Saturday, December 31, 2005

#503 NO plans for the Evening!

Well, I didn't have to work up any enthusiasm after all. I looked out the front door at about 4 pm, and there was a dusting of snow. But then it stopped, and I thought, well, ok, that's not a show stopper. A 6:30 pm I heard very loud strange thumpings and bangings and crashings out front, and I looked out the door in time to see the town plowtruck wending its way from mailbox to mailbox gathering crash points. And four inches of snow on the ground. (I hope my mailbox survived....) Now, THAT's the show stopper. The party is a good 40 minute drive away, through woods. If the snow keeps up I wouldn't be able to get up my street, let alone the driveway, when I got home.

(The thermometer on the door says 40 degrees. Nothing nicer on a 350' driveway than frozen slush.)

Well, at least my hair is clean.

But what am I going to do with three bottles of champagne and a bowl of pomegranate sections?

#502 Plans for the Evening?

In an effort to fix whatever is wrong with the formatting of this journal on AOL, I changed to use a different template (photo, profile, and links on the left, different colors, etc - you just choose one from a selection offered by Blogger). It not only didn't work, it is now broken on Netscape, too! The photo came out on the top left ok, but the profile and links were way down on the bottom. Sigh. I don't understand. I'm going back to the old template. You'll probably see it in a few hours.

I'm half considering going to a party tonight. Depends on whether I can get to the stores in time to pick up something decent to contribute, and whether I can get some stuff finished that has to be done by Monday. And my hair washed. And some kind of enthusiasm worked up.

Piper is going to want some specific stock info early next week - he told me there'd be quarterly reports arriving in December (most of the stock we want to sell is "book entry", no certificates) and I should save the reports for him. Well, I ain't seen no quarterly reports! I'll have to dig and see what I can find of some old ones.


Friday, December 30, 2005

#501 Why I Need TV

Daughter, you will be thrilled to know that I haven't had a television set on for more than 6 hours total in the past several weeks. The latest Survivor and The Amazing Race ended, and PBS has been screwing around with the schedules and obsessed with the holidays, so I can't get my Ballykissangel fix, so one day I didn't turn a TV on, and haven't much since.

I used to say that living alone, I needed a television on in the background to remind me of time passing, otherwise I'd get lost in time and space. Well, that's true to some degree. Used to be when I heard the pretty lady judge's voice, I automatically started looking for something to eat. When I heard the late night shows, I started thinking about bed.

Now, without the TV, I often discover that it's 11 pm and I haven't eaten anything all day. And 3 am comes on surprisingly fast. But that's not the biggest problem!

I have rediscovered why I need voices in the background.

It keeps the music out of my brain.

You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head, and it keeps playing over and over? I get that in spades! When it's quiet in the house, whatever was the last piece of music I heard keeps running through my head. Classical, folk, belly dance, carols in a store, instrumental or voice, it doesn't matter. Sometimes it's so strong and so loud I can't think of anything else. It's driving me batty. One day without thinking I played the Tibetan singing bowls CD in the van as I was heading home, and that night I was ready to shoot myself. The past three days it's been Joan Baez's Please Come to Boston.

Having the TV or talk radio on keeps it at bay.

I refuse to give in to it. I won't be forced to turn the TV or radio on.

I'm trying an experiment this evening. I loaded the CD player with five hours of mixed genres, set it for random, and we'll see what happens.

If you find me on your doorstep in the middle of the night, screaming "Make it stop! Make it stop!", you'll know it backfired.


#500.3 I Fixed the Missing "About Me"

It was post #495 that was messing up the formatting - AOL as a browser doesn't seem to handle tables very well. I removed the outer table, and I think it's fixed now.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

#500 Searching for...

I have noticed that my journal entries show up in Google searches. Not right away, it takes a while, but eventually. So if I were to put the name of someone I'm looking for in here, and if that person or someone who knows them were to "google" them, they'll see my entry. Wow. A possible source of leads! (I'm finding those stupid people-finder sites to be a waste of time and money. Either they give you a free load of undifferentiated garbage, or they charge you first, then give you garbage.) So, here goes:

I am searching for Raymond S. Gutosky, Raymond Gutosky, Ray Gutosky, born 1943-45, originally from Lopez, Pa., went to Pitt. Univ.
I am searching for Joseph M. Kulsicavage, Joseph Kulsicavage, Joe Kulsicavage, born 1943-45, went to Turnpike HS, Mildred, Pa.
I am searching for Deloris Delovich (maiden name), born 1943-45, originally from Lopez, Pa.
I am searching for Ronald Riordan, Ron Riordan, born 1943-45, went to Turnpike HS, Mildred, Pa.
I am searching for Eugene Richley, Gene Richley, born 1943-45, went to Turnpike HS, Mildred, Pa.
I am searching for Edward Guy Wood, Edward G. Wood, Edward Wood, Ed Wood, born 1943-46, was a member of Washington DC Mensa in the 80s.
I am searching for John Wolford, born 1943-45, went to Benton HS, Benton, Pa.
I am searching for Robert Morris Derrick, Robert M. Derrick, Robert Derrick, Bob Derrick, born 1941-44, originally from Shamokin, Pa, big dimple in his chin. [Update 03/12/10 - I have discovered through the Social Security death lists that Bob Derrick died in the late '90s.]
I am searching for Judy Belcher (maiden name), born 1943-45, went to Benton HS, Benton, Pa.
I am searching for Diane Bithell (maiden name), born 1943-45, originally from Ottawa, Canada.

I guess that'll do it for now. If you have any information on these people, leave me a comment with any details you have. Remember, if there is contact information in the comment, I WILL NOT publish the comment. It will remain private between you and me.

If you and I are searching for the same names, hey, maybe you and I know each other!

If you actually know these people, you could point them to this journal (you can send them the link to this entry, found at the bottom of the entry) instead of sending me info. Maybe they'll recognize the photo (20-40 years later? Yeah, sure!) and they can contact me themselves. Tell them it's the itty bitty gal from the air force base. All but Diane will recognize that description. Tell Diane it's her American friend from the 7th grade.



#499 Weird Stuff

I had a terrible time with AOL when I signed in this morning. There was nothing in the mail box (last night there were 40+ emails - most are notes from far-flung friends that I am very late in responding to, bad me), nothing in the "Favorites" list, and both journals were missing from the navigation bar. Whoa!

I went to, and was able to at least get to my mail, but it was awkward. I wondered what was wrong with my AOL.

Several hours and much frustration later I figured it out. Last night, just before shutting down, I had switched from my primary AOL id to an alternate screenname to check something, and hadn't switched back. When AOL came up this morning, it was still under the alternate id. Oops....

There's a new meme going around AOL Journals now - you have to describe five weird habits you have. One woman, for example, eats colored candies (M&Ms, Skittles, etc.) only in a certain color order, and never fewer than two at a time. Yeah, ok, that's weird.

That got me thinking about my weird habits.

I can't think of any! Maybe I have some habits that others don't, but there are very logical reasons (like when I will always choose the route with the fewest turns, even if it's longer, simply because it's easier and I can think about other things), and therefore they're not weird. Or something like that. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Maybe it's that I don't much form habits. Maybe that's my weirdness. Like I don't change the sheets on any kind of schedule - something has to scream at me "Change the sheets you slattern!", like the smell, or the inch of cat hair on them or something. And I don't remember to balance the checkbook. I'm about two years behind on that now. I keep promising myself I will sit down and pay bills etc. on the 1st and the 15th of every month. I've been making that promise for 40 years now, and it rarely happens. Bills sometimes don't get paid until someone threatens to cut something off (like the electricity, or my left pinky finger). And yet I have an excellent credit rating, so there's no incentive to do better. Go figure.

Here's one, maybe: When I stay in a hotel, I clean up after myself better than I do at home. I even make the bed in the morning if I'm going to be there multiple days, and I leave a note to the maid not to bother changing it. That's probably weird.

Another: I'm always late. Even if I leave especially early for some event, something will invariably happen along the way to make me late. It's so bad most of my friends will tell me something is scheduled a half hour earlier than actual, just to give me lead time. But that's not a habit - that's how my life goes!

Not a habit, more a personality quirk: I can't accept anything just because someone says it's so. I have to examine it and question it and touch it and poke it until I fully understand it and absorb it inside myself. When the doctor first gave Jay the brain cancer diagnosis, I asked "What type of cells are involved?", and she answered "That's not something you need to be concerned about. It wouldn't mean anything to you.", and Jay actually stiffened and gasped and grabbed my arm. He knew that's not something anyone can say to me and live.

Can't think of anything else. Anyone? (And don't get smart! I'm moderating comments!)


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

#498 Adversarial Law

Neighbor Nan and I got to talking about mediated divorces yesterday. I complained that as soon as you get two lawyers involved, if things weren't nasty before, they get nasty real quick, because the lawyers aren't really fighting for their clients, they're just fighting to score against each other. Nan said that in Austria, a divorce is handled by one lawyer, who advises both parties on what is equitable, fair, and legal.

