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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.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006  
Phenomenal Evening

Tonight Linda and I went to Vanderbilt Memorial Gym to see Maya Angelou. I wasn't sure what to expect. I've seen her on TV of course and read and taught her writing. The evening was filled with poetry, stories, songs, and inspiration from a woman who is so real, warm, human, and down-to-earth. I was moved to my core. If you ever get a chance to attend one of her speaking engagements, please go. This link and this one will let you read about it from others.

12:14:00 AM

Saturday, February 25, 2006  

Yesterday someone threw a cigarette out their car window, and I had to drive over it. My car didn't explode.

I am not mad.

3:38:00 PM


One of my lottery fantasies involves purchasing land and having friends and family build houses on it along with mine. I'd like to have a large common building with a crafts/art room, exercise room, kitchen, dining room, living room, and workshop for all of us to work on things, work out, play games, watch TV, be on the computer, prepare meals, eat, and talk. I don't envision a large community but enough people to make it interesting. Paige sent me this article from AARP, which I get online but missed this one about communes for us aging Boomers. Apparently it's a trend which makes sense to me. What do you think about it?

10:40:00 AM

Wednesday, February 22, 2006  

I'm going to try not to get another cat. I have Brigit, the blonde drama queen, who is at loose ends since Columbo died. She sleeps more, which for a cat means not much awake time, and wants me to hold her or be near her when she's awake. She's also bored. I'm not interesting enough for her, so she lets me know. This is what got me into having other cats to begin with. I've had her since 1997 when my daughter-in-law found her in an actual field when Melissa was doing field work for the State Department of Conservation identifying endangered plants. She also drew illustrations of them. But I digress. Brigit hissed at Columbo and had a strange relationship with him. I guess that's how she showed him she cared that he existed, but who knows? When I had to leave Columbo at the vet clinic the first time, I held up the pet carrier with Brigit in it since she was there to get shots. I told her he was staying there and let her see him. She hissed. He lifted his head and turned toward her. It was sort of sweet in an odd way.

She seemed glad to be an only cat when he was gone but acted the same to him when he was back home those two nights. Then I brought him back home and put the box he was in on the carport. When I came inside and put the pet carrier down, Brigit heard it and ran over to it waiting for him to emerge. Then she walked over to it, looked inside, and noticed it was empty. She kept looking for him for a while and still does now and then. It's sad. We both miss him.

I've always wanted a Maine Coon cat and have checked out places that breed and sell them. I'm glad they care about the people their cats will live with, but it's like having a relationship with them. They have to approve of you and then want to keep in touch. Check out the adoption agreements and all those rules! It's intimidating. I don't want a show cat but a pet. Maybe I don't want a pure breed but another Maine Coon Clone like Clancy was. He looked like a smaller version of one. Columbo was larger than he was and had some of the characteristics, too. See? It's not going to be that easy for me to resist getting another cat, but my intentions are to be catless after Brigit. We'll see.

Brigit and I are both depressed. We miss Columbo.

I realize this post fully puts me in the category of "old woman living alone with cats and talks to them like they are people." What can I say?

1:07:00 AM

Monday, February 20, 2006  

That commercial with the frozen guy with an "S" painted on him is just creepy.

7:57:00 PM

Saturday, February 18, 2006  

OK, this is just weird. I posted "Dancing Away" this afternoon and then later on had two more posts about snow and the Olympics. When I checked my blog, the dancing one was gone but those two were there. So while ago I rewrote and posted the first one. Now those other two are gone. I'm almost afraid to publish this one now since they seem to be replacing each other.

7:55:00 PM

Dancing Away

I thought Jerry Rice would be eliminated from Dancing with the Stars this week, but Lisa Rinna was. The audience voting component brings in a wild card element, or Master P would have been out after the first episode. The best dancers, Drew and Stacy, will probably be in the finals, and I hope Drew wins.

To me it's better when the judges make the choice the way they do on Project Runway. Of course, there's more at stake there and experts need to make that decision. I keep wavering between Chloe and Daniel as winner and am not sure which I hope wins. I like them both, so it will hinge on the collections they design. Santino is so over-the-top with his designs. It's good to see what they can do with more time and a larger budget.

Top Chef will be the new competition on Bravo after Runway is over, and I'm looking forward to watching it. I don't know the hosts but hope Nigella Lawson will be a guest judge. This should be really interesting, too, and fun to see their challenges and the dishes they prepare.

1:52:00 PM

Wednesday, February 15, 2006  
Funny Girls

I thought there would be more comment on the study about men not being attracted to funny women. It's because I'm so intimidating, isn't it?

