Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Three More Questions and Answers from The Journal Jar...and now I'm caught up!

Question 38 ~ Happy Birthday! Tell about any of your family traditions for birthdays.
When I was a little child I didn't have the traditional little kid parties with games, party favors, balloons and lots of little children running about the place.  This was not my mother's cup of tea and she always contended that the six of us in our immediate family plus my aunt and uncle (who lived nearby) were enough people for a birthday celebration.  She always made a special dinner, baked a beautiful Birthday Cake and there were lots of presents.    When I got a little older, Mother and Daddy took me, just me, out to dinner at a nice restaurant which made for a very special evening.  I never felt deprived from not having kiddie parties; I got my fill going to those of my friends.   When I started my own family and my first child's first birthday came around, I made a carrot cake and we had a quiet little celebration at home...just us three.  For many a year, I was under the mistaken impression that carrot cake was so much healthier than the more usual birthday cake.  I think I was still making that cake when my son celebrated his first birthday...eleven years later.  It is to laugh!  That was a long time ago.       Question 39 ~ Movies What do you think about movies and why?

I love movies but they sure don't make them like they used to.  Movies today are thrilling with their spectacular special effects but so many of them have little substance.  I prefer older movies.  I think movies have become too graphic, leave precious little to the imagination and I deplore the awful language that permeates almost every film...enough already!

I love to see movies in a theater but I rarely do because it costs too much and when I go it's always to the matinee.  I wait to see it on video or DVD.  It may take a while but eventually I get around to seeing what I want to.  I love to take myself out to the movies and do so on a rare occasion.  It's wonderful, just the film and me in a dark theater; no distractions and I can let the story carry me away. 


Question 40 ~ Lets eat! Where do you eat out and what do you order?

We don't eat out much any more.  We realized that we could eat much better at home for a lot less a long time ago.  One day it dawned on me that the best part of eating out was not having to buy, make, serve dinner and clean up afterwards.  I could just get up and walk away from the mess.  Every once in a while that's a great thing to do.  We eat at a fast food joint about once a year...sometime during Christmas shopping. 

Of course, we go to a local Chinese restaurant occasionally and order Family Happiness (a little bit of everything to please everyone), Kung Pao Chicken (spicy), Broccoli Beef, extra rice and, of course, sake.  In the event we end up in an upscale restaurant, I almost always end up ordering Prime Rib.



Monday, April 25, 2005

Bathroom Antics

I’ve seen the signs for some time now and I can’t deny it any longer. It’s true; our cat is a bathroom junkie. What is it about bathrooms that cats find so fascinating? Sure, there’s lots of activity going on in there and we spend a considerable amount of time in there. There are certain times of the day when cats like to hang out with their humans. I guess they figure the bathroom’s as good a place as any.

So much to investigate, such mysterious goings-on. The expression on Finn’s face as his head moves to follow the swirl of water being flushed down the toilet is a study in pure concentration. Water flowing from the tap into the sink is his personal waterfall and evidently few things taste better than toothpaste flavored water left at the bottom of the sink when I’ve finished brushing. A saunter into the shower stall provides a more substantial drink of water. Don’t tell me cats don’t like to get their feet wet; I won’t believe it! Upon exiting, he’s all refreshed to do battle with his nemesis, the bath mat. Our little world is safe for another day.

When my husband begins to shave in the morning, up jumps his personal four-footed shaving attendant. He watches the entire process intently, seated at his elbow the whole time, occasionally sticking his face down into the sink to bat at the discarded drifts of shaving cream. I’m sure he wonders why he can’t readily pick them up and then they get rinsed away. Drat! Where’d they go? Finn’s not too sure about the shaving brush either and considers it a threat to the universe as well. If the opportunity arises, he’ll make off with it in a speedy manner to prevent future menace from it. Now it’s my turn and our versatile kitty switches gears to become my beauty consultant. He oversees my choice of makeup, helpfully picks out eyebrow and liner pencils, pick combs and such and then moves in closer to the mirror to make sure I haven’t missed a spot.

It’s so amusing and quite endearing. I’ve seen enough pictures to know that this bathroom fascination isn’t unique to our cat. Finnegan is the third cat I’ve had the pleasure of sharing space with and he is the only one who’s shown an interest in these daily activities. It surely does liven up the early morning routine.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Journal Jar Questions and Answers Continued, No. 25 through 37

Question 25~ Our grandparents   Did you have a close relationship with your grandparents?  Tell about them.

I never knew either of my grandfathers. Both were deceased before I was born. I only saw my dad’s mother a couple of times. She lived across the country from us but I don’t remember much about her. She was a big (not fat), tall woman, Danish, and to differentiate between her and my mother’s mother, we call her "Beste" which was short for Bedstemor which is Danish for grandmother.

My maternal grandmother lived in Florida and we were visited by her on a more regular basis. She was not the jovial, full-bosomed, cookie-baking kind of grandma but she taught me how to play canasta at a tender age and her stories of growing up in the Bahamas were fascinating. I recall a very special day when she took me to New York City by train to spend the entire day. She was outspoken (as so many older people are) but retained a keen mind and a sharp wit until the end of her days.

Question 26 ~ Downtown

Describe a trip downtown as a youngster.

One of my most memorable visits downtown was the day my oldest sister took me into New York City to see the musical, "Man of La Mancha". It was sometime in February and I must’ve been 13 or 14 years old. It was the first time I ever saw a professional show and it was thrilling. The title role was played by John Cullum and when I saw him in later years as "Holling" on "Northern Exposure", I always felt this secret kinship with him (I know you; I’ve seen you and you’re awesome). That day was cold and snowy but we had a great day together.

One of my most memorable visits downtown was the day my oldest sister took me into New York City to see the musical, "Man of La Mancha". It was sometime in February and I must’ve been 13 or 14 years old. It was the first time I ever saw a professional show and it was thrilling. The title role was played by John Cullum and when I saw him in later years as "Holling" on "Northern Exposure", I always felt this secret kinshipwith him (I know you; I’ve seen you and you’re awesome). That day was cold and snowy but we had a great day together.

One of my most memorable visits downtown was the day my oldest sister took me into New York City to see the musical, "Man of La Mancha". It was sometime in February and I must’ve been 13 or 14 years old. It was the first time I ever saw a professional show and it was thrilling. The title role was played by John Cullum and when I saw him in later years as "Holling" on "Northern Exposure", I always felt this secret kinship with him (I know you; I’ve seen you and you’re awesome). That day was cold and snowy but we had a great day together.

question 27 ~ World event

What do you feel has been the most significant world event that has taken place during your lifetime and why?

