Friday, May 28, 2010

Nomination Questionnaire for The Grampa Hall of Fame

Congratulations!  Because you have been "linked" to this post, you have the challenge to help me, Jon Robert Howe,  the curator of the Grampa Hall of Fame to write the citation post for your nomination.

Please copy and paste this questionnaire into your e-mail and fill in the blanks below and send the completed form and a good quality digital JPEG picture of your nominee (attached) to  Send any questions to the same e-mail address.

We will send you back an edited draft of the citation for the Grampa Hall of Fame.  This is a free public service of the Grampa in Training Blog.  We're anxious to observe the sensitivities involved with the story of your nominee.  Beyond a newspaper obituary, this citation will be read by future generations and accessable to everyone who reads this blog.  Like you, we want to get it RIGHT!

Here are the members of this exclusive group.  Follow the links below each picture to get an idea of the kind of information we're looking for.

           Harold Poole                        Clayton Robbins              Vernon Thompson
He Carried his Riches With Him  The Power of a Gentle Grampa  Serious Laughter for Growth

        Big Mike Sullivan

    Biker Poet Finally Liberated  

Nomination Questionnaire 
for The Grampa Hall of Fame

Please copy and paste this questionnaire into your e-mail and fill in the blanks below before sending it to
Nominee's complete Name_____________________________________

Nominee's email if still living _________________________________

Nominee's Date of Birth  _____________________________________

Nominee's Location of Birth ___________________________________

Nominee's Date of Passing (where appropriate)_______________

Nominee's Age at the time of Passing (where appropriate)_____

Location of Passing  (where appropriate) ________________________

Date of Nominee's Memorial Service  (where appropriate) ______

Newspaper(s) that published Nominee Obituary (where appropriate)


Spouse's complete name _____________________________________

Spouse's email (where appropriate)_____________________________

Date of Wedding ____________________________________________

Place Married ______________________________________________

Name(s) of Children  with age and e-mail at time of nomination (to gather more information about the nominee and notify when the citation is completed and posted)

___________________   ______   _____________________________

___________________   ______   _____________________________

___________________   ______   _____________________________

(More can be added as needed)

Lifetime Profession_____________________________________

How is Nominee investing/invested  his time if retired


Two or three anecdotes about his work______________________


Two or three anecdotes about his service as husband, father & Grampa



Specific reasons why he deserves this Great Grampa Hall of Fame honor that you haven't mentioned in the anecdotes above:



Any additional material that you think could be added to the citation



Please copy and paste this questionnaire into your e-mail and fill in the blanks above before sending it to with a good quality JPEG digital picture of your nominee attached.

Jon Robert Howe, Curator
Grampa Hall of Fame
Creator:  Grampa in Training (GiT) Blog

Monday, May 24, 2010

What is a Wizard, Anyway?

The name Dumbledore comes to mind.  His young friend Harry Potter was supposed to be one of the greatest wizards ever!  Both were good wizards--kindly, patient, contributing to their community, leading their friends to better things!

He Who Must Not Be Named--ok, Voldemort was a dark wizard.  The Death Eaters joined him with assorted other villlians to wreak havoc and horror in J. K. Rowling's landmark book series--tearing down where a good wizard would build up!

Gotta have both sides--as Father Lehi taught, "Needs be opposition in all things.  Soaps, Dramas even Comedies are not much with such contrast!

I was cast in the play, "Once Upon a Mattress!" at the local college's community theater years ago. (It was Carol Burnett's Broadway debut vehicle.  The costumers crafted a nifty green and yellow silk robe with pointy hat and even a magic wand.  At the time I was teaching at New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Salt Lake City and learning about the Microsoft "Wizard".  I chose an email name that has remained with me ever since that reflects those days and what I was doing at work and at play!.My "email handle" has given my computer class students something to call me when they feel they've gotten past "Mr. Howe".

The little wizard that I'm conjuring up (below)  is the illustration on the blog in March of 2010 annoncing that I had just become "employed" at Highland's Community Education Program after 18 months of being a hard working job hunter because of the Burst Real Estate Bubble. it's effects on our company: Coaching Institute and the George W. Bush Memorial Recession that began at the end of 2008 just about the time our jobs at CI all disappeared as the nearly 10 year old company imploded.

Liza helped me define the term  WIZARD  in our Spring 2010 Photoshop Class at Highland Community Education where I teach Microsoft Office (Powerpont Slide Production, Excel Spreadsheets, and Word Processing) Photoshop and Web Design.  (A lovely face always gets more attention, don't you think?)

Let me know what You think!

The purpose of the graphic is to establish the first of several "Branding ads--and demonstrate the use of color, gradient fills, shadows and embossing for that classy 3D feel.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Big Mike Sullivan, Great Grampa Hall of Fame Hero!

Michael King Sullivan, Big Mike to his many, many friends,  survived his Doctor's expectations by 20 years on what he called "borrowed time".

Amazingly he survived a near fatal collision with a parked Semi Truck on a side street on his souped up motorcycle.  The bike was going so fast it climbed up the semi and flipped Big Mike up in the air and severed his spinal cord below the waist.

Big Mike landed in a wheel chair.   Fast forward to twenty years ago.

Then, Big Mike suffered a stroke--and doctors told his sweet Carol that her husband would spend the rest of what was left of his life in bed--they spoke from experience.  No one lasted long after that kind of punishment.    Any day it could be all over!

He beat all the odds until May 13, 2010.  At the age of 69, Big Mike was liberated to run all over the Spirit World Paradise--or roar all over on the afterlife version of the best dream-cycle he could imagine.    He credited his marvelous care from wife Carol and all his nurses and doctors.  I personally believe he kept his attitude alive and enthusiasic---and that sustained him and all around him to the very end.

I couldn't do it--minimal use of my arms and hands--and really nothing but my brain, my face and my voice to serve my fellow man--but he did, my,  how he did.

Poetry--on long car trips with friends, they would quote poetry back and forth all the way to Southern Utah. It's a lost art--but Big Mike recited to anyone who would sit still long enough to thoroughly enjoy his enthusiastic renditions. A little DVD recording of Mike reciting with his whole being three poems on camera and a number just in audio track is a precious memento of Mike's great talent and skills.

His many interests were wide and deep. Above all he loved his family--and they dropped by often--all three kids, spouses, kids, pets.   He was a fanatical fan of the Utah Jazz and BYU Football.  A big man himself,  well beyond six feet six inches tall he loved to research Giants, Utah history and Stamps!  - Back in the day of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, Big Mike led a group of philadelists (Stamp Collectors) in arranging a special cancellation of a commemorative stamp of the majestic Temple right on temple square.

Wheelchair bound, Sullivan met with the First Presidency to make arrangements for the crowd and outdoor facilities for the ceremonial cancellation by U.S. Post Office Staff.

"I put on my best suit to meet with President Hinckley and President Monson, both counselors to President Benson in the board room at 47 East South Temple." Mike recalled.  As we posed for pictures to remember the occasion, I remembered I was wearing wide bright orange suspenders.  As the photographer got ready to snap the the picture, my suit coat fell open and President Monson saw the bright glow of my galluses.

