Sunday, October 30, 2005

I have a cold in my nose

Ah, the joys of being around young children who are constantly coughing in your face, picking their noses, not washing their hands, and touching everything with their virulent germs. The result -- a miserable cold that makes you feel like crap and disrupts your life for about a week. Even husband seems to be coming down with it (I just heard him coughing in the living room), probably from me, even though yesterday he said it was all my imagination and in my head, and I'm talking myself into being sick. You see, he's a firm believer in the power of positive thought. Yeah, right! It is all in my head. And, to prove his point, this morning it's in my sinuses, my eustachian tubes, and in my throat. In fact, I can feel it inching itself down into my lungs.

Friday night I was feeling horrible, so I went to bed at 9:00 p.m. I awoke at 12:15 a.m. and remained awake until about 5:30 a.m. I felt hot, then I felt cold. My throat was dry, my head was stopped up. I finally took a Tylenol and was able to get back to sleep until about 9:30 a.m. Saturday. I laid down for a short nap yesterday afternoon (Saturday) that turned into a three-hour siesta. I woke up loggy-brained and feeling as if I had stepped into a time warp. I couldn't even remember what day it was. My left nostril seemed to be affected when I went to sleep, but when I woke up, my right nostril was clogged up. After taking such a long nap I didn't think I could fall asleep last night but managed to sleep until 5:30 this morning. That's when I remembered that Daylight Savings Time was over and I was supposed to set the clocks back an hour. So, it was really only 4:30 a.m. After all the sleep I had been getting the past two days, how could I go back to bed now.

As I sit at my keyboard this Sunday morning at 6:07 a.m., I ponder whether I will feel better today or whether I will have to cater to my husband who will undoubtedly ask me to make him some tea because he doesn't feel well. Maybe I should just go back to bed, watch movies all day, take an occasional nap, and only get up long enough to go to the bathroom or to get something to eat and drink. I could occasionally yell to husband that I still don't feel well. That way I could ignore the whimpering coming from the living room.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Teaching this old dog new tricks

Since being turned on to blogging by Darling Daughter approximately one month ago, I have taken to this form of personal expression with wild abandon and enthusiasm. I have learned a great deal from others, but have generally remained anonymous on most people's sites. The greatest thing about blogging, I have found, is this ability to either remain a voyeur or to join in the fray and comment at will.

I have also discovered, in addition to "meeting" some extremely interesting people, that I am able to share my most personal thoughts without mentioning names and without fear of retribution. (Writing on others' sites is no guarantee, however, that you won't be flamed in public.) No one really knows who's reading their blog unless the reader participates and leaves their calling card (blog address) or how many are visiting their site (unless they have a counter). You also don't know people's real names or locations unless they reveal this in their personal profile.

So far, in addition to Darling Daughter's and Husband's blogs, I visit sites on a regular basis for an anonymous lawyer who won't tell me if he's for real or not, a childhood friend of Darling Daughter's who is an aspiring author, a current friend of Darling Daughter's who was displaced by Katrina, a fake doctor who I would love for a son (he's a Jewish med student and I'm a Jewish mother so it's a perfect match), and a real doctor from Down Under who I have just met and sounds like my kind of person. I have scanned through numerous other sites, but have only felt like an intruder and quickly left.

This morning finds me on the computer writing in my blog while the family is still asleep. Husband and I received a call for help yesterday at lunch from Darling Daughter. Their furnace was broken and could we please come pick them up. So, off we went, lickety-split, to pick up Darling Daughter, Dancer Girl, and Little Sister so they could spend several days at Grandma and Grandpa's house until their furnace was repaired. The girls have been sick the past two weeks and Hairy Daddy didn't want them in a cold house. Yesterday was visitor's day at Dancer Girl's ballet and acrobatic classes so we were able to see how very talented and graceful our granddaughter is. When we finally left Darling Daughter's town (they live 70 miles from us), we traveled over the river (two) and through the woods until we arrived safely at our house late last night and promptly put the kids to bed. I'm sure they are exhausted from all the excitement yesterday, but we have big plans for today -- making brownies and cookies at Grandma's upon the orders of and with the help of two darling granddaughters. Who said you couldn't teach an old dog new tricks?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Friends for life

The Internet is an amazing thing, that's for sure. You can find out just about anything just by inquiring, conjuring, Googling, Yahooing, and just plain searching. It's the ultimate in being nosy, and if you're smart about it, you can learn the most amazing things about people.

I'm online every single day, and I learn something new just about every single day. Why, yesterday alone, I learned all about myself just by going to a recommended website and typing in my birth date. I discovered that I was "executive" material. I also learned that one of my lifelong friends had died.

