Hurray!  I finally made it to the seashore!  Leigh, her boyfriend, Eric, and I spent Tuesday night and most of Wednesday afternoon in Seaside Heights, NJ.  Wednesday morning, I went for a walk around 7:00 a.m. in search of coffee.  I found a deli about a block from our motel.  Speaking of the motel, which was only a few steps from the boardwalk, this was the view from my window.  Sweet.

Anyway, while I was waiting at the counter, a woman walked over to pay for her breakfast sandwich.  I looked up and was stunned and overjoyed to see that it was LA!   After much squealing and hugging, LA channeled Humphrey Bogart and said, “Of all the delis in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Heh!  We ended up spending the day together on the beach with our combined clans, and had an absolutely wonderful time.  I knew that LA was in Seaside Heights this week with Mick and Wolf, and did hope that we would be able to get together.  Before LA left for the Jersey shore, she made the comment that it would be funny if the first time we managed to see each other in so long would be when we were both 100 miles from home.  Well, that’s exactly what happened, but I never expected to bump into her at a deli first thing in the morning.  Talk about a serendipitous experience! When LA told Mick about our chance encounter, he remarked that he would have been more surprised if it had happened to any other people.  But, with the two of us, he’s come to expect wild and wonderful things.

One of those wonderful things happened when LA and I were standing at the edge of the water.  Mick came down and wrapped his arms around LA.  Seconds later, Wolf walked over and put his arms around me.  My heart melted into a puddle that mingled with the surf foam and was drawn out to sea by the receding waves.

I am reminded of the John Lennon song, “Beautiful Boy” every time I see Wolf.  He really is remarkable in a lot of ways, just like his mother.  Thanks for a perfectly delightful day, LA & Co!


Today marks yet another birthday…  I am now FIFTY-FREAKING-FIVE YEARS OLD.  I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is for me to believe that.  Lucky for me, it seems to be difficult for others to believe, as well.

During the last week of summer school, a student was talking to two of her friends about “cougars.”  She turned to me and asked if I was familiar with the term.  I replied, “Well, yes, I guess I am, considering that I’m married to a much younger man.”  They asked how old I am, and the look on their faces when I told them was priceless.  One exclaimed, “No you’re not!”  Another demanded that I produce my birth certificate.  The third further endeared herself to me by remarking that I look like I’m in my thirties.  Now I know that’s not true (see entry title), but it felt good to hear it, nonetheless.

Here’s this year’s birthday photo.   (My hair is a lot shorter than I’m accustomed to wearing it, but, believe it or not, this is three month’s growth after a particularly devastating haircut.)


My blog (I still have a hard time using that word) had a birthday recently, too.  I started an online journal (that’s what we called it back then) on August 21, 2001.   On September 23, 2001, I posted this entry about my reasons for creating an online journal:

Anatomy of a Diarist

Since my initiation into the Online Journal Club, I’ve been giving the genre a fair amount of thought.  Non-journalers tend to perceive the phenomenon as a “Dear Diary” sort of thing.  For all I know, some journalers approach it that way themselves.  But, that’s not how I see it. I feel more like a reporter whose subject just happens to be (for the most part) my life.  Of course, I don’t “report” in a New York Times fashion.  I don’t have that kind of training, and I don’t take myself that seriously.  I try to inject a little humor into my entries, and maybe even the occasional stab at pathos.  To me, this process is more akin to journalism or writing essays than it is to keeping a diary.  While I will discuss personal matters, it is not necessarily my intention to bare my soul.  Some things are just too private.

My reasons for writing are varied.  For one thing, I find that I don’t express myself as well vocally, having a tendency to get tongue-tied.  I like to consider what I’m going to say before blurting it out, and verbal conversations don’t afford me enough time to do that.  Writing gives me the opportunity to make more in-depth observations.  Often, writing will lead me to a better understanding of myself, and even an occasional revelation.  (R-E-F-L-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!)

Before taking the online journal plunge, I indulged the frustrated writer lurking within on a fairly regular basis in the form of letter writing.  Email is a vehicle I use on a daily basis.  I also used to exchange lengthy “snail mail” missives (25 pages and upward) with a friend in Pennsylvania. (Hi, Karen!)  Our correspondences were written in installments, and mailed at intervals of approximately every six months.  We included lots of photos, and found this a very satisfying way to stay in touch.

My writing method varies.  Sometimes my mood is light and casual; at others, it is bruised and introspective.   My entries are typically full of whining, joking, and boasting (usually about my kids).  During my darker moments, I find that writing about my feelings (and what causes them) really can be therapeutic.  This catharsis doesn’t exactly purge me of all negativity, but it does help to lessen my load considerably.  Sharing my triumphs and/or failures with an audience through an online journal lightens my burden even more.  Also, I recently read that writing lowers stress-related chemicals in the body, which is another good reason to allow myself this indulgence!

In closing, I’d like to share something Daniel told me quite some time ago, in reference to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of A Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch, and the staggering Gulag Archipelago.

