Saturday, June 30, 2007

For the good of the people...

Liz sent me this site to rate my blog...and I'm rated "G" for all general audiences. I was curious if Dirty Santa would hurt me...but he didn't...although I did get docked for the word "kill."

But Liz...she uses big words like herion and murder. So you can't visit her blog until you're 17. :)

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

post by Caron (response to "i see her in my hands")

Response to “i see her in my hands”
Note: This is a sestina, a 39-line poem, but the formatting of the blog reconfigured the lines of the poem. The shorter 2- to 3-word lines should be connected to the line prior. I think you'll be able to still understand the poem although the formatting is skewed. FYI: This is in response to an assignment dear Sister gave me earlier today. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this. I'm the closet writer in the family--nevertheless, still a writer. I prefer the avenue of poetry. And with no further ado... I present to you:

yet i see her in my cheekbones and eyes...

I don’t see her in my hands; I see her in my features, most specifically in the brown eyes
I inherited from her. Those who knew her, really knew her, when they see me see a ghost
from the past. Her girlfriends who learned first-hand she was pregnant with me – their faces reflect their memories of her. Just by seeing me. I love that their non-verbals speak with such boldness
and clarity. They don’t see their own transparency. But it’s obvious what they revisit -- their memory
of her as well -- is a pleasant one. I smile at the common statement: “You look just like your mother.”

Long ago, as a youth, I was uncertain how to respond to that statement. Looking like one’s mom
serves as a great compliment, but for a young woman, who still felt in some way responsible, the eyes
too often reflected the anguish, the thoughts, the wonders – the notions of those haunted by memories
of a woman dead too young yet present in my high cheekbones and rich brown eyes. For them, a ghost
of decades past. For me, years pass before I understand human development. With a boldness
unseen, she circled an article on dating in a most recent Seventeen magazine. At 41, I reflect

on how difficult that was to have “the talk” with your 15-year-old daughter as you reflect
on your own life, your own choices. At 15, she would not know she would be a mother
within 3 years, yet she [and dad!] welcomed me to the world 11 days into 18, with a boldness
of spirit. My memories of those early years are filled with tenderness and love; her eyes
comfort me. She slips on the ice going to Fred and Bessie’s, yet her arms guide me to safety. Ghosts
of winters, springs, summers, falls past… they all dance with such ease across the fabric of memory.

It’s Sunday morning in the newly-built house in Gainesville. Orange counters pervade this memory.
I roll biscuit dough flat for cinnamon rolls. I lean in from the bar side as mom, as I reflect,
is across from me on the kitchen side. White flour sifts across the countertop. To this day, this ghost
flits in and out of my psyche as I relive this moment, among many others cherished with my mother
as we grow and live and be. We have such varied remembrances, Casey and I, of this brown-eyed
woman who loved the Beatles, “Love Me Do”, 45s, vacations, and chocolate-covered cherries. A bold

woman, she experienced childbirth, graduation as a wife and parent, factory work. With boldness,
she began a college transcript, relocated, supported her husband’s career, developed new memories
as she established herself as the central pole of support for her young family, the one on whom all eyes
fell, whether we were chasing bats in Thayer or tarantulas in Gainesville. Through her, I reflect
on my childhood of yarn ribbons, banana-flip haircuts, Johnson’s No More Tears, and my mother,
this woman who made sure I made ballet class, learned the step-ball-chain, and discounted any ghosts

that I thought I saw in Grandma’s old house in Sparta. To relieve my fears, she showed me my ghost, the literal yet proverbial coat hanging on the coat-tree at the end of my bed. With a tender boldness, she showed me the tiger stalking outside my window, allaying my childhood nightmares. This mother, this woman whose life in some way was symbolized through red cowgirl boots, held memories
we’ll never know, resources we’ll never tap, intelligence we’ll never learn. Of sixteen years I reflect;
just shy of half of her life. At this stage, it’s almost 1/3 of my life. The years pass before my eyes.

I see her in my hands… but I lose her in my green eyes” opened a lot of vaulted ghosts
as we were asked to reflect on her, Carolyn Sue Johns Daugherty, an action requiring boldness
as we took a moment to relive memories and praise this woman, this wife, this mother.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Get Your Red On...

Get your red on, but I'm getting a tan on. I'm at Hammons Field, sitting on the Springfield Cardinals dugout, my feet positioned on the g in Springfield. There are no games today and the stadium is quiet.

