Monday, March 05, 2007

Me, Myself & Bob

Me, Myself & Bob

Those of you who know me well know – I don’t like to read! I know that’s unbelievable for some of you who read everything they get their hands on. I think it’s because that while I CAN read, I read very slowly and have a hard time retaining what I read. My mind seems to wander even though I’m seeing the words.

I just finished reading Me, Myself & Bob by Phil Vischer – the story of the creator of Veggie Tales. I guess I was interested because of my love for Veggie Tales themselves……and I liked the title and the picture on the book! I had read about it in a magazine someplace. It just came out this past January.

I read the book in a week – probably a record for me.

Veggie Tales were created by Phil Vischer who grew up and still lives in the Chicago area. Coming from a highly religious family, he saw this as his calling – his ministry. It’s kinda fun to see how he developed his ideas into talking vegetables. Even though I have seen (and own) a lot of Veggie Tales, I learned lots of things about their development....and why they don’t have arms and legs!

Those of you that know the story already know that while Veggie Tales were/are a great success, Big Ideas Productions, the company that produced them since 1999 went bankrupt in 2003. The videos are still being produced, but by a company in Tennessee called Big Ideas,Inc. Same ideas, similar name – different owners.

As I look back, I’m surprised that I actually read every word of this book. From start to finish, there are a lot of business details that I wasn’t interested in, yet I kept reading. There were a LOT of details about the equipment needed to produce the animation, the people hired to do the work, business dealings…………..boring stuff. Still I read on. Now that I’ve finished the book, I see the necessity of knowing all those details that comprised the dreams of Phil Visher.

I am now reading the last 3 chapters for the 3rd time. It took over 200 pages to get to the real reason God wanted me to read this book.

I don’t want to spoil it for you readers, but please – READ THIS BOOK! I don’t think you will be sorry. It's a true story about dreams, God and talking vegetables. I think we can all learn a lesson from this book.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hi - I'm The Grandma!

You don't see many pictures of me - I'm always on the other side of the camera!

I always thought I’d be a Grandma at a young age, but it didn’t happen as young as I thought. I became a mother at 21, so conceivably I could have been a grandma in my early 40’s. Apparently, my children had other plans. Now, they all didn’t make that a conscious choice, but nevertheless, it didn’t happen. I had to wait until I was 55 to be a real honest to goodness Grandma. My first experience was to be a step-grandma some 18 months before that…….it’s not the same. Close, but not the same!

I guess I always dreamed of being one of those Grandma’s that the kids would run away to live with when they got mad at their parents ..…you know, with the little hobo stick and all their worldly goods wrapped up in a kerchief. They’d make it to the corner, but then couldn’t cross the street. If they had only known……..I would have come to pick them up!!!

I’ve done my best to make them want to live with me (not really, but they could think they did). I try to provide their every need (?) or desire, but it’s kinda hard when their parents are in a better financial position than I am to buy the latest gadget………….but I can always buy the accessories! They buy the XBox- I can get the joystick. They buy the IPod – I can download the music. They buy the DVD player – I can get movie. They buy the car – I can buy the dice to hang from the mirror. You get the idea.

It’s hard to keep up with the grandkids these days since they are into such diverse activities. Mostly I don’t even know what they are doing or what they like. Their interests change every year. The marine biologist now probably wants to be a professional wrestler. The professional skate boarder may want to be a doctor. (Not likely, but it could happen). I can go to events for the ones that live close – if they send me the schedule and it isn’t too late at night (I’m old now, you remember).

When the 1st one was just a baby, I couldn’t wait to go to Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm. I don’t know why I couldn’t go alone, but it just didn’t seem right. You needed a kid! When there was more than one, it was fun to watch them crawl over the pumpkins, feed the exotic animals and giggle when the llama licked their hand. They’d stick their little faces through the holes on the displays and I would take pictures. When they started school, they went to the pumpkin farm on school trips, so there was no longer the novelty of going with Grandma.

It’s good to hear of their school activities and good grades. How dad went to school to read to the 1st graders for Dr. Suess’s birthday party. How they were the “star” of the school Christmas play. How they got all 3’s (or was it 1’s) on their report cards and the teacher says they are a joy to have in class. I hear the weekly “wrestling results” with great pride – and relief that they didn’t get hurt. I always tell them I’m proud of them – which I am. Soon it will be baseball…..or basketball……or football….or soccer. I’m never sure which it will be this season or who’s playing what.

If I know what the grandkids like, I try to keep that theme in mind at Christmas and birthdays. I’ve gone out of my way to purchase LaBron James t-shirts, WWE wrestling videos, the latest Harry Potter book, Thomas the Train and anything Da Bears. I even made an Elvis Presley halloween costume so The King could live again. This was not easy since I had no idea how big The King is in real life. I wonder if the grandkids appreciate the effort I make to please them. Maybe they don’t even know I go out of my way. I have to ask the parents what to get them – and I’m not sure “A Borders Gift Card” is the answer I want to hear. Grandma’s are only supposed to support educational themes in the most subtle way!

Now that there are little ones in the family again - well they’re almost real grandkids it’s fun to know they hand the phone to Mom and want to “Call Grandma Judie”. I’ve heard they even fake illnesses (to kindergarten no less) so they can go to Grandma Judie’s. (I’m the back-up babysitter for sick kids). It’s good to know I can still score big points – even if only with the little ones! Could it be my Thomas the Train and Veggie Tales videos collections? I really don’t feed them candy, and although I don’t think they know it, I try to get them to fall asleep watching the videos so I can take a nap!

My mother used to say –“Even though I’m old, I still have things to offer? Maybe it’s only history, but I remember BEFORE TV, BEFORE COMPUTERS, BEFORE CELL PHONES. However did we exist? I don’t know much about some of my grandchildren - and they don’t know much about me. Maybe I don’t have as much money as some others, but I have just as much love. It would be good to keep in touch.

I guess history repeats itself………………….I’m only the Grandmother.