Open links in secondary window

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.

Email Joy Durham at

Welcome! Please sign my guest map or guest book. And Comment!!

[my collaborative other blog] MUTUAL ADMIRATION BLOG

[Adoption Blogs & Books]
Adoption Search Blog
First Parents
The Same Smile
The Daily Bastardette
The Guide to Search and Reunion
My Reunion with Kathy

My Family and Friends

Sign In - Plant a Flag!

Free Guestmap from Free Guestmap from

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook


moon info

My Amazon Wish List
[For anyone who wants to buy me a gift or discuss what we like.]

[ Reading & Entertainment ]

Blogroll Me!

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)

<< current

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.
Sunday, July 30, 2006  


These are photos of the courthouse in my hometown. The front and back are identical and so are the sides. It sits on a hill in the middle of the small town of just over 1100 citizens surrounded by a wide street called "the square." The post office where my mother was assistant postmaster for most of the 20+ years she worked there is down from the left corner in the picture on the right. The new courthouse is right across from the old one. That monument in the front is a Civil War memorial. Offices are housed there in what is known as the oldest courthouse in the state which this article elaborates on. Court is held in the new one, and most of the county officials work there.

A retaining wall surrounds the bottom of the hill and has iron rings along the top where horses used to be tied when people came to town. It was built in 1804, which is practically new by European standards, in the frontier town that missed being the capital of Tennessee by one vote. I have many memories of the courthouse. Election day was a big event when I was growing up because there would be tables with food for sale on the courthouse yard and people all around voting and staying for the results. We'd stay late into the night waiting to hear what happened. As a teenager, it was fun to visit with my friends and flirt with the boys. It was a festive atmosphere.

We had places on the square to hang out. My uncle's grocery store was where the new courthouse is now, and I loved that place. It was so much fun to be around him, his business partner, and the others who worked there. Mother started out working at the original post office until the new one was built. There are still some of the old buildings along the square, and people still say things like "where Bernadine's Grocery used to be" as well as other landmarks that have been torn down or changed to other businesses. My cousins own the Hickerson Hotel where they have a bistro-type restaurant with events on Friday nights.

The county jail used to be off the square near the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was used as a hospital during the Civil War. It's still there. This article relates some of the history of it as well as a photograph. The jail is in another location now. I guess some of the buildings need to be renovated or torn down, but change isn't all that welcome in Charlotte.

New Voting Machines

I worked at the election commission office Friday for early voting. That building is in horrible shape and has been there for ages. Another cousin is the commissioner, and she asked me to work during elections. We have new voting machines now and had to be trained on them. There was a steady flow of voters Friday, and we explained how to use the machines to every one of them. I was tired but not as tired as all of us will be Thursday. Friday was from 8-4. Election day we have to be at the polls around 6:15 and stay until voting is finished. The polls close at 7:00, but anyone in line at that time can vote, so I imagine we won't leave until at least 8:00 or later. It's taking longer to vote this time because of the new machines and longer ballot (about 8 screens). All those judges (2 or 3 screens of them) and local elections for county officials make it the longest it has been or will be again for eight years. The general election in November will be a breeze after this one.

I really like our new voting machines. There is a paper receipt that is produced at the end of the election as well as a memory card in each machine and the main one. The information is also on the hard drive. Numbers are recorded, the memory card is sealed, and other safeguards are in place to insure accuracy. I do wish each voter received a record of who they voted for and am not sure why this isn't happening. There's a bill in Congress for this (H. R. 550) which I hope passes. We got new voting machines all over the state mostly because of access for disabled voters. Each precinct has one machine which is for handicapped people. Others can use it, too, but it has headphones, Braille, and other accomodations for those who need them.

The guy from the voting machine company who trained us said that the reason for the problems in Florida was that those chads were supposed to be emptied much the way paper hole punches need to be. They hadn't been emptied, so the chads filled the boxes to the point that the votes couldn't be recorded properly. What incompetence! Good grief!

Voting has always been stressed in my family. Mother would ask, "Have you voted?" and "What number were you? How many voted?" as long as I've been voting. When I was so sick, Mother drove me to the poll to vote in the early voting. It's very important to her, and she was among the first there Friday when I helped with the voting. She's a remarkable woman, and I'm fortunate to have her for my mother.

I'll let you know how it goes Thursday. I'll be at the Board of Education building which is my place to vote and am taking lunch and snacks since it will be a long day!

2:17:00 PM

Thursday, July 27, 2006  

I saw this on a couple of blogs and thought I'd post it, too. If you could watch only five TV shows for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Here's my list:

West Wing
Mary Tyler Moore
Designing Women

What are your five?

10:27:00 PM

Monday, July 24, 2006  
Yo Blair!

Enough said.

11:12:00 PM

Euphoria 2

This is the second fall school has started without me and the first full year of retirement. I've noticed that the euphoria is exponential. I thought about my friends spending this week in in-service and know what they are experiencing. Then after all the speeches, meetings, and motivational speakers, they get ready to meet their students for the next year. All the preparation, anticipation, sleepless nights, and anxiety are a matter of course. They have new literature books for the English classes, new teachers, and old friends waiting for them. There will be countless papers to grade, announcements to hear, names to memorize, desks to straighten, deadlines to meet, bells to ring, and so much talking. Some of it doesn't change but then it's never the same either. Rough calculations estimate that I've taught over 6,000 students during my 40-year career (37 in Dickson County, 3 in North Charleston, SC, as well as GED classes, homebound students, course recovery, Watkins College, and some private art classes). Now you know why it's not a good idea for former students to say, "Remember me?" when it's been so long since I taught them and they've changed so much.

So even though I know what teachers are experiencing now, I'm so glad I'm not there with them. I love it when school starts without me!

When my college roommate, her husband, and I were reminiscing Saturday night, I thought about choices we made then. All of us spent our professional lives in education. Barb taught elementary school and John was an elementary school principal in Paducah, KY. We're all retired now. During the conversation we mentioned this guy I dated my junior year and how I should have married him. Then I started thinking about how my life would have been different if I'd done that or gone to New York to try to be an actress and realized that not only my life would have altered but so would all these people who are part of my life now. Interesting about roads not taken, isn't it? I guess that's why that poem is so popular.

10:15:00 PM

Sunday, July 23, 2006  

I decided to check my guestbook since I hadn't looked at it in a long time and noticed someone broke into it and changed my questions. At least I certainly don't remember putting the question, "Is that your natural hair color?" on there or "May I get you something to drink" for that matter. Very odd. Spammer types also left many entries with gibberish on them. I don't know why those people do that. It's really strange. So I went through and deleted all of them and read the real entries from the beginning. I've been writing this blog for over four years now and wish I'd known how to add a comment feature earlier. It would have been helpful at that time when people wanted to respond to posts. Anyway, I've cleaned up the guestbook and realize that people have signed it and planted flags on the map, too. Thanks!! I appreciate it.

Photo Show

I drove to Paducah, Kentucky, and back today. Earl and his daughter Margaret entered photographs in the annual competition they have there, so I drove up to the reception and awards ceremony. They didn't win this time but have in other shows. My college roommate Barbara and her husband John live in Paducah and met us at the reception and then for dinner afterwards. A friend of Earl's rode there with him, and Joy McKenzie, my friend who is head of the photography department at Watkins College of Art and Design and Film School and juror of the show, also went to dinner. It was great to see everyone again. Barb and I pick up where we left off and carry on as always. We were roommates for the entire four years at UT-Martin and are still close. It was so much fun.

Tomorrow Brian, Melissa, Brendan, Paula (Melissa's mother), Mother, and I are meeting at Fido's for a birthday brunch for Mother and Melissa. What a social weekend with people I love I'm having!

1:49:00 AM

Tuesday, July 18, 2006  

From The Tennesseean, Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Same-sex marriage ban will accomplish nothing

To the Editor:

I have been thinking about the fears many Americans have about gay marriage. So deep-seated are these fears that amending the constitution of a state or our country is actually thought to be a solution. ("Voters to get say on gay marriage," July 15)

Now that Tennessee's voters will have that opportunity this fall, I think it is time to ask a few questions.

In what specific ways will gay marriage hurt or threaten the institution of marriage? Will banning gay marriage improve the communication between heterosexual spouses? Will the ban lower heterosexual divorce rates? Will parents suddenly find more time to spend with their kids? Will your relationship with God improve? Will it bring world peace? Will corruption disappear?

