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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

Most dramatic lymphoma posts are from June 2002 - February 2003 archives.

Email Joy Durham at joydurham@comcast.net

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.



--Theodore Roethke






Visitors:




Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
 
Tuesday, December 24, 2013  
Merry Christmas to you all!! 

2:39:00 PM



Saturday, August 09, 2008  
Moved

I like the new blog and how much easier it is to navigate that template, so that's where I'll stay. That's my blog now so please go to Babble On to read my posts. Thanks!

This one will still be here for the archives. I've had it since 2002 and will miss it.

9:41:00 PM



Sunday, August 03, 2008  
New Location

I made a new blog and am trying it out. Come see me here: Babble On. I wrote about HGTV's Design Star.

I'm leaning toward posting there from now on because the new templates are easier to work with. What do you think?

6:45:00 PM



Saturday, August 02, 2008  
Melissa's Art

My daughter-in-law Melissa is an artist who has illustrated book covers and books and specializes in fantasy art. Here are some of her paintings that I'd like for you to see. If you want to see more, check out her website. And she's a wonderful wife to my son Brian and mother to their son Brendan. I'm a big fan of hers!!

The Astronomer
Hebrew Punk (book cover)

Unicorn Vale
Cold Water

Guardian at the Threshold
Ring Around the Moon

Tree Goddess
Sky Explorer

Maiden of the Mountains

10:02:00 PM



 
XM RIP

My radio receiver for my XM subscription has sort of died. It only gets that preview station and has no display. It was doing fine and then not. I got online and reactivated it, but nothing changed. A friend said they don't last long and that she's been through three of them. Planned obsolesence is one thing, but this is ridiculous!

10:02:00 PM



 
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream ...

Yesterday wiped me out! I went back to bed around 1:30 and slept until 9:30 this morning after sleeping over four hours when I got home yesterday evening. I was always extremely tired after the first day and week when school started again in the fall, but this was exhausting after my life of retired leisure.

I had to get up early and spend all day in the classroom with students watching her teach, so I could offer suggestions. For those of you who have never tried it, teaching is a hard job. There are so many things to do at once and so much to pay attention to. It takes a while to find methods that work for you and to make it your own. So I was thinking about what she needed to do and all the things she was doing right and help her find that balance that allows her to teach and students to feel comfortable learning. After almost 40 years of teaching, so many things are second-nature, and I had to think about how to explain this to someone when I'd rather get up there and show her. That's the main thing with student teaching is that time with the supervising teacher to see how they teach, manage the classroom, motivate, discipline, manage time, give assignments, and on and on. Then they ease into it with supervision and are on their own eventually but still with that teacher to help them. I have to help her with this while she's on the job, and I want her to stay and continue to teach because I think she will be good at it.

Anyway, I'm still tired! What a wimp I am! I go back Monday and Tuesday to help her some more and hope I toughen up enough to stay awake a while after I get home.

10:39:00 AM



 
BA

Thank goodness, I can get back on my blog! I was miserable being cut off from my blog friends and myself like that. My post was on there, but I couldn't get to it and my comments. Oh, the horror!!

Hello, my name is Joy, and I am a blog addict.

10:27:00 AM



 
School

I went to school today to observe, help, and mentor. It was good to see many people I used to work with, but I had to keep explaining why I was there and that I wasn't back to teach. It's so horribly hot and humid here now that when I got in the car to come home, it felt like a sweltering oven. I had to stop at Kroger to get some groceries and nearly burned up. When I got home, I put the cold things away, changed clothes, and went to sleep! I woke up around 7:00 in a panic thinking I'd overslept and would be late for school. Then with relief, I thought it was Saturday and felt better as I went back to sleep. When I woke up again after 9:00, I realized it was Friday night. I was exhausted!!! Now I'm going back to bed.

Problem: I cannot get on my own blog! What is going on? David Dust can't use his blog because Blogger is reviewing it for some reason. Now I can't get on mine.

12:35:00 AM



Thursday, July 31, 2008  
Morning Trauma for a Night Owl

I've been planning how late I can sleep tomorrow to give myself enough time to get to Creek Wood High School in the morning for mentor duty. Since I've been retired, I have reverted to my night owlish preference for staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 AM and sleeping until around 9:00 or so. I managed to be on a modified morning-person routine all those decades I taught school, even though I never went to bed before 11:00 unless I was really sleepy or sick. Then I'd get up as late as possible to still get to school on time, which was earlier all those years I took Brian to school on my way to mine.

So now I'll have to get up early, which will possibly get me on an earlier schedule, but I doubt it. Knowing me, I'll just get up the days I have to be there, much like the way I do when Mother has early-morning appointments and when she had surgery. She likes morning and prefers to be places as early as possible. When she worked at the post office and had to be there at 6:00 or 6:30 (somewhere in there), she never used an alarm clock since she naturally wakes up at 5:00. I don't have to set my alarm if I'm supposed to be somewhere at 10:00 or 11:00. Otherwise, it's required. Mother told me once I was missing the best part of the day and told me how pretty sunrises were, and I told her to tape it for me. I've seen sunrises and have been up that late several times.

What about you? Are you a night owl or a morning lark?

8:02:00 PM



 
Project Runway

If you watch Project Runway and haven't heard of David Dust, please go to his blog and read his recap of the show. He is hilarious and is becoming famous as a blogger of Bravo shows and HGTV's Design Star. When you read his recaps, you'll understand why.

7:58:00 PM



 
Bernice

Now that I'm a senior citizen, I embrace my inner Bernice and feel even closer to her. I think I might be related to her husband. Notice the references to his being a "dancing fool" and having been a fire eater. Aha! Dancing Flame! Charlie was right. Here's what I found on the Designing Women website.
"The Little Fruitcake"

Bernice Clifton is the addled best friend of Suzanne and Julia's mother, Perky Sugarbaker. After Perky moves to Japan, the ladies look after the widow Mrs. Clifton at their mother's request. But keeping up with Bernice can be extremely difficult since she has an arterial flow problem above the neck that causes her to behave rather outrageously. Bernice sends the group health tips and enters everyone in contests. She's been known to phone Suzanne to say, "If you're not going to eat all the food in your refrigerator, why don't you just put it in a cab and send it over to me?" Bernice lives in a retirement community called Hillcrest Leisure Land, and, since she is easily bored there, makes frequent visits to Sugarbakers for the afternoon. After a while, the ladies become used to Bernice's eccentricities --- often delegating the responsibility of entertaining her to Anthony.

Bernice's late husband, Louis Clifton, came from a circus family where he was billed as a "dancing fool." One of Louis' uncles was a fire-eater, a talent he taught to Bernice. She has a charm-free niece named Phyllis McGuire and twin great-nephews, Nick and Dick --- though Bernice thinks both boys are named Dick. Her father was a Southern Baptist minister and when "all her circuits are burning," Bernice is a scripture authority.

Having never had any children, Bernice thinks of Anthony and the ladies of Sugarbakers as if they were her own. Her odd behavior drives Suzanne absolutely crazy, and she often refers to Bernice as a "little fruitcake." Anthony is the subject of her motherly attention --- and alternately her uninhibited lust. Actually, Bernice often implies that Anthony is hot for her --- along with many others with whom she claims to have had wild encounters. However, she has been known to claim Anthony as her illegitimate son and frequently breaks into a song of her own invention when Anthony is near --- "Black Man, Black Man." She also does not look favorably on any of his girlfriends --- commonly referring to them as she-beasts.

