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BY Beatnik

03/01 Direct Link
Tornados are tearing across the midwest and southeast. The terrors of war are raging in Syria. False elections are taking place in Russia and Iran. Israel and Iran threatening annihilation. Failed government and pirating as major occupation in Somalia. Atrocities of many kinds in many countries throughout the world. Women oppressed more often than liberated. Famine and poverty galloping at an alarming rate. Deserts created where rain forest once blossomed. Totalitarian leadership more often than democratic. Refugee camps replacing towns and villages.

Yet each morning the sun rises and children smile upon the sight of their parents' faces.
03/02 Direct Link
There were fewer things in the average house than there are today. In the 1950s family garbage was contained in a single aluminum can. Today there are super-sized plastic containers for re-cycle and another for garbage.

I remember when we first purchased a roll of paper towels since until then it was only cloth. I remember when my mother would get a new sponge for the kitchen sink as it would last for years and was made of natural sponge, not a synthetic manufactured material that is designed to disintegrate so we will purchase them regularly.
03/03 Direct Link
The state of politics in the US has become so very dysfunctional that it is hard to imagine that it will pull itself from the brink.

The President inherited a pile of woes and he's handled most of it well, but some things are going very poorly. The war in Afghanistan is an albatross that is not being realistically addressed and there is no time to change course before the election.

I am heartened only when I hear Republicans actually talk about the damage that the Super Pacs are doing and will potentially do. Democrats, too.
03/04 Direct Link
The WBAL-TV story has run three times and everyone who saw it has had high praise. Facebook, where I posted it, is all over it. It's heartening to have so many people supportive of being public with an illness. They recognize that it is useful to others to know that there is hope and treatment is available. It surprises me how many people are fearful of surgery and treatment. Even though I've heard of nightmares regarding folks who have had mis-diagnosed conditions and catching horrible infections from hospitals, I have never been afraid of surfer. Only chemo did.
03/05 Direct Link
I am so hopelessly behind that it is beyond the pale. But, I have to do this and do it I will. I have jumped back and forth within the month with a variety of things I've been writing and it's not in any sequence. So, now I must catch up. There is much that has been going on so I've been terribly distracted. So, why does not my distraction manifest itself in writing? That is what I want to know. It would be so much better if it did. So, I have to do something dramatic to change it.
03/06 Direct Link
Not only do I have 12 entries in March to finish, but I also have 12 in April to finish. I've got four days to finish March and I need to catch up on April. Sheeeeez!! How did I get into this mess? I am typing as fast as I can!!!

OK now we have to get down to business. Zoe the sweet, idiosyncratic dog died April 3. We put her down and it was very peaceful and quick, but we both cried. Chuck is still crying and will forever. But he gets better with each passing day.
03/07 Direct Link
I was so excited about my son going to college because then Chuck and I would be able to come and go as we pleased. He had always said that he married me for a boy and a dog -- and he got half! But as time went on, and we'd sit at the bar in our house, drinking into the night, the inevitable conversation about dogs and how much he missed his dog would come up. And, my son had dreamed of a dog for years...so when it became inevitable that Chuck would eventually get a dog...I knew.
03/08 Direct Link
I knew that if we got a dog after Alex left for college he would never forgive me. So, I told both of them that I was willing to get a dog, even though I knew that Alex wouldn't take care of him like he swore he would...and Chuck travelled so much of the time...so I knew I would wind up with dog duties that I dreaded. But, off we went to the kennel where they bred beautiful English labs and we selected one particular puppy in the litter. She was very cute and managed to hide herself.
03/09 Direct Link
She hid herself under her brothers who were all over her. She was the one we picked. We would pick her up six weeks later.

Anna had moved home from college after graduation, so all of her earthly possessions were in the basement rec room beside her bedroom. The rule was that you could move back home for six weeks to get yourself together, but after that you had to pay rent or move out. Anna was given eight weeks because she had a plan and a job waiting for her in Los Angeles at Hard Rock Cafe.
03/10 Direct Link
Anna worked through high school and college. We paid for basics, but extras were always the kids' responsibility. Anna held jobs for long periods of time. Alex had many jobs with high turnover. Anna saved her money. Alex couldn't keep a dime. Anna and Alex loved each other...could make each other laugh so hard...and torment each other, too. That's the life of brothers and sisters.

