Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Washes of Color tagged me with a book meme.Here are the rules:

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your blog along with these instructions.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.
* Tag five other people to do the same

Aren't you excited that the closest book to me is a World Geography book? World Geography Today by Holt, 2003.

"This climate also has the greatest annual temperature ranges in the world. Although severe, the climate supports vast evergreen forests. These northern forests are also called boreal forests.
The subarctic climate region is very large. It stretches across far northern North America, Europe, and Asia. In the Southern Hemisphere there is practically no land at these latitudes."

I have tagged: Patchwork Reflections, Deep Language, What the Waitress Brings, and Calypsotown. I don't have five blogging friends so four will have to do.

And on another topic....
I went to the breast cancer survivor group tonight. Some of us aren't (surviving). Some of us are, but with various effects from our treatments. All of us got our picture taken for a press release about our efforts related to a breast cancer fund raiser next month. Some dude came and told us about the local medical center's NEW and IMPROVED plans for how to treat cancer. And they are at least getting new equipment, and talking about how to be better in the future. Not a bad idea. The fellow invited us to e-mail or call him with any suggestions we had. What a silly thing for him to do! I have probably a dozen suggestions!

Finished a big project at work today. Felt really, really good to get it done. I hope it is just the right stuff.

I'm worried about being able to CREW. Some memo came out about what days are critical for us to be present and of course the days for the 3-day are two of those days. Since I asked for those days off during pre-planning, I'm hoping that they allow me to do it. I'm concerned though. It would peeve me to no end if after all I've done, I couldn't end up being CREW. I'm trying to keep things in perspective, however. I'm working. Working is good. Not having cancer is good. Somehow, things will work out. I'm going to be optimistic about things. At least today I am.

I was so exhausted yesterday I went to bed at 8:15 PM and I SLEPT deeply and until the alarm required attention. After going to the support group tonight after work, I'm really ready to close my eyes for awhile. Night and blessings to all who follow these ramblings.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Off the Prayer List

I wrote to my parish today and asked to be taken off the prayer list. I've made it through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. I'm not 100% yet, but it's time to take the phone line to the big "guy and/or gal" and make it open for someone else more needy. I've made it through the first month of being back to work. I still come home and go straight to bed some days, but on the whole, now that I know my back pain is not related to a potential reoccurrance, I'm thinking it's time to declare myself officially "not pitiful." That feels like a victory of sorts.

I'm very concervative about optimism, but this is a crack in the darkness that lets the light in a little. It's less than a month now until the 3-day. It's exciting and intimidating all at once.

The laundry calls. Must run and get it before it wrinkles up.

Many, many thanks to all of you that sent good thoughts, good vibes, positive energy, white light or prayer my way. It was all needed, and it was so, so appreciated.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Babies are Back

My outdoor yard diva came today to do work outside. At two hours a week, I'm not expecting miracles, but it's nice to see things improving a little at a time.

Then Miss Jewel came and spent the afternoon with me. She is just back from travels to Savannah where she and her brother made mom and dad nuts because they'd never sleep simultaneously. So this afternoon, she played and napped at my house so mom and dad could nap at their house!

Deepest sympathies to all those Dawg fans out there.

I think we're going to REI tomorrow to try on some clothing in preparation for the 3-day. I'd like it a lot if I could find some of those pants that you can zip off the legs and make them into shorts when the weather gets warm. But ... coming in the large economy size means I sometimes don't get what I want. I did order a jacket from LL Bean today that is a 3-way jacket that I think will be perfect for the walk. They say that it can sometimes be hot, and often there is frost on the ground in the AM, and it's been known to rain during the walk. With the 3-way jacket I'm prepared for rain, cold, and if I can get some gigantico zip pants, I'll be prepared for warm.

I want to get some long-sleeved tops too because since I've lost the girls, I get cold. I used to never get cold, but now I get cold much easier. Someone in the know said it is really the chemo that changed it so that I get cold, but I think it's the loss of the girls. I think they were heaters. Anyway, I don't hardly have sweaters or jackets because I was always hot. I'm actively looking for some sweaters! I get chilly now and it's not really winter yet! What a huge change!

