Friday, June 11, 2010

A Year (and more) in the Life of Alicia Grandma

*Alicia was born 22 July 1994. The following journal includes excerpts from letters to Grandma’s friend, Lynne Robinson.

February 08, 1997

I'm soooooo tired, grandkids are wound up, running up and down the hall. Amy was just here with Alicia...borrowing a topical antibiotic. Alicia has two big scratches down each cheek. Amy asked her what happened, Alicia wouldn't say. She finally told Ruben "I shave with you razor, Daddy". Sure enough, she had crawled up on the toilet tank so she could reach the razor that was on the top of a shelf over the toilet. Scary...could have been worse.

May 10, 1997

Amy was just here and reminded me of something Alicia did a few months ago and I forgot to tell you. They were at the Department of Licensing, and Alicia had a one dollar bill. She went around showing everyone the picture, saying "That's my Gwandma"!!!! Me and George...TWINS.

June 21, 1997

Alicia spent the day here yesterday. Jack was out on the deck with her, and came in laughing his head off. She had climbed up on her chair in front of the outdoor thermometer, had her finger on the bulb (of that long mercury thingy) and was yelling into the decorative circle on the bottom (that looks not unlike a speaker) "I'll have two orders of fries, please". She spent most of the day in her little pool then making "tortillas" out of Pay-doh...I spent most of the day picking raspberries.

July 14, 1997

* Hoppa=Grandpa

Alicia was in the bedroom watching TV yesterday, when she yelled at Amy (in the kitchen)..."MOM...Hoppa has little balls just like the guy on TV!!" Amy, in a panic, ran into the bedroom...Alicia was watching golf!

August 20, 1997

I did survive the circus...even though the heat just about killed me! Alicia was in a happy mood, an absolute angel all day. She sang almost all the way to Pendleton, rode an elephant and a camel (BIG ones) before the circus started, then enjoyed every minute of the circus itself, laughing, clapping and waving all the way through it. And eating...she downed pop, popcorn, peanuts and snow cone. Afterward she rode a pony. She sat tall in the saddle and had her lips pursed like she was whistling the whole time. And me without the camera. I did put out $5 for a lousy Polaroid shot of her on the camel. Speaking of camel, I reached into the pen and scratched one on the ear and it gave me a silly camel grin, laid down and put it's face up against the side of the pen and I was hooked...a good 15 minutes of scratching ears and petting that big soft face. Afterward we went to Denny's for dinner and Alicia ate ALL of my salad, drank half my large iced tea, ate all her own grilled cheese samich and fries, half my corn and one whole piece of my cod. She could hardly wait to get to Hoppa's, because she had to speak to him. We didn't get back until after nine, and she had to speak to him about the circus and they had to eat ice cream and Oreos while she spoke to him. She went home a very happy baby (and that made Gwandma vewy happy).

August 31, 1997

(On why Alicia looked unhappy in the camel picture)

Alicia was thrilled with the camel, it was the photographer she didn't like. She only likes her mom to take her picture. We had a good time at Toys R Us. Found a Lego (Duplo) set on sale for half price...the sea world type with whales, seals, people and all kinds of good stuff. Of course, she was most impressed with the plain old squares that she could make towers with. Also got a golf set, so now she has little balls just like Hoppa's. Topped it off with a new tea set with pots, pans, dishes, "crystal" goblets, the works...then came home and served her dinner in the little covered casseroles and she ate like a horse. Amy and Ruben took her to see the fish ladder at the dam yesterday. Ruben commented on the steelhead that must have weighed thirty pounds, and all the huge carp. Alicia kind of got her pronunciation mixed up and started getting all excited every time she saw a big "crap". She'd yell about the 30 pound crap...the big long crap...there's another crap....I guess she had everyone at the fish ladder in stitches, and Amy embarrassed to death! Amy said there were about a dozen people there, and one older lady was laughing so hard she was in tears. That's my girl!

September 1997

A friend was driving Amy and Alicia somewhere and asked which direction she should turn...... "Tell her go three word, Mommy." "Three word? What are you talking about?" "You know, like four word!" (forward)

Shayna: "My name is NOT's SHAYna" (pregnant pause) Alicia: "My name is NOT's uhWEEsha!"

"Gwandma, my bottom hurts." " Where does it hurt, sweetheart?" (A look like "How stupid can you be?") " In my butt cwack, Gwandma."