That isn't allowed in the US.

I've known a lot of lawyers, and I've found that when you find one who likes to go to court, who looks forward to the fray, he or she is usually less interested in truth and justice, and more interested in simply winning. Regardless of what's right.

I used to laugh at The Company lawyers. When they smelled conflict, you could almost hear the swords rattling against the shields. And once they mounted up, they weren't going to let anything like compromise or offers or new information deter them from battle, from that taste of blood and victory.

In France, according to Jay and his father at least, the object of the courts is to find the truth. Cases are presided over by a panel of judges, who direct the research and investigation, and choose, summon, and question the witnesses. They want the whole truth, not someone's filtered and slanted version of it, and they keep probing until they are satisfied they've got it. Contrast this with American courts, where the object often seems to be to prevent the whole truth from coming out, to pit one attorney's skill at obfuscation and blocking against another's, winner take all.

This means that in the US, the outcome of family, civil, and criminal cases is often determined not by the truth and law, but by whose lawyer could dance faster. Which actually translates to who had the most money. Which explains a lot about the demographics of the prisons.

If I were innocent, I'd want a French court. If I were guilty, I'd want an American court and a rich uncle. That doesn't sound nice at all.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

#497 Tea With a Neighbor

My doorbell rang midmorning today, well before I was washed or dressed. There was a woman on my doorstep, gray hair, right arm in a sling. A stranger. No car in the driveway. She introduced herself in a strong Austrian accent, and said that she had wanted to meet me for several years, and here she is. Hello. She pretty much asked me to invite her in for tea.


I explained that my house was not in company condition (neither was I at the moment, for that matter) and opened the door a little more to show her. (Eek!) So she invited me to her house, just down the street, for tea, at 3 pm.

Where I got the rest of the story.

Later, much later, like just a few minutes ago, it occurred to me that her presentation at my door was exactly that of those home invasion teams, where a harmless-looking person asks entry, and then lets her cronies in to rob the occupants. At the time, it never occurred to me to wonder what evil weapon she might have had in that sling. Wow. Until a few minutes ago, if it hadn't been for my mess, I could have been easy pickings!

But, of course, that wasn't the case. She was exactly what she claimed to be.

The story: Back in the early summer of 2001, when Jay was blind, partially paralyzed, and in a wheelchair, some neighbors hosted a block party, and Jay and I went. This woman (I'll call her Nan) was living in Brooklyn and visiting friends on our street , and also went to the party. She says she was very struck by the "obvious care, love, and devotion" I showed Jay that day. She never forgot it. She kept going on about it. It impressed her so much she wanted to meet me.

Two years ago, her friends moved, and Nan and her husband bought the house from them and moved up here. She asked around, trying to find out who I was and where I lived, but nobody was sure (this is not really a very neighborly street, everybody works and half the people are seasonal, and I don't get around much), until the Hairless Hunk recognized her description and told her where I lived.

So that's why she appeared on my doorstep.

I stayed only an hour, had to go to the post office and the bank. She had fallen on the ice two weeks ago and broken her wrist - that's why the sling. She can't drive now, so I offered her my services. Dental appointment coming up, she'll call.

She asked how old Jay was when he died, and I said 49, I was 8 years older than he. That surprised her. She said that I looked so young at the block party, she thought at first I was his daughter, but the interplay between us was so intense it confused her, and people said yes, that's his wife. (Daughter, is it possible that over the past four years she has confused you and me? Were you at that block party? I seem to think you were.)

So, I think I may have acquired a new friend. I sorta wanted someone nearby to have casual kitchen table visits with. On the other hand, I cherish my privacy. On the third hand, she seems to know almost everyone else on the street, so maybe through her I'll meet more people.

Oh, fooey. Stop overthinking it. Just go with it for once.


#496 Missing the Photo?

I just discovered that viewed through AOL, the right column (over there--->), with the "About Me" and the photo, is missing. AOL screwed up the formatting somehow. Or the formatting IS screwed up. Looks fine on Netscape, though. So if you don't see the photo on the right, try another browser.

I have been invited to tea at a neighbor's at 3, so I have to run. Will return later.


Monday, December 26, 2005

#495 Quiz - What's Important to Me

[May 2011 update: A lot of people are getting here through a search for "what's important to me". Please note that the link below still works, I think, but the quiz you'll find there is NOT the same quiz I took way back when. The new quiz is rather short and shallow. And the pie chart I got when I took it no longer shows.]

Life Piechart -
Take this quiz at

Health is most important in your life.

Having a high focus on health indicates that you are very health-conscious and you realize that if you don't have your health, you have nothing. You are devoted to living healthy.

I don't know why they chose "Health". Seems like they could have just as easily chosen Love, or Fun, or Career. Of course, I eat vegetables and fruit. I guess they thought that was more important than the fact that I smoke/have smoked.

Love or Fun would have been most accurate.

I think Money got high because I said I will pick up pennies on the street (I consider them lucky. I don't spend lucky coins.) Family got low because none of my family lives nearby.

This quiz actually reflects more one's circumstances than where one places importance.

Oh, well. I like that I seem to have come out fairly well-rounded.


#494 Throwing Out, or Throwing Up?

My stomach is still queasy today, worse than yesterday. That "hollow" feeling in the stomach with the "lumpy" feeling in the throat. I can't decide whether to throw up or cry. I don't know whether it's Daughter's virus visiting or the aftereffects of what I saw Saturday, but either way, I wish it would stop.

I intend to work in the basement all day today, throw out some more junk. It's raining outside, so even though I really want to get a long walk in, I can't, without risking a cold on top of whatever else is going on inside me. Although I may still risk a cold - the basement is chilly (and the dehumidifier is iced up again).

What a droopy dreary day. It's 11:30 am, and I have all the lights on. Not conducive to happy thoughts.

Maybe I'll go eat a whole bag of Lindt Truffles. Then if I throw up, it's Win-Win.

See? I can have happy thoughts!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

#493 A Glimpse

Quick entry - queasy stomach today, but nothing at all like Daughter had Saturday.

On the way home yesterday, I did one of my favorite things, just wandering on a road I'd never been on before just to see where it went, to find new things, to try to get lost. I do that a lot. It's how I found that amazing omelet I'll never find again.

Out of the blue, I saw something absolutely amazing, something that I truly believe I was meant to see. I would never have seen it had I not taken that road. I would not have seen it had I been a few seconds earlier at that particular spot, or a few seconds later. But there it was, and it was visible only for a few seconds, only at that exact moment! I could pass that spot a thousand times on purpose at different times, and look for it, and would not be able to see it. But I saw it. Out of the blue. I think some greater power put me in that spot at that exact moment. The timing is the important part.

A reward. Something I was meant to see. Never mind what. It just couldn't have been chance.

And people scowl at me when I say I believe in fate.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

#492 I Believe

"Life isn't measured by the breaths you take; but by the moments that take your breath away." -Unknown


Hercules told me a joke at dinner Friday night about a couple discussing sending out Christmas cards. They were concerned that the cards wished "Peace on Earth". Maybe they shouldn't send them. After all, they didn't want to look unpatriotic....

I believe.

I do believe in some form of reincarnation. I have powerful and personal reasons for my belief.

I believe that we come back over and over to learn lessons. That each pass through, there's some important lesson or lessons we are to learn, and by paying attention and learning these lessons, we grow in some way. Call it spiritual strength if you like. Those whom people say have "old souls" aren't really older, they've just learned more of the lessons.

I believe that the pain and hardship some people suffer in the life they are born into has a purpose. It's how they are started on the path to knowledge. It's the necessary first step of their lesson.

I believe that at some point you learn enough to reach completion and "graduate". I suspect that "God" is a committee of completed souls.

I believe that most of those lessons have to do with interpersonal relations and care of the earth and all that has been given us for our use, although it's really much bigger than that, it's beyond mere planet, it's beyond universal concepts. It has to do with the source of energy, the spinning. I have the feeling but I don't have the words to describe it.

I believe that the important people who come into and leave our lives with great effect are there for a purpose, as are we. Either we are to teach them something, or they are to teach us, or both. Sometimes it's easy to identify these people, sometimes not, but it's important to pay attention. To share what you have to offer. To learn what they have to teach. I call these people intersectors. It's important not to push away an intersector. It's important not to turn away from being one, no matter how difficult it becomes.

I believe that the earthly world is a great temptation. To become too engrossed in getting power, in telling your neighbors how to live, in fussing over physical constructs that in the greater scheme don't really matter, takes away from the real purpose of life.

I believe that most organized religion keeps people from the introspection required to learn their own lessons. I believe this is on purpose.

Perhaps I should be a Buddhist nun. (Although I have looked into Buddhism, and that ain't quite it.... Close, but not quite. Or maybe that's lessons 956 and 957 for me, next life.)


