Thursday, November 30, 2006


Between the Internet connections problem, more recent computer security concerns for a couple of days, and my usual work-related end-of-the-month paper work crunch, not to mention some other issues, posts on this blog will likely be a bit more erratic than they were for awhile. So look for posts here when you see them, is the best I can say now, at least for up to a number of weeks. My health is hale and hearty, my attitude upbeat, so for any of you who have expressed concern, be concerned no more -- thank you for caring.

Meanwhile, I put this post together during my hit and miss Internet connectivity while in the throes of erroneously believing I could simultaneously maintain my sanity and the then status quo of activity on and offline.

Life's little resentments can sometimes assume greater import in our mind than what they realistically deserve when we consider everything occurring in our lives.

I recently became angry, impatient, frustrated, discouraged, disgusted and tired when a persistent intermittent repetitive problem caused my computer to lose its Internet connection, suddenly and randomly for varying lengths of time over a period of the past several weeks. More than once I was stopped mid-email, during blog post, or would find at varying times of the day and night I suddenly could not access the Internet. Finally, my small bag of tricks exhausted, I resorted to phoning my DSL provider's Support System.

This isn't how I intended to follow my Thanksgiving alone experience piece -- grousing and grumbling. I want to talk about all those eating alone comments and observations, but at another time. Thanks to each of you for your views. I want to thank Ronni Bennett for the Time Goes By piece (see link on sidebar)"Online Friends" in which she quoted the feelings I had with being unwillingly offline; also, for letting readers know of my computer tech issues. Her observations about feelings associated with online friends pretty much pinpoint what so many confirmed in their comments that I, too, have experienced.

Now, I'm sure everyone with a computer who has needed technical support has a story to tell, but I feel compelled to expunge the negative residue dwelling within me from this on/ offline experience which has manifested itself in resentment by writing my personal account highlights as follows:

It was a dreary night and the maiden running through the down pouring rain with her long red hair streaming behind her, arms waving in the air, was screaming unintelligible sounds at a darkened figure darting in and out the shadows ahead of her. Suddenly the figure stopped, but she continued to race toward the shadowed image ... oops, this isn't the story I intended to tell. This is what being offline without my computer has done to my mind -- an improvement, no doubt, by some measures, but I still have a long way to go.

Here's the scoop about my contact with my DSL provider. I've spoken with five different support tech reps, was promised call-backs at specific times which occurred only 50% of those occasions; actually received a promised call-back one time, only instead of within the promised between one and two hours maximum it was more like seven to eight hours and at 10 P:M. -- a bit late don't you think? Of course, that's better than the call-back that never came at all. I was also promised an assist with a Sr. Technician which never happened either, when one of my support techs recognized an inability to solve the problem. I did receive a regular Tech's call which turned out to have contributed to the next Tech's (# 5) temporary solution.

Tech # 5 was able to connect me to the Internet finally, but this is at less than optimum levels from my point of view, and not at all the level for which I am paying. However, some other concerns have arisen which need resolving by other than my DSL provider. If his diagnosis of the problem is correct, then I cannot hold my DSL provider completely responsible for my computer's problem. I'll know in the weeks ahead.

I am not unappreciative that he finally re-connected me to the Internet, despite the slowed speed, but this does not void the residue of resentments acquired during interactions with my DSL provider support system (not my first.) I will attempt to purge myself of those resentments here and now as follows:

I resent having to ask for repeats from personnel in another country because there's so much noise of others talking in the background much like a boiler room operation, sometimes loudly, rapidly, gratingly high-pitched male voices, often in an unfamiliar language which, unfortunately, is perceived as additional noise, making perception for anyone of any age more difficult.

I resent the annoyance and impatience I heard in a couple of the service persons voices. In one instance the speech production of the English phoneme /h/ was not clear, nor was the differentiation of phoneme /t/ and /d/, even though single syllable words were offered in an effort to show the difference between the two when providing code I was to type. I still required them to repeat as I needed clarification. I'm sure phone quality audio contributes to the lack of clarity, but there should be an expectation on the part of service people, especially those speaking any language with an accent, such repeats might be necessary and just a routine part of what they might have to do in the course of providing their service.

I resent being asked my age (of course,I didn't have to answer.) I had to ask myself later, if the "disconnect" which followed shortly thereafter, with no return call forthcoming, though he had my number, could possibly have been because I honestly told him I was 71 yrs.

I resent being abruptly told I was tired and when I protested, was asked to look at the time, 10 p.m., as though it was past my bed time, when it was obviously really the support person who was tired and wanted to end the session.

I resent being told to hire a tech person when the Internet access provider had not yet ruled out their connection as being the problem, or found a way to make the Internet connection.

I resent being told a download of a new IE program was the cause of the problem, despite my pointing out these problems were pre-existing that download by a week or so. Common sense told me the logic I was being given did not compute.

I resent being told to go buy an old IE program to re-install 'cause common sense told me there were other solutions, which later proved to be the case.

I resent that the first tech support person never called back after we were disconnected though he had the number.

I resent the second support person promising to call back the next day and then not doing so.

I resent being told a Sr. Tech would call within one to two hours, then the call back, not from a Sr. Tech at all, didn't come until seven to eight hours later and at 10 P.M. It was one thing to have been in the midst of problem solving at 10 P.M. and wanting to continue toward resolution, quite another to be called at that hour to initiate problem solving -- 8 hours after such a call was to have been received.

I just gotta lot of resentment! Am inclined to think many newer users of tech services as well as some other older people might have given up on all this long ago -- quite frustrated by the whole thing. Perhaps that's what some of the personnel hoped I would do. Heaven only knows I'm no expert, so maybe I'm missing something, but wonder if this is a typical experience for those availing themselves of needed Tech Support for which they presumably pay in their monthly fees?

I feel better now and look forward to writing about more positive matters in the future.


Friday, November 24, 2006


Thanks for all the good wishes and virtual hugs sent my way for my first ever Thanksgiving alone. I especially appreciated the stories others shared of some of their observations or feelings and experiences in similar situations for whatever the reasons. Here's how my day went ....

