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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.
Monday, June 30, 2003  
Geeks and Nerds

Michelle sent me a Geek Test which I took and proved that I am not very geeky (not that I've ever been accused of it or mistaken for one). I might have some nerd tendencies though - maybe just a few. Geeks and nerds can overlap but are different. Being a geek requires scientific, computer, science fiction, LOTR, Star Wars, D&D, gaming, and such as that. Nerds can be literary and enjoy learning. I do know about geeks. I was married to one and had one growing up in my house. I think it's probably passed on genetically from fathers. I'm sure it helps to have supportive, witty, movie-buffs for mothers. Obviously, I like nerds and geeks and enjoyed teaching them for sixteen years. I have them for friends and relatives. Dare, if you will, to post your scores and tell the world (as we know it) your status and/or opinion. My score is ~ 20.9073% - Geek ~ which proves that on this test I do have tendencies and am sort of one but won't admit it.

I've just thought of notable exceptions to the father's genes theory. Never mind!

6:25:00 PM

Saturday, June 28, 2003  
Being Social

I attended the wedding of a former student last evening. It was at Montgomery Bell outside near the church. The weather cooperated, and it was beautiful. Beth looked gorgeous and so happy. Her sisters were lovely and there for her as they always have been. Celtic and Appalachain music played by a group of their friends, and there were CD's of their music as gifts for the guests. They played at the reception as well. It was wonderful to see students from that class. I enjoyed them so much all the years I taught them, and we had a good time reminiscing and catching up. It was fun to hear what they are doing now. Teaching gifted students is an education in itself at the time and years after.

It is good to see wedding couples have so much fun at their weddings. Brian and Melissa did at theirs, too. I enjoyed seeing people I hadn't been around in a long time and to see some doctors socially for a change. I thought it was interesting what my horoscope said when I checked it online last night after I got home. Good advice that I'll try to follow!

One of your great joys is meeting interesting people whose conversations aren't limited to complaints about the weather, the traffic and their jobs. You almost clap your hands in glee when today's events bring you into contact with a host of fascinating folk. Don't allow these exchanges to be a one-shot deal. Encourage and develop personal friendships with the most compatible individuals. That way, you can continue to expand your horizons and enjoy their unique perceptions.

10:44:00 PM


New trivia quizzes will be posted weekly - probably on Tuesdays. Where are the answers to this one? Michelle is doing this all alone now. We need funny answers or correct ones.

1:11:00 PM

Friday, June 27, 2003  
Hit List

Some interesting hits to my blog from search engines lately. I'm #1 on Google and #3 on msn for Cathie Pelletier house contest and "win a home" Lawrenceburg. Here are some others that have shown up on my list recently. shower curtains pirates , nurse joy fantasies , fantasy showers , why are horse people so annoying , horse shower curtains , horse accidents pictures , funeral etiquette - acknowledgements, non-hodgkins lymphoma oprah, scavenger hunt, practical jokes, steel magnolias character analysis, wurlitzer prize and waylon jennings and nora jones. You sort of have to wonder about some people, don't you?

9:56:00 PM

New Food Fears

My cousin Sally and I were banned from cooking sausage for the family Christmas breakfast after one time. We have a big, traditional Southern breakfast of good-tasting fat and cholesterol - country ham, red-eye gravy, biscuits, smoked sausage, eggs, rice, and homemade strawberry preserves (by Mother). Then a year later we do it again. The reason they won't let Sally and me cook the sausage is that one of the lessons we learned in elementary school was branded into our brains. We might not have paid attention to many things going on around us or retained knowledge that would have helped us out later on, but we did learn about trichinosis and learned to fear it forever. We were convinced that any atom of undercooked pork would kill us in a slow, lingering, and painful death. The horror of it all! So we cooked the sausage patties to hard pellets resembling the consistency and taste of hockey pucks. We were nothing if not thorough and only reinforced overcooking by being in charge of it together. Our minds immediately went to the worst case scenario without passing GO or collecting $200.