I was born into a family where there was no love. Our father beat us and berated us all physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our mother pretty much left us to suffer or survive as best we could. My siblings played one against another to gain favor or redirect beatings. We tried to love each other because we thought that was the way it was supposed to be, but anger and hate and avoidance and past betrayals and a lack of faith and trust made it near impossible. Besides, we didn't know how.

When my father died, my mother was finally able to look up and see the damage that had been done, and she tried to repair or make up for what she could, but she didn't know how either, and it was too late anyway.

I grew up with no concept of what it was to love without fear, and to be loved for myself.

We can't really know what our own lessons are, but I suspect I know what one of mine is.


#491 Fireplace Macabre

Fireplace With Stuffed Animals
I had mentioned, 'long 'bout Thanksgiving, that Hercules' sweet grandmother had a log basket full of stuffed animals in her fireplace, but that the (cell phone) photo had come out too dark. Well, I edited it. It's not good, but you get the idea. The real colors were brighter, and the effect of those cheerful little animals and toys in the fireplace was ... macabre. Cheerfully chilling?

Hercules just called from South Jersey, where he and Daughter had driven this morning to visit Daughter's paternal Grandmother. Daughter is very sick, throwing up and all. She had mentioned to me yesterday that a child in her Montessori school was sick with a virus earlier in the week, and she'd had to care for her. So, I guess we know where it came from. I hope I don't find out where it goes next. And I hope her Grandmother doesn't have to contend with a Christmas like the year when everybody had the flu all at once, and one of the (idiot teenaged male) relatives ate almost two pounds of peanut butter cups, and then stood at the top of a flight of stairs, and threw it all up. Down the stairs. As the only ones in the house still on our feet, she and I got to clean it up.

Oh, well. At least Daughter brings gifts when she visits.


#490 Home Again

I'm home, with real peanut butter cookies with the fork Xs on top and the first two seasons of Red Dwarf on DVD and some other goodies. I'll freeze the cookies in lots of two so they don't destroy my diet.

While visiting Daughter, I asked her, with her knowledge of anatomy, to check out my left foot and see if she can find anything out of kilter. She said there does seem to be a firm spot in the muscle right where I say the pain originates. She massaged both feet very gently for a while last night. I remarked on how gentle she was, and she said that she has learned that people with "my problem" tend to react badly, to experience pain, after anything deeper.

Well, gentle or no, this morning I had piercing pain down the arch and into the big toe joint of the RIGHT foot, in addition to increased pain in the heel and rear arch of the left. It hurt to walk. I couldn't bend either foot. (Thank goodness for the van's cruise control.) But, as usual, the Daughter is magic. Tonight I have very little pain in either foot, even the usual twisty ache is muted.

She says I should use my fancy schmancy foot massaging machine more often. It squeezes the heels and the sides just like she does, and it has knuckles that run up the bottom of the foot, so maybe I will go back to it. I forget why I stopped using it..... Possibly because I noticed that it hurt more after, and failed to notice that after the initial hurt went away, it felt better than before?

I picked up on something subliminal there. I said "initial hurt", not "initial pain".

After the initial hurt goes away, it feels better than before. I wish that were always true. Everywhere. Elsewhere. Anyway. But it isn't. I'll never get back to the pain-free days of innocence.


Friday, December 23, 2005

#489 In NJ

I'm in New Jersey, at Daughter's home. Man, I gotta get me a cable connection! I hadn't realized how excrutiatingly slow my home dial-up connection is. I'll never be happy again - I'm already spoiled!

While I was so depressed after Jay died, I hadn't sent holiday cards at all, not for the past few years. I was undecided this year, because, frankly, I wasn't into sending sloppily sentimental religious cards (although I do try to send cards appropriate to the recipient, this year I am rebelling completely). But last week, going through some boxes in the basement, I found some leftover cards belonging to my daughter, and I loved them. One for example, says on the front: "There's only one person who could come up with the idea of chopping down living trees for holiday decorations", and inside "A woodsy PMS victim with an ax."

So today I addressed and mailed a bunch of cards, some because they are expected, and some because I wanted to. They'll all be late, but - that makes them more memorable (ha!)

One of the benefits of cleaning out the house and sorting papers is that I have found some addresses I thought were long lost, so several of the cards I mailed today were to people I haven't contacted in umpteen years - one of which has to have been 40 years at least - one of my two best friends from high school. I got her address from her sister on one of my trips to the mountain a few years ago, and then promptly misplaced it.

I'm so excited. I hope the addresses are still good. I can't wait to see who gets back to me.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

#488 Lines and Lists

I took some things to the post office today, about 3:30, mailing some packages to Virginia. The place was mobbed. The line went from the counters in the inner lobby, where the envelopes, boxes, and forms are, through the usually-closed door and out to the outer lobby. I was maybe tenth in line. There were only two clerks on the counter.

While I waited, there were at least six people, maybe more, who pushed past the person in line in the doorway into the inner lobby, saying "I just have to get a form/box/envelope." Invariably, the person picked up the box/envelope/form from the rack, looked at it confusedly, and when the clerk said "Next", they stepped in front of the next person in line saying "I just have to ask a question".

Like, do they really think asking a question takes no time? Most of them took as much time at the counter as the people who stood in line took to mail a package they had ready to go. Am I strange? I've been in their situation before, where the PO was crowded and I needed to get a form, and I have passed the line to go in and get it, BUT, if I then had a question, I went back out and got in line to ask it. I figure it's the line for access to the clerks, not the line for holding heavy packages in your arms.

Speaking of lines, I just heard a really cool line on "King of the Hill": "Money is like the wind. You only feel it when it's moving."

I am leaving for New Jersey tomorrow morning, to visit Daughter, returning in a day or two or three, depending on whatever. I had a list of things to do before I could leave, and about 6 this evening I "took a break" - laid on the bed to work on a puzzle - and fell asleep. Awoke when Daughter called about 11:30 pm, wanting to wish me a happy Yule before she went to sleep.

The good news is that the NYC strike doesn't affect Hercules because he takes New Jersey transit to Port Authority, and then walks to his office, so the strike has only caused the walk to be more crowded. The not-so-good news, other people in his department haven't been showing up, so he's been overloaded.

The slightly bad news, I still have that list of things to do.


#487 Fulfillment

Today is Wednesday (how 'bout that - I figured it out!)

I don't know how I missed an entry for Tuesday, but at least I did call Daughter early last evening just before class (no answer - left a message) to find out how the NYC transit strike was affecting Hercules and his (usually) 3 hour roundtrip commute into Manhattan, so part of the purpose was served. She knows I'm ok.

It has occurred to me that today, Yule, is actually the natural, the real, New Year's Day. It is the return of the sun, the beginning of a new cycle. The wheel within the wheel. I awoke this morning in the arms, literally, of someone who cares. I think now I can give up the artificial calendar New Year's Eve. It has no meaning.

I am content.


Monday, December 19, 2005

#486 Can't Think of a Title....

Well, the alarm didn't go off again today at 9 am, or I didn't hear it. I was supposed to meet some people at a lawyer's office to sign some papers at 11 am. I rolled over in bed this morning and looked at the clock, and it said 11:05. The bells ring for two hours, so I suspect it was the bells STOPPING that woke me.

I immediately called the lawyer's office and left a frantic message, and then - really and truly - brushed my teeth, dressed, and got out of the house in THREE MINUTES FLAT! I was at the lawyer's office by 11:18.

I've had dealings with this lawyer before, and I have no respect for him. He lived up to it today. He didn't get off the phone until after 11:40. The other guy, his client, had his wife and 14-month-old daughter with him, and things got pretty hyper. Sheesh. We were there just to sign the easement contracts and get them notarized. The whole thing shouldn't have taken more than 10 minutes max. But!!! I showed him the changes my lawyer had made, and instead of just making copies of the changed contract, he insisted on the secretary retyping the whole thing. Thereby injecting more errors. Four retypings and 40 minutes later, we finally got out of there.

Then I went to the gas station, and ran into Piper. Totally unexpected - I thought he'd left for Florida already. I asked about my business taxes, so we stopped in his office across the street to check on that, and then we had lunch down the street. He's a cute and sweet and presentable guy. I like him. I wish there was some chemistry, but there isn't. I think he's maybe too straightforward, too easygoing for me. I tend to respond more to mental and emotional intensity, to the tortured souls.

I got the Christmas check from Jay's father, so I played Santa Claus a little bit this afternoon. Usually I donate a large chunk of it, but this year I decided to give several people I know totally unexpected gifts, things that they want and need, but might not get. I think part of the impetus was May's setting up an investment account for her handyman and his wife, whom she had discovered had no retirement fund. Playing Santa is fun, and I'm in a position to do it. Figuring out who needs or wants what is the hard part. A certain 8-year-old wanted lots of bubble wrap. Whoop! Win-win situation! I've got a basement full of it! On the other hand, Piper "needs" a BMW. I told him - tough luck!


