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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.

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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


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Friday, February 28, 2003  

I've been checking the searches that brought some people to my blog, and it's interesting to see the combinations. All I have to do to find this out is click on the number of visitors over there on the left and on the Sputnik-type icon and find out all kinds of information. The BAFTA comments I made caused Google, Yahoo, etc to list my blog entry on there. At first it freaked me out that I was searchable. What's really strange are some of the combinations people use for searches that led them to mine. Of course, I got a lot of them looking for the poem on here by Roethke. Then there are the horse searches. And the Roxy Theater in Dickson. They really need a website with the movie listings since now I know that they aren't listed online anywhere. Sometimes I click the searches to see what else is listed and how far down the list my blog is. So far no hits for possums.

1:28:00 PM

Thursday, February 27, 2003  
Map Assistance

When you click RESET or DOTS, those cartoon characters become dots. Then it's easier to post. Also easier when you click ZOOM. You can also click LIST and see all the messages at once. Thanks to those of you who put yourselves on the map! I couldn't stand to be left out and added myself to it again. You can read them all on LIST. Brian has been edged out, but we know he's there. It's unavoidable, so post away!!

3:36:00 PM

Playing 'Possum

Last night there was a noise outside. Being the vigilant, territorial watchcat that she is, Brigit leapt from the couch, raced to the storm door leading to the patio, and investigated. I looked out the door and saw an opossum sniffing around the door. When he saw me, he waddled away a bit. I opened the door as he stopped, turned, and stared at me. S/he (to be politically correct) apparently didn't feel threatened or scared, which is good since I wasn't sure whether I did or not, so we just checked each other out. He moved on, and I closed the door since I wanted to keep Columbo and Brigit inside, so they wouldn't confront him or whatever they might do. Possums, as we call them here, are strange looking, aren't they? This is the first one I've seen this close. Possums are odd little marsupials and don't have enough fur and those tails are weird, too. Their noses are really creepy. He didn't seem to bother anything, but it made me feel funny knowing there are so many animals lurking around that I wasn't aware of here in the city limits. My yard and trees are filled with rabbits and squirrels. I read where they like swamps and wet areas - so that explains it. This winter monsoon we're having brought him closer to the house.

2:33:00 PM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003  

The map is working again but it lost all the posts on it. :-( I heard from them, and they said it needed to be upgraded or something. Anyway, please sign up again if you can remember what you wrote the first time. I appreciate it very much!

If you zoom on the map and make it bigger, it's easier to put your dot or character in the place. Click RESET. Then ZOOM. Then POST. There will be a push pin type thing. There will be dots to help pinpoint it.

I put another brand on Around the Bend if you'd like to sign both of them - or your choice. Thanks!!

2:56:00 PM


Brian and Melissa invited me to go with them to their Lamaze class Monday night. Those of you with grown children know how much this means. Brian said they wished Paula could have stayed long enough to go with them when she was here President's Day weekend to help them fix up the baby's room. Then Brian said he thought, "Hey! I have a mother too! She might like to go." I feel like such a mother-in-law sometime. LOL They even said I could go next week, too. Having me in a class with them is at peril since they have both had the experience. Melissa and I went together to the class conducted by ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) when we worked at Peaceful Planet, a vegan restaurant, before they started serving wine there. Servers have to have cards that show they had the training. It was really interesting, but Melissa still says I got her in trouble in the class. She was assistant manager and trained me. It was cafeteria style, so we weighed the food and operated the cash register and such as that. Brian had it worse since we took the screenwriting class together which lasted an entire semester. It's only right he should have had a worse experience since I'm his mother. I behaved during this one and will get to go again.

The class was so helpful. Some of you probably went the Lamaze route, but this was my first experience with a class. The couples were really neat. I was impressed with them and can't help feel that guys who are this involved and committed and are there for the birth will be better fathers. There have been so many positive changes since our generation had our babies. What a wonderful, healthy beginning for Brendan. I'm glad Melissa knows more about what to expect, too, and is prepared for it. They are having the baby at Summit which is relarively new, clean, easy to get into, and has a good feeling about it. I was overcome with so many emotions and am so proud of them and happy about their becoming parents. I can't talk about it without gushing and will spare you that, but it's impossible to ever imagine loving anyone as much as you do your children - until you have grandchildren.

2:20:00 PM

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  
Cat Scan

Based on the way Brigit the blonde cat weather barometer is acting, it might snow again. Columbo doesn't change much or perhaps it's so subtle that it's hard to tell.

3:34:00 PM


The map isn't working now for some reason. I informed them about it and hope it is back soon. For some reason, I don't exist when I try to log in. Grrrrr!! Blame Canada! Everybody sing! Wonder if they are related to Haloscan?

