Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Space Shuttle In Our Back Yard

I've been busy and not much up for blogging in awhile. There has been more productive stuff to do, and I've been thinking of stopping this altogether. Then the kids reminded me it has been a good way to remember some of the major things happening in our lives. Since it's been two months, I won't try and catch up. Instead, here's a cool thing that happened a few days back.

We turned on the news for a quick update, and they were showing a live shot of Endeavor and its 747 ferry taking off from Ft. Worth after refueling. The most recent landing had been at Edwards due to weather at the Cape. We'd had snow the night before and had no chance for a refueling stop here. (Bill also says our airport may not be suitable anymore.) So we missed a chance to see the shuttle up close, but Morgan was optimistic anyway.

Morgan: "So how long till it gets here?"
Me: "It must not be coming, or Daddy would have told us."
Morgan: "Sure it will. How long?"
Me: "Well, it would be about 30 minutes, but we would know. Really. They'd tell us. It's sort of a big deal when we have a flyby. They'd tell us."

Morgan says nothing but checks the time. I forget all about it. We turn off the news and go back to work. Morgan hears a plane and jumps up.

Morgan: "That sounds like a big plane to me. It's flying low, too."
Me: "Oh, Morgan I told you we would know."
Morgan: "OK, then what's that out the back window?

Endeavor flew over our house 3 times. We ran outside and clapped, shouted, waved and danced. She's a beauty. And the moral of this story? Listen to your kids and look for cool things to fly by your house! Merry Christmas... ( The photos are from JSC. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to Morgan and get my camera ready.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pink States, Yellow States, and Rainbows

Everyone I know is tired of the latest election cycle, fiscal crisis, et al. Mostly I feel invaded by the loud, insistent, and seemly urgent demands for my attention.

I also hate being a demographic. Red state, middle-aged, middle-class, southern, suburban, protestant, self-employed, mother of two, married.

The loud and urgent seem to think my group needs a great deal of guidance. I have been very tired of being told what I must think/feel/do.... I don't want to be classified, or whatever the verb form for demographic might be ... demographed, demographified?
Then, right in the middle of Kroger, I had an epiphany. I know... Kroger... just screams middle-class/age/mom.

I blinked and the world turned pink. Shoppers and workers dressed in pink. Shelves lined in specially packaged pink products. Pink candy, yogurt, cereal, and all of those wrist bands. The whole city turns pink for the Koman Race for the Cure, and it's grown from there. Y'all, the loud and self-important doesn't always win. The world changes with the small, the modest, the quiet, and the humble things in life. I'd been swimming in all this goodness and never saw or heard. Yogurt lids, women walking together.

And in October, we also turn Yellow with Lance Armstrong and the Ride for the Roses. Every year we celebrate cancer survivors and commit to eliminating cancer from our lives forever. remembering this helps make all the noise finally go away. Good things happen all the time. Good people do the right thing.

And during Pride, we turn the whole city into a rainbow. The lights are almost as cool as the people!

So I've decided my new demographic is is Pink/Yellow/and Rainbow. Plus, we have all these cool wrist bands.

A young man, about 19-20, was my cashier at the Kroger of the Epiphany. He had pink and yellow wrist bands on one arm and a rainbow band on the other. I wanted to tell him how proud I was of him and how proud his parents must be. What a great kid. But I didn't. I doubt he would have wanted an old lady patting him on the head.

Now playing: Big Tent Revival - The Great American Novel
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Evacuation Updates -- Status your out of Houston Friends

We have been keeping up pretty well with everyone on our evacuation plan but did not inform all of our friends outside of Houston of our whereabouts. I also failed to factor in loved ones that do not use e-mail/blogs etc.

BIG MISTAKE. My dearest friend of the last 47 years, Darlene, was not on my list. She lives in Ft. Worth and has no idea how hurricane evacuations work or what plans we had in place. She left frantic messages that did not reach us and was headed to Houston this morning to try to find me. Thank God her husband delayed her rescue trip long enough for us to reach her before she got close to the mess. Darlene is one of the brightest and best women I know, but she won't use the Internet and never calls my cell. We very nearly had a serious problem just because we left someone out.

We've been able to check our voice mail from the house. Since the account is through the phone company and not tied to power in the house, we heard from several people we left off our call list. If you may have let someone fall through the cracks, check your address book and call those people before they send the national guard after you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Evacuation for Ike

We have evacuated to Austin very close to Henri and Suzanne. We've checked on everyone we can. Here's what we know. If you find out more or can let us know how you're doing, please leave a comment.

Everyone's cells are working if you need to reach them/us, and Bill's had a tag-up with JSC today. Short-term, we will stay in Austin and can get help from friends if we need anything. We will not try to return to the house until we know if it is habitable.

We've been watching the news and praying for the folks still in Houston. A few of our folks are part of first responder/critical services and unable to leave. Nick's grandmother is in the sheriff's office in Dickenson.