An addendum to the previous entry - "loving" someone and "wanting" someone are two different things. I have loved many men I didn't want, loved several I did want, and wanted a few I didn't love (like the Doms of Navarone, pant pant!!!). True love remains forever, as the qualities that you love, if they are deep enough, don't change. Want waxes and wanes.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

#485 Controlling a Relationship

I've already had a question on entry #483 My Sexual Zodiac, where the result says "you like to control your relationship in general". A friend asks, "what does that mean, and could that be a problem? Do you?"

I don't know what the quiz author had in mind, but Scorpios in general are said to want to control their own space. Not necessarily to control others, but never to be under the control of others. Fierce independence. And that does describe me.

Controlling a relationship means (IMHO) that you decide how it's going to be, and then force, threaten, or mislead the other into following that path.

Ex#2 was a good example of forcing. He simply wouldn't talk with me, wouldn't admit when there were difficulties, refused to work on obvious problems. He would shut down and walk away. He controlled the relationship by standing on a spot and refusing to budge, leaving me to perform all kinds of acrobatics to attempt to please him. I battered my desire to save the marriage against his brick wall. He decided how it was going to be, and I could like it or lump it. Eventually I lumped it.

Threatening is pretty upfront, although it can be subtle. Threatening includes loss of love. That tactic doesn't work for long after the other recognizes it unless the other wants to be controlled, and, well, then that's ok. That's what their relationship is. Sadly. Threatening a loss of love means to me that the love wasn't there to begin with.

Misleading is the most devious. That's when the controlling party plays a role quite different from the reality, when he or she allows the other to believe things that aren't true, doesn't tell the other things important to the relationship because those things will cause the other to react differently, thereby changing the relationship. The controller wants to define the relationship, and will not allow facts, true feelings, openness, or honesty to change it. It's all a play, and the controller is the author. And yeah, I've been played. Royally.

So, back to the question. Do I want to control the relationship? I don't think so, except that I want to know everything, I want everything to be real and out in the open. I want both of us to work together on whatever needs work. Some might say I'm too open, in that I want a lover to know how my mind works, and I want to know how his works, so I tell him everything and I expect the same, and I will poke and prod until I get it. I don't think that's controlling. I think it's the antithesis. It's also an attempt not to be controlled. Knowledge is freedom, for both parties.

I have never withheld sex or my attentions in an attempt to coerce, and once I know enough about a man to decide I have love for him, I never lose that. No matter what happens to the "us"ness of the relationship, assuming that I knew the real him when I loved him and there are no horrible secrets, the love remains forever. Although I still have anger toward Ex#2 (and he pissed me again off just last week*), there are deep parts of him that I still love, and if he ever needs me, I'll be there.

But don't tell him that.


*How Ex#2 pissed me off again, after 22 years since the divorce (yeah, I'm still steamed!):
When we split, he signed over to me some stock that we had held jointly, but since Daughter was small, I never sent the papers in to convey them, figuring that if anything happened to me, they'd go to him directly, avoid probate, keep for Daughter, yada yada. Anyway, those shares have since split twice, in the early 90s, and I noticed that I have received no notice of a book entry deposit of the new shares. It's possible that they went into an account under HIS name as primary, and he is getting the statements. So I emailed him, describing the problem in detail. What did I get back? A very short note: "I sold all my shares in 1996." Period. End of sentence. I'm sure he understood the question. But I know that's all I'm going to get out of him. Just like our marriage. Piss me off!

#484 A Merry, Happy and Blessed Chrismukkahzaayule?!

I stole the above title from RossoRaven at RossoRaven's Nest of Rants. She wrote a rant on the topic of "Happy Holidays" with which I mostly agree. Not necessarily in the details ("Yule" is not Wiccan, although Wiccans celebrate Yule), but I second the indignation. The whole furor is ridiculous. As a non-Christian child of the earth, I am annoyed by people who want to force their holiday on me.

How dare you. I reject your foolish corruption.

The winter solstice has been a time of human celebration in the nothern hemisphere ever since there have been humans aware enough to notice it. Since then, the time of the solstice has been co-opted by men with political agendas, bolstered by misunderstood teachings and myths and laws and warfare, simply to gain control of the masses.

By celebrating Yule, I am returning to the roots. To nature. To immutable laws. To a proof of power and caring undefined and uncorrupted by man. Yule is a step closer to God, no matter how you define the term, than Christmas ever could be.


#483 My Sexual Zodiac

Another sexy quiz, from the same place as the previous. Take that!!!, all you who would give me up!!!


You are very dominant in bed, and you like to control your relationship in general.

You are so intense in the sack that none of your partners will ever forget you. You are an amazing lover, because you like to have an equal amount of give and take.

Sex matches: Cancer, Capricorn, Pisces

Take this quiz at

Jay was a Pisces. Someone else is a Cancer. Interesting. Anybody know of an available Capricorn?


Saturday, December 17, 2005

#482 My Sexual Profile

<>This is embarassingly accurate. However, on the quiz page, the star in the grid was just above the third "I" in the green "Imaginative". The HTML they provided put it in the blue romantic square. Obviously a bug. I played with the code a bit, but couldn't figure out how to fix it. Any suggestions?


Later edit - Whoa! In the edit window, and in the preview, the table was a reasonable length and the star was in the blue. But when I "published" the entry, the table got strung out all ugly, and the star is now in the green, where it should be. I don't understand....

Still later - It gets worse! Half the time, the colored grid comes out all funny. Sometimes only half of it is there! If you can't see the grid, it's at , without the star.

Imaginative, erotic, passionate

You prefer to have one partner and to try everything with them. You have an enormous sexual appetite, and you often create sexy scenarios to play out with your significant other.

Take this quiz at

#481 A Four-Day Entry!

Man, my last post was late Tuesday night! Sheesh. But I have been sending three-word daily notes to Daughter to tell her I was alive and kicking. I don't remember now what I did earlier in the day on Wednesday. For sure, I didn't wake up in time to get to the recycle center, but I don't think my back was in shape for that anyway.

Incidentally, I'd missed my pills (all those supplements) Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and most of the pain is gone. I'm down to the usual dull roar. To fully test the theory, I'll have go to back on them for a while and see if the pain comes back.

I had to be at Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie by 3 on Wednesday for the Mensa benefit gift wrapping, and the traffic was horrible! I left here before 2, and got there at 3, whereupon I found a note on the table that Bibi had called in to say she'd be a half hour late. I couldn't do anything alone because I didn't have the sign and other material that she was bringing. We didn't get really started until 4. Roman came in at 6 and relieved Bibi, and he and I stayed until 11 pm. We made a whole $32, and ten of that was from one guy who vastly appreciated the scholarship information. Bummer. But it was nice to sit with Roman that long.

Thursday I met with Piper at 1 pm. It was supposed to be a 20 minute meeting. I went unwashed and without makeup, and without my watch. After I left his office, I went to the bank and deposited some checks, then to the hardware store to pick up some new nightlights, and then was going home to wash and dress for class. I was to meet Roman for dinner before class, so I had to leave here by 3:45. When I left the hardware store, I looked at the clock in the van, and it said 3:10! I must have been with Piper more than an hour and a half. I don't understand....

Dinner - we picked up Chinese takeout and ate in the lounge in the Dutchess South building. Class was good. During class, an ice storm started. The drive to Roman's was downright scary, there were so many turns and hills. But he's very easy to follow, very considerate, and he didn't challenge me on the ice at all.

We had talked some on Wednesday about the "other" relationship he's in, and talked more on Thursday night and Friday. Getting through his reticence is difficult, but I need to know what the story is so that I can make my own informed decisions. I cried a lot (very little in front of him, mostly while he was sleeping). It's all very complicated and very sad, and I don't see any chance of things changing. There are only three ways it can go - everything will go on as it has, or I will reduce my need for him, or it will end, but it seems there's not much else in store. I am very sad. Check that - I am devastated. And I feel so bad for him. He's in a situation that can't end well. I accept that he feels love for her. He's obsessed with her. I don't believe (my own opinion based on a few things he has said) that she fully appreciates him, and I conclude that she allows him to continue his attentions because it's comfortable and convenient. He's easy to be with. He's so very affectionate. It could take years for him to fully realize he isn't getting back what he wants and needs. I love him too much to watch that happen. Pretty similar to the situation I'm in with him, I suppose. I'm just more aware than he, and more insistent. The poor guy has had little fun in his life. I want to play with him, to have fun with him, to get away together occasionally, but it doesn't look like that's likely to happen.

Sigh. I understand, but I don't understand.

I got home around 7 pm Friday, and found my driveway coated in ice. I had to get a running start, and then got up by tracking two wheels on the grass at one edge. I couldn't get up the wheelchair ramp at the front door, had to tromp through snow piles on the side. Today, the narrow part of the drive is melted, but the flat area at the top is still under more than an inch of ice, and the ramp is a toboggan run. (Oooo! That reminds me! I can use the toboggan in the garage to take stuff around the house to the basement! If I can get the thing down from where it's hanging, that is. A project for tomorrow.) I went out today and bought melter-stuff (it isn't salt, but it works really fast - the snapping and crackling when I spread it was amazing).