Anna didn't want a dog, though. So the timing was perfect that when Anna and I got into the car to drive her to LA, the boys took off for Zoe.
03/11 Direct Link
Spending the day at the Canton Car Wash. A green operation with an army of people working it. The day was glorious like spring and everyone was there "at the car wash". It's been years since we've had our cars detailed and although we take good car of them, they looked and smelled like new! We took both cars and dropped one off then went for brunch with Bloody Mary's. We came back two hours later and picked up the other car and went shopping for new gym shoes for Chuck. Long time since we've spent an errand day together.
03/12 Direct Link
Today was Patty Rouse's funeral. Episcopalian and cool. Afterwards at the reception The Enterprise family of friends exchanged many good memories of her...and hugged and kissed after many years of not seeing each other. Patty and Jim founded The Enterprise Foundation. It was an honor to work with them side-by-side. Jim was a visionary extraordinaire. He believed in thinking big and bringing others on board to help achieve those dreams. In 1983 when they founded Enterprise with Jim's $40 million it was HUGE! Yes, $40 million was considered a fucking fortune back then. They made a difference!
03/13 Direct Link
Patty Rouse's funeral was yesterday. End of an era. I am living through many of those nowadays it seems. The Enterprise Family gathered together along with her biological family and we celebrated her wonderful well lived life. She had been married and raised four children in a very old monied Norfolk world. Her husband came to her one day and said "I want a divorce. You see I need a change...and I can't change where I live...and I can't change my work (he was a lawyer in his father's firm)...but I can change being married to you."
03/14 Direct Link
I've spent the day cooking split pea soup and chicken in white wine. I used to do this routinely when the kids were young. Most of it is frozen to eat later on days when I don't have time to cook dinner which Chuck and I look forward to with great relish. It's a good thing we hit the gym with regularity because we enjoy eating dinner together and it's always after 7:30pm.

I've also been working on communications plans and scopes of work and drafts of letters and documents for the organizations for whom I volunteer.
03/15 Direct Link
My brother's birthday is today. When he was born I was eight years old and he was "my baby". I loved him so very much. It was 1961 and I remember exactly what the quality of the air was like and the smells in the air. I attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart which was a very exclusive private Roman Catholic school. I took the public bus and would be so eager to get home to see my baby. I had wanted a girl because I already had two mischievous brothers, but I was perfectly happy when he arrived!
03/16 Direct Link
An old friend has inherited money from her father who died last year...and a house that was given to her and her brother. So, the bank won't relinquish her money because it's in a trust and she has to go to court which she has to do via phone because she is in Maryland and the bank is in Connecticut. Her brother wants to keep the house and live in it but won't give her half of the higher appraisal...he wants the lower appraisals (they have seven!) and cheat her out of her money! Don't you love family?
03/17 Direct Link
A walk to Fells Point. On St. Patrick's Day there are many green wigs and gaudy, green, cheap, plastic jewelry. The bars are always open early in Fells Point and today they are hopping. While we were there we stopped in at one of our favorite furniture stores and bought a new mattress for our bed! It was such a surprise. I've been researching like crazy and it's not easy to get un-biased information. But we stumbled on exactly what we were looking for and it was a good price. You just can't beat it! That was our celebration!
03/18 Direct Link
Chuck and Alex arrived at the kennel to pick up Zoe in August 1999. Alex would begin his senior year shortly thereafter. Alex was thrilled to hold this sweet little yellow lab puppy in his lap and stroke her all the way home. As they pulled up to the house Alex looked at Chuck and said "Lose one bitch and get another!" -- to which Chuck said "And they are both blond -- but only one is natural!" -- well, we all agreed that that story was not to be told to Anna for a while. We did wait a couple of years.
03/19 Direct Link
I am preparing for Zumba! I've been trying to motivate myself with taking high energy classes which I go full throttle until I can't anymore and then pull back to a modified version until I can't do that anymore and then I quit. Whereas the 20 somethings are doing an hour at a time, I'm going 35 to 45 minutes. Still not too bad for a person who is trying to recover muscle mass and stamina lost in a year and a half of lying on the couch. Remarkable to think what an entirely different period of time that was.
03/20 Direct Link
I am woefully behind. Every month I say I won't let this happen and then it does. I want to write 100 words everyday and I do, but not always on this site and it's driving me crazy. I swear I'll do better. Granddaughter Ava Dora is flying to Brasil with her father on Saturday. They usually fly direct which is 12 hours, but the four year old will have to stop in Chile and change planes. Direct costs $1500 each but with the stop it's only $1000. She will enroll in a pre-school and come home speaking Portuguese.
03/21 Direct Link
The weather is usually a rather boring topic except that it's been so unseasonably warm and beautiful. Usually it's "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" but this year it's early flowers, sunny days and sandals! Who knew that we would have warmer weather in Baltimore than in Los Angeles. CRAZY!!

