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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, August 30, 2004  

I've been grading Scarlet Letter tests and am so sleepy.

Did I mention that I'm going to Disney World? Those of us who taught in the Credit Recovery program are getting to go to a conference on Plato, that computer program we use for it. Kim and I (who refer to ourselves as Lucy and Ethel since that's how we felt this summer while working out the kinks doing this for the first time) are going and so are Molly and Kimberly from Dickson County High School - we were all on the phone quite often with each other to compare notes. They are all so much fun, so it should be a good trip. We're looking forward to learning more about the program and getting away for a while. It will be September 20 - 22.

11:02:00 PM

Sunday, August 29, 2004  
Technical Difficulties

Comcast had problems today, so we had no connection for the internet and email all afternoon and into the night. It also affected the cable TV channels. The local ones were a little fuzzy, and all of the cable channels didn't function - just snow. Fortunately, I could still watch the Olympics. Not sure what I'll do now other than have Olympics withdrawal. Then to make matters worse, the Republican Convention will be on. If there isn't any more coverage of it than there was the Democratic Convention, it will barely be on. I do plan to watch some of it even though the speakers (Guiliani, Arnold, and McCain) don't represent the actions of the ones running things and platform of the party. That's an advantage actually for me to listen to until I think about how they are manipulating all those one-issue, misguided people to vote against their own best interests. I watched the DNC on public TV, CSPAN, and MSNBC, and not FOX where I will be certain not to watch the RNC. I'll probably watch C-SPAN. They don't interrupt the speeches with so many commentaries and show entire speeches, not the sound bites chosen by some.

It's come to my attention (not by others but myself) that I've become a curmudgeon. Now I don't like that Coca-cola commercial with the too-sweet singer with the Stepford smile giving out Cokes to people on the street. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard. She sings, "I wish I could show all the love in my heart." Now that's a nice message. What's wrong with me? Earl said I was on the wrong medication.

10:51:00 PM

Saturday, August 28, 2004  

from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - What company is Roger Smith the CEO of in Roger & Me? (by Michael's favorite documentarian)
2. TV - What husband and wife mime team got their own show in 1977? (I was busy doing other things in the 70's)
3. MUSIC - What singer belonged to the "Church of the Poison Mind"?
4. SPORTS & GAMES - What was the very first coin-operated video game, introduced in 1971?
5. BUZZ - What TV sitcom star and his wife are spokespeople for Irritable Bowel Syndrome research? (let the comments begin!)
6. FAD - What animal is featured on Gloria Vanderbilt jeans? (and on her perfume)

from the "Know-It-All" Edition ...

7. PEOPLE & PLACES - Whom did Time magazine name as its first "Woman of the Year"? (I find this interesting ... more comments later)
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Where did Washington Irving's Ichabod Crane teach school?
9. HISTORY - What did England issue for the first time in 1840 to do away with a cumbersome system that calculated individual weights and distances?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What eye-catching device was invented in the 17th century by Anton van Leeuwenhoek?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - What wheeled invention has been ascribed to Joseph Merlin of Belgium in 1760?
12. WILD CARD - What trademark, picturing a boy and his dog, long outlived the 1902 Richard Outcault comic strip that created the characters? (I remember this commercial)

11:37:00 AM

Sunday, August 22, 2004  
Retirement Ruminations

There will be quite a few of these in the months to come. Right now I have some ideas about how to answer the question I'll get about what I plan to do after I retire. So far I've come up with these options:

I am going to be a shepherd and sit on a hill with my border collie I'll name Mr. Coach. Possibly I'll call him MC for short. He and I will watch over the flock by night and an angel will appear unto us. This angel will be the state lottery representative presenting me a check for $23 million clear. That's my plan.

I'm going to take in laundry. Money. I'll be a money launderer. I'd think that might pay off pretty well unless I get caught. Maybe I can get Martha's cell in a better prison - which will be cheaper than a nursing home.

Do any of you know what is involved to get one of those merchant numbers or whatever they are called? I want to be able to go to that market where vendors have everything in the world for shop owners to purchase for their stores. I guess I'd have to get a business license. How difficult is that without a business? But with a license I'd be in business. Then I can sell the things I get at market on ebay or maybe from my hill while MC keeps an eye on the sheep. This could be a third option for my answers even though I don't know much about ebay.

OK, I'll get back to grading papers now. My mind wanders, so I might be back.