So here I am. Sadder but not much wiser. The final class session is next Tuesday. We will be together after class. After that, I don't know. If I let him wander away, he'll wander right down a rabbit hole. I guess I have to do some thinking. Do I want to save him from a life of quiet desperation? Or is it myself?


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

#480 Good, Middlin', and Bad

Busy day today. Good - A few things accomplished. Middlin' - A lot of hurry up and wait. Bad - A lot of pain.

I was awakened this morning by a call from Piper. We'll meet Thursday, early afternoon, to finalize the plans for balancing the portfolio. He wanted to make it lunch, but I have too much other stuff to do that day. Puttered around, washed hair, etc.

Then across the river to the mall to the computer expert to get the scholarship application printed. He also made 30 copies of the 2-page document, and didn't charge me a cent for anything.

That all went so quickly that I was left with an hour before the appointment with the lawyer about the easement, not enough time to go home. So I ate a late lunch/early dinner at what happens to be Piper's favorite restaurant. They have things like $9 appetizers that turn out to be a whole meal. The full entrees there are simply too big for me. I don't understand why they charge $18 for a huge loaded plate. Why can't I get half the food for half that price? Frankly, I think it's a secret way to increase profits. It's like two people eating in one seat, requiring half the waitstaff.

Even with just a shrimp, spinach, and cheese roll appetizer, I ended up doggying half of it.

Then to the lawyer. My appointment was for 4 pm, but I got there at 3:45, and he took me right in. He filled out the tax forms for me (the state apparently considers the granting of an easement to be a sale). I had found a serious error in the survey of the easement - the way they had it written, instead of going up the edge of the lot, the line went across the middle of my front yard and into the neighbor's yard. They had an "E" where it should have been a "W", so the line veered. A little whiteout and a black pen fixed that. He also added a paragraph that maintenance was to be done at no expense to me, and answered my concerns about how the easement contract specified compensation of $1, and there was a separate contract for the brush clearing, which was to be the REAL compensation (if I had to hire someone for that, it would be at least $2,000.) I was out of there by 4 pm, and he didn't charge me a cent.

I'm beginning to wonder why I didn't get a free lunch.

I was left with an hour before I had to go to class, not enough time to go home. So I went to the classroom (an hour+ drive, at rush hour no less) early and spent the time collating and folding the scholarship forms.

The class was 4 hours long. I wasn't sure I was going to make it through it. For some reason, after a few years of hurting in only two or three places at a time, today I hurt all over. It seems to have started last Friday, with pain in my left foot and ankle, left hip, back of my neck, and temples. I've been taking glucosamine condroitin (spelling? I'm not about to look it up!) on May's recommendation. She says it did wonders for her joints, but it takes a very long time to kick in. I also recently increased my calcium supplements on the advice of my doctor. I'm thinking maybe neither of those are good for me with my problems.

I don't metabolize calcium very well, and it can build up in deposits in my joints, and as "gravel" in my muscles. I think that's what's going on in my foot, ankle, and neck. (Yeah, I'm limping on BOTH feet today.) Oddly enough, the deposits usually eventually dissolve themselves. Ultrasound seems to break up the stubborn patches.

Today, in addition to the foot, ankle, and neck, I had screws twisting into my temples and between my eyebrows, my breastbone was on fire, the middle of my back kept biting me, my lower back ached, the left hip burned, lower right abdomen was cramping, and ... whatever. It was so bad I had to do the relaxation breathing several times during class.

There are only three of us in this class, and when the pain got bad I had to keep forcing my eyes to stay open. Didn't want Roman to think I was falling asleep. I kept slumping, and that would set the back off. I forgot there was a guy sitting next to me, and several times I slipped my hands under my sweater and inside the back of my pants to massage my lower back. I wonder if he got a show. After class, Roman said I seemed to "be out of it tonight." Little does he know....

The temple stuff frightens me. I've heard that tic doloreaux can come back, and I never ever want to see that again. I had it on both sides, 4 to 8 20-minute episodes a day, for 18 months. Mine was so severe the doctors at first refused to believe that's what it was. (It was so severe because it was due to a stretched and twisted brainstem - not the usual cause.) And I can't take pain pills stronger than plain aspirin.

When I got out to the van, a little after 10, the van thermometer said 9 degrees. Driving up route 9, I started shivering so badly I couldn't hold my head still (and I was wearing the warmest of my fox jackets!) and it was messing up my neck even more, not to mention that the head shaking was so violent I couldn't see to drive, so I stopped in Barnes & Noble, and bought some books on HTML and web site design. I keep registering for the web site design class, but apparently I'm the only one who wants it, and they keep canceling it, so I'm giving up. I'll figure it out myself, thank you.

Like I said - a good, middlin', and bad day.

I'd like to sleep in tomorrow, but I also want to take more paper to recycle, which has to be done by noon. Compromise - I won't set the alarm.


Monday, December 12, 2005

#479 Mensa Strikes Again, Worse!

Well, I took my little floppy to Office Depot. I did check it out before I left the house. The documents, a brief description of the scholarship program and a fancy 2-page application form, both display from the floppy on my system, and look good in the print preview. Of course, I didn't attempt to actually print, having, um, like, no printer.

Office Depot was able to display and print the shorter "Word" file. I then made 30 copies of it. The PDF application form, however, was a different matter. When they tried to display it, it was just the title, and then two blank pages. The gal who was trying to do it kept zipping past an error message, and on her fifth try or so I made her stop and read the message to me. Something about "unable to extract embedded font". She called over another guy who claimed to know what he was doing, and he tried to tell me that it "must have been formatted on an old system. Nobody much uses these 5 1/2 inch floppies any more." Huh? I don't know much, but I know he was full of bananas. It was a 3 1/2 inch firmie! And the medium should have had nothing to do with it anyway, as long as his machine has a right-sized hole to stick it in! They told me to try Staples.

Off to Staples.

Same problem. But they said there's an internet cafe in the mall, and I should try there. Wow! I didn't know we had an internet cafe. (It's new. They have them on every block in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, but this is the first one I've heard of in this area.)

Off to the mall. Search the mall. Finally find it. Not a cafe exactly, just a bunch of computers and a kid in a tiny hole in the wall that was a nursing uniform store last time I looked.

I described the problem about the "embedded font", and he said he's familiar with the problem and he knows that's not something he can help me with, it's beyond his expertise, but his father will be in tomorrow, and he's sure Dad can get it to print.

I get to go back to the mall tomorrow. Whoop. So everything I wanted to do early in the day tomorrow, I'll have to do tonight.

And this file wasn't a local production - it came from the Mensa national office. The Mensa Education and Research Foundation, to be exact.

Sheesh! I'm really annoyed. This is what I get for trying to do something right.


#478 Mensa Strikes Again!

I am so flippin' annoyed.

I will be wrapping gifts at the Poughkeepsie Barnes & Noble for donations to the Mensa Scholarship Fund, this Wednesday, from three to eleven pm. I do it every year. There's a minor annoyance in that Bebe, who sets it all up for both Mensa and Sierra Club, scheduled Mensa only for Poughkeepsie (a 50-minute drive for me), but scheduled Sierra Club for both Kingston (a 20-minute drive for me) and Poughkeepsie. Last year I asked her if it would be possible to do Kingston, that I would prefer Kingston, but she didn't get Kingston for us because she didn't think she'd be able to get anyone to cover it. DUH?

I was thinking about how the donations box says on it that it's for the scholarship fund, but there is no other information provided about the scholarships. Bebe always provides all kinds of fliers and brochures about Mensa, and about joining, but nothing about the scholarships. It's easy for people to think that the scholarships are for Mensans only. So Saturday I fired off a note to the board suggesting that it might be a good idea to have info about the availability of the scholarships, maybe even some applications, so people will know that their little chick can apply. Good publicity and might even increase donations.

In my note I was very specific that I DON'T HAVE A WORKING PRINTER, so don't send the info online to me. Send it to Bebe, and she can print it and bring it with her on Wednesday. She'll be working with me from 3 to 6 - another annoyance. She's an incredibly messy wrapper, flatly refuses to learn about creased corners, Candace and I have tried to teach her for four years now, and she just shrugs and says "I can't do that", and it's downright embarrassing what she hands people when they have paid for it.

Ziggy responded with exactly the right stuff - a brief description, and an official application with all the rules and everything. Wonderful. He sent softcopy email attachments to me. Didn't even copy Bebe. In his note, he even acknowledged that he was aware I didn't have a printer, but said that I can "put them on a floppy and get them printed at an Office Depot or somewhere." WTF?

I'm pissed. I had planned to haul my filthy aching body to the basement and spend the entire day down there. Instead, I shall now wash my body and hair, and haul it off across the river to the Office Depot - which, incidentally, is right NEXT DOOR to the Kingston Barnes & Noble.