October 5 1997

Alicia came over for chicken and noodles tonight, her favorite. She called first.."Gwandma, you got chicken and noodles? You got cookies? Can I come over?" and Gwandma had to say yes. So she had dinner, then a warm bath while Amy did a load of laundry, then she had to make tea in her misker (she miskes all kinds of stuff in her little Betty Crocker (mixer) misker , then home to bed (after she told Amy "I don't love you, I love THEM"). After her bath she had to check to see if we had any "kinky medicine" (her...uh...private her kinky), because her kinky was sore (damn Amy for giving her bubble baths...I warned her). I got out the tube of "hydrocortisone kinky medicine" (that's what the tube says...honest. Just ask Alicia!), put some on a tissue, and she delicately took care of the problem! She thinks Gwandma can fix anything with kinky medicine or cow medicine (bag balm). You'd be surprised just how fast an owie heals with cow medicine on a florescent pink (or green, or blue) bandaid. Then she got out some glitter gel and glittered her eyebrows...and my eyebrows....and Jack's eyebrows. We're a very sparkly family tonight!

Amy and Ruben were fighting. Ruben asked Alicia if she was mad at him too. Alicia replied "I don't like it when you get on my Mom's nerds".

Oct 31. 1997

Alicia told Amy "Hoppa knocked out Grandma’s teeth, but she put them back in with toothpicks." What she didn’t tell Amy was that Hoppa and Grandma were carving a pumpkin, and Hoppa slipped and cut the teeth out of the Jack-O-Lantern, but Grandma stuck them back in with toothpicks.

Nov 18, 1997

Tonight Amy said "Alicia...I don't like the way you're acting!"...Alicia replied "I'm not acting...this is me".

Subj: Re: Hmph Date: 11/21/97 To: LynneER

In a message dated 97-11-21 19:32:41 EST, you write:
"Just worried my Aunt will choke or fall or faint or drool or some Gwad awful thing and embarrass herself."

Alicia would toot, then proudly announce "I FAHTED!"

She's coming over this evening so her Mother can go out for a this will be short. Amy said Alicia was being a brat so she yelled at her. Alicia said "I just don't love you any more. I'm just going to have to go live with my Grandma".

November 22, 1997

You wait with anticipation, wondering when...if...the day will come. And it comes, at last. That beautiful, wonderful child looks at you, her eyes gleaming with pride, a lovely smile on her glorious face, she says.....

"Grandma.............................................................. .I ate my boogers!"

April 25, 1998

I think next week I'll plant an antelope on the compost pile in Alicia's secret garden. She just LOVES antelope! It's her favorite kind of melon.

May 28, 1998

Alicia has a cold...she asked me for nose papers (Kleenex). That's almost as good as her definition for tampons (toilet sticks) and sanitary napkins (big-girl diapers).

July 30, 1998

Jack cut himself when he was checking out the battery on the motor home...he had it running, and was standing in front of it, when Alicia got in, crawled up into the driver's seat and proceeded to steer. The tires came off the leveling boards with a "thunk", Jack panicked and sliced his finger on the door trying to get to Alicia. Alicia screamed for an hour because Grampy was bleeding and she thought she had run over him...nothing would convince her otherwise. Good thing she didn't put it in gear or she WOULD have run over Grampy and right into the living room.

August 8, 1998 (After a week on the Oregon coast with Alicia and her 8-year-old cousin, Shayna)

Sand in my eyes, sand in my ears, sand in my mouth, sand in my nose, sand up my...need I say more? The wind blew miserably cold on the beaches. We found a little sheltered cove where the kids could play, but even there it was too cold to get into the water. Camping spots are up to $23-$35 a day, and they all charged extra for the kids, from $1.50 to $2.50 each (the average around here and all the way to AZ is about $15). One trip to Agate Beach found me trudging through ankle deep drifts, packing all the shovels, buckets and sand toys a quarter mile through sand that was blowing at about Alicia height...Alicia crying all the way because it was blasting in her eyes...Jack INSISTENT we were going to sit behind some little log for shelter while the kids had FUN...ha. I took one photo of the girls by the log and we trudged back to the car through the miserable, blowing sand...went for a ride instead. Our entire trip kinda went like that. In fact, that was the same day we drove up to Newport to reserve the next campsite. Alicia didn't have to go to the bathroom before we left...she didn't have to go when we registered at the campground, she didn't have to go when we stopped at McDonald's for Happy Meals. She DID have to go when we were stuck in traffic in the middle of Newport. Jack finally got to an intersection where he could turn down towards the beach, pulled into the restroom parking...I jumped out and said "Come on, Alicia". Alicia said "Too late". And it was.