It's amazing that I'm sitting here. Keri and I, as part of a Writing Marathon, decided to try the stadium and see if, as writers, the staff would let us onto the field to write in this environment for a few minutes. It was that easy. "No problem," said Chris, the receptionist, who within the first few minutes we waited on him in the lobby secured a sale of six tickets for the Cardinals-Travelers game on Sunday, making a whopping $108 for the organization. We applauded his sale and he beamed with pride.

He showed us to the doors that led to the field and now I'm here. A groundskeeper is working on the pitching mound. I feel slightly bad about this. I'm sitting just a few feet from him, feet propped up for relaxation and rest while I'm writing. He's using things like large buckets, edge trimmers, shovels, hoses, watering cans, seeders, and rakes.

It's hot, but not too hot for me just yet. At least not to the point of sweat. I can't say the man on the mound feels the same way.

At the Steak 'n Shake sign in center right field another man in red paints the wall green. Green on green. Is this necessary? I wonder. The American flag does not sit still above him, and I wish I had a picture of this lonely outfield painter.

There's a man behind sitting behind home plate up near the concession, between a Budweiser sign and Domino's Pizza. He's just watching. Maybe breaking. Maybe he's the boss and watches the field workers as they stay on task.

Back to the outfield painter...I'm not sure he was painting since he is now spraying down the wall with a strong force from a large water hose. Now I think he must have been washing rather than painting and now I wonder Is this really a job? Can someone wash the outfield walls for a career? Who knew they got dirty enough to wash on Thursday afternoons.

Redbird Roost is empty.

KY3 and JOCK 98 have closed their press box windows.

I was here--Opening Day 2005 when the STL Cardinals came to town to kick off our Double AA Cardinal affiliate team. And that's my memory. My dad could tell you who hit doubles and what runs came in and what innings produced home runs. But not me. I ate my hot dog and drank my frozen lemonade and enjoyed the ambiance of the new "cool" place in town and the company of 10,000 fans. Thankfully I didn't have to clean up their mess.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 I was sitting in seat 11F...

Ahhh. An exit row. How awesome is that. Nothing beats being able to stretch out in the exit row on a plane with crowded seats and crying babies. I was headed to Minneapolis/St. Paul and was prepared to sleep my way there.

Then came 11E. He was a handsome fellow...and I knew there was no way he'd be sitting next to me...I always get old men with hankies and mothers with babies. But in the aisle he came and immediately started talking about how great the extra room in the exit aisle was. One sentence led to another (you never know how much a person next to you on the plane wants to talk...and even when you are with friends or family, the chances of you talking the entire two and a half hour plane ride are minimal.) But somehow, Joe (his anonymity name) and I were able to do it. We had a cadre of things to talk about once we started. One loop of a conversation led to another loop and before I knew it, we landed in Minnesota.

We started of course with work.
"I'm a police officer," he says, kind of under his breath.
"Really?!" In DC?," I ask.

From this, I lay a multitude of questions before him.
What do you do? Where specifically do you work? How long have you been on the force? What brought you do DC? Do you have your own car or do you ride with a partner? What are your shifts like? Mornings? Afternoons? Are you out in the streets? Do you work undercover?

Blah, blah, blah. I just wouldn't give it up. Growing up with a father who retired from a 30-year career with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, my automatic was to compare Joe's job to that of my father's and contrast the differences. It was apparent Joe had a college degree, possibly in Criminal Justice or something, and his work experiences were in Colorado and now DC. So I knew he had some talent and knowledge in his field.

He quite nicely, but vaguely, answered all of my questions. And when we realized he left his cell phone in the airport lounge back in DC, I was quick to encourage him to use his DC police credentials to have security at Minneapolis help him start the "cell phone hunt." He told me that probably wouldn't be right, but I insisted. I told him stories about Dad using his patrol ID and things always worked out, like, for instance, the time he was stuck at the Canadian border and when asked to produce ID, was whisked across the border like royalty. Nothing wrong with that.

So, needless to say, the majority of the time that we talked about his job, I dominated the conversation with my "extensive" background knowledge of police work. When we got off the plane, he offered to have a drink if we both had layovers. I declined due to my second plane already boarding, but as we walked toward my gate, he said, "Well, I thought, since we're parting ways now, you might like to see this," and he hands me his badge. It was large, and looked like your typical police badge. It was on top of a large, black leather wallet, and I thought it was awesome that he wanted to share it with me. "Awww," I was touched by the gesture, "Thanks for showing me."