Bernice is very active, participating in senior citizen beauty contests and dance contests, but she has been known to loudly question the concept that growing old gives you a talent for arts and crafts. Therefore, Anthony ends up spending many afternoons shuttling Bernice around town as she tries to turn each trip away from the retirement village into a roller coaster of an event.

The most frequent guest star of the series, Alice Ghostley appears as Bernice in 45 episodes over the course of seven seasons, including two 2-part episodes. Though she is never a credited member of the cast, her frequent appearances outnumber those of series regulars Allison, B.J., and even the longer running Carlene. By Season Seven, Bernice appears in almost every episode.

This was one of my favorite scenes Bernice was in:

Bernice and Anthony enter Sugarbaker's with Bernice blowing a party horn.
BERNICE: Happy New Year!
JULIA: Well, Happy New Year, Bernice.
BERNICE: (blowing horn at Suzanne) Happy New Year, Suzanne.
SUZANNE: Happy New Year to you too, Bernice.....ya little fruitcake.
JULIA: Suzanne!!
SUZANNE: Oh, she knows I'm just kidding. She loves for me to call her that, don't you Bernice?
BERNICE: It's ok. I would mind though, for example, if we were at the White House.
SUZANNE: Ok, I'll remember that.
MARY JO: Bernice, why are you wearing your Christmas tree skirt?
BERNICE: Well, this is the skirt you gave me for Christmas.
MARY JO: Yes, I know. It's not to wear. It's a Christmas tree skirt. You're supposed to put it around the base of your Christmas tree.
BERNICE: Oh! Well no wonder. I like to never got this thing on. I finally just let the waist out and tied it with a belt.

Alice Ghostley was a wonderful Bernice.

7:17:00 PM



Wednesday, July 30, 2008  
Bernice Strikes Again!

Last night a little before midnight, Jackie called and asked if she could come over and sleep in my house because she thought someone had been in her brother's apartment where she was staying. I said, "Bless your heart. You must be desperate to want to sleep here!" She's seen my guest room, which is a candidate for Clean Sweep, just like the rest of my house. I asked her what made her think that, and she said the room where she'd been sleeping was locked and that it was open when she left. Then she said the mail was scattered on the table. She'd fallen asleep in the couch when she got home and then found the door locked when she wanted to go to bed.

I told her I'd come over to help her check to make sure things were OK. I didn't want her to feel scared there in the apartment and also wanted to save her from sleeping in clutter. When I went there, she got a butter knife to spring open the lock on the bedroom door. She opened it, and we stood back as she quickly turned on the light so we could peek in. No one there. Relief!

When we were in the living room, I asked her why she thought someone had gone through the mail, and she said because she wouldn't have left it that way since she's a stacker. Well, I went by there to pick her up to go to the gym and went in. She got a phone call from her brother in the hospital and went through the mail to let him know what he'd gotten. Then we went to the gym and out to eat. I told her since we were in a hurry to leave and she was telling John about the mail that I think she left it that way. She felt better.

Then she looked at me and asked what I thought we'd have done if someone had been in that room. I said we were well-armed with a butter knife. So we laughed for quite a while just thinking about it all. Then she said she'd never live this down, would she. Of course not!

Several of us planned to get together for lunch today, so when I talked with Tina this morning, she said she'd text Jackie to let her know where we'd meet since Jackie was at the hospital with her brother, and I had an appointment to get my hair cut. So I decided to text Jackie since I'd called her cell phone a few times to ask if she wanted to go to Creek Wood with me after lunch to talk with the teacher I'm mentoring since their backgrounds are so similar and got no answer. I also added, "Did anyone try to kill you last night?"

When we got to the restaurant, Jackie and Tina talked about texting each other. I told Jackie that she didn't answer my text. She said she didn't get one from me. So I got my cell phone out and showed her the number - which was her OLD number! I had her new cell number on my phone at home and didn't check them and don't remember numbers that well. Then we all laughed hysterically wondering who got that text message and what they must have thought. Do you think the FBI will come after me?

11:55:00 PM



 
List

Beth (aka TrannyBeth) posted a list on her blog of things she remembers from when she was a child and teenager. Since I'm much older than she is, I can remember much farther back. Go check it out and tell me things you remember. I'll add a list of mine later today.

9:40:00 AM



Tuesday, July 29, 2008  
The Little Engine Who Could

I drove Mother to her appointment this morning with her opthalmologist and then to breakfast for the last of the special July blueberry pancakes, eggs, and bacon at Cracker Barrel. We like those and have had them a couple of times this month. We also had a good visit, and Mother had a good report about her eyes after cataract and glaucoma surgery within the last several years.

My protégé called yesterday, and we had our first phone conversation. Then today I went to school and met with her. I'm impressed with her knowledge of math and philosophy of teaching. I hope she'll stay with teaching because we need good teachers. She might go to another system where she can make more money, which is a good reason we've lost many teachers. But that's another story!

I actually went to the gym!!! Jackie went with me, and got a deal to go for a week while she's here. This way we can work out, and she can go to the Zumba class. We were going to go to the one Vicki teaches, but it's on a carpeted concrete floor, which won't work for my knees and will probably cause some injuries. My gym has their class on a wooden floor, and the class is included in my gym membership. Jackie can go there to do whatever she wants and pay $25 for the week. So financially and physically Powerhouse Gym is a better idea. I am going to have to build up to Zumba and will join the class when I can. Today I did the treadmill and stationary bicycle and some of the machines. I like the elliptical but didn't do it today.

After our workout, Jackie and I ate at one of the Mexican restaurants. Then we went by the hospital to check on her brother. He is in a lot of pain after his back surgery but has good reports.

I'm planning to go back to the gym tomorrow. I can do it! I think I can! I think I can! (remember that book from childhood?)

11:41:00 PM



Sunday, July 27, 2008  
Mentor

Janie Jones, principal of Creek Wood High School, called me last week to ask if I'd be interested in being a mentor for a new teacher who is a fellow in the Teach Tennessee program. This is a way for mid-career professionals to become teachers. Part of the requirement is to have a retired teacher as a mentor their first year. I'm supposed to meet with mine often during the first two weeks and to get most of the mentoring accomplished before Christmas break. She teaches algebra, and mostly what I'll help her with is classroom management, teaching strategies, and such as that. This will be interesting, and I hope I can help her. Based on the qualifications the fellows have, I'm sure she'll do a good job, and this is a good program that I'm glad we have.

I email weekly and monthly reports to the state coordinator and will let you know how it goes.

9:19:00 PM



 
Design Star

Tonight's Design Star on HGTV was a touching act of generosity. Two families in New Orleans who lost everything when their homes were submerged during Katrina got a new kitchen, dining room and living room. Matt and Jennifer both did great jobs and did what the families wanted and pleased the judges, too. They are both such nice people and would host good shows. I hope Matt wins. David Dust interviewed him on the phone if you'd like to check it out on his newly-decorated blog.

9:19:00 PM



 
The Week That Was

Let's see, what have I been doing since I last wrote. Monday was recovery day, and then Tuesday I went to Mother's for dinner with fresh vegetables that she cooks so well. We had a meeting to get ready for the next election. Since I retired, I've been working as a machine operator, which now mostly involves sending them to the voting machine. That first year we used them (and my first time on the job), we had to teach everyone how to use them. It took forever since it was a heated local election and also had pages of judges!

