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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, September 29, 2003  
Trivia Quiz

1. PP - What English surname is derived from the occupation of coal miners?
2. AE - What is the name of the mythical Scottish town that appears for a single day every 100 years?
3. HS - What Russian family included Empress Catherine the Great and Czar Peter the Great? (obviously their middle and last names were "the Great" ... how obvious is this?)
4. SN - What do mountain climbers use stoves for in addition to cooking and heating their bodies or clothes? (what's cooking?)
5. SL - What rural, English animal contest has become an international event since it was first held in Scotland in 1906? (I've never read about this in Scaryduck's blog, so how popular could it be?)
6. WC - What university in Ithaca, New York, had its school colors chosen for the distinctive labels on Campbell Soups? (gotta check to see if Andy Warhol went there)
7. MV - Judge Reinhold made his film debut in this 1981 comedy. "That's the fact, Jack!" Harold Ramis and Bill Murray made a great comedy team in this movie.

6:03:00 PM


I had a fairly productive weekend. I'm actually looking forward to our fall break so I can clean house. I feel more energetic and want to accomplish something around here. I also had some time for social activities. Earl and I ate at Applebee's Sunday and enjoyed it. I'm going to take advantage of the Carry-Out service they have there but plan to eat inside by myself some too. Usually I don't like to eat out by myself, but I'm getting better about it.

I love this cooler weather. Fall is my favorite season. I hope we have a pretty one with colorful leaves and those clear blue skies.

Trivia answers are posted now.

5:38:00 PM

Friday, September 26, 2003  
Breast Cancer Legislation

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the "drive-through mastectomy" where women are forced to go home hours after surgery against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on.

PLEASE!!!! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site and help women living with breast cancer get the care they need and deserve!! There is no cost or monetary pledge involved. You need not give more than your name and zip code number.

2:34:00 PM

Thursday, September 25, 2003  

I enjoy several shows on BBC-America - Coupling being one of them. NBC has copied the show (exact scripts, characters, and all) for the one that premieres tonight. What's the point of that? American TV does that a lot, and what makes the shows good is that they are fresh, new, creative. So what do they do? Right! I'm sure they are trying to find a replacement for Friends, but the way to do that is how that show did it in the first place - the way Seinfeld, Cheers, and other hit shows were different from the way others had been. This review in the Tennessean confirms what I thought about Coupling.

7:28:00 PM

Hell Revisited

'All hope abandon ye who enter here'. Yes, Ol' Dante had it right! I'm just trying to figure out which Circle of Hell I'm in right now with these 9th graders. It's definitely a Circle of Hell-on-Earth, which is possibly different from the ones for all eternity. I'm not really sure how that works since I decided quite some time ago to believe in reincarnation instead. Some days I don't even want that to happen unless I can move on to a more civilized planet next time. But I digress. Here are some conversations with students during the last two days.

Before school ...

Me: What kind of drink did you have in my classroom yesterday?
Clueless Boy Student: Dr. Pepper
Me: Where did you get it?
CBS: The drink machine.
Me: Which one?
CBS: Uh, that one over there.
Me: Are you sure?
CBS: Yeah ... why?
Me: Because yesterday morning when I saw you running out of the social studies workroom which is off-limits to you, you acted guilty.
CBS: Uh .... what?
Me: One of the history teachers is missing about half of the case of Dr. Peppers he had in there. You looked suspicious. Did you take them?
Me: Before you make that your final answer, let me explain what could happen to you if you did it. We'll contact your parents, the principals, and the juvenile judge. If you tell me the truth, I might go easier on you, but if you are lying, and I find out - which I will - it will be much worse. So now, tell me; did you take them?
CBS: Why would I be in trouble for that?
Me: It's stealing. You don't think stealing is bad?
CBS: Well, OK. I did it. I took them. I didn't have any money and wanted them.
Me: Then you can do what the rest of us do when we don't have money and want something. You can do without.
CBS: Why were they in there anyway?
Me: That's not the point. The point is that they were not yours and you stole them and need to do something about it.
CBS: I can pay him for them.
Me: That would be a start.
CBS: You want me to apologize to him?
Me: That would help.
Me: I'll talk to him and discuss what we need to do about this. What's your parents' phone number?

No remorse, no clue, nothing!!

During class ....

Pesty Male Student: What's your first name?
Other students: Joy. Her name is Joy. It's Joy.
PMS: How did you ever get to be called that?

