Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wednesday's Random Dozen Meme


It's time again for the Random Dozen Meme from "Lidna" at 2nd Cup of Coffee. Enjoy!

1. Tell me the absolute best way to watch a movie. I like watching them at home in comfy clothes, but if we want me to really pay attention it needs to be in a theater with milk duds & popcorn.

2. Do you ever think about your own funeral? If so, do you have specific ideas about how you would like it to be? I do, sometimes – but I think that it’s the province of the living so I don’t really care. Except that there should be singing.

3. Are you more of a giver or a taker? Taker, totally. I have fabulous giving ideas, but my own self-interests do me in most of the time.

4. Vacations: planned activities and schedules, or play it by ear? Play it by ear! It stresses me to have to be somewhere so that’s not very vacationany to me.

5. What is one often overlooked item in your home that needs to be cleaned regularly? The floor!

6. Name a cause that means a lot to you. Episcopal Relief & Development – this organization is able to help so many more people than I could individually.

7. Do you eat a regular old peanut butter jelly sandwich, or do you customize it? And by the way, jelly or no jelly? Definitely yes to jelly – otherwise it’s just P & sticking to the roof of my mouth. Sometimes I add banana, or raisins, or both! And in the dim past my brother & I used to make a mega sandwich with peanut butter, jelly, bologna, cheese & mayo. Not as disgusting as you might imagine – it’s practically a Monte Cristo!

8. If we were having a conversation in person, how would I know if you were nervous? My hands would be cold. Wait, my hands are cold now & I’m not nervous. Can somebody turn the heat up in here? I don’t really know what my “tells” are – but I do know that I don’t have a poker face. You’d probably just be able to look in my eyes & see the bundle of nerves right there.

9. Do you have an elaborate bedtime routine, or just the basics of toothbrushing and jammies? When I was younger I was pretty basic, but now there’s a little more to it: set out my clothes for the next day, pack my lunch, brush teeth, floss, wash face, moisturize the heck out of everything from the neck up, make sure there’s a glass of water available for my middle of the night forays, and lastly, pray (if I don’t fall asleep in the middle – I’m so bad!).

10. Have you ever regretted something you wrote on your blog? I’ve regretted being ditzy, but then I got over it because I AM ditzy – I would like the blog to reflect who I am…

11. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a famous person or celebrity? Did you agree? Back in the day I was told (or maybe I decided myself) that I looked like Valerie Bertinelli. I could sort of see the resemblance, but she has different eyes & is a lot prettier (and I’m not just being self-deprecating!).I looked for a picture of me that might resemble her but couldn't find one. So I decided to post my 6th grade picture.

12. If you were going to dedicate a song to a loved one or friend, what would the song be and to whom would it be dedicated? I would dedicate Pomplamoose’s “Beat the Horse” to my dear sweet Dr. M. It’s an inside joke…

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fifth Grade

When I see myself,
the way I think I truly am,
I see pink barrettes
rabbit teeth
and crooked glasses.
On the cusp of adolescence –
just before I became my Mom’s
grammar police.
Awkward,
and already a “woman”
according to one standard of measure.
This is the person who
looks back when I stand
before the mirror.
I spent years with
disdain in my heart, but
today I am compassionate
toward that precious girl
who liked math instead of boys
and wanted to be left alone
with her books.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taking It Easy

I’ve been cleaning in mosey mode today. I woke up late – it was after 10:00! I used to sleep that late or later on a regular basis on weekends. But since my shoulder injury in January, not so much. I finally have understood what Dr. M means when he says that his body won’t let him sleep in. I’d like to think that this is a sign that my shoulder is healing – and it is – but I still have the same amount of pain, or more, that I had before the surgery. Probably it’s just a sign that lying awake & composing blog posts for two hours on Thursday night caught up with me. (None of the blog posts were interesting upon waking – except for the idea that I’d write about my time in Africa, but that’s so huge that I’m not sure I’m up to the task just now).