4:23:00 PM


As inspiring as the Olympics are, dreams are dashed for many of them. Just to be there to compete is amazing and an accomplishment most people could never come close to achieving. I felt so sad for Paula Radcliffe in the marathon when she ran out of steam at the 22nd mile. Her face said it all. That course and the heat/humidity in Athens was grueling and much more difficult than the Boston Marathon according to the announcers. The hill at the end of it is huge. I don't know how they do it.

12:20:00 PM

Olympic Commercials

My favorite commercial during the Olympics is Emerald Nuts. Their website is funny, too, and has the commercials on there as well as some other clever things. Have you seen these? They are hilarious. The Harley commercials are funny, too. The one with Michael Phelps swimming across the ocean isn't too bad.

The commerical I don't like is the Southwest Airlines one with the Grandfather on the phone with his grandson who points out all the times "Grampy" hasn't been there to see him. It makes me feel guilty which I can do very well on my own.

Most annoying by far (perhaps even more than that zoom-zoom car commercial) is the one about that chicken from McDonald's. Argh!!

Generally, I tune out the commercials but do enjoy a few of them. Some of them are impossible to ignore either because they are entertaining or irritating.

Which ones annoy you and do you like?

11:48:00 AM

Saturday, August 21, 2004  

from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - What 1988 drama starred Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as FBI agents investigating missing civil rights activists?
2. TV - What does Robert often do with his food before eating it on Everybody Loves Raymond?
3. MUSIC - What Super Bowl XIII quarterback did Hollywood Henderson say "couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him C and an A"?
4. SPORTS & GAMES - What color jersey is worn by the Tour de France competitor with the fastest overall time?
5. BUZZ - What basketball superstar claimed in his biography to have slept with 20,000 women?
6. FAD - What's the Australian hair-removal product created by infomercial star Sue Ismiel? (never heard of it or of Sue but thought Janey could test her Aussie pop culture trivia)

from the "Know-It-All" Edition ...

7. PEOPLE & PLACES - What ancient, friendly sect of people still lives in Nablus, Jordan?
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - What was the name of David Lynch's surreal prime-time soap opera of the 1980s?
9. HISTORY - Who abdicated his throne to marry an American divorcee because British law would not permit a divorced woman to be Queen?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What natural product did 18th century English agriculture expert Jethro Tull recommend for more productive farming?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - What was IBM's nickname for its chess-playing machine that defeated world champion Garry Kasparov?
12. WILD CARD - What is the name of the belly-buttonless Pillsbury Doughboy?

11:32:00 PM

Thursday, August 19, 2004  
Tense Watching

How about Paul Hamm last night? I couldn't believe he managed to overcome that stumble and fall and get a gold medal. His shoulder obviously hurt him from the look on his face. I was on the edge of my seat watching that swimming relay race the US won. More gymnastics and swimming tonight.

If TV adds 10 lbs. to a person, I can't imagine how thin Svetlana must be. My favorite on the U.S. team is Mohini. What a hard time she had to get there and what a great attitude.

6:54:00 PM

Tuesday, August 17, 2004  
Olympic Observations

Seems to me that being the same size would be an advantage in synchronized diving. The Chinese were almost identical. Was it the Aussie duo who looked like Mutt and Jeff? (and who remembers that reference? LOL) I wouldn't do that event because it seems impossible to coordinate exactly with another person on every move. I'd dive by myself but row on a team unless I'm the yippy dog coxswain.

The really impossible feats are the male gymnasts and those rings, pommel horse, and other things they do that involve all that upper-body strength and balance. It's also interesting to notice the various body types and sports. Swimmers look like exclamation points with their top-heavy shoulders and arms. Gymnasts are more compact except for the females who all look 11 years old. It's sad somehow. The weight lifters look like a transformer or some robotic children's toy. And on it goes.

8:19:00 AM

Sunday, August 15, 2004  

If y'all disagree with me about something I write here, feel free to comment. I wondered how any of you felt about the tattered flag at Salt Lake City. I'm used to being challenged since I am a teacher and do make mistakes grading papers and making out tests sometimes. School isn't like it was when some of you were in high school. "Nuh-uh" and other ways to let me know they think I'm wrong are expressed. It always happens when we study forms of verbs and I bring up "hanged" since they never accept it. I try not to go too far with this explanation, however, since saying "pictures are hung; people are hanged" has led to Beavis and Butthead reactions.