Female Narcoleptic Student: I had the strangest dream while I was asleep in your class while ago.

Perhaps Dorothy Parker said it best, "What fresh hell is this?" An eternity of it would be redundant.

2:47:00 PM

Monday, September 22, 2003  
Trivia Quiz

1. PP - What British wit said, upon arriving in America, that he had nothing to declare but his genius?
2. AE - What X-rated film won an Oscar for best picture in the 1960s?
3. HS - What development put the Pony Express out of business in 1861, only a year after it began?
4. SN - What do Red Riding Hood, Minnie Pearl, Queen Elizabeth, and Prince Charles have in common? (this should generate some good answers)
5. SL - What device measures the rate of nitration of a revolving shaft?
6. WC - What is the military slang for a full colonel?
7. MV This is the classic tale of the "bum" who makes something of himself. (so far could be several of them) Ex-football player Carl Leathers portrays another type of athlete in this film. (narrows it down) In 1976, this sporting movie won three Oscars and was nominated for seven others. (these are good clues and don't give it away)

Last Trivia answers posted in first comment section below the quiz. Well done! I'm still chuckling about some of the answers before. Good ones!!

9:09:00 PM

Sunday, September 21, 2003  
Scary Joke

This joke was on Scaryduck's blog. With his permission, which I plan to request, here it is .....

Such is the Vatican's love of the Beatles, it has been decreed that when Pope John Paul eventually dies, the next pontiff will take the title Pope George Ringo.

No groans?

11:44:00 AM


NPR's List of 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 From Book magazine, March/April 2002

What do some of you think about this list? Hey, former Challenge English students who are now sophomores in college, check out #47! Ha!!

This is an interesting article about rescoring the PSATs. See? We English teachers really do sit around and discuss these topics. Scary, isn't it?

Yoko's at it again with Cut Piece. At least she isn't "singing."

Want to see what other people accomplished by your age?

11:30:00 AM

Saturday, September 20, 2003  

Where did that expression "I serve at the pleasure of the President" originate? I can't find the answer by my usual methods of research - Google and asking people - so I'm now asking more people.

Wonder what Elijah Blue Allman is doing now? He's Cher and Gregg Allman's son, you know. I saw someone on TV playing a guitar who looks the way I think he would look now, which is quite a bit like his father. I read that he has a band named Deadsy.

11:48:00 PM

Thursday, September 18, 2003  
House Contest

There aren't enough entries for the essay contest for Cathie Pelletier's house, so please enter it and tell others about it. There's a flyer here at the website to print. I'd at least like the chance to win it, so maybe there will be enough entries this time. They need more publicity. Enter! Tell others! If you win, please invite me over!

10:47:00 PM


I've been watching the news about Isabel and hope the hurricane doesn't do much damage even though it already has. They are really scary! I was thinking about the people who don't evacuate their homes and know I'd get as far away as I could. NPR said about 100+ people on Ocracoke are staying there. I wonder why.

I had an appointment with my gynecologist Tuesday. He recommended that I get off hormones and said the hot flashes and other symptoms should last from 2-4 weeks. I asked about dwindling down from them and am taking half-strength ones now and will taper off. He said that the effects wear off after about 5 years and that after 55 the risk of breast cancer and heart attacks are higher when on HRT. I've been concerned about cardiac issues and will try to get off of them. I told him if I became psycho again, I would take them again. He said my body wasn't ready to be without hormones after my hysterectomy but is now. I hope so because back then I was either on the verge of tears or ready to get in the tower with a hit list. Not a pleasant situation for me or anyone around me. Maybe this won't be too bad. I hope not. I've warned some people just in case.

5:08:00 PM

Monday, September 15, 2003  
Trivia Quiz

Here's the new one. Answers to the previous one are in their usual place - the first comment section under the quiz.

1. PP - Where must you stand naked in order to receive misogi, a ritual Shinto purification? (There should be some amusing answers to this one!!)
2. AE - Who was Jane and Michael Banks's governess?
3. HS - What military leader had five stars sewn into the shoulder of his pajamas? (puh-leeze!!)
4. SN - What is the trade name of tetrafluoroethylene?
5. SL - What game was played on the 1950's late night show, Stump the Stars? (oh, the nostalgia!)
6. WC - What advertising character representing a motor oil once touted as "mellowed 100 million years" was an early hit at the 1964 World's Fair? (I was there)
7. Movie - This film is a charming animal fable. The movie was based on the book The Sheep-Pig? The special effects, combining real animals and computer technology, earned this movie an Oscar for visual effects.