Anyway, up at 10:00, shower, breakfast, catch up on facebook, and it’s noon before I make my first cleaning foray – the bathroom. Cleaned the tub, toilet & sink, and took the rugs out for a wash. Then I took a computer break. I won’t take you on a cleaning journey, but let’s just say that at this rate it will be next Tuesday before I’m done. Sigh. One of my goals in life is to someday have the money to have someone clean my house. I didn’t enjoy it when I was healthy, & I especially don’t like it now. My mother cleaned houses for a living - & she was really good – but apparently she kept all that love for herself. Meh.

What is the point of all this? Just that I’m enjoying my lazy Saturday. Dr. M & I aren’t terribly concerned about dust & carpet cleanliness. We like when the house is clean, but we don’t stress about it. Sometimes what we need is a day to watch college football & baseball & play on the internet & maybe read a book. Let’s not leave the house, ok? In fact, let’s take a nap – my eyes are heavy even as I’m typing thissssssssssssssssssss

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Dozen Meme


It's time again for the Random Dozen Meme from "Lidna" at 2nd Cup of Coffee. I skipped last week because my answers were boring. I don't know that this week's answers are exciting, but I'm playing anyway...

  1. Please share one middle school memory. It can be good, bad, ugly, funny. Pictures or words, I don't care, just share. I had a friend who had a bit of a language issue (remember Janis, Kim?). She was trying to cut back on her cussing so she had me hit her in the arm every time she let loose. I had the best year!

  2. What's your favorite Beatles song? Eleanor Rigby. It’s always made me want to be sure that my life means something. I should listen to it every day!

  3. If I asked you to describe your most comfortable outfit, what would it be? It’s a matchy matchy outfit of light green cotton capris with a green & white striped top. I look like I’m about to get on a boat. I’m wearing it today with WHITE sandals, because if the weather is going to act like summer (it’s 73F & muggy) then I’m going to wear summer clothes!

  4. Would you rather host a party or be a guest? This is tough. I like having guests because Dr. M does all the work. I clean, but he plans & prepares the food. It’s a good partnership. And a big bonus is that I don’t have to go anywhere & can go barefoot if I want. But we don’t do it very often because it wears us out. Going to someone else’s party is less exhausting, but not quite as fulfilling.

  5. Do you think we will move completely from traditional books to digital ones, and if we do, are you OK with that? I sure hope not! I did just download a book from my library in PDF format to see what I thought about the concept. I have a little mini notebook & I must admit it was nice to read it on the couch without worrying about turning on a light. And I could check my email periodically. But I like books – how they feel & how portable they are & that they don’t require power (other than a light source). I would like to utilize BOTH forms!

  6. Do you learn best by reading, listening or experiencing? Experiencing! It’s best if someone shows me, then I read the instructions to reinforce what they showed me. Listening doesn’t really work very well for me – my mind wanders. I’m amazed that I passed any tests in school!

  7. If you are (or when you were) single, what is the kiss of death for you concerning the opposite sex? (That is, what is one trait or behavior or habit or anything at all that immediately turns you off from considering that person a potential match for you?) Back when I was dating the kiss of death was a person who took themselves too seriously. I am fairly irreverent – if a person couldn’t handle that then I didn’t want to hang with them – no fun!

  8. Snacks. Salty or sweet? Sweet – I have a bit of a problem with my sweet tooth. I did the 5 Day Miracle Diet about 10 years ago to address just that problem & it worked pretty well. But you can’t stay on a Miracle Diet forever. Sigh.

  9. Look around you in a four foot radius. What object is around you that you didn't realize was there or forgot was there? How long has it been there? I’m at work, but I have a food scale on my desk – in case I wanted to measure how many ounces of chocolate covered raisins I was eating (really!). I brought it in about 9 months ago, but obviously I haven’t felt the need to measure any food lately!

  10. What is your favorite Tom Cruise movie? Jerry Maguire (mostly because of Renee Zellweger & the little kid).

  11. You buy a bottle of shampoo and discover that you don't like what it does to your hair at all. What do you do with that full bottle? Bring it to work & make one of the ladies here take it.

