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.


#461 My Life, Rated

Another silly test. I expected the high rating in the finances, but I'm rather pleased with the spiritual rating. They even asked for my advice - "Your Spirit score is very high, much higher than the average. If you wouldn't mind, please take a little time to explain how you manage to succeed so well at this aspect of your life. Your words may be read by someone else who scored very low. Take a moment to give them some useful advice. Your thoughts are very much appreciated." (I didn't leave any advice. I wouldn't know how to advise anyone except to maybe forget everything you have been taught, learn who you are, and listen for the revelations that will come to you if you are open to them.)

Again, there weren't enough questions for this to be any kind of accurate, but taking the test does make one think about some things one might have been ignoring.

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz
Your Life Analysis:

Life: Your life rating is a score of the sum total of your life, and accounts for how satisfied, successful, balanced, capable, valuable, and happy you are. The quiz attempts to put a number on the summation of all of these things, based on your answers. Your life score is reasonably high. This means that you are on a good path. Continue doing what is working and set about to improve in areas which continue to lag. Do this starting today and you will begin to reap the benefits immediately. (Read more on improving your life)

Mind: Your mind rating is a score of your mind's clarity, ability, and health. Higher scores indicate an advancement in knowledge, clear and capable thinking, high mental health, and pure thought free of interference. Your mind score is within a healthy zone. This means you have achieved a level of mental balance and harmony consistent with living a healthy, happy life. Continue doing what works, and keep your focus. In our fast-paced world, mental clutter is all too common. Be vigilant in maintaining healthy mental function. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving the mind.

Body: Your body rating measures your body's health, fitness, and general wellness. A healthy body contributes to a happy life, however many of us are lacking in this area. You have a rather good body score, which is an indication that you take care of yourself. There is room for improvement, however. Please keep doing what works. Eat right, exercise, reduce your stress, treat any illness. Doing these things will help ensure your body will be in good working order for a long time to come. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving the body.

Spirit: Your spirit rating seeks to capture in a number that elusive quality which is found in your faith, your attitude, and your philosophy on life. A higher score indicates a greater sense of inner peace and balance. Your spirit score is dramatic. Continue on your path, do not stray. Continue to reap the rewards which your spirituality brings forth. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving the spirit.

Friends/Family: Your friends and family rating measures your relationships with those around you, and is based on how large, healthy, and dependable your social network is. Your friends and family score is not bad but can be improved. Maintain your current social net, while you try to expand it. Try new things and form new friendships. You will be rewarded greatly.

Love: Your love rating is a measure of your current romantic situation. Sharing your heart with another person is one of life's most glorious, terrifying, rewarding experiences. Your love score is in good shape, meaning that things are going well. Do all you can to maintain it, and continue to grow and move ahead. Read advice from other quiz-takers on finding and maintaining love.

Finance: Your finance rating is a score that rates your current financial health and stability. Your financial score is impressive. You seem to be doing everything right in this area, so keep up what you're doing. Do not fall into common traps and continue planning for long-term stability. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving your finances.

Averages, of over 2,000 tests:

You: 7.6
Average: 6.4
You: 7.9
Average: 6.3
You: 7.5
Average: 5.9
You: 9.6
Average: 7.1
You: 5.9
Average: 5.7
You: 6.9
Average: 5.3
You: 8.8
Average: 6.8

Friday, December 02, 2005

#460 Woodstock Open House

I'm going to the Woodstock Open House tonight. Decorated storefronts, carolers, street music, ice sculptures, that sort of thing. But mainly, Perizad and the Twisted Tassels ( - for some reason I can't make this work as a link, and I don't have time to fiddle with it right now, so just copy and paste to your browser to visit them) will be dancing at the Joyous Lake, and I want to see them. I know a few of the dancers.

I had promised Piper and The Angel long ago that I'd show them some good bellydancers, and since this is tribal style, it's ideal, so I invited them. The Angel wanted to go, but couldn't make it, so it's Piper and me. We'll have dinner, go to the show, and walk around town, in some order. He's good company.

And he's available on weekends.

Another sigh.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

#459 Jean Piaget

I left the following caution on the blog of an education student who had just discovered the writings of Jean Piaget, whom she declared was "absolutely wonderful".

I read Piaget back in 1980, when my daughter was 5 years old. When Piaget said that children can't think abstractly until like 12, I think it was, I had a lot of trouble accepting that. That was not my experience with my daughter. He said that up to something like 10 (it was a long time ago, so I may have the numbers wrong), a child will think that a narrow bottle contains more than a wide bottle, even if you show that the contents are the same, because the level in the narrow bottle will be higher. So I experimented.