UT canceled the game with the Razorbacks and freed up several thousand beds in Austin yesterday. Gov. Perry issued orders freezing lodging costs at their lowest rates. That's saving us about $30 per night and is much appreciated. Y'all would be so proud of Texas if you could see how well everything has been managed for the evacuation. We had no problems with finding gas and the traffic was very heavy but nothing like Rita. Carol said it took about 8 hours to get to Dallas, but they left late yesterday afternoon. Even so, the road were safe.

It would be great to hear status from anyone in Houston. For some stupid reason, I can't stop crying. I'm not very upset about our personal belongings but feeling very sad about what may happen to Galveston and Clear Lake. We've heard that Galveston may be totally submerged sometime tonight. Or neighborhood could be under 15-20 feet of water. Obviously, we all love Houston, and it hurts to think of what may happen to our city. More importantly, please keep yourselves safe. Everyone is going to have a combined birthday party Saturday, 7:00 at Tomi's, God willing. Keep safe and be there. We are praying for you all.

Power/communication could go down during and after the storm. So, please leave a comment here if necessary to let us know you're OK when the storm has passed.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Dreading Fridays

Several months ago, my rheumatologist prescribed an injectable medication to treat my arthritis. The medication is administered with a tiny subcutaneous needle and she therefore agreed I could do it myself at home.

I've been very happy to have the option of self-injection. However, the week in, week out toll of all of those shots has started to wear on my nerves. The needle/syringe are exactly the same as those used by diabetics to administer insulin. Those folks do this more than once a day and here I am starting to complain about one little shot once a week.

The whole thing really started to freak me out two weeks ago. I had skipped two weeks because of constant migraines. Finally the rheumatologist insisted I go back to my regular schedule. The first week was fine. No more headaches than usual. The next week I was dreading the shot, dreading worse headaches, mad about the arthritis and screwed up the injection.

It really is a tiny needle. Somehow, I put it in at an odd angle and the needle and its plastic support separated from the syringe. The medication poured out all over my leg. At first, I thought I'd broken the needle off and was in hysterics. When I realized it was safely held just as it should be, I was able to remove it and clean up. I didn't have the heart to give it another try.
So, Friday is really a gloomy day today. I think I'm going to wait for Bill to get home before I poke myself.

Oh! Then I had a nice announcement from the Arthritis foundation that certain medications, mine included, may increase my risk for fatal fungal infections!!!

Now playing: The Beatles - Let It Be
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Booking Through Thursday -- Peer Pressure/Vampires and Librarians

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them. Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading. Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

I was planning to say, no. I don't feel the need to keep up with trends in popular literature. But staring me in the face is my last post for booking through Thursday in which I described the Twilight series mentioned above. So, let me say that vampires don't count. I read pretty much everything. This is a young adult series and I didn't pick it up right away. Someone at the books store suggested it. I'd finished the Tanya Huff series Bloodlines and she mentioned Twilight when I complained about being out of vampires.

I also have to say it is a bit different when reading becomes part of your professional life. I do have a sense, as a librarian, that I should at least be aware of trends. I read the best seller lists, awards lists, etc. and try to read at least some of the works. I make sure I've read the Newbery and Caldecott books every year. I also read the books from the Texas Bluebonnet list. Very often the children's books are better than the grown-ups. The NYT bestseller stuff I don't really count as personal reading. Very often I just skim them. Sometimes, I'll just take a few minutes in the bookstore and work my way through the new books shelf reading the book jackets, skimming the tables of content, etc.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Booking Through Thursday -- The Story's The Thing

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

Another great question!

Sometimes the story will carry me through. I just finished reading the young adult Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I had stayed away from this series even though it concerned one of my favorite escapist fiction topics. Vampires. I usually like my horror fiction to be, well.... horrifying or at least mildly terrifying. These books are not.

But, they are very sweet. The protagonist talks often of fairy tales. That aspect of the story did appeal to me. Vampires are part of my own personal mythology. In the Twilight series Stephenie Meyer has made one of them into Prince Charming. It works within the context of the series.

If you are willing to put your own ideas aside and join the protagonist in a gentler, more childlike tale of happily ever after, this is a nice story. The books in order are:

New Moon
Breaking Dawn

Now playing: Anoushka Shankar/Sting - The Book of My Life
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Booking Through Thursday -- Early Library Experiences

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

I love today's question! My memories of the public library as a little girl are all great. The town I grew up in was small and didn't have its own library when I was very little. Once a week the bookmobile would come and park outside the local grocery store.

This was a magic thing. A whole library on wheels. There was a little check-out desk and a small children's section. I loved it.

Years later, I got a job at a regional library in Georgia. Part of my job was to go out once a week on the bookmobile. For one whole year I got to be in the magic library and watch kids climb on board. It's one of the most fun jobs I've ever had.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big Night With George Michael

I wrote this post ages ago, but didn't manage to get it up here until I down loaded the pictures from my camera. I wanted to post it anyway because it was just so much fun.

