Saturday, February 04, 2006

#557 Bits & Pieces

Saturday, 02/04/06

NO NEWS! NEWS GO AWAY!! Well, the Muhammad cartoons thing has managed to leak through my barriers and into my head, and I really really really don't want to know about it. Everybody, absolutely everybody, on both sides of the issue, right from the start, has handled it in the most incredibly stupid way imaginable. What are people thinking? DO they think? How would Muhammad handle this? (Actually, that may be the wrong question to ask - I understand he was a rather ferocious man, in a ferocious time and place.) Whatever. Just make it go away, please?

I went to the Twisted Tassels performance this evening, and it was over at a little after 7. I did get up and dance a teeny bit at the end. I was stiff. I guess working on the machines is stiffening me up, so maybe I should fit in a dance class occasionally. Perizad teaches in Woodstock on Sundays, early afternoon, and it just so happens that the drumming group also meets in Woodstock, right after Perizad's class ends, so maybe I'll try both. If I get up in time tomorrow.

The drumming group looks like they have a lot of fun. I'm not sure whether it is all female, or if it just turned out that way tonight, there were like 15 women on the stage drumming up a storm. I asked one of the women (she looked very male, I had to wonder) when and where they met, and if there were lessons or was one supposed to already know something, and she said just come, you pick it up from others, no big deal.

Seven thirty seemed so early to go home. I got out on route 28, and saw a BBQ place ahead with a bar, and a sign that they had a bluegrass/folk band tonight, and I had heard that the bar at this place drew an older crowd, so on impulse I pulled in. It happened to be THE place where Roman held me and really kissed me for the first time, in the parking lot after a Mensa dinner. I thought maybe if I avoided the dining room and stayed in the bar I'd be ok, but I wasn't really. Damn BBQ smell. He may have ruined my favorite food forever.

So anyway, for the first time in decades I walked into a bar alone and plunked my behind on a stool, and ordered --- "do you have anything only slightly alcoholic?" --- a very fruity drink with that coconut rum in it. Older crowd? Mostly it was me and the bartender, a 25-year-old cutey. We chatted off and on for two hours until the band arrived. They set up in the dining room, but there were open double doors between, and I sat at the end of the bar right in front of them, a good seat, actually.

There was a guitar, a bass guitar (whatever that's called), and drums, and the guitar player and a woman sang. I don't know how to classify what they did. It wasn't bluegrass, and it wasn't folk, and it wasn't country, it was all original, and, well, sort of blah. (Nothing like the 10-piece jumpin' Cajun band of the night before. I may have been a little spoiled.) So I left a little after 10.

And here I am. Sigh.

#556 Sick Van

Saturday, 02/04/06

I spent most of today trying to get the van fixed. My favorite service place wasn't open today, so I tried a couple of other places, and then the dealership, and nobody's service section was open. I talked to a salesman at the dealership, asked what the "get service soon" light REALLY means, and he said I could drive locally for a few days with no worries, no problem, and I was starting to feel better about it, and then he said, "But if it starts to choke, or act funny at all, stop immediately and call someone to come pick you up. Even if you have to leave it on the side of the road."

Well, I don't want to be driving through the woods coming back from Woodstock at midnight, and have it "act funny". Who on earth would I call to come get me? And it's too cold to just sleep in the back until morning.

The dealer wasn't sure their service folks could get to it on Monday, so then I went to Majestic. Their service wasn't open either, but I knew they also have a Rent-A-Wreck desk. The guy at the desk assured me they could take a look at the van on Monday, I could just leave it in their lot for now, and I'd get a discount on the rental car.

So now I'm driving a swoopy little red sporty car with a long front and practically no rear, with a spoiler on the back. (I didn't notice what make it is exactly.) The guy told me not to take it over 100 mph. I think that would be easy. The speed limit through the village is 30, and I found I was doing 50 without even noticing. It tends to creep up all by itself, and it's so smooth and so light I don't notice.

To Woodstock for the Twisted Tassels performance tonight. I'm off to get cleaned up....

Friday, February 03, 2006

#555 Cajun Dancing

Well, I can now do a Cajun waltz, and the Two-step. They're actually pretty easy. The waltz is a simple one-two-three-one-two-three practically walking around in a counterclockwise circle, with a turn in each corner of the room. The Two-step was taught as one-two-three-pause one-two-three-pause, but in actual practice it's more like one-two-three-hitch-one-two-three-hitch, same turns in the corners.

They do this every first Friday of the month, and it seemed like everybody there already knew each other. Being shy, I didn't get much practice, just watched from the balcony, but maybe if I go a few more times I'll get more at ease, and become more familiar to them, too.

When I left the club and started the van, there was a strange light on the strip above the dashboard. I'd never seen it before. It's shaped sort of like a motor. Uh-oh. Owner's manual says something about getting service VERY SOON, that there's something wrong with the emissions system or some other thingy. Or else maybe the gas cap isn't on tight. I checked the gas cap, and in fact it wasn't tight, but tightening it didn't make the light go away. Fooey. I hate unusual lights on the dash. Especially at the start of a weekend.

