Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I was going to post the moon, but...

I can't seem to get my pictures to work.  Maybe next time...
My grandparents went to Derby Dinner for their anniversary, to see 'Guys and Dolls'.  I just love the fact that they're 74 and 70 years old and they're still going out on dates!
I'm getting ready to go to bed, and I'm sooo tired and my body just aches, when in comes my daughter, convinced someone is breaking into the house.  I go, no one is breaking in!  She heard the sound of the clothes dryer.  But it's all over by this point, and she wants to sleep in my bed tonight.
There goes my sleep!  It's hard to sleep when you're hanging for dear life on the side of the bed while your kid is sprawled horizontally over the whole bed.  Usually, I bravely lie down, go to sleep for about 15 minutes, wake up when she shoves me off the bed, climb back up and sleep for another 15 minutes, wake up when she shoves me off, etc...until finally about 4 a.m. I wake up enough to realize that it isn't working, and I go either to her room to lie down, or to the couch.
But there's no way in the world I would ever refuse to let her sleep in here, because I know one day soon she's going to turn into a teen and start acting like she doesn't need me anymore, and I'll be, "Hey, where'd you go?...Come back, come back!". 

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Top 1 reason against Lasik...

The big fuzzy, floating balls of lights that I see when I don't have my glasses on. 
It's especially impressive when I'm riding on the highway at night (as a passenger, of course!), and during Christmas time.  You have a Christmas tree, and then, take off your glasses and poof!
You have no tree, just a tiered, multicolored, beautiful fuzzy thing.
Why would I want this to go away?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Good memories, Part 2

When I was at the hospital Friday to see my aunt, the rest of the family left and it was just us and my cousin, Amy.
We left my aunt while the nurses came in to help her, ostensibly to go downstairs, but really to go to the waiting room and talk about things we couldn't talk about in front of her.
We settled down on the waiting room couch, me on the right, Amy on the left, and my mom in front of us.  And while Amy gave us the updates, I couldn't help but think about how thankful I was, to Amy, and to my aunt, for being in my life, and how often through the years Amy and I had slouched, in those same positions, next to each other on a couch, through good times and bad.
We were born within a month of each other, and were always together growing up, interrupted only by my frequent moves around the world as an Army brat.  When I came back home for good in 1986, we were best friends.
All through middle school and high school, we were a constant presence in each other's house.  She always wanted to come to mine, because it was cleaner, and I always wanted to go to hers, because there was less supervision.  I spent days on end at her house...I was my aunt's fourth daughter, and she was my second mom, only without the constant monitoring I got from my real mom!
Amy and I were with each other when we learned our grandmother had died, and again when our grandfather died.  We got in trouble all through high school together.  Courtesy of Amy, who fixed me up with my first boyfriend, I got my first kiss...and also my Junior Ring Dance date with a different guy, when I no longer had a boyfriend!
We continued in this vein, through a lot of ups and downs and tragedies, and through my one girl and her three boys, not seeing each other nearly as often, but, when we do talk on the phone or see each other, as comfortable and comforting as always.
I'm so proud of her for what she's accomplished.  Also a little worried, as most of the burdens of this are falling on her shoulders, even though she has two sisters.  It's Amy who always goes to every doctor visit with my aunt and uncle, because she acts as their interpreter (my aunt and uncle are deaf).  I could tell she was unraveling there, in the waiting room, even as she made us laugh as usual.  You know one of those people who can always make you laugh?  That's Amy. 
So anyway, I felt that one moment of grace when I was sitting there, as usual, beside my lifelong best friend, who saved my life many times as I was growing up.  Tears, and uncertainty, but also grace, which hopefully she felt as well.  I know she'll always be there for me, and I will always be there for her. 
Here we are, circa 1973:
Picture from Hometown

Thank you all so much for the kind words and prayers, you have no idea how much it meant to me that you were thinking about and praying for us.  I'm truly grateful.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I need the hope...