BFF and true love, Suzanne, came as promised for the George Michael July 14th. It was hard to pick a favorite story to share but this one will go down in the long history of scandalous yet hilarious events which seem to inevitability occur when we're together.

So here's what happened. We both wanted to take our cameras to the concert. I called to make sure it was ok and ours were supposed to be just fine. I let Suzanne know and we planned on taking loads of pictures of each other and Morgan.

Here's where the fun starts. We arrive early and start looking for strangers to take pictures of the three of us. A big security guard comes out just after the first stranger has taken the first picture and says no cameras are allowed inside. I think for a minute about arguing with him since I had called to check, but decide that subterfuge is our best option.

BFF: Donna you said that I could have my camera and now they are going to take it from me.
Me: No, they are not taking your camera.
BFF: Yes they are, and I've got pictures of the boys from the awards banquet on there. They're going to take it from me, and I'll never get it back.
Me: Here take this. (I handed her a female hygiene pad)
BFF: I told you I don't need those anymore, and I really need you to focus on the problem we are having right now. We can talk more about menopause later.

Me: I am focused. Open the damn thing up right now.
BFF: Good God have you lost your mind? It's bad enough you've just handed me a Kotex in broad daylight in front of everyone in Houston, but now you want me to open it up. What the hell is wrong with you? They're going to take my camera away, and the man behind us just saw your Kotex.

Me: Just listen and do what I say. Open it up and wrap your camera inside. Try to make it look like it's been er... used.
BFF: Loud long squeal with no actual words but now Morgan knows what needs to be done and steps in to help.
Me: Look here BFF, you gave birth to two children for God's sake. Quit being such a sissy and wrap your camera up in this Kotex damn it.
BFF: I can't believe I'm doing this. What, you think Kotex can make things invisible?
Me: Yep.

We step in line to have our purses searched. BFF gets a male security guard and is out in a matter of seconds. I have a female guard made of sterner stuff. But even she wilts while digging through my substantial stash of girl stuff. (I travel prepared.) Unfortunately this is the only picture I get of my two girls.

After we make our way through the gate, BFF lets me have it.

BFF: I have never in my life, Donna, waved one of those things around in public. I am sure I've never opened one up in front of another person. How do these things happen when I'm with you? And what I really want to know is how you knew to do that? What else have you been smuggling?
Me: You have your camera don't you?
BFF: Yes, and I should have known you would find a way to let me keep it no matter what anyone else said.
Me: Well finally!

BFF: I still want to know how you got the idea to do something like that.
Me: I read about it in the newspaper.
BFF: What, huh?
Me: Well, there was a lengthy article about the numerous ways the bad guys might try to bypass security at various places. These things and diapers were high on the list.

BFF: God, librarians never forget anything do they?
Me: Nope. I love you....? (My sweetie can be won over by flattery.)
BFF: I love you two, but here's another thing I'd have never done in a million years if you hadn't put me up to it.
Me: We have the child with us, Suzanne. Do you want me to start reminiscing about all the things I'd have never done if it wasn't for your bad influence?

Morgan: Oh yes, please! Let's do that.
BFF: Morgan, I don't know what your mom is talking about. Don't believe a word she says.
Morgan: Snort, laugh, snort again then finally.......

I think it's pretty clear you two are a bad influence on each other. Thank God you brought a chaperon!

We had a wonderful time with Suzanne. It has been really hard to make time for each other while our kids were little, but we are hoping to get better at it now. I've been a bit disgusted by my total lack of wisdom in approaching 50, but if working out a way to spend more time with our friends is part of it, maybe I'm on to something after all.

Now playing: George Michael - An Easier Affair (Remastered 2006)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pickup Truck Porn

The kids and I were driving to the mall. I saw something hanging off the back of a truck. I decided I was hallucinating. Then about a week later, Bill comes home one day shouting.

Bill: WHAT THE HELL???????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Yeah! (I agree, because there's aways something.)
Wait, what/huh? (Because I can't find the source of this something.)

Bill: Truck pornography! What the HELL????????????

Me: Where, how, why, what, when, who????????????? huh? (I get some very vivid mental pictures that I don't want in my head.)

Bill: You are never going to believe what I saw hanging off the back of a pickup.

Me: Plastic testicles. (See earlier experience above.)

Bill: (gurgles sputers, blinks, sputters again.)

Me: Crap, I didn't think that could be what they really were.

Bill: What do you mean really were?

Me: The truck testicles. I can't believe that's what they really were.

Bill: Well, no not literally for Christ's sake. They were plastic.

Me: I know they were plastic.... I just thought they might not really look like, uh ... testicles.

Bill: You know a testicle when you see one, er two. What did you think they were?

Me: Well unless something has changed very recently, testicles are not shinny silver and the size of a dinner plates.

Bill: Oh, mine were skin colored.

Me: Thank God they're not the size of dinner plates. Where would we buy your pants? (I'm laughing like a 3rd grader.)

Bill: Very funny. Ha, ha. I'm trying to talk to you about this serious issue of truck pornography in our community, and you're making jokes.........