I can't do it tomorrow because I have a lawyer's appointment (the easement) that I still have to pull papers together for and then a class from 6 to 10 in Wappingers. I can't do it Wednesday morning because (ahem) I want to keep that open "just in case".

So today is already mostly shot. I may as well get the oil changed in the van since I'm crossing the river anyway and it's overdue.

Why don't I just forward it all to Bebe and have her print it off? Because I have not received any response from her to my Saturday note, and I have no confidence that she'd actually do it. Maybe that was Zig's thought, too.

The only consolation to all this is that Roman will be wrapping with me from 6 to 11.

[Edit - the correct time for this entry should be about 10 am. Blogger had a problem and it didn't get stored until later.]


Sunday, December 11, 2005

#477 More Basement

I did more in the basement today, still working on it after this break. The past two Saturdays I've taken over 20 bags of paper to the recycle center. So far today I've filled 12 more, and emptied 11 boxes of paper and junk. I'll take the paper to recycle on Wednesday. (They're gonna ban me pretty soon!)

Would you believe a huge box, about 2 feet on all sides, filled with nothing but maps and tourism brochures of Europe, and every American state, dating from the 1970s through 1990? I'm throwing them out. How about a box full of unopened mail from 1982? Or twelve large envelopes of "benefits information" and signup forms from Carnegie Mellon, from when Jay was on the staff there in the mid-70s? Unopened, of course. I wonder if he has retirement benefits languishing there.

A lot of the junk is actually useable stuff, still in gift boxes, so I'll take some of that to the recycle center too, for the trade shed. Maybe somebody will regift them.
Jay's ex was a teacher, so she got lots of little gifts that she never used, and her decorating style was cutesy-poo, which isn't me. So the three huge wooden lawn geese are going away, too. (I lean more toward a herd of pink flamingos peeking out of the woods. I'm Victorian with a touch of kitsch.)

We can't put books in the recycle bins, and I'm finding a lot of trash hardcover books down there, like 30-year-old chemistry and math textbooks. I don't know how to dispose of them. Plain garbage, I guess. But awfully heavy.

Many of the boxes I'm getting into now are placed low, on the floor or on bottom shelves. They're too heavy to lift (being full of paper and books), and working on them so low, bending over, is hell on my back. I forgot to put the brace on earlier, but I will definitely wear it when I go back downstairs, or I'm going to be really hurting. My left leg is already burning - a warning sign. Or maybe I'll just give my back a break and cut up boxes instead.

Pretty soon I'll have some shelf space for the storage containers I've been filling with fabric and trims from upstairs. Then I can start clearing up here.

Progress. Slow, but progress.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

#476 Cool Highlight Trick / Call From May

I just have to pass on a Windows feature Roman taught me. It's pretty cool, and I was totally unaware of it! Everybody knows you can select (or highlight) several items by pressing the CTRL key as you select/highlight with the mouse. But did you know the "Shift key" trick?

Suppose you want to highlight a very long passage in a document. You can start at the top left corner and hold the mouse button down as you scroll down to the lower right of whatever you want to highlight. If there's a lot, you s-c-r-o-l-l slowly forever through multiple screens.

To do it lots faster, highlight the first word, line, whatever, release the mouse button, page down to the bottom of what you want using the scroll bar on the right, then hold down the shift key and use the mouse to highlight the last words that you want. Everything from the first words you selected to the last words that you selected with the shift key pressed will be highlighted.

Cool, huh? Howcum I never heard of that before?


I guess it's a good thing I didn't call May back last evening. She had called earlier on Friday while I was out, and left a message saying that she wanted to tell me about a retirement investment account she had set up for someone. I called her back at about 3:50 pm and got her machine. I left a message that I would call her later that evening, but then I was worried about waking her from a nap again, so I didn't.

This evening:
"Silk, this is May. I got your message from last night. I TOLD you not to worry about me. You don't have to call me to check up on me."
"I wasn't calling to check on you, I was responding to the message you left me earlier Friday. You said you wanted to talk to me."
"Oh, well, I was just replying to your previous checkup call message." [I hadn't called her since Monday, when she'd been annoyed that I woke her.]
"No, you weren't replying to any message from me, your message said something about a retirement account you wanted to tell me about."
"Oh, that."

During the next hour and ten minutes, she told me the same stories she'd told me in the previous call(s).

Now I'm even more worried about her, and even more reluctant to call.

She's only maybe three or four years older than I.



#475 I Guess I Won't Tint It ... Yet

Your Hair Should Be White

Classy, stylish, and eloquent.
You've got a way about you that floors everyone you meet.

Is this test trying to tell me something?

I wandered through a store hair coloring section last night. I'm getting bored with "pale ash blonde" (aka yellowed off-white), and I thought I might try a temporary shampoo-in color, something different that would wash out in a week or two. Just to try it. Maybe a light brown, or pale strawberry, or my old chestnut.

But all the temporaries said NOT to use if your hair has been lightened, that the color would not wash out. Well, I lighten the patch right on the top front (I have a dark patch there, like Jay Leno's but lighter). I'm wondering if I could go ahead and use the temporary stuff, and then when it gets icky, maybe I could "lighten" it out?

Decisions, decisions.



by Dave Barry

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill
and a laxative on the same night.

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why
the human race has not achieved and never will achieve
its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental

4. People who want to share their religious views with
you almost never want you to share yours with them.

5. You should not confuse your career with your life.

6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up
and dance.

7. Never lick a steak knife.

8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear
and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings

10. You should never say anything to a woman that even
remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless
you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that

11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting
other people to make a big deal about your birthday.
That time is age eleven.

12. The one thing that unites all human beings,
regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or
ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL
believe that we are above average drivers.

13. A person who is nice to you but rude to a waiter is
not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention.
It never fails.)

14. Your friends love you anyway.

15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a
lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals
built the Titanic.

16. Men are like fine wine. They start out as grapes, and
it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until
they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.


Friday, December 09, 2005

#473 First Real Snow

Ten inches in my driveway. Of the four to six inches predicted. Typical.

I spent the early afternoon helping Roman clear his driveway (it was nice to actually work on something together), then came home and cleared my own 350 feet plus the ten-car-park sized area at the top. I got home about 3:40, started throwing snow at 3:50, and finished at 5:30. In full dark. Luckily, the snowthrower has a headlight. Unfortunately, the headlight is mounted on the handles, behind and above the motor, scoop, and chute, so the actual path one wants to clear is in deep shadow.

I had cleared enough to get the van up by sundown, and thought about quitting then and finishing tomorrow, but I hadn't had an oil delivery since last winter, and the guy won't bring the oil truck up unless he can turn the monster around at the top, so I figured just to be safe I'd better finish it all. If I left any undone and it thawed and refroze, I'd be in big trouble.

Naturally, after I got it all done, I found the oil invoice tucked in the front doorframe. It was delivered yesterday, after I had left for class I guess. 235.4 gallons. I have a 250 gallon tank. Ouch. $635 dollars. Double ouch. I have prepaid to get the best price, and I guess I have two more deliveries on the balance.

May had called earlier today, long before I got home, and left a message, she wants to talk to me about something she has done. So when I got home, before clearing the driveway, I called her back to tell her I'd call after I finished. Got her machine. I left her a message that I'd call again after I finished the driveway, but now I'm afraid to, after Monday's fiasco. Sigh.


On the dream from entry #466:

I was rereading entry #468, concerning temperament, and where it says I'm withdrawn and reserved, I thought "Well, withdrawn, yeah, but I'm not sure about reserved. If you poke me, all kinds of intimate and better-left-unsaid things will come pouring out." Ahah! The icky stuff that came pouring out of me in the dream! I'm beginning to make the connections. The spider webs were rather transparent, really. (That's not a pun.) So's the deformed dog.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

#472 Thursday

Quick entry - class tonight.

I completely forgot about an appointment with a lawyer this morning to discuss my allowing a neighbor an easement across my property. Bleck. He's not easy to get an appointment with. I had to drop names to get the first appointment! Rescheduled for Tuesday next week.

Piper called this afternoon to tell me he'd call Monday or Tuesday to set up an appointment Thursday or Friday. The man is nuts.

Snow predicted overnight, 4 to 6 inches, ending by 1 pm tomorrow. No big deal.

I figured out some of October's dream - next entry.


#471 Holding an Image

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a very poetic young man who knew me well, heart, mind, body and soul, who loved me deeply, told me something.

He said that I was proto-woman, the model on which all other women were made. That I was earth, moon, and fire. That in my eyes a man saw the best of himself, and in my arms he was reborn. That my touch was magic, that my wisdom grounded a man and gave him strength. That knowing that my love was deep and without reservation, a man could feel free.

Obie died in an automobile accident at thirty-one.

Now, when I feel rejected, when I begin to wonder if there's anything left for me of love, I remember him. He was the most sensitive person I've ever known. He's still a part of me, and I feel like I have to live up to his words. Sometimes I even believe them.