I awoke a bit later than usual to a cloudy cool (for us) Thanksgiving day with the temperature in the 70's. I had no pre-conceived expectations about what I would feel, or experience, much less any finalized specific plans for this holiday. Depending on ones perspective I really didn't do anything this day. This was a day when I seemed to "pot around" as I sometimes characterize the mindless actions I take moving randomly from one thing to another. However, there was the restaurant adventure, but that comes later in the saga.

As I contemplated my day, I gave serious consideration to remaining in my cotton knit P.J.s, in which I would just lounge around, as I have been known to do on occasion, sometimes thinking that sooner or later I'll get dressed. My husband and I, for he had been known to do the same thing, often joked on those occasions about when we would actually get around to getting dressed, ultimately concluding at some point as the hours rolled by, that it was just too late in the day now, and no longer made sense to do so.

But, I have been a bit more cautious about allowing myself to do that since my husband died. I have been a little apprehensive that I might more easily fall into the habit of indulging myself in that manner to the extent it could be a problem. I didn't think it would be, but I am aware of the pitfalls if such behavior becomes excessive as can sometimes happen in times when we undergo major life changes.

So, I did make a conscious decision to get dressed, having concluded by then that I would go to a nearby restaurant for my Thanksgiving dinner. Just in case I might instead have wanted to order something, I had phoned them the other day to inquire as to whether or not they provided a carry-out dinner, which I was told, they did not. Probably the only restaurant of this popular franchise in our area that does not.

I then had asked did they take reservations, "No, we don't take reservations." But, "Yes, we are open for dinner but only for a few afternoon hours between 1 and 5 p.m." I decided I would simply do whatever the spirit moved me to do come turkey day, since this attempt to possibly plan ahead wasn't working and I really didn't want to bother checking further anywhere else.

On turkey day morning, having dressed, I decided to check my email for any possible information updates from my young 'uns. Well, of course, once I turn on the computer, check that email, I can't just stop there. I decided to take a quick look at other emails and then was pleasantly surprised to see comments on my blog. I thought surely everyone would be too busy for that. Well, of course, that was all the stimulation I needed to go visit some blogs, then the next thing I knew I caught myself dropping a comment here or there. Fortunately, I had earlier exercised the good sense to set my kitchen timer to remind me when that restaurant would open, just in case I lost track of time as I have been known to do, once I am in the blogosphere orbit.

The timer went off, and off I went. Imagine my surprise when I was asked at the restaurant if I had a reservation. I said, "I didn't know you offered them" ... that "I had been told you didn't." No explanation given. As I waited to be called for seating, I heard a young server call out a man's name for a "carry-out turkey dinner." Sure enough, she handed him a bag which he carried out of the restaurant.

Periodically, a slightly older but still young woman (but just about anybody is young to me any more) made the rounds checking for people who had no reservation and for their name. When she would come to me she would spontaneously say my last name before I could, then quickly add, "Yes, I know about you." H-m-m-m, I thought, what does that mean?

Despite the discrimination I felt over the reservation/carry-out contradiction, I should point out that I had a very pleasant demeanor through all this, and really had a lackadaisical attitude, like whatever happens, happens, and I just want to see how it all plays out. This kind of attitude is a luxury to be indulged only if one does not face a time crunch schedule.

Probably no more than fifteen minutes later, my name was called. As I approached the woman with whom I had signed in, I paused and quietly said that I didn't understand about the contradiction in reservations/carryout, then quickly moved on. I was seated in a booth large enough for four people. Almost immediately, I felt guilty taking up all that space with so many family groups waiting.

I glanced away from the table, gazed out through a translucent white lace curtained window at the trees whose leaves were in full fall color. Their gold and red leaves were intermittently falling while more cars entered and parked underneath their branches. Those exiting their cars were heading around the corner of the building toward the restaurant's front entrance. I was not aware of any thoughts in my mind, but suddenly I felt tears welling in my eyes. I was surprised, despite knowing this can happen at any time, though I was not consciously thinking of my husband. I patted the tears away with my tissue and began thinking about the restaurant's interior environment while looking around inside.

The waitress appeared, was pleasantly friendly with an exuberant bubbly manner. After answering her inquiry as to what beverage I might want, I mentioned my guilt about the large booth, that this was my first Thanksgiving alone. She quickly, with good intentions, stated, "Oh, you won't be alone, I'll be here with you, and I'm good company!" Well, I think she would have been, but she was so busy running from one table to the next, to the kitchen and back again, taking a photo of the family across from me for them, then later trying to pacify the young food-picky boy at that same table, she couldn't possibly have had time to socialize, nor had I expected it.

Simultaneously, at that table the mother was trying to remain composed, while the father was trying to tactfully curb some unacceptable behavior from the oldest of the three boys. I had first noticed the father in correcting mode while I was waiting to be seated when they were still in line, subsequently seated before me. I never did figure out what it was this young teenager was doing that was so objectionable. But whatever it was he was in deep do-do based on the recriminations I overheard his father directing his way.

Later one of the young sons was instructed on how important it was that he learn to speak up, as he should have done when he placed his order so that he didn't get all that now unwanted gravy over his turkey and potatoes. I became aware some time later a discussion was ensuing about relatives, including grandparents and uncles, they apparently had not seen for some years, but would be visiting at Christmas. Characteristics, manner, behaviors, likability were being discussed to familiarize the boys with those they would be meeting. The lads all seemed really well-behaved to me -- just another American family -- but a very special one to many other loved ones, somewhere.

Not too long after I received my beverage, the young woman who had first asked me if I had a reservation, suddenly appeared at my table. She leaned over in a conspiratorial manner, speaking softly to me that they didn't take reservations, nor did they provide carry-out dinners, but there had been an unexpected turn of events. I then learned she was the manager, now at wits end, that forces greater than her were prevailing in her bailiwick. She was struggling to regain control. I must have offered a sympathetic manner, perhaps that I was in a, "Please tell me more" mode. Instantly, she sat down across from me at the table. She went on to explain that some of her employees had taken it upon themselves to start taking reservations and receive take-out orders at some point.

