Thursday, January 31, 2008

Anonymity personified ... (part two) ...

I really must apologize for the appearance of my last blogpost. I was trying to make everything look absolutely gorgeous and it turned out to be a mess!! (By the way, it took DD -- Darling Daughter, in case you haven't had a chance to read the last post, or perhaps even "gave up on trying to read it while trying to read it" -- almost half an hour to fix the durned thing.) It's looking good now, tho. Try it again, O.K? It'll be much easier on the eyes!

Continuing on ... ... Heavens! Where was I?? Oh, yes, now I remember ... ... ...

You know, when you put your thoughts down in written form, they are permanent. When you put your thoughts down in written form for other people to see -- via the internet, the newspaper, a book, whatever the public forum is -- you leave yourself open to comments/criticisms/other people's thoughts (be they yea/nay), etc.

At the same time, I don't think I was fully aware of the possible consequences of my adding comments to another person's blog posts until yesterday.

Perhaps I have finally learned my lesson!(?) Even tho something is written and "out there" for all to view does not necessarily give another permission to intrude, uninvited. I have, throughout my whole life, enjoyed living vicariously ... and, as such has been my wont, have been an avid reader of fiction for many, many years.

Well, this is not fiction, folks! This is the real thing.

I am currently in the process of writing my autobiography (as it pertains to my many years as a taxicab driver). Whether or not it will ever be published remains to be seen. It's not an easy write. In fact, I'm having a hard time bringing myself to the point of being able to write about some of the really painful episodes. Not that there were that many, I hope you understand, it's just that I don't want to think/write about/relive ANY of them!

I know that I have to do it! It would be the best way possible to expurgate those memories from my mind. I just would rather not do it today, O.K?

Does that make me a coward? "You betcha!" my step-mother would have said. At the same time, however, she would have understood my reticence.

Well, you all should now have a better mental image of my "personified anonymity".

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Anonymity personified ... (part one) ...

This is my 13th post. Absolutely, I must do another one tomorrow ... can't have the month end with that number! (Not that I'm superstitious, or anything.)

I'm feeling the warmest of fuzzies right now. I'll start from the beginning, tho, so you can see where I'm coming from.

In September of last year, when I retired as a full-time professional driver, I knew that I had do something part-time to supplement my social security income. (And yes, it's true what they say, folks -- there's no possible way to survive on that!) Brain-storming sessions with Darling Daughter (DD) and her husband produced several ideas which I'm currently exploring.

Meanwhile, DD suggested that -- now that I had the time -- I should learn how to use the computer. I had been putting it off for years. To tell you the truth, I didn't see how or why I would ever have any use for the contraption! I was working, already, 24/7. I wasn't going to live that long, anyway. I was home only long enuf to sleep, shower, change my clothes, and run back out to work again. It would be just another dust-gatherer. You make up the excuse, and I probably used it (or thought of using it).

It was time to "stop already" with the excuses. Action was required! I stopped procrastinating and started learning "Word" on DD's computer. It was slow going, at first ... still is, kind of, but I think I'm getting better. Hope so, anyway!

So, I trekked out to their house many times to practice. They kept telling me how wonderful I was, how much progress I was making, etc. ... you know, all those lies people who love you tell you to try and keep you going? Then, for Christmas, guess what I got?? (You guessed it.)

Well, one day when I was playing with my new toy, I decided I'd try and find DD's blog site. I knew she had one, knew she'd had one for a few years, even knew the name of it, but I didn't know how to go about finding it! I did a Google search, and there it was. My goodness, it worked! I amused myself for several minutes reading through some of her posts, and decided I might like to comment on one or two. Then a new problem arose ... creating another identity. That accomplished, I added my comments.

Meanwhile, back at DD's ranch, she was very curious about this stranger cruising through her posts -- she has some sort of fancy tracking device (Who knows what that's all about?!) -- and leaving comments here and there. When she figured out who it was -- and it didn't take her very long with her stealth tracker -- she immediately called her husband and screamed, "Guess who's leaving comments on my blogs? She's doing it!" Then she called me and said, "Aha! Gotcha!" (or words to that effect)

I asked, "How does one go about setting up a blog, anyway?" Well, next thing I knew, we had set up mine. "And now," as Paul Harvey has said many a time, "you know the rest of the story."

I wrote a few thoughts for posting, and wasn't getting much of a response. I don't know what I thought would happen, really. I'm pretty sure I thought that someone would see one of my posts and make some sort of comment.