9:43:00 PM

Sunday, September 14, 2003  
Photo Album

New Brendan pictures in the album under Brendan - September 2003. If you didn't see the ones from Kathy's and Luke's birthday party Labor Day, those are in there, too. I took them with Earl's digital camera he is letting me use. Isn't he sweet?

If you click on the photos, they become larger and you can see them more easily.

8:25:00 PM

Hell in a Handbasket

Some of you who aren't attempting to teach students now might not be aware of how well the dumbing down of America has really worked. We're almost there. We need no color-coded alerts, national security, armed forces, or any protection at all (except for condoms - most of these kids don't need to reproduce). We're destroying ourselves from within. No one else needs to bother since we're handling it well with our sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles of junk food, fast food, computer games, video games, etc. That's just the tip of the iceberg. These kids can't think and don't realize they can't. ADHD is rampant. I talked to the mother of one of my 9th grade students who told me she was giving him a drink called Spark to help him focus, calm down, and concentrate. She said it was made of all natural ingredients and gave me the website so I could see for myself. I told her later I looked at the website and thought the products were interesting. Then I mentioned that the drink had some amino acids that should help and that it also had caffeine in it. She said, "Oh, but he (the developer of the products) said there was no more caffeine in it than in a cup of coffee. He'd get that much in the candy bars and Cokes he drinks." There's nothing to say that would do any good here. Whew!! There might be no hope left for our future.

7:42:00 PM

House Contest

Please make copies of this flyer if you are in a position to give it to people who might want to enter the contest. They need more entries, and I want to win the house. :-) Spread the word! Let's get this thing going! Thank you!

12:03:00 PM

Wednesday, September 10, 2003  
Trivia Quiz

I know lots of these (1, 2, 4, 6, and 7) ..... even before I looked at the answers!!! :-) Wow! A record! This hasn't been the case for a while now. Michelle will definitely know #4. MF will know a bunch of them. I know #1 from a project one of my gifted students did.

1. PP - What would a yurt provide for a Mongolian nomad?
2. AE - What famous musical duo was originally known as "Tom and Jerry"?
3. HS - What 11th century event is depicted in the famous "Bayeux Tapestry"?
4. SN - What part of the body is examined by an iridologist?
5. SL - Who is the only person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach?
6. WC - What does the Scot term, wee bairn, refer to?
7. MV - A disappearing photograph is a problem for a teenager on a mission. Huey Lewis had a short cameo in this film. The bully in this comedy was a beefy boy named Biff.

7:26:00 PM

Sunday, September 07, 2003  
No Child Left Behind

Since I believe that the No Child Left Behind Act is a ploy by the current misadministration to discredit public education so they can get their vouchers, I decided to post this email I got about it. I think private schools should be judged with the same tests, so there is a basis for comparison. ACT and SAT scores are compared, but it's very similar to the dentist story below.

Subject: No Child Left Behind Act

If you don't understand why educators resent the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT, this may help. If you do understand, you'll enjoy this analogy. It was written by John S. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools for the Lancaster County School District.

The Best Dentist

"Absolutely" the Best Dentist

My dentist is great! He sends me reminders so I don't forget checkups. He uses the latest techniques based on research. He never hurts me, and I've got all my teeth, so when I ran into him the other day, I was eager to see if he'd heard about the new state program. I knew he'd think it was great.

"Did you hear about the new state program to measure effectiveness of dentists with their young patients?" I said.

"No," he said. He didn't seem too thrilled. "How will they do that?"

"It's quite simple," I said. "They will just count the number of cavities each patient has at age 10, 14, and 18 and average that to determine a dentist's rating. Dentists will be rated as Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and Unsatisfactory. That way parents will know which are the best dentists. It will also encourage the less effective dentists to get better," I said. "Poor dentists who don't improve could lose their licenses to practice."

"That's terrible," he said.

"What? That's not a good attitude," I said. "Don't you think we should try to improve children's dental health in this state?"

"Sure I do," he said, "but that's not a fair way to determine who is practicing good dentistry."

"Why not?" I said. "It makes perfect sense to me."