“When Solzhenitsyn was writing in secret in Russia, paper was such a luxury to him.  Where we in the West have the freedom to scrawl haphazardly across a seemingly endless supply of paper, Solzhenitsyn literally could not waste a square inch of paper.  Every blank space had to be filled with his brilliance before he dared move on to another piece lest he run out of pages, and not transmit his profound thoughts to a world in desperate need of them.”

How humbling. Certainly, the world is not in desperate need of MY thoughts, so I am especially appreciative of those taking the time to read this.


Re-reading that entry makes me realize how much I used to depend on this form of release to manage stress.  It also makes me realize how much lighter my stress load is these days.  Oh sure, I still have chronic pain and financial burdens to deal with.  But there’s not nearly as much angst in my life as there was before.  After years of turbulence and heartache, I now have wonderful relationships with my daughters.   I am married to a kind, loving, supportive man who compliments me daily.  In short, I don’t have as much to get off my chest as I did in the past, which I suppose is why I don’t post here very often any more.

Still, it’s good to know that this place is here if I need it as a dumping ground, or even if I just want to drop in to say hello or show you some pictures.  Thanks for sticking around.  My world wouldn’t be the same without you.

Reading:  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Song of the Day:  Celebration by Kool and the Gang

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I had an appointment with Dr. Spine Specialist yesterday to review the results of my latest MRI.  I already knew that I have a herniated disc in my lumbar spine.  What I didn’t know is that I have three of them.  I also have quite a bit of arthritis, as well as a fair amount of scar tissue in the area of the discectomy that was performed back in 2004.  All of these things contribute to my lower back pain.

Dr. Spine Specialist mentioned surgery as an option, and warned me that it will be a more complicated procedure this time because it will involve spinal fusion.  Umm, no thanks.    Not unless I absolutely can’t bear the pain any longer.

Before I left his office, Dr. Spine Specialist gave me an autographed copy of his book.   Thanks, doc.  See you again in five months.

I can’t believe summer “vacation” is almost over.  I use the word “vacation” loosely because I didn’t do any vacationing this year.  What a bummer.  I did get to the beach on Monday, but it was just the Long Island Sound at Hammonasset State Park in Connecticut.  It was brutally hot, and, when I tried to go in the water to cool off, I had to turn back because the bottom was so rocky I was afraid I would lose my footing.  So, I sat there in the sweltering heat for four hours, and ended up with a sunburn, despite wearing a large straw hat and heavy applications of sunblock.   I’m really hoping to get to the ocean before I go back to work, but I’m not feeling very optimistic about that happening.

At least my daughter, Rebecca, got to go away on vacation.  She and her boyfriend just got back from a wonderfully adventurous trip to Mexico.

They snorkeled on the reef and in a cenote, saw the ruins of Tulum, and went zip lining and rappelling.

While I am truly happy for Becca, I also have to admit that I am green with envy.  Sigh.

Song of the Day:  It’s Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog

Suspended Animation

August 18, 2009

This morning, it was brought to my attention (thanks, LA!) that my blog was not accessible.  When I went to check it out, I got this message:  “This blog has been archived or suspended for violation of our Terms of Service.”  Umm, okayyyy…

I emailed WordPress support to find out what was going on, and received this response:

“I am really sorry for that happening – I cannot see why yet but I can assure you it will not happen again.  The blog is back just as you left it and I very much apologize for the trouble we caused you.”

Geez, I wonder what that was all about…

In other news, I finally have a couple of ripe tomatoes.


Those beauties have been cut up, sprinkled with salt and garlic powder, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with sliced onions, as well as some basil, also from my garden.  I only wish I had some fresh mozzarella…

Even though the tomato plants are taking their sweet time producing ripe tomatoes, they have grown like gangbusters.  The tallest is the cherry tomato plant, which almost reaches one of the kitchen windows.

Sunflowers are something new for me.  Next year, I’d like to try my hand at growing the really big ones.

This morning glory is taking over one side of my porch.  The flowers are a gorgeous dark purple, but I never remember to go out with my camera until after the flowers have closed up.


This fern is noteworthy because it has doubled in size since I got it at the end of June.  It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to it when the time comes.  In the past, I’ve tried bringing ferns inside for the winter, but they’re too messy.  Too bad they couldn’t be put into suspended animation…

Song of the Day: Suspended Animation by Pestilence

Reading:  East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

A few years ago, a co-worker/friend was involved in a terrible car accident.   The car in which she was a passenger was hit head on by a drunk driver.

Felicia suffered severe head injuries, and was in a coma for 8 months.  Against all odds, she came out of the coma, but she will never be the same.

Felicia has three children, ages 9, 13, and 16.  They are currently on America’s Got Talent.   This clip isn’t the best quality, but it is incredibly moving.  I’ve been sitting here watching and crying (along with Sharon Osborne) for half an hour.

God bless you and your family, Felicia.

In other news, Daniel will become a U.S. citizen today.  When he went for his citizenship test in NYC a few weeks ago, he told the examiner, “After marrying my wife, this will be the greatest honor of my life.”

Congratulations, Daniel!  (I’ve been calling him Mr. America.)

Song of the Day: America the Beautiful