Jackie came to town last weekend to stay with her brother before, during, and after his back surgery he'll have tomorrow. We met downtown and went to several places on Main Street Wednesday afternoon. We ran into Vicki who told us about the Zumba classes that will be at Body & Soul. I went by to visit with Jackie and her brother Thursday afternoon, which was fun, and then Jackie and I went to see Mama Mia and then out to dinner. The movie was fun and entertaining. I never was an ABBA fan and had no idea they'd recorded all those songs. Meryl Streep was outstanding as always, and so were the fathers: Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård. Julie Walters and Christine Baranski were great as her old friends, and Amanda Seyfried was perfect as her daughter. Christine Baranski could definitely pull off her character as a cougar, too. Great cast and lots of fun! Did you see it? What did you think about it?

Tina, Hope, Jackie, and I met at House Blend Friday after school and had a good visit. Then Saturday night Paige, Jackie and I ate there for Jeremy and Holly Spencer's monthly dinners. They use locally-grown vegetables, fruit, and herbs. This is the third one they've done, and this makes my second one to attend. Both times the food was delicious and just right! Here's the menu for last night with an asterisk beside what I ordered. The choices were difficult because all of it looked wonderful.

STARTERS
Gazpacho with a wedge of sharp white cheddar
Okra pancakes with sliced home-grown tomatoes*

SALADS
Southern Summer Salad of field greens, crispy purple hull peas, pecans, white cheddar, and cornbread croutons in a sweet corn vinagrette*
Heirloom Tomatoes with house-made bleu cheese dressing

ENTREES
Provencal Veggie Pie - eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, portabella mushrooms, and red pepper with goat cheese under a polenta crust, served with a side of TN country ham
Chicken Boursin - chicken topped with roasted tomato and herb cheese, wrapped in puff-pastry and baked, accompanied by heirloom green beans
Beef Roast with Cherries - slow roasted with red onions in a sour cherry, red wine reduction and served with fresh-corn pudding*

DESSERT
Chocolate Cake layered with chocolate buttercream and fresh blueberries
Espresso Panna Cotta

I couldn't even think about dessert but know both of those would have been decadent and delicious. The meal and company were both wonderful. We got to stay and talk and enjoy the experience. I hope Holly and Jeremy continue to have these dinners every month. They are something special to look forward to. Their website has the menu for May when Tina and I went. We had to miss June because that's when we visited Jackie. Tina couldn't go this time because it was her son Matt's birthday, and her family celebrated it. I'm looking forward to the one in August.

8:48:00 PM



Tuesday, July 22, 2008  
Speaking of Titles

I told you that the main word I've said in my life is "Oh," and here's another example of that. When Dances with Wolves first came out, I told Brian and the guy I was going with that I wanted to see Dances with Horses. They exchanged looks, so I knew something was amiss. They grinned at each other and then launched into asking if I wanted to see Silence of the Horses and all kinds of other titles with that substitution. I caught on.

Brian and I have had interesting discussions and debates over the years. One was about who was prettier Cybill Shepherd (Brian's choice) or Jaclyn Smith (mine). Another was the time I said I thought I was more like Mary Jo on Designing Women than Charlene as Brian said. One night when Brian was out of college and living in Nashville, I was watching the show. Bernice came into the office and announced to the women and Anthony, "I just saw that movie, I Danced with a Wolf! The phone rang, and I knew it would be Brian. It was, and he said, "Bernce! You're more like Bernice!" I have to admit that he has a point, even though I still maintain that basically my personality is more like Mary Jo's. It never ends! LOL

This photo is from my favorite episode - the one in which Gerald McRaney played a writer who composed the most wonderful descriptions of each of the women as only a Southerner could do it. I loved that show until Linda Bloodworth-Thompson screwed it up by causing problems with Delta Burke. It showed Southerners the way I know many of us are.



2:02:00 PM



 
Light Bulbs

This is interesting, and he makes a point about those CFLB's. What do you think?


2:00:00 PM



 
British Music

During the folk music revival in the sixties, I became interested in the Child Ballads which were collected by Francis J. Child in the late 19th century from England and Scotland. Joan Baez recorded many of them, and while reading about the songs, I wondered about them. I wish I'd had the internet then. Songs such as "Bonny Barbara Allen" and "The Maid of Fife" are examples of ballads that made their way to America. Child documented over 300 ballads.

Since I live in Tennessee which was settled by the English and Scots-Irish whose customs, food, and music were definitely influential, I've felt a kinship with the British. Most of my ancestors are English. Traditional Appalachain music had its roots in British ballads and became bluegrass music. That's the reason the Chieftains and American country/bluegrass/folk musicians communicate so well musically.

I was more into the Clancy Brothers and have many of their albums. Brendan loved them as a baby, and when he was barely talking would request certain songs for me to play on the CD. Since he's like me and doesn't necessarily use the correct titles but often a phrase from a song, I wouldn't know "Little Boy" was "Come Away, Joe" (excuse me, that's "Haul Away, Joe" - see what I mean?) even though I probably should have. He'd get upset with me and kept repeating "Little Boy! Little Boy!" until I found it on the CD. I bought him a DVD of a Clancy Brothers performance, and we'll sing "Wild Rover" together.

He likes the drinking songs! Or maybe that's partly my fault since I also sing "Show Me The Way To Go Home," "Mountain Dew," and "Away, Away with Rum" to and with him. We also sing "Tamborine Man," "Blowin' in the Wind," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Rehab," "Working on the Railroad," "Camptown Races," and all kinds of songs from various eras. Brian sings "Angel from Montgomery" and all kinds of other songs with him, and Melissa has many she sings and composes. Add all these to the songs on The Sound of Music, Hairspray, Singing in the Rain, and A Mighty Wind, and I'm not sure I've scratched the surface of Brendan's repertoire!

11:39:00 AM



Monday, July 21, 2008  
Brendan, Bluegrass, and Batman

I had a busy weekend. I met Brian in Bellevue to get Brendan for his overnight visit. Mother went with me, which helps so much. We enjoy him together, and she helps keep an eye on him. He is so quick and gets from one place to another extremely fast. I think he should run track.


Brendan's on a Chieftains kick now because of the DVD he's been watching about their concert at the Ryman in Nashville. They recorded Down the Old Plank Road in Nashville with various musicians, such as Emmylou Harris, John Haitt, Vince Gill, Allison Krauss, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, Jeff White, Tim O'Brien, Buddy and Julie Miller, Lyle Lovetty, Patty Griffin, the Del McCoury Band, Martina McBride, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

It's an excellent DVD. This is what was written about it on the BMI site:

The Chieftains revisit Nashville to record with popular country and bluegrass artists and it is a sequel to their successful album recorded in 1992, Another Country. This album examines the "Green grass" connection to American Bluegrass music. The album was nominated for two grammys in the categories of Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Country Collaboration with Earl Scruggs. The album was nominated for an IBMA (International Bluegrass Musicians Association) award for best Recorded Event of the Year. The tracks trace how a number of Irish tracks became American yet still have a thread of its Irish heritage running through the piece. It is a solid album for any Chieftains or bluegrass fan.
Of course Brendan knows every song, which artist sings each one, the instruments everyone plays, and has memorized the introductions to the songs and wants me to be Derek Bell, who introduced himself as Derek "Ding-Dong" O'Bell. He'll go into the introductions and songs and then ask me to say his name and wiggle my fingers the way Bell did when he was introduced. If I don't say something in exactly the tonation and words they used, he corrects me and has me do it again - and again and again. Brian said he does this the way Kevin Smith directs. Yes, that goes with Asperger's. Maybe Kevin Smith has it, too.