Later on I added fear of salmonella to my list. I didn't learn much about it in school (or was drawing or trying to talk to someone during that lesson), so it didn't have the impact that trichinosis did. I vaguely recall hearing something about it but would never have eaten snow cream, licked the cake batter from the beaters, savored raw cookie dough, or cooked eggs-over-medium into adulthood if I'd known much about it. All it took was an off-hand remark by a co-worker to cause me check labels to see if real raw eggs are in bought chocolate chip cookie dough or not because I still like it. Then I started worrying about the effects those raw eggs might have had and wondered about those body builders who drank concoctions with raw eggs and all kinds of strange ingredients added to them. Sometimes they just put raw eggs in a glass and drank them. Ugh! That always grossed me out to think of it. I've always hated milk and could barely watch people drink it - still makes me shudder and cringe.

Now I have a new food fear. On that food show on NPR last weekend (Talking About Food?) someone called in to ask about green potatoes. This was totally new information for me. It happens from exposure to sunlight and is toxic. Apparently the solanine is stored and builds up in the body. I don't store my potatoes in the direct sunlight and they do get air; however, they are not stored in ideal conditions.

This leads me to wonder how many toxins I've ingested over a lifetime from all kinds of sources. I've decided that depending on who or what we pay attention to, nothing is good for us - water, air, food, everything! So many worries, so little time!

11:21:00 AM


There's a new weebl and bob. I'd missed some of the others on there and caught up.

10:28:00 AM

Thursday, June 26, 2003  
This 'n That

Yesterday morning I kept Brendan for the first time, just the two of us. It was great! He smiles and "talks" and is so sweet. We made it just fine. Melissa went to a plastic surgeon to have a vascular tumor removed from her thumb. Now she has a huge bandage on it and is supposed to keep her hand elevated above her heart for a week. Sure! That's easy to do - especially with a baby to take care of! We had a good visit too. I'm enjoying spending more time with them.

I heard from Kathy again recently and hope to see a ballgame before the season is over. Both the girls play softball, and Luke plays T-ball. I am fortunate to have such neat children and grandchildren.

I had an appointment with an endocrinologist at Centennial - Andrea Hayes. I liked her. When I go back in a couple of weeks, I'll get the results from the blood tests. They are also checking hormone levels for estrogen and testosterone too. It will be good to find out about all this and get things in balance. Guess I need to start losing weight now by eating more healthfully and exercising. My time of sloth is coming to an end. Better that than me!

2:53:00 PM

Trivia Rule

OK, here's our only trivia rule. If you can't be right, be clever. A funny answer goes a long way, and we all need a good laugh. I wish I'd saved all the hilarious answers students gave on tests, some intentional and some not. Some of them would write the correct answer and then a witty one because they were like me and couldn't resist.

Now for more questions from the Know-It-All Edition. Have fun!

1. People & Places - What European singing group got its name by combining the initials of its members' first names?

2. Arts & Entertainment - What is character Joey Tribiani's occupation on the sitcom Friends? Bonus: Who plays Joey?

3. History - What 1937 work of art by Picasso was painted in response to a nationalist bombing during the Spanish Civil War?

4. Science & Nature - What German microbiologist postulated the Germ Theory of Disease in 1882?

5. Sports & Leisure - What boxer quit a championship bout with the statement, "No mas"?

6. Wild Card - What animal taught Dr. Dolittle to talk to the animals?

7. Movie - Ving Rhames starred in this 1996 picture.

This is the movie I went to see while I was waiting to call about the results from that first fine-needle aspiration. I called from a pay phone in the lobby of the cineplex in Bellevue and found out it was lymphoma. Gena went to see a Jim Carrey movie with her children in one of the other theaters. This is why I always remember the year it was released.

Michelle was right about the movie. It is the original Mission Impossible. Here are the other clues - An IMF team is sent to recover a computer disk. This Tom Cruise movie grossed more than $100 million in the first two weeks.

2:38:00 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2003  
More Trivia

Answer any or all of them you choose!

1. History - What two men rode with Paul Revier to warn the colonists of the British advance?

2. Science & Nature - What was the first message recorded by Thomas Edison?

3. Sports & Leisure - What two cities were home to the Braves before they moved to Atlanta?

4. Wild Card - What high-flying novel by Richard Bach topped the best-seller list in 1972 and 1973?

5. Movie - Clue One - This movie was shot on location inside the People's Republic of China.

If no one gets the answer to the movie question, I'll add the next clue.

8:43:00 PM

Trivia Question of the Day

From the "Know-It-All" Edition of Trivial Pursuit as the final source, please answer the following question.