"He laughed out loud and I covered them up as quick as I could." he said.

"'Don't do that Mike," President Monson chuckled!  "They'll show up great in the picture!  Where can I get a pair like that?'  " How I love that great prophet! Big Mike chuckled in the telling.

Mike was renown throughout his family as the smartest Grampa ever.  At the memorial service, Big Mike and Carol's only daughter, Kathy told the story about her fourth grade daughter.  When she had a difficult homework assignment she would go to her mother and beg permission, "Let's call Grampa Mike!  He'll know the answer".  Kathy told the crowd gathered to say goodbye to Big Mike that often she had to simplify Grampa Mike's College level explanations, "so the teacher wouldn't figure out where we got the answer!".

Oldest son Mike told the group how proud he was of his dad.  "He was the smartest man I ever knew.  He could take a math problem like 4,843,533 times 17,000 and instantly give back the correct answer.  I checked it out with a calculator several times--and he was always right!"  Son Mike said his dad worked as a commercial artist.   "He was soon promoted as the boss of whatever operation he became a part of.  He was a natural leader."

"With Dad flat on his back for so many years, Kathy said, "I always hesitated to tell him when I had a head ache or sour stomach.  He always wanted to know when we were sick.  He was a wonderful dad.  He told us he would rather have the headache for us! 

One of  Big Mike's life long friends,  Brent Cheney told the assembled friends and family about joining the Merchant Marine together.

"One day downtown in San Francisco, we were walking along in uniform when a drunk man came out of a bar with a big bottle of whisky, remembered Cheney.    "He weaved and slurred, "Hey sailor boys--- let me buy you a drink!"  Well Mike smiled, thanked him, took the bottle and walked off down the street.   I couldn't believe it!

Big Mike just grinned and said, "He's had enough.  He doesn't need this too!"

"We had to go through a lumber yard on the way back to the base," said Brent.  "Big Mike hid the bottle there.  Several weeks later I got a cold I just couldn't shake--it went on for three weeks and I was still congested and coughing. Big Mike said we should take Liberty that Friday and 'go out for dinner'"  He got that bottle and told me I should take two big swallows."

"We're both good Mormon boys", remembered former Seaman Cheney.  "Neither one of us had ever taken a drink in our life!  Well, Big Mike insisted and I figured it couldn't hurt, so I took the first swig and it burned all the way down.  I took a big gulp from the bottle--and we went out for a hot dog on the pier.   Suddenly I began to sweat---I got better almost immediately---and I've never had a cold since!  Laughter and knowing nods across the chapel.

Many of the Holladay Second Ward High Priest's quorum visited Mike on a regular basis, as a service project.  Mike always cheered up his visitors and they always left with more than they brought.

Bishop Steve Crump told the group at the end of the service that he, too dropped by Mike and Carol's home for a little bit of Big Mike therapy.  With so much going on his life as  Bishop, he needed someone to cheer him up.  Mike always brightened other's lives.  He quoted poetry from memory from a vast mental store.  He knew more jokes than anybody I ever met--and he loved to make folks laugh.  He loved to laugh with them!

After the memorial service was over--and the family gathered for the trip to the cemetery, One of Big Mike's closest friends, Brent shared a story that couldn't be told over the pulpit that Mike told him on one of his last visits.

One Day Big Mike was workin' on his car when he noticed a young druggie breaking into his neighbor's house.  Quickly, Big Mike grabbed his 22 pistol and shouted, "Hey!  Whatcha doin?  The kid took off like a shot down the street.  Big Mike shouted the classic line from every cop show you ever saw, "STOP OR I'LL SHOOT!

Then, ever the consumate showman, Big Mike went silent.   Brent  was well into the story-- it wasn't a joke--it was a true story and after a few beats, he got desperate for the rest of it.   "So, Did you?--Did you shoot him?"

With his face wreathed in a great big smile he said, "Sure did!  Hit him in the ass and dropped him on the spot!"

"Well?" asked Brent!

"Oh, I didn't kill him, just wounded him a bit in his dignity!" Mike chuckled.  The police ended up congratulating me--of course that was then, and this is now! 

"You're so lucky!"  Brent laughed "The laws have changed-- You coulda' been sued by him...or his parents.

"That's right, laughed  Big Mike, "but that was then, and this is now!"  and he smiled another  broad smile remembering how it used to be!

No one knows what they call the Mortality Degree that Mike earned with highest honors for the relatively short time he was here.   Gramma Rosie said they might confer on  Big Mike a P.T.A.H.D.  (Passed To a Higher Degree)! lol

Friend Cheney, who spent so much of his early life with Big Mike said it best.

"I know where Big Mike is right now!  He's up there in Paradise, hugging all those great friends and family who preceded him, but I think, if I know Mike at all,  he's saying something like, 'Wait just a minute--I'll be right back!' And then, using legs he hasn't had in twenty years or more--he's running from one side of the kingdom to the other and laughing like heaven's never heard!"

Good on ya , Big Mike-- Save a place for us, we'll all be up directly!  JWH

J. Wizard Howe
Curator of the Great Grampa Hall of Fame
Currently writing "On We Go--Laughing!"
                    PREVIOUS BOOKS
Creator of "Teaching Moment Boosters (Vitamin TMB)"
Co-Author of "Stop Business Interrupters,  Encourage Agents of Change"


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grampa Prophets I have known!

Heard a great story about President Thomas S. Monson.  (Amazing what you hear when you're not snoring through Testimony Meeting)  Sister Christy told about going to the graduation of members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (We've been to one of those when Gramma Rosie's best friend mustered out, so we know how it goes!)

At this gathering the newly refurbished old Tabernacle was filled to capacity with friends and well wishers who had either turned 60 or were leaving the choir because of other callings.

President Monson was a surprise visitor.  (President Hinckley wasn't there the day we went!)  Christy chuckled as she told us how President Monson made his way up to the organ and with a sparkle in his eye used his fist on the black keys to play what most folks have done themselves--it goes like this:  Dah-dah-DUMP-de-DUMP, Dah-de-Dump de dump!   She testified how that experience made the Prophet seem less stuffy, more human and more wonderful to her.  It strengthened her testimony and intensified her faith!

Of course there's the marvelous time when the Prophet wiggled his ears during a General Conference Address.  The video of that experience has been removed from all the Internet sites where it once appeared, but a man with such large ears had a talent we never knew.  (His message was to the Priesthood about modeling our best behavior as an example to everyone young and old!)

My personal encounter involved a driveway to Crown Burgers near Temple Square. It was a Saturday.  I had made a turn halfway in the middle of the street and left very little room for the big blue car coming out of the parking lot.  The driver (who I immediately recognized as then Elder Monson in an open plaid sport short and light jacket)  had to maneuver pretty carefully to drive into the street in the tiny space I had left by my slopping turn.   I didn't have the courage to wave--and as I remember he seemed a bit put out and didn't wave either.   I had cut off one of the Twelve.  I hoped he didn't get my license plate number and cancel my temple recommend!  (Of course he wouldn't do that--I just didn't want him to remember my face!)