So Brendan sang and performed on the car ride to Dickson. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat, and he spoke to all the waitresses by name since he read them on their "bibs" as he called their aprons. Makes sense. Then he'd have a conversation with them and told one that she was good at bringing the food. Nothing like a compliment or positive reinforcement, as we say in the ed biz.
He played for a while on the porch and chatted with more people. We went to Mother's for a while where he played and performed some more. He didn't go to sleep Saturday night until 9:45 and then woke up around 4:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep. Neither did I. Short night - long morning!

We met Brian and Melissa at Green Hills Theater along with my friend Linda. Brian and Brendan went to Whole Foods and other places while Linda, Melissa, and I saw The Dark Knight, which was wonderful. Christian Bale is my favorite Batman and plays him equally well as Batman and Bruce Wayne. He's so handsome and hot, too! Of course, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were perfect in their roles, and the writing was excellent.
Then there was Heath Ledger's amazing portrayal of the Joker. All the praise about his performance is justified, and he probably will win an Oscar for it. His Joker is psychotic, intense, and terrifying. It was so sad watching him and knowing we will never see his talent again and that his daughter will never know him. It's tragic.

After the movie, we ate at a Vietnamese restaurant which was very good. I enjoyed the meal but especially the company. Melissa and I haven't had much time at all to visit and spend time with each other, so it was a treat to get to do that. We finished our day by going to McKay's and browsing through the stacks and buying a few things. We're going to plan more outings and find fun things to do.

I'll keep Brendan so they can see the movie together since Brian has been a major comic book aficianado for decades and even writes a blog about them. Check it out if you or someone you know is interested in comic books and graphic novels. Fortunately, he married someone who shares his interests. They are a perfect match and my role model for how to be a couple.

5:22:00 PM



Saturday, July 19, 2008  
Just Because

If there are one or more people on your friends list who make your world a better place just because they exist, and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the Internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

(Mike had this on his blog, so now it's on mine. There are quite a few of you who definitely make my world a much better place. Thanks for being there!)

3:13:00 AM



Friday, July 18, 2008  
Exploring Blogland

I decided to click "Next Blog" up there at the top and found some interesting places. Did you realize so many people all over the world have blogs on here? I wish I were multi-lingual, so I could read them.

Google/Blogger is making a ton of money. I'm not sure how, though, since the blogs are free, but somehow they do.

1. For example, what's this one all about? What language is it?

2. Isn't it beautiful here? But where? There was something about Kraków in the profile, so I'm guessing Poland.

3. Here's a blog in Portuguese for Tina. It's fancy.

4. I like his illustrations.

5. Someone is taking photos of Greek graffiti. It's everywhere! Apparently he is a photographer for National Geographic. This blog of his has many that are beautiful and so does this one. I saved these sites, so I can see more of his photographs. He has several blogs.

OK, enough of the tour. I looked at many and skimmed most of them.

4:48:00 PM



 
Project Runway

I don't know the designers well enough yet to decide who I like and want to win yet, but it was soooo good to have Project Runway back!

So You Think You Can Dance

Kherington and Gev are gone now. It's been interesting since they paired the dancers with different partners to see how they perform. My favorites are Katee and Josh or Will. I also like Courtney.

Useless Information

A pregnant goldfish is called a twit. Who knew?

Quote by Einstein

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.

2:10:00 PM



Thursday, July 17, 2008  
Charlie

I was worried about Charlie (Berry Blog) since his last email was Sunday evening. He mentioned that he was in so much pain that the only relief he could get was lying completely still. We're in touch every day, but I didn't think much about it Monday since he loves summer and being outside. His flowers are all blooming and beautiful, and he enjoys them so much. Well, when I got home yesterday, there was a message from Charlie on my phone. Thank goodness! He is in the hospital with excruciating pain, but they haven't found the cause. Their latest theory is that it's a muscle strain that can be treated with meds and physical therapy. I hope that's all it is. I was concerned and knew something was wrong or he'd have been in touch - especially after hearing about Mae.

I was going to call him if I hadn't heard anything when I got home and was so thankful for that message. I called him back and we talked a while. Get well, Charlie!

Update

I just talked to Charlie, who is still in the hospital. They finally diagnosed him with pancreatitis. They'd thought perhaps a kidney stone and other things but figured this out and have him on medication for it. It seemed to me that it couldn't have been a muscle strain for them to keep him in the hospital this long. It's miraculous enough that he got to stay this long the way insurance companies are. Maybe Medicare is better about that. I'll know before too long. Anyway, he sounded good and will be released tomorrow.

Pancreatitis can be serious and dangerous, so I'm glad they kept him in the hospital long enough to determine that's what it is and are treating it.

Charlie lives in Maine and retired from teaching last year. We've been good friends after meeting in the NEA section of AOL back in the early days. I think we've known each other for around 16 years or so. Several years ago I went to see him when I also visited friends in Andover, near Boston.

I'm glad he'll be back home to enjoy his flowers and the summer heat. He has friends and neighbors who will check on him. Be sure to leave him some comments here or on his blog!

3:30:00 PM



 
Chicken Little

I'm sort of at loose ends today. I have things I need to do but can't seem to focus on them. I slept well last night which was great since I didn't the night before. I'm going out to run errands and will get that done.

Yesterday went well. Mother, Butch, Janelle, Brian, and I went to eat after the funeral and felt good being together. I drove Mother there and back and went through downtown Nashville and Highway 70, since Mother likes the scenic route.

I welclomed back Project Runway last night and was happy to see that again. PR and Dancing with the Stars are my favorites of all those shows and the only two I really don't want to miss. I will have to see Shear Genius, So You Think You Can Dance, Nashville Star, and Design Star through until the end this season.

They've added a new category to the Emmys - Best Host of a Reality/Competitive Show. Heidi Klum and Tom Bergeron are nominated along with Howie Mandel, Ryan Seacrest, and Jeff Probst. I think Tom Bergeron does a great job on DWTS and would get my vote. Heidi really helps make Project Runway and is my second choice.

How are all of you? What's going on?

10:27:00 AM



Tuesday, July 15, 2008  
Visitation

Mother and I went to the funeral home for visitation this afternoon and evening. My cousins who are my age came early, and it was so good to see them. I was born in October, Donna in November, and Ellen in January and were thought of as a set by the other cousins. Some of those were there when we arrived - Sarah Ann and Celia, who are close to us, too.

Kathy came and spent the whole time there. It meant so much to me for her to be there. You know how that is, Beth. I cannot believe what a wonderful relationship we have and am thankful for it every day. Kathy and Brian talked a mile a minute to each other when he got there. She said she loved talking with him and could do it for hours. I'm thrilled about that, too. Brian knew about her since he was 14, and I had one of the sex talks with him. I was pointing out how once someone is pregnant, there are no good choices, and to prevent that from happening. Then I told him that he had a sister and how painful it was to give her up. It worked. He was always curious about her and hoped he would get to know her. Fortunately, she found me, and we are so close. She and Brian are, too. Wonderful, isn't it, Beth? :-)

Butch and Janelle, Andy, Angela, Carter, and Reese came and got to see Kathy, Brian, Melissa, and Brendan. Sally is holding up well and will get through this because that's what you have to do. Tomorrow will be much harder than today because it's the funeral. Losing Mae is almost as hard as it will be when it's Mother. I hope that is a long way off.