Edie and I had been friends since the second grade. She and her family lived a couple of blocks from us and we walked to and from school every day. In fact, I practically lived at her house. They didn't have much money and their house was sort of ramshackled, but I didn't care. I loved the freedom we all felt being in their house. Their father laid carpet for a living and their mother was an alcoholic who died young. There were five girls in the family: Edie, Frannie, Alice, Jackie, and Lori. Of the five, Edie was my buddy and soulmate. It was during our teen years that we discovered Elvis and all us girls formed a singing group that specialized in the shoop-shoop song with Frannie as the lead singer. I was also friends with Edie's cousin George who eventually married my sister and my friend Loretta. I have a treasured picture of Edie, George, and I in our graduation robes outside our old high school. That was in June of 1960, a pivotal year for me. It was the year I grew up. We were all best friends until I left home following graduation and moved to another state. From then on, we only had sporatic contact. It was so sad leaving them.

The last time I saw Edie was in 1990 when I went back to my hometown for my 30-year high school reunion. It was a bittersweet evening and one where I felt a splintering in the fabric of time. I saw people I had not seen in 30 years, people who seemed glad to see me but who I didn't know anymore. They weren't my friends in high school but they acted like I was a long-lost sister. Only Edie and her husband Stanley were "with" me that evening. Afterward, we three went to a local tavern for a drink. I felt out of place in an environment Edie and Stanley were at home in. After saying good night and goodbye, I promised myself that I would stay in touch with Edie.

Fifteen years have passed and I can only remember talking with Edie once in all that time. I would occasionally think of Edie and would wonder what she was up to. But, I never followed up. During a recent conversation with my sister about an old high school friend of hers, I decided to see if I could again find Edie. The problem was that I couldn't find her phone number. And, I had her last name spelled incorrectly. So, my search was futile.

That brings me up to last night and the power of the Google. On a whim I typed in Edie's maiden name and did some searching on, the Social Security Death Index, and the NW Indiana Times archives, and to my amazement I discovered that I had rediscovered my old friend Edie. With a sinking feeling and a heavy heart, however, what I discovered was Edie's obituary. She had died on February 21, 2004. The obituary didn't say what happened or where it happened, but it did tell quite a story. I learned that Edie was preceded in death not only by her parents, but also by her younger sister Jackie (aged 48 when she died). I also learned her sisters' married names and where they lived, and I was able to track down a phone number for Frannie.

It was too late to call Frannie last night, but I did call and leave a message for Loretta out in California. I have not heard from her yet. I would like to call and talk to someone to find out what happened and to offer my condolences. I would like to apologize for forsaking our friendship all these years. I would like to say I'm sorry for letting 45 years pass without keeping in touch after all we had been through. We had a history together since 1950 (55 years), but I let it all pass. I should say that WE let it pass. Maybe she felt as awkward as I did 30 years ago because we both had changed.

I feel so sad at her passing because I have lost a lifelong friend, someone who knew me when. I realize that I will never have another best friend like Edie. Her death makes me feel vulnerable because she was only 61 years old when she died. I'm 63 but I don't feel old -- I feel as if I could go on for another 40 years. None of us knows what life has in store for us or when our last day on earth will come. My husband is always hollering at me for spending so much time online or just playing solitaire. He thinks I'm wasting life and he's right.

September Song (Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson, 1938)

For it's a long, long time
From May to December
And the days grow short
When you reach September
And the Autumn weather
Turns the leaves to flame
And I haven't got time
For the waiting game
And the days dwindle down
To a precious few
September November
And these few precious days
I'd spend with you
These golden days
I'd spend with you

Goodbye, dear friend. I hope to meet up with you some day in Heaven.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


1. Tsunamis
2. Hurricanes
3. Floods
4. Earthquakes
5. Starvation
6. War
7. Pestilence
8. Tornados
9. Drought
10. Locusts
11. Inhumanity
12. Murder
13. Torture
14. FEMA
15. George Bush
16. Ignorance
17. Racial Intolerance
18. Racial Cleansing
19. Greed
20. Euthanasia
21. Abortion
22. Bird Flu
23. Dog Flu
24. Norovirus
25. Plague
26. Polio
27. Ebola Virus
28. Hantavirus
29. Cancer
30. Air Pollution
31. Ignorance
32. Lust
33. Rape
34. Rudeness
35. Global Warming
36. Dick Cheney
37. Haliburton
38. Condeleeza Rice
39. Tom Delay
40. Sexual Predators
41. Serial Killers
42. Insanity
43. Overpopulation
44. Corruption
45. Dead Bodies
46. Cocaine
47. Methamphetamine
48. Heroin
49. Crack
50. Alcoholism
51. LivingDeath
52. Terrorism
53. Radical Islamic Fundamentalists
54. Radical Religious Right
55. Mind Control
56. Censorship
57. Pornography
58. Elitism
59. Indifference
60. Cruelty