Will gas cost less? Will it make us energy independent? Will terrorists hate us less? Will our nation be more secure? Will health care become a non-issue? Will jobs stop moving overseas? Will pension plans be reinstated? Will our violent crime rate go down? Will education improve? Will you get a raise or a promotion due to the ban? Will air and water pollution go away? Will your food taste better or be more nutritious?

Or will you have simply institutionalized an ugly prejudice, giving legitimacy to fearing and hating what you don't understand. Our kids will learn that solving a debate equates to banning the opposition, hardly a beacon a freedom.

Folks, I think we have more important things to deal with, and better ways to resolve our issues.

Alan Powell
Nashville 37205

(I thought it was well-written and made some good points. I appreciate Vicki's emailing it to me.)

This article from the Nashville City Paper covers the voting quite well. Here's an excerpt from the entire article:
"It's important for Tennesseans to know also that this amendment is absolutely unnecessary," Tarkington said. "Tennessee law already defines marriage as between one man and one woman. That's already state law. This simply takes it one step further by enshrining discrimination into the constitution," he added.

11:34:00 PM


I've been catching up on Deadwood and watched the first two seasons on DVD. I tried to watch it last year, but it's not the kind of show you can jump into the middle of. In fact, if you miss an episode, you can't catch up the next time. It's an interesting show and historically accurate. HBO gave David Milch, the creator and head writer of the show, a year to research it. He also read H. L. Mencken's book about language in America, so all the profanity mixed with Victorian speech is there for a purpose. The commentaries on the DVDs are entertaining, especially the one with Keith Carradine (Wild Bill Hickok) and Molly Parker (Alma Garrett). I like listening to David Milch comment on them, too. Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant were useless commenting together but funny. Now I'm watching season 3 on HBO on Demand and regular HBO.

Quote from David Milch when he was on Craig Ferguson's show: There are no winners and losers in this endless tedium of life.

10:45:00 PM

Faith & Reason

Bill Moyers conducts interviews that cause me to think about concepts I like to consider. Those times with Joseph Campbell were wonderfully enlightening experiences. Now with Faith & Reason, his discussions with theologians, writers, scholars, and others continues to inspire and illuminate. I hope I can do justice to what Jeanette Wilkerson said on a recent show. I'd never heard of her or read anything she's written and enjoyed hearing her speak. She's from England and grew up with very conservative fundamentalist Protestant parents. Her mother banned all books from the house with the exception of the Bible and a few books about the Bible. Wilkerson bought books with money she earned and hid them under her bed. One day her mother saw one of the hidden books, gathered them all, took them out to the yard, and burned them all. She told her daughter that you never know the dangers of a book until it's too late and you've seen inside it. This caused Wilkerson to memorize text because it could never be taken away from her. Later on she fell in love with a woman, and her mother told her that she couldn't be with that woman and still live in her house, so she moved out. As she was leaving, her mother said, "Why do you have to be happy instead of normal?"

4:26:00 PM


New post on the other blog by Tina. Go! Now! Check it out!

2:58:00 AM

Monday, July 10, 2006  
Parrot Boy

Brendan has the same freakish memory that his mother has for songs lyrics, stories, and all kinds of things. Melissa also knows all the plants of the world, how to draw them, and their scientific and regular names, along with all the other information she's ever learned. It's amazing. You don't want to play trivia games against her, especially when she and Brian are partners as they usually are. (even though Sally and I have beaten them because of the luck of our questions hahahaha!)

In our family quite a bit of our conversation consists of inside jokes and references to movies, songs, books, TV shows, and whatever strikes our fancy. We're an odd group but friendly and often entertaining (at least to each other and ourselves).

When I was keeping Brendan a couple of weeks ago, we were at Mother's sitting in the den. Mother and I were talking, and Brendan was in a chair across the room listening. In an effort to join the conversation, he looked at us solemnly and expounded, "My name is David Kidney. I have a Master's in Russian literature and a PhD in biochemistry. For the last 18 months I've been deworming orphans in Somalia. What about you?" Well, Mother and I looked at each other and were agog (don't often use that word but it applies here). I told her he'd heard it somewhere, but I wasn't sure where. Then I asked him to repeat it, and he did verbatim.