Thank you, Linda, for coming! It was good to see you, and I appreciate the plant.

Brendan asked me if he could wake Mae up. I wish he could.

10:55:00 PM



Monday, July 14, 2008  
Nashville Star

Thank goodness, the teenagers are gone! Laura & Sophie had the lowest votes and got called down for rolling their eyes last week when Jewel gave her critique. I was glad John Rich fussed at them about that. I hope Melissa Lawson wins. She and Gabe Garcia are the best contestants. Next week they perform orginal songs they wrote.

9:01:00 PM



 
Mae

Mother was the youngest of seven children with Aunt Sarah, Ellen's mother, the oldest by eighteen years. Mae was two years older than Mother, who just had her 88th birthday Saturday. Mae died this morning at 90 years old. They were extremely close, and our families did so many things together. Sally and I always felt that if anything happened to our parents that we had that special aunt and uncle who would take care of us. Mother and Mae grew up on a farm with the most wonderful parents/grandparents ever! Their older brothers and sisters were always there for them.

Mae and John were with us every Christmas all of my life, and when they had Sally, they all spent Christmas in Charlotte. That's how close we've always been. Sally is more like a sister than a cousin. Sally and Brian have always been close, too, and she's his godmother.

Mae's sense of humor brightened up any trip to their cabin on the river where we'd go several times a year. We called it "camp" and Daddy and John caught fish and we all swam and relaxed. I have so many wonderful memories of going there and of all the time I spent with Mae.

She was one of the top supervisors at the IRS regional office in Nashville and retired from there. Because of her, I worked there part-time one summer while I was in college, which helped so much with money for the next year. I could see first-hand how respected she was and what a good job she did. She was amazing in so many ways.

I can't describe how much Mae has always meant to me, and she meant even more to Mother. They loved each other unconditionally and could talk to each other about anything and everything. She will miss her so much. The world is less to me today without Mae in it. I miss her and love her and am so thankful she is my aunt.


Arrangements for Wilma Wright

Visitation from 2:00 until 7:00 Tuesday
Funeral at 2:00 Wednesday
Phillips Robinson Funeral Home
2707 Gallatin Pike
Nashville, TN

7:23:00 AM



Sunday, July 13, 2008  
Don't Ask, Don't Tell

60 Minutes did a follow-up piece tonight on gays in the military. You'd think this wouldn't be an issue now, but it still is. In the UK, they changed their policy and even provide married housing for gay partners. California Congressman Duncan Hunter, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said, "We're not the Brits. We're not the Europeans. We're not the Swedes." No kidding!

An Air Force captain who is a lesbian resigned, so she could live openly and is now a commercial airline pilot. She mentioned how much it cost to train her and others and what a waste of money and training it is when they can't serve.

The same things were said about black people and women before they were allowed to serve anywhere in the military. Maybe as younger generations take over, things will change. I hope so. We need to get past all this. One of the soldiers said they are the "Will & Grace generation" and don't think as much about it. Based on things I heard some students say, it's improved but not there yet. We have a long way to go. That being said, I think it would help their cause if some of the participants in gay pride parades didn't get into the flamboyant exhibitionism that should be done in private. This article in The Onion expresses what I'm saying.

Don't Get Sick

60 Minutes also re-aired the piece about a Knoxville doctor (English by birth) who runs a free clinic for people who are the working poor with no health insurance or are under-insured with catastrophic insurance with huge deductibles. This doctor receives no salary and lives in an abandoned school house. People come from miles away to receive treatment. Volunteers help and supplies are donated. Since it first aired, $2 million have been donated to this program. No one should be without healthcare.

7:00:00 PM



 
Justice

On Word on Words this morning, John Seigenthaler's guest was the Reverend Joseph Ingle's book Last Rights. This is the description/review on Amazon about his book:

Reverend Joseph Ingle’s moving book argues eloquently and passionately against the death penalty, serving as an enduring testament to the inmates who have touched his life. Ingle, a counselor to prisoners on Death Row since 1974, chronicles his experiences working with 12 condemned men and one condemned woman each of whom has since been executed. For more than three decades, he has spread his anti-death penalty message across the country, doggedly referring to what the state calls “execution” as “killing.” A man of simple faith, Ingle refuses to see these inmates as anything less than human beings.

With a chapter devoted to each of the inmates, Ingle memorializes them without attempting to cleanse the record of their crimes. Instead, he emphasizes the necessity of viewing them as individuals: “The public needs to see them for who they were and how their love enriched my life,” Ingle writes. “To their memories and for those who loved them, I offer their stories to the world.” The powerful original foreword by the late William Styron is now preceded by a new introduction by M*A*S*H* star, turned-death-penalty-abolitionist, Mike Farrell.
Ingle spoke about one man with an IQ of 60 who didn't understand the concept of death and couldn't understand what they were doing to him when they prepared him to be electrocuted. He asked if after the execution he could order anything he wanted for breakfast the next morning. He asked what it meant to die and was told he would be with his grandmother who had passed on. That brought a smile to his face.

There was a time I was undecided about the death penalty. Now I'm against it. Since we don't have a perfect judicial system, there is no way this needs to be done. Innocent people have been put to death and mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed people have been executed. Most are poor. Other industrialized countries have abolished it. Yet here we are lagging behind as always, the way we do with healthcare. How did we get this way? Europeans and Canadians think we are barbaric. One thing is that our administration is motivated by greed and governs through fear. W had a record number of executions by the death penalty when he was governor of Texas. Here's a chart about capital punishment by state.




Use of the death penalty around the world (as of Sep. 2007).

Blue - Abolished for all offenses (92)

Lime Green - Abolished for all offenses except under special circumstances (10)

Orange - Retains, though not used for at least 10 years (32)

Purple - Retains death penalty (64)*

*Note that, while laws vary between U.S. states, it is considered retentionist because the federal death penalty is still in active use.

2:49:00 PM



 
Pouty A-Rod

I couldn't help it. I stole this photo from David Dust's blog. He thought it was mean that the Toronto Blue Jay fans heckled A-Rod about Madonna, but I think it's funny. I've never been a Madonna fan and don't like her smug, entitled, bossy attitude. Why some of these men get involved with her is a mystery to me.



Guess I'm on David's bad list now.

2:38:00 PM



Friday, July 11, 2008  
Zumba, the Day After

For those of you who asked, zumba is another aerobic exercise that combines dancing and other movement. It's supposed to be done for an hour, but I can't last that long. I hope to eventually if my knees hold up. I've been OK today - not sore. My knees have noticed that I did something, but I hope they'll learn to adjust. All this was so much easier 20+ years ago! Oh well, I need to do what I can to keep myself verticle and need my bones and muscles to be able to hold me up.

Jackie does zumba at her gym in Pittsburgh and said it's a cult. They have classes at my gym (yes, my gym - I make montly contributions to it), but they are more advanced, and I can barely do the beginner class now. That's what the Gold means in Zumba Gold.

I found a video on YouTube about it. I think all of you should find a zumba class and jump right in! Then we can be in a cult together and compare notes.