When I handed it back, he opened up the wallet showing me the ID inside...and his agent number for the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

Yeah! This only happens to me...give him all the downlow on how to be a great police officer and he's a stinking CIA agent!!?? And the worst part...I won't even tell you all the details of our conversation I covered on how much I love CIA movies and books and how I can't wait for the new Bourne movie to come out.

I am such an idiot!!! And I'm sure he thought so too. But, that's just me. It was a fun ride and memorable experience. I'm definitely going to develop this story into something even greater! :) Maybe a big spy story lie about how I helped him apprehend a criminal on the wouldn't that be fun!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

...the program to kill handicapped children...

is the title that finally emotionally broke me in my journey to read War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust by Doris L. Bergen. I had to take a breath before barreling into it, but then came to a complete halt after finishing the opening paragraph:

Like Jews in Germany, people deemed handicapped also experienced the open Nazi aggression of 1938-1939. Hitler and other proponents of so-called racial
purification would have to wait for the cover provided by war to implement
murder on a mass scale, but by 1939 they felt confident enough to take steps in
that direction. They began with the most defenseless segment of an already
vulnerable group: the children.
And there you have it. That's where I finally let loose. A gentle, elderly man sat next to me on the plane and finally leaned over to ask if I was okay. He took out a handkerchief, handed it to me, and patted my leg. I could only show him the book's cover and he understood.

Probably one of the worst thoughts that comes from this is the fact that to a decade of children born in the late 1920's and into the 1930's, the normalization of Nazi power coincided with their child these acts were normal to an "Aryan" child. So if a handicapped child in the neighborhood disappeared from his home to never return...that was normal. When grandpa, who fell to Alzheimer's and was being cared for by his children and grandchildren in their home disappeared, that was normal. When a van drove down the street with "Kaiser's Coffee" emblazoned down the sides and girls outside jumping rope would make jokes about "they are coming to pick you up to die", that was normal. (And just so you know, the back of the Kaiser's Coffee van was full of poisonous gasses that killed the lucky ones who got a free ride.)

I'm not quite finished with the book. I still have a chapter titled The Peak Killing Years to get through.

For now, I am sick and upset and although I have known about this my entire life (like studying the history of the Holocaust was normal to me in school) this book has been so insightful for me. Especially in regards to human nature and Hitler's tactics. He carefully plotted to pit people against each other, and he used natural human weaknesses that every one of us has succumbed to at some point or another in our lives to his advantage.

There are points of light in these moments of disparity, but they are individual...not on the mass scale that Hitler offered up his claim for Race and Space. But the Holocaust Museum in Israel offers up a memorial and lists names of those who found it in themselves to help the weak and vulnerable. They are known as "the righteous among nations."

So, in the midst of this book, I've questioned myself several times. Where do I go from here? What information do I take and what do I do with it? Of the notes I've jotted down in the book itself, I know I want my students to decide what is normal for them...and possibly debate this. I was troubled by the voyage of the ship Saint Louis, who brought fleeing immigrants to Cuba and were then denied entry there...and every port north of there along the Atlantic seacoast. I know, that current immigration laws weigh heavy with me and I want my students to know the impact they could have. And, of course, there's Darfur and Sudan...there's so much we can study and discuss. And there's so much my students can learn about themselves in hopes that if, ever presented in a situation where the weak and vulnerable are being taunted and abused, they will stand up and be known as part of "the righteous among nations."

Friday, June 1, 2007

fantasy island beach bums...

My cousins are at the beach. They are taunting me with text messages...

"Miss you."
"Wish you were here."
"Thinking about you while I'm sipping my cool drink, napping to the beat of the afternoon waves, and planning my delicious seafood dinner tonight."

Okay. So they weren't that detailed...but that's exactly what they meant I know.

Tonya's probably into Sudoku under the umbrella. Cindy's reading a novel she doesn't need to think about. Faron's on the computer or playing football or frisbee with Richie and Jim. Linley and Eric are running up and down the beach chasing the waves ... and then letting the waves chase them. Blue plastic shovels and red sandbuckets litter the area around the Adamson clan. And then the whole family stops to eat ham sandwiches and cheetos for lunch.

Then back to Sudoku, reading, playing, napping, swimming, and building sandcastles before Russ and Cindy close the afternoon umbrellas when the sun begins to disappear behind the hotels of South Daytona Beach and our little Fantasy Island.

Awww....the life of a beach bum. I'm insanely jealous! (So I won't mention all the sand in swimsuits and places you had no idea existed, bickering children, cloudy afternoons, cramped rooms, restaurant crowds, towels that never dry, and sunburns...but I'd definitely trade spots...I think.) :)_