DD advised me that, "It isn't how it works, Mother. There are many thousands of bloggers out there, of which you are only one. Editors are not "cruising the internet" -- (My term. I think the correct phrase is "surfing/browsing the web".) -- looking for their next feature writer. What you might want to do, now, is find some other bloggers whose sites interest you, that you might want to add to your 'Favorites' list." Then, of course, I had to ask her how to do THAT, for crying out loud!!

I was quite concerned about "buying" comments, but DD assured me that if they didn't want to comment, they wouldn't. SO, I went about the -- kind of fun, actually -- process of prospecting for my own network of fellow bloggers. What did I do? Why, I cruised the net, of course! (What did you THINK I did?)

Along the way, I made a new friend, Tammy. (By the way, I just tried to link one of her posts to this one, and -- although I have taken just a gazillion notes on how to do this from DD's ever patient instructions, obviously I need to take some more! I don't seem to have the skills to do it yet. Can't call DD. It's 2am here, and she's asleep. At least, I hope she's asleep!)

Also along the way, I inadvertently blundered into the middle of a session between a professor and a student. (Well, what can I say?? They were on the "public airwaves", as it were, and I was trying to "expand my network".) Nonetheless, my comment caused a bit of consternation.

The reason for my "warm fuzzy"? I had been trying to find a way to communicate my apologies for the interference when today, I did, and you know what? You'll never guess, so I'll tell you ... the professor wrote me an e-mail back, thanking me for my kind explanation.

He didn't have to do that, but he did! A really warm fuzzy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Presidential election campaign, 2008

Normally, I try and stay away from politics. I really do!

However, this year's campaign (and it's early yet) has already promised to be of such a nature that I feel a great need to RUN out and purchase boots and a very large shovel!!

When I first started this blog site, and not that far back, I really didn't know what I might want to focus on. All I knew was that I had a lot of things to say. But, in order for me to say something, I have to be "moved" to do so. I am so moved.

Up to this point, it seems, the national media's attention has been primarily focused on the Democratic candidates. (Perhaps because the media appears to be so obsessed/entranced with the possibility of a Democratic "sweep" -- President, house, senate -- what a coup!) This latest piece of news really has my "back up" -- and that is Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama with the subsequent lashes out from NOW, not to mention the barrage of images of Mr. Kennedy explaining his endorsement.

If it had been up to me -- and, of course, it never was! -- Mr. Kennedy would have been relegated to page 36Z eons ago. As it is, "unfortunately" ( in my opinion), his words carry a lot of weight with unthinking (or perhaps even similar thinking) bigots.

To my mind, there was never any question as to whether or not he would endorse Hillary Clinton. His blatant disregard for the female gender has been well-documented. (In fact, he has been known to go so far as to abandon a female companion who subsequently drowned!)

What disturbs me even more, however, is Mr. Obama's open arms "Welcome to the party!". I now question Mr. Obama's integrity.

I see this year's Presidential campaign deteriorating to -- perhaps -- an all-time low in mud-slinging. Let's see here, who have we got for major candidates? We have ... ... 1. Mitt Romney, 2. John McCain, 3. Hillary Clinton, 4. Barack Obama.

Well, we can't vote for #1 because of his religion. We can't vote for #2 because of his age and -- certainly, he must have been damaged with all those years as a prisoner of war. We can't vote for #3 because she's a woman. We can't vote for #4 because he's black.

Aren't you guys TIRED of everyone trying to tell you who you can/can't should/shouldn't vote for?? I certainly am!

You know who I miss? I miss David Brinkley!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My first year teaching ...

... was in Tapiola, a very small farming community in the Keweenaw Peninsula area of Upper Michigan. The year was 1959.

The contract was for $4,200/yr., which seemed like a whole lot of money. I was both excited and terrified, all at once! You see, the contract stipulated that I would be teaching first grade, and I had absolutely zero/zip/nada experience with that age level!!

In the State of Michigan at that time, one received "certification" according to their student teaching experience. And, as a recipient of a Bachelor of Music Education degree, ALL of my student teaching hours were accomplished in the area of music. An instrumental major, my "dream" had been to conduct bands (I even had charts of marching formations on the field for half-time performances!).

One of my professors had advised me that, because of the paucity of female band directors in the U.S. at that time -- there was, actually, only one! -- I should apply for a dual certification, that of either "Elementary" or "Secondary". I followed his advice and applied, receiving certification for elementary (K through 8) because I had one more hour of student teaching at that level -- all in the field of music, you understand.

