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

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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.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005  
Little Stolen Penguin

Some of the news reports say March of the Penguins influenced that horrible person to steal that baby penguin from the Isle of Wight zoo. I can understand how the documentary would create more interest in them, but knowing what the parents go through to feed the baby penguins and how dependent they are would keep someone from taking one, I'd think. On NBC news tonight they said the zoo people said they would increase security and install cameras in their area.

I watched the special features on the DVD today and am so impressed with those Emperor penguins.

10:28:00 PM

I'm Back!

What a wonderful Christmas I had spending time with family and enjoying it all! We have all these wonderful little grandchildren in the family now which makes it even better. Ally (20 months) was here Thanksgiving since Amy and Chris alternate years with those holidays, but Carter (16 months) and Brendan (32 months) were at Mother's for Christmas. I just decided to do that month thing since it was easier than typing more, so of course this explanation is longer than that would have been. I'm a mystery. I'll round off the ages of the Sivlings - Kelsey is 12, Kari 10, and Luke 7. They're growing up so fast! The globe was a big hit, thank goodness! It really is cool.

We watched some of the kids' new movies when I visited Kathy. I've started taking some when I visit, too. Last year I took Spellbound, a documentary about the National Spelling Bee. Kelsey is always in their spelling bees, and I've judged them, so we all enjoyed watching the contestants and their families to see how they prepared and what their lives were like. This year I took March of the Penguins and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Kathy requested that since she hadn't seen it in a long time. The girls were too literal at first, asked questions with the answers "because it's funnier that way," and then got into it really well. I told them they need to learn to appreciate British humor for when I find that Englishman of my very own.

We all decided that if we were animals, we never want to be an Emperor penguin, especially in the Antarctic. Their lives suck big time! The males go 4 months without eating and the females 3 from the time they march many miles to the breeding area where the ice is thicker and away from seals until the egg hatches. After the mother lays the egg, she transfers it to the father's feet where he protects it from harsh conditions in 75 - 128 below zero while she weakly travels around 70 miles back to the sea to feed on fish while surviving leopard seal attacks. If the egg isn't transferred successfully and quickly, it freezes in seconds. When the baby penguin hatches, it has to stay there protected by the father's feet and abdomen or it will freeze to death. Upon the mother's return, she regurgitates to feed the little penguin, and the father treks to the sea to feed himself. They continue to take turns until it's time to go back where they were before this journey. They have the hardest lives! The documentary is filmed beautifully. One of the special features shows how the penguins aren't afraid of humans and let them walk around right with them. The director said they couldn't stay out there more than 3 hours before they had to return to base camp. I don't know how they stood it there for a year and hope they get an Oscar to go along with all the other awards this film has received. Morgan Freeman was a wonderful narrator and added to the film. See it if you get a chance.

Some of my presents were a warm, fuzzy robe, Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, some Pampered Chef things I'm excited about, Eddie Izzard DVDs (love his mind), and this wonderful scrapbook calendar from Kathy. I asked her to make me some kind of scrapbook that showed what happened during the year, and she made that for me. I can put the pages in an album she also gave me. I'd been sort of interested in learning how to do this and went to Scrapbook Heaven where Kathy's sister-in-law Vicki and her best friend Terry were there working on theirs. (the crack house, as they call it) They teach classes there and are really good at it. Terry advised me about what to buy for my initial investment, so now I'm going to have another addictive hobby. That's OK. It could be much worse.

I called Tina while I was driving home (also Earl) and found out she is into scrapbooking big time, so I stopped by her house on my way home to show her my stuff and to see some of her albums. She's right in there with Terry and Vicki. Now I'll have guidance and someone to teach me what to do. We're already planning trips to Franklin, Clarksville, and Michael's. What is so good is to have time now for my hobbies.

How was your Christmas? What did you do? Tell me things!

11:22:00 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2005  
Merry Happy Ho Ho

Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Cool Kwanzaa, Swinging Solstice, enjoyable vacation, or whatever you celebrate this time of year. Enjoy your Holiday Tree, Holiday Mennorah, and Holiday Candles. Now that all the PC BS is out of the way, let’s celebrate our traditions!

We’re all going to Mother’s today and will open presents tonight. Brian, Melissa, Brendan, and I are spending the night, and everyone will gather back there for our traditional country ham breakfast Christmas morning. I usually go to Kathy’s after Christmas but will probably drive down Christmas Day this time and stay a few days. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and enjoying our own traditions. See you again next week!

10:32:00 AM

Friday, December 23, 2005  
Book Lover's Quiz

Answers are in the Squawkbox comment.