A difficult, thought-provoking question. There have been so many. I suppose I would pick the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. For the longest time it was hard to believe that these horrible things really happened even as I was looking at it in the repetitive news coverage. It turned this country upside down and demonstrated than even with a huge ocean between us, we’re not safe from those who mean us such devastating harm. Suddenly we were all fearful and vulnerable. If it happened once, it could happen again. But where? There’s no safe place anywhere on this planet; perhaps there never was but I think we Americans felt reasonably complacent. No longer.

Question 28 ~ living differently

If you could live your life over, what would you do differently?

Another toughie! Two in a row. I have a great life. I’m very happy living within it. If I could begin life over again, I’d want to be more outgoing, more assertive and more adventurous. I’d start a 401K plan earlier in my working career (but these weren’t available when I began work) and I’d take Spanish instead of French for my foreign language class in high school. And of course, if I could go back and start over knowing what I know now, that would be the best thing of all.

question 29 ~ housework

What household jobs do you like and dislike the most?

I don’t mind doing laundry. I love hanging clothes out on the line in the warm weather. They smell like sunshine and fresh air when I take them back down, fold them and put them in the basket. I loathe dusting and must admit that I hardly ever do it. We live in one of the dust bowls of the west. Whether I dust once a month or twice a week, surfaces look the same. Lastly, I’ve had a self-cleaning oven for a long time but back in the days when I didn’t, cleaning the oven was the worst job of all!

question 30 ~ oh I luv the rainy nights

Do you like rain storms?  Do you have any memories connected with rain or storms?

Rain storms are great; the wilder the better as long as I’m safe and sound in my own home or elsewhere. The sound of rain falling makes a beautiful lullaby to listen to while drifting off to sleep.

Several years ago my husband and I spent a weekend at an inn near the coast. It was January and there was a wild storm with lots of wind, thunder and lightning going on one of those nights. It was the perfect backdrop to an evening of love-filled intensity. Thunderstorms and lovemaking are a wonderful combination.

Question 31 ~ Military

Did you serve in the military?  Where and when? Share an experience.

I’ve never served in the military and couldn’t possibly imagine myself in that capacity. I have the utmost feeling of awe and respect for the men and women who have served our country in the past and those who serve currently. I am very grateful for their bravery and commitment.

Question 32 ~ wow 32 already!

What is your favorite animal and why?

I like a lot of different animals but my very favorite is the river otter. They are cuteness personified, smart, playful, oh so graceful in the water and they just look as if they’re having the time of their lives. I’ve seen them in captivity but never in the wild. They probably keep far away from man and for their sake, I hope so.

Question 33

What political party comes closest to representing your own view?  How do you feel about politics?

I don’t follow politics or understand its workings very well. I think it’s much too complicated and I’m sure our entire governmental system needs a major overhaul.

Question 34 ~ secrets!!

What are your beauty secrets?

I don’t think these are secrets, more like practices. I never use soap on my face. I try very hard to never go to bed without thoroughly removing all makeup and I rarely use any makeup on my days off from work to give my skin a rest.

question 35 ~ babysitters

Did your parents ever have a baby-sitter for you?  Were you ever left in someone else's care.

I had a brother and two sisters much older than I so one or two or all three looked after me when my parents took off somewhere. It wasn’t bad, they were very good to me but it was just like having three extra parents in the house.

Question 36 ~ school

Did you have a favorite subject in school?  One you dreaded?

In grade school, my favorite subject was English and all it encompassed: reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling, grammar. I suffered through all arithmetic and math classes throughout school. They were all an exercise in mental torture that had to be endured. I hated math and was, and still am, terrible at it. In high school, my favorite subjects were business related classes: typing, stenography, general office practice. The best class of all was choir but I never thought of that as a "subject" even though we were graded. It was a daily pleasure to participate in that class.

Question 37 ~ smells

What are some of your favorite smells?

Ah, there are so many. My favorite smells include freshly brewed coffee in the morning, bacon frying, onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil, that "spicy" smell that real carnations carry, lavender, purple iris (they smell like candy), hyacinths (they smell like Easter), newly mown grass, Irish Spring soap, my husband.




The Saturday SixEpisode #54

1. If you could ask any question of the head honcho of AOL about the recent journal concerns, what would your question be?

After reading about all this controversy regarding AOL's TOS supposed violations, yanked journals with no warning and reports of a goodly number of AOL "tech" employees who seem to be operating within a sea of confusion, I'm beginning to understand why so many people have nothing good to say about AOL.  Members of my family are constantly suggesting we switch to another provider service but I don't want to give up the journaling aspect.  It's all getting very confusing.

That being said, I would ask the head honcho to have whoever is responsible for the entire journal set-up change or fix the fonts so they actually appear in the size one chooses.  Then they could look into why the hit number on so many journals (including mine) seems to disappear and reappear at random.  And why, when you cut and paste pieces from another site, does the next part you type in yourself have to appear in the same font and color instead of what was originally selected?  Okay, so it's three questions instead of one!

2. How many journals do you visit regularly in an average week...or...if you use a blog aggregator service like "Bloglines," how many journals do you have in your subscription lists?

I check out a lot of different journals but I read about 10 faithfully.

3. Back in July, I asked which of the Seven Deadly Sins (pride, envy, gluttony, anger, greed, sloth, and lust,) you were most guilty of. Now, it's time to pat yourselves on the back and figure out which one you are the least guilty of.


4. Recent reports indicate that some pharmacists are refusing to sell their customers the controversial "morning-after pill" when the customer prevents their prescription. Should pharmacists be allowed to refuse to sell a medication for which a customer presents a valid prescription based on their own religious beliefs?

I haven't read anything about this happening around here.  A pharmacist's job is to fill prescriptions, explain how to take them and advise of possible side affects.  Period.  A pharmacy is not a church and if a pharmacist can't leave his religious tenets outside in the parking lot while he's at work, he needs to change careers.

5. Take this personality test: What type of personality does it say you are? Then go back to this page, click the link that matches your results. Read the description: how accurate do you think it is about you?