SO, going back to my first teaching contract. I was vaguely aware that teaching first grade involved teaching these very small children how to read -- and, the more I thought about it, the more scared I got. Good heavens, I have to teach them how to read!! I had no idea how to go about such a thing!

The good Lord must have been looking out for me, because He provided me a way to "crash intern" with a first grade teacher, one Johanna Genry, who had been teaching first grade "forever", it almost seemed, in my home town of Munising. AND, as "luck" would have it, Munising's school year started a full week before I was due to debut in Tapiola!

Heavens to Betsy! I "sat in" on every minute of that crucial first week, watched her every move and took copious notes. She kept trying to assure me that I would be "fine". (?!?) At the end of that week, she presented me with boxes of materials that she had accumulated over the years, all of which were really not needed any more, she said.

Looking back at it now, I KNOW I would not have been able to succeed that first year if it had not been for Johanna Genry!

The little community of Tapiola was composed, primarily, of farmers of Finnish ancestry. (In fact, not that many years before I taught there, the Kindergarten teacher had to teach the children English!) The school and a combination gas station/all purpose grocery store comprised the business district.

I can still see the school in my mind's eye. It was a two-story stone structure (3-story, if you count the basement, boiler room & lunchroom). There was one classroom for each grade, K-12. The first-grade classroom (mine) was on the 1st floor, right next to the principal's office. The principal -- "Mr. Allen", I believe -- had this absolutely hideous disease where his bones were growing together, and was quite unable to ascend the stairs to the second floor to "observe". In addition, he had this somewhat quaint practice of "observing" just outside of one's classroom door. As a consequence, all of us who were teaching on the first floor daily assigned a "spy" to alert us when Mr. Allen was just outside our door in the hall observing.

That first year was really memorable. All of them were, actually, but the first one especially so! I applied so many of Johanna's techniques! One that I used -- over & over again -- was gathering the children around me on the floor (I would be sitting on one of the little one's chairs) while I read or told them a story. The children were often so enrapt that my spy failed to report!

One day, I was called to the principal's office. I thought, "Oh, my gosh, I'm in trouble now. He will soon tell me what I have done wrong, I hope!" I was really nervous. He said, "When I was outside your door 'observing' earlier today, I noticed that you had all your children sitting on the floor around you." My immediate thought was, "My gosh, I had them sitting on a cold floor!" Then he said, "That reminded me of a time many years ago when I was 'observing' another first grade teacher. The teacher was telling the children the story of the 'Three Little Pigs'. The story was going along according to norm when the teacher changed the ending to ... 'and he ate the little pigs all up'. (!!) There was dead silence in the classroom. Then, -- finally --one young child exclaimed, 'The son of a b _ _ _ _!'" (It wasn't until many years later that I tried this variant ending on one of my first grade classes, and you know what the response was? ... It was, "Oh, Mrs. _______, that's not how it goes!!" ... Love that one!)

I have so many good memories. I guess I'll leave you with one final one ... ... that of a husband & wife (father & mother) of one of my students -- "Danny", I guess I'll never forget his name -- who appeared at the final "Open House" of that first year (and, I was told later, they had never appeared in school before at a PTO/A meeting or "Open House"!).

"Danny" was eight years old when he started the first grade. He was the youngest of many children (I forget how many), and the "baby" of the family. His parents had held him back because they felt that some extra years might be necessary in his growth process to enable him to "learn". Well, Danny struggled, and I struggled right along with him. He tried MIGHTILY, and I passed him along to the second grade.

His parents were there to thank me for trying to teach their child how to read. They said that no other teacher had worked so hard with any of their children, and they wanted to let me know how much they appreciated my efforts on their child's behalf.

This is now MANY years later, but I still feel a very warm glow thinking of the hugs we exchanged that evening.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Whom to believe?

You know what? I really don't remember what it was like as an "almost teen-ager", other than I was most concerned about my face, my lack of "boobies", all sorts of social problems that exist today, as well, but back 50-60 years ago, those problems were at the forefront. Today, it seems, they are almost secondary to the seeming constant bombardment on all sides from what I might almost describe as "incessant" battering/badgering/interjecting/interfering by the media --- and, yes, I am including the Internet!

Whom is an adolescent to believe? Their peers? Their teachers? Their parents? Their beloved Internet? "Reality" TV shows?

