Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hollering Uncle

For those of you who missed me, I’m back at the computer…kind of.

I have been dealing with ever increasing arthritis problems, and when my knees got my body so out of whack that I could no longer bear sitting at my computer, I gave up. I’ve scheduled knee surgery for next Wednesday. I’ll have at least one brand new knee for Christmas.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve tried every known means of avoiding this surgery, including multiple medications, arthroscopy, horrid injections of varying kinds, physical therapy and even massage therapy. It just ain’t gonna work this time.

I’m spending a lot of time flat on my back or standing up really, really straight until then. I’m still able to function in the kitchen, which by accident or design, works really well for someone who has limited mobility. I’m storing away duplicates of our meals enough to carry us for a while, and friends have been really generous in their support. Big Walker is catching up on the intricacies of getting a hot meal on the table all at the same time, and he is finally accepting the fact that the dish fairy really isn’t going to come. We’ve actually settled into a routine that pretty much works for us most of the time.

After getting over the initial shock of coming home from work to find Mom on crutches, Little Walker has accepted the new normal state of things with his usual equanimity. I’ve worked to convince him that medical equipment doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to die any time soon, and he’s going on about his business, just like he always does. It helps that he has great support people working with him.

I’ve talked to numerous people about their surgeries, and other than one friend saying that she still can’t get into her bathtub after a year and a half (a huge quality of life thing for me!), I’m convinced that in a few weeks, I won’t feel any worse than I do right now, and possibly will be much better. This time next year, I may even take up ice skating…Nah, couldn’t even do that when I had my original, good knees.

I’ll write when I feel like it, but it may be erratic in frequency and quality. If you’re in the habit of just checking to see if I’ve posted anything new, you might want to subscribe to this site and you’ll automatically be notified.

I’ve been so gratified by the interest in my musings…almost 5,000 viewers in just over 6 months…Wow! If I ever figure out a way to make money on this thing, I’ll be rich. Nah, I’m already rich in the things that count.

I hope you’ll keep reading. I hope I’ll have something useful to say. I am so thankful for the privilege of sharing my random thoughts about our life with those out there in the world.


Thursday, October 23, 2008


To those who have had to deal with reading my blog with no paragraph breaks, I apologize. I was off the computer for a while, and when I came back, that's the way it was. I think I've fixed it now, if the goblins don't get it again! Janie

At the Polls

Well, I finally fell off the fence and decided to go vote today. This was not an easy decision, but it was made easier by my friend Robbie telling me that McCain was going to carry Tennessee anyway, so I didn’t need to feel too guilty whatever my decision might be.

Tennesse has early voting, and it was a rainy afternoon. Walker and I thought it would be fine, in spite of hearing the noon news predicting record early turnout. They were right and we were wrong, but seeing the long line of people so anxious to cast their ballots that they just couldn't take a chance on waiting till the last minute was enough to warm my heart.

Overheard while there:

“Lady, with that crutch you can go right to the front of the line.”

“That’s okay, I have my husband in line for me, I’ll just sit here until he gets close.”

"I'll sell you my spot in line for $20."

"Wait, you said $10 a few minutes ago."

"Yeah, and when I get to the front it'll be $100."

“Kin I go to the front of the line…Ah’m in a wheelchair?”

“Sure you can, it’s your right!”

“I don’t think it’s a right. When I have worked the polls, we always let them wait in a chair, but we didn’t let them go to the front of the line.”

“Of course they can go to the front of the line…It’s says so in The Constitution!”

(An interested bystander to one of the election officials) “Excuse me, but are handicapped people allowed to go the front of the line?”

“It’s up to them. If they ask, we let them break the line, but it's up to them. Some ask, some don't.”

“How long from this point?”

“An hour and ten minutes.”

And it was worth every minute of it!

I’ll probably still be fixated on hearing what the pundits on TV predict for a while, and I’ll smile big time when they turn out to be wrong. The State of Tennessee will probably go for McCain and there may be an attack on our way of living in the months following the election, but I’ve done what I could to insure that voter apathy won’t be the deciding factor.

I hope all of you do too.


Friday, October 17, 2008


I don’t have anything much to say today, but just when I decided not to post anything rather than say something stupid, a good friend sent me this. It’s beautiful.

I hope each of us finds joy today.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I read an article yesterday that proposes that all that money that we “lost” in the recent decline of the stock market wasn’t really real anyway.

Like many older people, we thought our money was “working” for us in retirement. It looked, at least on paper, like we could live comfortably to a ripe old age in pretty much the same style. It is a comfortable, but not particularly lavish, style. We drive our cars for a long time and many of our clothes come from discount stores. My husband is the consummate do it yourself guru. We are careful about most things. The occasional splurge on a vacation or home improvement is carefully considered and purchased at the lowest possible price. We didn't ever seem to be out of control, just comfortable.

Last week as we watched talking heads, whose intentions appear to inevitably be biased, giving reassurance or preaching financial Armageddon, we were in that dazed state that often follows the receipt of tragic news.

Then we started to figure out what steps we needed to take personally, just to deal with the immediate effects. (Not much, as it turns out.)

Then came the conclusion, perhaps erroneous, that it really wasn’t going to be too bad after all. (In psycobabble, this is called denial.)

Then came the anger at whoever got us into this mess. Who knows who it was, but I’ll bet we’re all angry at someone about it.

Does all this sound familiar? To anyone who has survived any kind of life event resulting in loss, it should.

