11 things I learned last year

No. 6: Two grandsons are better than one.

1. How to make salmon, cut mango, appreciate the delights of a boldly flavored balsamic vinegar.

2. Every once in a while hype is well warranted. Case in point: Adele.

3. The older I get, the more unbidden kindness and consideration matters, makes a difference.

4. My black thumb is apparently permanently tattooed that color and will never transform into green. (Though I'll surely give transformation yet another attempt this year.)

5. Despite the complaints and bad press, I'm unashamed to admit I love Netflix. Especially instant streaming for without it, I'd never know the thrills, chills, and chuckles of Friday Night Lights, Sons of Anarchy, Nativity!.

6. Two grandsons are indeed double the fun, double the pleasure of one and two of my life's greatest pleasures day in, day out, whether I see them or not.

7. Although decades removed from the drama and trauma of the teen years, mid-life friendships are still fickle affairs. Some flounder and fade for reasons unclear, while others grow and glow brighter than ever—also for reasons unclear yet much appreciated.

8. Committing yourself to fulfilling your heart's desire is worth far more than money. Most of the time.

9. Less really isn't more, it's still less—especially when it comes to having. But it's manageable, survivable, easier than previously believed.

10. There are benefits to having less, though: It highlights the abundance of blessings remaining for which to be endlessly grateful: a loving family, a welcoming home, continued co-pay assistance.

11. Those things that go bump in the night at my house really are just my boogedy boiler. (Or so I keep telling myself...and my houseguests.)

Today's question:

What did you learn last year?

Grandma's good intentions for 2012

I'm not really one to make resolutions but I do have many good intentions—a kinder, gentler word with less guilt attached for not following through. A cop out before getting started? Maybe. Not likely, though, when it comes to the grandma-related intentions I have for the coming new year because I fully intend to:

• Be more active—with my grandchildren, for my grandchildren.

• Print and display more of the thousands of photos I'm likely to take in the coming year (plus some of those from past years that sit in digital limbo).

• Seek out opportunities, activities, experiences to encourage compassion, gratitude, grace in my grandchildren.

• Regularly mail homemade goodies to my grandchildren so they get to know the wonders and love that comes from Gramma’s oven despite the hundreds of miles between my home and theirs.

• Stop expecting immediate feedback, thanks, and notification of receipt for those gifts and goodies I send.

• Stifle—possibly even eradicate—envy of my grandsons' other grandmas.

• Dedicate more time to outdoor pursuits with my grandsons to balance out the amount of time we spend on indoor activities such as reading, watching movies, playing games, cooking, and making crafts.

• Stop lamenting the miles that separate us and make the most of the high-saturation moments we do have together.

• Actively pursue activities, hobbies, opportunities that have absolutely nothing to do with being a grandma—which makes for a better, more interesting grandma.

Today's question:

What are some of your good intentions for the new year?