She said she was beside herself, her whole system was in disarray, she was going crazy with this inconsistent organization. Furthermore, she would never ever again hire anyone under 30 years of age! Quite obviously, I now knew who the culprits were. I just didn't know which ones were under 30 years of age. Having relieved herself of her built-up tensions and frustrations for the time being, she hastily arose and departed down the aisle, back to her post, I presume, to face another four or five more hours of restaurant madness, as this was already taking place and they'd only been open an hour.

With all this excitement, it's rather anti-climatic to say, I enjoyed my turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I easily had left-overs of everything which delighted me. I brought them home as left-overs are among my favorites from holiday meals. I, also, brought along the dinner's piece of apple pie, which was promptly relegated to the freezer. You see, the day before Thanksgiving, I purchased a whole mince meat pie with rum sauce, only available around the holiday time. I really like this pie, as did my husband. I know it's only a glorified raisin pie, the way most make it now, but it will do.

You see, we were spoiled. When I met my husband, in addition to his jazz music avocation, he was the only non-family member partner in a small Midwestern market that sold only prime grade meats, top quality local fresh farm produce, and other top-of-the-line quality items. They made their own mince meat, with meat, as it should be. I have never ever found any other comparable mince meat, so have contented myself with what is available. But I have to tell you, my Mother made a raisin pie I really liked and these mince meat pies don't taste much different from her raisin pie. Oh, for some real mince meat, again.

Once I was back home from the restaurant, I thought another "quick" check of my email might be in order. As a relatively new computer user, less than two years, I still encounter new-to-me computer (whatever you call them) features. I received one special email -- an animated musical Thanksgiving greeting created by a British artist, Jacquie Lawson sent to me by a dear friend from whom I had not expected to hear. Then, those always welcomed, but never demanded, phone calls from my young 'uns and my one young 'uns young 'un. (Oops, that's a real tongue twister, so "Sorry 'bout that" -- remember that quoted line from the old TV series Get Smart which Don Adams was always saying?)

Well, I've digressed, then digressed from my digression, so this must be a good place to end the saga of this adventure. Interesting how much drama there can be in just ordinary day-to-day life if we just look around us and listen.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Earlier I read "Time Goes By" and Grumpy Old Lady's Thanksgiving post -- a must read for all. I unabashedly say, my emotions were so affected that I knew I must write a few thoughts of my own.

I'm planning to spend my first Thanksgiving, ever, alone. Probably others have had this experience, but it will be new for me. I don't feel a sense of trepidation about being alone for this holiday -- that's just the way it is.

Family wanted me to travel to be with them, but as much as I would have enjoyed their company, I simply didn't look forward to the process involved in getting there, then needing to return home quickly, as I have work the next day. In those travel instances I would have needed to go half-way, or all the way across the country. There are no other family members here, nor are there family between here and where those loved ones live. I'm sure there are many others for whom there is also a separation from those for whom we care, and they us, due to geographic distance this holiday.

So each of us adjusts in our own special ways to being physically alone. I don't really feel alone. I'm surrounded by memories and memorabilia, plus there will be some activities I'll want to undertake around the house. There will likely be phone calls, but even if there aren't, we just emailed and spoke on the phone within the past day or so, and likely will again before the coming weekend has passed. Still, because of this first, being alone, I wouldn't be surprised if thoughts should enter my mind of previous holidays with family and friends who are no longer living.

I've realized, for at least the past ten or fifteen years there would be a diminishing number of loved ones living nearby in the years ahead. I've known most of my life that this possibility would probably eventually become a reality. I just know it in quite a different way now, because it has become a reality. Certainly I experienced the loss of loved family members and friends even as a young person, and periodically during the ensuing years. Some succumbed to accidents, others to disease, including a self-initiated departure. Some were very young, others older. Some were even said to have led a long full life, thus were ready to depart this world. But there was that loss which somehow signaled what was to come.

I was most impacted with the realities of life and death when my mother died sixteen years ago, a few short days after Thanksgiving. There was something about the loss of a beloved parent, which resulted in my realization a significant life change had occurred. I was now part of the oldest generation. My mother was 89 years old, only four months from being 90 yrs of age. She had lived about ten years longer than her mother lived. Mother's last two years were not as I would have wanted them to be, especially considering she was mentally alert almost until the last breath she took while I was by her side.

Since that day, there has been an increased sense of keen awareness of loss each time another loved family member or friend is no longer present in the world in which I now exist. I am most aware of that sensitivity this particular Thanksgiving, my first without my husband. Certainly I accept I may suddenly feel flooded with emotion for seemingly no reason of which I am consciously aware. That doesn't happen often any more, but it still happens. I am no longer as surprised as I was the first time it occurred after some period of what I thought was emotional resolution. Whatever the feelings, whenever they may occur, they will be welcomed, another part of life, and maybe part of this holiday.

This Thanksgiving I am acutely aware of how very much for which I am thankful ... my family ... my friends ... new friends and acquaintances I've made in this virtual world who are uniquely real ... memories ... health ... hope ... anticipation of the future. Most of all, I'm simply glad to be alive.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"HANG ON SLOOPY" - OSU 42 vs UM 39

That's right, the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes football team won their game against the University of Michigan Wolverines Saturday afternoon. The sports announcers broadcasting from Columbus described the day's sunny weather at the horseshoe-shaped OSU stadium in terms that conjured for me one of those warm fall days I so remember treasuring this time of year in Ohio, because I knew freezing temperatures, rain, ice or snow would be present all too soon. This late in the year the weather conditions Saturday sounded much like what we called Indian Summer - a very special time in any given year that might or might not suddenly make its appearance after a cold snap, the first frost.

I should say right up front that a part of me shared the disappointment experienced in another family member's household as her favored team lost in their valiant effort to upset the Buckeyes winning season much as they have sometimes done in years past. Her Michigan team came close to a tie or even winning this game, but close isn't quite good enough. There is little doubt the University of Michigan has the second best college football team in this country.

So many memories came flooding back as I actually sat down and watched the whole game. I understand the rules of the U.S. version of football (that word refers to soccer in the rest of the world,) and a number of other sporting games, plus even some of their finer points. Over the years I even enjoyed watching some of the various games, but I did not enjoy an extended steady diet of any of them.

