more sucky for him, as he was fully cognizant, fully aware of his wasting away, especially as the wasting accelerated to runaway train speed near the end.

I'm filled with sorrow at Dad's death. But that's unexpectedly balanced by my joy he's out of pain and distress. I have no doubt he's in heaven. I'm especially thankful he had no doubt that's where he'd end up, once again loving on his beloved...

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5 BEs from a grandma on composing meaningful gift cards and inscriptions

The gift-giving season is upon us, and many grandparents like to include a meaningful, memorable message with the gifts they give their loved ones.

Whether you plan on crafting quips for gift cards or unforgettable inscriptions in gift books, here are my top five tips for meaningful and memorable — as well as short and sweet — sentiments for your sweeties.

tips for writing to grandchildren 

ONE

Be yourself. Use words and phrases you...

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2016 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop: 13 things I loved plus a few me-loved-nots

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop 2016 recap

I've long dreamed of attending the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop presented by the University of Dayton every two years. The revered place writers of various formats — books, blogs, screenplays and more — gather to glean insider tips and load up on laughter and love from folks in their field. Attendance is capped at 200 each year, and I've never made the cut at registration... nor, to be honest, had the money for travel and hotel if I had.

This year, though, I clicked the Register button in time to obtain a coveted Golden Ticket for the event that sold out in six hours, and I eeked out the funds to make attendance at my dream conference a reality.

Unlike many dreams that eventually come true yet pale in comparison to one's expectations, the Erma...

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EBWW! Plus, GRAND Social No. 201 link party for grandparents

EBWW!

I left Colorado early Thursday morning to spend three full amazing and inspirational days with hundreds of amazing and inspirational women (and one or two handfuls of men) at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, the majority of that time with this fabulous group of witty women whom I love and adore... and already miss:

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop 2016 

As I'm writing this not long after I arrived home Sunday evening and am quite pooped — and not writing very well after flying the sometimes-not-so-friendly skies...

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Love, Grandma: 6 tips on writing memorable messages for grandchildren

Putting words on paper—or pixel, as the case may be in high-tech communications—can be difficult at times. Especially at the times that matter most, those milestone moments we want our sentiments to perfectly convey what's in our hearts and be cherished forever by loved ones.

what to write to grandchild

I often get email requests from grandparents to help them write the right words in greeting cards, letters, baby books and...

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Grandma's Briefs named top site for grandparents by GRAND Magazine

Great news: Grandma's Briefs has been named one of 11 top websites for grandparents in GRAND Magazine's 2015 Top Blogs/Websites Awards!

grandparent blog

I'm honored and humbled to be included in the same category as many of the grandparent bloggers and websites I've adored for years and hoped to emulate—as a grandparent and as a provider of content highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of today's grandparents.

Congratulations to all my fellow grandparent writers, bloggers, and website publishers named in the article, which you can find here.

Though Grandma's Briefs won the designation, you—the Grandma's Briefs readers—reap the reward by way of a free subscription to GRAND Magazine (a $19.95 value)!

GRAND magazine sept 2015

How to get your free subscription to GRAND Magazine: Simply click on this link to sign up for your free 12-month subscription. I look forward to reading it along with you, hearing your thoughts on the grandparenting features we both will learn from, be inspired by.

A sincere thanks to the editors of GRAND Magazine for the honor and the gift. Even bigger thanks go out to all of you—those who visit my site, read my ramblings, comment on my musings.

Thank you for making Grandma's Briefs part of your grandparent experience!

Musing elsewhere: When a teen mom hits midlife

In the summer of 1982, I graduated from high school, got married, turned 18, and had a baby. I went from kid to wife and mother in the span of three months, just like that.

teen mom and baby

My husband was 21 at the time. Now, 33 years later, we're empty-nesters. We've patted ourselves on the back for a job well done. We beat the odds and raised three lovely and amazing daughters from diapers to dorm rooms and into the real world. Our journey featured little outside the typical bumps, bruises and pains of parenthood, despite the fact that we were mere children ourselves at the outset. Our girls are grown and gone—one has even made us grandparents.

Time to rejoice! Time to enjoy midlife!

Time for an unexpected reality check, is more like it.

Once my kids split and I recovered from the initial empty-nest jitters, it became clear that having been a teen mother would...Click here to continue reading my article published on PurpleClover.com.

purple clover

When editors decorate for Halloween

I once was an editor. I worked at the newspaper. I had an office of my own. And I had a desk upon which I could place holiday tchotchkes of my choosing.

One Halloween season I was delighted to find a very special treat jar at the drugstore. I bought it, edited it, filled...

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6 topics on which I could speak with ease... even if drunk

 

I belong to several online writing groups. As a freelance writer, the gathering spots of like-minded wordsmiths are where I most often find support, advice, inspiration.

One tidbit I recently gleaned from such a group was instruction on how to determine the topics that one might determine — and promote to publishers — as his or her areas of expertise. The simple solution offered was to consider...

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Finding balance: My 8 daily must-haves

Yesterday I was interviewed by Ruth of Cranium Crunches for a podcast series she's creating as part of an exciting new venture of hers (which I'll surely share with you once up and running). The focus of the interview was on finding balance and navigating challenges and stress, in relation to creativity and purposeful living.

books and papers

Ruth's questions led me...

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Mini photogs, crowdsourcing and GRAND Social No. 110 link party

Mini photogs

Bubby received a child-sized digital camera from Aunt Brianna a while back, and I've enjoyed watching both Bubby and Mac put it to good use in documenting baby Jak's first days.

toddler photographer 

child photographer

I like to think...

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