  12. Your favorite Fall comfort food? (Last week it was beverage.) Pecan Pie – I know I can get it other times of the year, but it seems to show up more in the fall. mmm - sticky goodness!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hi Amy!

One year & 4 months after my Mom died, Daddy married Amy. It was a minor scandal, although lots of people told me about how a man with a happy marriage usually remarries quickly. Mostly I was just glad that someone was making him happy since I couldn’t be there myself.

It was a bit rough at first. They were like teenagers – and, seriously, who needs to see your parent immersed in puppy love? No one, that’s who! Now they’ve calmed down a bit – although they’re still a little on the too sweet side for me.

Today is Amy’s birthday, & I decided it was time to introduce you to her. She makes my Dad laugh. A lot. She rode a motorcycle up until the last few years. She went to school for her Master’s degree after her children were grown & taught at the school for the deaf – the special needs kids! She is NOT a woman to be messed with! She has a smart mouth. She teaches Sunday School.


But, mostly when I think about Amy I hear music. She & Daddy met in a singing group – the Joymakers. And they make beautiful music together. When they’re not doing slapstick. Or making doe-eyes (ick!).

Happy Birthday Amy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sadness and Relief

It’s looking like my Braves won’t make it to the playoffs again this year. It could still happen, but it’s looking less & less likely. And my adopted team, the Reds, won’t be there either. That’s not all that unexpected – although they’re playing pretty good baseball right now.

As usual, at this time of year, when none of “my” teams is in the playoffs I’m filled with sadness & relief. Bittersweet I guess. I’m sad because we won’t get to watch these teams play ever again. Sure Chipper will probably still be with the Braves next year & Bronson will most likely still pitch for the Reds, but these particular teams won’t play again. There’ll be trades, and players designated for assignment, and whippersnappers up from the minor leagues. And for heaven’s sake hopefully some good pitching will be acquired! It’ll be fun & exciting, and at first every team will be headed to the playoffs.

But I’m relieved to have the “will they win or won’t they” tension gone from my shoulders. I’ll get to pull for teams indiscriminately – probably based on who the current underdog is (this is also my strategy in the NCAA basketball tournament). I will boo the Yankees and Cardinals, but pull for almost anyone else. And it’s exciting because who knows what will happen? Probably the Yankees or Cardinals will win the World Series – but you never know! And it’s a bit liberating to not have to watch “my” team play, breath bated, all that awful agony.

I know, I’m weird. And Dr. M is going to have some choice words to say about all this once I hit Post. He never thinks it’s a good thing when our team doesn’t make it to the playoffs. And don’t we all know that part of my relief is watching his disappointment now & not his sadness later (which may or may not be accompanied by choice words and flinging of inanimate objects – a Wake Forest basketball game years ago resulted in a duct taped TV remote).

It’s hard to watch the ones we love suffer & not be able to fix it. Yeah, not really talking about baseball now – love you sweetie.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Socks

So many of my blog friends have introspective, thoughtful posts today. Exploring their inner & outer worlds in new ways. Challenging us to follow them into the depths. (Well, maybe not Big Mama). But I’m here today to talk about socks. And the trauma of growing up with my father.

During my morning routine these days I always eat two peanut butter crackers (the ones with orange crackers – nabs, if you will) so that my stomach isn’t empty when I take my 27 ibuprofen. Well, really it’s just 4, but it feels like that many! Yes, it might make sense to just go ahead & eat breakfast. Ha! Those of you who think that don’t know me very well – I’ve got my routine precisely timed & there is no breakfast allotted. I eat breakfast at my desk at work. I’ve tried to be a morning person, but at this late date it’s not going to happen.

I take the ibuprofen as soon as I can upon waking not because of my shoulder (although it helps) or because of the arthritis in my hip, but because of my cracked tailbone. Makes the 45 minute morning commute SO much more comfortable.