It's been said that your relationship with the Savior is mirrored in how you get along with your Bishop.   I hope I can repent of my unfortunate encounter--however mild with a future Prophet of God.

Finally, Gramma Rosie and I went to vote, as we always do, at the Junior High one year -- headquarters for multiple voting districts.   I knew then 1st Counselor in the First Presidency and President of the Twelve Apostles lived a few stakes North of us, but I didn't know he voted at the same Junior High.  Maybe we would have dressed up a bit.  Too late.  As we walked into the building, a big black car glided to a stop and a smiling President Monson jumped out and bounded into the building just behind us.

(A neighbor's husband had been his driver and security once upon a time and told us that he like to have the car reparked while he was in a building so he could come back out, jump in the car and immediately drive away without having to back out and turn around.  Sure enough, as he entered, I could see through the glass door, the driver going through that routine maneuver.)

Interestingly there were no signs directing us to vote.  The three of us stood there, we instinctively looking to him for leadership.  He headed for the nearby stairs with a grin and a, "Maybe it's up here!"

I glanced down the hall and saw an open door and suggested we see if that was it before subjecting Gramma and her arthritic knees to a flight of Junior High Stairs!  He agreed and we went into vote.  We let him go in first and he captivated the room.  We shuffled in after him and did our civic duty.  It was a routine bond election.  He punched his ballot, put it in the box and was gone.  Suddenly the room seemed to dim a little.

An attorney once told me that he, as driver and security, and then Elder Monson were hospital visiting and left LDS Hospital by the back door to make a quick getaway.    The exit door slammed shut behind them when Elder Monson was "nudged" to return.  They were locked out.

Elder Monsen chuckled and told his driver, "Well, David, guess one of us better go around and get this door open!  David told me he was torn between following orders and staying with Elder Monsen.  Just then, an elderly woman opened the door to leave the hospital--and David immediately  had both wishes granted as they caught the door before it closed and went back to follow the "nudge".

In 1969 I was working in Washington on Capitol Hill when President Hugh B. Brown, one of my great heros, came to open the Senate with Prayer.   LDS Capitol Hill Staffers had a loose organization--most of us went to the old Washington Ward built with Utah birdseye Marble.  The moonies bought the building when the church realized, regrettably that the neighborhood, once fashionable like Chevy Chase had run down and become too dangerous for us to go through to attend church.  They removed the angel Moroni from the single spire of what was a replica of the main tower of the Salt Lake Temple.  The Moonies put up their circular cross emblem up there.  I drove by and shook my head!   But that was then!

Senate staff is rarely invited into the Senate Dining Room in the Capitol Building where Bean Soup is always on the menu by direct legislation.  That privilege is reserved for Senators and their guests.  Fellow staffer Don Ladd, later a General Authority, invited us to lunch with President Brown.  I was so pleased to sit at his left at a good size table with about 20 other faithful Latter Day saints.

There we sat at the confluence of legislative power in the world, really.  All of us loved our jobs on "the Hill" and had likely planned to be of service in government related assignments for the rest of our natural lives.  It was heady stuff to combine our faith and government service over lunch with this great member of the First Presidency.   We visited casually.  President Brown was quite old--in his 90's I think--but his mind was sharp.  He had been a professional military man and an attorney -- a colonel in the Canadian Army when time for promotion to Brigadier General came his way.   He sat in the office of his commander and noticed his open file on the Lieutenant General's desk.   Across the top of the file in big block red letters were the words:  DO NOT PROMOTE THIS MAN.  HE IS A MORMON.  Later he explained in a General Conference talk about his "being trimmed back" like the bush in his yard.  "I'm the gardner here!" he said quoting what the Lord must say to us when he has other plans for us--and seems to thwart our desires for his devine purposes.

President Brown in another of his always eloquent conference talks explained that his dreams of being the first Mormon General since Moroni in the Book of Alma--slowly faded as he realized his service would have to be given elsewhere.   Soon after that he left the Judge Advocate General Corps and, as he told it, was saved from becoming a millionaire in the oil business with a call to be one of the first Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve.  This was back in the day before the Quorums of the Seventy were organized.

At lunch that day, President Brown could sense that I was eager and anxious for counsel from a prophet.  He smiled, put his hand on my knee in a gesture of friendship and love and uttered these imortal words:  "Brother Howe, stay out of politics!"   We all had a tight little laugh around the table!

I went on to be drafted into the Army as a Chaplain's Assistant, worked in radio news in Utah and Washington D.C., served as an Assistant to the Mayor of Provo, Political Consultant with Keith Haines to elect Ken Pinegar to the Utah Cunty Commission,  PR Manager for Utah Tech in the Utah Eduation System and as Administrative Services Director for the short lived campaign of Richard Eyre for Governor.  I didn't exactly obey President Brown's counsel right away.  After the Eyre campaign I promoted myself to concerned citizen and finally kept his counsel.

Over the years I've cheered on the advancement through the ranks of former Ricks College President Henry B. Eyring.  As he was called as a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric,  a Seventy, into the Twelve Apostles and most recently as First Counselor in the First Presidency--I've sustained him and agreed that the Lord was promoting one of his very best.

My conviction came from a simple talk to a BYU devotional I will never forget about appropriate gift giving at Christmas time.  He told about two neighbors --  a loving husband and wife who dropped by after his mother's funeral.  They brought a quart of home canned cherries-- something then Elder Eyring's father, the great scientist Henry Eyring loved.   The sons and father sat with the couple,  put the cherries into bowls and visited while they enjoyed the fruit together.  That, he said to all of us paying attention, was a definition of one of the best gifts that can be given-- something needed, appreciated and filled with love.

My friend Terri used to work with the Tabernacle Choir and now does a specialized free lance make up for the general authorities at conference.   She pays attention to how they'll look on camera.

One day recently, she asked President Eyring if he had another pair of glasses--since his were scratched.  He smiled and reminded her that perscription glasses were expensive--and no, he only had the one pair.

Such intimate glimpses into the lives of these great men make them seem almost human!  They are of course.

If God the Father seems unapproachable to us when we pray, he has given us an intermediary that for a while moved among us and became the Savior of the World.  If even Jesus of Nazareth seems a bit distant--even when we pray in his name and mention him in everything we do in the kingdom, Heavenly Father in his wisdom has given us Prophets and Apostles, Stake Presidents and Bishops--and so many other great leaders who roll up their sleeves along side us and model the standards and commandments.

How blessed we are to have known them.  I admit it.  I left Laramie. Wyoming to become closer to the Kingdom.  Though some may have concerns as they discover little foibles and failings, I have never detected a serious breach in the lives of these great men and women who I live near and rub shoulder's with occasionally.

At BYU Idaho, when Elder M. Russell Ballard encouraged us to spread the faith using the marvelous technology of the Internet,  I took him at his word.  In that spirit, I forward this message to those who, hopefully, will read it with interest and relish.  And should you discover these words long after I am unable to Blog or Testify, Know that I not only believe-- I know these men speak, act and care as direct pipelines from above. 