I hope you and those you love are well this evening.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Broken Tooth

My dentist is a sweetie and I love him because he does a lot of work for me either using hypnosis or no anything but manages to do it without it being traumatically painful. I broke a bit of a tooth a couple weeks ago, and was able to work out an appointment for today. It turns out it was a crown that broke. I have so many now that I don't know where they all are. Anyway, he fixed it and didn't charge me anything for fixing his own crown. I thought was nice. The other thing is that I got brave and hit him up for a 3-day donation. He said he would. I left the info, but we'll see.

I'm very excited because for the first time since around Christmas, I'm going for a massage. I can't tell you what incredible pain relief I get from them, and how much they invigorate me and make me feel better. I have a totally different body now than back then, but I think most everything is healed up enough to give it a try. I'm very much looking forward to 30 minutes of bliss.

I got to solve a BIG problem for one of my bosses today. THAT is way cool. I like it when I can do something that makes the boss smile.

Gotta go do a water exchange for the fish. Later gators.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Amazing how....

much better my back feels now that I know that what's causing it to hurt isn't cancer! It still hurts.....but a bulging disk is nothing compared to a cancer recurrence!

Been busy as the proverbial "one armed paper hanger." And, I will be throughout the week and weekend.

I'm excited to see the donations on Jenn's page. Ever dollar is a special gift to me and I appreciate each and every penny in every one of those dollars.

I'm doing a web project at school that I feel good about and which is beginning to go live. It's kind of exciting. I like doing something for the school that makes the boss happy, that I can do sitting down, and which lets me express myself with a little creativity. I think that's a perfect fit for me and my energy levels these days.

I'm getting frustrated being one of two Democrats in a sea of Republicans. Just because she doesn't have external plumbing doesn't mean I'm for Palin. Just because he is a respected and genuine hero doesn't mean I want he and the political freight he brings, to perpetuate the financial mess our country is in. Everyone forgets that while he may be a moral sleaze, Clinton left the office with the budget balanced. In 8 short years we're close to a 2nd "Great Depression." I am just stunned that anyone thinks that more of the same is a good idea. Don't flame me if you're part of the sea of Republicans around me. I'm entitled to my liberal opinion, and you're entitled to yours. I'll go to the polls and you'll probably over-ride my vote by incredible odds in five short weeks.

Won't you be glad when all the anxiety of the election is finally over? I sure will. Then maybe something different will happen no matter who is elected and somehow, someway things can get some better. It's really awful for a lot of people. HP is laying off 26,000! Holy crap. Can't find gas. $700 BILLION to bail out banks that wouldn't give me the time of day. I'm beginning to wonder if the few bucks I do have should be hidden under the mattress or in my back yard. My dad who lived through "The Great Depression" was forever changed because of it and always predicted that another one was coming. He may be gone, but his prediction might be right. THAT is scary. I'm not smart about all this economic stuff, but I do know I can't imagine a million, much less a billion. Now multiply that unimaginable number 700 times. I have to balance my budget, how come the big folks who are elected to take care of this, don't feel any responsibility for doing this for the country? I don't get it. No flames. No flames. I'm just expressing my lack of understanding.

Did teachers stay employed during the first "Great Depression" because I sure hope to keep my job.

Friday, September 19, 2008


OK, I haven't written much lately because I've been holding my breath for a week. My back has been hurting me for a while. Probably a month. It coincided nicely with going back to work, and so I just figured it had to do with not being used to wearing my prosthetic breasts all day and my back was complaining. But then one night when I was laying in bed realizing that Advil wasn't going to touch the pain I had, I had this sudden thought. A really scary one. My kind of breast cancer likes to come back. And it comes back in very particular places. It generally comes back in the liver, lungs, brain or SPINE. And, I knew that night that I was calling the oncologist the next morning. And I did. Saw his PA, had a nice conversation and scheduled an MRI. I had the MRI on Tuesday and got the news today. I have a bulging T9 disk in my spine that is unhappy. No cancer. WAY GOOD NEWS. So I'm just getting more decrepit, not getting more visits from the cancer fairy (that I know of). That made tonight even more nice.

We had a block party at my next door neighbor's tonight. I made a poster, and she put out a jar, and there was over $100 collected toward Jenny's fund for her 3-Day walk. AWESOME! Thanks to all who shared food, and friendship, fireworks, and money. Your generosity is appreciated.

I'm working on a couple of big projects for school right now so I'm kind of up to my eyeballs in paperwork. Such is the life of a special ed teacher. At least I'm gainfully employed and doing something that helps people. I like that about my work. I definitely make a difference for some students.

