Monday, June 28, 2004

Tangled Up In Blue

Last night was the Indigo Girls concert. It was really GREAT! They opened with "Tether" from the newest album and ended with "Galileo." In between they played (for my fellow IG lovers in the house) Pushing the Needle Too Far, Go, Get out the Map, Closer to Fine, Midnight Train to Georgia (With 3FiveHuman), Power of Two, Least Complicated, Love's Recovery, Perfect World, Shame on You, Fill it up Again, Heartache for Everyone, Ozziline, Moment of Forgiveness and I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot, but that's what I can remember. YAY!

I mentioned this when I saw the Girls in Birmingham, that I thought that Emily was losing weight. Last night it was even more evident. For the first time in a REALLY long time I saw her wearing a T-shirt with her shirt tucked in! Way to go, Emily! Amy looked very Amy-ish. I do enjoy her hair long, though.

It had been raining here in all day yesterday, so Lesley and I went prepared for rain. We ended up sitting in the car until 7:30 and then ran into Beth and some friends walking in. It was so great to see her!

Our seats were not where Lesley had expected them to be, but I still enjoyed where we ended up. It rained - HARD - right up until the Girls took the stage, then suddenly it cleared up and the stars and the moon were out! It was great!

I was an IG lover before I moved to Atlanta, but now that I've lived here I've really developed an even greater appreciation for them. It's been cool to catch one or both of them in a small club trying out some new music. I remember sitting at Eddie's Attic and hearing the birth of "Go" and "Dairy Queen." Very cool stuff.

It was also a really special time to be in the audience that New Year's Eve when Amy showed up at a Michelle Malone show at Eddie's and they sang "Wild Horses" together.

If I remember correctly, the first time I met Lesley is when R and I went to Tower Records when they debuted "Shaming of the Sun." We stood in this hideously long line to get them to sign our CD's and then got to hear them play a few songs.

The first time R met Susan was when the three of us road tripped down to Valdosta, GA to see the Girls there. The three of us still say that is one of the best shows we've seen of theirs.

It's been very cool the people that I've met standing in line for a general admission show or to get tickets or to get a number for a show at Eddie's. All of these people brought together by the power of music! Cool, huh?

So now I'm older, and general admission shows and cramped little clubs are pretty much a thing of the past, but to show up at a show when they tour each summer is still a favorite thing.

I looked around at the crowd last night, I saw lesbians, gay men, het couples, whole families, big groups of friends, young teenagers and 50-something Grandmas - all braving the rain, but still in good spirits because they knew that they would leave having felt like they had been sitting in a friend's really large living room, listening to and being a part of the music.

Amy and Emily: I'd just like to say, "Thanks Y'all!"



Sunday, June 27, 2004

Long time no write!

In the past, those of you in my blogging world that are nearest and dearest would be concerned about my lack of blogging over the last week. Fear not, friends! I've just been busy and when I wasn't busy, I was lazy.

Tonight a friend has been kind enough to GIVE me a ticket to the Indigo Girls concert! I'm so excited! The show will be at Chastain Park, which is a beautiful outdoor amphitheatre and, because my friend is well connected, we'll be sitting at a table, which is a prime place at these concerts! Opening for them will be 3FiveHuman (formerly Stereo Popsicle) which is a band I have not seen in ages! YAY!

Friday night Jef and I were asked by a friend of ours if we would come see her son play in his band. He is in a band called "Bishop Don" and they are actually quite good. The show took place at a club called "Vinyl." I walked in and immediately knew I was one of the oldest people there. It wasn't that long ago when I would have felt at ease at a place like this, but that time has passed. I found a big purple couch to sit on and proceeded to people watch until Jef arrived.

Things that we observed: The outfit of choice of today's 20-something female is a "flirty" mini skirt, a tank top, and high heeled sandals. 20-something guys still like to get drunk and act like idiots. If you are a 20-something, there is a really good chance that you are smoking.

Before I had gotten to the club, I was making the block to get back to a parking place I had spotted. While stopped at a red light, a very nicely dressed, but extremely drunk man with a cell phone attached to his ear, stumbled up to my window. He waited for me to roll down my window. I didn't. He loudly said, "Where is 17th street?" I pointed. He apparently didn't think I understood him, so he said it louder this time, "Where is 17th street?!!?" I pointed again. He looked at me a minute and then said, "Can you give me a ride?" I shook my head no. He was confused by this and then asked, "You don't have any room?" I was the only person in my 4 person car, but I said, "Yes, that's exactly it." Luckily the light turned green and I drove away. After I parked, I saw that he found 17th street and some friends. I was glad.

