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BY Beatnik

07/01 Direct Link
Came down with another cold. This is ridiculous. Second cold in a month. Wears me down. I can't work out when I am sick like this. So, that makes me weaker still. It's vicious cycle.

Anna, Fred and Ava are flying to Seattle and meeting Barry to drive across the state for July 4th celebrations in Pullman. The whole Meiners / Port / Ruppert families will be there excluding Alex and Kim. Anna is so very excited. She remembers her summers there -- it's a memory of freedom, exploration and happiness. And the Johnson parade! People come from many miles away.
07/02 Direct Link
Photo albums...so many that it's impossible to review them in one sitting. I stopped making them in 2007. I have almost 100 of them. I told Chuck that he had to promise me to sit on the couch and look through two albums per evening until we have looked at all those that chronicle our lives together which is only 19 years...several of them are the first 40 years of my life which were spent without him.

We always celebrate July 18 which is the day we met 19 years ago at Clyde's in Columbia, MD.
07/03 Direct Link
The family that landed in Vancouver, BC has branches in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle (and it's suburbs), Manhattan, Denver, Houston, Reno and Philadelphia. The Toronto side of the family has branches in Detroit, Toronto (and suburbs) and a small town in Ontario whose name escapes me.

Within 13 months there will be five weddings in the family. For the first time in our family history two of the weddings do not include invitations to all relatives for fear that they will actually show up!

Historically blood lines have been very important but not so much anymore.
07/04 Direct Link
We danced in the living room last night! We've not done that in years. We used to do it all the time.

Chuck has recently taken to enjoying the music of the Beatles. When we first met he was a Rolling Stones man. He told me that some people are Beatles fans and others are Stones fans. I told him I liked both, but the Beatles had more breadth. Eighteen years later he agrees with me. The boy has been branching out lately...sushi, sashimi, avocado, flip flops and now the Beatles! Old dogs can learn new tricks!
07/05 Direct Link
What a major shift! We are now recognizing that we can make our travel spread over a few years and not doing it all at once. We can rent out our furnished condo for short term...three months at a time...getting the maximum price. Then returning home and recovering. We have been getting colds every time we return from a trip...and I got one when we landed in Hawaii. Not so sure how that will be handled when we are traveling for three months at a time. I wish so very much that I had a stronger constitution.
07/06 Direct Link
OK -- I'm keeping up now.

Drove to the Eastern Shore yesterday to hang out at Elaine's pool in the 100 degree heat. Hoping it would burn my cold away. I think it worked because I felt much better. Had dinner at the "best" place in Oxford. Sad to think that was the best.

We came home and watched three episodes of Weeds on Netflix. Love that series. Really funny. Glad that Chuck and I like to watch the same TV programs. However, I don't watch sports programs. We have somewhat different taste in movies. That's OK.
07/07 Direct Link
Turning 60 soon. Almost didn't make it. Would have missed a lot. Ava turning three, then four; Alex and Kim engaged in a wonderful relationship; Fred and Anna celebrating six years / eight years; Alex and Max going great guns with their business; and hearing my husband say that he's actually going to retire!

We have the ability to choose what to do...where to go...where to live. The burden of decision can weigh heavily. As it appears to do now. I wish we could live close to my children. Perhaps sometime this will be possible, perhaps, sometime.
07/08 Direct Link
Granddaughter in her nightly prayers…”I’d prefer to have a kitty than a baby brother…” Ha! Yes, she would. She has repeatedly told all of us that she does not want a sibling because, “I want to be the baby.” And, this has been consistent…now the kitty…and she really does love cats. Her eyes light up! But, she has recently been very loving with little babies who cross her path.

When Ava was two, we gave her two wet suits for her birthday…one she wore until she was four and now she's wearing second.
07/09 Direct Link
Turning 60 in a few months. Entertained a 23 year old tonight. The energy is palpable! I love her. She reminds me of myself when I was her age. The reduction of energy over time is exactly what aging is all about. The little nagging aches and pains that are here today were not there 40 years ago!

Heading out to New Orleans to visit a friend who is a lot of fun. I hired her when working in DC and her references were two governors: Pennsylvania and Louisiana, so I called them and spoke directly to them!
07/10 Direct Link
Awfully nice to be greeted at the airport by a smiling friend in a BMW convertible with an open bottle of chilled champagne and a flute! In the evening, she hosted a party with 16 people who came over to see her new house and meet me. What a hoot that was! Everyone drank a lot, but some arrived half tanked...so New Orleans!

Drinking as a sport.