7:22:00 PM


from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - Who wrote the stories that became the movies The Green Mile, Stand By Me, and The Shawshank Redemption?
2. TV - What future Oscar nominee played Cowboy Curtis on Pee-Wee's Playhouse?
3. MUSIC - What is located "in the middle of our street"?
4. SPORTS & GAMES - In the Gauntlet arcade game, what item are you told repeatedly not to shoot?
5. BUZZ - What country was childhood actress Shirley Temple the U.S. ambassador to?
6. FAD - What was the name of the line of 70's stickers that spoofed popular logos, boxes, wrappers, and products?

from the "Know-It-All" Edition ...

7. PEOPLE & PLACES - Which of the major Hawaiian Islands is the most recently formed?
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - What is the pseudonym of William Sydney Porter, who began writing short stories under an alias while in prison?
9. HISTORY - Who earned the nickname "Lady with the Lamp" for her nighttime efforts establishing a battlefield hospital for wounded British soldiers?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What whale, now extinct in the North Atlantic, is considered the largest animal that ever lived?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - What contact sport often rewarded the winner with a ram in early England? (several things I could say here)
12. WILD CARD - What Marvin Gaye tune launched the successful advertising campaign of the animated, dancing California Raisins?

7:07:00 PM

Olympic Events

Given the ability to do it, which event would you enter? I don't think I'd like to be in the water as much as the swimmers are even though that's something a person can always do long afterwards and might choose that. I don't know how any two people do the synchronized diving. That has to be unbelievably hard to be a mirror image of someone else during all those dives, and the Chinese divers were perfection. Their athletes are all so well-trained. I'm looking forward to seeing Phelps and Thorpe swim against each other. They are both so tall and talented and ready. It was touching how emotional Thorpe was after his win last night.

The US basketball team is sucking right now. Puerto Rico is beating them big time. Argentina and Serbia's game was exciting until the last seconds. Iraq managed to get a soccer team there even though their practice field was destroyed (destructed as the announcer said ... it wasn't Bob Costas obviously). Since NBC owns so many other stations, the Olympics is availabe on NBC, Bravo, CNBC, USA, and MSNBC. I'll be retired during the next Winter Games in 2006 and can watch it all the time. I'm in the must-watch-cannot-miss mode now but will have to do other things part of the time, like work, grade papers, type tests, and other such interruptions.

During the Summer Olympics, I think I'd choose rowing. It's good exercise for the whole body and appeals to me. No weight lifting, boxing, judo, or gymnastics.

In the Winter Olympics, I'd like to do figure skating or the ski jump.! They are flying there for a while. Not the luge - how scary!

What about you?

1:09:00 PM

Friday, August 13, 2004  

I really do - from the opening ceremonies until the closing. This one in Athens was awesome. The mythology, literature, and history contributed material that made it incredible visually. The Greeks invented drama, so it's not surprising that this would be spectacular. Highlights from past years were watching Muhhamad Ali take part in Atlanta and the lighting of the flame by the arrow in LA.

It's helpful to see the population of various countries and the number of athletes they send to the Olympics. I get a lump in my throat to see the few that some countries were able to send and was glad Iraq had representatives with all that's going on there. Speaking of which, is that a myth that peace has traditionally been observed during the Olympics? It really bothers me when politics becomes involved in the Olympics since it should be above all that. As much as I like Jimmy Carter, his having us boycott the Olympics that time was wrong to me. These athletes represent the best a person can be and tests what s/he is made of. Because of age and other factors, that was the only chance many of them had to compete. It dashed their dreams. I didn't agree with it at all. Just as the one in jujitsu (I think) wouldn't compete with an Israeli because his country didn't recognize Israel. No one can help being born into a certain country or what that country's government does and shouldn't be penalized for it. I thought it was tacky, expoitive, and melodramatic for us to bring out the tattered flag from the World Trade Center during opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City. It was a horrible tragedy but not something that needed to be highlighted at that time.

I will be glued to the TV during the events of this Olympics, just as I am for them all. The stories of the athletes and their families inspire me. Their efforts are elevating. I'm so proud of all of the ones who made it there and are realizing the glory and accomplishment of being there. These athletes have devoted their lives to the pursuit of excellence in their fields. I applaud them all.

11:28:00 PM

Wednesday, August 11, 2004  
Birth Announcement

Jacob Carter Durham made his appearance last night at 11:24, weighing in at 9 lbs 2 oz and measuring 22" long. Angela was at Vanderbilt Hospital all day along with Andy, her parents and brother, Butch, and Janelle. Both mother and baby made it fine and are doing well. Butch called me around midnight to let me know. He and Janelle think he looks like Andy. They are going to call him Carter.