Elder David A. Bednar gave a wonderful talk about being Quick to Observe at BYU.  I have tried to do as young 11 year old Mormon did as a sober child who was quick to observe.  These are some of my observations.  I hope they do you good!  JRH

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Wisdom of Grampa Miyagi

Watching Karate Kid, Pat Morita's performance as Handy Man/Grampa to Daniel calls forth the wisdom of every Great Grampa.  He models the best Gramparenting  in his example and advice to Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Maccio).

At the climax of Daniel's birthday party, Miyagi gives his young friend the choice of all the cars he has "Waxed on and Waxed Off earlier in the film.  As the astonished Daniel finger's the key  and Miyagi's dog tags and lets the reality of his new gleaming wheels all sink into his unbelieving mind, Miyagi delivers a nugget of wisdom typical of his string of one liners:

"Remember Drivers License no substitute for eyes, ears and brain!"  Then the two shout "Bonsai" to each other as Daniel drives off to a birthday date with his upscale girl friend, Elizabeth Shue. 

The film pivots on karate training that, as Miyagi explains is, "Not what seems!"  Wash the car.  Sand the floor.  Paint the fence.  Paint the house develops muscles in Daniel that become important in the competition that climaxes the movie.

Even the little exercise to catch a fly with chopsticks.  "Any man who catch fly with chopsticks," says Miyagi,  "can do anything."  When Daniel actually does catch the fly, after two or three tries, Miyagi drops his chopsticks in disgust and mumble, "Beginner luck!"

Rent the movie, or add it to your permanent collection.  It comes packaged with three other Karate Kid movies:  1,2 and 3 with Ralph Macchio and a lovely teen age girl in Number 4.  JRH 

Your Reputation is Safe with Me!

We do love to dish the dirt!  After a friendly divorce, the former groom moved in with his parents and the three of them did a few things with one another--driving together, visiting the daughter of the family and her roomates for a little dinner. the odd shopping trip.

The young man's mother enjoyed slamming the former wife (without the benefit of the young lady being present)  Her bemused husband accused her of extrapolation ---  gossiping and finally, with trashing an otherwise pretty nice little gal!

The former wife couldn't have been as bad as the mother in law made her out to be.  The mother in law put together 2 cents of this and a penny's worth of that and came up with $5.00 worth of nasty plot that was all against the soul that had once been made so welcome in the grooms family.

The trouble with gossip is that it freezes the victim in time with a label that cannot be easily removed in the minds of all who hear--all the while cankering the gossiper's soul without ever touching the victim.   It takes considerable self control to avoid such dubious pleasures.

Worked for a man once who had held high government posts at the State Level in Drug Prevention.  When I worked with him, he was the Vice President for Facilities of a growing Technical College.  I don't know if he transhed me behind my back, but he taught all of us that he didn't talk about a person unless they were present--and we should follow that good example.  Good advice!

Behind the back maneuvers can get vicious--and go on and on with no immediate rebuttal.  My former General Manager Vernon Thompson received all the emails that two attack artist Department Heads sent to him until he could stand it no more.  These two electronic warriors at least had the courtesy to copy the other when they sent the written accusations to the GM--and yet their offices were side by side.

Finally Vernon called them both into his office at the same time.  He said the e-mail tirades had to stop--and that from now on he was REQUIRING that instead of sending emails to document their complaints, they should huddle together, face to face and work it out.  Then he got out of his chair and warned them, as he left them in his office that  both had fifteen minutes to work it out face to face then and there.  He said when he got back, each would report to him on the solutions they came up with face to face.

After all the energy they had wasted on the fued through their keyboards it only took 5 minutes face to face to resolve the issue.  Vernon just smiled and encouraged them to check in with one another once in a while and make better use of their time.

I don't know if the little former bride and the mother in law will ever meet and hash out the current rumors.  I don't know if there will be any rumors any more.

For the groom--the former bride has pretty much fallen off the face of the earth--but if the rumor mill churns up again with $5.00 or $10 bucks based on 3 cents..I hope everyone has the good sense to wait five minutes and take a breath.

Socrates once said that "The greatest remedy for anger is delay."    I'm not exactly sure that's the case, but waiting to cool down the heat of whatever heat you're in is ALWAYS a good idea.

The Golden Rule Applies here more than ever--especially that tender reputations will always be safe with You, right?  JRH

Grampa, What did God do for a Living?

Scott Turow is a successful Chicago attorney and popular novelist.  In an interview on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday with  Host Scott Simon before of crowd of fans this morning, he speculated about the profession that God labored in before he became God.

"Three men sat at a bar--a Doctor, an Engineer and a Lawyer," the Lawyer/Novelist  began. "The Doctor said that God was obviously trained as a Physician. 'Look at the wonders of the human body!'

'The Engineer interrupted with, 'Consider the majestic mountains--the vast oceans--the incredible infastructure of the earth.  No doubt!  God is an Engineer.'

"The Lawyer smiled.  'You're both wrong. He was a Lawyer, alright!  Before all of that you describe, God created Darkness and Chaos!' "  (Laughter)

Lorenzo Snow coined the couplet, "As man is, God once was and as God is, Man may become."

Anyone who believes in Eternal Progression has to wonder what God, the Father's life was on his earthly mortal probation.

As I wrote the homegrown musical MISSIONARY BOXER I told a member of our Stake Presidency that I believed that God was a playwrite in an earlier existence.  He smiled thoughtfully and we moved on to other things.

I've thought about that since--and concluded that like William Faulkner, the novelist, our Heavenly Father likely once had walls filled with character descriptions in his study, imagined what would happen as the characters interacted and wrote the result in his own prize winning style.  Consider the scriptures as an historical pageant that God caused to be written knowing just about how it would end..  

In that way, its easier for me to understand how God knows the end from the beginning.   It also takes insto account agency that each man and woman are guaranteed.  Faulker and other novelists talk about their work and mention often how a character went a different way in their mind than what the author had intended.   

That Father develops such outlines and interactions for each of the billions who have, do and yet will live on the earth--that is amazing to me.   Maybe he has help!  And maybe that help has help, if you count the Holy Ghost as the eternal guide.  It makes sense to me that the Celestial Kingdom will be filled with future Gods and Godesses getting ready for their own worlds, solar sysstems and galaxies.  If his work and his glory is the eternal life of man, why not apprentice work of this kind?   Of course it's all speculation, but as a budding playwrite, it makes sense to me.

And while we're on the subject, consider Elder Ronald A. Rasband, the Senior President of the Seven Presidents of Seventy described what happens behind the scenes at the calling of a missionary by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve (in this case then Apostle Henry B. Eyring).  A careful reading of Elder Rasband's talk The Divine Call of a Missionary from the Priesthood Session of  April' 2010's LDS General Conference will give some fascinating insight into how men on earth are guided by the spirit in sending missionaries to the right mission.