If I can do that, I can have Love. I can give Love.

Even if I don't have a man to hold.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

#470 Dinner Tonight

I'm going out for dinner tonight at the Saigon Cafe in Poughkeepsie, with Mensa. So far all I know for sure will be there is Ziggy, Roman, and me. There are lots of members in Pok, so there should be more, but snow is (sort of - they keep moving it out) predicted, so I don't know. Only one other person on the Mensa Yahoo group even asked where the place is, let alone said they'd be there.

Leaving here at six pm.

The remarkable thing is that even with snow, and even if Roman weren't going to be there, I'd go anyway. I'm feeling pretty feisty lately. Got an itch to go and do. Even with all the angst, I'm feeling pretty good.

I must thrive on a challenge.

Later edit: Present were Ziggy, Les, Angela (who was very worried about snow, but came anyway), Eric, Charlie, and us. A good group. Good talk. I wish people would stay longer. (PS - I LIKE Vietnamese food.)


#469 Lights! Action! Squirrels!

I was reading Jeanette's journal, at, wherein she has photos of her holiday decorations. Pretty. I like looking at what other people do, but I'm not very enthusiastic about decorating for the holidays myself. I'm technically not Christian, and the remaining materialistic aspects leave me cold. I'll do Yule - the return of the sun. I think on Yule, the 21st, I'll have a bonfire in the front yard. There's a pile of brush ready to go.

When Jay and I were first married and he was working across the river, he came home every night across the fields. The house is up on a hill, so for the last mile of his drive, when the leaves are off the trees, he could see the house. So one December day I decided to surprise him with lights on the deck railing across the back of the house, so he would see them crossing the fields. A welcome home.

I used the large old-fashioned bulbs, so they'd really show up at a distance, and I made big deep loops. That first night they looked great.

The next night, when I went to plug them in, several of the red bulbs were broken. Only the red. I replaced them with more reds. The next evening, more red bulbs were broken. Mystery. What happened to them? And why only reds? Were they blowing out from cold or heat or something? They were literally smashed - just shards left in the sockets.

Running low on reds, I replaced a few red, and the remainder with other colors.

Next evening, the last of the red were broken, and some of the orange ones. By now, I had figured out that the breakage occurred not during the night, when they were on, but during the day, when they were off. I decided to leave the curtains open, and watch them.

It was squirrels! They were gnawing on the bulbs until they broke! I guess they thought the red ones were ripe. The orange ones were maybe almost ripe.

A friend suggested leaving the lights on all the time, but I didn't want to electrocute any of my little friends, so instead I changed all the bulbs to green and blue and ... whatever else was not a "berry" color.

The little buggers changed tactics.

They actually, I'm not kidding, this is not an exaggeration, they actually bit through the wires, and stole whole lengths of lights. Pieces of wire with three, four, five bulbs on them. They took them up into the trees around the yard and draped them over branches. The oak, maple, and cherry trees on the side of the back yard were festooned with lengths of my lights!

Jay's theory was that they thought these "berries" weren't ripe yet, so they were storing them until they ripened.

I gave up.


#468 My Temperament

This does feel right, in all aspects, except for the last three words. I usually have no difficulty making decisions, because I always have a backup plan if I make the wrong decision. All that thinking, I guess. And lately, the past few months, I have been trapped in negative thinking, especially when my imagination ran riot. I have decided not to do that any more. I'll take the best and leave the rest, and that does seem to make the best better.

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything. You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life. You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace. You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life. Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you. You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others. You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

#467 Calling May; Excel Class

In line with my new attempt to be helpful, I called May again last night, about 8 pm. Got her machine (which doesn't have an outgoing message - she hasn't figured out how to do one (?)). That was a bit worrisome. I left a message that I'd try again later, and if she didn't answer, I wouldn't be responsible for the EMTs breaking down her door.

I called again at 10 pm, and again no answer. I again left a message, saying that if I didn't hear from her within an hour, I was going to run over there and check on her.

She called back ten minutes later. She had been napping. The first call woke her, but she couldn't get untangled from the blankets and didn't make it to the phone in time, so she went back to sleep. The second call also woke her. (Which is strange - she's a worse night owl than I - she's usually up 'til dawn, and sleeps all morning.)

So anyway, she said she doesn't need checkup calls, and I should cease and desist. This after doing a 15-minute stint Saturday morning on how worried she is that she will fall or be unconscious or stroke out or something and not be able to press the magic button, and not be found for days.

Phooey. I guess all that was just blather.

I have to pay some bills, and get dressed for class this evening. I'm meeting the instructor for dinner in Wappingers at 5, class is at 6:30, and I have to run a few errands on the way, so I have to leave about 3:30.

Roman, as an instructor, by the way, is excellent. I'm glad I got to see him in his element. He obviously enjoys what he does. Even though he's taught this particular subject many times, and even though most of the material is intuitive, and even though some of the students are annoying, he shows no signs of being jaded, maintains a high interest level and good vocal quality, moves through the material in a logical progression and at an appropriate speed, never condescends, and actually on occasion says "I don't know."

I just wish he wouldn't smile so much. I have trouble concentrating when he smiles. Even though he is careful not to look my way very often.


Monday, December 05, 2005

#466 October Dream

I had the following dream way back in October. I still haven't figured it out, and it's still bothering me. There's something very significant about the doggie, and the way to get upstairs in that strange house. The doggie is comforting, and the "slot stairs" are frightening.

Dream. Night of 10/12-10/13/05

Someone shows me a dog's head, looks like severed head, afraid to look at backside see all severed stuff, surprised it's alive not a severed head, back side is smooth, has small front legs/paws near front, look harder tiny stubby hoppy hind legs, born that way, deformed, I want to keep, make happy doggy. Doggy happy. Can talk, but only to me.

Boat across lake to park, across park to old house, "family" in house - not blood relatives, more like in-laws or something, big affair coming up, maybe a wedding or something, my clothes in van on other side of lake, no problem, can find something for you, go upstairs to change. Strange staircase, door in wall over 5' high bookcase, must climb up bookcase, open door, very shallow slot in wall with extremely steep stairs, almost ladder, so shallow and narrow it scares me, I can't go up that, it scares me. Ok, use other stairs. Around corner to other room, same arrangement with bookcase and narrow slot for stairs but slot is less narrow, bookcase is higher, try but can't climb bookcase, the shelves keep tipping spilling books when try. Can't understand why such stupid stairs, family can't see anything wrong, use them all the time.

Change clothes in downstairs bedroom, have been given a very dull dark suit. Looking in mirror, notice tiny pimple on forehead, squeeze it, ropes and ropes of ivory cheesy stuff comes out, keeps coming, pounds of it, builds up in lap, on arms of suit. Everywhere I touch my face it opens up and this stuff comes out. It is coming out of slots now, so it drapes itself on my lap like taffy ready to be pulled. Think has something to do with the fact that I am losing weight, like this is the empty fat cells or something. Lift it off arms and lap and dump into a waste basket, and go to woman who lent me the suit, and tell her it needs washing and I will go get my own clothes. Everyone else is dressed and ready to go, but they don't seem at all concerned about my not being ready.

Dog and I head for boat. On the way, pass a tiny white cabin where a black family has just arrived to stay for summer holiday, they are all excited because they have a tiny new puppy, dog and I stop to see puppy, man opens hand and there is tiny pink thing, like fetus, like kidney bean. Dog goes to sniff "puppy", it falls out of man's hand and goes between boards of porch, family angry, I try to go around house and away but spider webs everywhere near house, keep running into active spider webs, finally get away. Go to where I thought I left boat, but I am off by a bit and see boat on shore beyond small inlet, looks shallow, decide to wade across, step into sudden deep part, up to mid-chest, dog swimming to other side on leash, I struggle across, can't get up other bank, all soft mud falls in on me, can't get up, "Pull, Doggy! Pull!' finally get up somehow. Row boat across to van. Wake up.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

#465 Another Good Day

We got a few inches of snow overnight. It will probably melt away over the next few days, but every time I've said that in the past, it only partially melted, and then I had to cope with a layer of ice and frozen slush for the rest of the winter.

So I got the snow thrower out. And no, even after all my reminders to myself, I hadn't yet tried starting it.

I was very surprised and pleased when it started on the second try! I cleared the entire driveway. I had to move several piles of brush lying on the drive to the burn pile - something else I should have done weeks ago. Two jobs done. I am very pleased with myself.

The snowthrower is running well, but it's throwing occasional drops of something bright fuscia-pink off to the side, so I guess I'll have to get that checked. The van will earn its keep yet again.

I had my good fur-trimmed leather dress gloves on to run the snowthrower. They're the warmest and driest, and wouldn't get messed up just guiding the machine, but I still had them on when I moved the brush pile. A big thorn snagged the tip of one finger and tore a big hole. So, (pssst - Daughter) if someone is wondering what I want for Yule (December 21, by the way), nice cotton-lined fur-trimmed leather gloves would do. Size 7, I think. Black.