I heard a story recently that inspired this writing. (The story, by the way, is true. Sometimes, I think, when people hear that it is a "story", they automatically assume that it is "made up". This story is not made up, O.K?)

It seems that a pre-teen, when quizzed about how school was going, responded that --- in her History class (the class was talking about the current Presidential election campaign) --- her teacher had suggested that Obama was a spy for the terrorists ... ... ... ... !!!???

Surely NOT, you question. Now, tho, it appears that said pre-teen couldn't really remember what was actually said, who said it... not sure, but she thinks her teacher said it wasn't true ... that Obama was only one example. One example of WHAT, for crying out loud!!

Same pre-teen could not remember any of the other candidates discussed, or what was said about them. Is that to be expected, or what?!

Unfortunately, I believe, many (if not most) adults today would utter some of the same comments! I have been recently reading blog/post sites that are (to say the least!) disturbing. How should I expect a still-to-be-formed young person to try & cull it all out, when I --- as a supposed adult --- have problems.

I believe that a letter to the school district involved is called for. This should be a discreet inquiry, but one that, in my opinion, should not be left un-addressed.

As a public school teacher for nearly twenty years, I was ALWAYS aware that what I said (or did) might influence young minds for many years to come. Perhaps this young person was simply "dozing" in class (thinking of her"whatevers"). Perhaps the teacher actually did utter some unthinking comments, really unaware of the potential import/damage they might cause.

Perhaps same pre-teen was influenced in her remarks by whatever other influences might have been going on in her life ... parents/friends/TV programs/Internet ... whatever prompted her statements must not go unnoticed, in my opinion.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Please hold for just a moment" ... ...

Have you ever received one of those phone calls???

I just did, and guess what? I disconnected the line. Guess what else? They haven't called back. I detest market researchers!!!!! (Their number is still on my incoming phone call screen! -- I may or may not try to call the number back later to see who the devil it was who was so rude as to not even announce themselves &/or the party that was placing the call. If it was the President, I am really sorry I did not "Hold".)

This is a really big bugaboo with me. If I place a call incorrectly/inadvertently, I ALWAYS identify myself & make a comment such as, "I'm sorry, I hit the wrong number" -- or, I'll leave a message (in case of a voice-mail answering server), stating the reason for my call. I never ... repeat, absolutely never hang up or leave some obscure message that might still leave the "callee" in doubt.

I expect the same treatment from those who happen to catch my number inadvertently. I expect that they will stay on the line long enough for me to try & assist them in reaching the party they were trying to reach in the first place. (Perhaps they simply hit a wrong digit. ... Perhaps they had mis-transcribed the number given to them. ... Perhaps the person they were trying to reach had intentionally given them an incorrect number, albeit mine.) Whatever the reason they reached me, I would like to try & assist them.

It's quite difficult -- indeed, nigh onto impossible -- to assist someone who hangs up on you.

Talking to oneself ...

I dream a lot, I think. Someone once told me that she thought dreams were the sub/unconscious mind's way of resolving issues of the day. When I was a taxicab driver, I would sometimes have bad dreams -- usually of coming back to where I had parked my vehicle only to find it missing. (That never happened, understand, but it must have one of my fears!) I actually had that dream more than once, because in the middle of the big "chase it down" scene, my sleeping mind would remember that I'd had seen that episode before, and I would wake up ... a good thing.

Have you ever had a recurring dream? When I was in high school, I had one where I had a friend (whom I'd never met in real life). We spent a lot of time in her home. I can still visualize that house. Then, when I went away to college, I made a new friend. When she invited me over to her home to meet her family, I was startled to realize that everything was familiar, right down to the books on the shelves. And why wouldn't it have been? I had "been there" many times!

That's probably one of the eerier dreams I could relate. Usually I don't remember my dreams ... just bits & pieces. Once I woke myself up laughing out loud ... sure wish I could remember it -- must have been one of the good ones!

Sometimes I will wake myself up because I can hear myself talking! The latest episode occurred within the past month. I distinctly remember that I was teaching a group of bridge students and was answering an oft-posed question (for the gazillionth time, it seemed!) yet once again, but trying to re-phrase my answer in such a way that the student would have a ("Eureka, I've got it!") light bulb go off in his/her head. I woke myself up talking to the (dream) student.

Yesterday, Darling Daughter (DD) shared a really funny story with me, which is what prompted this latest "frothing at the mouth" post.

