In Short …

A 21st century grandmother talks to her new granddaughter about life, womanhood, dreams, failures, love, kindness, and not taking herself too seriously. Since the granddaughter is an infant, the conversation will be a bit one-sided. This might change, the grandmother thinks.

Card Sharps, Card Dullards

Ellie, darlin’ — Your grandfather and I haven’t seen you in two months — and won’t see you again till your second birthday in August. So we’re relying on FaceTime calls and photos and reports from your parents to keep apprised. It’s dizzying to try…

Feelin’ Good Whenever you Can

Dear Ellie, my little pink-cheeked sprite with the wide, blue eyes — Here in Austin, it’s a gorgeous day, with bright blue skies and warm sunshine. It’s too beautiful a day to write about politics. (Lately, even the most heinous weather would be ruined by politics….

The Good Old Days

Dear Ellie — When people get to be a certain age — let’s say Opa’s and my age — you’ll notice they may start talking fondly about The Good Old Days. They’ll get a misty look in their eyes and turn inward, seeing something you…

Speak Easy, Speak Hard

Dear Ellie — Your grandfather and I are getting a little impatient. We haven’t seen you since Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! That was more than three months ago. Since then, you’ve started talking. That’s such a miraculous time for your parents and grandparents, when a child interacts…

The Saying’s Correct: Sisterhood is Powerful

Dear Ellie — Your great-aunt Ellen celebrated her 64th birthday last month. Since you’ve only seen her once and she lives thousands of miles away, I want to write you so you’ll know more about her. After all, in my unbiased older-sister opinion, she’s one…

Happy New Year

Ellie — I hear you didn’t make it to midnight on this December 31st — but then, neither did your grandfather. 2017! People my age marvel at what a high number that is, at how quickly the years pass as we grow older. By the…

The Final Flight

Dear Ellie — It’s been a tumultuous fall. Aside from the November presidential election, your great-grandfather died that same month. He was your mother’s father’s father and his name was William Fendall Pennebaker. He would have been 99 on December 3. Everyone called him Bill,…

A Few Rules for Survival

Dear Ellie — Well, you know how it went down. We didn’t elect the first woman president this week. We elected a man who sees women as objects, who’s volatile and bigoted, who wears his inexperience and lack of knowledge as proudly as he would…

A Woman President. It’s About Time.

Ellie — I kept another blog for several years. Looking back over the hundreds of posts I wrote, I noticed the ones about politics didn’t age well. They were too tied to long-gone current events and seemed tired after a few years. So, with my…

Joining Hands

Dear Ellie — For the past five years, your grandfather and I have lived in a downtown highrise condo in Austin. It’s a lovely place, where we’re treated very well. It’s also been a good place for us to be at this time in our…