Your Type is

Gasp!  It is frighteningly accurate.  It didn't make me particularly happy to read the description either.  I'll take comfort in the knowledge that apparently I have something in common with the following people:

Famous ISFJs:

Louisa May Alcott
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Queen Elizabeth II of England
Robert E. Lee
Queen Mary I ("Bloody Mary") of England

Bianca in Taming of the Shrew
David Copperfield
Hero in Much Ado About Nothing
Melanie in Gone With The Wind
Ophelia in Hamlet
Dr. John H. Watson, M.D. (Sherlock Holmes' faithful sidekick)

U.S. Presidents:
William Howard Taft

Johnny Carson, comedian
Jerry Seinfeld
Kristi Yamaguchi, US Olympic figure skater

I knew there was a reason I've always had a fondness for Dr. Watson.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #50 from SpringsNymph: You've received an unexpected windfall of $50,000. What home improvement would you spend it on?

I have no idea how much any of this would cost so I'm going for broke here (which I probably would be once all this was done).

I would get rid of the carpeting in my living room which is probably the ugliest on the planet and replace it with something a bit gentler on the eye.  I would tear out our old deck and have a new one built which would include a hot tub built right into the deck...at the same time I'd put in a higher, completely closed fence so privacy issues wouldn't be a problem.  I'd tear down the carport and have it replaced and lastly, I would have my kitchen completely redone including a new floor.

I think I really need to win the lottery!


Friday, April 22, 2005

A Sad Sign of the Times: Children's Loss of Freedom

Much has happened over the past couple of decades to help sabotage our children’s outdoor play and physical activities. Not the least of the culprits are video games, computers and so many of the highly technological gadgets that kids seem to automatically know how to operate without apparent benefit of being taught. In addition to these, there are DVDs and VCR cassettes to provide hour upon hour of visual entertainment requiring no physical activity save pushing a few buttons.

For a long time, I’ve attributed the noticeable absence of children playing in parks, on the sidewalks and outdoors in general to the above-mentioned existence of "electronic joy". However, there’s more responsible for this absence than that. We live in a time when close, constant supervision of our children is necessary to ensure their safety. I’m not referring to very small children who should always be under the watchful eye of a responsible adult. I’m thinking more of those in the eight to twelve years of age category.

Until I was a few months past my eleventh birthday, I lived in a small town. At an early age, I was taught the usual cautionary warnings: don’t talk to strangers, don’t accept candy from strangers, don’t accept a ride from someone you don’t know even if they say they know you or someone in your family, etc. Those warnings (or reminders of) being said, I was free to go off on my own without supervision by the time I was eight years old. I visited by "old lady" friends, I played out in the woods behind our house, I walked up the road to play at my best friend’s house. I always told my mother where I was going but I didn’t have a cell phone, access to text messaging or a camera phone to show a picture of exactly where I was to contact her immediately if my plans took a slight deviation. My mother knew I would phone her from a friend’s house if I wanted to do something different or go somewhere else other than where I originally told her. When I moved to our new home, I was allowed to roam the countryside surrounding our house or take a walk to the next town which was not terribly far but walking along rural, out of the way roads was necessary to get there. Sometimes I walked there myself, other times with a friend. I felt perfectly safe.

It never occurred to either my mother or me that at any time someone might swoop down upon me and steal me away, torture or sexually violate me, kill me or God Forbid! all of these horrors. When I was out and about, I had the good sense to stay away from places I knew I had no business being. When I think back to the places I went and where I played with my friends sometimes, even they were ripe for opportunity for would- be assailants.

One of the events I looked forward to every year was an annual book sale/carnival held at a school in a neighboring town. While my parents were lost in the joy of perusing the stacks of used books for sale inside the school, I was given free reign to enjoy the carnival rides, booths and food with a small amount of pocket money to my heart’s content. It was a fledgling’s flight of freedom and I loved it. When my daughter was eight or so, I allowed her to go off with her friends to an annual little agricultural fair we have here at the end of May. It was a chance for her to enjoy a couple of hours of sweet freedom from the ever watchful eyes of her parents. This was only less than 20 years ago but times have changed so that I probably wouldn’t grant this freedom today.

When my children were very young, I allowed them to play in the front yard, giving them the illusion of a taste of freedom. I stayed inside but always near the window to watch from a little distance. I don’t think I’d even do this today if I had small children. No sir, I’d be right out there with them in plain view the whole time. This is very sad because I think it’s important for children to stretch their boundaries even just a little.

Were these abductions, unimaginable acts of violence and, often, murder always going on around us? Were we merely oblivious to them because we didn’t have an internet, a web or 24-hour, world-wide, in-our-living room, in-our-faces news coverage providing constant updates of these heinous crimes? I’m not foolish enough to think that any generation has been free from these horrible tragedies but I’m pretty sure they are happening more frequently these days. Why?

It’s a crime that we have to keep our children inside, under constant surveillance. It’s a crime we have to live in constant fear of our children being swept away by some malevolent stranger whose intentions are far from honorable. I don’t know what the answer to this problem is but harsher sentencing and a carrying out of this sentence is necessary for those who are caught and convicted and I don’t mean sitting on "death row" year after year!

What do you think?

Monday, April 18, 2005

More Questions and Answers from The Journal Jar

Now that I'm well into these questions, I'm compelled to catch up.  Here are some more answers:

Question 19 ~ Weddings

Describe your mother's wedding dress.  What do you know about her wedding?

My mother did not get married wearing a traditional wedding dress. In fact, I’ve never seen anything close to an actual wedding picture of my parents. Considering how close I was to them, what I know about their wedding day is amazingly scarce. This is very strange to me.

Question 20

What do you think of TV and what is your favorite show?

There are lots of informative, interesting programs on TV but I consider most of the prime time stuff to be a complete wasteland for the mind. The only new show I’ve been following regularly is "Battlestar Galactica" but more because I’m still searching for a replacement for "Star Trek, The Next Generation" in my heart of hearts rather than a genuine love of the program. The only other programs I watch on a semi-regular basis each weekend are the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries (Jeremy Brett) and Poirot (David Suchet). None of them are new (more’s the pity; I know Mr. Brett is deceased). The same programs are shown around and around but occasionally one comes up I’ve never seen before and that’s a treat.

I could live very well without TV but leave me the screen so I can use my VCR and DVD player. Movies are what I enjoy the most.


Question 21 ~ Trick or treat!

Did you celebrate Halloween as a child?  What costumes did you wear?