Category - People and Places

Who said, "People want to know ... why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy -- and I keep it in a jar on my desk"?

Movie Trivia Question

From Applause ACTION! game:

There are three clues which will not be given unless no one can guess it without them. Name the movie.

Clue One - Louis Gossett Jr. won an Oscar for his role as a drill sergeant.

4:27:00 PM

Game Day

During the holidays we used to play board games and had raucous good fun with it. After Brian, Amy, and Andy got married, we had less time for playing since they had to juggle commitments with in-laws. We decided a solution to this would be to designate a day for playing games. Since June 25 is Amy's and David's birthdays (same year and everything!), we decided a weekend near that date would be ideal. David is my cousin Sally's stepson we've had in the family for 17 years. I got on Amy's nerves saying that she was born on Rosemary's Baby's birthday and had to stop mentioning it. I do have a tendency to run things into the ground. It's one of my more effective methods of being annoying. I have many - some intentional and some an inate gift! So now I can't resist calling our new event The Rosemary's Baby's Birthday Annual Game Day. (TRBBAGD but another acronym might be better - one that spells something - any suggestions?)

We met at my brother's son Andy's house Sunday afternoon. He and his wife Angela are wonderful hosts - young, energetic, organized, neat, and efficient! We all took food and games. Sally and I won at Trivial Pursuit again. She and I know odd things but not a lot of information that normal people would know. We're abby-normal. Melissa was handicapped because she has a vascular tumor on her right thumb and can't use it, and Brendan was attached to her in a baby sling. The top of his head showed most of the afternoon. Brian and Sally said Melissa had no opposable thumb, but she still answered questions from other rooms and while passing through the game area. Mother was hoping she'd be able to hold Brendan while we played which would have been good. Mother is great with babies, but he'd had a rough week and is only two months old. He is new to this world.

We tried playing Song Burst but it was too hard for us to play by the rules. We had fun singing lyrics and laughing though. I'm going to get Cranium for next time. We played that the last two years at Christmas and really enjoyed it. It's a combination of Charades, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, and Quiddler. It's a lot of fun. I have movie trivia games we haven't played yet. We also like Taboo, Scattergories, Fluxx, Aquarius, and Guesstures. What are some other good games? This is making me want to invite people over to play games on a somewhat regular basis. Perhaps I will.

Angela was great at Set and won at it. Sally went to pieces playing it since we all have different skills. She and Brian can't handle the pressure of ticking timers, so we have to use the hourglass one with games that have to be timed. David the engineer made fun of Brian, Sally, and me for pointing our fingers and counting to ourselves to move spaces. I said the ADD members of the family had to compensate somehow. Amy said she liked Set after she caught on to it. Play it online here. That's how I am since it does take a while to be able to find them. Andy's comments are always funny during games. Then we had to imitate "weebl and bob" when we got our pieces of pie. When we said the link was on my blog, David wanted to know what a blob was. I guess I'm making our family sound dysfunctional but we're really just weird. Yes, there is a difference.

I plan to have TRBBAGD (only we'll have Game Weekend) at my house in Lawrenceburg from now on, so each of you take just a moment out of your day to wish that I win it. OK? You'll be invited to visit. It's a win-win situation!

2:49:00 PM

Sunday, June 22, 2003  

I've been writing this blog now for over a year. It's been quite a dramatic year, hasn't it? I suppose I'll be having some "a year ago at this time" thoughts. I'm glad I have this behind me and got through it. Looking back on the fear, uncertainty, close calls, needles needles needles, exhausted veins, waiting for news, struggles, and sleepless worrying makes me realize that teaching won't be so bad. I've dreaded going back. I get tired easily and am not on an even keel emotionally. I've been researching every possibility I could imagine to be able to retire, but it's not sensible for me to do that now financially. In the long run, I need to continue teaching a couple more years. I do dread the month I'll have Rituxan treatments again since it will be during school. I can have the last round when school is out.