Many years ago I found this diet, to which I was being increasingly involuntarily subjected, had become for me of overdose proportions. For self-preservation I sought relief from the sensory bombardment of incessant televised sporting events by occupying myself with other matters. Watching this game Saturday was clearly a departure from my usual activities for many years.

Years ago, I enjoyed watching portions of selected college football games during which university bands performed during half-time activities. But the broadcasting powers that be found they could make more money with talking heads rattling on and on with statistics, and other matters which were of absolutely no interest whatsoever to me. Obviously, my tastes must reflect a minority view as I found the heads still talking all through half-time when I viewed this game.

I watched the entire Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday, a first for me in many years, for the emotional reasons I described in the previous post "A Really Big Game Today." I'm glad I watched the game because not only did I enjoy it, the lettuce salad and new Artisian pizza I ordered were pretty tasty, too.

Just before the game actually started, I was able to see the Ohio State Marching Band on the field as they performed their famous Script Ohio in which band members actually write in script "Ohio" as they make the formation on the field while marching and playing their instruments.

I watched, remembering when the formation was near completion the last action was for someone to dot the "i" by assuming a position above it. The person who dotted the i was someone to whom special recognition was being accorded. A former employer, when I worked at one of the local television stations had been a tuba player in the marching band as a young OSU student years earlier. He was duly proud that he had been selected to dot the i, a highly respected tradition at OSU football games.

Much later at the end of the game the band exhuberently played a familiar tune called "Hang On Sloopy" which you can learn more about at:

The memories "Sloopy" triggered for me were recalling the arranger of this tune which had become a popular OSU standard some years after we left Ohio, played by the band for football team motivation and roundly welcomed as a pep tune by the students, alumni and fans at all games and some other events. John Tatgenhorst was this arranger's name and he was an Ohio State music student when I met him. He had a handsome boyish looking face which attracted all the women, young and old. He played the drums in the Al Waslohn Quintet on the hour and one-half local live audience participation television show where we both worked. The show often had guest entertainers periodically performing in town. John was the youngest member of the show's musical group, also was married. The older musicians all referred to him as "The Kid."

John went on to establish his own music business with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. He has written many arrangements including among his first, some for Texas university bands, others and for movie scores.

Memories continued beseiging my mind as I recalled I last saw the actual Ohio State marching band "writing" the script Ohio in San Diego many years ago with my husband and son, when the football team played in the Fiesta Bowl. That time when the formation began, I was unexpectedly and suddenly overcome with tears as recalled past Ohio times crowded their way into my thoughts -- where I met my husband, our dating days, where we bought our very first home, the feral "Mamacat," as we named her, who ultimately adopted us, then presented us with kittens, one of which became a permanent part of our then childless, later child-filled family -- so much more remembered.

I'll be really interested to see Ohio State's remaining football games this year in whatever holiday bowl game to which they are ultimately invited. Arizona's Sun Bowl seems definite. As best I can gather, depending on the outcome of other teams remaining games, one of the possibilities is the Ohio State team could conceivably be matched to play this same Michigan team again. The New Year's Day Rose Bowl, played in nearby Pasadena, has been mentioned as a possibility at some point in an effort to have a playoff for the truly best team in the country. At last report, California's USC is hardly out of the picture.

I really have never tried to analyze or stay current with how this college football game ranking system and scheduling scenario evolves each year, including this one. I have gathered that those in the know about sports find the current system an improvement over what was done previously, but even now the whole system is thought by some to be complicated, sometimes confusing, often questionable and controversial.

You can bet, my husband would have been excitedly and apprehensively filling me in on all the details with his view as he impatiently awaited the final determination as to which teams played which other teams and where. There is no doubt in my mind he would have been absolutely certain the Ohio State Buckeyes football team deserves the Number One position whoever and wheresoever they play. I'm convinced, too.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Sports fans are like no other fans. For many, their enthusiasm and allegiance to the team they've selected as their own remains with them throughout their lives. We begin to pick our "favorites" at a very early age, often simply embracing the team(s) our family members have chosen.

That's what happened to me. A family member became a fan of a baseball team in our state when I was elementary school age. We had moved from a small city where I had independent access to the city library for a number of years. That all ended when we moved to a small farm in a rural area where I was the only child and there were no others my age nearby.

A radio in our house brought in the outside world. That world included the 1948 Cleveland Indians baseball team. For lack of other activities I might have preferred, had we lived elsewhere, I gradually paid attention to the play-by-play accounts of the team's games coming across the air ways. I finally even wrote the radio station for a scoring card, and learned how to record the games, which I began religiously doing. This was, indeed, a special year for that team, as ultimately they won the American League pennant. I still remember some of the team members names: Bob Feller, Larry Dobi, Lou Boudreau, Ken Keltner, the famous ageless Satchel Paige, to name a few.

Many years later as an adult, I met and began dating someone with whom I shared some common interests quite unrelated to sports. When he expressed interest in attending baseball games, I was delighted to return some of his generosity by obtaining free box seats to a number of minor league teams' games we attended together. Sometime later, after we married, I soon learned I had wed a much more avid sports fan than I had realized. As the years wore on and TV coverage of sports increased, it seemed for every season there was a sport with which he was enamoured and persisted to be with increasing intensity, sometimes to my consternation.

But, my gradual indoctrination into supporting my husband's all time and forever favorite football team began soon after we wed. He was able to obtain much sought after tickets from a friend who had been a head cheerleader at his university, so we enthusiastically often took our seats in the stands of his team's horseshoe shaped stadium.

I remember warm autumn days, rainy cold days, bitingly freezing days, in our stadium seats, on occasion our legs covered with blankets, sipping hot steaming coffee from a thermos, watching his team in their red and white colored uniforms, invariably winning the game. The game play lacked the excitement of a football passing game with the ball sailing through the air, subject to interception, or sudden excitingly long gains, but the famous coach had devised a game plan which insured most games would be won by keeping the ball on the ground -- "10 yards and a cloud of dust" was often how these games were described. There could be excitement when a runner broke through the line or ran the ball back from kick-off the full length of the field for a touchdown.

There was one team in particular that was considered a primary rival for the champion spot in their league. This rival team or our own could have a perfect winning record, but when they played the other, there would often be an upset with the opposite team unexpectedly winning the game. In recent years, my husband's team has come close but didn't finish first in their league.