Tomorrow I'll write about spirit week next week and what that looks like in rural America.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Tomorrow we only have the kiddies until 1 and then we have professional development stuff to do. I'm tired so that seems like a good idea.

Found www.twitter.com today after listening to an NPR story. Interesting. Already have at least one friend there.

It's been a busy week and continues so. I got a lady to come work on my exterior on Monday. My hedges got trimmed and some of the back part of the yard got cleaned up some. I want my yard to look pretty, but I'm lousy at doing the outside work.

Liam wants to come spend the night with his Grammy and it looks good for Saturday. The diva of all things clean comes tomorrow and I fear I will disappoint her by being a bigger slob than usual. I generally try to clean up a bit before she comes, but I've just been so tired out when I get home, I've been useless once I've gotten home, but lord I've been working hard at work.

I was cleared to finish my 3-day registration yesterday. They got my doc release, so I paid for my towel service and told them to pair me up with a random person to tent with. I fear they get the raw end of that deal as I have been told I snore. I've looked at some pix from previous walks and the people seem to fight the cold (I suspect in the early am.) so I want to get a good windbreaker that is waterproof and has a zip in/out warmth liner. I got some gloves this week. I have one pair of thermal undies. I suspect I better find a couple more pair. I'm suspecting that packing shorts is much less necessary than packing long pants. I suppose ideally I'd get those zip off legs that make pants turn into shorts, but I don't know if I can find any that are big enough to go around my butt.

Really, really tired. I'm going to head to bed now. Should be more interesting stuff later in the week.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Yesterday Jenny hit the half-way point in her fund raising for the 3-Day. We only have about 45 days left to go though, so we have to hustle to get the other half. Right now the individual who has made the largest donation is someone who lives on a fixed income. God bless her. Jenn's gotten another nice donation from a company she has patronized for several years that was a surprise. Tomorrow morning we're going to tape a letter to all the residents of our subdivision on their mailbox and hope at least a few are inspired to give. We're also going to do some pratice walking.

I saw my son-in-law's iPhone the other day, and I have to say I now lust after one. What an incredible piece of technology! I think it would be the bomb for geocaching too. It's probably more technology than I'm smart enough to use, but it's coolies! I'm going to have to spend some time trying to figure out how to justify $30 more dollars a month for cell service that isn't quite as good as what I have now but has AMAZING additional features! I understand now how people can geocache so easy with these phones!

Boring life here. Glad of it. Planning to do some things close to home this weekend. Anyone close to IKE keep your head down and your body on high ground.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Behalf of All Who Perished Seven Years Ago Today

Hail Mary, full of grace. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Different people can see the same event and have very different perceptions of that event. Especially when family's have emotional events going on, insight can be so different by different people of the same event(s). Each person believes their truth. Each person feels their feelings intensely. Who is to say what is right or wrong? Right and wrong are earthly ideas that are really translated to more spiritual concerns that are hard to understand on this side of the veil. I hope we get insight into them when we transcend this mortal life, for I confess it is sometimes too confusing to me now.

What I do know is that I am human and I have probably hurt some of you kind readers or offended you in some way I do not have mortal insight into. I apologize for my shortcomings. I work hard to keep my heart in the right place, but as anyone can ... I'm sure I have strayed from the "right" and all I can do is keep on keeping on and praying that what pain I have caused (known and unknown) can be forgiven...because in my heart I have no intent to cause pain.

When the day comes that I breathe my last, I hope that on the whole I have done more good than stupid or bad or naieve. And, isn't that what any of us hope? I learn new things everyday and I hope that what I learn daily makes me a better person if only in the smallest of ways. But, I, like all, have sinned and fallen short. I lean on the grace of God and hope that love will heal all in the grand scheme.

Monday, September 08, 2008

OK, It's a Model A

Not knowing much about modern cars, I'm definitely lacking in education about antique vehicles. I have been corrected that the color was true for a Model A. Now we all know. ;)

Anyone have a treatment for eczema that works? I've been itching for months now. I just about can't stand living in this skin.

I went around the school today taking pix to help get a stock of photos to use in a revision of the school website. I enjoy doing creative things. I hope the committee I'm on to do this revision will get something more attractive and functional up.