Stop the world. I want to get off.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tiny steps

Husband and I spent the day yesterday with Darling Daughter, Little Dancer Girl, and Head Banger Little Sister. Had a day full of activities planned and we ended up at an unusual birthday party for one of Little Dancer Girl's friends. (At the beginning of our busy day, Little Dancer Girl announced that she would be coming to our house for a sleepover, which surprised everyone including her mother. We suspected her father put her up to it, but who's arguing? How very brave of her.)

We concluded our afternoon by attending the birthday party. Approximately 30 kids were there, including lots of infants and toddlers. It was a regular family affair with parents and grandparents attending. The theme was a princess party and all the older kids dressed up like princesses. The place was decorated with princess decorations: There was a princess castle complete with dancing bubbles (in front of which all the little kids got their picture taken), a princess movie on the big-screen TV, a princess birthday cake, princess presents, princess party favors, a princess pinata, and finally, two beautiful princesses (college students) who read a princess story to the birthday girl and her princess friends. They stayed to help open presents and to eat cake and ice cream. There were games, activities, action, drama, music, lots of noise, and, quite frankly, I was exhausted by the time we got out of there. The kids really enjoyed it, though. I met several very nice ladies, one of whom took a special interest in me just because during our discussion of our lives, she discovered I was Jewish. The other lady asked if I was from Chicago (because of my accent) and we proceded to discuss Chicago-style restaurants in the immediate area. She said we absolutely must go to Aces in Mayfield, Kentucky for Chicago-style pizza. We finally left the party after more than two hours and headed to Darling Daughter's house to change clothes, pack bags, say goodbye to Hairy Daddy, and finally get on the road.

The drive home proved interesting and challenging. I had to endure a lot of "I miss my mommy, daddy, and baby sister so much," "are we there yet?" and "why is it taking so long?" Little Dancer Girl and I talked and sang songs. She insisted that I sing a particular song because she was the "leader of the band." Who can argue with that logic? We made an unscheduled stop on the side of the road after Little Dancer Girl unexpectedly flipped the door handle which caused the door to become jarred open. Scared the bejeebers out of me and I was trying to control myself from screaming at her. But, we calmly talked about it and no one (me) got upset and cried. On the last leg of our journey, Little Dancer Girl announced that we had to stop at the store on the way home to pick up a few things -- sour cream for the loaded baked potatoes we were going to make for supper, brownie mix, and M&M cookie dough. So, off to the store we went with mental menus planned for the next three days. At the store, Little Dancer Girl got a child's grocery cart and proceded to lead us through the store as we filled her cart with our purchases. She was very grown-up (we had to make sure she didn't run over anyone) and looked very pleased with herself as we made our way to the check-out counter.

After we got home, we called Darling Daughter to announce our safe arrival. She told her mother that she was going to sleep by herself which surprised everyone because she usually sleeps with me. Following dinner and several hands of Go Fish and War, we all decided to head to bed. It was only 9 p.m., but that was okay because we were exhausted.

Little Dancer Girl's tiny steps of independence turned into "Grandma, I changed my mind. I want to sleep with you." So, Little Dancer Girl and I arranged ourselves in the queen-size bed. She quickly fell asleep lying next to me in the middle of the bed. I found it amazing how one little 40-pound girl could occupy an entire bed during the night. I found myself sleeping on the edge while Little Dancer Girl tossed and turned every which way during the night. I also found it was like sleeping with a small blast furnace.

We are amazed at Little Dancer Girl's growth, and not just in height. She asked that Grandpa measure her against the door frame (mom, she grew another half inch). She is articulate, smart, funny, asked just the right incisive questions, understands everything we say to her, and always wants to be the "leader of the band." Gee, I wonder where she gets this from? She is no longer a baby or a toddler. She is growing up before our eyes much too fast. Before long, her tiny steps of independence will turn into giant leaps and there will be no way to stop her or prevent her and her sister from growing up.

So, we are just here to enjoy her and Head Banger Little Sister while we can and love them just as much as we can before they decide their grandparents are just a couple of old fogies who must take tiny steps just to stay vertical and aren't much fun anymore.