Anyway (I am getting to the point!), this morning I did my little routine. Eat one cracker while dressing, take two ibuprofen. Eat a second cracker, take another ibuprofen. Then I put a sock on, paused (for perhaps as long as an entire minute!) & took the last ibuprofen. Yes, that was one sock. The other foot was just dangling out there all cold, waiting for its own sock. I can hardly bear the asymmetry. One warm foot, one cold foot. At the time I was proud that I wasn’t whimpering. I’m shuddering just remembering it now. Yikes!

And this is where my father comes in. He with his two socks on each foot, taunting me while he talked about how HOT his feet were as he took the socks off slowly. And then just STOPPING while there was still a sock on one of his feet. DADDY TAKE YOUR SOCK OFF!!! I was traumatized. He did this to me a lot while I was growing up. And maybe last Christmas. You just can’t escape some childhood terrors. We won’t even talk about the tickle monster. (Yes Daddy, I'm holding my arms TIGHT at my sides even now thinking about that).

And now, I’m going to spend some time studiously ignoring the fact that one arm is encased in a cloth sling while the other arm is free as a bird in short sleeves. How many of you have the same pathological (not the technical use of the word) need for the temperature of all your body parts to match?

This post was inspired by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. You can read about her horrible asymmetrical foot experience here.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marblehead, Ohio

We drove those farm-filled roads
passing sunflowers
and cows
and sheep
and towns with main streets
lined with magnificent homes,
coffee houses,
and hardware stores

For these, the journey would have been
enough.

But – oh that wide expanse!
All shades of blue and white,

with sailboats,
and herons,

and seagulls.
And children & dogs splashing
In that shallow water.

Something inside calms right down.

Let’s just sit and watch a spell.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On the road again...

Dr. M & I are slipping away for the weekend - leaving in the morning & coming back Sunday. Just a quick trip to see a large body of water not too far from us. I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures to share. We don't have reservations - wonder if we'll get to stay in that very interesting mobile home (house trailer where I'm from) in Marblehead again?

See ya'll later!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kitchen Sink

I'm continuing to drag out things I've already written (I promise that I won't start posting all 16 of our annual Christmas poems - at least until Christmas!). I'm not sure what prompted me to write down these thoughts - although I totally remember that time in my life & why I was thinking these things. We'd been married a little over a year at that point & we were moving to Asheville for Dr. M to go to school (unbeknownst to either of us we were starting on the journey that led us here to Ohio). I've added some paragraph breaks because it's easier to read that way, but the original version was just one long free-flowing thought process. Here we go!

I am standing at the kitchen sink talking to God. It is like writing a letter to my fourth grade best friend: I have moved so far away from her that I don’t know what language to use. “God,” I say, “we need to get reacquainted.” And then I pause, mesmerized by the soap bubbles that seem so much more real than God. You see, I am a present moment person. That’s what everyone says, and I have to reason to doubt them.

My husband, the historian, tells my parents, on a tour of Raleigh, “This is where the civil war earthworks are.” I, on the other hand, point to an intersection, “This is where the spark plug fell out of my car!” Sure, earthworks are interesting, but spark plugs are real. And that is my problem with God who, at the moment, is an earthwork and not a spark plug. How do you talk to a relic? And why?

The problem is this: I need to decide what to do with my life. At least, that’s what everyone tells me, and I have no reason to doubt them. I, present moment person that I am, have been content to drift dandelion-along, taking life as it comes. My college degree pointed me in a certain direction, but I have largely ignored it. We’re moving. I’ve always wanted to live in Asheville. But now THE DAY OF RECKONING IS AT HAND. I am supposed to use this move as a career stepping stone. Career! Goodness! I have never wanted a career – I want to have fun!

I understand that the right career can be fun, and so I feel honor-bound to search for my niche, but it feels very unreal to me. This is where God comes in. I used to assume that I was, indeed, being led by God. That sure took a load off of my shoulders! God just opened the door and I went through. And then I went to seminary, where I learned that not only is God not who I thought she was, she/he was not going to nudge me along the path of righteousness. I have options! And not only that, any option may turn out to be the right one! I’m no Calvinist. I left seminary believing that God’s will is not a road, it is an attitude. I am free to be God’s child wherever I am.