1:40:00 PM

Monday, February 24, 2003  
New Feature

Please put yourself on the map! I added a guest map over there on the left. Please let me know where you are! Feel free to answer or not answer any of the spaces you feel comfortable with. Thanks!

Sorry about the pop-ups that come with it. I didn't know ... but the map is fun!

1:56:00 PM

Bobbing for Trout

Some people really know how to have fun! Check this out and a better one.

12:57:00 PM

Sunday, February 23, 2003  

I watched the British Film Awards on BBC America, which I really enjoyed. Stephen Fry hosted it and was of course so funny. Meryl Streep read Charlie Kaufman's acceptance speech she said he faxed over. It was quirky as would be expected for the screenwriter of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Being John Malkovich, and Adaptation. This makes me hope he wins the Oscar for this because of the acceptance speech he could make. She tripped over part of it and read, "I want to spank ..... uh, (embarassed laughter, hand over face) um, THANK SPIKE Jonze." Fry remarked that it was good she didn't want to thank William Jones. All this strenghtens my wish for a British man of my very own. I love the humor and the way with words many of them have. Surely this could happen - I only want one of them. I'm not greedy. Besides, in general they seem less shallow than too many American men and don't go as much for the anorexics with lots of cosmetic surgery who look like 10-year-old boys in drag. I'm thinking about Lara Flynn Boyle and Calista Flockhart here, for two. Of course, I could be wrong.

BAFTA was shown without commercial breaks by BMW, which made it even better. I will go out and buy a BMW or two just to show my gratitude. It will be rerun Thursday night. Must mention the odd leopard-patterned seats in the auditorium where it was held. Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor, Nicole Kidman got Best Actress, The Pianist Best Film, and a complete list of winners here.

Producer Saul Zaentz was honored with the highest award, a fellowship, and said - "I was and still am a member of the majority of American voters who were not realized in the last Presidential election, and there is no doubt of outright criminality at the highest level by the court-declared winners. We're now seeing in America the possibilities of an absolute government by the few for the betterment of the few. This is to be reached in any manner. But as one of that great majority that believes and knows, America as America is not the person or the politician or political party who happens to be in office for a stated period of time. In the words of Martin Luther King, 'We shall overcome.' And we will." (well, MLK said and sang them but didn't write the song, not that I'm quibbling ... instead I'm working on my defense when the Thought Police swoop down on me since it's possible the Sedition Act has been repealed)

I taped it which enabled me to transcribe this part of his acceptance speech. He prefaced it by saying this is the part that would be edited, but it wasn't. The show didn't have closed captioning unfortunately. I've been clicking that on now and then to be sure I catch all that's being said on some shows such as West Wing which has such quick dialogue. I always tape it, mostly because someone invariably calls me during it (and you know who you are) and I don't want to miss all that's going on, and it's a very "busy" show. I don't use the cc function often because I start reading them as if they are subtitles for a language I understand. Even I find that weird.

Dave Barry summed up my feelings about the Grammys in his blog today. I'm old and know it best during the MTV Awards. I do like Norah Jones, the Dixie Chicks singing the Stevie Nicks song, Sheryl Crow, and some others I'll save mentioning for another time - mostly because I can't remember them now. Harvey Fierstein was dressed like Dame Edna and then I remembered he plays the mother in Hairspray - Devine's role. He presented with Rod Stewart who has become Barry Manilow. Earl and I went to see Rod Stewart in concert when he was in Nashville and enjoyed it. Someone gave away four tickets, so all we had to do was meet her and pick them up. I sold two of them to a scalper which paid for the gas and parking, so I broke even. I tried to trade them all in for better seats but my negotiating skills aren't that good. We tried to find other people to go with us, but it was too short notice since I heard about them that morning. I've repaid that favor to others and have given away tickets I couldn't use.

8:12:00 PM

Earl's Photos

Check out Earl's photos and press release on Around the Bend (link to the left). Others are on his daughter Margaret's website also linked over there in the blue column. She has a computer business and is a good photographer herself. Interesting website.

I've mentioned that Earl and I are friends and like siblings. Our mutual friend Ann Sensing was his Sunday School teacher in Clinton, KY. Her husband Erl was editor of The Free Press and wrote a column "Through a Glass Darkly" I wish had been published in a book. They were that good. Ann and Erl were incredible people and so much fun to be around. Their son David was killed by a drunk driver when he was in medical school in Memphis in 1973. Erl never recovered from that grief and died a few years later. Somehow Ann went on and stayed in the converted church they bought when the Methodist congregations merged and built a new church. Fagan's Chapel where she lived was my family church. My grandfather helped build it. He and my grandmother were fixtures there as were their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who stayed in Charlotte. I went to MYF, taught the adult Sunday School class on the day the teenagers took over the duties and continued to teach it once a month for quite a while since for some reason they asked me to (this was the oldest adult class and not the "young adult class" my parents were in), and got married in this church. Ann and Erl renovated it, and she remained there with all her treasures until she died a few years ago. Her brother and his wife moved from California into it and live there now.