Something fun about entering the blog world has been reading other blogs and meeting people who have become friends. I've followed links and read some fascinating thoughts and experiences and feel part of a sort of community of other bloggers. I am in touch with students in the Netherlands, Elise and Gerko, and both are friendly, helpful, and fun. I discovered Margot's blog when I logged onto Blogger one day and became a fan of her writing and really enjoy knowing her. Through her, I started reading the blog one of her friends (M) writes. Some of his posts have blown me away. They are both neat people I admire so much. Then there is Scaryduck who makes me laugh and smile every day. He's the English nephew I never had and my friend. I read his blog daily and keep in touch with him and feel as if I know his family and pets. (poor Molly)

This has also given me an opportunity to be in closer touch with friends and family. I've renewed friendships with former classmates, students, and colleagues - which reminds me that I need to email some of them and get back in touch. It's felt good to run into people I know who mention reading something on my blog and keeping up. I appreciate it and am glad to know it.

Upon reflection, this has been a year of many blessings, but I still don't want to go through this again! I'm glad I survived and am still here.

11:18:00 AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2003  

Test your skills with the copters here at your own risk at work!

I feel so sorry for the cute little copter when I crash it. High score so far is 764 - which for me is pretty good on one of these games since I panic easily when I try to play them. I do believe I could win for most consecutive low scores. I generally need to stick with Solitaire and crossword puzzles.

10:37:00 PM


Thank you, Margot, for asking about my posts and missing me. I've been distracted by shiny objects lately. I went to Creek Wood Monday to see my classroom, get my schedule and books, and tour the school. It's a pretty school - new and roomy. There are going to be 34 students in my ONE honors English class, which defeats the purpose. This is because of the budget cuts and trying to manage schools on less than a shoestring. You might remember that we had a balanced budget and surplus in this country and now have the largest deficit in history. Our economy was better and domestic programs were still functioning when my President was in office, and he did it with his pants unzipped. He could multi-task. This one has bankrupted everything he's been involved with (his businesses his daddy bought him and Texas) and is now ruining our economy. I won't even get started on all the other horrible things he's done in the name of Christianity that go against what I was taught it stood for.

There are no bookcases in the classrooms there. That steeple could have been left off and paid for bookcases or a teacher's salary. I've never taught in a classroom without bookcases before - not a regular classroom anyway. When I was teaching with the gifted program, I taught everywhere when I was itinerant and would be in closets, on stages, in conference rooms, and other teachers' classrooms. It was a relief when we had the students bused to us at Burns - even with the bats when we were in the converted cafeteria. Yes, bats! We had to call maintenance to come remove them from the building. One had attached itself to the ceiling right above my desk. What a creepy way to start the day! I'm sure the lack of bookcases has to do with the budget again. They had to make cuts wherever they could. I can take my own bookcases there but can't reduce the sizes of my classes. We're all having larger classes across the country after working so hard to reduce them. It really does make a difference. It's getting harder and harder to teach.

I was tired after being there and walking up and down stairs and carrying books. It's going to be exhausting teaching a whole day and dealing with the stress. Dr. Spigel asked me how I was doing yesterday before my treatment. I told him I get out of breath and feel as if my heart is beating too rapidly. Part of this is the Rituxan and part is inactivity and thyroid. We discussed my progress and how I'm doing, and he suggested that I might need to be on disability. He's concerned about the cancer/stress factor and how it might affect the progress I'm making. Teaching is stressful no matter how ideal the conditions. My cousin asked if I could tell my students what I've been through and to take up some of the slack. That would work with some of them, but there are others who see that as a sign of weakness and go in for the kill. We're not dealing with a group of mature, reasonable people here. Some of them are right out of Lord of the Flies! Also there are things no one can do for us. I'm checking into disability but don't know if it could happen. I wish it could. I also wish I could win that house. Dr. Spigel smiled cynically when I told him and said, "That's money in the bank." It's my fantasy, and I realize that, but I need a good fantasy right now.

By the time I would hear from disability, I could be homeless. Not having an income would be more stressful than teaching. So I guess I'd better do my best and get back to it. I'm glad for those 2-week vacations in October and March and the 3 weeks at Christmas with the year-round schedule. I'll need them!

Treatment went well yesterday. The Benadryl made me sleep through most of it, and I feel a little dizzy and foggy today. It was the last one of Round Two!! There will be another round of four in six months and then the last round a year from now. I really do wish I could have this next year to heal and get some energy back and recuperate. People go to work feeling worse than I do though and manage to make it. I just don't want to experience another year like this last one!