Shayna was very good (if you don't count the time she shut the door and changed the TV from Disney to HBO and naked people). Alicia was...well, Alicia. She is either extremely good or extremely bad...nothing in between. To start with, she really doesn't like Shayna. Add that to not really wanting to share her grandparents with ANYONE. For instance: we stood in front of the viewing window for nearly an hour waiting for Keiko to appear. The girls were up at the front railing, I was a couple rows behind. Suddenly I hear Alicia yelling at Shayna, I look...Alicia has her arms and legs spread across the railing so Shayna can't stand there. I ask why, she tells me "I don't want Shayna to look at Keiko". She is insistent and persistent...I am mad...I try to drag her off the rail, she throws herself on the ground and has a tantrum...I cannot spank in front of 200 people, so I pinch her in the side (no one can scream "child abuse" 'cause they saw NOTHING). I pinch and mutter threats to her under my breath until she finally behaves. All then goes well until it is time to leave. I had taught the girls that if they didn't duck down and weave their way through the legs of the big people to get up front, they would see nothing at the aquarium. Alicia got so good at it she'd be hanging over the front railings before you could say "fish". Unfortunately, it also worked for getting OUT of the crowds. As we left the Keiko viewing area, Alicia ducked down and headed for the doorway...the ENTRANCE. I was trying to drag Shayna behind me and go the wrong way into the crowd to catch her, but a worker stopped me and made me turn around. I told him he'd better catch that kid up there then, or there would be hell to pay...he headed out that direction, I went out the exit, and he finally caught up to her and brought her back to me. She was quite docile the rest of the day, but kept bringing up the fact that Grandma lost her at Free Willy.

Alicia stomped up the aisle of the motor home, glaring at Shayna who was sitting up front. I asked Alicia what she was doing. Alicia replied "I'm going to cut off her tail with a carving knife". I have no doubt she would have done just that if she'd had the carving knife.

When asked "Who wants to go to the Zoo?"....Shayna says "Me!" Alicia says "I'm not going." "I don't want to." "Because I'm a brat." We didn't go.

It's nice to be home.

August 26, 1998

Took Alicia to the fair and watched a 2 hour Kenny Loggins concert....45 minutes of encores! Alicia was a doll...she clapped and danced and sang right along with the rest of the crowd (of course, I had to promise her TWO caramel apples, a corn dog and a few carnival rides if she'd be a very good girl). We had great seats....our fair is the kind where you take your lawn chairs and blankets and get there early for a good spot....and we ended up quite close to the stage and right in front of the huge speakers! Good thing I like my Loggins loud! Anyway, the show was great. I think he's getting better with age. Alicia did the Ferris wheel, the giant slide and the kiddy roller coaster, a couple of midway games, then corn dogs, curly fries and Pepsi...didn't get home until eleven p.m. The caramel apple (she settled for one) is in the refrigerator, waiting for tomorrow and Alicia.

August 29, 1998

My friend, Lynne, replies "Are you still up in the clouds from Kenny Loggins night? I bet Alicia was as fun to watch as Kenny, though. What a sweet heart! Next time she has a temper tantrum because GRANDMA did not do something right...just remember what a great companion she was...even if you did have to bribe her."

Letters from Alicia to Grandma Carol and Grandpa Jack, who were spending the winter in Arizona:

February 1999....

Dear Grammy,
I miss you a lot. Have a great time, but actually I want to see you much, and I want you
to meet my new friend Austin.
I wish you could come home now...right now...sooner. I wish you could come soon to
my house. I miss you dear Grandma.
I never sent you a letter, but I am now, so I miss you very, very, very much, so much.
And I would like to see everyone I know today like my Grandma and Grandpa, but I can’t
because my Mom doesn’t want to go that far, but I love you.


Dear Grampy,
I love you much, but I want you to bring Grandma home, and when it’s Christmas again
I’ll send you a present, but I really can’t tell you because it’s a surprise. I miss you very
good, and I want you to send me a letter, but I also want you to send me a picture of a girl
deer, and her name should be "Felice".
Hey, Grandpa, when I grow up I’m going to buy you a pretty table, and it’ll be dark pink. I
love you dear Grandpa.

The end.

And a second letter......

