Stuff from the Stoop

...and random musings from the porch!

~Just returned from ten days in Alaska. Yes--Alaska. And this beach girl cannot wait to go back. The bucket list trip of my honey, we traveled from Pittsburgh to Seattle to Anchorage to Seward to Denali to Fairbanks then back to Seattle and home to Pittsburgh. I really expected him to have the time of his life and never expected that I, too, would fall in love with all of the nature and majesty that is Alaska. The boat tour of the Kenai Fjords, the Alaska Railroad trip, and the hike in Denali National Forest are my top three highlights. We saw wildlife, breathed crisp fresh air, and soaked in the atmosphere of this calm, peaceful experience. Despite my pre-trip naiveté...Alaska is not all snow and frozen tundra. And there is technology and electricity and running water everywhere we stayed. If you get a chance to visit, go. I cannot stress enough how absolutely awesome and welcoming our 49th state is to us Lower 48-ers.

~Twitter is on fire today. I'm having so much fun interacting with writers and editors and publishers and actors. Yes. Actors. Bruno Gunn, of Hunger Games fame, liked my tweet about two new picture books I'm working on. I'm pretty jazzed about that.

~I have these five awesome and wonderful grandchildren who would be hard pressed to ever disappoint me but one of them sure did this weekend. He ever so sweetly asked me to take him to "my library." I got all nostalgic and bubbly thinking about my childhood and how much I LOVED going to the library. The Carnegie Library of Homestead to be exact. Since it was past 8 p.m. when he asked I explained that they were closed for the night but I would be happy to take him in the morning. I spent a good five minutes telling him how much fun we would have and how I could sign him up for his very own library card. All the while hoping 3 year olds were permitted to get their own card. Now just as I began explaining the process of borrowing books and returning them, he stopped me in my tracks. "Nana. I mean "my library" in your tv." Yep. The folder in the On Demand section of our digital television system. My library-loving, book-smelling, old school tv viewing heart was broken. Little does he know we are having a Nana & me field trip to THE library the next time he comes to visit.

~I'm finding it difficult to adjust my daily routine since my darling hubby recently retired but the time I spend networking on Twitter is becoming my favorite part of the day. Even though it is usually in the morning, a.k.a. the buttcrack of dawn, I cherish that I am meeting some of the coolest people in the Twitterverse that I would have never had the chance to interact with otherwise.

~Pizza and ice cream. That is the answer to the "what would you choose to eat for the rest of your life if you could only pick two things?" The answer used to be pizza and my mother's meat loaf but she passed away three years ago and I became a vegetarian seven years ago. So ice cream has replaced my mother's meat loaf. As much as I love ice cream, that makes me sad. I miss her cooking a little bit but miss HER more than I can put into words.

~Waiting is hard. Sometimes waiting is really hard. G-baby number five is due at any moment and every time my phone alerts me that a new text has arrived my heart stops for a moment. So far they are all just crazy texts from my daughters.

We have a group text that we update daily with our comings, goings, and random quirky thoughts. And the best part of the texts are the pictures and memes. The pictures are of g-babies #1-4. Two are almost three and the wee ones are almost 9 months old. Regardless of their ages, they will ALWAYS be referred to as my g-babies.

The memes and gifs are at times inappropriate (because that's how we roll) but all are hilarious. And, of course, all the pics of the babies are adorable.

Those texts will have to keep me busy until I get THE text and make my way to Columbus, Ohio. Until then, I'll invoke the Princess of Patience and continue to wait. Or at least try to.

~Cinco made his arrival and is a healthy happy ball of chubbiness. I cannot believe we have gone from zero to five grandchildren in 34 months. Everyone told me how great it felt to be a grandparent. But words do not do it justice. There are no words to describe the feeling of walking on air heading into the hospital to see them. The children of YOUR children. If anyone had told me I could love someone more than my own children I would have called them a liar. Or at least looked at them like they were crazy. But it is true. As I have said over and over lately, my heart exploded. Like a ball of muscle, veins, capillaries, and blood just squeezed itself up to its tiniest little self and BOOM....exploded. An overflowing pile of love is all that remains between your left & right ventricles. Or aortas. Or whatever the two chambers of your heart contains. Complete. And. All. Consuming. Love.

Thank you, my beloved children for this gift that I am sure I do not deserve. But I promise to make sure I earn it. Every. Single. Day. xoxox

A cool newspaper piece from my past:

Root Cellar Memories/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BARBARA SCANLON KEENE: Moon Township

September 23, 2010

I have bittersweet memories of the root cellars in my childhood home in Munhall. We had two, actually. My mom called them fruit cellars, but I suspect it is the same as root cellars.

When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I snooped myself right out of the wonderful, endearing belief in Santa Claus. Every fall my brothers and sisters and I were told to stay out of the fruit cellars. My mom always had some silly story for us about why we could not go in there in the fall (animals came in from the cold, special apples were growing in there, etc.).

Well, I had had enough of not knowing what was going on in there and chose to sneak in one afternoon all by myself. The first one had nothing spectacular going on and did indeed smell like special apples or something was growing in there.

The second one, however, had the mother-load. There were boxes of toys and five brand-new bicycles sitting right there for all the world to see (if you snuck into places you weren't supposed to be). I stood there in awe for what felt like an hour but was more like 30 seconds. I ran out, closed the door tightly and ran to find my mother. She, of course, told me that they were hiding Christmas toys for the neighbors, but I was too wise for my own good and knew that wasn't the case.

She told me NOT to tell my siblings, and as far as I can remember I didn't. I spent the rest of the day, and the next few days, fighting with the reality that I knew those gifts were not for the neighbors and that my parents most likely were Santa Claus. I wanted to believe in Santa again. I was so mad at myself for snooping. I told my brothers and sisters that I heard scary noises coming from behind those dark and eerie doors so that they would not snoop themselves out of such a cherished, childhood fantasy.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania