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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.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006  
Rock On!

This post is probably written just to Chris since I don't know of anyone else who reads this who also watches Rockstar Supernova. I had a strong feeling that Ryan would be the one to go this week. I'm not sure who it will be next week since it's pretty close with some of them. My favorite is Dilana. She's amazing. The first week I thought it would be between her and Lukas, but that changed. Now I think it will be between Dilana and Toby. I like Storm except for the thing she does with her mouth. So who's next, Chris? Magni maybe? The ones chosen for performances with Supernova have been Dilana, Toby, and Lukas in that order which makes me wonder if they might be eliminated in that order. Guess we'll find that out next week. Btw, Lukas didn't look right with them, and Dilana did a much better job performing "Lithium" than he did. She was mesmerizing! Anybody else watch it and have any opinions?


I don't have any strong opinions yet for a winner of Project Runway except that I really like Michael and his designs. Kayne is too over the top and is in the right business designing beauty pageant gowns, but I like him and think he'd be fun to know. Uli does good work and seems nice. Jeffrey and Angela are beyond irritating, and Laura is pregnant again! Vincent is a trip but has grown on me. So who knows? I love this show and enjoy watching it. I got Tina hooked on it and am working on Jackie now. She also watches Dancing with the Stars, so we can discuss that. My niece Amy watches these shows but doesn't read my blog that often, so we don't get to discuss TV shows as much as we would if we were more in touch.

8:01:00 PM

Thursday, August 24, 2006  
Generation Connect

Ronni Bennett chronicled an exchange between Millie and the creators of a cartoon wishing her 81st birthday greetings on her blog and wrote about how the generations communicate through our blogs. It's an interesting post and the videos are entertaining and sweet. I thought about how some of us have been communicating intergenerationally and internationally through our blogs for the four years I've been writing mine. First of all, former students Amy Nickens and Ariel Dunham encouraged me to do it and then helped me with it. Friends and family members read and comment on here and have been from the beginning. Then Alistair Coleman joined in and brought me in touch with his readers and friendships formed with people I've never met. So this isn't news to me because my life has had people of all generations included in it since I taught school. Now blogging just gives us another outlet to keep in touch and to meet people. I love it and look forward to what's coming next!

I don't know if other parents experience this or not, but an added benefit/problem is learning about events in your children's lives on their blogs instead of from them directly. Almost always this is great, but there are times I'd like to have heard about something in a conversation. Blogs are just another means of communication and why we do them. It's good to have all these methods, and I wish we'd had cell phones, email, etc. when he was in college instead of only that phone in the hall of his dorm. To his credit, my son does keep in touch and calls just to talk (often with the added pleasure of the little beamish grandboy usually in the background). Wow, what timing! The phone just rang, and it's Brian!

9:35:00 PM

New Mnemonic Devices!

Kids everywhere will have to learn new sentences and other clever methods to memorize the planets, which will now be easier by one to list. Poor little Pluto has been de-planetized from its former status and is now called a dwarf planet along with the newbie Xena. I heard about this final decision today when I was in the car listening to NPR. You can read more about it here.

9:35:00 PM

Day Trip of Sorts

Sherrill Hooper and I went to Columbia to a leadership conference conducted by the TRTA (TN Retired Teachers Association). It's a pretty drive there, and we learned what's expected of us regarding membership reports and records. You won't be surprised to know that there is much more to this presidency than I was lead to believe. That's how it is, and I should have known. I enjoy getting to know the state president, lobbyist, and others who are in the state office. So maybe this is good for me in some ways.

9:10:00 PM


Interesting article about J. K. Rowling and her money. It's one of my favorite fantasies to imagine what I'd do with millions of dollars. It's not likely to happen but is fun to think about.

9:00:00 PM

Monday, August 21, 2006  
Good Scary News!!

Alistair Coleman world-famous blogger of Scaryduck: Not Scary, Not a Duck has written a book that is now on sale in bookstores in the UK (but not here yet) and on Amazon! It's title is Tales of Mirth and Woe. Congratulations, Alistair, and well done!

8:02:00 PM


I noticed even more than I used to that when I eat the way I should, exercise, get enough sleep, stay active, and spend some time outside that I feel very good. In fact, if I watch too much TV, drink wine, eat desserts and junk food, and sit around being slothful, I feel like crap. There's no justice in the world, is there?

9:52:00 AM

Sunday, August 20, 2006  
Life, the Journey

First of all, I love Ronni Bennett's blog Time Goes By. Thousands of others read her blog besides me, so she has quite a following which is wonderful. She should because what she writes about so eloquently and articulately inspire and remind us of the complexities, humor, and experiences of living a passionate life. She's organizing her links to other elderbloggers and asked us to let her know what category to put ours in. The only label that came to mind for mine is "Babbling" since that's what I do on here. As usual, I don't have a plan or focus for it. When I began writing it, I wanted to let family, friends, co-workers, and others know my progress during chemo for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. After I lived, the drama was gone, and so were most of my readers. However, I was in the habit of writing it and have been babbling about my life ever since. Other readers have replaced a few of the ones who left, and some are still with me. Thank you for hanging in here with me. :-)

10:32:00 AM

Thursday, August 17, 2006  

When I retired, my mind joined in. I don't think as well as I used to and can't remember things. Today at work two of my friends were in there talking about when we all had lunch a couple of years ago. I don't remember it at all. Nothing came back to me when they described it. Nada! At first I thought they were messing with me and making things up, which would have been possible, but apparently we all actually did have lunch together. I've always been oblivious, but not about things like that.

I did a dingbat thing which isn't really that unusual, but this really irritates me. The containers that my diabetic monitor test strips come in have numbers on them. The nurse emphasized how important it is to be sure the number on the monitor is set to the same number of the test strips. The ones I'd been using since I began testing 6 weeks ago were # 17. This morning when I took the test strip canister out of the elastic part that holds it in the case, I noticed that it had # 15 on it. Crap!! So the last 24 times I've tested were wrong. I changed the number on the meter and tested again, and there was a 14-point difference. Crap again!! Since not testing is like driving without a speedometer, using the wrong number is like having a speedometer that isn't properly calibrated. I couldn't understand why my glucose readings were so low a few times since they've never been that low before. Now I know. Very frustrating. It's not fun sticking needles in fingers as it is without having it be for nothing.

6:23:00 PM

Tuesday, August 15, 2006  

This is an article about our new electronic voting machines, Hart eSlates. It makes me feel even better about then than I did after we were trained. It's a long article, but you can scroll down to the eSlate section. Here are excerpts from the article in The Austin Chronicle by Lee Nichols:
Unlike Hart's major competitors, the eSlate does not use a touch screen. "I had trouble with calibration issues on the touch screens," Travis Co. Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says, meaning that the onscreen "buttons" that the voter presses sometimes slip out of alignment with the proper sensors underneath the screen. "Not all of them, but some of them. It's what happened in Dallas [during early voting in the 2002 general election, on ES&S machines]; you end up maybe casting a ballot for the other candidate and don't realize it. They've done some things in the industry to try to improve it since I first looked at it, so in fairness to them, I think they have improved their product, but at the time I was doing the review I found it troubling."

Instead, eSlate uses a wheel-and-button system – the voter turns a dial until the candidate of choice is highlighted, and then presses a button to select the candidate, never touching the screen. (As in all DRE systems, the voter can correct errors before finally pressing the "cast ballot" button.)

Secondly, eSlate does not use "smart cards," credit-card-sized devices given by the election workers to voters, who plug them into a voter terminal, letting the machine know that the person standing before it is indeed a legitimate voter. The Rice/Johns Hopkins researchers say that it would be terribly easy to "homebrew" such cards, which an attacker could then sneak into the polling place and use to cast multiple votes. The eSlate voters, in contrast, are assigned unique personal identification numbers when they show up at the polling place, which they then enter into the voting machine. The number's validity expires either upon casting the ballot, or, if unused, within a few minutes of its assignment.

Perhaps most important, the eSlate system has no external connections – no hookups to phone lines, the Internet, or an intranet. While some systems allow results to be sent by modem to a central vote-counting facility, the eSlate is comparatively old-fashioned – much like an old-style ballot box, the devices ("mediums") into which votes are recorded are removed by the election judges after the polls close and physically transported to the central counting station. Asked if she would ever try to transmit election results over the Internet or modem, DeBeauvoir said, "No way. ... Never."

In fact, trying to find specific criticisms of eSlate or Hart is difficult. Searches of Internet and Nexis databases turn up only minor reports of human error and no major security failures by eSlate. And in her book Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century, Bev Harris – the nation's most visible nonscientist critic of e-voting – limited her criticism of Hart to the company's Republican-leaning investors.

DeBeauvoir is not as concerned about computer error – she notes that the eSlate has triple-redundancy storage mediums than can be cross-checked, real-time audit logs, and can recall an image of each ballot that has been cast (although it cannot match the ballot with the person who cast it).
My problem with any of them is that I'd like a paper receipt that assures me that I voted for the candidates I intended to. I hope they'll add that since we get receipts from transactions we make.

11:28:00 PM

Keep on Dancing!

Well, I'm getting ready for the new fall season of TV and with it comes Dancing with the Stars. Sure, the word "star" is used loosely, but we all know that. Here are the new contestants for the third season of it. I'm counting on those of you who watch it to discuss it with me. Chris, is that one you watch? Anybody else follow it?

10:46:00 AM

Friday, August 11, 2006  
New Post on Other Blog

Jackie has written a new post on our other blog. For a very long time Jackie and I have said that racism exists everywhere. If the South had a monopoly on racism and ignorance, I'd move. She already did but not for that reason. It's more overt in the South. You know where you stand with people by what they say and how they act. In other parts of the country, they are sneakier about it, but it's still there. Large cities are segregated with little pockets of different nationalities living in communities with their own shops, restaurants, etc. Some of them never know much about anyone else except on television. In smaller towns, we get to know each other as people instead of stereotypes even though the ethnic mix isn't as varied. We still have a long way to go as Jackie's post indicates.