1:31:00 PM

Project Runway
The Goddess Who Is Heidi Klum

Chris has joined us in watching Project Runway and posted an article that sums up the allure of this show. Please read it here and see why I like it so much.

1:27:00 PM

Valentine's Day

One of the things I'm glad to be away from is V-Day in high school. The girls parade their roses, balloons, gifts, etc. around to show off what their boyfriends gave them. Now, however, the girls also give major gifts to boyfriends. And parents send flowers to school to their kids. Can't anyone do anything in private anymore? Too much pressure and one-upsmanship. It's an ostentatious, competitive display that I'm so happy to avoid. One of my friends said a mother stopped by on her way to work to leave her daughter's gift and asked where they were kept and if it would be safe since there was an iPod in the gift bag. Good grief!

The waiter on his blog I like so much said that Valentine's and Mother's Day are the very worst for restaurant staff. Your thoughts on Valentine's Day?

10:01:00 AM

Tuesday, February 14, 2006  
Columbo (2000-2006)

Posted by Picasa

He got his name because he always looks rumpled, talks a lot, and is inquisitive. He's been a sweet, friendly, entertaining companion, and I will miss him.

11:15:00 AM

Sunday, February 12, 2006  

Perhaps you've heard about a recent study that found that men aren't attracted to funny women. According to the study, men like women with a sense of humor as long as they laugh at their jokes instead of making their own. While men might enjoy witty women, they "don't fancy" them for a long-term relationship. There were several sites with this study mentioned, but I chose this one because of the comments. This one has different viewpoints because of the content and readers.

After hearing about the study, I thought I'd write something humorous about how that might be the reason my relationships have been more successive than successful (from Dorothy Parker) since I was voted Wittiest in my class, but changed my mind. Humor is something a person is born with or not. I don't think it can be learned. It's also tied to intelligence. Not all intelligent people are humorous, but I'll go out on a limb to say that all quick-witted, funny people are intelligent. What we find humorous is subjective which explains why some of us love Monty Python and others prefer Carrot Top.

That said, fortunately I've found men who do like witty women who engage in clever banter with them. Not mean-spirited. Not all the time. Not at their expense. But because we like to laugh and see things humorously. After all, we want to be able to use our material and have someone who appreciates it.

10:25:00 AM

A Book I Want to Read

I just heard an interview with Hal Crowther on NPR's Fresh Air with Rebecca Bain about his latest book Gather at the River. It's refreshing and rare to meet people not from here who actually "get" the South. He's a former sportswriter and commented on Pete Rose's online campaign to get into the Hall of Fame and how if he gets in there, it shouldn't be until after Shoeless Joe Jackson does. His essays range from that to one about Dolly Parton, who is a friend of his wife. It's about the South, and I'm looking forward to reading it since I agreed with what he said about it in the interview.

9:31:00 AM

Saturday, February 11, 2006  

I love the Olympics and am looking forward to watching these because I also love Italy. I want to go back there and also many other parts of Europe.


So far 2006 has been stressful and full of death.


I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up with your blogs and will get back on schedule reading them again soon. Hope everyone is doing well. I've missed you and will be back.

3:34:00 PM

Yo-Yo Pins & Needles

Columbo went back to the vet's yesterday for more subcutaneous fluids and catheterization. Mark the vet called this morning to tell me that he'd managed to pull the catheter out even with that collar on. The E-collar is like a cone around his neck. They're watching him to see if his bladder will work or not. There might be more blockage. I have questions and decisions and more stress and lumps in my throat and tears. It's so hard. More later.

Later ... 3:30 PM

When I went to the vet clinic today, Columbo looked deceptively healthy and alert. Mark said his BUN and Creatinine levels were higher yesterday than they were when I first brought him in, though. The antibiotics and cortisone probably make him seem better than he is. Columbo talked to me and put his paws on my shoulder so I'd hold him. The cage was high enough that when I opened it, he was at arm level. Mark came in about that time while I was picking him up. When I turned to look at him, I noticed that he had tears in his eyes. I appreciated his compassion and smile. I told him I wanted to be sure I was doing what was best for Columbo instead of me because I'd like to be able to take him home and have him be healthy again; however, I want him to have quality of life. Mark said that when he pressed on Columbo's bladder, urine was expressed from the catheter which means that there isn't blockage. Also there were no crystals or stones when he was catheterized. So this sounds as if his bladder isn't contracting which means nothing will work. The cortisone should help with inflammation if that's caused no urination. The opening is really small with folds of skin around it, too.