Yes, I did. Halloween was right up there jockeying with my birthday for second best holiday of the year. My mother always created my costumes when I was small. Two of the creations I dressed up as were a devil and a little Dutch girl. Halloween was always best when it fell on a Friday or Saturday.

Question 22  Sweet children?!

What did you do as a child to get in trouble with your parents and how did they handle it?

I must’ve been an incredibly boring child because I don’t recall every getting into major trouble with my folks. I do recall being a bit of a pill sometimes and responding to requests from my parents to do something with a whining, "do I have to?" I regret this very much and wish I’d never acted this way.

The worst thing I ever did was when I was in second grade. Valentine’s Day was approaching and in those days each child gave a little valentine to all the children in their class. I kept pestering my mother to get me some and as the day for the party at school got closer and I still had none, I panicked. I discovered a box full of Valentines my dad had sent my mother over the years. I decided to take matters into my own hands and figured these would do as well as anything from a store. I proceeded to cut them up into small cards to pass around. My mother was horrified when she discovered what I had one and rightly so. Evidently whatever happened after that was so horrendous, it’s been erased from my memory permanently and I’m sure that’s a good thing!

Question 23 ~ Marriage AGAIN?

How do you feel about Marriage?

I think marriage is like children; it’s not for everyone. I have nothing but good thoughts abut marriage. I was raised in the security of a solid, loving marriage and just naturally assumed I would grow up and enjoy the same. I’ve been married almost 31 years and it’s been a great ride. Both husband and wife have to be willing to compromise throughout their marriage or its success doesn’t stand a chance.

How do I feel about my marriage? I love it. I never wanted much more in life than someone to love me completely and absolutely despite mistakes I make, flaws, sickness or whatever happens to me. I must have done something wonderful in a previous life because that’s the kind of husband I married.

Question 24 ~ Car trouble?

Tell about a frustrating experience you have had with a car.

Depending upon how old you are determines how many frustrating experiences you’ve had with cars. I’ve had several. I dealt with car problems very recently but when I first read this question, the one that came to mind was this. I was driving to work one morning and the clutch pedal fell off. Oh my! We had just bought this brand new AMC Gremlin (can you believe that?) and it just fell off! I was very young and I’m sure I panicked big time. Obviously, it got repaired well enough because we drove that car across the country when we moved to CA.


A Birth Day

Another birthday party has come and gone for my granddaughter. She will turn five at the end of the month but we celebrated early because she’ll be going back to her dad’s house next weekend.

Soon after my daughter found out she was pregnant, she asked me if I would like to be with her for the birth of this child. I was not present in the conscious sense for either of my children’s arrival and had never seen a human being born before. I was both nervous and honored to be asked to share in this highly personal event. As a way of preparation for the big day, I watched many episodes of "A Baby Story" on the Lifetime channel. Programs like this are only interesting if you or someone near and dear to you is expecting. I figured this was as good a way as any to prepare myself for whatever might happen.

When the long-awaited phone call came telling me it was time to get to the hospital, I found myself in a nicely decorated birthing room. My daughter was on the bed with her husband standing on one side and her doctor and a staff nurse on the other. Everything seemed to be proceeding nicely and my daughter was handling her labor like a trouper. She intended to have an epidural ( a needle inserted into the spine to numb the body from the waist down). Apparently, there is a very small window of time during the dilation process of the cervix in which to administer this. Something or other occurred that caused her to miss this "window". Before long and before my eyes my beautiful daughter gave birth to a beautiful girl without benefit of any anesthesia or pain-killing drugs whatsoever. It was the most incredible thing I ever saw in my entire life and she accomplished this in a most stoic manner. It was astounding to me that she was able to deliver this baby with no more than a minimum of grimacing and a modicum of profanity.

I was so proud of her and so thrilled to be present at the moment of my granddaughter’s arrival into the world. She was born in the same hospital where my son was born almost 17 years ago. There is no longer a maternity ward in this hospital; my granddaughter was one of the very last babies to be born there. Now, if I happen to have to visit the billing department and I look across the hall to see the room where such a happy memory was made,  all I see is another dreary office. It’s as if the cheerful, non-threatening birthing room never even existed. But it and what happened there will exist forever in my memory.

It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s been five years since I witnessed this miracle. And now, here is this little blonde, blue-green eyed girl celebrating her fifth birthday and all registered to begin kindergarten this fall. Amazing.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown


1.  If you played last week, did you actually go back to the very first edition of The Saturday Six to see what the first set of questions really were?  Were you surprised at the answer?

 Of course I did, didn't everybody?  No, no surprise.

2.  When you signed in on AOL today how many new E-mails were in your Inbox?  How many were in your Spam, Holder?

Two, I just finished a major clean out of my e-mails.  0 spam; ain't I the lucky one?

3.  If there was one childhood friend from your youth that you could meet today to find out what happend to them, who would it be and why?

Bob LaForce.  Whatever happened to Bobby Laforce.  When he moved into the house next door to me, everyone said he was weird, a geek, a nerd.  I was around 10 years old and once I got to know him, we had many a merry time together.  He was very talented with puppets and marionettes, had his own puppet theater in the basement and could keep me in stitches with his routines and plays.  He was probably my first experience of looking past the packaging to discover who lived within.  I moved away about two years later and only saw him once after that.  I wonder how life treated him.

4.  How much weight would you like to gain or lose?  Whose body would you most like your own to resemble?

At present, I'd like to lose about eight pounds.  I'm working on it.  I have no desire to resemble any one else.  I like my body; I wouldn't mind being a bit taller though.  (Then I probably wouldn't have to worry about losing those eight pounds!)

5.  What is the last CD or cassette you listened to in your car? 

I don't have a tape player or CD player in my car at the present time so it's been a while since I've listened to either while on the road.  The last CD I listened to in my car was "Fisherman's Blues" by TheWaterboys.  Great CD!