The afternoon before, I had tried to reach her on her cell phone -- left a message because she was unavailable. I assumed she was taking a nap, so asked her to call me later when she had time. I didn't hear back from her later (just as well, because I hit the bed early). However, we did connect yesterday, and here's what happened in that conversation ... ... ...

"Keep still for a minute, so I can say something, O.K?" (You almost have to know our past history of communicating. One of us is often saying that to the other, because we both have something we want to say, and we want to say it right NOW!! What often happens is that one has uttered something that has triggered a vitally important piece of additional information that the other feels has to be interjected right that very instant or that moment in conversational history will be lost forever.)

DD kept telling me yesterday, "Mom, keep still for a minute, so I can say something, O.K?" I couldn't figure out why she was shushing me this time. FINally, tho, she got through to me that that was what she had been telling her "voice mail message dealiebopee machine" ... and, of course, the machine just kept going on its merry way until DD realized that she was, in essence, talking to herself. Is that hilarious, or what?? I've "been there done that" -- how about you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ice Cold Memories

Although I have lived in Houston for many years, I wasn't born or raised here. Tammy's post today reminded me of some very cold weather up north that I hadn't thought of for quite a while, like the time I licked a steel post to see if my tongue would actually stick to it ... it did, and I scared myself half to death!

That was when I was a child, of course, and -- as a child, I often wished for a "snow day" ... no school, hurray! (Even so, many years later -- as an adult & teaching in the public schools -- "snow days" meant you could snuggle up in the blankets a little longer & didn't have to go and shovel your driveway before you could even get your car out!)

This was all assuming you could start your car, you understand. I distinctly remember many times when my husband would actually disconnect the battery from the car & bring it inside the house overnight ... then, he would have to go out in the absolutely frigid cold to try to
reconnect everything & then try to start it up. I have really vivid memories of this!

The above occurred while we were living in Houghton, Michigan ... not "Hooton", folks, O.K? ... in a "cabin" (two motel units with one wall knocked out) ... [Well, what can I tell you? We were young, he was still in undergraduate school at Michigan Tech & I was a teacher. Basically, we were living on the GI Bill with a benefit or two. I remember that he could get a coke on M/W and I could get a cup of coffee on T/Th ... Fridays we drank from the public fountain. Ah, yes, those were the days!] ... anyway, to continue ... ... ...

There were three "cabins". We were in the middle ... all of us just south of a railroad track where -- when the train barreled through --we had to grab all of our meager dishes from the shelves to try and keep them from falling and breaking. I'm serious, here! (It's funny now, but it wasn't at the time.)

Our landlords (who lived across the highway) didn't shovel during the extreme winter months ... so, we had to park our cars at the other side of the highway & snowshoe in. WELL, one extreme winter month, a fraternity brother of one of our neighbors decided he'd like to come and visit his good friend. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the "drive" had been shoveled and proceeded along same.

Thank the good Lord that he only drove a Volkswagen ... ... guess who had driven in on the train tracks?!? (You only get one guess here, and you are correct.) My husband & I were both sound asleep when all of the huffing & puffing to get the VW off of the tracks occurred, thank goodness.

Speaking of snowshoeing (sp.?), I'd like to share just one more true story with you. This occurred (probably) in a January. Blizzard conditions. We were supposed to fly out of Marquette ... a town about 40 miles away. Blizzard conditions! We called the airport to see if they were going to be flying that day ... they wanted to know who was calling ... we identified ourselves. They said, "Of course we're flying. Do you think you can get here?" Now, that really WAS the most important question! We said we thought we could get there, but that we would have to follow the snow plow and we would be very late. They said, "No problem, we'll hold the plane for you." (You have to understand that this happened approximately 45 years ago, O.K? I don't have any idea if that sort of thing would happen in this day and age.)

Anyhoo, we followed the snowplow to Marquette, got to the airport, and were met at the gates by snow-covered persons equipped with extra snowshoes, which we were to don & then follow them in. We did.

We got into the plane (I swear, you couldn't hardly see your hand in front of your face!), sat down & waited for the plane to take off. Seconds passed. Minutes passed. I thought, "My goodness, all of this & we won't be able to leave, after all!" Then, just as I was about to give up hope, the outer door opened and a snowy figure appeared. This snowy figure seemed to be holding a tray with containers of "something" -- that had steam pouring out of their tops. Snowy figure disappeared into the cockpit, but then returned, offering each of us a hot cup of coffee/hot chocolate (I don't remember which). We were told to fasten our seat belts, and off we took!! The pilots weren't waiting for a break in the weather ... they were waiting for their hot drink!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm coining a new word (maybe!) ... I tried to look up "catharsism" in the dictionary, but it's not there (at least, not in mine!). However, "-ism" IS there, and I prefer the "act/practice/process of" explanation of the meaning of this suffix.