Dear Grammy,
I love you so much, but I want you to come back today...for real I do. And I want to sing
this song to you. (She’s singing the Barney "I Love You" song...Amy)
I miss you very good. And I’m happy you went over there, but I didn’t want you to stay
that long, but I still love you anyways.
I got my hair cut real short, but don’t get mad, because my Mom did it on accident, but I
still think you should like it.
I love you’re so pretty, but I miss you.
I ate basgetti was very should try it. When you come back from
Arizonia you should come to my house and I’ll tell my Mom to make some for you. OK.
My voice is getting tired, but I love you.

The very end.
I love you dear Grandma.

Dear Grampy,
I love you! Bring Grammy home. I’m moving to a different place, but please don’t be
mad. I’ll tell you where it is, OK? I can even ride my bike there. (OK Mommy, you
write the rest.)

I thought you might like to hear what Alicia said at dinner tonight.
"When I get old I’m gonna look like Grandma....some people are still alive when they get
that old!"

Letter written March 8, 1999 (as dictated to Amy):

Dear Grampy,

I went to Mikayla's party and I had cake...chocolate, and I played bingo, and I played on the toys. I bet you would like that chocolate cake.

Thank you for the deer...I love you grandpa, and I want to give you flowers, but you're not here. Why did you leave? I want you to come back! I love you dear grandpa.

Grandma...Dear Grammy,

I love you good. When are you gonna come back grandma...tell grandpa I love him. Give him a kiss, OK? I love you grandma (she sings the Barney "I Love You" song). Grandma...was there any grasshoppers there? (Now she's singing "Baby Bumble Bee"...she really thinks I'm writing down all the words to it.)

I hurt my armpit today. I fell down in my closet. I love you dear grandma.

I love you grandpa.

Come back today OK? But if you can't that's OK I still love you.

Alicia Pena

March 1999

Amy: "Alicia, let's go to the dam to see the fish."
Alicia: "I can't. I can't say that."
Amy: "Alicia, it's alright to say 'dam' when you're talking about the place to watch fish."
Alicia: "No, I can't go because I'm not supposed to say that."
Amy: "Alicia, I said it's OK to say 'dam' as long as you're talking about the fish place."
Alicia (long pause): "Oh, all right then...let's go to the damn fish place!."

Amy was reading Alicia a story from "Bugs Life". One section was a page from a diary. Amy asked "You know what a diary is, don't you?" Alicia, giggling and blushing replied "'s when you poop a lot."

May 1999

Alicia and Amy were playing in the park when Alicia suddenly had an attack of diarrhea. Amy grabbed her and ran across the street to a service station restroom, where Alicia announced "I don't have to go now, Mom....I just have to wipe."

Last night Alicia was sitting on my lap in the rocking chair. We were watching TV and she was in such a lovey mood..kept hugging my head and telling me how much she loved me. After a while she had to go to the bathroom, so she got up and left the room. A minute later I hear "Grandma...come here and give me a kiss." "What?" I reply. "Come here and give me a kiss", she says. "On the toilet?" I ask. "Nooo......on the LIPS."

June 7, 1999

Well, I just ate the last applesauce bar. They were delicious, but I had to eat the entire panful by myself (I hate it when that happens). Alicia was very excited that I was going to make applesauce bars from some of the applesauce that she won at her school picnic. She came over the day I baked them and I asked her if she wanted one...she said "Yes", so I cut her a good sized square. She just sat and looked at it. I finally said "Alicia, why don't you take a bite?" and she replied "I wanted an applesauce bar." I said "That IS an applesauce bar." She gave my that 'how-dumb-can-you-be' look and replied "But Grandma, it's not cold, and where's the stick?" She had expected applesauce bars to be like ice cream bars!

Alicia went for a long bicycle ride with her mother today. After a while she yelled "Hey, Mom...can you feel your fat getting skinnier? Because I sure can!"

July 6, 1999

Jack took Alicia to the park while I ran around all day. They took their bikes, rode by the river, threw rocks into the water, fed bread to the gulls and scavanged for bird feathers to put on the blow-away-soon. Did I tell you about Blow Away Soon? It's a book I got at the library last week, and she loves it...about an Indian girl who lives with her grandmother. They walk up the hill and build a blow-away-soon so the wind she can take what she wants, but she leaves the very important things behind, and so the grandmother will be here for a good long time. Well...the story just moves Alicia to tears. By the end of it she's clinging to me all misty eyed. So we had to round up some rocks and build a blow-away-soon in the back yard. We haven't had a lick of wind here all week, but yesterday Alicia put rose petals on the blow-away-soon and just as she stepped back, she said "Here she comes, Grandma" and sure enough, a little gust of wind blew the rose petals away. Today she took out the bird feathers to give to the wind...placed them carefully on the blow-away-soon and stepped back. Yep...a little puff of wind just at that moment. Hey...who am I to doubt??? I guess it takes faith.