I got a tall narrow and a short fat bottle, and I measured exactly two ounces of water in a glass measuring cup, in front of my daughter, 5 at the time, and two of her friends, 6-year-old twins Una and Liz. I poured it into the fat bottle. Then I did exactly the same thing with the narrow bottle. Then I asked the girls, "Which bottle has more water in it?" The twins immediately pointed to the tall narrow bottle. Daughter frowned at them, and said "They both have the same. She measured. Remember?"

An argument ensued, during which the twins insisted that the water was higher in the narrow bottle. My daughter stunned us all when she picked up the narrow bottle, laid it on its side, and said, "Now the other one's higher!" The twin's eyes got huge.

So, be careful. Piaget isn't always right, and you could do a disservice to some children if you take him as gospel.


#458 Racing Snow

I've got to get all these storage containers down to the basement. I've got to get it done before snow, because I don't think I can take them down the basement steps and still protect my back. What I want to do is take them out the front door, load them into the garden cart, take them around the house down the hill, and in the lower basement door. Rough if there's snow on the ground. (Although I guess I could clear a path with the snow thrower, if worse comes to worst.)

There has already been three inches of snow over Thanksgiving, which didn't stay around long, and sticking snow in "the hill country" north and west of here. The clouds next to "Friday" on my AOL welcome screen have overnight changed to snowflakes.

Note to self - try starting the snow thrower and get it in for service if it won't start. SOON!

Things are getting desperate around here.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

#457 Losing Weight, but Not Changing Shape!

Walked today for the first time in a week. I stopped in at Piper's office and asked him if he'd like to walk with me (he keeps saying when I walk in town I should stop and invite him) but he couldn't leave the office right then. So I talked with him for a half hour or so, which cut the walking time down.

I've noticed that if I don't walk, the weight doesn't move, but when I do walk, the drop is noticeable and immediate - like, the next day. And it holds. Strange. What I eat or don't eat doesn't seem to matter as much as whether I walk or not. And I don't necessarily have to walk that far. Even just 1.5 miles will do it.

Sheesh. Winter coming. Cold. I guess I'd better unclutter the treadmill.

Another odd thing - as I'm losing weight, the shape is staying exactly the same, just getting smaller. So even 20 pounds down, the belly is still yucky sticky-outy compared to the base. No, it's not a muscle thing - it's a soft pad on top of muscle. Under all that famine-relief pack is a six-pack. Hard. Flat. Isometrics. Isotonic. Good stuff.

I know fasting is wrong, but I eat something other than 6 to 12 ounces of yogurt only about every other day, and when I do eat, I get way fewer than 1000 calories a day, usually closer to 600. Mostly I'm just not hungry these days. And yet I'm not lacking in energy.

Sigh. I don't understand.


Monday, November 28, 2005

#456 Ice on the Coils?

Daughter - don't be concerned if there's no Tuesday entry. I've got a bunch of errands to run, and a class in the evening.

Anyone - I found heavy icing up on the coils of the dehumidifier in the basement last night, so I turned it off to let the ice melt off. I turned it on again this evening, and now I'm wondering:
- Is heavy white frost on the coils normal? Seems like it would be less efficient....
- Is it something I did wrong, like turn it too high?
- Is it maybe that the basement is too cool? (It's not actually very cool down there - probably high 60s.)
- Is it possible it's always been icy and I never noticed before?
Um, answers, anyone? Is this a problem? Should I ignore it?


#455 Making Progress

I moved the grandfather clock to the basement yesterday.

I removed the pendulum and weights, tied up the chains, turned all the levers, jammed the hand truck under it, tied it top and middle to the uprights, wrestled it out the door and down the hill to the basement door, and into the basement. Whoo! I was not looking forward to moving that thing. It started to kick out at the bottom (guess I should have tied it at the bottom, too, or made sure the middle rope was tighter), but when it reached its final resting spot, I still had about an inch of clock base on the truck, so it made it.

I put the Tibetan chest in that corner, so now I have room to get all these stacked storage containers out the door. That'll give me some space to fill more containers.

Yesterday I also cut up a thousand (or so it seemed - cut up, they made a stack six feet high) empty cardboard boxes in the basement, so now I have room for the storage containers.

