Tuesday, April 30, 2002

The call that was supposed to come last night now is supposed to come tomorrow. This waiting around to see if I get the house stinks!

And if another person tells me that if I do not get the house (which I’ve about decided is my fate in this matter) it would only mean that another, better, house is waiting for me…I’ll scream!!!!!

Monday, April 29, 2002


I put in a contract offer on a house Saturday. The first one I went to see. It was perfect and the right price and a place I would enjoy living rather than just a place to buy so my money is no longer going down the black hole of rent.

I was supposed to hear tonight.

I haven’t heard a word.

I decided I needed a cake. I am rather famous for my box cakes, you see…and it could double as a congratulatory cake or a consolatory cake, I justified as I went to the store straight from the gym. I couldn’t decide which kind to make, so I got three mixes. After torturing my mother with my cake flavor quandary (she has to watch her diet because of her cholesterol), we settled on the butter cake with milk chocolate icing.

For the first time in the history of my cake making, I made a cake that simply fell apart once out of the pan. Is that an omen regarding the fate of my contract offer?

I consoled myself by eating a plate of crumbs smeared with icing.

Friday, April 26, 2002

A while ago, I saw a vanity license plate that fascinated me, HUNT4ME, and wrote a short-short story based on what might prompt a person to choose that message for his license plate.

Well, today I saw another striking message on a license plate. Although this time, I’m not so sure I want to write another story.

It read: BYBYENY…

In today’s climate, regardless of the message it was supposed to be, I saw “bye-bye New York.” I sat behind this car staring at that license plate, searching for some sign that the plate was new, some sort of tribute. But it was not. It was dirty and scratched and hardly looked brand new.

Perhaps it was someone who moved from New York and was missing his home. It is just hard not to jump to the wrong conclusion, to the negative, the drastic, the unthinkable...

Thursday, April 25, 2002

I worked a twelve-hour day today. I don't really have any brain cells left. If you have any to share, send some my way...

While we were working, we had Papa John's new specialty pizza, thin crust, white sauce, spinach pizza... Yum.....

I am through the pre-approval process for a mortgage and will be going out with a realtor on Saturday to visit several possible locations for my new domicile. Will I end the day still hopeful about finding a place to live in this area within my budget or will I be disheartened about ever owning my own home?

Here's to the former rather than the latter!

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

I was reading an article on the “airport sting” at Dulles and Regan National airports. Dozens of employees were arrested in a crackdown on security. According to msnbc.com, “Officials said that their security clearances gave them access to the most secure areas. ‘We were somewhat alarmed by the large number of people who lied on their applications for security badges,’ said Paul McNulty, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Va. ‘Holding these individuals accountable for their false statements has required an enormous organizational and operational effort.’” The article concluded with the following: “Officials said there is no evidence that any of the people arrested had any involvement in any kind of terrorist activity, but they said they wanted to make sure that anybody who lied had no place in an airport.”

Sometimes I think the hypocrisy of our society cannot get any worse and then a read an article such as this one. They lied on their applications and therefore must be hunted down like the criminals they are?

I agree that lying is wrong. And those employees should be held accountable for the choice they made to be deceptive.
But, really, it is ludicrous to respond as if this is such a horrible finding when the leaders of our own government lie. Should not our government also be swept clean of people who lie as was these two airports? Should not we equally have no place in our government for liars?

Face it. Today lying is perfectly acceptable behavior. Regardless of your own personal views on the matter, from children to adults, from servicemen to salesmen, and from professors to presidents people lie. They lie, and think nothing of their lies, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of their lies. After all, is it a lie if you believe it to be true?

Think of all those unnecessary repairs to cars, plumbing, electricity and HVAC units that go on each and every day. I’m sure you’ve fallen victim to one yourself. I have. And when you go to complain, you hear that that is just the way things work. With the exception of Saturn, buying successfully buying a car depends on being able to navigate the lies concerning price, fees, and/or the history of the car.

Children lie to parents. Parents lie to children. Spouses lie to each other. Politicians lie to their constituents. Clergy lie to their parishioners. Pedophiles, thieves, con artists, and insurance frauds exist on their lies. And they exist because we have no real standards against lying.

People lie.

If we are going to care about these airport employees lying, then we ought to care about the politicians, clergy, business partners, employees, vendors, friends, and family who lie. Until then, find another reason to publicly vilify those employees and claim that we should be worried about our national safety.

Perhaps we should be worried about our national soul.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Hum the tune to Gilligan's Island....

Got it in your head?

Okay, I started working on the following as alternative lyrics. I got stuck and thought you might like to work on some collaborative writing. If you have any suggestions for lines or things to sing about customer service on tech support calls, e-mail me (see link at the right of this screen).