1. Children's - What Sandra Boynton book is fittingly subtitled Pigorian Chant from Snouto Domoinko de Silo? [this is hilarious - I bought it for Brendan's parents]
2. Classics - What novel by Bernard Malamud reveals the fate of Yabov Bok, a Jewish handyman accused of murdering a Christian boy to obtain his blood?
3. Non-Fiction - What prominent 20th-century Republican is one of the nine World War II airmen celebrated in Flyboys?
4. Book Club - Whose novel A Patchwork Planet introduced "Rent-a-Back," a service that sends employees to do heavy lifting for the elderly?
5. Authors - What New York novelist is credited with spiking up sales of Manolo Blahnik shoes?
6. Book Bag - What former Scottish pickle-packer penned a flowery saga about a Victorian prostitute, called The Crimson Petal and the White?

I don't know but two of these.

10:05:00 AM

Thursday, December 22, 2005  
Reality Shows and Other Fiction

Well, we weren't that surprised that Dawna became Martha's apprentice. I think she'll fit in there really well. Bethenny is too high-maintenance, intense, and clueless about people. Now, let's discuss Alex, who was trying to explain something to her mother and asked if she were listening to her or playing with her iPod. Did you notice that? Either they are close enough to have that exchange (Brian and I do that sometimes), too many things were going on, or something. I did read that Alexis fainted when the verdict was read and that she visited her mother regularly in prison. She doesn't seem to have much personality, and until she mentioned her radio show on Sirius, she hadn't said more than one sentence at most. Interesting anyway.

Now on to Project Runway. What a shocker to Santino that he was almost gone! Those were some ugly pieces he designed. He has had those pleaty ruffly bits on most of his designs so far. They criticized Daniel F.'s designs as being too similar, but all of the other designers' lines were, too, so I don't get that as a reason for him to go. I liked him. This was a difficult way to eliminate someone, and as Heidi said, there's too much emphasis on the team leader. I thought some of them got a free ride who aren't as good as Daniel F. I agreed that Daniel V's line was the best and that Santino's the worst, as well as the order of the other two. Check them out here.

I didn't expect Santino to cry and melt down. What a divo! At least Andrae held it together and didn't get on my nerves this week. It's still too soon to tell about some of them. I can't tell what I think about Guadalupe. She's sort of weird but maybe just quirky. I think I like Zulema, Chloe, Daniel V, Heidi, and Marla, but it's too soon to tell about the quiet ones. I look forward to it and am glad it's back. You can catch up on the episodes on Bravo because they run them fairly often if you want to check it out. I'm glad to have people to talk to about it. What did you think?

10:04:00 AM

Wednesday, December 21, 2005  

I meant to mention the death of John Spencer and how much he will be missed on West Wing. His character shared the ticket with Jimmy Smits's character for who I hope will be the next president, replacing Martin Sheen's Jeb Bartlett who is my idea of a real president. Alan Alda makes his character a likeable Republican reminiscent of decades ago. I enjoyed John Spencer's performance on LA Law and especially on West Wing where his Leo McGarry was the anchor of the administration. I was looking forward to his continuing on the show, which hasn't been the same since Aaron Sorkin quit writing for it. I'm sticking with it until the end though.

Also missed are Richard Pryor, who was a comic genius, and William Proxmire and Eugene McCarthy who were politicans worth admiring.

6:24:00 PM

Blog Question

I thought there was a place on the settings where we could decide if links would be accessed in the same window or another one. I can't find it and would like to change mine. I thought when I first set up my blog, that I had to decide that. Anyone know where it is on Blogger?

Also there's the case of that useless comment thingy that goes nowhere. I have checked the template (obsessively) and can't figure out how to get rid of it. It's the second one on the line below Squawkbox that says "Comments." I had to reinstall the Haloscan comments because they didn't show up. Also had to reinstall the Moon Phases and Guest Map. But I digress ....

11:00:00 AM

Monday, December 19, 2005  
New Look for 1000th Post

Thanks to the guidance and expertise of Scaryduck Llewellyn-Bowen, my blog has been redecorated to this more subdued version of its former self. What do you think of the changes?

10:21:00 PM

'Tis the Season

Gifts. Shopping. Rushing. Food. Family. Juggling time and location. Yes, it's the Christmas season again! In our family we've gone from everyone's giving gifts to everyone else to drawing names to now giving gifts to the little ones and our immediate family members. This has simplified that part of it, and we now open gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning because Brian's generation has other places to go. We still have the big country ham breakfast Christmas morning, and some of us stick around and others go to other family member's homes. Things change with the difference in family dynamics. I miss what used to be, enjoy what is, and wonder about future celebrations now that I'm in the grandmother category.