The stages of adjustment seem to always be pretty much the same. We’re shocked, angry, in denial, sometimes all of those things at one time, and then we go on, using a mixed bag of tricks to cope.

Eventually we become resigned to do what we have to do and do it. When we reach the final stage of adjustment, we step away from ourselves and begin to want to give a hand to others.

Am I there yet? I don’t know, because adjusting to any loss is never a straight path. It kind of wanders around, back tracking now and then, going up some steep spots and sliding down some inclines. I do know that we all seem to be programmed to keep on going, hoping that the next turn in the road will give us a glimpse of the finish line. Each loss lends us experience to anticipate the next one and cope with it better. The illusion of being in control is tempered by reality.

I hope I eventually get good enough at dealing with loss that I can laugh at it and skip some of the less productive stages. I'm thankful that I understand the process.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Book Group and The Shack

This week I gathered with a group of really intelligent women ranging in age from mid-thirties to mid-eighties to discuss our book of the month, “The Shack” by William Paul Young. Cheryl, who led the group, began by stating that she really didn’t like the book at all, even though it had been her suggestion. Most of us agreed. Then she shared some of her on-line research about it, and some of us liked it a little better.

The bottom line for me about a book is whether I think it’s important enough to pass it on to someone else. I often buy multiple copies of a book I really love to give away, but I never know whether people really read the books I give them unless we end up discussing it when they finish. There are a few books I’ve read in the last few years that I think can make a difference in people’s lives. (I'll work on a list and post it next time.)

Was “The Shack” on of those important books? I’m not sure. Most of us wondered how in the world it ended up on the Best Seller List. In most of the group’s opinion it is very clumsily written and poorly edited. It didn’t seem that many of our group had any real beef with the theological aspects of it, but then we were all Episcopalians, and we have kind of loosey goosey views about theology anyway.

The primary redeeming factor in the book for most of us was that it made us think and talk, a very important characteristic for a book group book. I decided that there were a few important revelations in the book. Young voiced some ideas that some of us might have thought about, but not been able to put into words.

"The Shack" is pretty heavy handed with his “Ah Ha!” moments, some of which sounded like they were written by fifth graders. I did think that Young's explanation of the uncontrollable emotions that people often experience in the process of personal tragedy were well done though.

When we face any kind of a loss that seems to be intolerable and unfair, we can be, and often are, really angry with God. That is something that people of faith may have more trouble with than others. It’s really not nice to be angry with God, but we ARE! Young depicts God an all- knowing, all- forgiving character. He (or actually She in this book) is not surprised at our anger and grief because of His omniscience, and He forgives us because He is everything that is good.

I hope that some of you read “The Shack”. I think it can be helpful in life. I hope someone writes a better version of that book that I can recommend to all.



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Winner Is

Our cousin Margaret!

Although I didn't announce a contest, she sent a pic of these shoes, which are definitely uglier, although I wasn't able to confirm a price. They were voted a definite Style no-no by 62% in a poll. Maybe the whole world hasn't gone crazy, although I'd like to know what in the world the other 38% of people who voted were smoking!

I hope I get more smiles like this along the way. Thanks, Margaret

Monday, October 6, 2008

What's Valuable

As we sort through some of the things Grandaddy left behind and try to decide what to do with them, the economy around us has crashed. About the only thing we own that is intrinsically worth more today than it was last week is some silverware, and then only if it were melted down, something I would really hate to see happen. It’s hard to decide that things that belonged to your parents, perhaps even your parents and great-parents, or maybe even great, great, great, great-grandparents are no longer worth the effort it might take to sell them at a garage sale.

I knew things were crazy beginning about four years ago and decided that the time in my life for acquisitions was probably over. I replace the things that are essential, but my definition of essential is even in transition. Would I dare paying almost a thousand dollars for that really good looking jacket at my friend’s home-boutique? Nah. For a pair of really comfortable shoes or jeans? Well, I’d at least think about it.

Even Walker realizes that things are crazy when he sees how much of his paycheck it takes to buy things he’s become used to having. He’s reluctant to blow too much of his paycheck on a movie, so he almost never goes to see the same movie again as he once loved to do. He asked me last night to search on E-bay for something, but when he saw the prices, backed off.

Want to see how crazy things have gotten?

And those probably aren’t the most expensive ugly shoes out there.

Some of the things I treasure today are:
The smile on Owen’s face as I obeyed his orders to pull up the Barney songs on my computer
William’s poring over the Halloween costumes in the Sunday ads
Robert answering my silly e-mails
John rushing in to hug me
Becket enjoying our mini burgers and wanting more
Charlie sitting beside me in the sun wanting his ears scratched
My husband letting me know when he's running late
My friend Sally being back home

I hope we continue to have enough. I hope we can someday make sure that everyone has enough.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another Year Older

And, thankfully, not too much deeper in debt if I get my car sold before too long.

I spent the morning with Owen, my youngest grandson, namesake, and one who shares today as his birthday. We listened to some Barney and Caillou and kicked his new soccer ball and sang Happy and You Know It and Wheels on the Bus. We worked on holding up two fingers and totally confused him by Walker and his mommy not needing a Happy Birthday too.

I received some precious gifts from my friends and family, the gift of their time and thoughts being the most precious. Tonight I'll have a dinner I didn't cook or have to clean up after at Molly's house and share a birthday cake with Owen.

In a few minutes, I'll change my age on my bio and maybe edit it a bit so that it doesn't imply that I'm married to a forty two year old.

What a Wonderful World.