I must disagree, tho, with the definition of catharsis as a purging or cleansing ... I prefer a somewhat altered definition, and that might include "alleviating" (but -- once again, the dictionary refers to negativism, so that's 'out', as well!).

I am not a good speaker. I am a much better writer, but it takes me a long time to transcribe my thoughts into words that I find adequately convey what I'm thinking & feeling. In my first post a couple of weeks ago, I stated that I had a lot to say & I hoped to start a dialogue with each & any of you who took the time to correspond. That has not changed.

What I seem to be "hung up on" today is a simple definition.

To me, "catharsism" is the process of "letting it all out" ... whatever is on your mind. For me, the process of letting it all out is, in itself, cathartic. Does that necessarily mean that whatever is/was on your mind needs/ed to be purged or cleansed? I don't think so. I just like to see it in written form, so I can copy/print it out (capture it on camera, as it were) for future reference. Tomorrow, then, I will not be able to say I did not say/think that or this.

Contradictions galore in this post, probably. One good thing ... it's now in written form, and I cannot deny that I said it. That, in and of itself, is cathartic!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Time to smell the ... rainbows?

The sun is shining brightly today, which is a nice change from the cruddy weather we've had the past many hours -- some of it occurring overnight, thank goodness!

It's January in Houston, a month where we usually experience many days of "blahness". (Actually, this year we haven't had that many. Plus, we needed the rain. Both my yard and foundation thank the powers that be.)

I used some of the blah hours to peruse other blogs on the Internet. I didn't comment on any, but I did add three or four to my "Favorites" and made note of a few others that included interesting & sometimes unique photography. I will pass on that info to my daughter later today. That's a new avocation for her, and she might want to take a gander at them.

A few photos (various sites) showed rainbows, and one blogger mentioned that she had never seen so complete a rainbow except for where she was (&, of course, I don't remember where she was!) and that was why she took a picture of it to retain in her memory banks.

I felt such sorrow upon reading her words. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones? I have been privileged to view -- over the years -- many complete rainbows. However, I must add that I do not remember ever seeing a double rainbow until I became a taxi driver.

How does that saying go, "Take time to smell the roses."? Well, a cab driver has the time. Many, many hours are spent simply "waiting", and I spent much of my waiting time in the staging lot at Hobby Airport -- and, often, I would be looking "up" to see what was going on.

I don't know that I can truly say I have seen complete double rainbows. However, when a storm was about to pass, I was almost always looking up to see if there would be a rainbow.

Once, for sure, I saw a triple rainbow. It's captured not on a camera, but indelibly in my own banks of memory. I (perhaps) saw the remnants of a second triple another time, but that one is not nearly as clear in my mind.

Certainly, I saw no rainbows yesterday or last night, but I wanted to write this to testify that such wondrous things DO exist, and perhaps encourage all of you to take the time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

... in the eye of the beholder

A few years back, I was asked for my opinion on what had been reported on the news in re a traffic accident on Loop 610. I really don't recall, now, all of the particulars -- but, what I do remember is hearing on the radio and seeing on TV many (& varied) reports of the same incident.

That it was controversial, I am sure. That it involved a taxi driver, probably. At the time I was asked, I was sitting outside in the staging area for cab drivers at Hobby Airport and listening to other drivers vent their feelings on the subject. I was simply listening -- absorbing, but contributing nothing.

My response to the question was that I had not seen the accident -- and, even if I had, my interpretation of what I had seen might have been different from that of another actual eye-witness.

I got the impression that the questioner really did not like my answer, but it was the only one I could honestly give. I was reminded, yet once again, of an incident that occurred many years ago in Columbus, Ohio, where one of my teacher friends -- while driving down a street -- struck & subsequently killed a young boy who had unexpectedly appeared directly in front of her from between two parked cars while riding his bicycle.

She tried to stop, but was unable to do so in time to avoid striking the child. She immediately exited her vehicle -- and, while holding the dying child in her arms, wept, thinking all the while of her own two young sons.

The news media (in this case, radio) reported the accident as a "hit and run".