Mister Rogers: We want to raise our children so that they can take a sense of pleasure in both their own heritage and the diversity of others.

1:31:00 PM

Thursday, August 10, 2006  
What if?

You know how sometimes we think about which celebrity we'd like to look like? You do it, too, right? I'm not alone in this. Way back I used to want to look like Jaclyn Smith but didn't think my personality would do well looking so classically beautiful, so I chose Sally Field (as in who would play me in a movie) since I was used to being cute and witty. Then later on I decided I'd love to look like Salma Hayek since she has a fantastic figure and very pretty face which my personality could handle. Well, I'd probably flaunt my body and look at myself in the mirror all the time. Maybe I'd get used to looking like her.

Lately I've wanted to look like Heidi Klum but not be German. (not that there's anything wrong with it ... but the personality thing again .... I'm not organized and efficient enough to be German) So I'd have to be a Southern Heidi Klum. I'd like to see what it's like to be tall, and she's fantastically beautiful with a curvy body. I don't want to be stick thin like too many models and actresses, as you can tell from my choices here. Apparently, I've also decided that my personality can adjust to looking like a Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated super model just as easily as it could to being a lottery winner. (well, we hope so anyway)

Don't get me wrong. I'm OK with who I am and how I've looked all these years (well, I'd like to lose some weight for a variety of reasons that involve health and looks too of course), but this is a past-time that I indulge in occasionally. The reality of the situation is that students said I look like Raymond's mother, Doris Roberts. I saw her at a screenwriting conference in Nashville several years ago and told her this. She wasn't impressed.

What about you? Who would you like to look like if there were a magic wand?

6:59:00 PM

Tuesday, August 08, 2006  
Twists and Turns

Check this quiz out to see how well you know the plot twists of some movies. I missed 3 of them bacause I hadn't seen those movies. Yes, there are movies I haven't watched! It's interesting. Post your scores and comments, so we can discuss.

2:58:00 PM

Friday, August 04, 2006  
Vote Early! Vote Often!

The voting went on and on last night. I didn't realize how lucky we were to leave around 9:00 pm when I heard that some people were still voting way after 10:00. Mother said she heard midnight. Marilyn was right about its not being a good idea to introduce the new voting machines at the same time we had the longest ballot in eight years. Local elections always bring out the voters, and we had a few that were heavily contested. At the Board of Education where I vote and worked, we had around 458 voters using three machines. Those will be sufficient in November when the ballot is short, and we'll have gubernatorial and senatorial elections which I hope people are interested in as much as the local, but that's not always the case. Almost everyone liked the new machines and said they were easy to use. With all those appellate judge reviews on there, the e-slate machine had eight or nine screens of candidates, depending on if they voted in the city election or not. Then the summary page of candidates was four screens! Attitudes were good while voters waited in the hot room (there was a/c but with the door opening and closing so much and crowds, it couldn't keep up) for anywhere from twenty minutes to over an hour and a half. Apparently we had it easier than some places. People chatted and were polite and considerate of each other. Maybe I'm used to large groups of high school students which is why I noticed that.

I was exhausted last night when I got home and was greeted with no electricity because it went off on our street. Brigit kept meowing to me as if to complain about my being gone so long and then stumbling around trying to make my way in the dark to light some candles. I went outside with a flashlight and encountered the neighbors across the street who told me it hadn't been off but about ten minutes. We have suicidal squirrels in our neighborhood who short out the utility wires now and then. Other neighbots and I called the electric department, and they sent a truck out. The electricity was back on around 10:00 pm. I fell into bed around 11:00 and got up this morning at 7:00. I called Mother, and she asked me what I was doing up so early. She's definitely a morning person and gets up around 5:00 all the time (which comes once a day as far as I'm concerned, but I had to get up then yesterday to be at the polls at 6:15). She used to tell me I missed the best part of the day, so I told her to tape it for me.

I'm still tired today from standing most of the fifteen hours I was there and explaining how the new machines work. Also not eating anything but a light breakfast and sandwich for lunch didn't help. I needed something else around dinner time.

I did really enjoy this, though, and am impressed with the organization and efficiency of the election commission. Way to go, Luanne Greer!! (my cousin) The official at our site, Vanessa, was calm, efficient, and organized, too. I believe in voting and am glad to participate in the process. Quite a few of the ones I voted for won but there were some disappointments. Based on my past voting choices, this turned out better than I was afraid it would. Now if only the national elections will follow suit!

11:06:00 AM

Tuesday, August 01, 2006  

Is anyone reading this? If so, please identify yourself and let me know. I'm so needy that I have to know if you're out there. Oh, please. Thank you very much.

2:48:00 PM

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