Here's a report on the Today Show about it:



Here is one for you, David. Thought you might like the instructor. There might be Papis in the class and/or teaching it! Your gym probably has a class. Check it out!


8:50:00 PM



Thursday, July 10, 2008  
Zumba

Because I went to my first Zumba Gold class for beginners, I'm a good tired tonight. Vicki did a good job teaching it and leading the group at Hope's house. Paige and I had to rest often. It's fun and hard because it lasts so long. Since I've barely moved for over five years, I had to soak in epsom salts, take Ionic Fizz and glucosamine, and put linament with emu oil on my knees and hips. I do think when I keep on with this, I'll be able to do more and more and have the use of my body again. Right now my activity level is just a few steps above coma. We're going back next week and will try again!

9:07:00 PM



Wednesday, July 09, 2008  
Grizzly Charlie

Did any of you see Primetime: The Outsiders last night about Charlie Vandergaw in Alaska? He's seventy years old and a retired high school science teacher in Anchorage who goes to a cabin he built in the wilderness and lives with bears six months a year. He feeds them which is illegal and has befriended black bears and grizzlies. Here's a link to the story. Here's a review on someone's blog I've never read before and found interesting.

They mentioned Timothy Treadwell who is the guy who was killed by grizzlies when he and his girlfriend were in their tent. Vandergaw said that could happen to him but that Treadwell was in the bear's feeding path and got careless and maybe over-confident.


I hope things go well for this guy. Biologists and animal trainers were interviewed who gave him credit but expressed concern, too. I hope he gets to leave by his own choice and that the bears won't be too comfortable with people they need to fear. I also realize from living with a cat that sometimes even they will turn on you and attack if you pet them wrong or too long. The effects from a cat attack certainly don't compare with grizzlies, the most dangerous animals on the planet who weigh a ton. So far, so good, and I hope it stays that way.

3:37:00 PM



 
Too Much Reality

In typical TV mentality, if one of something works, let's do many of them! There are way too many competitions that are in the same format. I enjoy Dancing with the Stars and thought I'd try some others that aren't on Bravo. A little of these goes a long way.

On Bravo, the judges make the decisions about who stays and who goes. Their competitions are based on ability and not popularity with the audience who does not get to vote. We watch, blog, comment, and sometimes complain. I started watching Project Runway from the first season and was hooked. I also watch Top Chef and enjoy that one and then added Shear Genius and Top Design, which are OK but no comparison with Project Runway. Tim Gunn and the designers make that show, and the judges and Heidi Klum are a good mix and fun to watch. So that was my standard. The others I could miss except for Top Chef without a problem.

project runway


DWTS lets the judges votes count half which helps. That way it isn't based totally on the viewers' opinions but does let us get involved. So You Think You Can Dance has viewer votes but leaves the final decision each week to the judges. That might happen with some others, too.

The format for American Idol and it's copycats (for example, America's Got Talent) is for us to watch interminable auditions from the ridiculous to the talented. Then we finally get a group to compete. The judges comment on them and try to sway the viewers who then vote.

I've reached my saturation point for these shows after checking out some that friends watch and blog about. I'm going to have to stick to the ones I like and enjoy the fictional shows on my schedule, too. I've had too much of some of it, so if I watch again, I'll have to wait until the end and watch the best competitors. Parading all these people on stage and putting me through the agony is more than I can stand. I'll check in later if at all. I never watched American Idol except for the last few weeks a couple of times. I'm OK not knowing who they are.

Some of these I wonder who will win now and plan to continue, such as Nashville Star, Design Star, and So You Think You Can Dance. Anyway, the Olympics will be here before I know it and that will take all my attention. Project Runway begins next week along with Generation Kill. I have to do something else besides watch TV, read, and blog while I'm at home. I don't want to but need to.

End of rant. LOL

And I can't wait until Project Runway next week!!!

1:06:00 PM



Tuesday, July 08, 2008  
The Dust Bowl

I started a war on David's blog by typing Roll Tide. I wasn't cheering for Alabama but offering support to a frequent commenter on David's blog, Mike, who is a former Alabama football player. David was upset because he went to Penn State and his Nittany Lions roared and raged. One thing lead to another and then Mike linked to a hateful cheer from Bama fans against Tennessee. The war began!

The amusing part of all this is that I'm not that much of a football fan, which is blasphemy in the South, especially coming from the daughter of Southern royalty. Yes, my father was a football jock, and my mother was a beauty queen. See what I mean? However, I inherited my father's looks and my mother's athletic ability, so I had to develop my own talents and abilities as well as a sense of humor. It worked out.

I grew up going to all the football games. For those of you who don't know, my family was like those 50's TV sitcom families - wholesome, functional, and healthy. We'd cook out on Friday nights often with friends from school invited over, and then go to the ballgames, home and away. It was more of a social event for me than any understanding of and love for the game. I don't like to miss out on much. I attended all kinds of games, track meets, and wrestling matches when I taught high school in support of students and for the social aspects. My son was in the band, so I went to all kinds of parades and football games then, too. I also went to the plays and band and choir concerts.

As for being a Vols fan, I was when I went there but even before graduation haven't followed their games. Now I barely know who the coach is and just about none of the players. Pat Summit is a different story, and I've been proud of her for a really long time. My brother is a big UT fan and so is my son-in-law. My nephew Andy played baseball and was a good pitcher. He's for Alabama and even named his dog Bama. His sister Amy is a Kentucky fan, so it's interesting in their house. My son and his wife graduated from Sewanee, the University of the South, which barely has a football team but good parties and an excellent liberal arts education.

I've always loved to read, and as a young girl, I played with dolls and paperdolls. All of us kids in the neighborhood always played outside and were active, so I had a balanced life. (unlike now when I have to force myself to go to the gym) I was in plays in high school and college and got a degree in English and history. I can discuss movies with the best of them and as we all know, I watch way too much TV. I'm not sure where this paragraph is going, so I'll just end it.

So even though I started the war, my heart wasn't in it. But I'm such a smartass that it's fun to keep things stirred up. For David, I'll just say that Penn State is the only team in the Big 10 Conference I could be for. And as for Mike ... War Eagles!! And GO VOLS!

Vols


8:15:00 PM



 
Generation Kill

Hey, guys! The writer, producer, and military adviser (remember Erik?) are making the rounds promoting the series on HBO. Last night they were on Hardball with Chris Matthews. So start looking for them. Tina and I had lunch with the ones I just mentioned when we attended the screenwriting conference and watched a panel discussion. They've updated the website for Generation Kill with more information. It premieres this Sunday, July 13.

1:14:00 PM



Monday, July 07, 2008  
Nashville Star

Tonight on Nashville Star, Tommy Stanley and Melissa Lawson were called out of the group. Sailor Tommy was eliminated immediately and will return to his ship. One more will join him. Melissa will continue because she got the most votes. She's lost 70 pounds and is working out to lose more. She sang Loggins and Messina's "Danny's Song" really well. I'm so glad she's safe and wondered the same thing Jewel asked her about the commitment and sacrifices she'll have to make since she has a family (5 young sons). She said they'd been planning and working toward this. I wonder if she realizes how much she'll be away from her family if she gets a recording contract and tours. It's going to be hard.

The judges told Sophie & Laura that they are too young and need to go home and try again later. They don't think they are ready for what this business can do to people, and I think they are right.

