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 


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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What made me smile, er, cry this week

Happy Friday!things that make me smile

Other than seeing via FaceTime Bubby's pride and joy at losing his first tooth and learning from the editor (in another phone call with her!) that my picture book manuscript is still under serious consideration for publication at a fabulous publishing house, the video below is what most made me smile this week. After those first two things, of course.

More accurately, the following video made me...

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Precisely perfect: Grandma's 5 awesome moments from the past week

In the midst of the aggravating there's always some awesome. Following are the exact awesome moments that negated any of my aggravations during the past week:

loving brothers 

Saturday, March 29
10 a.m.-11:18 a.m.

I was invited to screen Disney's THE PIRATE FAIRY last Saturday in the theater before...

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Mosh-pit Mom, or, How Grandma's career got its start

My writing career and where it's headed have been on my mind a lot lately.

So, too, has been where my writing career began.

mosh-pit mom

I've written and fantasized about being a writer for as long as I can remember. It wasn't until nearly 20 years ago, though, that I became...

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Where you'll find me

In light of this week's priority being hosting long-distance family members who are in town to attend my cousin's funeral, I began looking at older posts to see what I should re-publish for today instead of straining to be creative on a very full day. Then it hit me! I have several post on other sites, musings many of you may have never seen.

So today I'm sharing with you other places where you'll find me, other articles you might enjoy. Peruse as you please...

Grandparents.comGRANDPARENTS.COM —

What's a Grandma Worth?
Each Mother’s Day, Salary.com releases figures on what a mom is worth, the salary mothers working outside the home and within should make based on the duties she performs. Esteemed outlets from Forbes to Working Mother magazine tout the results, highlighting the ultimately priceless job mothers perform.

I think a similar study should be done on what a grandmother...Continue reading on Grandparents.com

To Move or Not to Move (Near the Grandkids)
I'm a long-distance grandma. On occasion, I complain about the many miles between my two grandsons and me. After a recent long-winded lamentation about what I miss out on by them living so far away, I was asked, by a non-grandma, Why don't you just move closer to them?

My short answer: Sheesh! I have a life!

My long answer: I have a life. A life filled with interests...Continue reading on Grandparents.com

Remembering Grandma
I’m a relatively new grandma, on the job for just over four years. Though a novice, it took me no time at all to consider myself THE grandma in my family — the family matriarch.

In my self-centered state, mentions of grandparenting led me to consider only my grandma experience, my state of affairs, my revered status. I’d mull the myriad ways my daughter might encourage my young grandsons to remember...Continue reading on Grandparents.com

7 Challenges Grandmas Face at Thanksgiving
Life becomes easier once we become grandmothers. With fewer obligations to meet, there’s more fun to be had. Except, that is, when it comes to the holidays, and none more so than Thanksgiving.

To wit:

1. We have to share. We were...Continue reading on Grandparents.com

Grandma is a Hoarder
I keep a fairly neat and tidy home. I head right from the mailbox to the recycling bin to throw out junk mail before entering the house. I make regular donations of unused clothing, books, and household items to Goodwill. I empty the fridge, cupboards, and closets without restraint.

When it comes to artwork from my grandkids, though, I simply...Continue reading on Grandparents.com

Grandmothers Helping Others Through Activism
A popular concept of late is that of finding one’s tribe, the group with whom we fit, folks whose values and actions resonate with and reflect what’s in our hearts. Grandmother and photojournalist Paola Gianturco found her tribe in diverse women all across the globe. Then she wrote a book about them — the inspirational grandmothers facilitating...Continue reading on Grandparents.com


Huffington PostHUFFINGTON POST —

Who Puts Baby in a Corner? Not This Grandma
My favorite grandma never spanked me. She also never yelled at me, reprimanded me or restricted me.

My not-so-favorite grandma? Well, she never spanked me, either. She did, though, once make me drink grape juice I didn't want. I immediately vomited up the purple stuff; grandma immediately yelled at me...Continue reading on Huffington Post (Also published on Better After 50)

Good Riddance, 2012: An Open Letter to One of the Worst Years Yet
Dear 2012,

I had high hopes for you. After the economic mess 2007 and 2008 left us in, I had heard you'd set things right, bring us back to the normal we citizens all across the globe had grown to know and love — even though we didn't know how...Continue reading on Huffington Post

The Perils of Pauline Multiplied: My Girly Girl Daughter Now Mothers All-Boy Boys
My grandsons live more than 800 miles away from me, so I see them only occasionally. One of the perks of being a long-distance grandma — and there are a few — is the obvious growth and maturing of my grandsons from one visit to the next.