My husband derived great pleasure from armchair coaching, analyzing the team's performance potential, expressing his opinion as to their weaknesses, their strengths, as he saw them. He was a former football player himself in high school, one who received recognition and might well have had a chance for a scholarship to play on his University team's roster had not two events occurred upon his graduation from high school. The first, was the adverse effect on university football programs due to WW II, the other was the unexpected diagnosis he had a medical problem which placed him in a hospital for two years, thus altering his future life plans.

Years later after we wed, we moved to the west, then on to the west coast, my husband was often frustrated that TV coverage of his beloved team was frequently not provided in the west. Even the newspaper sports columns failed to provide much more than the most meager coverage, he complained. When the team had a game that actually was broadcast locally, this became quite an event to which he looked forward, especially in his last years.

When we were newly wed attending sports events, or watching an occasional game on TV was fun, but over the years, the abundance of sports on TV to which I was subjected, had begun to become an annoyance. Sure, I had enjoyed my high school and college sports teams, but having moved to various other states I quite lost track of them.

Generally, as the years passed by, I was frequently busy with other activities and might only take a few minutes to catch a special play, or for a quick update on the score, since I had long since had my fill of sports, whatever the sport, team, league, whether college or professional. I kept up enough to be able to participate intelligently, humorously and challengingly in the conversation when he felt the need to provide his analysis of various plays or games. He delighted in making his assessments and predictions for individual team members, each of his team's games, their whole season, their coaches and did not hesitate to point out what he viewed as their shortcomings.

In the past six months since his death, I have come to realize that I am quickly becoming sports illiterate, as I become aware how much information I absorbed from him that I took in passing, but now no longer receive. Most of all this year, I have become aware that his favorite team has had the kind of football season he dreamed about for so many years. His team is ranked No. 1 in our country. They are undefeated for the season. Later today his team will take the field in the enlarged fabled horseshoe shaped stadium where they play their games.

They will play the second place ranked team, their arch rival. Just yesterday their arch rival team experienced a loss when one of their former winning coaches died. I'm sure the players and the fans of that team while saddened at the loss,(and I offer my sympathy,) may well feel highly motivated to pay tribute to one of their own and what better way than to win the game against my husband's team. This football team rivalry has actually filtered down into our own family, but in a loving and friendly competitive way. Our son's wife owes her allegiance to her alma mater, the rival team from the state where they reside even now.

I don't know if this is connected to thoughts about this game, or why this is happening, but the past couple of days, I seem to be experiencing what I might generously refer to as "the blaghs." Only during the duration of my work and interaction with those I serve do I seem to be taken from that "blagh" place. Also, for some reason, the past day or so, I have found my emotions to be delicate. For no reason I can perceive, tears have suddenly welled up into my eyes a couple of times or so.

I have found myself thinking of this upcoming game the past few weeks, wondering if my husband's team would remain undefeated, and they have. I think the game later today is going to be carried on local television in So. Cal. I find myself thinking that I so wish my husband was here to watch it. I know our children will be watching as they, too, have felt a special interest in watching the progress of their Dad's team this season.

I think I'll order the pizza we might have ordered. I even think I will sit down and watch the whole game, as No. 1 ranked in the country Ohio State University plays No. 2 ranked University of Michigan once more in this arch football rivalry. Now if only the TV coverage would cut all the talking head analysis at half-time and show the Ohio State Marching Band with their famed Script Ohio formation.

This is a really big game today! Yes, a part of me hopes Ohio State will win -- just for my husband.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I had long red curls as a small child. Then, my mother learned how to french braid hair, so for a number of years as I grew older, I had braids that ultimately grew to a length more than half-way down my back. From that point on in my life, my hair has been of various lengths, with various degrees of waves or curls. For some years, I've had short hair which is what I most prefer now, a style I will likely keep for the rest of my days.

As a young child, teenager, young adult, I was never subjected to derogatory words or name calling because of my red hair, though I've heard some redheads have had that experience. My mother did prepare me with awareness and skills as best she could to deflect whatever words might come my way, in the eventuality any did. I expect many parents for many reasons quite different from mine have found it necessary to arm their children with the skills to cope with possible, hurtful and demeaning, or worse, comments. What's most troubling is that some of those comments are actually made. I was the recipient of some teasing but never in a malicious manner intended to hurt or offend.

I do recall in college coming out of the dining hall one evening to walk past the gaunlet of boys sitting on the curb across from the door assessing the girls, when one said, "I'd rather be dead than red on the head." I knew he just wanted attention, but I was too tired, just getting off work with lots of studies ahead, to indulge him.

The "red" in "Joared" refers to the fact that I am a redhead. Well, at least I was, until the silver threads started creeping in amongst the golden red hairs. Furthermore, the silver threads are proliferating. The invasion continues and is insidious. Seems as though it happens at night, because when I look in the mirror in the mornings the silver threads are there, increasing in number before my very eyes. I give serious thought to staying up all night thinking this might prevent the onslaught, but the need for sleep gets the better of me. Yes, I miss each one of those red hairs. You see, I don't just like my red hair, I really like my red hair.

Most recently I am noticing the silver threads in my hair have begun to predominate in number. What that means is, many fewer golden red hairs are present with some of them darkening, too, then turning to silver. No longer do I say, " I have silver threads among the gold." Now I more accurately say, "There are golden threads among the silver."

Yes, I gave some consideration to trying to recreate the red hair color through artificial means--hair dyes. I know others, men and women, make this choice and I respect their right to do so. However, I have seen those who have become incapacitated also become distressed, demoralized, and depressed when they viewed their reflection in a mirror. Their self-image was visually shaken because of their personal appearance, not only from the effects of their illness, but the sight of their hair dye disappearing as their unwanted natural hair color emerged.

For me, personally, healthy or ill, I don't want to be thinking about whether or not my "roots" are showing, when I must go again for a touch-up, or a full hair dye job. My hair grows very fast and thick, though it recently may be thinning a bit, so would require frequent care. I don't want to spend the additional time, or dollars, required to dye it in the first place, much less to have to constantly keep it up. Another appointment I don't have to make, keep, and work into my schedule. Just one more responsibility I can welcome not having.