I just got another note tonight from another admirer on the major dating site - this one's 50, 6'2", doctorate and post-doctoral, and also north of Schenectady. From his photos he's a very large man, heavy as well as tall, impressive in a dark suit. Otherwise not bad looking, and articulate, but ... so far away? So big? I don't know what to say to him, either. This is getting very frustrating. Maybe Fate is trying to tell me something.

Time for bed.

#554 Still No Dates

Friday, 02/03/06

Online dating update - my profile has been viewed on the major site by over 150 people now. No way to tell on the minor site.

Yesterday I got a note on the minor site from a 50-year-old very handsome man in New Haven. His profile says he's "in the medical field", and one of the several photos shows him in scrubs. Damn! Really cute. "Mixed ancestry." I wish he were closer. I also wish he were a little older. Really good looking. Articulate, too. I replied to his note, but I don't really see anything happening there.

Also yesterday I got a note on the major site, from a 60's-ish policeman who lives way up north of Schenectady - probably a good hour and a half from here, at least. He sounds like a nice guy, but he's so far away. He's also well over 6 feet tall, and I think I'm going to stick to men whose faces I can see when I walk with them, for a while, anyway. I haven't replied yet. Don't know quite what to say.

There are plenty of men on both sites who live within a reasonable distance of here, and all of them have at least looked at my profile, but I'm getting no interest from any of them. One guy told me that the "I'm not looking for a husband" scares them off, because it looks like all I want is a date, an escort. I'd think it would attract rather than repel because it also means I'm not desperate.

No interest locally, except of course, that lawyer in Poughkeepsie.

Weirdest thing there. He didn't call back after our first phone conversation, when I scared the poop out of him by asking him if he knew so-and-so, other lawyers I know in family court. The major website put some kind of enhancement on last week - it was on for only one day, then it disappeared - where they actually said how many times this person and that person had looked at your profile. So naturally, I scrolled through the list of peekers, and many of them had looked once, many twice, several three times, a few four times, and then I got to the third page and came to the lawyer, and he had looked at my profile ten times! Obviously, there was some interest there, no?

Oh, well. Technically I'm not really ready yet anyway, so I guess I should be grateful.

Cajun dancing in Woodstock tonight, and I want to leave here by seven. Today was no-coat warm outside, and I sweated a lot at the spa, so I have to do my hair as well as wash. Wish me happy feets.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

#553 Activities

Thursday, 02/02/06

Wow! It's Thursday! What happened to Wednesday? I haven't the faintest idea what I did all day yesterday. I slept late for some unknown reason (got to bed early the night before), went to the spa in the afternoon instead of morning, ... ummm - blank period ..., met Roman for dinner before class, went to class, came home and went to bed early, something like 11 pm. Woke at 4:40 am this morning, back to sleep about 6 am for another 3 hours.

I did only one round at the spa yesterday. My body is complaining, not badly, just nagging "Please don't do that" kind of stuff. The problem with my left arm seems to center on the muscle on the back of the upper arm, especially where it attaches to the shoulder. I'll completely skip that machine today, give it a rest.
Went to the spa, did two rounds of the machines. Then to the bank to deposit some checks from the sale of stock, then dropped in on Piper and gave him a personal check for that amount, then to the drug store for some bubble bath, and as soon as I finish this I'm going to take a bubble bath.

Dinner with Mensa tonight at El Coqui, but I have to skip Trivia - they moved it from Poughkeepsie to Fishkill, and that would be too much of a rush to make it there in time from Kingston.

Tomorrow night there's Cajun dancing in Woodstock, with lessons first (no partner required), so if I can get myself psyched up, I want to go to that.

Saturday night Twisted Tassels ( will be dancing in Woodstock with live drumming, so I definitely want to go. I invited Roman (and he actually paused before saying no, he'll be in LI, he had told me earlier at dinner that he'd be going, but what the heck, doesn't hurt to try), and Piper and his lady friend (but Piper will be visiting his daughter for her birthday), and The Angel (who wasn't in the office, I left a note, so who knows), and the Mensa Yahoo group (but they never come, their concept of belly dancing doesn't extend to tribal style and I think it scares them). However, I can probably expect to see a few people I know there anyway.

So, Mother is busy busy. It's weird - this winter there seems to be a lot more going on than ever before. The available activities list looks more like summer.

Off to my bath.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

#552 Problem With External Hard Drive....

Tuesday, 01/31/06

I'm reading the documentation on the installation CD for the new external hard drive. Found a new requirement - it insists on having Pentium III. But you have to open the box and read the users' guide on the CD to discover that. I don't know what this thing's got. Also, the instructions on what to do if the CD doesn't start up are on the CD! And only on the CD. Sheesh. Doesn't anybody have a usability testing department any more?


Later. Ok, I installed the external hard drive device driver, and the software for automatic backups. It was quick and easy, I guess. Then I hooked up the cables for the drive, plugged it into the wall and into the USB port, and waited. The instructions seem to think that Windows will eventually "find" it (in two minutes or so), after which I am supposed to push the "backup button" on the drive to "finish the installation".