Traveled alone a couple of times this year. Soon to end. Chuck is really retiring. So excited! Beginning to plan the bucket list of travel for next year.
07/11 Direct Link
It is quite a shift in life to become selfish. All my life I’ve served others. I’ve created amazing theater pieces; I’ve developed training techniques; I’ve taught thousands; I’ve worked for philanthropic organizations, government agencies and progressive private concerns; I’ve volunteered for more organizations than I can remember or count; I’ve raised two children with two husbands; I’ve helped my father die in peace; helped my mother survive her loss; I’ve helped my parents raise my siblings with mixed results; I continue to support those siblings who ask for my help.
07/12 Direct Link
Twice my cousin has separated from her husband and twice returned. Now, they are living together and getting a divorce which will be filed in September, but, they will live together until she moves into her son’s rented condo on January 1st, my 60th birthday. We’ve been friends all of our lives. I was the flower girl at her mom and dad’s wedding. We were visiting when her youngest, Stephanie was born in 1988 and on Saturday she was married.

It’s a bit melancholic watching them interact, knowing they are in process of divorcing.
07/13 Direct Link
Surgery, surgery…the new common thread in my life it seems…hernias in the front and sciatica in the back…another year of recovery. Another year of reflection. It was to be our year of travel. But we are adjusting because travel is not so feasible when one has hernias and sciatica.

Chuck will relax into his new found freedom. He is working on it even now. Becoming more accustomed to having time to do as he please…no rushing…we don’t rush anymore…we used to rush all the time…always in a hurry…not anymore.
07/14 Direct Link
My parents were married for more than 50 years and lived a very faithful Roman Catholic life, raising us in the church. Of the seven children, six first weddings took place in Catholic churches...one in an evangelical Christian (she was born again...we joked that she was a "born again virgin" having been a tad promiscuous prior to her conversion after which she abstained until her marriage). I am the oldest and was the first to divorce. My second marriage was outdoors under a beautiful tree...decidedly not religious officiated by a friend who happened to be a minister.
07/15 Direct Link
What makes women think that slutty behavior is sexy and attractive? Do men reinforce it? I have a complicated family. My niece's wedding...why are we having a backlash? Women are now so very thrilled to be "Mrs." again. Like the 50's and early 60's. It irked me to to be called "Mrs." and was delighted when "Ms." was introduced. And very happy when it became the default, especially in the professional world where your marital status should be of no concern to anyone! It saddens me that the wedding industry has taken over in such a huge way....Boo!
07/16 Direct Link
So, now we have my brother divorcing after 34 years of marriage...and is happily hooked up in a civil union with his high school sweetheart! The next brother in line seems to have a marriage that has some tension in it and according to his wife "one day at a time"...their daughter just got married. The next brother has had ups and downs in his marriage but seems at this point to be quite happy. The next sibling, a woman, is a widow whose husband dropped dead of a heart attack three years ago leaving two young kids.
07/17 Direct Link
Then there's my next sister who has been with her husband since high school and they will be together until one of them dies. They love guns, conservative politics, camping, fishing...have lived in Pullman and Tri-Cities only.

The youngest is the born again who lived with her first husband until she could no longer tolerate the limitations of a bad sex life and the restrictive life of no alcohol, so she had an affair and started drinking...got a divorce and started her own production company based on her experience created religious CDs at her church.
07/18 Direct Link
Another cousin is as happy as a clam in her marriage. She has been the “mother” of the extended cousin family. Years of child care in her home…creator and decorator of fabulous cakes for all occasions…in love with her husband, the pilot. Children are grown and capable of managing their own lives. Always a project going on…the antique wooden motor boat…the cottage that is as cute as a button is always in progress…the deck atop the boathouse with glass railings so the view is pristine…bucolic indeed. Activity is always involved with delightful happy tasks.
07/19 Direct Link
“Second cousin one removed” is a rather hideous term that makes us sound distant. I called them nieces and nephews until the wedding when Chris said, well, now that I am an adult I just think of us as “cousins”. I like that.

Last night we told stories of our childhoods and particularly we told very colorful Louis Kovacs stories and the kids (ages 13 to 55) all loved it.

Yorkshire pudding with gravy and roast beef for dinner; scallops and lamb at the wedding; hamburgers, again, really?…Hungarian sausages on the fourth night; restaurant tonight.
07/20 Direct Link
Had a nice catch-up lunch with an old friend. We are walking back to his office along Baltimore Street which is always an adventure in navigation around an array of humanity. I said something that made my friend say "What a pisser!" when in the corner of our eyes we see a scraggy, scrawny, mangy old white guy in a wheel chair holding onto his exposed penis and pissing a tremendous arch of pee. Six inches closer to the left and our shoes would have been drenched. We couldn't stop laughing! "What a pisser!" What a pisser is right!
07/21 Direct Link
There are many very disturbed people in this world. Some hurt themselves and some hurt others. The Colorado event has all of us very sad. I cannot imagine how traumatized the people who were in the movie theater are...will they ever recover?