Those are some of the several factors that have kept me from trying to recreate the original shade of my red hair color. The primary factor is that I strongly believe in aging naturally. I'm curious to see what happens during the aging process from beginning to end, and in between, with all the possible variations in hair color, skin, body shape, whatever else. That's not to say I'll like all the changes, but I will accept them, for they are me at any given point in time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Old Business Wrap-Up: In this blogs beginning Seduction series, I referred to myself and others who read blogs but did not comment, as being called "lurkers" in the blogosphere. I want to highlight the following suggestion.

HoverersClaude at "Blogging In Paris" mentioned in a comment that hoverer might be preferable to the lurker term. Chancy at "Driftwood Inspiration" also commented there was a need for a different term than lurker.

I wholeheartedly agree since I believe the language we use is so important as are the nuances in word meanings. I, for one, will be thinking, writing, talking “hoverer” from now on, whenever I have occasion to reference those welcome readers to my blog who are simply exploring the blogosphere as was I only less than a year ago.

Joared – How do you pronounce that?

I learned at PhoneCon ("Time Goes By") that my web name was being said in some really funny strange sounding ways, at least to my ear. We had a few laughs about that. Would love to have had a recording of all the pronunciations. I had no idea others were so perplexed about how to pronounce my name. Some thought my name must have derived from a “Star Trek” character, or I was a real one. Others, I think, privately thought I just couldn’t spell, but they were too kind to say so. How is Joared pronounced?

Let me explain, that in that sudden instant when I decided I wanted to make my first blog comment, I realized I had to put a name there. I didn’t want to be Anonymous – somebody else was using that name. (I know, that’s a bad joke.) As soon as I put my mind to it, I had this sudden burst of creativity, from which a name emerged that seemed quite simple to me, in more ways than one, but it was the best I could do.

I hesitate to release the secret of my web-name-producing “combining system,” but it’s hardly unique to me. Either I release this secret information or I continue to be subjected to name mispronunciations on the next PhoneCon. The process seemed quite simple to me when I put the syllables and words together. Here’s how I did it: Jo a red. I could have used hyphens as was later suggested by another blogger favorite, Cop Car,(blog the same name,) but I didn’t think of that. Besides, I wanted to keep it really short, so I didn’t have to type a lot, plus bloggers and readers welcome a challenge, don’t they? Hyphens would have made it too easy.

Aging Names

What's in a name, is an important question when aging is discussed. The language that's used to describe older people and the nuances in the meanings of the words used are important to our lives. The perceptions of others can be shaped by those words.

One of the tools I was taught as a child with which to cope with those who might choose to harrass me, for one reason or another, was "sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never harm you." That saying probably did stand me in good stead,and may have kept me from acting out physically against those prone to feeding their own inadequacies by calling others names. I have to say, though, names can harm. They also can leave an invisible scar that can last a lifetime.

Names, words that are used to characterize others of any age should be adopted with great care and consideration so as to not infer discreditation of another as a human being. Attitudes toward others are often partially, at the very least, shaped by the words used. Throughout history various groups have been maligned and marginalized with the use of words. Aging people as a group have not been immune.

I feel a personal responsibility to sharpen my senses, attune myself to the nuances of words, to carefully listen to what others say, to be aware when I encounter demeaning words about any group, including aged and older people. I also believe, whenever possible, making others aware of the significance of what they are saying, will gradually serve over time to increase the possibility a more positive view of older Americans will prevail. I would like to believe others are engaged in the same process to bring about change in attitudes in all areas of our culture.

Monday, November 13, 2006


We've lost a newsman at age 65, due to leukemia, whose personal style of delivery I have appreciated for the past twenty-six years at CBS-TV on "60 Minutes." I watched their special program which aired Sunday night in which I saw short audio and/or video clips from his stories. Some took him into the war zone of Vietnam, other stories into death, dying, and starvation in an African country, whose leader, even denying there was a problem, stood by and did nothing to help his countries people, as did the world. There were interviews of tribute from his longtime producer, often an unrecognized but vital person in the production team.

Some video clips were heartbreaking, others poignant, and some joyous. There were memorable interviews with various individuals over the years -- some figures known to us all, others met through him. One memorable interview was with an all time favorite of mine, Lena Horne.

Ed Bradley loved music, as do I. Jimmy Buffett, a personal friend of Ed's, related a humorous story about how Ed couldn't really sing very well, knew it, but loved to do sing whenever Jimmy would invite him to join the band. They clearly were having great fun in the clips that were shown. At one point they played a clip in which Ed had said "Music is my bliss."

Ed Bradley had a special love for jazz, as I do, too, so it comes as no surprise he would, many years ago, include in his musical friendships, a young teenager, Wynton Marsalis, from a New Orleans musical family. I was particularly interested in what Wynton Marsalis had to say. He shared personal stories about his friend, Ed. He also said he and Ed had discussed some issues associated with death and funerals. Ed had reportedly told him he didn't want his funeral to be just a solemn occasion, that what Ed described was music typical of a New Orleans jazz funeral parade in the city.

Wynton Marsalis said " Ed had soul ...They say soul is the ability to make others feel good despite their condition..."

Then, Marsalis played trumpet solo tributes to Ed Bradley, first "Just A Closer Walk With Thee." Then that lively tune, "Down By The Riverside."

This world could use a little more soul.

Thank you, Ed Bradley.


Saturday, November 11, 2006


This day never goes by but what I don't think about all the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces just in my lifetime. Thank you to our veterans!

Actually, as with many families in this country, I can trace military service to a relative who fought for the United States in the Revolutionary War. An additional family story is that four ancestral brothers who had immigrated from England became estranged over the revolutionary issues with two fighting for the Union and two for England. Those latter two brothers fled to Canada when their cause was lost.

I've never undertaken a serious genealogy research, so don't know what wars, including that Civil one, in which other relatives might have served. I do know my father and uncle served in World War I; returned alive though my uncle ultimately died partially from the effects of respiratory problems acquired from exposure to gaseous substances.