(Long pause while he thinks......Even in moral outrage, the man is always the engineer.........)

Maybe the size is a proportionality thing. I mean, it's a truck. They'd have to be big, right?

Me: (Still laughing but also thinking we may be losing what's left of our minds.)
Nope. Now that I've thought about it, what I believe we are dealing with here are bull testicles. Though it sounds like neither, um pair, got the color right.

Bill: You need to focus on what's important here. We've got truck porn riding up and down the streets of Clear Lake, and you're talking about size and color.

Hey, the size thing gives me an idea though. If I ever get the chance to talk to any of the little perverts wearing, uh displaying... the porn, I'm going to tell them it's to compensate for there little *&%$@.

Me: You mess with some Bubba in a truck and tell him he is less than well endowed, he's going to shoot you. The gun's probably an even bigger attempt at compensation.

Bill: I think I can protect myself from some pervert riding around town with a pair of plastic b*lls hanging from the back of his truck.

There's a link here. Yes, I googled truck testicles. Don't look unless your very brave. It made me shriek like a little girl. The add says they are an "High-quality, novelty automotive accessory."

I can't wait to tell Bill.

Now playing: Antal Dorati: Detroit Symphony Orchestra - Copland: Rodeo - 4. Hoe-Down
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Booking Through Thrusday

It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

  • Tanya Huff has a vampire series. We found out about it because there were a few episodes based on the main characters called, Blood Ties. So far I've read all the Blood Ties books and have moved on to the "Smoke and Shadows" series. I won't give you too many details as it will give away major spoilers for the TV show and the books. In the Smoke and Shadows series the main characters from Blood Ties are still around, but another character from the books takes center stage. They still fight the forces of darkness and Henry is still hot. The spin-off series also deserves kudos for its engaging gay protagonist. Not always a well represented population in fiction.

  • Alison Weir, The Princes in the Tower. Speaking of the Tutors.... There's not much new here, but she does a decent job of trying to seperate the Tutor propaganda form historical fact.

  • Generation Ageless: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Live Today. When I think of all my very weird older relations and the shear number of us in this generation, I wonder how the world will survive our elder years. With the advances being made in medical science, we could live a very long time. If I were one of you young people, I would get going on colonizing the moon as soon as possible. Then, send us all there. It will be good for my arthritis and fulfill a lifelong dream. Trust me, you don't want several million of us wandering around causing the kind of chaos we did in the 60's and 70's. It may have been one small step for Neil Armstrong, but y'all need to sprint to making the moon one giant retirement village in the sky. Heck, Neil might be the first one to sign up to go.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Booking Through Thursday.

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

Once again, thank you to Booking Through Thursday for the great question. I love all kinds of readers. There are the folks who read the back of the cereal box at breakfast and everything else they can get their hands on. Then, there are those that only read a certain fiction genera or only professional literature.

What ever they read, these are my people! Librarians get tingly all over when someone tells them they've just read something good. It doesn't matter what it is. I once went to hear a visiting lecturer at Emory who described in detail the erotica collection at the NY Public Library. Fascinating stuff.

My son is currently engrossed in the world of Menga (sp?) It only marginally involves reading. But, I still count it as there are words on each and every page and he does read them all. I've even begun comic book reading myself! Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my all time favorite TV show, has an 8th season as a comic. I get a new episode about once a month. Do I feel a bit silly? Yes. Does it count as reading? Yes it does. And, if there's anyone out there as big a nerd as I am, I'll gladly let you know all about it!

Oh yeah, I also love to read blogs.....

Now playing: The Beatles - Paperback Writer
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Reunion Stuff

We went to our fourth, and final, Police reunion concert a few weeks ago. It was fabulous and we were very sorry to see it end. However, I'm ready to see Sting move on to something new. His last solo album was Sacred Love in 2004. It would be nice to hear something original from him now.

George Michael will be in Houston next month. Suzanne, Morgan, and I can't wait. It will be great to see him, but even better to be with my two favorite girls. Now that our kids are older, Suzanne and I are really hoping to have more chances to do things that aren't so MOM oriented. It has been ages since we had the chance to go out together just for fun.

We have decided not to make the long trip to north Texas for my music class reunion. These were kids I studied with from about the age of 10-17. We didn't necessarily take regular classes together, but orchestra, band, music theory, ensemble and chamber music, choir and vocal training, etc. I was always with this same group of about 150 students.

I was particularly looking forward to seeing our teachers again. Amazingly, they are all alive and well. Orchestra conductors are legendary for their longevity. I suppose this group of 10+ octogenarians are solid proof. But, I haven't seen most of my fellow students since I went to college. My girlhood best friend, Darlene, and I were able to get back in touch after about 15 years. That was really wonderful and we are planning to see each other sometime soon. She is a grandmother of 3 and owns her own business in Ft. Worth.

