Monday, September 29, 2008

Thoughts for Tuesday

I think i will share some of my favorite authors and poets works on Tuesdays. 

Today it will be Walt Whitman, born May 31, 1819, printer, journalist, teacher, poet. 

Song at Sunset

Splendor of ended day floating and filling me,
Hour prophetic, hour resuming the past,
Inflating my throat, you divine average,
You earth and life till the last ray gleams I sing.

Open mouth of my soul uttering gladness,
Eyes of my soul seeing perfection,
Natural life of me faithfully praising things,
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

Illustrious every one!
Illustrious what we name space, sphere of unnumber'd spirits,
Illustrious the mystery of motion in all beings, even the tiniest insect,
Illustrious the attribute of speech, the senses, the body,
Illustrious the passing light--illustrious the pale reflection on
    the new moon in the western sky,
Illustrious whatever I see or hear or touch, to the last.

Good in all,
In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals,
In the annual return of the seasons,
In the hilarity of youth,
In the strength and flush of manhood,
In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,
In the superb vistas of death.

Wonderful to depart!
Wonderful to be here!
The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood!
To breathe the air, how delicious!
To speak--to walk--to seize something by the hand!
To prepare for sleep, for bed, to look on my rose-color'd flesh!
To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large!
To be this incredible God I am!
To have gone forth among other Gods, these men and women I love.

Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
How the water sports and sings! (surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up, with strong trunks, with branches
    and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the trees, some living soul.)

O amazement of things--even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical flowing through ages and continents, now reaching
    me and America!
I take your strong chords, intersperse them, and cheerfully pass
    them forward.

I too carol the sun, usher'd or at noon, or as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the
    growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

As I steam'd down the Mississippi,
As I wander'd over the prairies,
As I have lived, as I have look'd through my windows my eyes,
As I went forth in the morning, as I beheld the light breaking in the east,
As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach
    of the Western Sea,
As I roam'd the streets of inland Chicago, whatever streets I have roam'd,
Or cities or silent woods, or even amid the sights of war,
Wherever I have been I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things,
I say Nature continues, glory continues,
I praise with electric voice,
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe,
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.

Weekend wonders and woes

"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death" Leonardo Da Vinci

This weekend was a wonderful time, with some sadness thrown in the mix.

First the sad news, the passing of Paul Newman.  Now, this phenomenal actor was one of my favorite people ever.  His life was well spent, not only in the entertainment arena, but in his charitable contributions to kids with cancer. His Hole in the Wall camps around the world give kids with cancer a chance to attend camp, absolutely free of charge.  Paul Newman defied the Hollywood marriage trap and stayed faithfully married to his wife Joanne Woodward since 1958, I think. A true testament that marriage can work.  I have a long list of Paul Newman films that I love, but my two favorite are  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (favorite scene Brick with Big Daddy in the basement,  and of course the last scene, with Maggie the Cat, where he says with that look in those dazzingly blue eyes, " lock the door"  and you see the pillow tossed onto the bed)   and The Long Hot Summer in which he plays Ben Quick( I mean who doesn't love Faulkner and throw Newman in the mix and it sizzles).

Now the  wonder of the weekend.  The fighting Illini ice hockey team came out strong for two wins against the Michigan State Spartans.  Friday's win was close 2-1, with some great performances by returning players and the new freshman players.  Saturday night turned out to be pretty much a blow out  8-0.  Mike Burda played an amazing game at goal.  Saturday night, surprisingly gave us the first gloves off fight, 3 players ejected from the game, two injuries, with one Ilini player being taken off the ice.   What fun!

I also attended the Civil War re-enactment at Kennecuk Cove in Kickapoo state park.  It was amazing and I will save that for a later post.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hockey Night in Urbana

Tonight is the first game of the Illini Ice Hockey season  and I am ready! Friday and Saturday games against Michigan State University begin at 7:30pm.