And so. I am talking to a stranger at the kitchen sink. “God, we need to have a talk. I can’t see you very clearly now, and my path is full of possibility. I’m scared! How do I know what door to open? I am full of contradictions. I want to write. I want to work with computers. My skills are in other areas. I feel reluctant to think in terms of ‘career’. Are you there?” Dirty dishwater. Clean dishes. I look outside my window. Our yard is dotted with dandelions. White frizz floats on the breeze and I think that I will burst with freedom and responsibility. I am my own person. I choose to think “avocation” and unchain myself from career nightmares. My historian and I will survive, though I don’t find my niche. After all, I am a dandelion – small and useless in a box, filled with power on the wind.

March 23, 1992



Our wedding day, December 15, 1990. We were pretending to ring the church bell. I sort of had this southern belle thing going on. As you can tell from my expression, it was a good day.

Brief update on the shoulder business

I’ve tried to be good & only mention my recuperating shoulder in passing, but before I post another gem from my past (not a poem this time – an essay) I decided to slip this in here. I started my physical therapy last week. I’ve had three sessions now. Last week I learned from my therapist that what I had is a SLAP tear (an injury to the Glenoid labrum, whatever that is). Apparently this type of injury has to be corrected with (arthroscopic) surgery most of the time. So I guess this was all necessary – which is good since I already had the surgery!

I’m not supposed to lift my arm over my head for the first six weeks (so the little biodegradable pin they put in doesn’t come loose – eww!). Four down, two to go. And you know, not looking forward to physicial therapy after that sixth week. Ouch! Last night I had a substitute therapist & I thought she would kill me. Really! She looked nice & we had a lovely conversation about books on tape, and all the while I was thinking can’t she tell I’m dying here? I’ve been told by many kind & thoughtful friends that it’s only going to get worse.

I’ve never been a “no pain no gain” kind of gal, but I have a goal here & I plan to slog through until I reach it. I’ve already mentioned this goal to you guys and to my boss’s wife. I told my therapist that was my goal & he was not the least bit surprised or dismayed. He said that he’d had another client with the same goal. Apparently she had multinational underarms (American on one side & European on the other).

So, although I’ll continue to keep the whining at a minimum, I will probably be posting on my progress to my goal. Maybe I should have one of those counters on my blog – maybe a butterfly on a ruler that moves closer to the goal each week…


Monday, September 7, 2009

September 1990

Back when I was in seminary, like a lot of students, I was in therapy. I guess the collision of all that actual documented church history and theology slamming up against what we learned in church growing up created a dissonance that needed impartial guidance - or maybe more dysfunctional folks were attracted to the idea of seminary (I was in both categories, actually). So, anyway, as part of therapy I wrote a poem in March 1990 describing where I would be in six months. Since I REALLY want to write a poem, but can't quiet my mind enough to do it, I decided to share this one with you.

September 1990

I tread the
hallowed halls of
memory & emotion
with careful, elated steps.
I survey
the boundaries -
each post hole
dug with fierce victory.
Meticulously
I color my
self -
staying in the lines.
I use zinnia colors -
orange & fuchsia -
the colors of anger
and joy -
the colors of
truth.
I am beautiful.
I am real.
I am.

March 15, 1990
Me, circa 1988

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Staying in the Moment

I’m not really a fall person, per se. I like the cooler air & beautiful trees, but despite my present-moment personality, as soon as I see the signs, I leap ahead & dread winter with its dark commutes to and from work, and its ice and snow. Ever since I developed arthritis in my left hip I’ve had a deep fear of falling on ice. And this year my broken tail-bone & my shoulder aren’t going to make that fear any better. Sigh.

Um, Bug? It’s still technically summer. And there probably won’t be any snow & ice for another 100 days or so. Chill.

So, in an effort to be more upbeat, and to keep up with the fall crowd (my blog list is filled with people who love fall), I’m going to try to view it differently this year.