My cat Shelby likes to sit on top of my monitor and snooze when I'm sitting at the computer. Occasionally she likes to rest her tail right in the middle of the screen. I know she does it on purpose because I can almost hear her laughing. I'll move her tail out of the way and then she looks at me indignantly (as only a cat can) and then proceeds to clean her tail where I just touched it. How dare I besmirch her tail! Cats are so funny!

Does anyone else have animals that like to oversee their computer activity? If so, how do they accomplish this?

I'll blog more tomorrow with a review of the IG show!



Sunday, June 20, 2004

Peeing and Pooping
or Two Sisters Converse About Life, Love and Peaceful Eliminating of Waste at Work

Do you know how it's a universal rule that men don't like it when another man stands right next to him at the urinal? Well, women have "rules," too. I'm not at all sure how we got on the subject, but my sister and I had this conversation via IM the other day:

Me: Do you know what else I don't like? People talking to me while I'm peeing.
Her: or pooping
Her: or trying to poop at work
Her: or having to poop at work
Her: that pisses me off!
Me: Pooping pisses you off! ROFLMAO!
Me: I don't mind pooping at work, just so long as you don't talk to me while I'm in the process.
Her: having to Poop at work
Her: in a 4 stall bathroom
Her: with 50 women
Her: so obviously
Her: SOMEONE is coming in while you are in there
Me: Well, I always thought about it in the sense that if lots of women are always in there, no one knows for sure if you are the one associated with the smell. LOLOLOLOL!
Her: well they do if there are only 2 of you
Her: I guess you could walk out and go
Her: Damn what crawled up in you and died....
Her: lol
Me: Or (and I have done this) wait until all the stalls are occupied and run out, wash your hands and run before they come out of their stalls!
Her: I have done that too
Her: and the stall tactic
Her: you go in
Her: someone follows you
Her: you act like your hands are sticky
Her: walk out and come back later
Her: oh
Me: ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!
Her: and you wash your hands before you leave
Her: like that waz the purpose
Her: i HATE it when
Her: someone who likes me follows me into the bathroom................
Her: talking....................
Her: and I have to poop
Her: peeing doesn't bother me
Her: they talk as you walk in
Her: and you get in the stall
Her: and they get in a stall
Her: I am just like
Her: now what the F?
Her: they for SURE gonna know it was you pooping
Her: exactly
Her: they have never shut up from walking in to sitting down
Her: speaking of... I gotta go p brb
Me: lol!



Thursday, June 17, 2004

Embracing my Womanhood

My Mom had just found her biological sister and had gotten to spend some time with her. She remarked that she admired her sister because she seemed so in touch with being a woman. I wasn't really sure what she meant by that, however if my Mom were still with us today, I think she would admire me for being at least partially in touch with being a woman.

Wednesday was such a good day! In the morning I was online and was talking to a friend who unexpectedly had "gotten some" last night after having quite a long dry spell. She was glowing from the experience and giddy with the possibility of what it will mean. I shared in her glowing and giddiness and we were both so excited that we decided to meet for lunch. (We went to a burrito joint, and the Freudian connotations were not lost on me!) We giggled like school girls as she recounted how the experience came to happen, and then we went back to her apartment to kick off our shoes, put our feet up and talk further, but this time about more serious subjects. She had this amazing idea that I had already thought of, but was too shy to share with her. It was one of those moments where your heart says, "Yay! Somebody gets me!"

After I left her apartment, I went by the place of employment of another friend. She and her co-worker were having a slow day, so were able to sit and talk about things that women talk about - homes, fears, struggles, health issues, their significant others, among other things. I had just met my friend's co-worker that day and by the time we parted, I felt like there was the beginning of a real friendship there.

I spoke on the phone to three of my closest friends. Two were women that have known me for years and despite that, still love me, and the other was probably the closest thing I'll have to a brother.

I called a friend, knowing she was at work, and left her a message on her answering machine letting her know that I miss her and how another friend and I were thinking of her recently and it made us smile. I hope when she got the message that it made her feel loved.

I talked online to a person that used to be just my friend's partner, and has now become a really close friend of mine that I love and someone who I am so happy ended up with my friend.

I talked online to my sister, which progressed to a phone call to discuss plans for her wedding. I felt so proud that she was hearing and taking to heart some of my suggestions for her wonderful day and I can't wait to be a part of it all!

Finally, I spoke with my friend, (who's partner I was talking about previously) who I am so thankful to have back in my life after a long period of time that we were both silent.

Yes, it's days like these that I love being a woman and having such wonderful women in my life. It's days like these that I think my Mom would admire me.



Sunday, June 13, 2004

I love Sundays!