The weird part about the music school reunion was that I just don't remember most of the other students. Several have posted recent pictures, and I wouldn't know them from strangers. It's sort of a relief not to go as I can imagine embarrassing myself all evening. In the picture above, I'm the first student on the left. I remember the girl standing next to me but don't even recognize the names of the other two. I can remember composers, pieces I first learned to play as a kid, music theory, concerts which I attended and those at which I performed, as well as thousands of other details of what I learned, but not who I was with. How does that work?

I have a fairly advanced student at the moment. He is a member of a rock band, but wanted to formalize his music study. Because he is interested in composition, I've had to pull out material I haven't used in years. It all seems perfectly natural and comfortable. Yet the faces of my classmates from the time I first used these concepts aren't familiar at all. Memory is a strange thing.

At least I remember what is most important. My true love and BFF, Suzanne, my closest friend in childhood, Darlene, and of course Sting and George!

Now playing: The Police - Demolition Man
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shalom Jerusalem

Last week, the Nation of Israel celebrated its 60th year. Tomorrow Bill and I will celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. I can't imagine the world without Israel. It is hard to imagine all of the people who have sacrificed to make a home for themselves in such a short time.

And, here's my favorite PM. Did anyone else grow up wanting to be like her? Most of you are too young. She seemed larger than life when I was a little girl. What kind of woman could run a country and particularly a country continually attacked by its neighbors? But Golda was fearless and wise.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??
And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember

What a great question! When stuck in the airport, I head for the news stand and buy up all the trashy magazines I normally couldn't justify wasting my time and money on. I secretly love People, Us, The National Enquirer and any other gossip/celebrate crap I can get my hands on. But I have my pride and a degree in English, so I never buy the stuff. At the airport I give myself permission to indulge. I also buy a Coke and the largest chocolate bar they have for sale.

Other people dread layovers, but not me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Elections Today!

Thinking of all you guys in Pennsylvania today. I'm glad the race has stayed competitive long enough for your votes to make a difference. Here in Texas we are having serious discussions about how to handle national primaries in the future. I can't helped but feel like Florida and Michigan voters have really been treated badly too. Most of them had no choice on when their elections would happen and now their votes don't count. Hopefully we will all learn from this and find a equitable way for every state's votes to matter.

Now playing: The Beatles - Hey Jude
via FoxyTunes

Monday, April 14, 2008


Ok, the first and best news of the whole summer is my true love and bff, Suzanne, will be here in July for the George Michael concert. We're taking Morgan with us and going to totally rock on with one of our '80 favorites.

I've most likely told the story before, but Suzanne and I shared an office for years. Both of us work better to music, so we had a small stereo system set up in the library. When we had to work all weekend, we turned it up full blast and sang/danced to our hearts content. On one fateful Sunday afternoon, we were listening to the album, Faith. When "I Want Your Sex," came on we cranked up the stereo to the max and danced. We thought we were alone in the building, but no. At the point the Director for Medical Sciences came in, we were in the middle of a raucous hip-bump singing/dancing routine. The words "Don't you think it's time you had sex with me?" were shouted just as Dr. Poole came into view.

Since that day, "I Want Your Sex," has been our song. BFF now recalls the incident as having begun at my suggestion. I recall the rather horrendous hangover that had been entirely BFF's fault and that it was this that led to the infamous moment. I think we survived the incident, jobs intact and promotions in our future for three reasons. 1) We were by far the youngest people in the building. Virtually everyone we worked for was our father's age. 2) We were the only professional women in the building and the first professional women some of these men had ever known. I think there's a good chance they might have been afraid to ask why/how we behaved. Sort of like aliens from another planet. 3) I think Dr. Poole may have simply chosen not to believe his eyes. This was NASA and I was the chief librarian. Surly the librarian wouldn't do a Hoochie Coochie dance to a very naughty song in the middle of the library? Dr. Poole always approached me like he was talking to a nun. Maybe there just wasn't room in his universe for two rowdy 20 something librarians nursing hangovers on a Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, George, Suzanne, Morgan, and I are on for July. Morgan has been suitably warned that middle age unseemliness will ensue. She assures us she is incapable of embarrassment having grown up around the two of us. If you haven't watched Eli Stone, you are missing a great series. George Michael has been in about four episodes and is as wonderful as ever. The summer tour will be his first in the U.S. in 17 years. We'll take lots of pictures.

More reunion fun. My high school bff, and I got back in touch thanks to the music class reunion in June. I'm so excited. I've seen her many times since then, but haven't been in touch with most of these folks in over 30 years. Another friend posted this picture. Our reunion has a yahoo group and there's an all at war being waged to find the dumbest photos of our classmates. Linda is on the left, I'm on the right, and Cathy is in the drill team uniform kneeling. I'm going looking for my own photo albums to retaliate shortly. As friends have posted pictures, I'm continually shocked by the fact that everyone was taller than me. I don't remember being so short, but I am now so I must have been then too. It's funny what kinds of things you forget.