6. RAPID FIRE QUESTION #1:  "The last time."  When is the last time you:
a. ...Lied to someone you care about?
b. ...Were tempted to reveal a secret that no one else knows?
c. ...Payed a bill online?
d. ...Saw a movie trailer that made you want to see the movie it advertised?
e. ...Took an aspirin or pain reliever?
f. ...Hung up on someone?
g. ...Turned down an invitation to a party?
h. ...Filled your car's gas tank?
i. ...Had an unexpected knock on your door?
j. ...Ate a meal that left you absolutely stuffed?

a...Four days ago when I told one of my very favorite residens where I work that I liked her hair.  She'd just had it permed--one of those short, tight ones--and I didn't like it at all.

b...When a co-worker who's been working seven months longer than I have mentioned her hourly wage.  I always assumed she made more than I do and discovered this was not so.  I didn't mention what I make.  This is information I keep to myslef.

c...Three weeks ago.

d...:"Kingdom of Heaven".  What female could resist a film with Orlando Bloom and better yet, Liam Neeson?

e...Perhaps a week ago when I took a couple of Tylynol PMs before bed.

f...I never just hang up.  No matter who's trying to sell me what, I wait a moment or two, say "no thanks" and then hang up.

g...I don't get invited to too many parties; can't recall the last one I turned down.

h...Actually filling the tank is a rare happening; it was probably about five weeks ago.

i...Yesterday.  Two young girls came to the door, asking if I had a dog.  They were trying to solicit customers for their dog-walking business.

j...Maybe over four months ago on Thanksgiving but I wasn't really stuffed, just ate more than usual for me.









Friday, April 15, 2005

Weekend Assignment #55

Weekend Assignment #55: The IRS, in its infinite wisdom, is allowing you to deduct one thing from your taxes that you haven't been able to deduct before -- anything you'd like. What do you deduct and why? Yes, anything. And your reason for deducting it doesn't even have to be good -- this isn't an audit, you know. I'm just curious as to what you'd pick.

In these times of outrageous fuel prices continuing to rise with no end in sight, I would like to be allowed to deduct a portion of the money I spend on gas.  The reason I would be eligible for this is because I drive a small, fuel-efficient car which gets very good gas mileage.  A flat standard deduction would be acceptable and I'm generous enough with our government's money to extend this deduction to everyone who drives small vehicles delivering many miles to the gallon. 

Extra Credit: Do you wait until the last minute to do your taxes? Or did you have them done ages ago?

I get our taxes done in a timely manner.  I've already received refund checks from my state and federal returns.  If I have to pay, I'll wait until the deadline is a day or two away.  Who wants to be in a rush to pay out money, after all?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Five More Answers

I want to get these questions and answers caught up so I can deal with each new one as it appears in a more leisurely fashion.  Here are five more Journal Jar questions:

Question 14 -   Precious belongings   Are there any family heirlooms in your possession?  Tell about them and how you acquired them.

We have several nice old pieces from my husband’s side of the family. We have a cradle which was originally a child’s bed that dates back to the late 1700's. We have a beautiful pie cupboard, a corner cabinet and a curious piece called a "doughboy". Nothing to do with Pillsbury here; it’s a rectangular trough on four legs with a removable cover. Very curious item. We have a beautiful cherry wood dining room table which goes back to 1848.

I have a beautiful set of Beleek china displayed in another corner cupboard of my dining room. It belonged to my mother and she told me that if I married my Irish beau she would give it to me. I did and now have this lovely set of dishes which I would never dream of using but they are lovely to look at.

Question 15 - Our parents went to.....?

What church jobs have your parents had?  What do you remember about your parents and church?

My parents went to church dutifully when we were growing up and towed us all along as well. I don’t recall either of them having a job in the church. My mother was a member of the choir for years and she gathered pine branches and made beautiful wreaths for the church’s annual "Greens Sale" fund- raiser. She taught me how to make one and I remember using a wire hanger that had been bent into a circle for my first one.

Question 16.... Hanging out.

Did you have a childhood "hangout" or "hideout"?  Describe it.

No, but I always thought it would be real nifty to have one.

Question 17 ~ Picnics!

Do you like picnics?  Have you been on any picnics that stick out in your mind?

I don’t believe I’ve ever been on an actual picnic. All summer long we "picnic" on the back deck by which I mean we eat all our dinners (weather permitting) outdoors on a picnic table. Years of camping and eating all meals outdoors was like one long picnic. The classic picnic with a basket full of goodies, cloth spread out on the ground and ants in attendance I have yet to experience–I think I’d enjoy it!

Questions 18 ~ Just a word

ONE WORD on how to live successfully....



Monday, April 11, 2005

Dipping My Fingers into The Journal Jar

Slowly but surely I'm catching up to the current question.  I still have a long way to go but here are some more answers to hasten my journey.

Question 11 ~  Baby you can drive my car!

Who taught you to drive a car?

My father taught me to drive an automatic shift. He took me to empty parking lots on the weekend to practice. It used to be so easy to learn how to drive then. All one had to do was take a brief written test to secure a learner’s permit and practice with a licensed driver in the seat beside you until you felt confident enough to take the actual driving test, written and on the road. My, how things have changed. I practically keeled over when my 16-year old son informed me how much it cost to get a license today.

My oldest sister taught me how to drive a standard transmission several years after I got my license. She was so patient and kind and the things I did to the clutch of her car were next to unholy. Oh, those horrible grinding sounds! When the light dawned one day and I was finally able to shift smoothly, I felt I had achieved a major accomplishment in my life.

Question 12 ~ Attention sports fans!   What kind of sports did you play when you were young?  What was your favorite sport?  What IS your favorite sport now?  (playing or watching).

I never participated in a sport and have no interest in any sport whatsoever. I have never been athletically gifted in my entire life. I know it’s "the American way" to be gung-ho about some kind of sport but I can’t manufacture or fake an interest in that which doesn’t matter to me. If I had to watch something, I don’t mind boxing but I have to be interested in who’s in the ring.

Question 13 ~ 911!   Do you remember any special events that took place in your Neighborhood while you were growing up?  (deaths, fires, accidents etc)?  

For the first eleven years of my life I grew up in a small town. Several housing developments were built around our house during those years. One night there was a great deal of commotion and a mighty wail of sirens. One of the almost completed houses caught fire and we could see it through my parent’s bedroom window. No one was hurt but the flames engulfed the house and burned it completely. It looked like something out of a movie. I’d never witnessed a fire before or seen another one since that night.


Saturday, April 9, 2005

Saturday Six, Episode 52

Gee whiz!  It seems like one assignment after another.  No rest for the weary.  Anyone would think I was back in school.  But this time I get to pick the assignments I wish to complete and that's a whole different story.  And this brings us to:



1. Where did you buy the last fast food you ate?

Does Round Table Pizza count as fast food?  If so, it was Friday, April 1st.  My daughter is employed there and one of her perks is a monthly coupon which we shares with us.

