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.