NOTE:  This post marks 100 posts that I've written for Grampa in Training (GiT)  68 have been published. 32 are still in draft form waiting to be developed.  Interesting that this post would speculate the history of the Supreme Being.   Bloggers have a personal history that won't quit!  Funny that my high school prophecy predicted that I would produce seven volumes of my autobiography!   Anybody who's even "toe dipped" into this "production" knows that I'm well on my way.  

It's not so much the self absorbtion.  (With 250 million blogs and increasing daily,  the chances of anyone from my old Laramie High School Class of 1965 stumbling on this blog is slim to none.   If they do, I hope they leave a comment or send me an e-mail.   The key to readability 45 years later is brevity and humor.  It helps if the post is interesting to anyone besides me.  Of course this is just one of billions of Internet options. Best Wishes whether you continue to explore Grampa in Training (GiT) or not!  JRH  .

There is No Hustle after 60!

Gramma Rosie and I have an agreement--no nagging, no press, no push---We just shuffle on to the next convenient thing.  Enter our son!   He is a high energy 30 something with an arm load of agendas that involve us.  Cleaning the junk room, building a championship garden --even cleaning my files off his mother's lap top.  (He gave "her" a 250 Gigabyte hard drive -- but I'm the one who uses it)

That gift has given him license to "follow up" with my progress in cleaning up his mother's lap top computer (which he uses occasionally, as I do.)
.  Our dear son is a high pressure mechanic with a national chain.  The blacksmith from our earliest history -- Jubal Cain reminds me of our Jeff..  Mythology teaches us that Jubal was a high pressure blacksmith covered with sweat, cinders and the force of the mighty hammer.  The whole mentality of a national chain pushes the young mechanics to be better AND faster to earn what is laughingly called FLAT RATE.  It's a rarely attained standard of accuracy and speed.

When high pressure follow up meets geriatric shuffle--there's bound to be sparks! 

The challenge for this senior citizen is to patiently endure the push from an otherwise loving and patient son--and when really pushed, explain that There is No Hustle after 60!

Something about connecting tissue, aching knees and well, you know!   I exercise regularly on our Iron Horse every morning, but nothing keeps the connecting tissue from aching and the bones from creaking after several hours working at a computer in a chair.

Half in fun and mostly with distain, he rolls his eyes and On We Go--Laughing!  JRH

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gramma Delma Memorial Tribute - 3 Prelude Segments on Youtube!

This post includes the three brief Youtube productions in tribute to my sweet Mom who passed away in Worland Wyoming last month.  Gramma Delma and Grampa Milo couldn't have been better poster children for this blog.

These first two segments feature video that I shot of the two of them  in 1992 on a visit home.  It was the year before we gathered as a family for a reunion celebration of their 50th Anniversary.

Delma Isabella Hunt Howe passed away in Worland Wyoming on April 18, 2010 at the age of 87. This edition of her Memorial Service is the first of several segments produced primarily from a recording of her Funeral on April 20,2010. Members and friends of the Milo S. Howe Family Organization cooperated in the presentation. Milo and Delma's oldest son, Jon Robert Howe of Salt Lake City, Utah produced this series for the now and again MSHFO video

On January 3, 1941 Delma Hunt wrote a love letter interwoven with faith and hope in the inside front cover of her fiance's scriptures. Milo Howe carried his mother's gift of a bible and Delma's Triple Combination with the letter inside during his service as a Locomotive Engineer/Tech Sergeant in the United States Army in World War II. Fifty one years later, in their Cheyenne, Wyoming kitchen, the couple remembered that time and how they felt as she read the letter aloud. They both wept happy tears.

Our only sister/daughter Carolyn Howe Sansoucie was the first to leave us in 1996. Seven years later in 2003 Grampa Milo passed and seven years later in 2010 Gramma Delma's "graduation" brought us together -- now only four brothers, wives and families remain on the earth.

This segment shows the gradual "Aging of the Brethren"  over the last 32 years, from our college days in 1978 to 2010. These family reunions are rare with all of us scattered across the West and New Hampshire, where Dick and Carolyn's descendants are.

In the years to come, there will be other gatherings and what will be so much more than a  "wrinkle and liverspot festival". We will bid goodbye to one another with a rare Howe family love, known only to us,  then to gather as the Milo S. Howe Family Organization (MSHFO) in another dimension one by one with,  "No Empty Chairs."

Bookmark this blog post.  More to come!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

High Tech Messages still need Low Tech Marketing!

As the Web Design Classes  I've been teaching this Spring wind down at Highland Community Education, I'm relearning some tried and true principles about Marketing that haven't changed for decades.

Though we've specialized in the actual development of Webs and Blogs using the latest high tech software, the great imponderables are still resolved with low tech solutions--like a simple sandwich board with a near irresistable offer and an Internet connection (like an e-mail on the bottom)

I asked one of the students in the class this evening what her objectives for her web site were.  She listed what turns out to be the normal marketing objectives of virtually every website and blog ever produced:

1.  Get more "eyeballs" and brains) to see her site

2.  Get more members to join the organization.

3.  Get more financial contributions to her organization as "a result of the site".

As I often teach in our current web design class and the one before it, your presentation can be WONDERFUL but getting attention for it--and eyeballs to show up for it still requires the same kind of advertising we've always used.  Here's a few unique ideas that will help, I hope!

A.  E-Mail Management- Lists for Sale and Spam

B.  Capturing Person to Person Contacts in every Conversation

C.  Cards, Pencils, Nick-Nacks and Air Fresheners

D.  Bill Boards, Sandwich Boards and Flyers

E.  TV Broadcast Advertising

F.  Radioactive Radiothons and Too Broad a Coverage

G.  Newspapers - Daily, Weekly, Monthly Advertisements, Display Ads and Classified

It takes money to make money.  The key is spending your money in the right place with the most bang for the buck.  JRH

Grampa Deals with Death

I've been there in a couple of cases where sickly guys I've known through hale and hearty days get ready to meet their maker.

Elmer "Bud" Quist asked me to help him write his life story.  I was pleased to be his scribe.

We were never assigned to visit as Home Teachers.  We dropped by out of Love for both him and Florence.  His feet retained fluid near the end and he checked into the hospital several days before they treated the problem and released him to die at home.

Knowing the end was near, Rosie and I dropped by, always be appointment, and took a little baked something--and a flower or two.  (Years later, before she passed, Florence "willed" us one of her floral oil paintings.  It hangs in our Hall of Frames as a colorful reminder of both of them!

At that visit I learned about the far away look.   Reading Betty Eadie's book Embraced by the Light about going over to the other side temporarily, I learned that often, two or three "Guardian Angels" will come--sometimes with others--to welcome the failing soul to the other side.   That may be one of the reasons for the Far Away Look.

I've always been a little slow at "changing gears" from the often jolly relationship I've cultivated with the dying to a compassionate and appropriately comforting relationship that every widow and bereaved relative deserves.

My Uncle Lewis told us seven years ago at my Dad's Memorial Service in Worland Wyoming that Mormons shouldn't cry at funerals.  When I spoke last month at Mom's funeral in the same chapel I answered his statement.