I know this is a recurring theme with me, but it's true!

Today I woke up and went to church with M. Even though you don't get to talk during the service, there is something comforting about having someone you love and who is of a similar spiritual mind sitting next to you.

As I left the sanctuary, my chaplain, Joanne comes up to me to ask me how my job search is going. I tell her about my interview tomorrow, and she says, "OK, let's pray about it!" We sit down and we pray. Under normal circumstances, I'm not a "OK, let's pray about it!" type person, but Joanne is such a sweet and wonderful presence that you can't help but be a "OK, let's pray about it!" person with her!

I left church and went and got Jef and we were off to meet JC and Anshu for brunch at Murphy's in Virginia Highland. I left Jef up front while I went to the restroom and when I came back, I saw these two BEAUTIFUL, curvaceous Indian diva's talking to Jef. Ahh! This must be JC and Anshu! Lo and behold, it was!

Even though I've seen pictures of JC before and commented on how gorgeous she is, she's even MORE gorgeous in person! It was so cool to be able to see her beautiful eyes and smile in person and hear the voice behind the writing!

Anshu was absolutely beautiful as well. She is not a blogger because she says she is not a writer, but a photographer. We encouraged her to do a photo blog, especially after she leaves Atlanta to go to Boston. By the time we parted, I think she was giving it serious consideration.

We had wonderful food, wonderful conversation and wonderful company. It was just WONDERFUL! ;-)

Now, I want to confirm that everyone knows that I don't go around throwing the phrase "beautiful" and "gorgeous" at just anyone. In my opinion, you have to be beautiful on the inside as well as the outside to garner that praise from me, and both of these women satisfied that criteria.

Not only that, but they had beautiful eyebrows, too! (All of us, except for Jef, had our eyebrows groomed within the last week)

Hopefully the opportunity to spend more time with these women will present itself as I have already thought of many more questions that I'd like to ask them!

Thank you for your company, JC, Anshu and Jef! It was really a lot of fun!



Saturday, June 12, 2004

Sleep Well, Nancy

I must admit that for the most part, I've been mostly avoiding all the hoop-la that went on last week for Ronald Reagan's long good bye. Yes, I know he was an important figure in our country's history and all, but it did seem like it was never ending.

Inevitably, I would flip through the channels and stop for a minute when the cameras were on Nancy. She was ever stoic in her myriad of black suits. Each time I saw her she looked more and more tired and lost.

There was one time when she was being filmed having a moment "alone" with the flag draped coffin of her husband when he was Washington. I watched as she very gently stroked the flag, almost as if it was her husband's skin. She spoke a few words which, (being able to read lips to a degree) I was able to make out to be "I love you" and "I miss you." Then she very lightly put her cheek upon the coffin before turning to walk away. My heart, as I'm sure everyone else's heart did, just ached for her.

You see, it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican in times like these. This is a non-partisan human experience that ALL of us can relate to.

Last night, I decided that I would watch the final ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He had specified that he wanted his burial to be at sunset and what a beautiful sunset it was. The honor guard brought the coffin in and put it on the stage and the Eulogies from the children began. All of them were so beautiful and poignant and had a bit of humor in them, which I think President Reagan would have approved of.

The honor guard then took the coffin to the burial site led by a bagpiper playing Amazing Grace.

I couldn't help but have a sigh of relief when I saw they had a chair for Nancy. The camera focused in on her during the graveside service and she looked so tired, so small and so frail, not to mention immensely sad.

The honor guard then folded the flag in the traditional triangle and it was presented to Nancy. I could not make out the words that the officer presenting the flag to her said, but it obviously affected her. She clutched the flag to her chest as she was helped up and led to the coffin for a final good bye.

This woman who had shown so much resolve the whole week before, finally did in public what I think until then she only kept for private times. She placed the folded flag on top of the coffin, placed her hands and her cheek on the coffin and dissolved into tears.

Ron, Patti and Michael were quickly at her side crying with her and trying to comfort her as best they could. As the country looked on, I'm sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

As most of you know, Michael was adopted by President Reagan when he was married to Jane Wyman. Ron and Patti are the biological children of President Reagan and Nancy. There was one scene that I thought was especially sweet as the children gathered around Nancy. Ron stepped away from his Mother's side and invited Michael to be at her side, as he had been standing behind her up until that point. Michael hugged and kissed Nancy as Ron looked on. I thought that was such a selfless gesture on Ron's part.

My hope, as I wiped away my tears for this grieving family, is that Nancy would be able to go home and sleep. To take off her heels and hose and black suit and change into her most comfortable clothes and be in her most comfortable place and sleep.