More imbedded in my memory are the stories of relatives who served in World War II. Of special remembrance to me are the male and female who were in the Navy, others who attended local USO events designed to entertain the service men and women who were often far from home, sometimes bringing them into their own homes for family visits.

This Veterans Day, which internationally is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day some places, falls on November 11 (or nearest weekday.) The day refers to the end of World War I which occurred in 1918 formally ending at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The change to the name Veterans Day in the United States came about when in 1953 Emporia, Kansas citizens observed a Veterans Day in lieu of Armistice Day. Subsequently, legislation was introduced in the United States House of Representatives for this official name change to Veterans Day. Then undertaken was a letter-writing campaign directed toward gaining support of state governors for this holidays' observance and name change. All veterans who served would be honored as this name change to Veterans Day was enacted June 1, 1954. (

I think it is important to note that the evolution of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in the United States came about because a group of citizens in the heartland of this country were determined to bring about meaningful change. I have heard from time to time over the years individuals excuse their responsibility for not actively participating in our govenment by voting in our elections because "My vote doesn't count," or, "It doesn't matter whether or not I vote, as it won't make a difference."

U.S. history is replete with many instances which prove individuals votes and actions do make a difference. Over the years I have been aware of many such occurrences and stories. I only wish that I had written down the details about them to repeat here, along with supporting documentation as to the results of their actions and/or votes. But I can start here, pointing to the establishment of our Veterans Day recognition as an instance when citizens actions manifested themselves in a desired outcome of benefit to all our citizens.

Earlier this week our midterm election results clearly conveyed voters desire for change which may well have occurred partially because more individuals exercised their vote. Our veterans who put their lives at risk, and those we honor on Memorial Day who died, gave of themselves so the rest of us could continue to enjoy freedoms unlike those enjoyed in any other country in the world.

On this day when we honor our veterans, I hope we also make a promise to ourselves that if we've not yet registered to vote, we will do so; that we will vote in every future election. Seems to me that is the very least of our responsibilites to our country. If that is not enough incentive then, at the very least, we should do so in honor of our veterans -- not a small, but an important act, when we consider our Veterans willingness to lay their lives on the line so that each of us can exercise our voting priviledge.

Thank you, again, to our veterans!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


My earlier post about "Old Things" elicited some interesting reponses. Claude, at "Blogging In Paris" even wrote a piece at her place on the topic. Her blog also has some ever-changing fascinating pictures which have been attracting me for some time. (No, I still don't have my links set so you can click within this piece to go directly to her blog, but you will find a link on my right sidebar.)

I think I've learned what I need to do to address my reluctance to part with "old things." Claude has provided one approach to the problem. BTW I sometimes, too, digress, which she noted she had done when writing the piece on her blog, so let me say, I share her lack of attachment to places. Now back to the topic at hand.

Cop Car at her blog of the same name, provided me a very practical solution for determing the disposition of items. I've chosen to interpret and mold what she said as sorta telling me what I could do with them. ;-) Of note, is her observation that "everything kept is sentimental." Ay, and therein lies the rub for me.

Chancy from "Driftwood Inspiration" added her comment describing a mixture of involuntary and voluntary experiences plus changes in her life which resulted in the downsizing of possessions. I was saddened to hear of some of her experience.

Others who admitted similar-to-mine accumulation issues, provided reassurance that I was not alone with my dilemna. Perhaps we should form a club, but I'm hoping to not belong to it for too long.

What I have learned from all this, is that I have a number of choices. I could put the items in storage. As it is, I already have some packed in boxes in the garage. That is, at best a temporary solution for eventually, I'll need to remove them from the garage. I could have a garage sale -- for the items -- not the garage (I know, that's another old bad joke.)

Certainly I could simply donate the items to one of many groups who regularly provide pick ups in our area. Another solution would be voluntarily or involuntarily down-sizing my living quarters -- you know, move to a smaller place. I don't really want to do that yet, and maybe never, if I can manage to stay in my home.

Then, there's the suggestion to which I should probably give really serious consideration, not only for possessions I have now, but those I might obtain in the future. This is what I really derived from what Cop Car wrote: If you can't use it, lose it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


As I write this, election day news reports say the American people are sending a message by their votes that we want some fundamental changes in the governing policies of our nation.

I believe part of the message to our government officials is: you work for us, we expect you to listen to our concerns, we expect you to address the problems that are important to us, we expect you to explore solutions to those problems, then we expect you to take meaningful action that is in our best interest. I would like to believe the additional message being sent is that we want our governing officials to honor our Bill of Rights, to stay out of our personal lives.

I find the reported increased number of voters of significant interest. Just this afternoon in a nearby college town business, I noticed a young woman with the appearance of being from a country other than the U.S. This generously tattooed probable co-ed, who I later encountered at a store counter as we were each writing a check, asked me in quite clear and precise English for the current date. I responded, "Nov. 7 - Election Day -- I hope you voted." She responded sincerely that she wanted to vote, but realized too late that she hadn't registered before the required deadline.

I commiserated with the disappointment she went on to express further, and urged her to register at her earliest convenience, while the thought was fresh on her mind. As incentive to do so, I said, given your interest in today's election, I feel confident you will want to vote in two more years when there will be another important election, this time for President of the United States.

My faith is being restored that the majority of the people of this country do take seriously that the responsibility for the right to live in our democracy/republic is to be informed and to vote. I hope in succeeding elections even more voters participate.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


W E C A N V O T E !

How Many People the world over

have in the past and would be willing today

to die for that priviledge?


Just A Reminder -- this is that Tuesday

when we citizens have the opportunity

to express our views

on the candidates and issues

where we each live.

If you haven't yet voted,

I hope you do so

before your polls close tonight.


For any who can't vote today

because they didn't register,

I hope you'll register at

your earliest convenience,

so you'll be ready to vote

in the next election.