Today was a definite step forward. Dr. M & I decided to go to the first home football game at his new school. We had a blast! The game was close, & we emerged victorious on a literal last second field goal by one of Dr. M’s Women’s History class students (a guy, by the way, in case you wondered - & really quite a cutie, says the woman old enough to be his mother). Wow! Now I’m all psyched to go to the other home games. I’m thinking I need a royal blue stadium seat & a more expanded wardrobe (I just have one t-shirt currently). Well, the accessories are half the fun, aren’t they? (Just re-read this paragraph – the kicker is cute, but not the reason I want to go to all the games. That would just be icky.)

I’m including a few pics to commemorate the day. As you can see, Dr. M & I are quite the nerds. We’re old enough to totally not care. Life is good, even when it’s almost Autumn.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Know What you Meme - A Random Dozen


Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee created a meme & I decided to participate. Aren't you glad? If anyone else would like to join in the fun, you can post your answers in the comments or on your own blog & just let us know that you did it.

  1. When you go to Wowmart, what one thing do you get every single time, besides a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration? I don’t really have anything – we used to NEVER go, but now that we’ve moved we go much more frequently. It’s close & cheap. But wherever I go, if there’s food, I usually get some form of chocolate.

  2. What is something that people are currently "into" that you just don't get or appreciate? Reality TV. Meh.

  3. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel "ho-hum" about? Baseball!

  4. Favorite song to sing in the shower or car? I’m such a dweeb – I don’t really sing without music on because I can never remember the words. Except for “Dime a Dance” which was on the flip side of Vicki Lawrence’s 1973 single of “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” I sang it incessantly as a child (I was 9 when it came out) – which was a bit of a concern to my parents since the chorus goes: “Hey mister, take a chance – it only costs you a dime a dance. And if you’re looking for romance, I’ll be nice to you…Hey mister it’s so cold if you don’t have someone to hold. I’ll do anything I’m told to do…”

  5. A really great salad must have this ingredient: almonds

  6. Advice in a nutshell to new bloggers (one or two sentences): I’m still new myself, but I’ll say that if you want to experience the blogging community you should comment on other blogs you like – they might visit you & then you can get a dialog going.

  7. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you? I don’t think there was one (was there, Daddy?). When I was a kid I didn’t like that boys and girls could have my name (Dana). Today I don’t care.

  8. What in your life are you waiting for? To get out of debt.

  9. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from? The new boots I ordered today (hence the getting out of debt problem). But I need new shoes for the more extreme winters we’re going to have now!

  10. Today--what song represents you? White-Wheeled Limousine by Bruce Hornsby (I’ve been in a mystery frame of mind lately).

  11. What is one thing that blogging has taught you about yourself? I’m a little more vain & a little less daring than I thought I was.

  12. How are you going to (or how did you) choose the clothes you're wearing today? What do they say about you in general or specifically how you're feeling today? I’m in normal office attire today – except that I’m wearing this particular pair of black pants because they have an elastic waist-band so I don’t have to deal with zippers & buttons with one hand. So I’d say my clothes say I’m practical!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Always Something

One of my favorite movies is Joe Versus the Volcano (Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan, 1990). Dr. M & I have watched it multiple times & we have some favorite quotes that we fling at each other (and then laugh uproariously – we think we’re hilarious):

  • I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?
  • Wherever we go, whatever we do, we're gonna take this luggage with us!
  • It’s always something with you Joe, isn’t it?

The premise of the movie is that this hypochondriac is diagnosed with a brain cloud & only has a certain number of months to live. We really enjoy how he spends his time after his diagnosis. All these little vignettes of life moments.

Really, though, I only bring it up to state the obvious. I believe that I have a brain cloud. It’s hovering somewhere just above my neck. Sometimes the sun breaks through, but mostly I’m seeing the world through a fog. No, I’m not abusing my pain meds thank you very much! Just feeling a lack of clarity & inability to write anything witty or interesting – on my blog or anyone else’s. Bear with me. I’ll be back with a vengeance soon I’m sure!

P.S. I have my first physical therapy session today. I’m sure I’ll have scads of fascinating things to say about that!