If a Mormon is crying out of hopelessness, then, no! He shouldn't cry.  There is everything to hope for as the deceased soul "graduates" to the other side and far better than he/she ever enjoyed here.  Tears are just fine at a Mormon funeral--especially if they are tears of joy.   Of course we'll miss the person who passes--but by the time they've lived a good life, there's not much left of them.  My sweet Dad, for example, had Alzheimers and Dimentia--but he did remember my name enough to call it out when I visited him the October before he left for his adventure beyond the veil.   (I think it was because Rosie and I hung a picture of our family with big names underneath in his little room at the rest home.   Nobody else in the family did that.)  

I think of all the dear souls over the years who have gone beyond and paved the way for my own passing.  Everytime a baby is blessed, I envision the "farewell" service that was held a few weeks before in the pre-existence for that little intelligence to come down and claim a body in a great LDS family.

Similarly, I envsion a "Welcome Home" gathering as a recently deceased Brother or Sister gives a report to the congregation of predecessors on what's been learned and the latest family news they know!

If the 14th article of Faith is: "We believe in meetings, going to meetings, holding meetings for meetings sake and coming from meetings where we may or may not accomplish much", then this thing called death is another excuse to hold a couple of meetings:  The Memorial Service on this side and the Welcome Back Meeting on the other side in prepartion for the next steps on the road toward Eternal Progression.

It is for us the living to organize at least one of those meetings--and be compassionate and hopefull all at once when we do!  That's what I've learned about Death, at least so far! JRH

Grampa's 30 Second Chores

I read once that the two best two things a father can do for his family are 1. Empty the kitchen garbage in the first few minutes he walks in the door and, 2. Settle down and read a story to his children while mom gets the dinner on the table.

Emptying the trash helps the wife.  The story, on a regular basis, gives some special closeness with the kids.

A husband, or grampa who "helps" is strangely rare.

Here's a great article and link to 20 more ideas that will help Grampas everywhere to do a few quick chores and put a smile on Gramma's face.  Daughters and Daughters in law will love it, too!

30 Thirty-Second Chores

30 Things To Do In Half a Minute

By , Guide

1. Empty the trash in the bathroom.  The small trash cans in our homes can sometimes be overlooked until they are overflowing. Make this chore easier and more quickly accomplished by storing extra liners in the bottom of the trash can. It will only take a moment to wrap up the used liner and open up the new one.

2. Dust the TV screen.  The television screen seems to always need a good dusting. Try a used dryer sheet to help keep dust from resettling.

3. Change the vacuum cleaner bag or empty the dirt bin.  Whether your vacuum cleaner is a bagless or bagged a vacuum full of dirt puts more wear and tear on your machine. Take a moment and double check your bag or bin.

4. Clean a mirror.  Try using vinegar and newspaper to clean your mirror. The vinegar will help the mirror dry streak free. Newspaper will leave less fuzzy residue than paper towels.

5. Wipe down an appliance.  Take a moment and wipe down the outside of your dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, washing machine, or dryer. Don't forget about the outward appearance of the machines you depend on. Wipe up spots and spills quickly, and your appliances will only need an occasional thorough wipe down.

6. Change the towels in a bathroom or in the kitchen.  Prevent cross-contamination of germs and bacteria by frequently changing hand towels and kitchen towels.

7. Test your smoke alarm.  Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced at least annually. Try testing the battery on the same day of the month to help you remember. Similarly you might replace the batteries yearly on a memorable date. Many people replace batteries when they change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

8. Dust air vents.  The vents and wall around the vents attracts dust. Take a few moments to wipe down the vents in a room or two.

9. Change the battery in a clock.  It may seem like a little thing, until you need to know the time.

10. Sprinkle baking soda into your trash can.  Occasionally sprinkling baking soda in your garbage will help prevent trash odors from overtaking your home.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grampa Games!

Peter Marshall,the former chaplain to the United States Senate in the 1940s was known among his family and friends as a GGP* (Great Game Player) He loved every board game known to man! His only son loved the fun they had together on the living room rug.

His wife's  biography of his life is entitled A Man Called Peter  Here's an exerpt to give you the flavor of the man!

"Unaware of the previous night's heated dialogue between two senators, Peter Marshall, Chaplain to the U. S. Senate, began the session of April 3, 1947, with this prayer: "Gracious, Father, we, Thy children, so often confused, live at cross-purposes in our central aim, and hence we are at cross-purposes with each other. Take us by the hand and help us see things from Thy viewpoint...."

"As Marshall left the Senate chamber, one of the senators involved in the quarrel followed him and offered the surprised chaplain an apology for his behavior.  This incident encapsulated the nature of the jocular Scotsman's influential ministry. He was straightforward and eminently practical. Supremely, he was led by God's Spirit.

"It was in Atlanta that Marshall met and married Catherine Wood, a student at Agnes Scott College, who later chronicled Marshall's life in her book A Man Called Peter, later made into a successful movie of the same title.

Catherine quickly realized Peter was not a stodgy preacher, but rather had an innate desire for good fun. He loved playing board games and was given the honorary title of G.G.P.—Great Game Player.
She wrote: "The day of our wedding saw a cold rain falling...I gathered Peter was rollicking through successive games of Yacht, Parcheesi, and Rummy with anyone who had sufficient leisure to indulge him. That was all right, but I thought he was carrying it a bit too far, when, thirty minutes before the ceremony, he was so busy pushing his initial advantage in a game of Chinese Checkers with little sister Em, that he still had not dressed."

How I admire folks like the Rev. Marshall who have the patience to play games.

This GiT is NOT a G.G.P.

Fortunately Gramma Rosie is.  She taught both of our kids math using Face Cards and (Gasp) Poker!!!  (Black Jack gave them practice in counting in their heads up to 21)   Math homework for Jeff and Sally was fun--and games, the carefully chosen games make it so.  Of course learning occurs when a caring parent or gramparents stretch the brain with a youngster, but there's even more to be said about the time spent together.

That's the part I missed...the time together.  Adults have a chance to make togetherness fun -- and I was out to be more accomplished.  I've come to believe that nothing can be more beneficial that spending time with a little one with an age appropriate "passed time"  (Poker gave me some concern!  Sorry, I was raised to use other cards like UNO and SKIPBO--but like I said, I had other things to do.

On the news this afternoon there was a sad story about a boyfriend who tortured and sadly killed the young son of his girlfriend.  The gruesome details spilled into our living room and brought tears to our eyes.

Little guys are so precious.  No man in his right mind would ever abuse the trust of a young one.

Chess at the age of about 11 or 12 will engage the mind and gladden the heart when victory is achieved.  Truly good Grampas let the kids win a few before they learn how the game is played and make Grampa work for his victories..

A little pocket set like this one costs a few dollars but pays back many fold in dividends of friendship, love and increased mental acuity.  My first missionary companion in Brazil, Robert Marshall Tanner told me how his father would play chess with him everytime he came home from College to see what he'd learned.  It became an event to look forward to.