According to this article, gift cards are cop-outs. I can see their point, but I've given them for people who are hard to buy for and for those I know like a certain place or have a hobby I don't understand. Is it a disappointment to receive a gift card? Does it keep people from learning to give and accept gifts graciously? It is an easy way out but depends on the people involved. I like getting gift cards, especially when they are for a place I like to shop or for some service that I do anyway (like for my massage therapist and movies). Gifts are given to show someone we like, appreciate, and care about someone and reflect our thoughtfulness in recognizing who they are and what warms their hearts and makes them smile (or laugh).

What do you think?

1:55:00 PM

Saturday, December 17, 2005  

Answers are posted in the Squawkbox comment place.

from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - What character has been played by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, and Ben Affleck?
2. TV - What was John Cage's nickname on Ally McBeal?
3. MUSIC - What Rick James classic did MC Hammer sample for "Can't Touch This"?
4. SPORTS & GAMES - Whose shoulder did Jana Novotna cry on after losing the Steffi Graf in the 1993 Wimbledon finals?
5. BUZZ - What political party was Howard Stern the New York gubernatorial candidate for? [why is that the adjective instead of governorial?]
6. FAD - What's the term for the pale-skinned, black-garbed Marilyn Manson look?

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

7. PEOPLE & PLACES - What object from the Seinfeld television series is hung on the wall of Jerry Seinfeld's real New York apartment?
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Which part of the female body was considered obscene by the ancient Chinese?
9. History - Which great Greek philosopher's work survived primarily in the form of lecture notes to his pupils?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What is the common name for what inventor Sir Isaac Pitman termed "phonography"?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - What game would your English opponent say you were playing if you were in a checkers tournament ?
12. WILD CARD - Where did kilts originate?

I don't know many of these.

5:55:00 PM


I thought Randal might win from the beginning so wasn't surprised that he did. It was surprising that he didn't want Rebecca included in being hired when asked by the Donald, though. I guess he didn't want to be the first to share the winning position. As Trump said, nothing they say has anything to do with what goes on in the board room. What did you think about it?

5:47:00 PM

Christmas Shopping and Other Pleasures

Yesterday Mother and I went shopping and finished what we needed to do. Now I need to wrap. We had lunch at the Front Porch and had salmon with dill butter, potato pancakes, and a salad. Then I had an appointment with Jim. So another full day of activity along with today which rounds out a busy week. I've enjoyed it and gotten a lot done. Wednesday I went to Clarksville with Rachel to get her car serviced and then shopping. We got lots done and then had dinner at the Olive Garden. I ate too much and was miserable. The portions there are large, and the Chicken Marsala was too good.

I went to Creekwood this morning to see some of the teachers. It's my first visit there since I retired, and it was fine since it was a half-day right before the winter two-week break. It felt very familiar there, but I don't miss it. I did really enjoy seeing some of the teachers and catching up with them. Tina and I went to lunch at the Hickerson Hotel afterwards and checked out the 50%-off sale. I got myself a little hanging sign that says, "Hard work has a future pay off, but laziness pays off now." It sums up my retirement attitude.

I went by Mother's and visited a little while and then went by where Jill works and talked with her quite a while. I know all this is really fascinating.

1:25:00 AM

Wednesday, December 14, 2005  
Project Runway

Tonight they designed a dress for teenage Barbie. They made a dress for their models and a little replica for the Barbie dolls they had. It was fun to watch and see what they imagined. Santino is definitely not a good loser. He was first the first week, second place last week (Chloe won), and in second place again this week. Nick won with a colorful, flippy outfit - definitely the best one. Santino was in disbelief, which I sort of enjoyed since he was so bitchy last week when Chloe won and ungracious this week. Andrae didn't cry this week, thank goodness, but still got too emotional about his model's not wearing the wig. I'm not sure I can take him much longer, and judging from their expressions, I'm not sure the judges can either. I agreed about the winner and loser. It's going to be rough for Marla, I think, but she's hanging in there. Raymundo went home this week. Auf weidersehen.

9:58:00 PM

Tuesday, December 13, 2005  
Active Life

Today was quite busy. The retired teacher's luncheon was at King's Court, so I got to visit with friends and be social. Then I had a bunch of errands to run and accomplished quite a bit. Linda came down for an appointment with Jim, so I met her afterwards for dinner at Applebees. Salmon, steamed vegetables, rice pilaf all made me feel virtuous. We sat around and talked and caught up which was fun. I made it to the school board meeting where they discussed our insurance options. We retired teachers never know what's going on since no one thinks to let us know or let's us vote on anything. I was the token retired teacher and felt like an activist.