Not a very fun day...
When I got home from work this evening, my dad called me.  He was upset with me, because he had been leaving me voicemails since yesterday and I hadn't called him back, and it was aunt is in the hospital.  Not the same aunt that was in the hospital a few weeks ago, this time it's my dad's sister.
I haven't been listening to my messages lately. 
My aunt went to the hospital with pains.  They thought it was her heart, and so they did a heart cath.  Her heart was fine.  Then they thought it was her gallbladder.  She had her gallbladder removed this morning.  During the surgery, they saw her liver.
They came out of the surgery, saying everything went fine, but...
And they showed my cousin, my aunt's middle daughter and my best friend, a picture of my aunt's liver. 
They said, "Your mother will have to stop drinking.  We're going to schedule some programs for her...".
She has cirrhosis of the liver.
The doctors didn't know then that my aunt doesn't ever drink.
And they didn't know that those were the only words that had the ability to put my family in a tailspin and strike fear in our hearts. 
My aunt's dad, my grandfather, died of cirrhosis of the liver.  He actually was an alcoholic.  He hemorrhaged to death in his apartment.  It was...terrible.  Terrible.
My aunt doesn't drink.  She doesn't have hepatitis.  But she has cirrhosis of the liver.  It may not be that advanced, and it may be manageable.  We'll know more when the real doctor comes in tomorrow.
But the gut reaction of my family was the reaction of a family who has already been torn apart by this disease.  My dad, sobbing over the phone, wondering why his sister, who has never done anything wrong, has this.  My uncle, hovering in the hallway.  My cousins, disbelieving and in tears.
They haven't told my aunt yet.  She was devastated when my grandpa died the way he did.  My cousins decided she wasn't in any condition, after her surgery today, to hear this.  I don't agree with their decision, but there's nothing I can do about it.  I felt horribly guilty sitting by her bed and knowing something she didn't. 
I hope that tomorrow the doctor will come in and say, this is not as bad as that, this can be managed...
I just didn't realize that the pain of my grandfather's violent death, over fourteen years ago, still had the ability to destroy us this way.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


I don't have much to say, today...
I saw a most beautiful sunset this evening.  I see sunsets a lot more now, than I used to, since I go to the Y in the evening, and they have big picture windows.  The sunset seemed to last forever, it was orange and pink and purple until the sky finally faded to blue.
But I never get to see sunrises anymore.  I lived in a little town in Germany for a while, based on a hill, and our townhouse was at the very top.  I was treated every morning to a sunrise, looking out over the valley.  I was so sad when we moved away.
I didn't see any more sunrises after that until I started working nights out at the airport.  I would get off at dawn, walking to my car through a huge empty parking lot, and see the most incredible sunrises every day. 
I miss that.
I'm feeling sad, out of it, and so tired.  I think I had too little sleep and too much time to think today, or something, and despair visited tonight.  But for a little while, watching the sun set, I felt so happy and thankful to be alive in a world where such beauty is to be found.  I think watching the sun rise and set every single day would be good for us.
There's always beauty, somewhere...

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Who's your hero?

My mom is directing this year's VBS at our church.  This year's theme: HERO QUEST.  She's going around asking everybody who their hero is.  She wants examples of lots of different types of heroes...superheroes, sports heroes, musical heroes, historical heroes, etc.
My favorite superhero is, of course, Buffy.  
Sports hero: Richie Farmer.
Musical hero: Dolly Parton.
Historical heroes:  Too many to count.  How would I pick? From what era?  For what reasons?  From what part of the world?  The number of people who have lived and died working to make our world a better's countless.  They are all my heroes.
Specific hero: Gus Grissom, astronaut.
Hero on a pedestal: My grandfather.
My daughter, of course, wowed us when we asked her these questions.  When asked, "Who do you most admire?", and "Who do you most want to be like?", my beautiful girl immediately said, "Jesus".
Hero above all.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Mundane Monday

Things I did today (I live a VERY exciting life):
1.  Went to work.
2.  Took my daughter to softball practice.
3.  Worked out at the Y. (a)
4.  Made a dentist appointment to get the permanent filling and crown on top of the root canal (cost after insurance: $189.00). (b)
5.  Opened my cell phone bill and nearly died of shock (this month's bill: $105.60). (c)
Quite a fun, fulfilling day!
(a) It felt great to be back at the Y, after an 11-day-vacation and root canal-inspired absence.
(b) I normally have great insurance.  Except, apparently, for root canals, for which my insurance only pays 80%.  Adding this $189.00 with the emergency doctor's visit and the procedure, the root canal has cost me $500 this month!
(c) I haven't got the hang of this cell phone thing, I guess.  The secret to having a cell phone is to NEVER EVER USE IT.
I also had several deep thoughts today...the same ones as usual, though.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Counting the days...

I measure the memories of my childhood based on where my dad was stationed that year.
High school was a fun, glorious, constant time (four years in one place!).
After my first year of college, I found myself with a baby and suddenly single, both on the same day.
The years after that I measure by the different relationships I was in.
Until I fell in love with my boyfriend, eight years ago (long time, not married, I've already heard this!).
Since then I measure time by the different jobs I've had in the large corporation I work for (I transfer every two years or so to a different department, my company likes us to be well-rounded!).
So does this mean that I'm defined by where I live, who I love, where I work?
What does it mean to be defined
  You are...GILES

"You should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, where I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong."

What "Buffy" Character Are You?