Now playing: George Michael - I Want Your Sex, Pt. 1 & 2
via FoxyTunes

Monday, April 07, 2008

End of PT and a Musical Summer

I fired the PT on Friday. It wasn't a huge deal, since she already knew she had really put her foot in her mouth. The final decision came after I heard what the kids had to say. Bill and I agreed it will be worth it to pay an out of network co-pay rather than send a message to the kids that we would tolerate that kind of bigotry. PJ, you were so right. It comes down to a profound lack of professionalism. Billy said, "Everyone has someone they love that's gay. Doesn't she know that?" For a boy, he can be quite profound. My children are, upon occasion, quite remarkable.

I'm doing better and have loads of stuff to write about. The summer is coming and we have tons of great stuff planned. The Police will be here in concert next month and George Michael in July. In June my whole music class, about 250 people in all, are having a reunion. I haven't seen most of these folks in over 30 years. Most amazing of all is that all of our instructors/conductors/directors are still alive and coming too!

Ramona and I went to see Swan Lake yesterday. It was so beautiful. My last memory of going to the ballet with Bill involved him snickering through the whole production thinking it all very silly. Thank God for Ramona! Much more fun.

Now playing: George Michael - Faith
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Summer Misc. and Physical Therapy

Yeah! We've had some actual summer weather for the past two days. The kids are so ready to swim. The pool is kind of sad in the cold weather. We turn the pump down to save energy, so the water isn't as pretty as it is now. The dog's been in twice. I suppose that's the benefit of swimming in a fur coat. It will be great to have some exercise that doesn't pound my joints.

I have been going to physical therapy for three weeks now. I don't like the PT at all but have figured it's a short term relationship, and her work seems fine. She just hasn't been someone who appeals to me personally. The last session was the worst yet. She has asked me questions about teaching and why we home school our kids every time I see her. The kids usually come with me and do their work in the waiting room. At first I was patient with her curiosity, but after the first couple of times, it has felt sort of intrusive.

Monday she asked, not for the first time, why we home school. I didn't have anything new to tell her but tried to be polite. She said she thought the public schools were terrible and launched into a story about her neighbor, a high school teacher. It seems the woman has two lesbian students who are dating and sought out this teacher to talk with. The teacher, from what the PT says, told the students they had the same rights and should be treated the same as anyone else in the high school. She then suggested that they be careful to obey all school rules about public displays of affection as someone might use a breach of those rules to single them out.

My PT was furious at what she heard and said it confirmed her bad opinion of public schools. For awhile I thought she was wanting the high school teacher to do more to help the girls. But, no. She wanted the teacher to "report" them to the principal, their parents, etc. The PT thinks they should not be "allowed" to be lesbians. Well crap. In my head I was thinking how nice it would be to turn around and slap the woman right on the mouth. Not allowed?????????? But she has her hands on my neck right at the moment, and I was pretty sure I'd be the one injured if I tried to jump her.

I finally told her that I didn't know a single high school teacher that would ever out a student, and any that did should be fired on the spot. I said the teacher must be doing a pretty good job for these kids to seek her out to trust and confide in, and she had to honor their trust. It's sad she had to warn them about displays of affection, but probably realistic. I ended up telling the PT that she should go to the waiting room and tell my kids they were "forbidden" from being gay and see what happens. "Oh," she says, "You're one of those moms."

So I'm wondering if I should have fired the PT on the spot. She's on my insurance plan and has done a decent job restoring some range of motion in my neck. But I dislike this woman intensely now, and the thought of having her put her hands on me again creeps me out. I don't think the insurance would let me go out of network because the PT is a big fat homophobic b*&%h. I've made it clear where I stand, so hopefully she will keep her horrible mouth shut. But really, I'm thinking she must not like any women very much. She thinks her neighbor, the teacher, is some kind of pervert for not outing those kids, and she thinks the two girls should be removed from school for being lesbians. That doesn't strike me as being female friendly. It's so ironic that I insisted on a female PT. I'm afraid I used up my one opt out when I asked for a woman, plus she's the only PT in the practice anyway.

Well, I have till Friday to decide if I'm going back. I've been talking to the insurance company about arranging for a home traction device that would greatly reduce my need for PT. In the mean time, it's summer! Blue bonnets, swimming pools, and sitting in the yard with a good book. Lots to look forward to.

Now playing: Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

OMG Are Texans Crazy?????

The four of us just got home from the post-primary caucus. It took us from 6:30-10:00 pm to vote in the caucus and have the very lengthy process be completed. Morgan and I served as precinct volunteers. This was the first time we acted as election workers, Morgan having cast her first vote only last Friday. It wasn't much different than running a fourth grade class room. Please line up here, please sign there, etc.

Republican votes were not in doubt, but the Democratic results for Texas may not be finalized until tomorrow. I've got a picture on my phone of Morgan voting at the caucus. We've lost our camera. It's somewhere in the house but not to be had tonight. The caucus folks were so cute, everyone stepped aside when it came to be her turn in line so that she could vote at my spot and even waited for the picture. I'll try and transfer it to the computer in the morning.