Monday, November 06, 2006


A recent weekend began with an ambivalent experience. It’s about that windup alarm clock I use, despite the fact it has failed to perform its duty on other occasions. Though no harm was done at those times, I persist in using the old clock. That Saturday morning was different. I awoke much earlier than the needed wake-up time. I should just have gotten up then, but I didn't, instead falling back asleep. Unfortunately, later, the old windup alarm clock did not go off. When I reawakened, I realized I had twenty minutes to get where I needed to be. All I had to do was my personal care, dress, make at least a forty minutes drive. I'm pretty good with math, so it didn't take me too long to figure out that if the start time for the seminar I had planned to attend was in twenty minutes, then add time for my personal care plus dressing time and driving time and I just, possibly, might exceed that limit. I hadn't pre-registered, so I stood to lose no money. I did the next best logical thing to do, which was that I decided to just roll over in bed and go back to sleep.

Later, after finally arising, I started thinking about the need to let go of that old windup alarm and use any one of several digital type devices in my bedroom and around the house with wake-up alarms, all just waiting for adoption. Maybe it's just me, but despite my welcome and enthusiastic interest in new technology, especially electronic gadgets, I find myself clinging to some practically antiquated items. I wonder why I haven't long since replaced their usage with the new stuff, or disposed of them. Not only does that apply to various technological items, but in other areas, too.

I've got a couple of old, but not old enough to be valued as antiques, radios with dials. Dials are not too common in this age of push buttons -- you know, those little round knobs you grasp in your fingers and can actually slowly turn from one frequency to another in order to fine tune the radio station you’re trying to bring in at just the right spot through all that static? They’re in nice-looking wood cabinets, but they just don’t work quite right anymore as the sound either blares or fades from hearing, unless you want to permanently press your ear against the speaker. Obviously, that's much too dangerous for your hearing, should the sound suddenly blare. I keep remembering how good the sound quality was, and I am sure somebody, somewhere, would know how to tweak them back to prime operating state, so why part with them?

I remember my uncle had a little room at the back of their house where he delighted in tinkering with radios that everyone in his neighborhood and surrounding areas brought to him to fix, as news of his technological prowess spread. Why, on a special radio he had, he used to even tune into radio stations in countries outside of the U.S. If he were still living, he would have my radios humming perfectly for me in no time, I'm sure. On second thought, maybe not, 'cause radios then had tubes inside them, and my Sony radios probably have transistors. What happened to transistors? Now we have digital. What's next?

Now I know I have some kitchen small appliances with which I need to part, but I just can't quite bring myself to do so. Back in the day -- right after I married -- I became aware my husband had been used to a lot of good ‘ol southern cookin’ which included a lot of deep fried foods. I always longed for one of those stand alone units you could use independent of your stove's burners. Just plug that fryer right into the wall socket, and you're in business. But they weren’t cheap, at least relative to the limited budget we had as newlyweds. Well, at some point, in later years, I finally was able to get one. It may have been at a garage sale, but I can’t remember now since it was quite some time ago.

Unfortunately, by that time several things had occurred. My children had long since
grown and left home. Also, many years earlier I had adopted what later came to be accepted good health practices of avoiding deep fried foods. So, what was I thinking when I bought this cooker? Yet, I look at it and think how much I had wanted one, then finally got it, cheap, but never used it, so now, I'm going to discard this long-desired item? Should I want one in the future, I'd never be able to justify in my mind buying a new one for likely one time use. Why on earth don't I just get rid of this cooker?

I also have knick knack items, in all sorts of shapes, sizes, composition, many of which belonged to my mother, which I brought en masse into my home after she died. I have no place for them. I have no use for them. I have her good dishes that I've never ever used. They’re nice but not collector items. I even have a few vases with artificial, and one of dried flowers, she had. Let's just say the flowers are not exactly looking in their prime. They aren't displayed in such a manner that others would pay them much mind, but if they did notice them, they would likely think other than good thoughts about my taste. But, I see them as I type this, am reminded of her, and so I keep them around.

At times I've thought, I'd just like to lift the roof off this house, pick up the house, and turn it upside down, dumping all the contents in a pile, then set the house back down and simply start over putting only the barest minimum in each room. I am not sure what I would do with the pile outside, because there might be something there I’d want to keep.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


This is the most recent story to come to the forefont, relative to the activities of my children when they were teenagers, living at home. I am absolutely amazed sometimes when I hear what was going on right under my nose, and I never knew.

The story to which I was treated has to do with spiders. It seems my daughter had quite an aversion to them, and despite our best efforts, a variety of spiders in various shapes, appeared from time to time in the bathroom she shared with her younger brother. The spiders came in small to large sizes, with thick furry to filament thin legs, some short, some long, some even with very, very long appendages.

It seems on those occasions of their appearance, never more than one at a time, when she would be up early, go into the bathroom, and find one of the creatures in the corner of her shower, she was thwarted from performing any additional personal care until the spider was made aware he/she did not belong there.

Now, there was no way my daughter was going to explain the situation to the spider. Her solution, she reported, was to awaken her brother to come to the rescue. According to her, he grumbled, groused, and groaned, but dutifully crawled out of bed in his sleep sweats, had the necessary interaction with the spider, which ultimately vacated its spot in the corner of the shower, either willingly, or unwillingly. I prefer not to think about the disposition of the unwilling.

As to where they came from, why they kept coming periodically, I can only speculate about an explanation. I think, there must have been some sort of spider communication network. I'm sure the word spread among the arachnoids about the interesting experience they would have if they could somehow manage to get into our house, but more specifically into that one particular bathroom. I rather imagine the event was billed as an extreme sport, only for spiders. One of those real-life once-in-a-lifetime exciting, dangerous, risky-to-the-point of being life-threatening, experiences that could change your life forever. What self-respecting spider would pass up an opportunity like that? None of which I know. Well, come to think of it, I don't really know too many.

I can just picture those spiders lined up outside, wherever that spot was that they managed to come through into the house. I wonder if an entrepreneur spider sold admission tickets, if you could buy them in advance, make reservations, receive all the perks that make any special event an attraction? Did this event have equal appeal to both males and females, or was this just a macho-type activity? I think it's unlikely that I will ever have the answers to those questions.

I do have one answer though. After his sister, who had to leave for work at a really early A.M. hour, had left the house, I think it was those spider mornings when my son did not easily "rise and shine," as the saying goes. On those mornings he would hardly open his eyes, instead clinging to his bed as though he could not bear to be parted from it, all the while protesting about his need for sleep.