After last year's amazing season, I am ready to see what this year's team can do.

Go Illini!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Am I dreaming or just crazy?

"Dreams are often most profound when they seem most crazy."  Sigmund Freud

Last night, or should I say very early this morning I had the strangest, craziest dream I have had for a long time.  I can remember most of the details this morning, now that I am awake, but a few minor details have slipped my mind.

I was at my doctor's office for a checkup,  but then she started to ask me about this person in the lobby and sent me to check on two men in the hospital.

Now one of the men seemed okay.  He was not too ill,  but the other man just lay in his bed with a strange vacant, almost haunting look in his eye. He looked very sad.

The woman in the lobby turned out to be my ex-husband's next wife.  We will just call her HW.
HW was in the middle of the lobby at a desk with a laptop computer, doling out birth control pills to anyone who wanted them.  I of course thought this was very strange,  what is an anthropologist doing handing our birth control?

She passed by me in the hall, next to the room with the two men.  HW turned to her cohort (s0meone that was assisting her)  and said "I will need that man in the bed, next, for testing."
Okay, I was in a panic,  I thought to myself,  there is no way you are getting this man,  I have been sent to protect him.   As I watched her walk away, I marveled at her choice of clothing.  HW was wearing some sort of linen looking light colored pants with a white designer backpack hanging over her butt.  Now I thought what a bad choice,  her butt looks enormous!

So I went back to my doctor's office and told her what I had heard.  She said, " That is not right, don't let her take him."   So I went back to the men's room, and the man who was not so ill tried to help me converse with the strangely haunting man to see if we could get him to respond so we could move him ( rather like Michael Corleone trying to get his dad,  the Don, moved into a another room, in this deserted  looking hospital, so the enemy couldn't kill him).

Then a nurse appeared out of nowhere, I could hear the voice of HW in the hall, I was holding the door  closed.  The nurse said, "She only wants him if he is autominor."  Now, I had no idea what that meant, but I was not going to let her in!  I said to the nurse,  "Find the number for the Department of Anthropology,  hurry,  we will get this straightened out."

I was ranting about how stupid this was, HW is not a medical doctor.   Then someone told me, "Oh didn't you  know,  she is an RN now."

I was flabbergasted,  then the sound of NPR morning edition woke me up !

Not sure I ever want to know what this dream means!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Road Trip (or 2 1/2 bottles of wine in the room)

"If you drink, don't drive.  Don't even putt."  Dean Martin

Last Friday three ladies set forth from Champaign on a road trip.  K, W, and I drove down to the Collinsville / Edwardsville  area of Illinois to attend the IAS Conference at Cahokia Mounds and SIUE.

Now I had been looking forward to this road trip.  K provided us with wonderful travel necessities (Twizzlers, Pringles, tissues, gum, breath mints and other assorted goodies). W provided the automobile and I was the designated driver (secretly I like to drive on road trips).

We arrived at Cahokia Mounds State Park around 3:00pm(we took a short shopping trip in Decatur to look for a special dress and some killer shoes for W who will soon be the mother of the bride! and it was quite fun, I must say).   We wandered around the Interpretive Center marveling at the exhibts, then we shopped in the museum store.  I purchased a pair of small silver and turquoise post earrings(Zuni).  You see, I had forgotten to put earrings in my second pierce, so I just had to have a set.  I also purchased a pair of silver and turqouise dragonfly earrings (Wapiti).   I have a fascination with dragonfly imagery and I just absolutely could not pass these up.  Sure it was an impulse buy, but hey  I didn't buy anything on the impulsive trip to the store in Decatur.

After the museum store, I put my earrings in the second pierce and we headed out on the trail to see the mounds.  It was rather warm, but a beautiful day.  We opted out of climbing the stairs to the top of Monks Mound.   Been there done that.   We then headed into Edwardsville to check into the hotel.