I've started another "go to the dump" pile outside the basement door. It's already big. I'm proud of myself. I have all that paper downstairs that I can't burn (right now there's about 40 large grocery bags full, and last night I opened what I thought was a nearly empty box, and found "Science" magazines - a 18" by 18" by knee-high block of them). I guess I'll just throw it all on the outside pile. I'll have to keep the pile covered with plastic - the dump charges by weight, so I don't want it all waterlogged.

I also don't know what I'm going to do with all these rolled-up rugs. They have to be protected from moths. And silverfish. And damp. Eventually they can go on the floor somewhere, but first I have to clear the floor. (First I have to FIND the floor!)

Hush! I'm getting there....


Sunday, November 27, 2005

#454 Pity Party - Going It Alone

There was a set of questions going around journals some days or weeks back, one of which was something like "When was the last time you went to a movie alone, and what did you see?"

Most of those who answered the question were of the opinion that going to a movie alone was just too pitiful for words.

I go to movies alone all the time.

Last night, for example, "Pride and Prejudice" at the Upstate. Followed by dinner alone. With a book. Another Saturday night alone.

This Saturday was the worst yet. I am frankly jealous. I don't know how long I can do this.

My friends are all paired off, married, too old, don't drive at night, or are too far away to get together for something as trivial as a movie. I've gone to a few movies just lately with Roman, but when I have time with him, I'd rather we spent the time talking. I'd rather look at him than sit next to him staring at a flickering screen. So, I go to movies alone.

I don't think that's at all as pitiful as sitting in front of the TV, watching the new year's ball drop, alone. Now, THAT's pitiful.

With the exception of 1992 through 2000, when I was with Jay, that's how I've spent every other New Year's Eve of my entire life. With no one to kiss.

You'd think, hey, you had lots of boyfriends, and two previous husbands, what gives?

Well, in high school, I babysat every New Year's. In college, everyone else went home from Christmas through New Year's, so I was left alone in the dorm. When I was dating Ex#1, he worked holidays - more money.

Then after we got married, Ex#1 was away in the Army the whole time we were married. We had one New Year's Eve, but that was after he separated from the army, and I had decided I wanted a divorce. I wasn't strong enough to leave over his objections - I wanted him to agree, to want me to leave. So I didn't spend a lot of time at home. New Year's Eve, I got all dressed up and left the house without saying anything to him, and I went to a club where there was a big party. I didn't go in - I had no reservation - I just wrapped myself up in blankets and slept in the car in the parking lot until morning. Even that didn't faze him. A month later, I left anyway. (Eight months later, he remarried.)

I was married to Ex#2 for twelve years or more, but every New Year's Eve he was either passed out drunk by midnight, or had gone to bed early. Holidays depressed him. All holidays. There actually were a few New Year's when we were visiting his family, and he did stay awake and relatively sober, but he'd be out with the guys at midnight, shooting guns at the moon. THEN he'd pass out.

So, except for Jay, most of my life I've greeted the New Year alone. No one to kiss in the New Year.

You KNOW what this is leading up to.

I'm already anticipating much unhappiness in a month or so.

I don't know why I do stuff like this to myself.



#453 Another Tribute to Jay

I found the following in my email on my return from Pa. I'm still getting occasional notes like this, and I appreciate them all. Thought I'd share it. I thought this one was remarkable because apparently they were acquainted in middle school, but not so much beyond. Jay would be surprised at the number of people who remembered and appreciated him enough to send me notes. He seemed to think he had no friends in school.

My name is [Name Deleted]. I knew your late husband in Middle School (Iroquois). In fact, he came over to my house on [Street Name Deleted] Road several times for what would now be called "play dates". I wouldn't say we were close friends. However, he was one of my circle of friends from that era. I'm sure he would have remembered me. I read your note about Jay's passing in the IHS 1970 guest book.

I'm so sorry to read that Jay is no longer with us. I knew Jay because he was in my "core" classes in 5th and 6th grade. Iroquois segregated students on the basis of tested IQ into six ability groups. Jay was in Group One, and was generally considered by us mere mortals to be the brightest kid in the class, perhaps the brightest in the entire school. I remember competing against Jay in the 7th grade Science Fair. My Crystal Radio didn't stand a chance against Jay's Liquid Chromatograph (he won first prize). Jay always wanted to be a scientist. I think his Dad was an engineer, as were many of my classmates' fathers in Kodak-oriented West Irondequoit.

Thanks for publishing your moving tribute to Jay. I remember him as a decent and kind young man, who would laugh at your jokes and want to be your pal.

Best regards,
[Name Deleted]
[Town Deleted], CT