I have two blog friends in Pennsylvania waiting to vote next month. So far tonight, it looks like there will still be important votes for them to cast! Yeah.

Morgan and I are going to lead a campaign to stop this caucus nonsense in Texas after this year's election cycle. All totaled, it took us about 6 hours over 2 days to have our votes counted. No wonder people think we are crazy.

Now playing: Bowling for Soup - Ohio (Come Back to Texas)
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 03, 2008

Texas Primary

Morgan and I voted on Friday during a very busy hour. The line was about about 30 min. long, still much better than it will be tomorrow. We are kind of disgusted with the news calling the elections before the polls even open.

After living in Texas all my life, I've only learned how our caucus really works. We'll have a long night tomorrow at the caucus. At least Morgan is looking forward to all the politicking. This year, vote early and vote often actually turns out to be true!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Being brought up protestant we weren't exposed to iconography in church. This is a painting of Julian of Norwich by Robert Lentz. She lived in Norwich, England during the fourteenth century. Little is known of her life before she became a holy woman living in a small anchorage attached to the church. She entered church service after a nearly fatal illness in which she had a spiritual inspiration. Julian wrote of her vision and offered comfort to her community.

I discovered Lentz's work through the online publication, Methodx. If you're interested just click here. You can find several of his icons here and prints can be ordered through the bookstore. A saint with a tabby cat, I wonder if the kitty was saitly too? Probably not.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Early Voting

Morgan and I plan to go vote this afternoon. I've got a doctor's appointment, and we're going by the court house on our way home. Bill went early this morning and said there wasn't a bad crowd. This will be Morgan's very first time to vote, and she is thrilled. Her voter's registration card finally came last Friday. It might as well have been a winning lottery ticket. She was so proud and happy.

We just recently learned that our primary system in Texas has two parts. First there is the popular vote, then from 7:00-9:00 there is a caucus. I've been voting in Texas for most of my adult life, and I never knew we had this evening caucus thing. All of the information about it came out because the primary race is so close on the Dem's side. How was this done all these years and no one knew? It's astounding to me to learn how very little I know.

Between the early primaries and this thing I've had a bit of culture shock this election cycle. Pres. and Sen. Clinton have been in town half a dozen times in the last week. We've been invited to see both of them but it's all very last minute, and we don't have the time. After all of the excitement so far, I'm wondering what the general election will be like. It's been a long time since anyone has even bothered to campaign in Texas.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Week On Space Station

I went to work on the space station program in 1986. This mission is really a dream come true for me. The shuttle launch last Thursday was flawless. This week will be busy aboard the International Space Station as the installation of the Columbus Laboratory begins! This is the point in the station assembly we've all been waiting for. A real science laboratory in space. What will we learn there? Maybe a new cancer treatment will be discovered or a new energy saving invention will be created. Anyway, the future starts now. You can follow it at the NASA mission web-site. Please visit and think of where you hope we will go from here.

My kids have been asking why the German astronaut, Hans Schlegel, was unable to perform his assignment on this EVA and why NASA would not disclose the nature of his condition. Last question first. The flight surgeon will not discuss his health for the same reason your doctor doesn't discuss yours. It's private. Sometimes that surprises people, but even astronauts want their medical information protected. We've taken a couple of good guesses as to what's wrong. Since the fight surgeons have said that his illness isn't dangerous or contagious, my best guess might be space motion sickness. However, this particular astronaut has flown twice before and would most likely have had symptoms on the other two flights. If he was susceptible, he wouldn't have been scheduled for an early mission EVA. Most of the crew who experience this condition are recovered within 48 hours. So, another guess might be a small injury such as a muscle strain that impedes range of motion. At launch the crew is subjected to forces many times the normal pull of gravity and must make the transition to weightlessness quickly and begin working. Their safety is the first priority throughout but, these things might put stress on their otherwise healthy bodies. Whatever his illness, NASA has said he will be fine, and there is not permanent risk to his health. I'm sure he wishes he was outside today installing the lab!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What are you giving your sweetie?

I've got nine days left to shop for a Valentine's Day gift for Bill. The kids are easy. Candy is always welcome, but I've got to shop more responsibly for poor Bill. His blood sugar was high at his last physical and we've been working to eliminate sugar from our diet. Now I have no clue what to give the man for Valentine's Day. He always thinks of something thoughtful for me, but I've been lucky that he usually wants candy and treats for his gift. He likes a really strong strong licorice and most kinds of chocolate. Also he has been a huge fan of any kind of home made baked goods. Now I have to dig deep for the first time and find something he might actually want that won't give him diabetes.

So, do any of you have ideas? He doesn't care about clothes and prefers to buy his own books. He's been walking every day, and I'm wondering if he could use a good pair of shoes. He's always been weird about wearing athletic shoes. It must be some kind of nerd fashion thing because I know lots of other rocket science types that go around in loafers with everything, including shorts. Maybe he would be open to trying a different kind of shoe for his exercise. After all, none of the other nerds would see him walking with the dog in the early morning. These guys are getting more hip all the time. It's been ages since I've seen anyone wearing a pocket protector.