Truthfully, I don't consider this fast food so it was probably the Famous Star from Carl's Jr. that my daughter brought me as a treat for lunch sometime in the last month or so.  I don't eat "fast food" more than two to three times a year.  It's instant gratification in the mouth and just a little less instant hardening of the arteries.  Not a good thing to mess with at this stage of my life.

2. What was the last movie you watched in a theater?

The last movie I saw in the theater was "Sideways".  Great flick!

3. When you walk into a room, what do you think people notice first about you?  What do you wish they'd notice first about you?

Hmmm...that's a nice looking woman.  As to the second part of the question, I'm wondering if I've had a chance to say anything yet.  Probably doesn't matter; my answer would still be hmmm...that's not a bad looking woman. 

A shallow, brutally honest answer!

4. You win a special lottery but you aren't allowed to keep any of the money.  Instead, it must go to a single charitable organization.  Which would you choose and why?

Hospice.  I want to be sure the trained, compassionate personnel andavailibility of whatever I need to help make my transition (or those near and dear to me) from this world into the next as comfortable and pain free as possible will be there for me when I need it if my circumstances are such that I would require this help.  I've seen these people in action; this is a wonderful, dedicated and very necessary group of people.

5. What was the subject of the most recent E-mail you forwarded?

Easter--a very cute "Easter Bunny Rap" greeting from one of my sisters.  I don't forward e-mails very often but this one was such fun that I had to share it.

6. Without looking, which of the previous five questions would you most expect to have been asked in the very first episode of the "Saturday Six?"  After you answer, if you go back to the first edition, don't reveal the answer here.

Ooooh, it's so hard not to peek, especially when it's so easy and no one would know!  But I'll restrain myself and take a wild guess.  It's a toss-up between Question No. 1 and Question No. 2.  I'll go with Question No. 1.

Friday, April 8, 2005

A Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #54: Tell us all a single piece of wisdom you've learned from personal life experience.

Learn to listen to and go with your initial gut feeling when confronted with a new situation; it will prove right 99% of the time.

I learned this lesson when I interviewed for a secretarial position when I moved across the country.  I didn't like the man who interviewed me and who would be my boss; however, the pay was good, I needed a job and I accepted.  Of all my jobs in the secretarial field, this was the only one I hated and one of my happiest days was my last day of work for this particular company, in the employ of this man.  I should have listened to that little voice that rumbles up from our very innards!

Extra Credit: Tell us: Would you have listened to your own bit of advice as a teenager? Be honest, now.

Hell no.  Everyone has to live through their own experiences and learn to remember and apply them as part of life's lessons.  This is what life is all about.


Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Enjoying One of My Favorite Elements


Toll House Cookies

Over the past couple of days I managed to do a couple of things I haven’t done for ages. I baked; a batch of chocolate chip cookies for my son yesterday and a strawberry rhubarb pie for my husband today. I don’t mean heat and eat; these were the genuine articles, lovingly created with my own little hands from scratch. Yesterday morning my son asked me if I was ever going to make cookies ever again. His expression was particularly appealing at that moment and he sounded so plaintive that I decided to surprise him. As to the pie, it’s been in my "owe" column to make one of these for my husband for a long time. He missed out on his special birthday cake last December and I haven’t made a special goodie in a long time. I’ve cranked out the occasional pie once in a while but I must confess I’ve been using ready-made Pillsbury pie crusts instead of making my own. I don’t try to palm these off on my husband as homemade; he knows the difference between these and my own crust. When he discovered that pie for dessert would be more likely to be forthcoming if I took just a wee bit of a short-cut, he’s been satisfied to accept the substitute.

When it comes to making pastry, however, one must keep a hand in once in awhile. According to my dearest, I make fabulous pie crust which is not the easiest thing to accomplish in the kitchen. I don’t know whether I’m cursed or blessed with this claim to fame. I don’t especially like making crusts but I always feel extremely industrious and proud of myself once the pie is out of the oven, cooling on the counter. I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that if I bypass all the hemming and hawing, whining and occasional cursing and just put that energy into making the darn thing, it gets done much more quickly. I’ve also decided that making a pie is a lot like sex; don’t think too deeply about it, just take the plunge and everything will turn out fine.

I have been in my glory these last several days. I’ve had four days off from work and it’s been simply divine. It’s wonderful to be on my own timetable, to do what I want when I want. It’s been a joy to be able to exercise in the morning and not have to wait until I get home from work when all I feel like doing at that point is flopping down in a chair not to get up again until it’s time for bed. Of course that never happens; there are chores to do, dinner to fix and so on and it all has to be crammed into a condensed time frame. There’s such a sense of freedom in waking up in the morning, your whole day stretched out before you like an empty canvas just waiting for you to decide in what way you will design it. I’ve never understood the lament of so many women that they’d be so bored if they had to stay home all day. It appears I’m sufficient unto myself to be quite happy puttering about the house. I feel blessed that I’m a person quite happy in my own company for part of the day. So much to do...so little time.

Playing "Ketchup" in the Journal Jar

Question 5 - scouts anyone?   Did you belong to girl/boy scouts?  Tell something about that?  

I was a Brownie, the first rung of the Girl Scout ladder. Our meetings were held in the large hall above the fire department building in town. I still remember my two leaders’ names and many of the games we played. At the close of each weekly meeting, we gathered in a circle and sang "Taps". I loved being a Brownie and got as far as "flying up" to become a Girl Scout. We moved soon after and there were no scouting groups active in my new surroundings so that was the end of that.

Question 6 ~ life with others

Did you have a roommate?  What was that person like?  What did you learn about living with other people besides your own family?

I never shared a place with a roommate. I went from sleeping in my own bedroom in my parent’s house one night to sharing one with my new husband on our wedding night the next. No problems; we knew each other very well by this point.

Question 7 ~ all alone! What is your favorite thing to do when you are alone in your home?  

If I can manage to tear myself away from the computer, my favorite thing to do is to pick a favorite movie that no one else in my family particularly wants to see, settle down all comfy cozy and watch it with, hopefully, no interruptions.

Question 8 ~ Hope and dreams

What are your dreams, hopes and expectations for your children?