8:40:00 AM

Sunday, June 15, 2003  
Father's Day

I went to Murfreesboro to pick up Mother. She stayed with Mae while Sally and Bob went to Atlanta. Sally's dog Susie has six of the cutest puppies who are six weeks old. They are half beagle and half border collie. One of them was so sweet that I almost wanted to take her home (she snuggled up under my chin when I held her), but dogs are so high maintenance compared to cats. I can leave the cats here alone for a weekend while I am away, and they won't eat all their food immediately. They use a litter box and don't chew my shoes and furniture either. So I'll stick with cats.

We stopped at Brian's and Melissa's on the way back and got to hold Brendan and spend time with him. We took them to dinner for Brian's first Father's Day as a dad, and I got him a card. It's been a long time since I've had anyone to do something for on Father's Day. I still miss Daddy and wish he could see Brendan and what a fine man Brian has grown into. He'd be so proud of him, too - just like I am.

OK, coming soon - both stories! I understand how that is. I can't decide so give me some of each!

10:38:00 PM

Thursday, June 12, 2003  

Remember when strawberries used to be red inside too? These from the store are white inside and covered with a thin red layer to fake us off. I'm not sure what these are, but they aren't real strawberries like I grew up eating.

10:45:00 AM


I'm in the mood to write more stories from my wholesome past. Would you rather read a teaching one or another goofy childhood story?

12:25:00 AM

Ladies Who Lunch

This is a fun week of lunches and visits. Today I had lunch with Amy and Matt who are home from school for the summer. We ate at The Front Porch and had a good time. Emma came by and brought me a book to read and some more of that black walnut fudge that helped cause me to gain more weight! I must put an end to this, or I won't fit into any of my clothes. This is bad! Very, very bad!!

I have an appointment June 23 with a plastic surgeon who comes to Dickson on Mondays. This is to see if there is anything that can be done to help my neck. I asked Dr. Spigel about it and told him the scar tissue and whatever was too tight and pulled on my shoulder. He said he didn't think that was causing the bursitis, so I said something was. Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing what might help my neck. I hope something non-surgical will take care of it. Surely it could.

Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend from Watkins for lunch at Dalt's. Tomorrow evening I'm going to the memorial service for Bobbie Williams who died recently from a massive heart attack. I met her at St. James Episcopal Church. She was always really friendly and interested in others.

What are you guys doing? Vacations? Reading good books you can recommend? Seeing movies? What?

12:20:00 AM

Tuesday, June 10, 2003  
Hurry Up and Wait

Today went well. I slept off and on during the treatment. A man in the chemo room also has non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I've met quite a few people there and had some interesting conversations with them. A woman tody lived in Holland for over two years since her husband was with Dupont. I told her I emailed a couple of people (Elise and Gerko) from the Netherlands and that we read each other's blogs. She really liked living there and enjoyed it so much more than she did living in Luxembourg. I'd like to live in England a while and travel to other places in Europe from there. See how easy it is for me to veer into another Walther Mitty part of my life?

Columbo has been biting his fur out again - not too much but some. He might have to get another lion cut if he doesn't stop doing it. He's the strangest cat I've ever had, and that's saying something!

10:10:00 PM

Monday, June 09, 2003  
Rockin' Good Time

I had lunch today with some friends at Siam on White Bridge Road. It's a Thai restaurant, and the food was good. The company was even better though. Then I spent the afternoon with Melissa and Brendan. I held him, walked with him, changed diapers, and rocked him. He smiled at me, too! :-) It was great!

I miss Kathy and the older grandchildren and need to go there for one of their ballgames soon. It's been too long since I've seen them.

Third treatment out of four for this round tomorrow at 10:00.

10:54:00 PM

Saturday, June 07, 2003  
Relay for Life

The first American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Dickson County was successful and lots of fun last night even during the rain. After what many of us have been through, some rain wasn't that bad. It would have been easier and less messy without it, though. After introductions and acknowledgements at 7:00, survivors were announced and walked the first lap and caretakers the second one. Mother and Janelle would represent me on that one since they were definitely my caretakers. Then volunteers and team members walked all through the night since it lasted from 7 pm until 7 am. There were a lot of booths or tents where the teams sold food, crafts, and coffee. Events were held every hour such as The Not So Newlywed Game, a karaoke contest, scavenger hunt, and others.