It was a nice place, with chocolate chip cookies on check in.  We dropped off the bags, washed faces and freshened up a bit and headed to Shenanigans for a bit of supper before the meeting. The best thing on the menu was homemade chips with horseradish sauce. Yummy with a pork tenderloin sandwich.  On to the meeting.  On the whole, not so bad.  The passing of the new constitution went quickly, some old and new business and a couple of outbursts by the usual jerks, and we were off to the meet and greet.  We stayed a few minutes, heard some tunes by a local band of three, with a lead singer that sounded exactly like Willie Nelson.  I did some toe tapping, but archaeologist are a dull bunch,  they like to drink, but seldom dance.

We headed back to the hotel, where we indulged in wine, cheese, grapes and conversation, just the 3 of us.  First we opened a lovely Pinot Grigot with a great label.  The delectable manchego and brie cheeses,  along with some plump juicy seedless black grapes, where just the ticket to accompany our wine.  The second bottle was an oaky chardonnay.  Now after two bottles, I am beginning to feel it. I believe I took my shower between bottles of white, now that is a funny story in itself.  I am feeling a bit tipsy,  there is no shower curtain in the bathroom and no bathtub either!  I get in get all wet, wet the hair and to my shock and horror the shampoo dispenser was empty!  Well, i got just a little out of it.  So I just washed the hair with what I had, knowing it wasn't enough.  I got a little conditioner out of the near empty dispenser. Now had I not been drinking wine, I probably would have gotten out of the shower, grabbed a towel and went out to see if someone else had some shampoo.  But, that just seemed like too much work at the time!

After the shower, and the end of the white wine, we opened the red.  I had one glass, then switched to diet coke.  The conversation was good and lots of fun as it got sillier and sillier as the evening progressed.   I hated for the evening to come to a close, but by 11:00pm I knew I had better get some sleep, 6:30am was going to come early, and after the paper session I would be driving back to Urbana.

The papers were good.  We left early, at the lunch break, as one of us was coming down with a virus.  We stopped off at my hold stomping grounds,  The Stagger Inn for a truly delicious burger and some homemade french fries.

The time at Cahokia and SIUE (my alma mater), left me feeling a bit sad.  A plethora of memories flooded my mind(you see I met my husband at SIUE when we were undergrads). I think I was a little more quiet on the way home.  I am not sure I have shaken the feelings yet, but I am working on it.

The conference did motivate me quite a bit.  I came back to work ready to be better, do a better job. I am already pretty good at what I do and I am ready to get back to it.

It was just the road trip I needed.

Something Positive

"There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love.  From it springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior."  Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I have recently been sharing the most negative things about being single in my 50's.   Well to tell the truth, occasionally I have fun!

I have recently met a very nice man on, yes you guessed it, an internet dating website (not e-harmony).  After some careful conversation via anonymous e-mail, we met for coffee one Saturday evening. It went very well. While I was not overcome with attraction, no love at first sight thing here, I was interested.

When he e-mailed me to invite me to the Allerton Barn Music Festival,  I was happy to accept the invitation.  It turned out to be a wonderful evening.  Then he invited me to a cemetery walk with actors portraying the local town founders, Behind the Tombstones.  It was a beautiful day, we stopped at a vineyard for a wine slush (who knew that would be so tasty) and some pleasant conversation by a pond that was bordered by cattails.  Then after the cemetery a  delicious dinner at the Beef House.

On the drive home, he invited me to a movie the next day.  Now this is more than I am used to when I first date someone,  I mean he seems to like the very same things that I do!

It was a fun evening again.  Then I invited him to meet me in Urbana and head over to the Krannert Art Museum.  Well we spent two hours there!   How has this happened that I have met a man who enjoys art?

Next up is a Civil War re-enactment,  the battle of Chicamagua.  I am really looking forward to it.

I am not getting my hopes up for anything long term,  I am just enjoying spending time with and intelligent, thoughtful, fun guy, do things I like to do.  I almost feel as if I am in a dream.