We are moving to Hawaii in a couple of years. Will I miss the four seasons? I've never lived where there were not four seasons. Will I tire of the perfect weather? Will I tire of the natural beauty? Shame on me!!
03/22 Direct Link
A half hour of Zumba is all I could do...not too bad! It's a very intense workout. So, my goal will be to finish an entire one hour class. May-be I'll get there in a couple of months. That will be my new goal. Finish the one hour classes: Zumba; MAC Attack; and Group Power.

It's ever so much harder to get back into shape as one ages. The younger me was far more resilient. It's rather shocking actually. Thank goodness the instructors are not maniacal trainers with no humor...rather leading at each's own pace.
03/23 Direct Link
It's a relief to know that we will not run out of money as we head toward retirement. However, we will have to make some changes and fix a budget. All financial planners want to allocate your spending based on 93 years of age life expectancy. Both Chuck and I are so not thrilled about living that long...in fact we want to be done with life by our late 80s at the latest:)
My husband and I have tracked every cent that we spend since we've been married and it's been tracked on Quicken for many years!
03/24 Direct Link
Mad Men is coming back tomorrow night. From the beginning we have loved the show. It is so very well done. It brings me back to the days when I was 10 years old. The stillness, the repression, the women being objectified and trophied and isolated. My mother really did high heels while vacuuming the house. She always fixed herself up before my father came home. She wore bright red lipstick. My parents were very attractive and I thought they were quite glamorous. Life was spare. There were not many "things" and what you had you took good care of.
03/25 Direct Link
Perfectly lovely 30 year old kiddos came to dinner last night. They are working hard and living in the new American world. The life of the early 21st century. It's a very different one from the 1980s that was my 30 something years. The dawning of the personal computer age when progressive businesses were just beginning to computerize. Today progressive businesses are at the cutting edge of technology. Developing new limbs that are truly bionic. The "future" as we saw it then when we were young is here and in the next 30 years they will see their "future" too.
03/26 Direct Link
It feels as though I've had many lives, not just one.

The life I led with my gay husband...going to the disco and us dancing together in a group with our friends...him in his slinky lavender silk-like rayon shirt and me in a slinky lavender silk-like rayon dress. No matter how beautifully I danced, nor how lovingly I looked at him, his eye was on someone else. One of our actors...James...oh, they had eyes for each other. When we arrived home, sitting in the car I tore the buttons off his shirt.
03/27 Direct Link
I entered the info about Zoe on the 28th but it was on the 27th that she went to the vet with Chuck and we learned the news. "I have such great memories from when I used to take care of her after school. I was a bit of an anxious and awkward kid when I was living in Maryland, but after a terrible day I loved opening the door for Zoe and running around with her in your backyard. On bad days like that, she was my escape." Written to us by our former neighbor and still friend, Andrew.
03/28 Direct Link
Today we learned that our dear Zoe would have to be put down. Another fine euphemism for killing her. She is in pain, though still a happy girl, but we don't want her to get to the point where she is in misery. We want her to go while she still has her dignity intact. She is on pain meds and her arthritis meds. I'm heading to the store to get her last two packages of frosty paws. We will miss her terribly. It is highly emotional. For Chuck it is like losing a child. We will grieve for her.
03/29 Direct Link
Being a volunteer is great! You can work as much or as little as you like and the pay stays the same:) You can pick and choose your clients and they are always so very nice to you...and if they are not then they don't remain your clients for very long at all!

There are several young women who I mentor in many different ways. Professional and personal lives are intertwined and I am easy to talk to because I've fully engaged in both aspects of my life. We can relate to each other. It's good communication.
03/30 Direct Link
Sometimes people just need to know that they are going to survive. Others need to know that they are going to thrive, not just survive. Some people need validation that their thoughts are appropriate...that they are not some kind of mutation. Sometimes people just need to vent...to get it off their chests.

I wonder what this afternoon will bring? Has she moved onward or is she anxious. Leaving a job without having another one is an uneasy place for some people to be...sometimes because the title and job define us and sometimes because of pay!!
03/31 Direct Link
Even when there is another income in the family it is still stressful to leave a job without another one on the horizon. I've done it three times. The first two times I had a job faster than I wanted one! I had wanted to take some time off...the third time I worked as a consultant and did that until I was diagnosed with cancer. What luck! Had I been working in a full-time job, I would have been the one carrying the health insurance and I would have had to keep working in order to keep it!