When I got home, a gift bag was hanging on my door with framed photographs inside of Butch and Janelle's family and one of Ally and Carter together. How sweet and thoughtful! I'm still smiling.

7:55:00 PM

Monday, December 12, 2005  
Just As I Thought!

When I wear my Disney t-shirt, Brendan points out the characters on it. Because I told him so, he says, "Grammy is a little bit goofy." Turns out to be true, only not such a little bit! Sleeping Beauty next, huh? I can see that, too. I have a 63% chance of Prince Charming kissing me and waking me up, I suppose. Or am I just being Goofy?

You scored as Goofy. Your alter ego is Goofy! You are fun and great to be around, and you are always willing to help others. You aren't worried about embarrassing yourself, so you are one who is more willing to try new things.



Sleeping Beauty


Peter Pan


The Beast








Cruella De Ville


Snow White


Donald Duck


Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with

2:06:00 PM

Sunday, December 11, 2005  
Real Fave

My second favorite reality show was on last week - Project Runway on Bravo! We got to find out what the ones from last season are doing now and got to see the winner Jay, Austin, Kara, and the dreadful Wendy at the screenings for contestants. Two contestants were eliminated and not too surprisingly. Here at the beginning, just like last time, some emerge as better than the others. Last week Santine and Chloe won. Andrae broke down and cried inappropriately which was uncomfortable. He might not last long. I haven't figured out which ones I like best yet and which ones get on my nerves. I hope there isn't another Wendy Pepper in this group, but one of them has tendencies in that direction. I'll label the posts about Project Runway developments, so those of you who don't care and don't want to know can avoid them. I know how that is. But any of you who watch, please discuss it with me. That's part of the fun of it.

The Apprentice: For the record, I thought Randal would be the next apprentice from the beginning. Now I'm not as confident since things have been going better with Rebecca's project (problem at the last minute with Joe Piscopo but looks like rain with no contingency plan for Randal). Rebecca seems to be better organized and to follow-up with what she delegates than Randal, so I'm not sure now who will be hired.

My favorite reality show Dancing with the Stars will be back in January, I think. I hope someone as much fun to watch as John O'Hurley and Charlotte Jorgensen will be contestants. They were fantastic.

8:44:00 PM

Saturday, December 10, 2005  
Damn Those People

Yesterday Brendan and I hung out in Bellevue while Melissa did some Christmas shopping at the gift shop at the zoo. We had a lot of fun. Before we went in Toys R Us, I told Brendan to stay near me and that he could look at and play with anything he wanted to. As soon as we got in the store, he immediately ran to the stuffed animals he loves so much. I said something to him about getting away from me which didn't do any good since he ran at full speed down an aisle. It scared me to death since it takes only a second for someone to abduct a child. When I caught up with him, I put him in the shopping cart and told him he had to get in there since he wouldn't stay with me and ran away. He took it really well and rode around as we checked out the toys.

When we went to the mall, I explained to Brendan that we would eat lunch and then go to the play area. He does really well as long as he knows what to expect. After lunch, I told him again to stay with me, but he ran gleefully to the play area. When I got there, he was sitting on the steps waiting for me (he's fast). I told him I couldn't let him play with the children because he ran away from me. Without a word or whine, he got up and climbed in the stroller and sat there. I wanted to cry. I wanted to give in. I wanted to hug him and let him do whatever he wanted to. It wasn't that hard disciplining Brian. I held strong though. I had to. The stakes are too high not to be vigilant. After a little while, I told him he could play now. He scurried out there and really enjoyed it.

What bothers me is living in a world where we have to watch children so closely. I hate it that predators and perverts are out there lurking about to abuse and kill children. He's just 2 1/2, so how can he understand there are bad people who could hurt him. I don't understand it myself.

What a pleasure it was looking at those children playing, laughing, and trusting while their parents and grandparents watch and smile and love. It's the best of humanity, and we'll do whatever it takes to protect them.

10:44:00 PM

Thursday, December 08, 2005  
Book Lover's Quiz

1. Children's - Who describes the ups and downs of coexisting with primates in My Life with the Chimpanzees?
2. Classics - What novel resulted when the San Francisco News sent a reporter to investigate the plight of Depression-era migrant farm workers?
3. Non-Fiction - What pop star thrilled fans with details of her gastric bypass surgery in the book Gut Feelings?
4. Book Club - Who presented Any Woman's Blues, a faux autobiography of painter Leila Sand, as if her recurring character Isdora Wing had written it?
5. Authors - What author led the Merry Pranksters in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test?
6. Book Bag - Whose Olivia Goldsmith novel about the book trade features the writer of a 1,114-page manuscript who commits suicide after her 23rd rejection letter?