"Well, it's so obvious," he said. "Don't you see that dentists don't all work with the same clientele; so much depends on things we can't control? For example," he said, "I work in a rural area with a high percentage of patients from deprived homes, while some of my colleagues work in upper middle class neighborhoods. Many of the parents I work with don't bring their children to see me until there is some kind of problem and I don't get to do much preventive work. Also," he said, "many of the parents I serve let their kids eat way too much candy from an early age, unlike
more educated parents who understand the relationship between sugar and decay. To top it all off," he added, "so many of my clients have well water which is untreated and has no fluoride in it. Do you have any idea how much
difference early use of fluoride can make?"

"It sounds like you're making excuses," I said. I couldn't believe my dentist would be so defensive. He does a great job.

"I am not!" he said. "My best patients are as good as anyone's, my work is as good as anyone's, but my average cavity count is going to be higher than a lot of other dentists because I chose to work where I am needed most."

"Don't get touchy," I said.

"Touchy?" he said. His face had turned red and from the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaws, I was afraid he was going to damage his teeth.

"Try furious. In a system like this, I will end up being rated average, below average, or worse. My more educated patients who see these ratings may believe this so-called rating actually is a measure of my ability and proficiency as a dentist. They may leave me, and I'll be left with only the most needy patients. Any my cavity average score will get even worse.

On top of that, how will I attract good dental hygienists and other excellent dentists to my practice if it is labeled below average?"

"I think you are overreacting," I said. "'Complaining, excuse making and stonewalling won't improve dental health'...I am quoting from a leading member of the DOC," I noted.

"What's the DOC?" he asked.

"It's the Dental Oversight Committee," I said, "a group made up of mostly laypersons to make sure dentistry in this state gets improved."

"Spare me," he said, "I can't believe this. Reasonable people won't buy it," he said hopefully.

The program sounded reasonable to me, so I asked, "How else would you measure good dentistry?"

"Come watch me work," he said. "Observe my processes."

"That's too complicated and time consuming," I said. "Cavities are the bottom line, and you can't argue with the bottom line. It's an absolute measure."

"That's what I'm afraid my parents and prospective patients will think. This can't be happening," he said despairingly.

"Now, now," I said, "don't despair. The state will help you some."

"How?" he said.

"If you're rated poorly, they'll send a dentist who is rated excellent to help straighten you out," I said brightly.

"You mean," he said, "they'll send a dentist with a wealthy clientele to show me how to work on severe juvenile dental problems with which I have probably had much more experience? Big help."

"There you go again," I said. "You aren't acting professionally at all."

"You don't get it," he said. "Doing this would be like grading schools and teachers on an average score on a test of children's progress without regard to influences outside the school, the home, the community served and stuff like that. Why would they do something so unfair to dentists? No one would ever think of doing that to schools."

I just shook my head sadly, but he had brightened. "I'm going to write my representatives and senator," he said. "I'll use the school analogy-surely they will see the point."

He walked off with that look of hope mixed with fear and suppressed anger that I see in the mirror so often lately.

Extra comment by the one who forwarded it: This is certainly true. Another friend who was a hospital administrator said that he thought teachers should be fired if even one child could not learn to read. I reminded him that many of his patients did not leave his facility alive or cured.

10:54:00 PM


Check out the photos I took at Kathy's and Luke's birthday party Monday. It was at Mark's sister Vicki's house. I've added and/or rearranged photos in the other albums for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! Comment!! Email! Something please!

1:13:00 AM

Saturday, September 06, 2003  
Good Advice

This is hilarious! Father and Son

11:26:00 PM

Answers Trivial

Answers to the Trivia Quiz are on the first comment section after the questions. Some odd information in there. Thanks again for taking the time to be witty and clever! I enjoy reading what you have to say. Goodness knows I need that now! I'm having a bleak outlook for the future based on my 9th grade English classes - especially one of them. It's looking grim, folks. Not sure I can call myself a teacher now. I try to teach - explain, give examples, write on the board, all that .... but no one seems to hear me. Yes, it's Charlie Brown's teacher up there! That's what I'm doing. Droning away and interrupting their social time with nothing they consider of any importance. Perhaps I need to become a phone sex operator. At least someone would listen. Well, maybe.

4:19:00 PM

Thursday, September 04, 2003  
Various Things

We had a good time Monday at Kathy's. She liked the shrubbery we took her (crape myrtle and hydrangea). It was good to spend some time with them again. I have some pictures I'll post from the visit soon and will let you know.

9:41:00 PM

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