Or just let me know what you think....

Sit right back and enjoy a tale,
A tale of a mighty trip,
That started with your first tech call,
And a three-hour hold,
A three-hour hold.

Well, the music started getting old;
Your eyes began to cross;
You wondered if you’d ever hear
Another human voice,
Another human voice

The hours passed one by one;
You’ve memorized those ads;
Then hope arrived, a human voice,
"How can I help you?
How can I help you?"

Alas, you have reached the one
Who solves computer ills;
You describe the problem step by step,
From install to reboot,
From install to reboot.

Once you’re through with your tale,
Much to your surprise,
You hear, "I’ll transfer you right now
To Tech Support,
To Tech Support."

Monday, April 22, 2002

So...Saturday, I went to my dad's house to visit, work on his computer, and to take my younger brother on a "date."

The visiting was good. The date was as well. We went to Taco Bell and ate for an hour and a half while we played UNO. A great date for a 12-year-old.

The computer troubleshooting was great. Great because I recognized two problems from past troubleshooting, one of which was a bad e-mail. They hadn't been getting e-mail. They had 43 e-mail messages behind the bad one. I got to show off my telneting skills. See...great because I was momentarily a computer guru hero!

So, Sunday I awoke early with a back spasm. Just Friday I was bragging to my trainer that I hadn't had one since December and attributed that fact to all the back work we've done at the gym. Since it was in the wee hours of the morning, I was able to affect a cure I had been wanting to try. Without worry about needing to work since it was Sunday, I took the muscle relaxer and the pain killer my doctor had prescribed for just this sort of occasion (medicine that knocks me loopy for at least 24 hours instead of the 4 hours each are supposed to have lasted) . I took it and then went to sleep with ice pack on my back and neck. I awoke every few hours and replaced the ice packs. I retook the medicine after six hours (and walked Kashi). In twenty-four hours, I was awake only 3 (much to the dismay of Kashi and Fancy). This morning, I awoke with a mere twinge left in my back.

But, the important thing is that many times the back spasms have laid me low for several days with pain lingering for about a week.

Call me crazy, but I even went to the gym today. I was very careful and concentrated on stretching much more than usual. And tonight I've been icing my back again aided by motrin.

Victory over computer snafus and back spasms. A good weekend, wouldn't you say?

Friday, April 19, 2002

I ate another carrot-less salad tonight.

I went to get some shredded carrots while I was making my nightly salad with chicken breast and discovered that the ones left in the bag were reduced to mush. The scary thing is that I ate carrots from that bag on last night's salad...at least I wasn't sick today...but how did I miss the ruined carrot slivers in the bottom of the bag?

Salads without carrots seem somewhat lacking.

I'm sleeping late tomorrow!

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Pink. Images of pink things flooded my mind. Flowers, cotton candy, baby blankets... those are all pink. None of the images that raced through my mind, however, were of hair.

I took a closer look at my grandmother's hair as I toweled it dry for her. Yes. It was pink all right.

This is the opening of the novel manuscript I thought would be the first full-length piece of writing that I've had published. I love this story. It's a great story. But it is the first manuscript (I have four others that are good stories, but are not crafted well...my learning attempts) that was my "baby." Boy, was that a mistake.

I sent it out and got a prompt rejection. This was after a friend of mine who is an author had told me that she thought this was the first of my manuscripts that pulled together all of the best aspects of my writing and ought to be submitted. Buoyed by her encouragement, I did.

It was promptly rejected.

With no feedback other than I did not fulfill the editor's expectations for the relationship between Sadie and her grandmother.

I was crushed. I stuck the thing in a drawer and moved on. That was sort of stupid of me. Stupid, because I often share the fact that one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle, had a book rejected over 40 times before it was accepted. Then it won the Newbery Award for the year's most outstanding contribution to children's literature. What vindication she had.

Now, I'm not saying that the manuscript is Newbery material, but it was stupid to give up after just one try. It is just that this was the first time in all the things I've written that I was emotionally invested in it's reception. Too much so...

Anyway, all this is to say that someone chivvied me to get back to the two manuscripts I've been working on (Two? Yes, I'm a bit crazy at the attempt).

Why? Because when I write...I am most completely me. Forget about the blasted MS. Forget about the wretched asthma. Forget about the dastardly arthritis. Forget about work and not teaching just now and worries and fears and how clumsy I am at being a part of the human race at times. Forget...just create, craft, and discover what may come of it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Years ago, I worked as a hospice volunteer. My first patient was an 87-year-old-man with aids. He got it through a transfusion. His wife, 81, was by his side except for the times I came to give her respite care. He had been a baker. Every time I went to visit him, his arms were constantly moving, going through the motions he had done baking goods for nearly all of his life.