They announced the winners of the baking contest, and Mother's caramel cake (which is famous in Charlotte) won a prize for "Best Tasting" entry. She made one for Emma's team, who entered it in the contest. (not Mother's idea)

The candle light vigil was special. People could buy candles in memory or in honor of those who died from or had/have cancer. The candles are all along the track where we walk to commemorate them. Someone from the Nashville Pipes played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes while the names were being read. It was really moving, and the music was beautiful.

It was really good that so many were involved in this. I enjoyed seeing some people I hadn't seen in a while, going to the various tents, and hanging out with friends. Next year I'll have a team and be more involved. It will be fun.

3:28:00 PM

Friday, June 06, 2003  

The Cancer Relay is tonight, and it's raining. I don't know if they have alternate plans to have it inside, but I think I'll stay a while and then come home. Brian and Melissa aren't coming with Brendan since he doesn't need to be out in the rain even in his cute yellow terrycloth duck robe. There's a photo of it at the shower, but we need to take his picture in it soon. Mother gave it to him and didn't even know about Scaryduck. When they opened it, Sally, Kathy, and I all said, "Not scary, not a duck" and laughed along with Brian and Melissa. No one paid much attention to us.

I have a full schedule next week of lunches except for Tuesday when I have treatment. I've felt good after that last one and hope this continues. I'm looking forward to lunch with people I haven't seen in a while. It will be fun to catch up.

The rain sounds really good on my metal roof.

3:45:00 PM

Thursday, June 05, 2003  

I thought I'd get comments about the house. Are some of you concerned that I've finally gone off the deep end and am no longer in touch with reality? Then you don't know me very well. I spend most of my time there. I even have a bumper sticker that I put on the bulletin board in my classroom that says - Reality is for people without imagination. I've tried to avoid it as much as possible and majored in fiction in college, taught it, read it, watch it, and sometimes write it. I have to live reality but my mind doesn't have to stay involved with it all the time.

Our friend Scaryduck is the subject of an article in the Guardian. Well done, you!

Sheena and I went to lunch yesterday at The Front Porch (this is where you need to start, Michelle ... then build up to Sister's or your system might go into shock). After lunch we rode around to find Jill's new house and continued exploring until we got to the landfill. At first we couldn't decide what that fence was for and wondered if it had something to do with the government. I told her they would arrest me if they'd read some of my email and my blog criticizing the current misadministration. Sheena said she thought it was a waste management place and was right. We stopped where people could take some things to recycle and talked to the man there who gave us an explanation and pointing-out tour from a distance. He explained what took place in all the buildings and what they did with the garbage. It was educational and interesting. We said something about the large, expensive houses in the subdivision, and when he said many of them were selling their houses for less than their appraisal, we remembered the studies done about the water there and birth defects. It was like Erin Brokovich. Reverse osmosis water purification systems can be installed where the water comes into the house which remove most impurities. That way all the water is purified in the house. It's expensive but would be worth it most places - especially there. It might be cheaper in the long run than bottled water, water coolers, and replacement filters, but it might make a huge difference in your health. Check out the bottled water you drink to see if they used reverse osmosis or not. Here are some links on systems I checked out but don't know anything about them personally. Let me know if you have information on this since I'm considering having this done. Right now I use a water filter in my kitchen for drinking and cooking.

11:49:00 AM

Wednesday, June 04, 2003  
Joy Mitty's New House

I've come up with an alternate plan which will allow me to retire. Those who know me pretty well are aware of my rich fantasy life. It's right up there with Walter Mitty's. (Just Googled to get a link for Walter Mitty and found out Jim Carrey is going to play him in a new Spielburg movie - imagine how that will be.) My top fantasies involve plans for my lottery winnings, my Oscar acceptance speech, being in the audience beside Melissa while Brian accepts his Oscar (but I'm a proud mother no matter what he does), seeing Melissa's children's books for sale and covers for books she's illustrated, roaming around the country and living in different places for a while and then moving on, traveling in style to places around the world, living in the UK long enough to see all of it I want to and meet people, and being a professional writer. That is where my daydreams take me most of the time. Sometimes I fantasize about fabulous things for family and friends and wonder about the grandchildren and how their lives will be.