As September 11th's anniversary comes closer I feel a heaviness on my heart. I remember praying the rosary for so, so long. I committed to say a "Hail Mary" for every soul killed that day and it took almost a year for me to get it done since most of my prayers were in the car. The rosary that I used became so contaminated with that sadness that I asked my then priest to help me find a place to honorably retire it. It is now in the small, small space between the stone altar and the marble floor in that new sanctuary. It makes me feel good that it is in a holy place for all time. Somehow it preserves the memory and lives of all those poor souls. It has the sudden and startling rememberance reserved for events like "where you were when JFK was shot" or "where you were when you learned about the Challenger." Only it's like 3,000 times more awful. I was standing in a science classroom in front of 30 kids and my first impulse was to drop to my knees in prayer. I know of teachers that did and were admonished for it. Our world changed that day, but the victims of that terrible day were accompanied into larger life by over 4,000 Americans who have now died in the "War Against Terror." It's almost more heartbreak than one can stand to think about -- all those families that have lost special people in their lives. And these numbers are probably small compared to the Iraqi deaths in the last several years. A lot of blood. A LOT of blood. Peace and compassion are so hard to strive for in this world. Such incredible destruction that day and since then. Many hero's in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, and New York. I'm acquainted with an FBI agent that went to Staten Island where the remains of the buildings were taken, and he looked for bits and pieces of people. I grieve for the Port Authority workers that lost all their specially trained and beloved cainine officers. I think of Police Officers and Fire Personnel who rushed in at the first sign of trouble only to become victims themselves. God bless the peacemakers in all this. I hope families, communities, and colleagues are healing. Bring us peace Lord.

(Dove photo courtesy of: http://sunwalked.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/conflict-resolution-in-peace-building/)

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Sunday was a special delight because I got invited to breakfast. Wonderful pancakes and bacon and orange juice served to the tune of children laughing and playing. Miss Jewel even ate a little itty bit of pancake.

Afterwards we went on an impromptu trip to Rockmart for Geocaching. Liam thought it was grand fun looking for "pirate treasure," and the rest of us had a fun time too. One cache was straightforward and the other was a very clever hide. Very clever. Liam is the "Chestnut Squirrel" as his geonick, and I haven't created one for Jewel yet. Liam was just barely walking when he went with me to an event and I created his own account.

Wow, look at those teeth! I walked a LOT today so I'm ready for bed. If the video shows but is sideways, there's nothing I can do about it. Just turn your head.

We went to a couple parks today. I tried taking video a couple times, but operator error really screwed things up. Jewel even had fun. I met a Mr. Hayes who restored this beautiful 1929 Ford. I admonished him that Henry Ford wouldn't approve of his paint job, since it was neither black, black nor black. It was the most beautiful restoration I've ever seen though. He reports it can get up to 50 to 55 at top speed.

My dad told of a trip with his uncle's new Model T. His Aunt and Uncle rode up front, and his mom and dad sat in the back. He and his sister sat on buckets turned up-side-down from Long Island, New York all the way to Florida. I suspect that must have been an interesting trip! I wonder if the adults have as fond of memories of it, as my dad did?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hands and Feet

OK, so we got cute little imprints of Liam's hands and feet when he was something like two weeks old. Jewel is a few days shy of being 9 months old, so by chance today we went by the pottery studio and with mom and I and some soft clay we were able to finally get her little hand and footprints. It was so fun getting them. I could see her little brain cogs turning and turning and going "What the hell are they doing with me right now!! This is weird!" Because we'd have to hold her in certain positions and one person would have to hold Jewel while the other person did the imprint. As long as we were at it we did several. It was fun.

She is also doing the crab crawl now. I kept her for a bit last night and for some reason she doesn't realize that legs can work similarly bilaterally. She scoots her left leg holding it under her, while pushing off with her right leg extended. If you didn't know her, you might think she couldn't work her left leg right or something. The reality is that she hasn't figured out that she can push off with the left one just like she can with the right. It works for her, and she sure can get around. The really odd thing is that her brother did the very same kind of crab crawl when he was learning to crawl. How can something so behavioral be genetic? I dunno.

She is is about to have four teeth. Jenn said that the other middle top tooth was breaking through as we were doing foot and hand prints.

Being a grammy is a lot of fun. I like it very much.