Thursday, June 17, 2004


When I went to the dentist last week, I thought I had a cavity.
But no, it was much worse...I needed a root canal.
So I went to the dreaded appointment this morning.  I've never had a root canal before.  I was terrified.
The procedure itself was painless, though nerve-wracking.
It wasn't until I was standing at the receptionist's desk, writing out the check for my co-payment and getting ready to go, when I felt the pain.
They had assured me that I would be able to go to work afterwards.  WHAT?  Not only is the left side of my face paralyzed from the anesthetic, but I'm in sooo much pain.  Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch...
I called work and let them know I was going to go home for a couple of hours to lie down and then I would try my hardest to come in and work half a day.
(Okay, I'm actually not lying down right now, but I will in a minute - just trying to take advantage of an unexpected couple of free hours in the middle of the day!)
So, I'm off to lie down and practice pain management techniques in preparation for work.  I have to try to go in there today and get some things done, because tomorrow is TAKE YOUR KID TO WORK DAY, and while it's a very very fun day to have my daughter there with me, not much WORK gets done!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


When I came home today, there were two police cars parked in front of my neighbor's house.  I found out later that the police, and later an ambulance, were there to take him away due to a mental inquest.
Everyone knew that things weren't quite right with him, and haven't been for a while.  Both my grandparents (next door), and Johnnie and Dwayne (across the street), have been checking in on him, bringing him food, etc., for at least the last month, and his mom has been over there too, checking on him.  
How do people go downhill like this?  It's terrifying, how easy it can happen...five years ago, we were a team on a bowling league with him and his wife.  Then he started drinking more and more, and his wife left him, and he lost his job, and the next thing you know, the police are at his door, and he's sitting on the chair staring straight ahead, and there's blood all over the floor and he hasn't washed in days and he doesn't know anyone.
I hope he gets the help he needs, and I hope he can get back to the way he used to be.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Until I do I'm telling you so you'll understand...

I grew up hearing this song sung to me, over and over, by my parents.  They swear that they didn't name me after the song...but I find it very suspicious that, in my mom's massive stack of old albums, the only Beatles one that she had is, you guessed it, 'Rubber Soul'.
I've got the third load of clothes in the washer now and I'm going to bed!  I'll have to finish things up tomorrow when I get home from work.
It's so surreal getting back to the real world when you've been away.  It's like you're caught in the middle.  Which is the 'real world'?  I was walking in the woods today, gazing at the most beautiful place in the world, and now I'm sitting in my bedroom in front of my computer.  How can that be?  How did I get from there to here?
(Well actually, that part's easy...I slept while he drove!)

Barely here, am I here?

I'm back many clothes to wash, so little time...I wish I had taken tomorrow off!

Friday, June 11, 2004

I wanna be there, in my city...

I'm sitting in a hotel room, in Eastern Kentucky, in the foothills of the Appalachians.  This area of the country is so beautiful, I'm proud to be a part of it...
I'm probably not going to have much time to be online for the rest of the weekend.  Hopefully, we'll be out and about, visiting old places, and new ones.  And hopefully my mom and my aunt, who are both ill right now, will be restored by being down here in the place of their birth. 
The trip here today was great fun, as usual.  My SO was grumpy because I grabbed the wrong case of CDs, and so all our main favorites were left at home, in my car.  We had to alternate our listening preferences on the way down with a shortlist of acceptable CDs (my daughter, thankfully, was not there to complain about the music selection, as she opted to drive down with my mom, who has a TV and a VCR in her auto.  All the kids always want to go with my mom, for some reason...).
It took four CDs to get here:
1.  Johnny Cash - American Recordings IV (My pick)
2.  Johnny Cash - American Recordings III (My pick again, I snuck that in when he wasn't looking.  Who can complain about Cash?)
3.  George Jones - Greatest Hits (His pick.  Pain and torture for me!  I mean, yes, the Possum is cool, but try listening to a whole CD of mournful, slow, mournful, slow...I think that CD is going to have to disappear.)
4.  Elvis Presley - Greatest Hits (My pick.  I got an extra turn because of the dud he picked.  But it really wasn't fair, because he refused to listen to my Moulin Rouge soundtrack.  Elvis was his concession.)
I love the incongruity of using my laptop and listening to CDs down here, when tomorrow we're going to go visit my grandma's childhood home, which is deep in the holler...a one-room farmhouse, where she grew up with her parents and her five siblings, and electricity and running water was a thing of the future for them.  The house is now used to store hay!
My family's in a fragile state right now, hopefully things will become more clear down here.  We really need this!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Now, wait a minute...

Dear Ray Charles,
Thank you.
Thank you for using your talent and making millions of people happy every time they ever heard one of your songs.
Thank you for 'Georgia On My Mind'.
Thank you for collaborating with artists of every genre, through many decades, and spreading the wealth of your talents, from 'Baby Grand' with Billy Joel, to 'Seven Spanish Angels' with Willie Nelson.
Thank you for 'Come Rain or Come Shine' and 'That Spirit of Christmas'.
And thank you for taking 'America the Beautiful' and making it, still beautiful, and wholly yours.
I can't imagine a world without you, and you will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

If you wait long enough...

