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.