Instant message from Amy on January 23, 2000 (Oscar is Alicia's dog)

ITZJSTMEE: Alicia says..." I love you Grandma, you are sooo sweet. I love you more than ice cream." Tell Grandpa...I love you Grandpa, you are so special...I hope you feel better. Goodnight."
ITZJSTMEE: Oscar says he loves you too

January 2005:

A gift from Grandma
by Alicia Pena

On a warm sunny day I was playing with my dog Joker when suddenly I heard the phone ring inside my house. I dashed through the front door to pick up the phone as Joker stumbled behind me . I picked up the phone and it was my best friend Lily . She asked me if she could play at my house ,so I asked my mom, and she said yes, but we would have to stay out of trouble because she had to run some arons.

While I waited for Lily to show up, I looked down the road and saw her racing down the street on her bike. When she pulled up to my drive way , I saw that she had a jump rope with her . She wanted to play, so we tied one end to the fence because there was only two of us, and played for a long time. After a while a HUGE delivery truck dropped off a box. The man driving the truck said that the box was for Alicia Pena, and I said "that's me." He said that the box was from Africa and that it didn't say who it was from.

I slowly walked up to the box and I saw a paw sticking out of it. I carefully opened it up, and there stood a gigantic lion. The second I saw him, I knew that I was in trouble. There was no way my mom was going to let me keep him. I glanced over at Lily and she was just standing there in complete shock. "W-W-Where did that come from!" she said. "Why did someone send you a lion?" "I have no clue" I replied.

Lily wanted to know "what should we do with he lion?" "I don't know!" I answered right as the lion leaped out of the box. He walked closer and closer to us. I cautiously reached out to rub his head and was glad to find out that he liked it, and that he didn't eat me! Right then I saw my mom coming down the street in her car.

Lily and I ran inside the house. "what do we do with him?" Lily said. Then she said she would keep my mom outside while I hid the lion. I did the only thing I could, I hid him in the closet. My mom walked in the door and put away all of the groceries and asked me "what is that gruesome smell?" I told her it was the dog. She picked up her coat and headed to the closet. She opened the closet door and the lion was gone! What I didn't know was that Lily snuck him into the garage while I was helping my mom put away the groceries. I knew I couldn't keep it a secret from my mom so I told her the whole story.

"I can't believe she did this!" my mom yelled. "who?" I asked. "Your Grandmother" she sighed. "Don't you remember that Grandma went on an African safari?" My mom looked at the box to see if there was an address to send it back to. Inside the box she found 3 airplane tickets to Africa and a note. The note said "Now you have to come see me! Love Grandma"

The next day me and my mom got on a plane to Africa. The third ticket was for the lion of course so Lily couldn't go. I sure hope her mom isn't upset when she gets the baby cheetah I sent her!

January 2006

My Strange World
by Alicia Pena

How strange is your world? Well you haven't even begun to imagine how strange mine is. Think of a world where everything's backwards. Get ready for a world where the impossible is possible, and the unthinkable is thinkable.

In my strange world we wake up at night. We mess up our hair and put on our pajamas, and untie our shoes before we eat dinner. Then my parents go to school, and I go to work. Then it's time to go home because I'm tired of playing. When I get there, my dog takes me for a walk , while my fish feeds my parents and my cat cleans the house, because backwards is normal in my strange world.

When its morning we all go to sleep, but not before we do our hair and brush our teeth. We sleep on the floor because the cats in the bed, and we don't wake up until the alarm clock stops ringing, because backwards is normal in my strange world.

We don't go to the store, the store comes to us, which is a good thing, because pushing the car around town gets tiring. When we go out to eat we always serve the waiter, and after we're done cooking the chef dinner, we all watch him eat. Before we leave, we drink down our dinner, because backwards is normal in my strange world.

In a world like mine it wouldn't be unusual to see animals at the zoo watching caged people. You might even see people walking on their hands instead of there feet. In my world babies can walk the day there born, and dogs live to be 103, because backwards is normal in my strange world.

In my strange world I hope this paper gets an F, and I hope the teacher hates it because that would be best. Although in my world, I wouldn't do homework at all, because my parents go to school instead of me. I'd be off at work playing with my friends, because backwards is normal in my strange world.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to my world, but now I must go. My dog is taking us to the car wash where my uncle is having his baby, because, after all, backwards is normal in my strange world!