Ann was active, social, and funny. She cared about people and was entertaining. Paige and I made a sign for her first campaign to the County Commission since she decided she needed one. (surely she had more than one) Mother and I even campaigned for her which isn't something we did actively except for Daddy when he was a Commissioner. She won and was an intelligent representative who enjoyed what she did. We had so many good times at TPAC seeing plays, exploring various restaurants, visiting each other and carrying on about everything over a glass of wine, and talking on the phone. I loved our conversations and miss her so much. We used to fantasize about how her son David could have been my second husband and how Brian would have fit right in. He was about six years younger than I, but I told her I probably needed the head start since he was so intelligent, witty, and sharp just like his parents. Those were wistful conversations.

Earl knew her, Erl, and David when he was growing up and stayed in touch with her. When I got a computer and told Ann how much I liked email, she told me there was someone I needed to meet. Then she told me about Earl (who is called Butch in his hometown) and said our sense of humor was so much alike but that only our minds needed to meet. As usual, she was right. Earl's and my minds have gotten along really well. Nothing romantic needed to happen since we both decided we were too old for each other. That's our joke about it anyway. His daughter Amanda and I have formed a committe to keep him from traumatizing us with another wife like that last one in his third marriage! We'll never get over it! He laughs and says we tell him the same things and drive alike too. She's getting married this spring in Florida. I've been invited to go with Earl and his father. This means I'll help drive or we'll go on Amtrack so he doesn't have to white-knuckle it all the way. It should be interesting anyway.

It's raining again.

12:41:00 PM

Saturday, February 22, 2003  

From David Letterman's monologue: "George W. Bush says he doesn't need the world's approval to go to war with Iraq. Which makes sense, since he didn't need the American public's approval to be President."

Most of you know how I feel about Dubya and other Republicans of his ilk, so I like what Dave said. (I won't even date Republicans)

What a horror story for the girl whose heart transplant was botched. Her family's grief can't even be imagined. That heart surgeon really messed up - twice!

I still can't figure out how to work the webpage we get as part of having Comcast. I wanted to put the photos on there and link to it. Perhaps eventually some friend and/or former student can help me with it. This is a good idea just waiting to happen. I'll see what happens when Blogger becomes Glogger or would it be Glooger before seriously considering an upgrade.

I've really been enjoying Dave Barry's blog. He's so funny! It's hard to think about him without Harry Anderson coming to mind.

First we had all that rain that went on and on and on .... now it's snowing. Rivers and creeks are flooding. My yard looks like a lake. I need a good last line now.

10:19:00 PM

Friday, February 21, 2003  

I attempted to post a picture on here following Scaryduck's instructions, and it worked really well. I found out though that pictures need to be on the net in order to post them since I first tried to show you a picture of my cousin Sally and my daughter Kathy which had to be linked from my computer. It showed up on mine, but I checked with a couple of others who said it didn't show on theirs. Eventually after I called Earl and we talked long distance for a while emailing back and forth, I told him it was probably my efficient firewall keeping others from pinging my computer and seeing the picture. That's a relief actually. Now I just have to find a way to get some photos on a place on the web (Comcast gives us a webpage which might work), so you can see pictures. Otherwise, I'll need to upgrade my blog and just make it easier to do. I'll work on it. Thanks so much, Scaryduck, for teaching me how to do this!

In the meantime, if you'd like to see a couple of photos Earl took (he's a professional photographer), I posted them on Around the Bend. They are on his daughter Margaret's website, so I could link to them. Here's Margaret's page. Thanks, Earl, for the late-night call and all your help.

To paraphrase Blance DuBois - I've always depended upon the kindness of strangies. These two definitely qualify as do most of my favorite people!

11:50:00 PM

Thursday, February 20, 2003  
Hair Update

I forgot to mention that when I got my hair cut Tuesday Terry said my hair is thicker and curlier now than it was before I had treatments. From what I understand it goes back to how it was as far as how curly it is. I asked him to be sure and cut the back shorter so I wouldn't have a mullet, so now it looks like it's short because I intended it to be. Progress, I'd say!

6:15:00 PM

Green Hills

I went to Green Hills to the dental hygienist today. She cleaned and checked my teeth. Always on the cutting edge there, she used some kind of laser device to find the bare beginnings of cavities which the dentist was able to take care of today. Since they were so small, he used some kind of air blasting instrument which required no face-numbing novacaine. Then he filled it using lasers too. How about that for a non-scientific or dental explanation. I think this is what happened since I couldn't ask questions until it was over. I asked how he did it and he said just what I saw. I guess he thinks he has mirrors on his safety glasses and mask. I told him I couldn't see very well, so he explained it sort of. Anyway, they said my teeth were doing well considering what I've been through. Since chemo is hard on everything, people often have dental problems because it affects saliva. Thank goodness I didn't have radiation since I'm sure that wreaks havoc with teeth - especially when I'd have had it on my neck. It would have destroyed those salivary glands and who knows what else!

There were some books I needed to take back to the library and forgot them yesterday, so I went to the Green Hills Branch. It's really nice there. It's so exciting to go to branches of the library and spend time there. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but I'm enjoying it now. I went by what was briefly Goldie's Deli in the mall but is now a hamburger place. I wanted a Reuben but didn't want to drive to Noshville for one so just had something else. That deli didn't last too long there. There's a big turnover in Nashville for restaurants.

5:56:00 PM

Cyberspace Travel

How do these services on the net make money when they are free? I just read that Blogger was purchased by Google - article here. Is there some kind of Internet Landlord that pays these people to rent cyberspace? Who pays them? Where does it come from? And whatever happened to Naomi?

11:04:00 AM


"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." -- Robert A. Heinlein

10:30:00 AM

Schmooze Training

Emma and I went to the Sheraton today for an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society to learn how to ask legislators to consider issues that concern us. In this case, it had to do with charging more on the tobacco tax in order to bring it closer to the national average, for Tenncare to have more for cancer patients since they declare us cured twelve months after our last treatment but no insurance company will cover us, and for the tobacco money the state gets to use a small amount for smoking prevention programs such as Tar Wars for 5th graders. I hope it works better than the anti-drug programs have. So many kids smoke, drink, use drugs, and have sex that I think we should tell them to "tune in, turn on, and drop out" and show Timothy Leary posters and Cheech and Chong movies. Then we should advocate sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll and told them to party on like we did in the 60's! Not me, of course (except for the music) but "we" as in my generation. I was a goody two-shoes in my youth. (wonder where that expression came from?) What? You don't believe me? 'Tis true! (youth, I said) So maybe if we'd used reverse psychology on the kids, they'd have rebelled and been little straight arrows since no way would they want to do what adults tell them. Seriously, they aren't getting to be kids very long now and dress and act much older than they are ready for emotionally. They need to have wholesome fun and enjoy a childhood while they can.

The day involved training which was a little like in-service. During registration they asked if we were survivors, and when we said yes, they put this banner on us like in beauty contests that said we're winning the fight! I was tempted to answer, "Obviously" when they asked about being survivors but decided against being a smartass when people were doing nice things for us. So some of us had those on and others there were with the ACS and the Relay for Cancer. Next we could go to a legislative session and then there was a reception with legislators and participants that was nice. Emma and I talked to David Shepard who is definitely an asset to our state government. I've liked the Shepard family a long time and am proud we have him representing us. I voted for him and plan to as long as he's in office. David kidded me (I hope) about an email I sent him, but he always answers them and explains things. Well done, David!

Doug Jackson didn't attend the reception even though he's a cancer survivor himself. He had the same kind I did and has been in remission a long time and seems to be doing really well.

It must be hard trying to attend all the functions and meet with all the people that politicians are expected to do. They are representing people in our government which at the state level could easily take up all their time, yet they still have their full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities. Public service is demanding but must be rewarding when they are able to get things accomplished they went into it for. Politics can be seductive with all the machinations, power, and other trappings. It would be difficult to remain authentic and to speak ones mind the way Harry Truman did. I wonder how long he'd last today with the media we have. He'd give them a run for their money for sure! I told David that I appreciated his honest answers and straightforward approach instead of political diversions, and he said if he finds himself being that way, he'll get out of it.

Emma was really tired by the end of the day. We didn't get home until almost 8:00 and did a lot of walking. She's had hip replacement surgery, and we went up and down lots of stairs as well as up hill on sidewalks. I learned a valuable bit of information from her. On the way back we stopped at Whitt's BBQ and got a sandwich since they are $1.50 on Wednesdays. Such a deal!!

I almost missed West Wing since this is the first VCR I haven't been able to set to record when I'm not here. I need some help with it. I don't know what's going on, but it just doesn't work. It has to do with digital cable and a TV/VCR combo maybe. I even read the manual and can't do it! The remote control has gotten weird too. How can all of it work except one button, the on/off switch? I actually have to get up to do that! Imagine!

12:17:00 AM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003  

I've decided to believe that the reason I haven't had any comments on here for a while is because HaloScan has been having problems. Yeah, I'm sure that's it. I tried to comment on other blogs that use it and couldn't. What other reason could there be? Even though friends ask questions and make comments about situations, tests, and other news I've written about on here (a definite tip-off that they never read my blog), I'm trying to remain positive. I'm also tapering off writing this.

10:10:00 PM


As I was driving by the site where the new Lowe's is being built, I thought about how they and Home Depot already have all the building supplies and tools they need to build and furnish all their stores.

2:16:00 PM

Saturday, February 15, 2003  

I'm listening to "A Prairie Home Companion" since it's being broadcast from the Opry House. Garrison Keillor has been in Nashville so often that he pronounces it correctly (which means the way we do around here). I learned in Linguistics class that is the standard to use for geographic pronunciation. Keillor and Chet Atkins were good friends; in fact, he gave the eulogy at Atkins' funeral. He has such kind things to say about Nashville from his first visit in 1972 until now. I stood in line a long time one day at Mills Bookstore in Hillsboro Village for him to sign his book for me and enjoyed watching the crowd.

Gena and her mother are there in the audience, and I'm thinking about them and hope they enjoy it as much as I think they will. I went to see him many years ago one of the other times he was in Nashville. He's made several jokes already about duct tape. It's a really good show and a pleasant part of a good day. Thanks, Earl, for calling and reminding me about it. Life is good.

6:18:00 PM

Rainy Day Fun

Mother and I went to the Health Fair (lung and cardiac) at Horizon Hospital this morning. It was interesting to look around the cardiac section, but I would like to stay away from hospitals for a long time. We got free tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, EKG, lung capacity and oxygen, and weight. They'll send the results in four weeks. I saw several people I knew and enjoyed that. Now that I feel better I need to start getting some exercise. I enjoy walking and have some yoga tapes. It would give me more energy and make me feel better. I'm sure they catch several things wrong with people with this fair. Drug reps were there with booths and tables too.

After this, we ate lunch at O'Charley's and then went to see Chicago. I really liked it and will probably buy the DVD when it is affordable. There aren't many movies I want to watch several times and therefore don't buy a lot of DVD's and videos. I looked the director/choreographer up on the Internet Movie Database and noticed he has a history of musical theater. I wanted to see Chicago when the Broadway touring company brought it to TPAC and hope I can if it returns. This is what Roger Ebert wrote in his review of Chicago: " And the choreography doesn't copy Fosse's inimitable style, but it's not far from it, either; the movie sideswipes imitation on its way to homage."

At the rate this rain continues and with all the flood warnings, we might need to look around and see who's missing and could be on the ark.

4:17:00 PM

Friday, February 14, 2003  
Orange Alert

Last night I was watching TV with Columbo and Brigit when I heard the strangest sound. It sounded like a garbled voice shouting something indistinguishable through a megaphone. I jumped up still holding Columbo and tried to find the source but couldn't. We looked out the windows and then heard it again. I was sort of scared. Silence. Then again. What could it be? This time I traced it to the kitchen. Weird, I thought. It sounds as if someone is saying something about a low battery. Yes, they were. It was the computerized voice of the smoke and carbon monoxide detector telling me the battery was low! I took it down and actually had some new batteries that fit it since I bought a whole package of them at Sam's for the remote control. They sell nothing in small amounts there. What a relief to replace those batteries since there is no way to ignore that thing when it announces its warnings. That's good in case there ever is a fire or carbon monoxide threat unless I've sealed myself in my house with plastic sheets and duct tape by then and can't get out.

Happy Valentine's Day!

2:04:00 PM

Wednesday, February 12, 2003  

Once again I followed an interesting link when I signed on to Blogger. This is about a Drinking Game and taking a drink every time specific words were used during the State of the Union Address. It reminds me of students who count the number of times their teachers or professors say certain words and phrases in class or other things students do to pretend to pay attention to lectures. I used to draw.

2:55:00 PM

Health Update

I think I must have whatever is going around that causes me to spend way too much time with the porcelain fixture I complained about so enthusiastically. Yuck!

This is from Dave Barry's blog: JOE MILLIONAIRE UPDATE

He still has not made up his mind! This is because he faces a very difficult choice. Also, he has the IQ of a lawn ornament.

Back to me now. Thanks, Dave.

Actually, I prefer the butler.

11:02:00 AM

Tuesday, February 11, 2003  

The Oscar nominations were announced today, so there are more movies I want to see before the awards show. Some I have been waiting for anyway like Chicago, Far From Heaven, Frida, The Pianist, The Quiet American, Unforgiven, Gangs of New York, and About Schmidt. I've seen The Hours, Adaptation, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I'll be busy! I really do like Kathy Bates as an actress and am glad she was nominated. I don't know enough about the performances and movies to have opinions yet. I've already written about The Hours and Adaptation and will let you know what I think about any more I see. What about you? What have you seen that you really like? I'm so glad the Roxy is opening here Friday and hope they have matinees and show a variety of movies.

2:14:00 PM


Kelsey called me tonight to thank me for her birthday card I sent her. She's in the double digits now - 10! I told her it was interesting that she, her mother, and I all have birthdays this year that end in zero. Kathy isn't as thrilled with her number as Kelsey is with hers. Kelsey and I had a good conversation about the spelling bee she was in and what word she missed. She's a good speller. Out of the 500+ students in her school, over 100 of them were absent because of flu that is going around. Kelsey has it now and said her birthday party that was planned for Saturday has been postponed until next weekend. The reason I'm up now is because of indigestion, so I hope I'm not getting that flu. It keeps getting worse though. Nothing so far has helped.

Kelsey loves to learn about animals. She knows quite a lot about them - especially reptiles. She also likes to draw and write stories. All of them play softball and are on teams. They're well-rounded, active children. Grandchildren are great!

4:21:00 AM


I'm glad I'm not famous. Being in a profession that is very public such as entertainment causes flocks of people to attack celebrities much the same way the people in that movie The Birds were. We know how scary that was! Having photographs taken every where they go and being stalked aren't part of it to me. It's a frenzy that's way out of hand. They owe us a good performance, but that's all. When I was a kid, I subscribed to movie magazines and have been a major movie buff from early on. I can't remember being obsessed with any actors even though there are some I'm more curious about than others. Yes, I wrote about gawking at Bob Dylan in Around the Bend, but even though I had my camera in my purse, I didn't take his picture or do more than speak to him. Well, and lurk and stare a little while but didn't bother him. I've also participated in conversations about the lives and relationships of celebrities, but I do that about many people. (sorry - I'm tacky sometimes) Maybe too many students majored in communications and journalism and are competing with each other to try to generate interest in something that's none of our business. They are in print and on television elbowing and pushing their way through crowds of other sharks for some attention. Just because someone is famous doesn't mean they aren't entitled to a private life. I'd hate to know I couldn't go anywhere without having to fight my way through crowds wanting something from me all the time. It has to be exhausting.

12:04:00 AM

Sunday, February 09, 2003  

I noticed when signing on to Blogger that Dave Barry has a blog on here now that's replaced his old one wherever it was. I looked around his site and saw that he feels the same way I do about low-flow toilets. Those of you who have been around me know how much I hate those things!! They don't save money. If the one-flush practice which only uses about a cup of water is applied all the time, you will have to call a plumber monthly. Enough said about money right there! To need a plumber less often requires holding the handle down until the tank empties every time it's used. So much for saving water! This is a difficult topic to discuss without resorting to euphemisms or mentioning functions best left private, so I won't go into details. I'll just mention that those toilets require much more time and attention than most of us want to devote. Many times I've wanted to smash it to porcelain bits and find one of the low-maintenance ones on the black market.

3:49:00 PM

Friday, February 07, 2003  

I read today that there will be 24-hour coverage of the Athens Olympics on NBC and its affiliates MSNBC, CNBC, and Bravo (I wondered if they would mess up Bravo - I like the Olympics but on Bravo?). I get caught up in the Olympics and enjoy watching the events and stories of the athletes - especially when Bob Costas does them, but my lech for him is another tangent. Now that I'm still on sick leave, already watch too much TV, and always watch the Olympics, I'll try to figure out when to sleep. Some coverage of the Olympics has been excellent but in more recent years has focused too much only on the events the US has entered. I like to know what's going on overall and to learn about athletes from other countries as well. I used to really enjoy the stories of the villages, towns, and cities where athletes grew up, trained, and lived. Knowing about their families, struggles, sacrifices, triumphs, rivalries, and all that personalizes what it takes to rise to the level they've achieved takes it beyond borders and differences.

Something else that joins us in a world community is the internet. Lately I've been following links, reading blogs, and following more links to explore and experience some fascinating writing. When I first got a computer and discovered cyberspace, we had bulletin boards, chat rooms, and instant messages which enabled us to meet people from all over the place. A few of the ones I met 9 years ago are still in touch and are friends. Conversations over the years have been interesting and have kept some of us informed about how things are outside our own geography. Teachers always discuss our salaries, benefits, and conditions with other teachers. There used to be an NEA (National Education Association) section of AOL where we had unlimited time as long as we stayed in that area. It was like a nation-wide teacher's lounge in the chat room, and the bulletin boards had helpful information on them according to subject area and interest. That disappeared when AOL gave the option of unlimited time online.

Blog writing gives people a forum to express ourselves. Some of it borders on reality TV, but overall it gives us a chance to get to know other people and find common ground wherever they are. I've heard it said that many of us know people online better than we do our neighbors. It's easier to avoid anyone online more than someone next door! That also has to do with how private people are and how they choose to socialize. We let people know us as well as we want them to, so when we don't like what we read, we quit reading it. As an aside, I think there are people online who forget there's an actual person on the other side of the computer screen and don't show them the same courtesy and consideration they would if they met in person. We get to know some people better this way because we meet their writing which reveals a lot about them. There are no gestures, facial expressions, tones of voice, and other cues that help curtail misunderstandings in communication. I think my impressions have been accurate about the people I've met in person after getting to know them online and the phone when they have been honest and authentic. Just like in "real life."

1:09:00 AM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

Something happened to the comments. The ones that were there from January 31 until this morning seem to have fallen off and are gone. This is a weird glitch of technology. A few others are having the same problem with HaloScan today.

5:11:00 PM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003  
Nature vs Nurture

My mother and brother are morning people. My father and I night people. Both of my children are night people as well as my grandchildren (so far). One of the many things Kathy and I discussed in our first conversations included being night people. When children are adopted, they don't grow up hearing how they look and act like certain relatives the way the rest of us take for granted. We might have our grandfather's hands, our mother's laugh, an aunt's artistic talent, another aunt's personality, an uncle's hair color, our father's neatness, and the list goes on. We've all noticed how different siblings can be and how their personality, temperament, and other patterns are innate. Pay attention to babies because that's how they are. It's there from the beginning.

Kathy and I have often discussed how many traits and qualities are genetic that we had no idea could be. We both thought a lot of things were learned from example, which of course they are; however, genetics has a huge part. The first things we wanted to know were the most obvious, such as how much we look alike. We're both 5' 2," have naturally curly hair (hers is lighter than mine but still brown), green eyes, and same shoe size. Then when she told me she used to get in trouble with her adoptive parents for her mouth (talking too much and being a smartass - making jokes not being disrespectful), I laughed because she'd have been applauded in our family. Instead of being reprimanded and punished, she'd have heard, "Good one!" followed by laughter. Kathy is like Mother in ways that amuse me. They are both wonderful mothers and good housekeepers and can't stand animals in the house. It was like stereo before I had chemo when both of them said I might not need to have the cats around. They make the best of it and are pretty good sports about them, but their houses definitely stay cleaner than mine partly because of the cats.

There are several similarities between Kathy and Brian that surprise us at times. Their sense of humor is one of them. They both played alto sax in the high school band, are better with words than math, like science, enjoy reading, and are both good, down-to-earth, caring people. There are other qualities they both have, but the best to me is how they care about each other and get along. It would be easy for them to feel jealous of each other or resentful, but I haven't sensed that. Brian has wanted to know her ever since I told him about Kathy when he was 14 and was delighted that she found me and we're all part of each others lives.

Kathy didn't really plan to get in touch with me but was primarily interested in getting her medical records. She hasn't been able to fill out a medical history for doctors all of her life until she could ask me questions. Some things she wanted to know weren't in her files because I didn't know them and others hadn't happened yet. I wrote a letter to place in her records when she was 18. One of the many lies we were told then was that our babies could get in touch with us when they were 18. Twenty years later - a year after adoption files were allowed to be open by our state legislature - she could and did. If a friend of hers hadn't had a good experience when she found her birthmother a year earlier, Kathy might not have pursued it. That's a brave thing to attempt. Kathy said when she read the letter from me, she knew she had permission to find me. She called me the same night she got copies of her records. I searched for her a few times online and talked about it when I was in therapy for depression but didn't pursue it because I didn't want to invade her privacy and hoped she would find me. I wasn't sure she wanted to know about me and was afraid she hated me. She told me in the first conversation that she always thought I did what I had to. I told her that when I held her after she was born and spent time with her those days (we got to stay in the hospital longer then), I told her everything I could think of that I wanted her to know. I cried and told her I loved her and always have.

The worst lie they told us at the home was to forget about it and get on with our lives. Motherhood is a rite of passage. No one can forget she has a baby. We got on with our lives with holes in our hearts and silence that covered a pain too deep to acknowledge. No wonder I experienced depression. And for what? We had to give away our babies because keeping them would have made others uncomfortable. It would have upset the social order. It's impossible for anyone who didn't live then to completely understand how it was in 1963, which was still philosophically the 50's. People didn't talk about things. The movie The Hours illustrated how that was with the women in the 50's who almost talked about medical problems and marriage but even pretended the kiss didn't happen and moved on. This was the rule, not the exception. It felt lonely but we didn't realize it. That's how things were. So many changes have taken place that it's almost unbelievable now. I'm actually a more private person than it might appear since I'm writing about such a personal experience in a semi-public forum. When Kathy found me and I told people about her, I came out of the closet. If people hadn't been accepting and happy about our reunion, I wouldn't be able to talk about it easily. There's so much guilt, shame, anger, pain, and grief to overcome. It was hard to tell anyone, and it felt like 1963 and I was telling people I was pregnant all over again. It's amazing how strong the societal conditioning was and how it's lasted. I thought I had worked through it but didn't know how much more I needed to get over. I'm so glad things have changed enough that people were happy about the news. Thank goodness Kathy and I have such a good relationship. I am so thankful she took the chance, found me, and loves me. We are part of each others lives now, and I am grateful.

It's hard to describe what this relationship is like. Kathy said friends asked her how she felt about me. She said it was a maternal feeling but with no history together. That's about the closest we have to understanding how this is. She's definitely my daughter. I love her overwhelmingly but didn't get up with her in the night when she was sick, didn't discipline her, didn't delight in all the stages she went through, didn't hear about boyfriends, help her get ready for the prom, be there when she got married, was pregnant, and had the children. We're catching up now. We hug and have a bond. She calls me "Mom" and the children call me "Grammy" and are young, so I'm enjoying them now, too. It's odd - she's my daughter without the history. I guess the closest relationship is similar to a daughter-in-law who comes into the family later and becomes part of it - only I gave birth to her.

The online support group for reunited birthmothers has saved my sanity more than once! This incredible group of women who have all been through the same experience is always there for each other. It's wonderful to have others who really do know how we feel and who also have had other variations on this to talk to. I couldn't have made it without them, too.

11:40:00 AM

Monday, February 03, 2003  
Astrologically Funny

I had to laugh when I read my horoscope on one of those online places. Since I've been building up to all this housework, I thought it was interesting. I've been looking at my clutter and deciding what I'd want to take with me if I moved. I've also been exploring options about another job and all kinds of things. So this was timely advice. LOL

It feels as if there's too much of everything. You're in a mood to simplify or consolidate, and making choices is not something you care to do right now. Even if you're faced with the world's most tempting project, consider refusing extra work. You really do have enough on your plate as it is. Maybe a quick physical inventory will help you. Take a few moments to tidy up your visible surroundings. Seeing what you have and what you need to do about it will surely give you more peace of mind than staring into a tangle of loose ends.

7:44:00 PM


Scaryduck expressed my thoughts about the Columbia better than I can. It's a stunning loss when such a tragedy occurs. We wonder why and aren't sure we want to learn the answers.

9:58:00 AM

Sunday, February 02, 2003  

Yesterday Gena, her mother Beth, and I went to Nashville and had a really good time. We ate lunch at the Yellow Porch. I'd heard of it and wanted to eat there, so this was a treat. It was good and right across from 100 Oaks. There are several good places to eat in that area in addition to this one - Baja Burrito, Calypso, and Sam & Zoe's Coffeehouse. The Expo Design Center is near there, too, which is owned by Home Depot, I think. Dr. Spigel asked me if I'd gone there and said he and his wife liked it. Sally and I went to it and had fun discussing things we saw. I also found a place he told me about when I asked him where to shop for Chloe's Bat Mitzvah gift. Since I'm her godmother, I wanted it to be meaningful. It's pretty neat to be able to have a variety of conversations with him. I got some wonderful ideas, and the owner of the shop is delightful, informative, and so helpful. Chloe's Bat Mitzvah will be in December in Pittsburgh, and I'm looking forward to being there for it.

We planned to see Chicago, but it sold out just as we got to the ticket window, so we saw The Hours. I didn't mind seeing it again at all since there were parts of it I wanted to pay attention to now that I know more about it. The performaces were all outstanding, understated, and left just enough to the imagination. Basically it's about love, self-preservation, and to paraphrase Woolf's words, the essence of a woman's life as lived in the hours of a single day.

Then we shopped. Female bonding! We went to Pier 1 and the Green Hills Mall. I like to go in Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware to get ideas. We spent a couple of hours looking around in the mall. Then we came back and visited some more at Beth's. She has the cutest dog, Scooby, who is half Maltese and half poodle. He's a white, fluffy, energetic, licky, bitey, little thing and well-loved. I'm definitely a cat person but can enjoy visiting dogs sometime. Dogs require more attention than cats and are co-dependent. I'm not enough fun for them. Cats are demanding of course and train their servants (anyone who thinks there are cat owners doesn't have one) but do sleep a lot. I probably bore them, too.

Beth loaned me several books, and Gena loaned me one about the thyroid. Then when I got home my Amazon order was waiting for me - The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter and Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty. Now I have a lot to read but am going to concentrate on the books on tape, clutter, and the thyroid help first. Mother has accurately pointed out that I will sit in the middle of chaos and read about how to organize. I used to watch aerobics on TV with the same results.

10:37:00 AM

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