I have dreams and hopes for my children but for the most part I leave my expectations up to them. I brought them up to the best of my ability and it’s up to them to discover and achieve their dreams and goals on their own. I hope they’ll have happy, healthy lives and I dream (desire) that they are happy I have given them the opportunity to experience this wonderful, complex thing we call life.

Question 9 ~ Talk to me   Do you speak any other languages?  What are they?  Have you ever taken classes to try to learn another language?  

No, I don’t. I took two years of French in high school long ago and never developed a knack for it.

Question 10 ~ let is snow!   Did it snow where you grew up?  What did you do in the snow?

We got lots of snow where I grew up and few things were more wonderful than hearing those magic words, "school is cancelled because of snow and dangerous road conditions" on the radio station. Whoopie! This always meant complete freedom to play out in the snow all day long. Building snow forts and having snowball fights were always fun but the best thing was sledding.

Several times the rural road on which I lived got so completely inaccessible due to snowdrifts despite efforts from the snow plows that we could sled down the hill from my house as much as we wanted and never have to worry about oncoming cars. Yes, the snow was lots of fun until I finished school and discovered that work was never cancelled on account of snow.









Monday, April 4, 2005

Morality Play

While my son-in-law whisked his lady fair (aka my daughter) off for a surprise weekend getaway for her birthday, I entertained my granddaughter at our house. She is a wonderful little girl and it’s always fun to have her here. However, I am not exactly what you might call the grandmotherly type and dealing with small children has never been my forte. I try my best but it just doesn’t come naturally to me.

I gave it my best shot this weekend and I think we covered a lot of ground. We played house, tea party, two moms with our own babies to care for; hers was a little cow and I was the proud mother of a small care bear (Good Luck Bear if you must know). We went for a long walk, blew bubbles, swung on a tire swing, played "red light, green light" with my granddaughter’s addition of "purple light". If this variation ever comes up in your next thrilling game, it means hide behind a peach tree.

We read books, played colorforms, "read" the newspaper, looked at old Highlights magazines–I knew I was hanging onto all my daughter’s old children’s magazines for a reason including Ranger Rick and My Big Outdoors. Throughout all this we broke for meals, snacks, bedtime, a nap "I don’t need a na...zzzzz", this less than thirty seconds later. Suddenly a lightbulb appeared over my head and it was lit too! Let’s play a game, suggested Gramma when she woke up, a new game that Gramma doesn’t mind playing.

Everyone’s heard of and has probably played that old chestnut, "Chutes and Ladders". Well, I never had that game in my home but I had its predecessor. The format and object of the game is identical but I grew up playing "Snakes and Ladders". I’ve had this board game, well, forever. It belonged to my mother when she was a little girl–we’re talking a long time ago. This game board was new in my mother’s time. She was born in 1914. Let’s imagine she received it as a Christmas present when she was around seven years old. That would make the board I brought out to teach my granddaughter a new game to play 84 years old!

My mother played this game when it was new, most likely with her younger sister. She packed it with her to set up housekeeping with my father. She played it with my siblings, they played it with each other and years later, with me. Somehow I ended up with it and brought it to my new household. I taught my daughter to play and many years later, my son. It has lain dormant in the game cupboard for at least ten years. The time had come to retrieve this game once more and introduce it to a fourth generation. That is just so cool, don’t you think?

"Snakes and Ladders" is quite simple to play. The object of the game is to become the first to reach the final "100" square. No skill is necessary; all that’s required is a "man" for each player, a die and an infinite amount of patience. "Snakes and Ladders" is such a morality play. This vintage game from my mother’s youth is one lesson after another. Good things are incorporated into ladders which bring a player closer to the winning square. Bad things become snakes which take you further away from winning. The words and illustrations on this old game board are amazing. Each ladder ascent and snake fall depicts one word and a picture of a child illustrating this word. As I look at this board now, all that really needs to be learned and practiced in life is here–was here before my eyes all this time. Oh my, it was my first not-so-subliminal message and I’m only seeing it now. Pathetic.

Here are the ladders -- good things:

Sympathy = Love

Unity = Strength

Patience = Attainment

Courage = Reward

Generosity = Gratitude

Thrift = Fulfillment

Industry = Success

Penitence = Grace

Confession = Forgiveness

Here are the snakes -- bad things:

illdoing = Trouble

Pugnacity = Pain

Conceit = Friendlessness

Disobedience = Disgrace

Temper = Regret

Mischief = Woe

Indulgence = illness

Indolence = Poverty

Dishonesty = Punishment

There are nine of each and it’s interesting to note that the tallest ladder is Thrift/Fulfillment and the longest snake is Indulgence/illness. We’ve heard it been said that all we ever needed to know in life we learned in kindergarten. Apparently, I learned (or was taught in a subtle way) what was important in life long before then. Do you think we’ll be playing this game again soon? I’m certain of it.

Time Once Again for The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown



1. What is your favorite fruit?  Favorite vegetable?  Favorite type of meat?  What food causes your diet the most trouble?

My favorite fruit is a bing cherry but of course you can’t eat just one. My favorite vegetable is asparagus and my favorite type of meat is tri-tip. Pizza is the food that wreaks the most havoc with my diet if I eat too much of it at one time.

2. What food do you think has the most ridiculous-sounding name?

Assuming we can choose the name of a dish, I would have to say it would be cock-a-leekie. If this isn’t the most amusing name for a soup, I don’t know what is.

3. If you had to pick one of the following to experience, which extreme adventure would you choose:
  A) Skydiving
  B) Mountain Climbing
  C) Scuba Diving
  D) Surfing in Hawaii
  E) Arctic Hiking in Alaska
  F) African Safari
  G) White Water Rafting

I’m not a person who finds the concept of flirting with danger a fun time. I would choose an African Safari as my safest bet because it would be sure to include a support system of people who knew exactly what they were doing to keep me safe. I prefer feeling safe to experiencing wild adventure.

4. What skill do you most wish you could suddenly acquire in your sleep this evening?

I would like to wake up one morning and discover that I was 100% computer-literate; enough so to make a living by using one in some way. If I can’t have that, suddenly having the ability to play the piano would be quite wonderful too.

5. How many active prescriptions do you have at the moment.  Of those, how many do you take regularly?

I have one prescription which I take once a day on a regular basis.

6. You're considering a major change or a big decision awaits you.  Are there any special images you ever dream that tend to guide you in one direction or another or that seem to suggest that the option you're considering is the right one?