Then Emma told me about an essay contest for a house she said I had to enter. She brought me the Tennessean with the story in it about an essay contest the writer Cathie Pelletier is having for her house. I decided to enter it for many reasons. One of them is that I've never lived in a house like this with all that light and porches and room! Another is that if I sell it, I'll be set financially in ways I don't have much hope of being otherwise. I've looked at the pictures of it (click Win-A-Home Essay Contest and then Photos) hundreds of times and have arranged my furniture in the rooms and imagined exploring the land, playing with my grandchildren, hosting family get-togethers, entertaining guests, and even cooking and cleaning! It would be a fresh start with a house that doesn't need all the work mine does even though it's in Lawrenceburg which is even farther from Nashville and smaller than Dickson. It's also my only hope to get to retire now instead of two years from now. There are writer vibes in that house. Maybe I really would finish novels and screenplays I've started. I can see myself going outside more and enjoying the creek and being on a riding mower. It sounds great! Besides, a friend wants to buy my house, and it needs him. It requires repairs and work on it that I can't easily do or afford. He loves to do all that and would be good for this house. It's win-win all around.

I anguished over my essay and emailed drafts to Jackie, Alistair, Brian, and Melissa. I couldn't do it. Everything I wrote sucked! It's really hard to write an essay describing why I want a house and deserve it more than all the others who write in. This goes against how I was brought up. It was hard to strike the right balance between sounding too needy or flip. They all agreed with me that I wasn't getting it. Finally, Jackie said she'd been thinking about it and that if she were writing the essay to win it for me, this is what she'd say and then sent the most wonderful tribute I could imagine. I got teary and glowy as I thanked her for what she wrote because I knew she meant it. I told her I could have written one for her, and she acknowledged that she couldn't have written that about herself. Then we agreed to send hers in. I sent her a check for the entry fee and she mailed the essay into the contest. I'm still trying to write one and will send it too if I ever do one that we like. Her husband was incredulous and asked if she were going to give me a half-million dollar house! She told him it wasn't her house to give, she has a house she likes, and I need it.

So then I got the idea to write to Oprah and tell her what good friends I have. This is my latest fantasy. Jackie and I are on the Oprah show talking about this contest and what a wonderful thing Jackie did for me. Since I'll also mention to Oprah that Jackie is a storyteller and performed her one-woman show, she'll get to tell a story there on the show and get all that exposure. No telling where that will lead! I told Kathy about this and she said I could also mention that she's my daughter and tell our story since Kathy has never been to Chicago and would like to go. Jackie laughed when I told her this and said Kathy is definitely my daughter since she just fell right into my fantasy with me! Oprah loves teachers and friendship and reunions and survivals, so it could happen. I'm just not sure in reality I'd like to be on her show but just in case I'm fantasizing about what I'll wear and what else we'll do in Chicago. Maybe my fantasy life it too good. It's almost like really doing all these things, so I don't follow through in real life.

You're all invited to come visit me in my new house. There's definitely enough room, and I'll need company out there in the middle of nowhere! The odds are better than the lottery, and it's not all luck. Judges will read the essays. It could happen! If any of you want to enter the contest, you still have time.

10:14:00 AM

Tuesday, June 03, 2003  

I seem to be doing better this time after the treatment than I did last time. I was sleepy yesterday and sort of out of it but had a massage today which helped. I really need to go every two weeks for my neck but can't afford it. If I go as long as a month, my neck is really tight and I notice some difficulty swallowing because of the scar tissue right in the front on my throat. The tightness from the fibrosis causes my shoulder to hurt, and it's beginning to have bursitis. Debbie worked on it a lot and my neck. She also inflicted pain by doing some acupressure. Fortunately it didn't last too long. She showed me how to do it. Not fun. I wonder what else can be done to soften scar tissue besides massage.

About Sisters - it's not for healthy eating. They have old-fashioned Southern cooking in all its fatness and cholesterol. It's more a comfort food thing, I guess.

4:27:00 PM

Monday, June 02, 2003  

Yes, that's right, Round 2 of the four Rituxan fun and games and treatment 2 of four. So, R2T2 it is. I got finished an hour earlier than I did last time. The reason it takes so long is that it's diluted and has to be infused slowly to give the immune system time to adjust. Otherwise, it will fight the antibodies. I slept most of the time today since the Benadryl makes me so sleepy. I managed to get finished early enough to go to Sisters and get some lunch to bring home with me. I'm going to go eat it now. Are we having fun yet?

1:59:00 PM

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