Its yet another way for Grampa and Gramkid to bond! JRH

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't be a Javelin Catcher, Grampa!

We've been reading about the many wars in the Book of Mormon.  At the end of Chapter 51,  Teancum steals inside Amalachia's camp and ends the wicked king's life with a javelin.

After all the Nephite cities that Amalachia captured, I can't blame Teancum.  Of course he gets his comeuppence in the next chapter, but for a while, the good guys win one! Evil loses a bad guy in Amalachia!  Once again the Nephi/Laban

Ever wonder why there's so much WAR in scripture?   I believe it's part warning and part allegory.  War goes on inside ourselves as we confront temptation, no matter how much we try to avoid it!  Building fortifications within ourselves is always wise.  Our current prophets and leaders on every level are always explaining the techniques for battling our modern attacks, if we are wise enough to build on their counsel.

Teancum's bold javelin strategy reminded me of an old joke advising prospective Olympic athletes to avoid trying out for Javelin catcher!

Grampa's, too can benefit from this sometimes' funny advice.

Javelin catching is all too common for Grampas who mean well and get involved a bit too deeply in situations they might better avoid.

Loaning money is one good example, Never do it.  If you can afford it make a gift of the cash.

Never co-sign a note.  How many loving relationships have been soured by well meaning relatives on both sides of a financial situation gone South.  In our own far flung family, a little couple of parents have finally suffered the last gasp of a couple of old cars.  Well meaning siblings have arrnaged for a good used car--but the poor little parents want the cash instead.   A good gesture gone sideways.  Haven't heard how that worked out--but there's bound to be hurt feelers!

Baby sitting can turn into a mess quickly--as willing gramparents sign on to take care of junior and sissy while mom and dad both work.  The mess can start when more is expected that aged gramparents can possibly do-- too much time, no compensation, and worse, no appreciation.  On the other side of that coin lurk young parents who just don't want Grampa and Gramma to have ANYTHING to do with junior and sissy.  Oops!

Elder Jeffery R. Holland taught that, "Gramparents should be involved with their gramchildren when the parents allow it."   Unless both parents are permanently absent from the scene, Gramparents have no legal rights.  Could turn touchy, Javelin Catchers!

Relationships turn on sometimes messy emotions, too much communication or more likely too little!  Tread lightly, dear friend.

My favorite remedies involve equal parts of the following:

1.  Talk everything over with Gramma.  It's essential to have another opinion when the situation can go so wrong so quickly.

2.  Rehearse your next few conversations with the chillins involved with one another.  Weigh every word  carefully, and talk about the effect of the conversation.  Plan on a calm, easy, relaxed discussion where interruptions and distracts are warmly "dealt with"  This may mean the little ones may not be present while the adults sort out things.

3.  Always speak the truth with kindness and love.  Never lie--no, not even one of those little while lies.  Such things always end biting everyone "below" if you catch my drift.  The foreign service is filled with really smart people who know how to tell the truth with enough tinge of misdirection so that statesmanship is served.  Be wise, compromise.  You know how to do this.  It's just like explaining about Santa Claus-- Just tell them that he plays piano and writes this Blog in the off season!

You likely have come up with some wonderful suggestions that apply.   Send them off to I'd love to share with our growing community of Grampas in Training.

Finally, I'm not suggesting that you avoid sporting goods stores that sell javelins, but it may make sense to avoid highschool and college track and field practice areas and the spring and summer meets where even the most well intentioned fan is in danger of ---well you know!   Likely'll never happen! lol   On We Go LAUGHING! JRH

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grampa prepares to say Goodbye

Bingen on The Rhine 
By Caroline Sheridan Norton (1808-1877) 
As quoted often by Big Mike Sullivan 
A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers;
There was lack of women's nursing, 
   there was dearth of women's tears;  
But a comrade stood beside him, while his life-
   blood ebbed away;
And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he 
   might say. 
The dying soldier faltered, as he took
   that comrade's hand,
And he said: "I never more shall see my own, 
   my native land:
Take a message and a token to some distant 
   friends of mine;
Heard in church that my great friend Big Mike Sullivan's
kidneys have shut down and it's only a matter of time!
I've been Mike's friend and Home Teacher for years.
His wife Carol and I visit regularly about Mike's
condition, out of his hearing. The good news is that
Mike is about to be liberated.  He's been on his back
since long before I've known him.  I frankly couldn't do it.
When the Elders gathered to paint his house last year
I brought my digital camera and gave him a visual 
progress report.  It was the first time in a long 
time that he had seen the outside of his house.
Mike loved motorcycles and sustained a broken back when
he flipped over his handle bars after a sideways
collision with a semi-truck more than a decade ago.
He lost the use of his legs.  His arms still work 
after a fashion.
Today when I visited Mike with two of his friends, 
they helped Mike's wife Carol shift his ample body back
up the bed.  It gave me a hint of what the ressurection
could be like:  Two priesthood men raising a man to 
higher heights.  (Mike has a bed that undulates a little
and most days Carol, little Carol has to make do by 
Carol has mixed emotions.  On one hand she hates to lose
his companionship.  On the other hand she knows that his
suffering will soon be at an end.
It's no surprise that Mike is a wonderful man.  He's
loved poetry and history and enjoys visitors.
Funny thing about that.
When folks drop by to cheer him up, Mike ALWAYS cheers
THEM up.  He quotes poetry, tells stories, and oh, the
hilarious jokes.
When a man has nothing but his brain, his face and his
voice that works, he does like Big Mike and uses them
to everyone's best advantage.  I'll miss him.  But he'll
be likely riding his Harley in heaven and loving every
minute of it.  JRH 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day "GIFT" : A Sticky Kitchen Floor for Gramma

Gramma Rosie skipped making our supper tonight because of a mess I made.  I'm not whining, well, not very loudly, but I was banned from the Kitchen for the rest of the evening!

I was thirsty for some Lime-aid and couldn't wait for the concentrate to thaw, so I tried to push the frozen concentrate through a funnel and ended up spreading sticky down the counter onto the floor and from my hands to the refrigerator door handle.  My half hearted cleaning of the counter wasn't near good enough and the floor got a pathetic lick and a promise.

It wasn't long before Gramma stepped into the sticky and blew her top.

It wasn't pretty.  Neither were my well meant chuckles, giggles and making sport of the whole affair.   For the last several hours, she has taken all manner of tools unknown to me into the kitchen.  Spray bottles sqjuirted, long handled pad holders scrubbed and though she can't get down on her knees, she would have if she could have. (like the lady in the picture)

My giggles just made the mess worse.

She got off some mock angry lines over the situation including:  "Most mothers get nice gifts from their husbands, instead YOU gave me Sticky!

The grumbling turned cold and ugly after a while as she returned again and again to the scene of my crime--bumptionsly cleaning, slamming cupboard doors and grousing under her breath.