In all my years of dreaming, I’ve never dreamt of an image or sign that seemed to point in the right direction of a major decision. I have a recurring anxiety dream that crops up from time to time when life becomes more heavy duty than I can handle comfortably.




Saturday, April 2, 2005

Happy Birthday

Twenty-seven years ago today an event took place that changed my life forever. On April 2, 1978 my daughter was born at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. It was a Sunday and she burst forth upon the world in the late afternoon. We had been married almost four years and had plenty of opportunity to lead the footloose and fancy-free life for quite some time. This was especially true when we moved to San Francisco and acquainted ourselves with the city by visiting different restaurants several evenings each week.

Occasionally we would have a heart to heart talk to discuss if we were ready to start a family. The answer was always the same; nope, not yet. As time passed I realized this would probably never change until one of us decided to take the situation in hand, so to speak. I did just that and in an amazingly short time discovered I was pregnant. Pregnancy was not at all what I expected. My mother had four children, my older sister had two and my sister-in-law had one at the time of my pregnancy and not one of them had suffered through a single episode of morning sickness. It never occurred to me for even a second that I would be afflicted by this miserable side-effect of early pregnancy. My experience made up for all that these ladies had escaped.

Morning sickness? How about morning, noon and night sickness? It was constant in its presence and for the first time since I’d moved there, San Francisco stank. I had a job in the financial district and passing bars on route to the bus with doors wide open emitting smells of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol was a personal assault to my stomach on a daily basis. As time passed, riding the bus to and from work became more and more difficult because I had to keep getting off to get sick and wait for the next bus to continue my journey. I ended up walking more and more. This continued for about the first four months and one day I woke up and all the nausea was gone. It was over and I felt fantastic, better than I’d ever felt in my life. I loved being pregnant and continued to feel this way until the last month rolled around. Anyone who’s had a baby can attest to the fact that the last month of pregnancy seems as long as the first eight.

My due date was March 13th and I remember thinking it would be grand to have our first child on or around St. Patrick’s Day. Since I knew exactly when this child was conceived, I knew my dates were correct. We attended a complete course of Lamaze classes, practiced breathing techniques faithfully and I had my focal point to concentrate on when the going got rough. Ha! The going got rough alright. After several false alarms and three weeks past my due date, this baby finally decided it was time to make an appearance. Everything was grand and moving ahead like clockwork. This was great; this was going to be a walk in the park. Suddenly all progression on my baby’s part came to a screaming halt. Labor pains continued to intensify, contractions being recorded on a monitor next to me and transcribed onto a continually rolling piece of graph paper were off the page. This child had ceased to move downward and I wasn’t enjoying this any more.

After what seemed like an eternity had passed, my doctor decided to switch gears and our child’s carefully planned, fashionable Lamaze birth with both parents in joyful attendance turned into an emergency caesarean section operation. Within minutes my world turned upside down. I was given something to empty my stomach completely in preparation for anesthesia. People with razors and antiseptic solution appeared out of nowhere to shave my belly. Someone shoved a clipboard with a consent to operate form in my face while another held an emesis basin next to my mouth into which I hurled the contents of my gut. The presence of fathers in the operating room for C-section births was not popular at this time and my poor darling husband stood by, unable to do much of anything to help with any of this. I was then transferred onto a guerney and wheeled away to the operating room. No nice, user-friendly birthing room for me; off to the cold, sterile, forbidding operating room. I recall feeling something akin to what you might imagine a wounded animal might feel being led to its slaughter.

Now perhaps it wasn’t quite this terrible but this is how the memory of my daughter’s birth is forever etched into my memory. I had no desire to remain awake for this ordeal. I just wanted someone to do something, anything and get me off this merry-go-round of pain and as soon as humanly possible. I had been in labor since about 11 pm the night before and was at the point where I felt sure I was never going to survive through this.

Slowly, my consciousness rose to the surface and I found myself in the recovery room. I heard voices and the voices were telling me, "Congratulations! You have a beautiful little girl". I kept hearing this over and over and knew they couldn’t possibly be talking to me. There were very few girls in my husband’s family and one of the first things he told me early in our courtship was that his family didn’t make little girls. Because of this, I thought of the child growing within me as a male throughout my entire pregnancy but I would’ve been thrilled to have a girl. I began to feel quite perturbed and annoyed that these voices continued to tell me something that couldn’t possibly be true. My condition eventually stabilized and I was discharged from the recovery room to my hospital room. En route, I was taken past the nursery. We stopped briefly at the window and a nurse held up a beautiful squalling child, a nice armful. I was shown the accompanying announcement card and there was my name and the baby’s sex noted as female. I was enchanted and felt I had accomplished something even more extraordinary than the miracle of having a baby. Long before I met my husband I came across a beautiful, different name in a book. I thought I would love to give my daughter this name if ever the time came that I had one. Now I did and I still loved that name as much as I did then and so I did. It suits her to a T.

My dear daughter has grown into a wonderful woman. In her short life she has lived through more experiences (some of them very difficult) than I have in almost 52 years. I am impressed with her tenacity and determination, her supreme self-confidence and ability to make the things she wants out of life come to fruition. I look at this social, outgoing young woman and am constantly amazed that I had a part in her creation. She has become a friend as well as a daughter. If I had to go through this all over again and knew beforehand what lay ahead of me, would I do it? You bet I would; in a heartbeat. Happy Birthday, M. I love you.

happy birthday

<A href="" target=_top www.fg-a.com.? http: Animations? & GifsFree>"Free Gifs & Animations" http://www.fg-a.com.

Friday, April 1, 2005

More Journal Jar Questions and Answers

The next two questions from the Journal Jar:


If you could be a flower, what would you be and why?

I would be a poppy.  Their color is gorgeous, they're cheerful to look upon and they show up in the most unexpected places.


Between the age of 5 & 10, what was your favorite activity?

The best thing in the world was to play on a swing.  This was fun to do with friends but I enjoyed it the most when I was alone.  I never had my own but our next-door neighbor who was my Godmother had a swing set for her daughter and I spent many an hour swinging away and singing with great gusto the entire time.

I enjoyed this pastime so much that I took myself back to my old grade school the day before I got married and indulged myself in a good swing.  I think I was saying farewell to my childhood once and for all; a form of closure you might say.  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered as an adult with a small child of my own that swinging for any longer than a brief time made me feel quite queasy.  It would take me several days to feel "right" again.  Oh, traitorous gastric system!