Gabe Garcia was great! I really like him. Jewel mentors him and keeps pushing him to be more personable and flirt with the audience. He did that tonight and sang a Keith Urban song "Somebody Like You" really well. I don't know almost any Keith Urban songs but am happy about his and Nicole Kidman's baby daughter.

Shawn Mayer fired John Rich as her mentor and went with Jeffrey. Her song was "The First Cut is the Deepest" which she did well enough. Coffey sang "Proud Mary" and did better.

Ashlee Hewitt sang "Take the Money and Run" and was barefoot. She wasn't too comfortable singing that song but did a good job. I like her and hope she sticks around.

Pearl Heart sang "Ain't Going Down till the Sun Comes Up" which I'm not familiar with. I know the rock songs but not so many of the country ones. They said this one was recorded by Garth Brooks. Mostly I know "Friends in Low Places" by him. Jewel said they out performed, out practiced, and outworked Laura & Sophie. I liked this performance better than any they've done before, and they have had some good ones.

The other eliminated performer is Pearl Heart. The judges said they couldn't believe Pearl Heart was in the bottom two instead of Sophie & Laura. Jeffrey told them they know where his studio is and where to find him and that they'd be talking. So they have a chance even if not on this show.

Sophie & Laura should go next and then probably Shawn Mayer. The final two should be Melissa and Gabe.

What do you think, Cindy? I don't think anyone else who reads my blog watches this show, but if you do and want to comment, please feel free to do so!

8:01:00 PM



 
Strange Monday

Well, what an odd day this turned out to be. Tina couldn't go to see Sex & the City because she wasn't feeling good, so Linda and I decided to meet at the Bellevue 12 instead of Green Hills. We got there early, got our water, settled into our seats, and talked a while. The movie was supposed to start at 1:00, and I noticed there were no previews. They started them but with no sound and sort of messed up. At 1:15 I asked Linda wonder why they hadn't started the movie yet. About ten minutes later, the manager came out to let us know they couldn't show the movie because the sound wasn't working and gave us all readmission tickets. There weren't that many of us there, and we were all disappointed. So that was that. I still haven't seen it and have watched episodes of the series several times. I hope I get to see it before it leaves the theaters. We made plans to try again, so maybe this time Tina can go, too.

6:09:00 PM



 
Sports

I watched some of Wimbledon and the Olympic trials but haven't been home enough to see all I wanted to. I missed the women's finals but found out Venus won in the Williams sisters match. Sally had the men's finals on, which was exciting and close. It was great to see Bjorn Borg again and interesting to learn that it's been 25 years since he's been there as a spectator. Watching him play tennis was a highlight. When John McEnroe beat him and ended his 5-win streak was a sad day in tennis for many of us. Borg always had so much class and restraint. Federer does, too. He and Nadal played the most exciting and best game McEnroe said he'd ever seen.

How about Dara Torres! Her gold medal at 17 and qualifying for her 5th Olympics at 41! I wonder how it feels to be the best in the world at what you do? These athletes are amazing!

12:01:00 AM



Sunday, July 06, 2008  
Busy!

I worked at my very part-time job Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday and Saturday. I work at a vitamin & supplement store owned by a reflexologist and his wife now and then. I fill in sometimes when Zela needs some time off and about three times a year for weekends. They like for me to be there when they go out of town. In fact, when I first retired, I worked in June in a summer program for students who were making up courses they'd failed. My last day was Wednesday, and I worked Thursday through Saturday at Feet & More. I'd been going to Jim for reflexology for years, so when they asked what I was planning to do when I retired and I answered that I'd probably get a part-time job, they made me an offer. What I like to do is sell things to people who know what they want. I've learned quite a bit about what various supplements do but don't like to practice medicine and pharmacy without a license. Jim is an encyclopedia, but I'm a post-it note.

When I got there Saturday morning, twelve insects were lying on their backs on the floor. I looked online and can't find one that looks just like these but think they are some kind of beetle (maybe a tiger beetle). All but two of them were dead and those were not quite dead. I swept them out the door. They had shiny green bodies but weren't June bugs.

Mother and I went to eat Friday and did some running around. Then today we went to Murfreesboro to see my cousin Sally. We all went to the nursing home to visit Mae (Mother's 90 year old sister who is two years older than Mother). She was having a sleepy day and really didn't know we were there. We'll go again and hope she has a day like Sally said she had yesterday. The place is impressive - so clean, no nursing home smell at all and no smell at all really. The staff is good, and we all feel so good about her being there.

We stopped at a mall on our way home and bought some things on sale. They are now phasing out Hickory Hollow Mall, which disturbs me. I hate this. What happens to dead malls?

I'm finally going to see Sex and the City tomorrow.

11:43:00 PM



Friday, July 04, 2008  
Olympics
Olympics Anyone else besides me looking forward to the Olympics? I LOVE the Olympics, especially the stories about the athletes from all over the world. It's inspiring to see the best of the best competing in all those sports and knowing what sacrifices they've made to get there.

12:20:00 AM



Wednesday, July 02, 2008  
If Only We'd Known ;-)

Who knew graham crackers could do so much! This article explains the claim that graham crackers were named for a man who believed unhealthy diet led to sexual excess.

The Reverend Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister who became a social reformer and a ferocious advocate of healthful living, is the man who put the 'graham' into the treat we now know and love as graham crackers. Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) believed physical lust was harmful to the body and caused such dire maladies in the sexually overheated as pulmonary consumption, spinal diseases, epilepsy, and insanity, as well as such lesser ailments as headaches and indigestion. He also thought too much lust could result in the early death of offspring, who would have been conceived from weakened stock.

Graham believed a strict vegetarian diet would aid in suppressing carnal urges; to this end, he advocated a regimen devoid of meat and rich in fiber as a way of combating rampant desire. His famed "Graham bread" was fashioned from the coarsely ground wheat flour he espoused and came to bear his name.

The Reverend Sylvester Graham, an eccentric Presbyterian minister from Connecticut, promoted a strict, abstemious diet that won him countless converts during America's health craze of the 1820s and 1830s. Convinced that eating meat and fat leads to sinful sexual excess, the good reverend urged total vegetarianism. He also warned that mustard and ketchup cause insanity, urged followers to drink only water, and recommended sleeping with one's windows open regardless of the weather. More reasonably, he touted the merits of a high-fiber diet and promoted the use of homemade unsifted wheat flour instead of refined white flour.

Although Graham had his adherents during his lifetime, he was mostly regarded as a bit of a nut. Still, there were those who followed his recommendations and happily incarcerated themselves in "Graham boarding houses" in New York and Boston as part of the health craze he inspired. A high-fiber vegetarian diet wasn't the only thing he pushed; he was also strongly against the use of tobacco or alcohol and advocated fresh air, exercise, and a good night's sleep, all excellent components of a healthy lifestyle.

Who actually produced the first 'graham crackers' — so named because they were made of the unsifted wheat flour that Sylvester Graham promoted — is the subject of dispute. Some sources assert Graham himself invented the snack in 1829; others claim the graham cracker did not come into being until 1882, thirty-one years after Graham's death. (The latter date appears to be based on the year recipes for graham crackers started appearing in cookbooks.)

Many bakers tried to market the crackers, but it wasn't until 1898 that the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) made any real inroads into the market with their Nabisco Graham Crackers product. Nabisco achieved even greater success with their Honey Maid line, introduced in 1925, which boosted the original graham flavor through the addition of honey.