I'm going to search Zappo's ... I wonder what he would think of a pair of Crocs????

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

News Blackout -- A Rant

It happens every election cycle. No matter what my intentions, I will eventually be overcome by Pre-Election Stress Disorder (PESD-- pronounced pissed.) Watching people slowly rip each other apart, live and in color, is too much for me. When I can't take it anymore, I turn off the TV. My self-imposed blackout period usually comes much closer to November. How will a political sissy possibly make it through the next 10+ months? Well, much like the states that started the primary season early, I'm implementing the blackout now. (Anyone ever hear the Frank Zappa song on the subject of tv?)

This early onset PESD actually started before the primaries. I got the crap scared out of me when the president of Iran came to lecture at Columbia. A few years, I had an Iranian student who lost her uncle to this government. He wasn't of the same faith as the dictators. So, I was already clear that this man was a murderer. Then, he said something like, "...there aren't any gay people in Iran..."

I started screaming at the TV, "What the F*&% did you do with them you b*&%$#$d???????????"

We watched the lecture during school, and my kids just laughed at him. (They already knew Mommy has a potty mouth.) What kind of fool would believe that stuff," they asked?

"Me." No doubt Hitler said the same thing while setting up the death camps. All of these hate peddlers play for keeps.

But that's not why the blackout has come early. My big problem started about a week ago with a horrible nightmare. In it, I was visiting a church. I went into the church library and found row after row of Nazi propaganda and memorabilia. These people weren't the Lutherans, I realized. They were stinking Nazis! I ran around the church and out in the street screaming for someone to come and see. No one came. (Yes, I have Nazi fear, German fear, and Lutheran fear, but that's another story. Sorry German and Lutheran guys. It's me not you.) Since then, I've had recurring dreams about all kinds of scary people doing terrible things. A nightmare government took my kids away because they're home schooled. Then there was a whole Fahrenheit 451 thing with my home library. Another time some unknown police force killed a favorite cousin who, in real life, actually died of AIDS more than 16 years ago.

So back to my PESD. This last nightmare was after the whole "Do people vote by gender/race" thing started. Seeing both a woman and an African-American as serious possibilities for the job of president should be a happy thing, yes? Noooooooooooo. There are honest questions like who's best for the economy? Who will care for wounded veterans and those too poor for health care. Who will fight for marriage rights and keep us safe from the uber-crazy? Then there's this other stuff. Who's running a fair campaign? Are there two, or even more, Americas?

Is anyone going to talk about funding for science research? Who really will do the best for the country? Maybe it's just the PESD talking, but really y'all... a person's race or gender? It's 2008, damn it. Can you believe news reporters are actually talking about whether America is ready for a woman in the White House or a really old person? To quote Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "We've already deja'ed this vu." And just so you know if you're really young, there are tons of female, soon to be senior citizen, baby boomers out there. If somebody doesn't put us all to work, we're just going to drift into useless clumps like a bunch of dust bunnies. Nobody really wants that. I don't have a candidate or a party to promote. I just think that we should be able to rejoice over the diversity of choices this year instead of going all Jim Crow/Pre-Women's Suffrage/Generation Gap. Oh, and I don't want the federal government to build a fence around the south boarder of Texas. If we want a fence, we can build it ourselves.

Now that the PESD has kicked in, I'll have to get my information out of the newspaper but it's for the best. I can't be fighting the fascists all night in my dreams for another 10 months. Morgan has been reading lots of Emma Goldman and advocates anarchy. She plans to vote in the primary and general election but hasn't even chosen a party much less a candidate. She and her dad are immune to PESD. If anything, they're watching more TV political coverage.

Lord help us.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm Not Quite Dead... I think .... I'll go for a walk ....

As my health has been steadily declining, I've had that line from the Holy Grail going through my head. I don't seem to be up for blogging, but I'm here. I have an appointment with the rheumatologist today, and I'm praying she will take me off the methotrexate. It makes me so sick plus has put my immune system in the dumper. Evidently there's a newish adenovirus which has mutated from a mildly annoying cold into this uber-cold very nasty pneumonia causing thing. I've been on three different antibiotics, and I'm still fighting to get over this crap. The doctor said many patients are ill for 12 weeks or more. Much of this depends, they assume, on how quickly the patient sought treatment. And no, I didn't seek treatment immediately since I was already on antibiotics for a sinus infection. I finally figured out there was something more going on when the pneumonia set in. Want to really see a doctor freak out? Go in with a case of pneumonia when you've already been on Cipro for two weeks.

Anyway, I've heard some really good things about Embrel from my gyn (who has RA) and I'm planning to beg the rhumy to make the change. It's about a 20 mile drive to downtown Houston, and the last time I was there I waited three hours to see the doctor. I hope it's worth it.

May not be blogging much as the plague seems to be keeping me pretty busy.