I once asked his wife what she found hardest about his illness. She promptly replied no longer being able to sleep with her husband. Thinking I could help, I offered to arrange for a larger bed to be brought in. Imagine my embarrassment (at 20) when she replied, "No, honey, I mean I miss having sex with my husband." I blushed. I stammered. I thought, Aren't they too old for that?

The latter must have been written across my face because she blithely informed me that they had been enjoying each other's comfort until just a few months before when he became so ill...and her husband had only gotten better at it as the years went by!

It was all I could do not to flee from embarrassment!

Anyway, during that time, I started working on the following, as a way to process my conversations with his wife and what I was experiencing working with her husband. I never finished it, but I did show it to her. She told me she was never any good at writing, but perhaps she might give it a try. She asked to borrow the journal entries until she came up with some of her own because they so closely mirrored her heart.

She never finished them as she died only a few months later. She was not ill. She did not have an accident. She merely missed the man who had been her best friend, the father of her children, and her lover...for 63 years.

December 29th

Do you remember the Havershiems, Joseph? They called today. I wished you could have talked to them. They said to tell you “hello.” And, of course, they also called to say that they are great-grandparents! Imagine that. It seems like only yesterday that we were dancing at their wedding. Remember, Dearheart?

You made me practice with you for weeks because you thought your duties as the best man included dancing with all his female relatives. You didn’t want admit to him that you couldn’t dance. You were so stubborn, then. You still are...working so hard. You need to rest.

January 7th

Today I watched you work. It is strange to see you so. You worked so hard kneading the dough, shaping and twisting the breads and rolls. I missed not being able to work with you.

Another year has come. I never expected the changes this new year has brought. But I suppose you hadn’t either. I wonder what you are thinking now. As you work, do you remember all those years we spent together building our own business? Making Clancy a name on everyone’s tongue.

It’s been fifteen years since we closed the store and yet here you are working as hard as you ever did. I’m tired, Joseph. You need to rest.

January 13th

I’m not sure where the days go. I love you so much, Dearheart, but I cannot stand to see you this way. As tired as you must surely be you never let yourself rest. I want you to stop. I want you to finish your work so you can go.

Is that horrible, Joseph? Is it horrible that I want you to go? Sixty-three years of marriage. How can I live without you? But wouldn’t that be the best? For you and for me?

I don’t know. Perhaps it is wrong of me to want you to go. I can barely admit it myself. The children will never understand. They want you here as long as possible. They love you, too. How can people who love you want different things for you? I don’t understand what’s happening. I don’t know what to do.

January 15th

Remember the day you proposed to me, dressed up in your best suit, hair slicked back and eyes sparkling? I’m sure you thought you were the handsomest man in the whole county. At least I thought so. You were flustered, though. I admit that it was hard not to laugh when you kept dropping your hat as you searched for the nerve to ask me.

Yes. A word that has kept us together for sixty-three years. A word that has been our stronghold in times of trouble. When Timmy died. Oh, Joseph, my arms still ache for him so. Such a wee soul he was. And the spitting image of you. Those big blue eyes.

It is your eyes that hurt me the most now.

January 18th

It’s snowing! I went outside and lay in the snow to make angels. Remember when you first showed me how to do that? And when we taught each of our children?

Oh, Joseph. How could you leave me in this situation? How could you leave me to do all of the explaining? There are so many decisions to make. I wish you would at least tell me what you want me to do. What you think is best for all of us. We never talked about these things... Why didn’t we?

Sometimes I get so angry at you I could just shake you. And then I see you lying in that bed working with your hands and staring at some scene I am not allowed to see. I ache to see you lying there so helpless. And I feel guilty for even getting angry in the first place.

January 19th

I have been thinking about my anger. You wouldn’t even recognize me now, Joseph. I snap at the children and grandchildren for absolutely no reason. Yesterday I even threw a bowl of spaghetti at the kitchen wall. It made a fine mess and didn’t help to resolve anything.

I am ashamed. It’s all seems so futile and so confusing. I’m drowning in my anger and anguish and love all at once.

When you asked me to marry you, you said that you couldn’t offer me any promises. You said that life with a hemophiliac would never be certain, but that you would always love me and always care for me. Now I am the one caring for you. I am the one having to be strong when you were the one who held us together all those years.

Who can I shout at? What am I supposed to be angry at? The disease? AIDS doesn’t seem enough to me. It is cruel that we will never know which transfusion it was that brought you to this place. I want a person. I want someone I can specifically blame and say, “This is all your fault!” I want to scream and cry and, yes, throw things.