Sleep well, Nancy.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ray Charles - 1930-2004

The world lost a treasure today.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Charles.

My name is Prince!

OK, maybe not. ;-)

Jef and I are getting the pleasure of meeting JC, LIVE AND IN PERSON, on Sunday. Anshu, JC's friend, and Jef's partner, 2F, are going to be there too, but it's all about JC, Jef and me! (Just kidding!)

Jef and JC had a conversation on the phone last night as they were discussing some financial stuff regarding JC purchasing a home. (Jef is a very talented Mortgage Broker) After they finished their "business" talk, I was told they moved on to personal stuff.

Jef and I talked late last night and he recounted how JC called me "Joan." (rhymes with loan) My first thought about that was "Why would she call me "Joan" (rhymes with own) - she knows me? DUH! That's what it looks like to the general public and since she only knows me in the cyberworld (at least until Sunday) She would have not heard me introduce myself or someone call my name!

Jef then went on to explain to JC that my name is spelled J-O-A-N, but pronounced "Jo-Ann."

Needless to say, having people call me "Joan" (rhymes with bone) has been something I've lived with my entire life. I correct people politely at first, and if I don't see you on a regular basis or we don't become friends, I don't hold it against you if you call me "Joan" (rhymes with moan) again, but I will correct you again.

However, if I see you all the time, and we become friends, I must admit to getting a little testy if you call me "Joan." (rhymes with shown) As a matter of fact, I had a little epiphany the other day about a person who, after knowing me for at least 6 months and proclaiming to be my friend, still called me "Joan." (rhymes with grown) I realized that if she didn't have the respect to learn my name after that length of time, then why was I choosing to spend time with her? Yep, I think I will wish her well and release her.

"So why is your name spelled and pronounced the way it is?" is a question I get often. I am named after my paternal Grandmother, who passed away before I was born. When I asked that question of my Dad, he didn't have any answers for me other than, "That's just what your Great Grandmother wanted to name your Grandmother." My Dad always did have a wonderful grasp of the obvious!

"So why don't you spell your name differently or put an accent over the "A" or capitalize the "A?" are also questions I have gotten. Quite simply, changing my name in any way, changes my identity. I am Joan.

Another thing that Jef and I talked about last night was the correct pronunciation of JC and Anshu's names. (No, it's not just pronounced JAY-CEE! Those who know her understand!) I've always been very cognizant of correct pronunciation and spelling of names as a result of my own name, so JC and Anshu, if I don't get it right, please correct me!

I had the good fortune to grow up in a small town from the time I was in 4th grade until I graduated High School. Almost 10 years ago, I went to my 10 year high school reunion, (yep, 20 year reunion is coming up!) and one of my friends came up to me and said, "You know, Joan, whenever anyone tells me their name is "Jo Ann," I spell it J-O-A-N. That's the only way I've known to spell it after growing up with you!" I thought that was such a sweet thing to say.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!



Monday, June 07, 2004

Yes, I really am looking at you...

I have an eye condition called strabismus. I found the following definition of what I have on an optometrists website:

Strabismus or tropia are the medical terms for eye conditions commonly called by various names: eye turns, crossed eyes, cross-eyed, wall-eyes, wandering eyes, deviating eye, etc. Strabismus is not the same condition as "lazy eye" (amblyopia).

A strabismus is defined as a condition in which the eyes deviate (turn) when looking at the object of regard. The object of regard would be the target that you, the patient, regards (aims eyes toward, looks at!). Eye doctors generally look for the presence of a strabismus when looking at distance (20 feet or more); at near (16 inches for an adult and 13 inches for a child); and the lateral and vertical directions (up, down, left, or right).

When the eye turn occurs all of the time, it is called constant strabismus. When the eye turn occurs only some of the time, it is called intermittent strabismus. With intermittent strabismus, the eye turn might be observed only occasionally, such as during stressful situations or when the person is ill.

I was told by my Mom that was I born with this and when they took me to the Doctor about it when I was young, my parents were told that I would grow out of it. Well, those Doctor's were wrong. 37 years later, I still have it.

Of course it doesn't help things any that I cannot remember the last time I was NOT stressed and that is a big contributor to strabismus!

My friends and family have told me that for the most part, after they have been around me for a while, they hardly notice it. However, if you haven't seen me for a while, or I'm more stressed than usual, it's really pronounced.

