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Showing posts from November, 2007

Battle scars~

The phone rang last night, a call for my husband, who wasn't home.

The caller, Al, said he'd been in Officer's Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia with Bruce in 1967, then Basic -- five months of training after OCS. They never saw each other again; these were Vietnam War years.

Al had been looking up former platoon members to notify them of an upcoming reunion at Quantico in May. I gave Al our address, and Bruce's email address.

Then, never being one to miss an opportunity to chat, I floated a thread. He grabbed it and we were off, two of the most unlikely people to be speaking so intimately: a Nam vet and the wife of a Nam vet.

The wives talk, we are desperate to talk-- we have battle scars of a different sort-- but the vets are closed like clams. But Al was not, anymore.

I said, "Actually I didn't know Bruce during those years. I'm his second wife. I know very little about that time. He doesn't talk much about it."

"I understand that. I…

Giving thanks for *you*~

Thanksgiving Day, USA, is over. Remains of the feast crowd the refrigerator and . . . my tummy. It is a much-loved holiday for many reasons, and all it requires is that I take a moment to count my blessings.

Around Thanksgiving, teachers often ask younger students to make a "thankful list." As a new teacher I remember feeling disappointed by their answers.

"I'm thankful for my family, my house, my pet, my friends." And here their lists stopped. All identical. All common things that everyone was thankful for.

I tried to elicit more, something different, something broader, more expansive. But they couldn't add more. Their world was what they could see from their front porches, and that's what they were thankful for.

The view from my front porch extends farther-- it's global-- and I have a long list of things to be thankful for, things I could never have imagined when I was young.

But when all is said and done, it is my family and friends I remain most th…

Sleep stats~

When you are deprived of it, sleep takes on monumental proportions. It becomes a goal, measured down to the minute, protected by earplugs and rules that warn friends and family not to call until ten on weekends.

Ten? Ha! I wish. But I hold to that rule just in case, because you never know: one morning I might wake, and instead of seeing the sun's horizontal rays creeping across the frosty grass, I'll see a golden noontime glow.

Time Magazine's November 26 issue has a section called: "One Day In America." It's devoted to the average American, who of course is a mirage. Still the article is interesting.

I'm above average in some ways. I have four tenths more of a child that the average family, and I'm 20 plus years above the average age.

I'm below average in the exercising department due to the over achievers who exercise for more than an hour every day and make my exercise stats look sick . . . maybe because they're nonexistent.

When it comes to sle…

"Internet Review of Books" invites you . . .

Oh what a far-reaching web we weave when first we . . . join an Internet group.
~~~~~

When I realized that I was getting to the age when I needed to stop saying, "Someday I'm going to write" and actually put fingers to keyboard, I looked for an online writing community.

My usual good luck led me to the Internet Writing Workshop. With encouragement and help from this warm community of writers, I began getting my essays published.

Nice.

But even nicer-- the frosting on the cake-- were the friendships that developed. If you'd told me three years ago that I'd talk daily with people from all over the United States and Canada, not to mention, England, Australia, India, and Costa Rica . . . I'd never have thought it possible.

There's more.

Carter, a friend I share administrative duties with on the IWW, noticed a trend-- book review space in newspapers was being cut back. He figured he could pick up the slack, and he invited Bob, Gary and me to join him in a new p…

One Veteran's story~

My husband was twenty-four in the spring of 1967 when the Army drafted him during the Vietnam years.

Finished with grad school, he was teaching in Connecticut, and had plans to marry in three months. Not to me; I was a sophomore in high school then.

Deciding that he'd rather be the one giving the orders than taking them, he enlisted in the Marines and made plans to go to Officer Candidate School.

He told his fiancée what he'd done, and gave her the option of postponing the wedding, knowing he could be killed or maimed. They married as planned. Their son was born at Camp Le Jeune when his tour in Nam was complete.

The thirteen months he spent in the jungles are not something he's said much about. I've seen his medals. I've seen a Vietnam flag he pulled from somewhere. I've read letters from superiors praising the job he did.

But I know little. It was hot. He made sure his men were taken care of. He made decisions for the greater good. He gave orders that impa…

What me worry?

What me worry?

Maybe I should, especially after the scare I had when I found a LUMP in my right breast years ago, big enough to detect while innocently soaping up in the shower. The speed with which the doctor moved to do a biopsy was fear inducing in itself.

It proved benign, but I had to get frequent mammograms at first until I was cleared for the standard once-a-year protocol. I was faithful for a while, but after my physical this spring I ignored the doctor's instructions to schedule a mammogram along with my first ever bone density test. I guess I've reached the age, or is it the stage, where osteoporosis is a concern.

I remember thinking I'd never again let so much time go by that something could grow undetected inside my body until it could be too late. Still, I never do breast self-exams, even though my doctor patiently instructs me "how to" every year. I let her tell me again, and again. She must suspect.

But here I am, six months overdue for a mammogram, m…

Expectations~

I had a dream. Very weird.

I was wandering in a field when I realized that birds, small ones, were somehow snapping off the flower heads of Queen Ann's Lace and flying off with them. It took great effort to lift off with the flowers in their beaks. The higher they flew, the bigger the flowers became, dwarfing the birds that struggled on against the laws of aerodynamics. There was something eerie about this, and I knew it needed to be recorded, captured for others to see.

I didn't have my camera. And I was trying to decide if I had time to get it before the birds were gone. But in the optimistic way of dreams, I realized that I did have my old Sony point and shoot in my truck.

By the time I pulled the camera out of its case and turned it on, there were only two birds in sight, very high and rapidly growing too far to see. The flowers they had in their beaks had grown to the size of Frisbees.

I could hear the birds gasping, a chirping moan, and I knew they were struggling but dete…