10:11:00 AM

The Goat Phoenix

Muppetlord posted this link about a Swedish goat of straw once again reminiscent of the Phoenix .

10:01:00 AM


I'm tired of the way my blog looks but am scared to try to change it since the last time I attempted such a feat, I messed it up and had to enlist a former student to fix it. Interesting the things we consider doing in order to avoid actual, productive work. Ah, yes!

9:57:00 AM

Monday, December 05, 2005  
Time Well Wasted

Some of you who listen to country music will recognize the title of this post from Brad Paisley's CD, which I discovered on Chris's blog. I'm not sure I could pick out Paisley from a line-up, but that title describes my retirement perfectly! So far that's what I've been doing and loving it! Tomorrow is a dangerous word during retirement, especially for us procrastinators. I've been a productive member of society for a long time and enjoy this so much.

1:04:00 PM

Check Your Sources

When I taught students how to write research papers, I emphasized the importance of having many sources and checking the veracity of them. I included Rufus Griswold as an example of biased sources since he is where most of the spiteful misinformation about Edgar Allan Poe originated. Credible sources are even more of a challenge on the net since anyone can post anything and sound authoritative.

Now we have respected journalist John Seigenthaler who has been maligned on the net. On Law & Order, Numbers, and other crime-related TV series it's easy to find out all kinds of things about people but not so much in real life apparently. Maybe he needs a hacker to do it for him. Seigenthaler has so much class, integrity, and elegance. He is a liberal who has walked the walk, and someone I have admired for a very long time. I really enjoy his show "A Word on Words" on Nashville public television, where he showcases authors with his insightful questions and comments.

Michael posted a link to this article on his blog, or I might have missed it. Then I wouldn't have googled Seigenthaler to include a link for you to read (please do) and also wouldn't have clicked this link to read the inspiring commencement address he gave at MTSU. Thank you, Marathon Man!

12:15:00 PM

Sunday, December 04, 2005  

I wondered what happened to Alan Titchmarch after he left Ground Force, so I googled him and found out he's been doing some series about the natural history of the British Isles. This hasn't made its way to BBC-America, but then those shows take a while to get here. Those of you over there across the pond, how is it? What good shows are we missing?

Clever, sneaky Brits are coming over here acting in many movies and TV series using American accents so well that no one suspects a thing. Some of them I know about are Hugh Laurie in House, Ian McShane in Deadwood, Joely Richardson in Nip/Tuck, and others I can't remember right now. Anthony LaPaglia is Australian. I thought he was American. Several Australians do good American accents, too, such as Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, and Geoffrey Rush. Of course, there are scads of Canadians here. Thank goodness for them all! Any others you can think of?

Craig Ferguson: "I don't like the turkey. It's a dry bird. Almost sardonic."

Do you think a premature withdrawal would frustrate Iraq? (sorry, something about that term turns me into Beavis and Butthead with a better vocabulary)

5:02:00 PM

Saturday, December 03, 2005  

Answers are posted in the Squawkbox comment place.

from the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit ...

1. MOVIE - What film did Tatum O'Neal win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for when she was only ten years old?
2. TV - Who played the two musicians who sold their souls to the devil for fame in A Year at the Top?
3. MUSIC - What harmonica-wielding actor was responsible for The Return of Bruno?
4. SPORTS & GAMES - What former WWF wrestler posed for Playboy magazine in November 2000?
5. BUZZ - What product does Sammy Hagar's company Cabo Wabo produce?
6. FAD - In the '80s, what utensil might you gag me with?

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

7. PEOPLE & PLACES - What town is famous for the saloon in which Wild Bill Hickok was killed in 1876?
8. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - What track does the Chattanooga Choo-Choo leave from?
9. History - What tasty entree was inspired by England's poulty-loving Edward VII?
10. SCIENCE & NATURE - What does PVC stand for?
11. SPORTS & LEISURE - Who are the only two professional players to have been credited with over 500 home runs and at least one pitching victory?
12. WILD CARD - What rakish canine character made his national prime-time debut at the 1987 Super Bowl?

11:17:00 PM


It was a delight to see everyone again when PBS aired a reunion episode of As Time Goes By. This is one of my very favorite series ever. In fact, I gave myself the complete boxed set as a retirement present. I have no problem doing nice things for myself.

11:12:00 PM

Thursday, December 01, 2005  
Joy of Sex with 1,800 Men

This is an interesting article. What do you think?

4:00:00 PM

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