Yet here I am sitting beside you. Watching. Waiting. Jealous that I cannot join you in your work. Guilty because I want for all of this to be over, for you to die. In anguish because you are all I ever wanted in a friend, in a father, in a lover.

January 22nd

I talked with the children. I finally got up the nerve to let them know that I thought it was time to say good-bye. Is my desire for them to know it is time to let you go for you or for me?

I love you so much…

Friday, April 12, 2002

One workout at the gym and no fainting episodes. I drank plenty of water before, during, and after and I drank some orange juice just before. Although I am tired from my session since the trainer increased the weights on three exercises, I was glad to arrive home in one piece and conscious. [Yeah!]

The makers of Celebrex are my new best friends...

I took my first step on getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

All in all, today was a good day!

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Well, I started some arthritis medicine and have had a fairly night and day experience. The stiffness and pain have been nearly muted. The medicine is supposed to last 24 hours, but by the evening it has worn off and I resort back to using Motrin. Still, such a noticeable relief is quite welcome.

I do not mean to be so very medicinal lately, but I shall also speak of my latest puzzlement:

Monday, I keeled over at the gym right in the middle of doing my bicep curls (about an hour into my workout). When sanity returned, I thought perhaps my blood sugar had dropped (another nagging problem I have--ought not I to get a refund on my warranty...surely not-quite-thirty-five is too young to turn so geriatric with my multi-system illnesses). My trainer ran and got me some orange juice (I keep juice boxes in my car, at work, in my gym bag, and in my satchel) and a few minutes later, I was stupidly (I thought bravely) finishing those curls. I abandoned the last part of my work-out and went home.

I didn't think too much of it other than perhaps it was time for yet another inconclusive blood sugar test. And I decided I ought to take a pre-emptive strike by drinking some orange juice before I start my workout.

Yet, yesterday, I fainted in the parking lot on the way home from the gym.

Now, you may be thinking...STOP GOING TO THE GYM. But I've been plugging away at this exercise thing for six months and have gotten quite a bit stronger even thought "svelte" is not yet an adjective you could apply to my figure. I don't want to stop working out. I just want to stop fainting.

I figure I will see how tomorrow goes since I will be with my trainer again. This time I will drink some juice before and after I work out.

Perhaps I could get a doctor's appointment sometime right after I finish at the gym? Perhaps get a blood-pressure and blood sugar tests then? But how do I ask the doctor to come in all sweaty and tomato-faced?

I am tired of thinking about medical stuff...

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Why is it that people find it necessary to announce the death of people they know with MS? When people find out I have it, I usually hear about some parent, grandparant, aunt/uncle, cousin or friend who had MS. Had...never has... If I make the mistake of asking how the person is, not clueing in on the past tense, I hear how he/she is now dead.

What do you say to that?

Does anyone have any relatives, friends or acquaintances with multiple sclerosis who are not dead?

Alas, I know there are...but sometimes it frustrates me when all I hear about are the dead ones. Again, how do you respond to someone who tells your her uncle had MS, but died a few years ago...when he was 46!


Monday, April 08, 2002

What do you think about when you cannot sleep?

Sunday, April 07, 2002

I keep a flowerbed right outside the front door to my apartment building. I enjoy working in it, but the experience has been rather negative because I have had bushes stolen, flowers smashed, flowers dug up and left on the sidewalk, and the rocks bordering the flowerbed taken. Still, I persist in trying to create a small place of beauty for myself and others to enjoy.

This past year the apartment complex actually mulched the bed for me. This was a pleasant surprise because I didn't have to spend my own money doing so. But last time, they used those chunky bark chips that just wash away with strong rain and make a mess. So, when the apartment complex had a team of gardeners collect all those bark chips a few weeks ago, I was glad. I bought a bag of mulch and planned to spread it out on my flowerbed.

However, I got sick.

I spent this afternoon pulling a few weeds and spreading the mulch that has been riding around in the trunk of my car for three weeks. I enjoy gardening. Something about it distills the moment of all else but the soil and plants from my mind. I think of nothing. I worry about nothing. I just am.

Today, though, I listened to the children playing on the playground while I work. I was saddened to hear their pretend talk consisted primarily of cops and jail and bail and hostages and time-served and three strikes... Somehow it didn't seem like children playing. It seems as if they were speaking of the life they believed was before them.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Not to belabor a point, but I am sitting here with chills because the temperature in my apartment seems rather frigid. I got up to look at the thermostat. It read 75 degrees...

I would normally go blanch myself in the shower to warm up, but I tried a tanning bed yesterday and I'm not sure it was such a good idea.