Still looking for love, or someone who wants a long lasting relationship, but I am having a great time right now.  Who knows when it will happen?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumnal Equinox

There is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in it sky, 
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Percy Bysshe Shelley

The autumnal equinox, September 22, heralds the beginning of autumn. Equinox literally means equal, equal daylight and nighttime hours.  As the days grow grow shorter and the night grows longer the earth is preparing for winter. As I left for work this morning I had to turn on my headlights.  The street lamps were still on and I felt that rush of peace and happiness that I get in Autumn.   Autumn is my favorite season. The trees on my street are beginning to show their color.  The air is beginning to feel crisp and cool.  While I didn't have to put on a jacket this morning,  I know the day will be here soon when I will have to don my fall jackets.

Now I have several posts rattling around in my head, but my exhilaration at the thought of the the beginning of autumn had to come forth today.  

Coming up later,  Road Trip  2 and 1/2 bottles of wine,  and something exciting about dating.

So Happy Autumnal Equinox to all!    

Friday, September 19, 2008


"There is not remedy for love but to love more."  Henry David Thoreau


I would love to be in love again.  I am searching for it, but it is an elusive thing.


Let me tell you about my search for love using those internet dating sites, in particular e-harmony.  This is absolutely NOT the place to find love.  I have given it a fair deal.  I stuck with them for, oh about 3 years.  They have tried to match me up with some people I would never entertain the idea of dating.  I have met exactly 2 men that I have communicated with on e-harmony. The first one was really interesting and I was interested in pursuing the match.  After the second date, I got the old standard e-mail.


“Sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking signing up for dating, I just don’t have the time or energy to pursue a relationship.”


So I am thinking, 1. Why did you waste my time   and

 2.Are you really just trying to say you don’t want to date me?


So I turn the matching off, I am just tired of going through the motions and getting nowhere.


Now fast forward-  I am bored and finding no one to date, I get an e-mail from e-harmony saying a match wants to communicate-guess I had forgotten to turn the matching off after all.  Now this is how many matches you get with e-harmony when you are single in your 50’s,  about 1 ever 3 months, if you are lucky.  So he sounded interesting, I paid up, and started to communicate. We chatted back and forth for several weeks. We had many interests in common.   One day he asked to meet.  So we set up a date for dinner at Papa George Greek in Champaign.


I put some effort into my appearance, nice black top and great jeans.  I even put some hide the wrinkles face make-up on, which I only use on dates and special occasions.  My daughter did my hair in a really cute up thing.  I got to the restaurant first. First impression,  well he is okay, I guess.


We sat, we ordered, we talked, and talked and talked, for about 2 and ½ hours.   He mentions that if he got a new car it would be a 65 Mustang.  I say “That’s my favorite car.”   He says, “ What color would you choose?”  After a short pause to ponder, I say” Red.”  He says,  “Exactly the color I would choose.”


He says, “I think attraction grows in a relationship over time.”   I say, “I think that is possible (because I am thinking,  I am not feeling a lot of chemistry here.)”


I say, “I have been divorced for 7 years.”  He looking sheepish says,  “I have been divorced for 21 years.”  I see a field of red flags appear in my mind.   He then proceeds to tell his story.


I give him my personal e-mail address (once I meet someone, I never check the web site again).  He writes down his e-mail and his phone and says, “ Let’s go to a movie this week,  you choose one and I will give you a call on Monday.”   I say, “ Okay.”


We say goodbye and I leave.


Monday comes and no call yet.   Wednesday, I drop him an e-mail saying thanks for dinner and relaying some trivial news of the week.  No answer, no phone call.  On Thursday I drop another e-mail just saying hi ( at this point I know something is up, but I am not willing to let him off the hook so easily).  Still no answer.  My niece says, “Is he still on e-harmony?”   I don’t know, haven’t logged in there since I met him.  


So, I log on.   Sure enough he closed the match; just didn’t feel there was enough chemistry.  Now I am angry.  What a coward.  Why didn’t he just say that in an e-mail?