Then I wandered around the house with a garbage bag and started throwing stuff out. I may regret losing some of it later, but right now it's very satisfying.

I rinse cat food cans and set them aside for recycling, but I like to wash them and remove pull tabs before I actually take them to the center, so I washed 21 cans this afternoon. Burned more paper. Put laundry away. Ran a virus scan. Moved 12 teapots from the kitchen counter to the hall bookcase. Read three newspapers. Did a crossword puzzle. Started clearing out the laundry room shelves. Called May.

I didn't make the Thanksgiving deadline for the house, but I am finally making progress. (No, Daughter - all the television sets still work just fine. I'm just working better.)


#464 Nana's Burning Bears?

I should have mentioned this when I wrote about Thanksgiving, but I forgot.

Hercules' grandmother, Nana, has a fireplace in the living room. I walked past it at one point, and behind the screen, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of something brightly colored. I looked in.

In the fireplace, in the fire basket (you know, that cast iron arrangement that you put the logs on to hold them off the bottom?), Hercules' sweet little old lady Nana had heaps of stuffed animals. Teddy bears, fuzzy stuffed bunnies, kittens and puppies. Pleading for no one to light a match.

Just about the most macabre thing I've ever seen.

Would you believe nobody had a camera? Hercules took a photo for me with his cell phone, and emailed it to my id, but when I got home I found that it didn't come out. Too dark.

Then again, too dark fits.

Interesting Thought for the day:

Got this from a friend a long time ago. It's going around again. I suspect that the numbers could use some updating, but the ratios have probably stayed about the same.

If you consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq Theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000. The rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol (which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation) than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

#463 An Ordinary but Satisfying Day.

Today was a pretty good day, with the exception of one major hitch in my gitalong.

I was awakened by a call from May (the widow of about a year). She's going to have a small champagne gathering and wanted to know if I'd come. We talked for a while. She's very concerned about being alone. She has the Lifeline button, but she is not steady on her feet (an inner ear problem), and is worried that she will fall and either not have the button, won't be able to press it, won't hear the squawk box (she doesn't have to hear it actually, but I wasn't able to tell her that because talking with her can be frustrating - she bowls right over anything you say, you never ever! ever! get to complete a sentence), or she will be unconscious, and it would be days before anyone got worried enough to check on her. She's very concerned about that. She asked me if I was scared about it, and although I'm aware it's a possibility, it doesn't worry me. Not right now, anyway.

I want to decide to call her every evening. I really want to. But I just can't bring myself to make that commitment. I'd have to wear an alarm clock to remember. And sometimes she's difficult to get off the phone. I'm a bad bad person. Maybe I won't commit to call, but I'll just call whenever I remember. Is that bad?

She woke me early enough that I was able to take some paper to the recycle center. I took the garden cart around to the lower basement door, and loaded 10 bags of paper into it. At first I thought I had overloaded it, because it was very difficult to get it moving up the hill. Nope. One of the tires had gone flat, and my trying to drag it caused the tire to come right off the rim. It's all torn up and twisted. I don't know what I'm going to do next. The tire place in Rhinebeck doesn't handle tires as small as this. And I was counting on this cart to get the storage containers to the basement - like today and tomorrow. Guess not.

So I carried the paper up to the van by hand, and took those ten bags and some huge bags of plastic peanuts to the recycle center. I rarely take my purse when I go there, because I'm going back and forth to the bins, but today I wanted to stop at the bank and deposit my retirement check, so I did. As I was going down the highway, I saw billows of smoke coming from the Elks' parking lot. Wow! Goody! Barbecue chicken! And the best baked potatoes ever. The Elks set up huge sliced drums on occasional Saturday mornings during the summer. I never know when it's coming, and when I do pass it, on a Saturday morning, I'm headed for the recycle center and never have money, but today we hit it right. I had my purse. $4.50 for half a chicken and $.50 for a huge potato, in a foil bag. I got two bags. (Yeah, I've got a doggie bag habit.)

Piper and I had talked about movies last night, and I happened to have a copy of "The Bridge" in my van and said I'd lend it to him, but when we got back to the village, I forgot. He'd done some heavy trading on Friday, and had said he had to go into the office to clean up paperwork today, so on the way to recycle I stopped by his office to give him the DVD. The little sign on the door said "Open", but the office was dark and he wasn't there.

I am responsible for that sign. He's semiretired, and has clients in the village, so he wanders in and out of his office whenever he feels like it (like multi-hour lunches). Many times I had stopped by with papers for him, and found the door open, the lights on, but no one there. Many times I waited an hour, but he didn't come back. The Angel is worse. I sometimes wonder if the Angel ever sits down in there. He'll be in and out again three times in an hour. So I recommended that they get one of those little "Back at (clock with adjustable hands)" signs for his door. It says "Open, walk in" on the other side.

I guess now I'm going to have to teach him how to use it. It is perpetually on "Open".

At the recycle center, they have changed the bin they use for good paper. It's much bigger, and the opening is way over my head. Those bags are too heavy for me to lift that high. Luckily, there was a man there to help. He about choked when he saw how much I had, but on the other hand, the new bin is much larger than the old, so I didn't feel as much like I was overwhelming the facility. Good. Don't know what else I could do with all this paper if they couldn't handle it.

Back to the village and on to the bank. New Saturday hours - open 'til 1 - so I was able to go in, which means the money will be available to me now, three days earlier than if I had to deposit the check through the ATM.

'Nother stop at Piper's, since I had to pass there anyway. I was standing outside his "Open" locked door when I heard wild honking from the street. He had arrived. I gave him the tape and tried to show him the reviews of the "The Bridge" on Amazon, but couldn't find it listed any more. I guess I bought it just in time. But he learned about Amazon, so it wasn't entirely a waste.

Then a visit to Tall Dark & Handsome #2 to buy a drink to have with my chicken.

Then home to my chicken and wonderful potato, which had filled the van with aromatic enticement all that time. (I added a handful of fresh broccoli.)

You know, reading this, it doesn't sound like such a good day. Pretty ordinary, actually. I guess just getting some major paper out of the house made it special. A good feeling.

I'll have to walk a lot tomorrow, though. I've had three meals in three days, not to mention the second doggie bagged chicken and potato in the refrigerator.


#462 Perception?

Dinner in Rhinebeck last night, then to Woodstock, arriving just in time for the dancers. Piper enjoyed it very much. The Gypsy and the Pixie didn't make it, although both had intended to, but there were other people I knew, and it was nice to see them, and in that context.

It was a good show (although one of the dancers was definitely NOT ready for prime time, and she happened to be the one smack in front of us the whole time). Then I wanted to walk around the village, but by then all the carolers and whatever else was happening was over, and the temperature had dropped a lot, the wind had picked up, and it was obvious Piper was freezing his ears off, so we took a short walk with stops in a few stores, and then home. Well, back to my car, which was parked in front of his office.

I was very happy with the way it went. He used the words "although this is not a date" as he was insisting on paying for both dinners, and later called me a "friend as well as a client". That's good. I like him as a friend. That could work. I am content.

There is something sort of troubling, though. At lunch a few weeks ago, he used some names that someone not "in my life" would be extremely unlikely to come up with, and when I asked him where he got those names, he said "I had you investigated", and then he laughed it off and claimed it was just coincidence. Then he sort of warned me about a situation I was into, about which he should have known nothing, and since then, I have finally learned what he was referring to, he could have not have been more specific, and he was absolutely correct. And the specifics were not mine, but those of another person with whom I am involved. That would be scary enough, but last night, some of the topics he brought up could have come straight from my journal. He doesn't know about my journals. My real name and real email address is not connected with this journal. He doesn't even know my email address or AOL screen name. And yet I'd swear he's read them (this one and the previous one). (Later update - Agh! He knows I use "S........m", and Google would send anyone looking for S.........m right here. On the other hand, he is computer illiterate, beyond what is required for his business. On the third hand, he hires people who do know the internet. The Angel? Hmmmmm. Interesting. But that still doesn't explain the other stuff.)

Either he is extremely perceptive, or he really has had me investigated. And is continuing to get reports. I had told him on Wednesday, when he asked, that I was cooling it a bit with Roman. But he seemed to know last night that it wasn't nearly over at all, not as anyone else might define it. (Nothing specific, more an attitude, a skirting of the issue, a lack of curiosity perhaps.) That's scary.

I am entirely open, I have nothing to hide, I would tell him the truth about anything he asked about, so his knowing these things doesn't bother me. But he seems to know too much that didn't come FROM me, and that DOES bother me, because I don't know where he's getting it.

Can he really be that perceptive? Is this entirely innocent, and I'm being paranoid? He may look like a cherub, and talk like an excited kid, but I have a feeling there's some cold hard steel in the core. A look in the eyes every so often. "Business is Business". A cherub is not going to go into billion-dollar business dealings with Arab states and come out smiling.

Or maybe only a cherub could.