For a couple years in a row, a bird tried to build a nest on the outside light by my front door.  My grandpa would come over every day and take away all the grass that the bird had put there the previous day.  I just couldn't see having a nest there right where we open the door.
Two years ago, the bird never did get the message, and laid her eggs there even though her nest was gone.
I felt so terrible.  I swore that, the next time I saw a bird's nest, I didn't care where it was, no one was removing it.
I changed lights so the birds would no longer have a platform to be tempted by, and I waited to see if they would pick another place on my porch.
Last year, the birds didn't come, and I figured they were traumatized by the mean human living here, and they would never come back.
So early this year, when they started building a nest on the opposite side of my door, on the outside of the porch overhang, we were thrilled!
We waited, and waited, and waited.  There was a perfect little nest there.  We could only see grass hanging down from the had to go to the yard to see the nest from the outside. It's the perfect place!
After a while, both the mommy and the daddy bird were sitting on the nest all the time.  I didn't know both of them did that.  They were so valiant!
Then they stopped sitting on the nest all the time, and I was confused.  Where did they go?  Did that mean the eggs were not going to hatch?  For a couple weeks I was sure that the baby watch was over and something bad must have happened.
But yesterday, another mom from down the street came over yesterday to collect her child and said, "Did you know your babies were born?".
I ran out to the yard, and, behold, I saw four little baby bird heads popping up out of the nest.  It was dinnertime and the mom (or was it the dad?) were flying back and forth, fetching them dinner.
Whew!  I'm glad all that pacing and worrying is over...
Oh wait!  It's when they leave the nest that the worrying really starts, right?

Monday, June 7, 2004

I love this...

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!) brought to you by Quizilla

On Family Vacations

My aunt is home from the hospital and things are okay...she had surgery while she was in there, and lots of tests, and still no clear answers.  But she is feeling better, and so we're thankful, and still praying.
We're going down to my mom's (and grandma's and aunt's) hometown down in the mountains of eastern Kentucky this weekend.  For Decoration.  Or, to the kids, for the vacation where the whole family hangs out by the pool for a few days, except on Sunday when we go to the family cemetery in the holler and decorate great-grandparent's and great-great-grandparent's and countless aunts', uncles', and cousins' graves.
The new twist to this story in the past couple of years is that both my aunt (the one who just got out of the hospital) and my mom have put up their tombstones already there, next to my great-grandparents.  My mom and my aunt are still alive, but we can stand now over their gravesite.
I understand, them wanting to get this taken care of so we don't have to when the time comes.  But it was such a shock the first year, walking up that hill to Ma and Pa's graves and coming across my mother's.  I cried.  That time will come soon enough without a reminder, you know?  But I'm thankful my mother was there to comfort me, just like she always has been.

Friday, June 4, 2004

Mood: Moody

I think AOL should add more moods up there.  I'm hardly ever any of those moods they have listed.
I haven't had much time to stay on here, lately, with my aunt in the hospital...hopefully things will get back to normal soon.  Not that normal is really normal, but anyway...
The washer broke Wednesday night and flooded my utility room.  Now all the wood furniture that was in there is in the living room and there's about 1 foot of space to walk around.  My grandpa did fix my washer, though, so yay!  He's the best, he can fix anything, I don't know what I'd do without him.
My daughter went on a field trip with camp yesterday to the water park.  I was so worried about her going there without me.  She'll be 12 next month but she's still my baby!  I dropped her off at camp and went on to work, worrying the whole day that she'd get a sunburn (she is extremely fair-skinned and doesn't tan) because she wouldn't remember to reapply her sunblock...worrying that she'd get in the wave pool and lose her glasses...worrying about anything that could go wrong.  I was told at work to relax, stop worrying, and let her experience things.
So what happened?  She has a terrible sunburn on her face now.  She DID lose her glasses in the wave pool, but found them again.  And, to top it off, she lost her inner tube in the wave pool, while the waves were on, couldn't handle the waves, and the lifeguard had to jump in and get her.
See?  I KNEW it.  I don't think I can let her go back, they go to this waterpark every Thursday.  I think she's just too young to handle it without me.
I don't know.  Maybe I'm still a little too stunned to think about this clearly...

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Have to hurry, but I don't feel like it...

I just got in from staying the night at the hospital with my aunt, who's been there since Sunday.  We're all taking turns so she won't be there by herself, and last night was my turn.  We still don't know what's wrong with her, just waiting...
Now I have to get in the shower, go pick up my daughter from my grandparents' house, take her to camp, and then go to work.  I have one hour to do all this.
So of course I'm writing in my journal!
Can I just say that I love Willie Nelson?