It's going to be fun to see all the cousins together - six in all! I have four, and Butch has two. Three girls and three boys in this order: Kelsey, Kari, Luke, Brendan, Allyson, and Carter.

6:01:00 PM

Quiz (Do-Over)

Those other cards weren't good ones, so here are two more:

from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - Who played super-capitalist Sidney J. Mussberger in The Hudsucker Proxy?
2. TV - What band's name was on Butt-head's favorite T-shirt?
3. MUSIC - What boxer was challenged to a fight in a 1989 song by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince?
4. SPORTS & GAMES - In 1994, who became the first athlete to play in both a World Series and a Super Bowl?
5. BUZZ - What religion is John Travolta an active member of?
6. FAD - What Disney theme park attraction spawned its own film starring Johnny Depp?

from the "Know-It-All" Edition ...

7. PEOPLE &amp;amp; PLACES - What 18th-century diplomat wrote an almanac of wit and wisdom under the pseudonym "Richard Saunders"?
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Which captain fought the mutiny on the Bounty?
9. HISTORY - Who were the "few" referred to in Churchill's declaration, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What Australian reef-building creature exhibits peculiar magnetic qualities which affect compasses?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - What popular American game was first sold in the U.S. in 1867 after being adapted from the "Game of India"?
12. WILD CARD - What is the origin of the expression "point blank" or "white spot"?

5:40:00 PM

Monday, August 09, 2004  

Has anyone figured out how darts could have been the answer to that question on the last trivia quiz? Maybe the score was a typo. Perhaps I should google it.

11:54:00 PM

Saturday, August 07, 2004  

from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - Who played Mission Commander Professor John Robinson in the movie version of Lost in Space?
2. TV - Who replaced Bo and Luke Duke for a season of The Dukes of Hazard?
3. MUSIC - What band backed up MTV VJ Jesse Camp on his 1999 debut album? (way too old to know this one)
4. SPORTS & GAMES - What Steelers captain lost the overtime coin toss during a 1998 game because the referee misheard him?
5. BUZZ - What was the name given to Andy Warhol's studio?
6. FAD - What writer is listed as Raoul Duke on Rolling Stone's masthead?

from the "Know-It-All" Edition ...

7. PEOPLE & PLACES - What country provides the setting for the opera William Tell?
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - What movie studio was founded in 1923 by brothers Albert, Harry, Jack, and Samuel?
9. HISTORY - What Renaissance man and artist is credited with being the inventor of the scissors?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What alkaline solution is obtained by treating ashes with water?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - What popular game, invented by an out-of-work architect after the Depression, was originally called Criss-Cross Words? (Paige and I met at a Welcome Wagon meeting and became friends when we played this game. It was our first meeting and others were playing bridge. Little did they know that Paige was a contract bridge player, but this worked out well for us anyway.)
12. WILD CARD - What characters, played by the comedy team of Bob and Ray, gained national fame in spite of their beer being available only on the East Coast? (I think I remember the name of the beer but not the names of the characters.)

10:05:00 AM

Skool Daze

Well, it definitely has been a daze this first week back. I do like the modified year-round schedule because of the two-week vacations every nine weeks (quarters). Then we have almost two months in the summer. Since I worked at school this summer, I had two and a half weeks off but made the big bucks for my extra work which was supposed to last a month but took longer (same pay).

All of us teachers have discussed how tired we were all week. Being back, standing on concrete floors (covered in tile but still concrete underneath), talking most of the day, learning names, getting new classes started, juggling changes of students, making assignments, already grading papers, and all the other fun stuff we get to do which also includes not getting to go to the bathroom whenever we want to and having less than half an hour to walk all the way to the cafeteria, choose from the bad selections offered, go back to the workroom, gobble down lunch, try to have some conversation with other adults, and get back to the kids. It's a strange job.

I already have a test on nouns, a five-paragraph essay, and the summer reading list folders to grade this weekend. Thirty of the folders and eighty-six of the others. Then it starts all over agtain next week. English teachers always have papers to grade - grammar, vocabulary, and literature tests, homework, essays, research papers, and more. Yes, I'm thinking about retirement and how soon I can work this out. And leave all this fun? I know. The magazine drive, homecoming, pep rallies, and all kinds of fund raisers are coming up. Think of the time and money I will have and can spend with and on grandchildren. :-)

9:50:00 AM

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