Today's graham crackers are made with bleached white flour, a deviation that would have set Sylvester Graham to spinning in his grave — he regarded refined flour as one of the world's great dietary evils.

Guess he'd really pitch a fit about s'mores! Smores

6:24:00 PM



Tuesday, July 01, 2008  
Words

New catch phrases and words enter our vocabularies, and then we hear them over and over. The latest one I've noticed is brand - as in a political candidate's brand. It is used in the context of products and how they are advertised only about people. I'm already tired of hearing it.

I like and use catch phrases that become inside jokes and are shorthand when talking to friends.

What words, expressions, catch phrases do you like or hate?

11:28:00 PM



 
Best Pralines Ever!


This place has the best pralines and other sinful candies I've ever had. I discovered it while walking down the sidewalk on Market Street in Charleston, SC, where we were tempted by the smells and samples of fresh, warm pralines. I'm thinking about all this because they sent me an email of specials, and I've decided to lose weight. That always makes me hungry for what I shouldn't eat.

My favorites are the glazed pecans, original and chocolate pralines, and bear claws. What are your favorite indulgences?

8:46:00 PM



 
Nashville Star

Well, I cried most of the way through Nashville Star because they brought in the families of the competitors, so they could spend some time together. It was good to see their families, and of course I cried when they hugged and were so happy to see each other. Then they talked to the families. Melissa's husband has been taking care of their five children and supporting her dream. She's a good singer, and her husband deserves father and husband of the year! I also like Gabe Garcia. His dad died in October, and his mother, grandmother, and sister's family were there. Gabe should probably win this since he's authentically country and is relaxing and coming into his own as a performer. I hope he does, and I hope Melissa stays in until the final two. I'd like for either of them to win.

The judges made a good point about Coffey and Tommy sing pop more than country. These are tough judges who work with and mentor the contestants, but they are right. As they tell the singers, it's going to be tougher out there with audiences, record producers, radio stations, and all.

Alyson and Laura & Sophie were in the bottom two, and Alyson was sent home. John Rich said what I've been thinking about Laura & Sophie in that they are high school students who don't need to be in the business yet. He said the road and performing could mess them up and that other performers their age would clean the stage with them. He said they have star potential but it would be the worst thing for it to happen to them right now.

I'm ready for it to be Melissa, Gabe, Ashlee, Pearl Heart, and Shawn and for the others to be eliminated. We'll see.

12:56:00 PM



Monday, June 30, 2008  
Weekend

Brendan and I had a good time this weekend. We didn't make it to the ballgame since they lost their game last night. Mother, Brendan, and I met Kathy and Kelsey at Opry Mills. That is a shopping mall that replaced Opryland. Don't get me started about how I feel about that. Opryland was a big tourist attraction, and Nashville has lost money because it's gone. It was beautifully landscaped with flowers and foliage. There were rides and other fun things, but what was so great were the shows with singing, dancing, and impersonations. Some careers began there. It was a great family place to go and so much fun. But NO! Gaylord swarmed into Nashville and dismantled and destroyed Opryland, sold The Nashville Network, and did other crappy things I won't go into here. So now it's a shopping mall, and don't we just need more and more of those?

We had a good visit. For a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with how they get along and like each other (because they do), Kathy's family has never seen Brendan and haven't seen Brian and Melissa since she was pregnant with him. They've all seen pictures and have talked on the phone some but nothing in person. I was glad for them to see each other today. When he's at my house, Brendan always gets this photo taken about five years ago and names all of them. So today he looked at the 15 year old Kelsey and then at me and asked, "Did Kelsey turn into a woman?" She loved it, so we all got some mileage out of that. He just loved them and listened to Kelsey when she told him to do and not to do things. It was helpful for me to have reinforcements, and we had a good time.

12:17:00 AM



 
Design Star

Well, Very Gay Michael went home to his mama. It was kind of sad in a way and karma in other ways. He was so snarky about Tracee's room by telling her he loved it and making fun of her behind her back. He was being a prissy little snot and then the horrible realization fell upon him that he would probably be going home. He cried all the way through the bottom three comments and then broke down when he heard the death knell for his aspirations. He said he didn't want to disappoint his mother and that the wanted and needed her. Poor baby. His wasn't the worst room.

Tracee was also snarky and maintained her bravado about winning until the judges told her how they felt about her room. I thought it was the worst one but did at least suggest the destination country while some gave no hint at all. Thank goodness Matt wasn't sent home! I like him, but his room wasn't what he'd visualized and planned it to be.

All in all, none of them did very well. This is an odd group without as much talent as last season's designers did. I didn't see Season One. My faves are Mikey V, Trish, and Matt. I'd like for Mikey V to win and would watch his show. (and I know David would)

12:02:00 AM



Friday, June 27, 2008  
Geek Convention and Softball Tournament

Brendan will be staying with me this weekend while Brian and Melissa are involved with Hypericon. Brian is one of the organizers of it, and Melissa shows her art and is often on panels. I have several prints of her work and just love them. I'll meet Melissa and get him mid-day tomorrow and keep him until Sunday evening. He's charming and fun and also exhausting. My energy level doesn't hold up very well with five year olds.

My granddaughter Kelsey is playing in a softball tournament in Hendersonville this weekend. I'm going to try to get over there and spend some time with her and Kathy if it doesn't rain. I'll have Brendan, so that will make things more interesting for sure. Maybe everything will work out. I hope so.

Hope all of you have good weekends! Think about me and send me energy!

12:13:00 AM



Thursday, June 26, 2008  
Can You See Me Now?

I love this! I don't like to overdo the videos but had to post this one. I laugh every time I see it and hope it's an omen.


7:09:00 PM



Wednesday, June 25, 2008  
Shear Genius

Well, it happened again! The one black contestant was eliminated first. In this case, Oshun had his first and final cut on Bravo's Shear Genius. The guy from NC went home from HGTV's Design Star. Can you think of other shows where this is how it went?

11:28:00 PM



 
Rainbow

Ell posted this video on her blog some time ago about popular Hawaiian performer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole who died much too young. She and her family go to Hawaii often on vacations, and she's seen him perform several times. If you visit her blog, notice how well she writes. I wish she'd finish some of the pieces and get published! She's really good!

Some of us discussed this song on Dan's blog about gay pride.



And this is from Tim Russert's memorial service.


9:19:00 PM



Tuesday, June 24, 2008  
Nashville Star

I'm beginning to have favorites now. Gabe, Melissa, Shawn, Ashlee, Pearl Heart, Alyson, and Coffey are in that order mostly. Handsome model Justin was eliminated last night, and Gabe Garcia had the most votes. I like him. He reminds me of a Hispanic George Strait.


Billy Ray Cyrus is host. Jewel is one of the judges, and I really like her. I've enjoyed her singing a long time, and she's thoughtful, supportive, and helpful with the contestants. John Rich is the Simon Cowell of this show but is usually right. Jeffrey Steele, the songwriter judge, is tough but fair and tells them what he thinks. I'm caught up in this show now even though I think the contestants were better in Can You Duet. These are improving, though, thank goodness.


Last night was interesting since they sang pop songs they had to make sound country. Melissa did a great job with "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper. Gabe sang "Livin' la Vida Loca" if you can imagine and made it his. Those were my favorites, but the others sang a wide range of songs associated with various pop performers.

12:14:00 PM



 
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