Still working on raising funds for the 3-Day. Jenn went and did a practice walk today with some ladies over at Mirror Lake. I'm so proud of her for taking on this commitment. Always room for a few more bucks in the fund: www.jenny3day.info

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Daily Adventures

Another great day at school. Rushed out afterwards to Walmart to get Betty cigarettes. Somehow when I made the major grocery haul yesterday, after years of getting staples for Betty, I forgot to get her cigarettes. This would not be a problem except for the fact that she was down to two packs. So I knew that I HAD to get a major haul this afternoon first thing. I took them and some new lawn chairs for her front porch over there and it must have been 90 in the house. I sat down and visited with her for a while, but between the smoke and heat, had to run. She wanted me to take her to dinner, but I'm still coming home and going to bed as soon as I can, so I put her off. And, in fact, I came home afterwards and took my afternoon nap.

The good news of the day is that I believe the pH is what caused my fishy friends to have a crisis a couple weeks ago. I've been monitoring water parameters closely and by keeping the pH up, my fin'd friends are recovering quite well. In fact I'm pretty certain they are back to fishy normal.

Tomorrow I have a check-in with the oncologist. Just want to get a couple things checked out. Thankfully I was able to work the appointment so that I only leave campus a little early and don't have to take any sick leave, which I don't yet have.

I hope you and those you love are well and safe this night.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wussy Weekend

I thank the fates for the three-day weekend. Last week was very taxing on my personal energy reserves. But, I rested and I'm feeling considerably better. I did major laundry today and did Betty's grocery shopping and that's about as productive as I've been this weekend.

I've been watching the news / weather with everyone else and pondering some things. A comment recently about the reporting style of a particular news network surprised me. You know I can see political orientations on different news channels sometimes, but on the whole, I think the news we see from 6 - 7 PM or whatever, is really pretty restrictive. I see political bias in publications like Reader's Digest occasionally, and I've never thought for a moment that Fox News is really balanced. On the web I tend to read most of my news from Reuters. I kind of think that Reuters is a little more in-depth than most of the other news services. I don't read MSNBC or focus on the AP site. Reuters is a little more global I guess; not completely focused on the US to the exclusion of almost every other country or world event.

It's really shocking to me that a lot of what goes on in the world never makes it to our local or national news programs. Understanding how the US fits into the the global situation is important or we become naive to the larger picture. I'm personally worried about the Dalai Lama and his being sick. That hasn't been reported in American news much. I pray for him to have a swift recovery, but worry that that if he does die soon, the Chinese will nominate and push for their own selection for the next Dalai Lama and make him a puppet. This one has become an artist in diplomacy and advocacy in non-violent ways. Too many have died already. I hope he gets well soon. I am concerned about the situation in Indonesia where over a million have died in political strife and yet we don't hear about that here. I want to understand better why the Prime Minister of Japan just resigned, and why we don't hear much of anything about McCain's two sons: one is at Annapolis and the other enlisted at 17 after graduating from high school. OK, so Palin's daughter is a teen statistic, but what about mom and her 17-month old 5th child with Down Syndrome. Who is Palin's hubby and what is he like? Are they Catholic? I don't know....do you? Gustave appears to have left New Orleans largely intact, but Hannah goes up the east coast and Ike is zooming our way. That's all we hear about right now. It's important but not everything going on in the world.

I think most readers and news consumers are smart enough to perceive the political subtleties that are put out there during newscasts. Anyone who doesn't think propaganda goes on today, is asleep at the wheel. By the same token, I don't think most folks talk about it overtly. My favorite paper is The Philadelphia Enquirer because they print the Supreme Court majority and minority opinions in their entirety. I think that is so cool. I don't think it's cool enough to take a subscription or anything. I read some on the web from The New York Times but it's so reliant on the AP that I know it's not the be-all-end-all of news. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm way more interested in surviving day-to-day. News is something I filter in late at night when I'm not sleeping. I'd be curious what you think about the political leanings of news sources and how you get around them -- but restrict your responses to 50 words or less. I don't care more than 50 words. I'm just curious how you filter your news sources or if you even care.

I'm setting the alarm and getting ready for another week (albeit a shorter one) back at work. It was, I admit, awfully nice to get paid this past week and not have to live off disability. Wherever you are this night, I hope you are dry, warm enough (or cool enough) and that you and those you love are safe. And everyone send positive vibes to the Highland Pearls who I think are likely to leave Carrollton soon for San Francisco for their 3-Day walk. It's a big, big commitment and I'm so proud of them and their efforts. Godspeed to Catherine, Hazel, Martha and Julie. I wish you no blisters, lots of fun, and beautiful weather.