I delight...Continue reading on Huffington Post (Also published on Better After 50)

Becoming Grandma Too Soon: Tips for Navigating an Unplanned Pregnancy
As our children become young adults and we envision our eventual role as Grandma, we all imagine a certain scene, a certain set of events leading up to the glorious title and tasks of family matriarch. The imagined scene doesn't usually include a teen daughter — or a teen son...Continue reading on Huffington Post



How to Help Your Unmarried Child Find Love
The current dating scene is a depressing place: too few suitable options and fewer still willing to commit. And far too many tears after yet another less-than-stellar first date.  

Such things should matter not one whit to me, a happily married 49-year-old grandmother. But they do matter — a lot. My heart breaks every time I witness, counsel and console my oldest, never-wed daughter...Continue reading on Next Avenue


While those above featured original content, you'll also find me and my previously published content here:


One Woman's Pleasure is Another's Worst Job Ever
I’ve been thinking a lot about jobs lately. I’m sure it has something to do with my friend Debbie’s retirement, my bloggy friend Tammy’s job search, and the quest of my former coworkers/current friends as they seek out freelance writing gigs to replace those drying up. Or it could have everything to do with the...Continue reading on Generation Fabulous

The Curse Takes Effect — Let the Gloating Begin
For centuries, or so I hear, mothers have placed upon the heads of their daughters The Curse. I’m talking about the doom and damnation of sorts that mothers pass along to their daughters, swearing that once they have children of their own, they will surely get their due for all the drama, trauma and heartache they once put their mothers through.

The Curse is such a cliché.

Well shiver me timbers...Continue reading on Generation Fabulous


Yep, that's where you'll find me when I'm not here on Grandma's Briefs. There are a few others, but those are the biggies. There's more coming up, too, as amidst the madness and sadness of this week, I had articles due for two of the biggies above. I'll share with you those links, too, once they're published.

Thank you for reading!

Today's question:

What are some of your favorite websites to visit (other than Grandma's Briefs, of course)?

Better late than never: Thanking a Grilled Grandma

When I was first laid off from my newspaper job in December of 2008, this week's Grilled Grandma, Anne, helped me out immensely. She helped me see that there were indeed writing jobs I could do from home, and even helped me secure a couple that added to my coffers.

Anne doesn't know she helped me. In fact, she didn't know me, and I didn't know her. I knew only her website, AboutFreelanceWriting.com, and the market and job listings she posted daily. I visited daily, took her advice daily, searched for work daily. Despite the help she gave, I never met her. And I never thanked her.

Which is why I was so pleased Anne recently wrote me nominating herself to be a Grilled Grandma. I was thrilled. Of course I jumped at the chance to feature this woman who selflessly helps writers all across the country, heck, maybe even all across the globe.

So today I offer up Grilled Grandma: Anne. Please read her grilling and visit her blogs. She's a smart lady with lots to offer — not only to her grandchildren, but to her readers, too.

And for that, I offer my official thanks: Thank you, Anne! Unbeknownst to you until this very moment, you made a difference in my life. Thank you!

Today's question:

Who in your life deserves a big "Thank you!" today?

A crystal ball widget in my future?

On my browser home page, I have lots of little widgets: some serious, some fun, some newsy, some not really worth anything at all.

One that usually fits the "fun" category is my horoscope, placed near the bottom of the page since I don't often pay it much attention.

This is what it said yesterday:

CANCER by Rick Levine

It's easier for you to talk about what you're capable of doing today than to actually follow through and get concrete results. Accordingly, it may be smarter to spend the day engaging in meetings, phone calls and emails, rather than pushing your agenda forward by executing your plans. Figure out the best way to reach your goals and prepare to make your move.

Good thing I read it after I finished my most recent picture book manuscript and after I sent it off to my agent. If I had read it before, I'm pretty darn sure the manuscript wouldn't have been completed yesterday nor the e-mail sent.

Not that I follow the advice of my horoscope by any means, but I do regularly follow any excuse to procrastinate. And that would have been a good one.

Guess it's proof I should mentally move the horoscope widget from the "fun" category to "not really worth anything at all."

I think a crystal ball widget might be more useful at this point anyway -- to tell me if my recently completed manuscript will be THE one.

Wish me luck!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Today's question:

What's your take on daily horoscopes?