Later when we were at my house, he said, "Exercise causes endorkins. Endorkins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands." I answered, "No, they don't" and wondered where that came from, too. I like "endorkins" and think I'll start using it. Good word. I googled key words from both and found out where. Do you know? Both are from the same movie. That's the only hint you get now. I'd seen the movie a few times because, like Melissa, I really like it but don't have it memorized like they do. Any guesses? No fair googling until some people have guessed!

3:39:00 PM

Graphic Novels

Have any of you read any of those graphic novels? I've only recently learned about them. Maus is one that keeps being mentioned when I checked into them on Amazon and was on the reading list of a young adult literature class Tina took at Lipscomb. The author won a Pulitzer Prize. They are long comic books and have been mentioned by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and by publishers as being very popular. I've been in a cave, right? Let me know what you think about them and if you've read any of them. Thanks!

I should add here that my son has a comic book blog Noetic Concordance some of you might be interested in reading. Brian and Melissa have plans to create a comic book and perhaps graphic novels, too. They could market them at those geek conventions they attend.

12:21:00 AM

Saturday, July 08, 2006  
It's Only Rock 'n Roll

I also watch the rock star competition, which is much easier for me this year because I like the guys in the band and didn't like INXS but watched it anyway last summer. I didn't like the one who won last time which worked out since I didn't plan to watch INXS anyway. This year the band is the newly-formed Supernova, organized by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. The other band members are Gilby Clarke from Guns N' Roses and Jason Newsted from Metallica. There are some awesome singers on this competition and many of them women. You can watch their performances on the website for Rockstar: Supernova by clicking "Rockers" and their performances. The most outstanding ones were Dilana who sang Nirvana's "Lithium" and Lukas who sang Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell." So far I'm not so crazy about Magni, Phil, Chris, and Matt (who was the first eliminated). Zayra I'm not so sure about. Other performances that rocked were Toby's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (B0b Dylan), Jill's "Piece of My Heart" (Janis Joplin), Patrice's "Somebody to Love" (Jefferson Airplane), Dana's "The Only One" (Melissa Etheridge), and Josh's "She Talks to Angels" (The Black Crowes). Even though I've been a rock fan for decades, as you might have figured out, I'm not familiar with all the songs and groups they have to choose from. Still, I am enough of a rocker to know who I like and do enjoy the performances.

If any of you watch this, let me know, so we can discuss.

11:23:00 PM


If you don't know what it is, you've never been to the South and seen it all over everything. I posted a link to an article about it that I enjoyed on Dew on the Kudzu. Check it out and be warned!

1:43:00 PM

Thursday, July 06, 2006  
The Institution

I was married from 1965-1975 and never did again even though I came close a few times. When asked why I'd never remarried, I usually just said that I was more of a relationship sprinter than marathon runner. I think that's right. In fact, Sheryl Crowe said basically the same thing in an interview in Vanity Fair.

Crow says her romantic relationships never seem to lead to the altar.

"I think that if I wanted to be married I would be married by now," she says. "And, for whatever reason, I haven't done it. I've picked people who've helped me to not make that happen."
A friend told me that if I'd wanted to be married, I'd have done it by then (when we had that conversation many years ago), so I must not want to be married. Probably true. I've been a finishing school for men who, after me, went on to get married - sometimes more than once. I admit that I'm not the easiest person to live with and that lots of people get on my nerves. So there are reasons.

5:38:00 PM

Tuesday, July 04, 2006  
Happy 4th!

What did you do for the 4th? Cook-outs? Movies? Swimming? What? I have been reading and puttering around the house. I'm keeping Brendan tomorrow and will drive to Bellevue to meet Melissa and stick around there with The Boy.

I read some of my older posts and noticed that I used to be more interesting than I am now. I'll try to do something about that.

4:39:00 PM

Sunday, July 02, 2006  
Good News!

Paige and Carl have sold their house in South Carolina and will be moving here to the one they bought by the end of the month! I'm really glad they'll be back. I've missed them while they've been gone and look forward to this so much. Now we have to find Carl a job of some kind. He's bored with retirement from being an engineer for so long. If anyone knows something that he might be interested in part-time or more, let us know.

6:10:00 PM

is powered by Blogger.
Weblog Commenting by