I have worked in some sort of Customer Service my entire life. This, of course, requires dealing directly with the public. One of the things that is SO frustrating for me was when people would look behind them to see who I was talking to. Granted, if you don't know me, you don't know that I have strabismus, and I understand that. However if I have to tell one more person, "Yes, I'm talking to YOU!" while pointing to them, I'm going to scream! ;-)

Another thing that having strabismus causes is loss of depth perception. It's really not that noticeable until I am going down stairs and sometimes up stairs. Jef lives on a hill and there is 2 sets of stairs that you have to go up to get to his front porch. The first set is kind of steep and they slant to the side and it's really kind of scary for me to go up or down. Luckily, Jef knows this and usually lets me put a hand on his shoulder when he's with me going up or down the steps.

When I finally made it to an optometrist after many years of not going, he told me the name of what I had. I had gone through childhood and a chunk of my young adulthood thinking I had a "Lazy eye." The optometrist corrected me and told me that I did NOT have a "Lazy eye" but a strabismus. For some reason that really meant a lot to me. I guess it's the negative connotation of the word "Lazy," but I was really glad to not have that stigma. Interesting, huh?

I could have surgery, but unfortunately, because I'm an adult, the chances of my getting double vision as a result of the surgery are unacceptably high. Normally kids get diagnosed with this early and they are able to successfully have the surgery. However adult eyes don't always react as well, thus the double vision. Therefore, I need to develop more patience for those who don't realize that I am looking at them!

The other day a friend was at my house and he looked into the eyes of my cat, Fred, and said, "Both of her eyes are not looking at me!" I replied, "Well, she takes after her Mama!"

Well there you go...yet another peek into my world, this time from the perspective of the "eye direction challenged."



Saturday, June 05, 2004

One more time for the hearing impaired?

Those of you that know me in person, have heard me say this phrase at least once. No, it's not just another attempt to be cute or funny, I actually need for you to repeat yourself.

When I was itty bitty, I am told that I had a really high fever and as a result it short circuited some of the nerves in my ears. It was determined that I had lost some of the higher registers of my hearing. They tried to put a hearing aid on me, but by the time they fitted me for it, ordered it and then gave it to me, I had already adapted to my new world, and screamed bloody murder when they put the hearing aid on me. (I have no memory of this, as it happened when I was quite small, and I'm going on what Mom and Dad told me about this.) I had already learned to combine hearing what a person said and filling in the blanks with lip reading.

When people find out that I can lip read, they assume that if they just mouth words at me, I'll understand what they are saying. I'm better at this than most people, but not that good. It truly is the combination of the sound of the words and the way the words are formed that make my brain understand what you are saying.

Over the years, I have come to understand situations that are especially hard for me to hear:

1. It's a noisy place.
2. I've just met you.
3. You have an accent I'm not used to.
4. You cover your mouth when you are talking or I can't see your mouth when you are talking.

That last one is kind of weird though because, as long as you don't mumble or whisper, I can hear you fine on the phone, for the most part.

Once I get to know you and I'm used to the way you form your words, I generally have no problem understanding you. However, you may walk ahead of me and be talking, or we could be in a crowded restaurant with loud music and you'll hear the old familiar phrase, "One more time for the hearing impaired?"

If you've read my blog for any length of time, (especially my last post) you know that I LOVE music. There are lots of times that I cannot make out what a singer is saying in their songs.

When I was a kid, I did two things to remedy this. I would buy the album, put it on my stereo, put on my headphones and write down the lyrics as I listened to the song over and over again, or I would buy a "Song Hits" or "Hit Parader" magazine.

I don't even know if they publish "Song Hits" or "Hit Parader" magazine anymore. They were magazines that had lyrics to the current hits in them, as well as stories about the bands.

When I was a kid, we would go to Buddies Grocery store (which later became Winn Dixie), and I would go to the magazine section of the store and sit there and memorize songs while Mom and Dad shopped. Every once in a while Mom and Dad would buy me a copy to take home, but for the most part, I was confined to the time it took to buy groceries and check out to memorize the songs. I was usually successful and was "the kid that knew the words to all the songs."

I felt like I hit a gold mine when an album came with a lyric sheet. I studied the lyric sheets from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" like it was the most important thing in the world, and at that time, it was.

In 6th grade, the movie "Grease" came out. OH HOW MY FRIENDS AND I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!! We would act out whole scenes of the movie at recess. On Fridays, if we had been good that week, Mrs. Wade would let us use last period to act out whole scenes of the movie. The boys were into the movie, but no one was ballsy enough to sing in front of the class, so I played "Danny" in most of our productions. I also was "Rizzo." Man, did I wear out that album learning all of Danny and Rizzo's parts!

...but I digressed...

Ultimately, I wanted to give you a peek into the life of a girl with hearing challenges. It was and continues to be an interesting journey both for myself and the ones around me.

And, if you happen to work for a record company, and have a say in such things, put lyric sheets in more CD's!



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