I was willing to give him one more date to see if I felt differently. I usually need to feel the attraction pretty close upon meeting someone. But my tastes in men have proven to be faulty.

My biggest question is, why are some men such dishonest cowards?  If you aren’t feeling the chemistry and you don’t want to pursue a dating relationship, DON”T make a second date and DON’T hand out your e-mail and phone number.  It is okay not to feel the attraction.  It is okay to just say thanks for a nice evening and NEVER try to say and do things you don’t mean.  Just walk out with grace and dignity.  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Birth and Death

"Be open to your dreams, people. Embrace that distant shore. Because our mortal journey is over all too soon."  David Assael Northern Exposure 1992

Today is my mother's birth day.  Today she would have been 79 years old. Sadly, for me she left this world 31 years ago. 

My mother taught me to love birthdays.  She had a knack for making you feel special on your birthday.  My mother was happy and optimistic.  She was a fabulous mom.   Did she ever make parenting mistakes, like the rest of us?  Yes I am sure she did,  I just can't remember any of those. 

What I remember about my mom is she was always there for me.  She was happy and smiling. She loved her children more than life. One of her last worries when she was in the hospital, the last time I saw her, was about my brothers and if they had their coats on so they wouldn't be cold. She was not fully conscious at that point, but her children were on her mind.

So I salute my mom today  and I thank God that she was my mother.  She taught me how to dream and how to enjoy life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Losing my grip

"For Every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind." Ralph Waldo Emerson

This morning,  I hit the snooze an extra time.  I just didn't want to get out of bed.  When I did, I was coughing and draining and just wanted to crawl back under the covers.   But, being the responsible person I am, I got up, dressed and went to feed the herd. Now I am often a little bit surly in the morning,  but this morning, I felt like I was losing my grip on life.

I fed the cats and brought the milk in from the porch, I took my morning supply Synthroid, vitamin and baby aspirin, fed the fish and then the dogs.  I was feeling tired and well just tired.
I went to let the dogs out for their morning romp and I noticed a flower pot on the floor, dirt everywhere.  Well I totally lost it.  Started feeling totally sorry for myself,  I can't even have an aloe plant because, a cat and I think I know which one,  keeps uprooting the thing and leaving a mess for me to clean up.  Then I hear a rustle in the kitchen and sure enough said cat is getting in the garbage bag which I had left in the sink.  This may also be the cat that has begun peeing on my kitchen counter, but, it could also be the other other black and white cat!  Now these cats are old and I love them dearly,  but I think I need a vacation from my pets!

Well I let the dogs in, gave them a treat and put them in their crates. I was just feeling angry.  Anger that my life changed course, when I didn't want it to,  anger at men for being so stupid(this is for another post about internet dating!), just anger.  I got in the car and headed to work, angry! I was also having a hot flash and felt ready to explode.

Well, I pulled out of the drive and the absolutely most beautiful full moon was facing me in the clear western sky.  The air was crisp and cool and suddenly all that anger just vanished.  I started to get my grip on life back and enjoyed my trip to work.  

Feeling angry is really just loosing moments of a wonderful life.  Yes I have some anxiety, but I really do have a wonderful life  (Thank you George Bailey). 

Friday, September 12, 2008


"As soon as there is life there is danger." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay today is September 12, 2008.   I just couldn't get to the computer to jot down my feelings yesterday.  But, remember I did.

I remember being in my office, working on maps and listening to NPR early in the morning.  When the story broke, it was still unclear what was happening, but I went to get my friend and supervisor, Angie, to tell her what I was hearing.   Then a co worker came through the door and said she had just seen the plane hit the first tower on TV.  Angie and I drove to Target to get an antenna for our ancient TV at work ( the one we rarely used, but kept for video presentations and such).   We listened to NPR on the drive as we got increasingly more upset.  While we were in the electronics division at Target, all the TV's were tuned to the same channel and as we watched the first tower collapsed.  It was deadly quiet in Target, we were all in shock.  Then the second tower fell.   No words.