Funny about that 75 degrees. Normally, that's enough to trigger symptoms of weakness and disorientation. Right now...I'm cold.

How's that work?

Thursday, April 04, 2002

What is it about 75 degrees?

At work, 75 degrees is too warm for me. I am uncomfortable and sweaty and think too much about the temperature in the room. At my father's house it is the same.

But at my house...sometimes 75 degrees is too warm, and I start to grow shaky and weak...yet sometimes it is too cold, and I feel chilled and end up turning on the heat (I know...that sounds crazy).

75 degrees doesn't seem to be a consistent temperature. How can that be? I mean, 75 degrees is always 75 degrees. It is 75 degrees whether at work or home or on vacation someplace. 75 degrees is not cool one time and warm another. 75 degrees is merely 75 degrees.

Given that I am NOT going through the change of life--a decade too soon for that at least!--how can 75 degrees be too cool, then too warm, only to be too cool again?

What's up with 75 degrees?

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

My friend sent me this e-mail a while back and I meant to post it straight off as she also did on her blog...but my memory and then that blasted flu thing got in the way...so here it is...something quite important to me...

Hi Everyone!
I wanted to let you all know that I'm riding my bike to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis this spring just like I did last fall.

This trip is also 150 miles round trip - 75 each way each day for 2 days. Its called the MS 150 Spring Bike Tour - Wheels to Weeki Wachee and it occurs April 20, 2002 - April 21, 2002 and is sponsored by the Mid-Florida Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

I need to raise just $175 dollars to participate in this event. Last fall I was flabbergasted when I discovered my friends and family had contributed $475 towards MS through my participation in this event. I hope you can each contribute again.

One of my dear friends has MS. Its because of her that I am compelled to participate in events like this one. She used to ride bikes, but can't anymore. Knowing her reminds me how blessed I am to have strong legs, strong arms, strong lungs and an enormous amount of will power. I think of my friend with MS every time I struggle to pedal to the top of a hill, or whenever my thighs burn from hours of pedaling. I am reminded how lucky I am to be physically able to ride my bike 75 miles a day for 2 days.

There are no third party promoters or organizers in this event. All the money raised goes to MS - some stays locally in Central Florida, some contributes to national programs.

Its really easy to make a pledge. Just click the link below and fill out the form. It only takes a minute. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/pledge/pledge.asp?participantid=45831

You can also help out by joining in and participating in this event. Join my team by visiting this link:

The team code is: 6412.

While signing up, be sure to enter the coupon code TEAM when asked on the online

Thanks for your support and contributions!

Bj Price

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

I came home and slept for two hours. I thought I would stop by here before I go back to sleep.

I realized that I didn't explain how it is that I know Fancy wants angel hair pasta when we are in the kitchen...

Whenever she is on my shoulder as I walk into the kitchen, she hops off and flaps her stubby wings over to the cutting board (the first place I gave her the pasta). If I don't plops some done in front of her, she starts squawking as she hops around the board, pecking at the empty wood. If I try to put her back on my shoulder, she will hop and flap her way back to the cutting board. This is often repeated several times unless I give in straight away. [I've been keeping spare pasta in the refrigerator for her--she'll even eat it cold!]

What amazes me besides her single-mindedness on getting her pasta is that once I've fed her some for the day, she is content to stay on my shoulder when we go back into the kitchen at a later time.

I thought birdbrain was an insult?

She seems pretty smart if you ask me...

Monday, April 01, 2002

I went into work today. Coughing, aching, and so incredibly tired. I worked six hours straight trying to catch up and find a stopping place since I was invited to work a few half days to make sure I continue to get better instead of relapsing back into the horror of the past ten days.

I got home at 2:48 pm and fell asleep. Now, at 10:02 pm, I am back awake and taking a moment to eat, check in here, and walk Kashi before I go back to bed. Kashi deserves some sort of award for self-control because I took Fancy out of her cage to nuzzle her for a few moments and ended up sleeping on the couch with her. Somehow, Kashi managed not to eat her while we were sleeping.

Fancy, by the way, has decided that she should have angel hair pasta each time we enter the kitchen. You see, I couldn’t really go to the grocery store the past week and a half and pretty much all that was left to eat in my apartment was some beans, some tomato soup (that tastes too metallic for me to eat), and four boxes of angel hair pasta. While the antibiotics have really messed with my digestive system, I have tried to keep eating. With a cooking time of 4 minutes, the pasta won out. Fancy has had her share, but she now thinks visits to the kitchen should mean angel hair pasta for her the way visits to the bathroom mean Keebler honey graham crackers.

Such a wretchedly long illness this has been…