I admit it.  I've always preached, "Clean as you Go!" like they teach KP artists in every mess hall in the military.  But not this time.  In my very weak defense I have to say that had I jumped up and made the effort, I would have likely spread the sticky wider and thinner, but still sticky!  (I didn't even enjoy the lime-aid.  It was weaker than normal because most of it ended on the floor and other kitchen surfaces.  Besides, if I had weilded the weapons of cleansing, she, no doubt would have popped in often to repeat, " missed a spot."   This way she gets to clean things up to HER satisfaction.  Pygmy rationalization, I agree!

It's past midnight. Yes, It's MOTHERS DAY.   I am unfed and somewhat penitent. She's retired to the couch and a romance.  TV is off.  I am blogging again--something I do a lot lately.  In the same room with the mother of my children--and yet absorbed in my own world of better informed grampas and little grams!

The kitchen is clean, but at such a cost!   It wasn't a fight, really--but an always healthy exchange of views, and a wonderful opportunity for me, through weakness and poor performance as a husband and juice maker, to help my sweet Gramma Rosie feel justifiably self righteous and armed with another, "Your FAHther story for our daughter---I predict as always, she will come out the star in the telling.

Advice for you?  Nope! not at all!  But I predict that next time I get a thirst for lime-aid, I'm asking her first! (Because as she is anxious to tell me from her superior position, "If you don't clean it up properly, it spreads like a RASH!)  Well, a good night's sleep will heal all wounds, I do sincerely hope!  We both have to rest up for the presentation of the well meant half dead geranium from the youth and the sincere, if off key chorus of, "Mother, Dear, I love you so! at church in the morning!  On We Go--LAUGHING!   JRH

Grampa: Some Different Views

Portraiture is always filled with options.  For example, here's four different lighting plans and expressions.  Which works best as my new GIT PORT? Reply to:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cooking Coach Grampa can help build Gramkid's Self Image!

You're in a great position, Grampa, to help pump up a gramkid's self image by empowering him or her to gently take over the kitchen and "cook"!

Mother's day is a perfect day to unleash a creative combination: You and the kid in the kitchen whipping up great stuff just for the Great Moms  and Grand Mothers in the house.

The neighbor's surrogate gramkids and I "invented Choc-O-Cheese Sandwiches one rainy afternoon. when we were watching each other.   They liked them so much they asked their mom to make the little soda cracker, cheddar and chocolate syrup concoctions the next Sunday after church. The key to making these little treats is to first, ask for volunteers and then supervise with gentle shadow leadership from an invisible spot behind the junior chef*. My old friend Joe, the five year old, shot his hand in the air--and I gave him the component ingredients and got out of his way. I noticed how he smiled broadly and set about putting them together and passing out HIS creations to his brothers and sisters. I was for the moment forgotten. I was content with a few cracker crumbs in my mustache!

Here's ten simple recipes from Stephanie Gallagher on that even younger gramchillins can put together with a little advance planning, a fun joint trip to the pantry and/or grocery store and restrained, gentle encouraging supervision from you, Gramps! Each title has a link to the simple, tasty recipe. Make a pact with one of your grams, pick a couple and plan on suprizing a mom or two at your house with some good things to eat and drink!

Ten Mother's Day Recipes Kids Can Make All By Themselves
Easy Mother's Day Breakfast Recipes, Dinner Recipes and Desserts
By , Guide

1. Strawberry Smoothies

If the kids can operate a blender, they can make these easy fruit smoothies. They taste great, they're super healthy, and they go with everything. Even better: No mess for mom to clean up later. Now that's a great Mother's Day recipe!

2. Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Streusel Topping

These blueberry muffins are tender and light, and bursting with blueberries. The lemon sugar streusel topping really makes these blueberry muffins special. Although this is one of those Mother's Day recipes the kids can definitely make, be sure to help young kids with zesting the lemons (microplanes and zesters are sharp), and of course, using the oven.

3. Mini Frittatas

These frittatas are perfect for little hands to make and eat. If you're in a hurry, use a regular-size muffin tin instead of a mini muffin tin for this Mother's Day recipe, and bake 18-25 minutes until set.

4. Strawberry Yogurt Parfaits

Kids don't even have to go near a stove for this tasty, no-cook recipe. And who doesn't love a good yogurt parfait? This is one of those Mother's Day recipes you'll want to make with and for the kids long after Mother's Day is over.

5. Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

Kids will love making this peanut butter stuffed French toast, and everyone will enjoy eating this sumptious French toast? What more could you want in a Mother's Day recipe?
6. Green Salad with Grapes and Bacon

Sweet, juicy grapes combine with salty bacon and crunchy croutons in this Mother's Day salad recipe that is guaranteed to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

7. Egg and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This layered Mother's Day recipe is easy enough for kids to make (with a little help from a parent or gramparent), yet still challenging enough for them to feel like they're really cooking. And the best part is you can have the leftovers for dinner!

8. Italian Pasta Salad

Mother's Day recipes should please everyone at the table, and this pasta salad will. Feel free to vary the vegetables to suit your tastes.

9. Watergate Salad

This cool and creamy pistachio pudding recipe works as either a side dish or a dessert. Either way, Watergate salad is delicious and this is definitely one of those Mother's Day recipes that's easy enough for the kids to make all by themselves.

10. Lemon Bars

"Mother's Day Recipes - Lemon Bars"Stephanie Gallagher
A little sweet, a little tart, these lemon bars are the perfect end to a Mother's Day meal. Everyone likes them, and they're portable, so if you're bringing dessert, this is an easy choice. 
*One more thing:  Grampa's Teaching Techniques are pretty well outlined in the post entitled  I took a Little Child's Hand in Mine. Click the link if you would like a little review.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grampa loves Toe Dippers - Ya gotta!

As a Community Education Instructor in computer skills, I've experienced more than my share of Toe Dippers!

What's a Toe Dipper in your opinion?

To me, in a class setting, a Toe Dipper is someone who pays the tuition, even attends and stays after to visit, but who courteously may not pay attention and certainly doesn't do the work!  Sad! Reminds me of the student who went through the University, but didn't let the University go through him.  He paid his tuition, but left without getting what he paid for.

The only way to really master computer skills is to imitate the great concert pianists and practice, practice, practice.  (That's the way to get to Carnegie Hall, they say.)

This year I made a good friend who turned out to be a Toe Dipper.  In a community education experience all you can do is pass on knowledge, truth and noble sentiments.  There are no grades, no real attendance--no controls or active sanctions. 

If someone comes to class to smile wanly at your jokes, be entertained and fellowshipped and pick up a few useful conversation points--there's not a lot you can do.  Like a wise father or Gramfather you can suggest assignments as skill builders--even follow up with e-mails, but pushing too hard even nagging only drives toe dippers away.   Once they're gone there's no chance to inspire them to pick up the mouse and go to work.

Gramkids who just want to play computer games all day or sleep past noon may seem like toe dippers to you, but they're filled with potential that only you can develop.   Toe Dippers can be inspired to be Enthusiastic Divers.  Patience, experimentation with methods  and lots of love go a long way to helping Toe Dippers to UP their attitudes.  JRH