I am not privy to "W's" (George W. Bush) visits in the Middle East, but I was interested to watch Charles Osgood's report this morning on the varying coverages ... country, religious orientation, TV/radio/internet site, etc. That they vary widely is accurate, but whom can one really believe?? If you were actually there, could you report it "accurately"?

Of course you could, but it would be from your perspective ... albeit country, religious orientation, whatever.

What are we looking for? Are we looking for peace/war? Are we looking for good/bad news? "Some" say that the United States is trying to dominate the world. "Others" say that extremist followers of Islam are trying to convert the world. Sometimes, it seems to me, that most of the news that is widely covered/reported is bad news.

Personally, I try to stay away from negativism (altho I must admit that it sometimes overtakes me.) I urge all of you to listen carefully. Read & watch all you can, and then make your own decisions when you vote this year ... and, if you have the time, work for the cause you most believe in.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Upon misplacing one's driver's license

Have you ever misplaced your driver's license?

I have misplaced so many things over the years ... letters, bobby pins, my wallet, keys, you name its. However, nothing seems so immediately unrecoverable as one's driver's license!

I had it three days ago ... I know I did! (I had to show it when I wrote a check for groceries at a store.) In fact, in my memory banks, I could recall last seeing it on my desk (a kitchen table, I hope you understand) after I had returned from said store.

I went through all of the grocery bags (not that many), the garbage (not that much), the car, the back yard ... ... and I thought, "I really need to get the top of this 'desk' cleared off." -- checking the floor all the while to see what might have dropped down there. ... ... nothing, nada, zippo!

Meanwhile, back at the "my bank" b/ranch, I needed to transfer some monies from one of my accounts to another. Guess who didn't have a picture ID to present? What I could only hope for was that one of the tellers there would recognize me. (Long story short, one of them -- in fact, several of them -- did. I've been a customer of that bank for a long time, thank goodness!)

That was good for a short term "fix", but I still needed to find my driver's license!! What if I were to be involved in an accident, a routine traffic stop, whatever? I HAD to find that driver's license, there were no two ways about it!

I cleared off a bunch of stuff from the aforementioned "desk" ... zip/nada. I checked the back yard yet once again ... and, without raking ever more present leaves ... zip/nada. I simply made up my mind that I would have to go to the DMV Monday to ask for a duplicate license.

Somewhat long story a touch shorter, I decided to remove the car from my garage out into the broad day/sunlight ... ... even took my flashlight out to look under/between the seats, etc. Guess what?? I FOUND it!! (Hallelujah!) It was wedged between/under the passenger seat! (I have one of those cars with variable seat adjustments, which -- most of the time -- is a good thing.)

Anyway, I'm feeling really good about my day right now, & I sincerely hope the rest of you are experiencing the same wonderful feeling! More later ... ...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cremation ... the final disposition?

I am feeling terribly righteous (oxymoron?) today.

I just escorted a representative of the Neptune Society out of my front door. He was not a door-to-door salesman. He had, in fact, come to my home upon my invitation.

Let's back up a bit. Many years ago (50 or so), shortly after my husband and I were first married, he told me that he had invited an insurance salesman over to our apartment to discuss life insurance for him. I immediately broke out into tears, crying, "Why?? We just got married!"

(As I recall, altho it's been awhile, I was in tears almost the whole time the unfortunate insurance representative was there. I simply could not bear the thought of losing someone to whom I'd so recently become attached.)

Well, fast forward almost 40 years later ... when my sister told me that she had decided to have her body cremated after she died, that she had prepaid all expenses and would be sending me copies of everything she'd signed.

(The fact that death was not far away for her was not really a question. She had not been well for some time.)

What really struck me today was the difference in my reactions to three major occurrences in my life relating to death & finality ... the first two you have already read, and the third just happened.

In the first, I cried. In the second, I was impressed that my sister was so thoughtful. In the third (& just occurring), I felt relief that I had at last taken care of what would have been someone else's responsibility.

In fact, I laughed!! (How does that expression go, "We grow too soon old and too late smart."? -- something like that, anyway.)

I certainly do not mean to make light of death. What I'm trying to say is that I feel really good about finally getting my own affairs in order.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2008 ... Happy New Year!

This is a new venue for me. I hope, in the coming weeks/months/years, to have a continuing conversation with all of you who respond.

I have a lot of things to say about a lot of subjects. Hopefully, some will be of enough interest to you to pique a response.