We went back and hooked up the antenna and tried to follow the events unfolding.  It just was too unbelievable and so incredibly sad.

I was transported that day back to Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995.  I lived in the town of Norman Oklahoma.  I was working in the lab when I heard the news on NPR.  Someone drove a rental truck and parked in front of the Murrah Building.  Then the unthinkable happened. Explosion.

I will never forget where I was on these two days  and the feelings that flooded my being.

I hope and pray I don't have to experience such a thing again.  The senseless loss of life, and the terrible emptiness for the families involved.

I remember.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Day to be Grateful

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I am very grateful. Today is a special day.  My baby, J, is 21 years old!   I just don't know where those years went, but I thank God for them all the time.

I am so proud of J.  She is a girl who is always herself, when others are trying to make her someone else.  She follows her own star.  I believe she will accomplish great things in her life.

Now, being a mom, I always relive the day of my child's birth.  Can't help it,  it was one of the greatest days of my live.  So here is the tale.

She was due on September 21.  We lived in Ann Arbor Michigan and my dad was visiting. He was set to fly out on September 9.  On September 8, J's dad stayed up studying for his Preliminary exams.  When he exhaustedly  got to bed at 12:00am and fell promptly asleep,   I had to wake him up, around 12:40am, my water broke!

Now this being the 3rd child and my other deliveries going rather quickly,  we wasted no time in getting to the hospital.   Of course the professionals at the hospital never listen when you tell them that you deliver quickly.  So they put me in a labor room(  birthing rooms are so much nicer now!).  They come in to check on me about 10 minutes later and "Oh  we need to get her to the delivery room NOW-  I had tried to warn them.   They had to call the chief resident, as my doctor had not had time to get to the hospital.  I don't think they were prepared for how rapidly I was giving birth,  "don't push they said"-- hey who was pushing,  this kid wanted out!

So 1 hour and twenty minutes after I had woken her dad up, this beautiful baby girl entered the world.  The overwhelming feeling of love and joy that flooded my spirit when I saw her beautiful face is not something I have the words to describe.

She has been a joy and delight for 21 years now.   Happy Birthday J.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Awesome Evening

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently, I was invited to an evening in an historic barn.  Now this may not sound so exciting, but it truly was an awesome evening.

I met someone who is very nice.  We met at the Courier Cafe one Friday evening and the conversation was delightful, so when he invited me to the Allerton Barn Music Festival to hear the Pacifica Quartet, I gladly accepted.

We had decided to go a bit early and walk around the grounds.  Then we would have a little picnic before the concert.  Well the entrance closest to the barn was closed because of the bridge being about to collapse.  So we drove around to the other side and enjoyed walking the grounds. A wedding had just taken place in the Sunken Garden and the bride and groom were having photos taken.  We saw all the guests in their wedding finery making their way, with glasses of wine in hand, to the reception which was being held in the house.

By the time we got back to the barn, it was getting really dark.  We had a little "tail gate" at the car with a bottle of chilled white wine, some cheese, grapes and peaches and a loaf of bread.
The sky was so clear and there was a new moon, so I could see the entire Milky Way.  It was so lovely that I just felt really lucky and happy to be in that moment.

The concert took place in the hayloft.  While it was a rather warm evening, the setting was enchanting.  The Pacifica Quartet was amazing.  We heard some Mendelsohn, then Prokofiev and the second half of the evening was Beethoven ,which was so beautifully played I was awestruck.

I looked at this quote by Emerson and it made me think firstly,  of the evening in the historic barn.  Then on a more metaphoric  level  I began to think of my life and the dark mood that I have been in of late.  I take everything to heart and the betrayal of my male friend has left me so moody. So I think that it finally got dark enough so I could see the stars.  For this I feel very grateful.