It doesn't sound good at all. I have to decide between this horrific surgery Perineal Urethrostomy or euthanasia. If I knew the surgery would correct this, I'd put him through the pain and scary recovery from it. However, I think it's his bladder and that the surgery would prolong the inevitable. I have a lot of thinking and praying and crying to do this weekend. Mark said after he saw Columbo with me, he leaned toward the surgery. I did, too, until I read more about it and talked with friends. Now I'm not sure it would help. Whew! I'm wishing for a miracle that makes his bladder work.

9:52:00 AM

Thursday, February 09, 2006  
Catching Up

Things have been hectic and stressful during the week since I've posted. I made a day trip to Signal Mountain (part of Chattanooga) for Kelsey's spelling bee Friday. I got up in the middle of the night (2:00 AM), so I could get to Kathy's at 6:00. That's 7:00 their time. I made it but without much sleep. Driving during that time works out well since there isn't much traffic. I listened to an audio book and enjoyed the drive. Kathy made a breakfast casserole, so I ate with them and rode with her to take the younger kids to school. We met Kathy's mother-in-law at the school and got ready for the spelling bee. Kelsey did well but got out in the 3rd round when she missed "essence." The boy who usually wins it, won again and goes on to the regional. Kathy volunteers at school, and while she helped in the computer lab, I stayed in her car and napped. It helped. We had lunch and visited some more, and I drove back home. It's a three-hour drive, and I got to hear the rest of the book.

When I got home, I had two messages. One was to substitute for a friend who will go on maternity leave for six weeks in March. She teaches biology (honors and II). I don't want to do that but especially not on substitute's pay. I might have to sometime if I have extra expenses like I am having now, so I guess I shouldn't rule it out completely. I think if I return to teaching, I'd rather teach half-time at half my salary, but I'd try to find something else first. When I returned the other message, I found out my CT scan Monday would cost me $565! It took the rest of the weekend making calls to friends since I didn't get an insurance packet to find out what was going on. Horizon is in-network, but Cigna (our new sucky local insurance instead of the BC/BS with the State we should be on) has a deal with independent imaging places where we pay nothing. I found that out Sunday when I called the agent at home (before the Super Bowl). I worked Saturday at the vitamin center and stressed out about this until Monday morning when I went to my oncologist's office to have his receptionist cancel my scan and schedule it with the place in Nashville.

Monday was quite a day. Everything went well with the scan (annual abdominal CT to be sure the lymphoma is staying away) except for drinking that gaggy contrast. It's gross. I'd noticed that my gray long-haired cat Columbo had been lying around and was sick, so I took him to the vet. He and Brigit (the short-haired blonde cat) needed their shots and all, so I loaded them into their carriers and made the drive to Mark Brannon's office. After blood work and an x-ray, Mark said Columbo had kidney failure and was very sick. They kept him there until yesterday afternoon when I brought him home. His BUN and Creatinine levels were back down to normal after being in the death range. They gave him subcutaneous fluids and catheterized him. I went to visit him and felt so sad for how sick he was. Mark and San (vet tech and friend) said there was an obstruction which caused toxins since his bladder wouldn't empty. He has antibiotics and Methigel which are so much fun to give a cat.

He's feeling so much better but hasn't used the litterbox since he's been back which is scary. He'll try, but nothing happens. I've been watching him and called the vet this morning. I'll have to take him back in if he doesn't go. I'm so worried about him and hope he gets better. I love having pets until it gets to this part which is heartbreaking. I still miss Clancy, and it's been 10 years since he died. They are wonderful companions with all the positives and negatives that go along with them, and I love them.

On a brighter note, Mother had her appointment with the retina specialist yesterday afternoon. I went by the funeral home again! 2006 has begun with so many deaths. Then I picked Mother up and drove her to Nashville to her appointment and lunch at Calypso. I usually tell her later on how she did on the eye exam. Dr. Moffatt said she's doing well and holding her own. She's been fortunate to have good health, energy, and a positive outlook. I'm glad I'm retired and can do things for her she needs and wants.

I am working this afternoon as usual on Thursdays. If Columbo doesn't go to the litterbox soon, I'll have to make another trip to the vet. The bill was really high! It's a good thing I went to Nashville for that scan, so I could pay the vet bill. Whew!!

My cousin Donna has been in the hospital to get her asthma under control and still feels bad. She's been under so much stress that I'm not surprised something wasn't affected by it. I hope she feels great soon and that Lynn hangs in there!

I'm hoping for calmer times for all of us. That curse about "may you live in interesting times" is is an effective one.

8:45:00 AM

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