I'm grateful for modern medicine but preparing for a colonoscopy is pretty ugly...well I suppose having colon cancer would be worse. Recently I have had so many different doctors appointments coupled with CT Scans and MRIs...I am so done with it! But unfortunately have to keep at it or risk possibly grave consequences.
07/22 Direct Link
I love Mayor Bloomberg. He is on Face the Nation and making a very strong case for stronger gun control laws. This country is ridiculous about it's love of guns. Only one of my siblings is into guns and target shoots with regularly with her husband and grown kids. Ugh!

The shooting in Aurora, Colorado is so horrific! 90 UPS packages delivered to the killer's school and no one thought it was unusual. Really? The UPS driver didn't notice where these packages were coming from? Not to blame him, but he was certainly in a position to notice.
07/23 Direct Link
Hungarian Pick salami is the most amazing taste sensation ever! We used to get it in the US but now it’s not possible. The government decided that it was not pasteurized. But, in Canada it is still legal. So, cousin Pali is a sweetheart and bought us a chub to smuggle home in addition to the chub we’ve been eating all week.

How do you tell a beautiful young woman that if she does not stop gaining weight she will jeopardize her professional future. She is a first rate salesperson. She is teetering on obesity. Yikes!
07/24 Direct Link
Since I was 20 I lived away from my family. Never in the same city or town where they lived. Only briefly did a brother and sister-in-law live in the same City as we did.

When my father died I didn't really feel like he was gone...because we had not lived in the same place for so long I was accustomed to thinking about him and talking to him in my mind...so I still do that. I have to remind myself that he is dead. I love him so very much and miss him.
07/25 Direct Link
My family's politics skew from ultra liberal / progressive to radical conservative. My sister posts Mike Huckabee on her Facebook page...really.

I would not hang with my sister if I met her as a new person in my life. I only engage when I have to because she is so ridiculous in her politics. So Tea Party yet she and her husband and her father-in-law all work for a government contractor that Congress is mandated by law to fund no matter what. Yet, they begrudge government assistance to others. They get a big handout every month!
07/26 Direct Link
I bought a pink dancing flower for Ava Dora. It is the first decoration I have purchased for the makeover of our guest room into four-year-old fantasy. I hope she will love it as much as she loved the cradle…jumping straight up into my neck, her little knees in my breast plate…the thrill of it.

Getting ready to fly to Buffalo and drive to Toronto for a family wedding. There will be loads of fun and the youngsters love us, thank goodness!

Escaping the intense heat and humidity for a week away.
07/27 Direct Link
Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return. You come into this life alone and you leave it alone. Whether you die on a plane with a hundred other people, you are still leaving this world alone. Your atoms spin and the energy that is your soul becomes one with the universe and travels to its next mutation. It is humbling to sit beneath the tall trees and look out over a large expanse of water. Nature is overwhelming in its beauty, its majesty and its terror. I am grateful that I am living with health.
07/28 Direct Link
Weddings…fine affairs. I am stunned that there is a serious return to women taking their husband’s names and reveling in it. I don’t understand. The young ones getting married are thrilled to take on “Mrs.” And I don’t get it. I thought we were making progress but it seems that we are right back…with a major exception. Today women are expected to have a job as well as hold down the fort…since it is no longer possible for the average person to hold an average job that would take care of an entire family.
07/29 Direct Link
A beautiful gray, rainy Ontario day overlooking the lake…the sun trying desperately to break through the clouds…pushing and pulling, but not succeeding. The light is filling the sky but the sun is still hidden. Small spiders rule the cottage.

The water is cool but warmer than it’s been in 40 years so they say. It reminds me of the ocean’s temperature in Hawaii which is not usually likened to a lake in Ontario, Canada.

The Olympics are transmitted from London to this remote place via satellite. Tis a fucking miracle not forgotten.
07/30 Direct Link
Peace and solitude in the woods on a lake. The old fashioned way. A cottage on the slope with a dock and some boats…neighbors on either side far enough away so no one is bothered. People are polite…they wave, smile. Oh, Canada! It’s shear delight to be part of a civilized society.

This cottage life of my aunts and uncles is a traditional part of summer for many who live in Ontario. As a child I would have loved this. We had a lot on a lake and a portable toilet we bought from Sears.
07/31 Direct Link
The portable toilet was like a folding canvas stool but made of aluminum tubing instead of wood. A toilet seat clamped to it instead of a canvas stool seat…and a plastic bag was attached to catch the dirty deed. My dad made a makeshift enclosure using four steel stakes approximately four feet high driven into the ground and a piece of white flannel cloth draped around it. We could all see over the top of it when standing, but had privacy when sitting…although our feet were exposed. Nine of us slept in the canvas tent at night, closely.