I waited twenty minutes, and Windows didn't find it. So then I pushed the backup button anyway, hoping an interrupt from the device would call Windows' attention to it, but --- still nothing. So I did a shutdown/restart. Windows checks devices on startup, right? Still nothing.

I had unplugged a camera from the USB port a few days ago. Could that be causing the problem? When I put the new display on here, and when I hooked up the new printer, Windows found them right away. What can I do now?


I'm also worried that by pushing the button when Windows wasn't paying attention, I may have screwed up the remainder of the installation process.


#551 No News

Tuesday, 01/31/06

For several months now I have been avoiding the news. I don't watch TV or listen to the radio, I skim the newspaper, and I barely glance at the headlines on the computer. I seem to have done it unconsciously - just one day I noticed that I was avoiding news reports. It seems like as the stress went up with Roman, I needed to reduce stress everywhere else, and I find news reports to be major stressors. It's not that I don't care what's happening in the world outside my home, it's that maybe I care too much.

Despite all my careful avoidance, the Hamas/Israel thing, and the Iran thing, have bled through, and I sometimes have small moments of near panic. I'm afraid for my child, and for the grandchildren I don't even have yet. I don't understand why it all has to be so hard, when it could be so easy.

Nearer to home, there's the proposal to build several thousand condos and townhouses on the west bank of the Hudson. That makes me breathe heavily, too. The infrastructure around here is already near collapse, but - there's money to be made, so I'm afraid it will happen anyway. Money rules.

I want it all to go away.

Monday, January 30, 2006

#550 Decades

On Death
I believe that you don't die of natural causes until you have finished your path (and I'm beginning to believe it for unnatural causes, too). There is a path you will take in this life, and when you come to the end of that path, you go on to the next. This doesn't mean predestination, you do still have free choice on absolutely everything. Sort of like a test you've signed up for. You can study hard and go in and work very hard on the essay questions and the multiple choice, or you can shrug and guess, or you can just put the pencil down and refuse to participate. You could have signed up for one part or all the parts. But at the end, the test is over when all the sections you chose time out, and whatever you have done, you get your score at the end. Not to say that life is a test, but like a test, certain subjects are shown to you, you have free will throughout, and you learn or you don't within the structure, as you choose. When the path/test is over, you leave, having learned or not. You go on to the next phase, which is determined by this one.

So don't cry for the deceased. They have simply transformed, graduated, moved on. Wave goodbye. Know that if you cry, you cry for yourself and the loved ones. If that person was an intersector to you, and you didn't take advantage of that intersection, if you chose for some reason, possibly even a good one, not to learn from them what you could when you could, then cry for yourself.

On Decades
(Only loosely related to the above....)
My life seems to have divided itself neatly and sharply into development decades.
  • 1944 to 1954 was confusion and loneliness.
  • 1954 to 1964 was physical pain.
  • 1964 to 1974 was emotional pain.
  • 1974 to 1984 was enormous emotional and psychological growth, the awakening.
  • 1984 to 1994 was stability and learning about, opening to, love.
  • 1994 to 2004 was love, loss, and the growth of strength.
I wonder what phase I'm in now?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

#549 The Little Lady Stomps NYC

I had a very good visit with Daughter and "the leading candidate for son-in-law", Hercules.

Saturday evening we went to see Stomp, something I've wanted since I first saw them on TV in the mid 90s.

Getting there was half the fun. We planned to drive to a Park-'n-ride and take a bus into the city, but Daughter had been called into work, and was going to catch the same bus that Hercules and I would be getting on further down the line. We planned to catch the 5:18 bus, but it mysteriously disappeared, never showed up, so we ended up on the 5:40, which made time tight. There was all kinds of cell phone coordination to make sure Daughter would be on the same bus ("Ok, I'm on it, you should see us coming over the hill any minute....") I was prepared for her and the bus to vanish, as mysteriously as the first one.

The bus ride was fun. We were in the front seats, up next to the driver and the doors, so I got a good view as we were headed into the Lincoln Tunnel, and the driver cut across four lanes to go through the far right tunnel. I watched in fascination as he nudged cars out of the way, and marveled at itty-bitty cars that refused to give an inch, drivers bent far over clutching the steering wheel with full nelsons and red faces and refusing to acknowledge this behemoth bearing down on their flank. Daughter and I were bouncing up and down in our seats, cheering on our driver and congratulating him on every victory. Heck, we were in a hurry! The driver grinned.

We had mapped out a subway trip from Port Authority to the theater, involving two lines, but the lost bus cost us too much time, so we took a taxi. (Our driver's name was Paul Mensah, which Hercules thought was prophetic, or funny, or something. He wove us in and out of traffic like he was headed for a touchdown.) I was surprised that there were so many people on the streets. My only other experience with Manhattan was when I took a series of Company classes in the late 80s, and on weekends then, nothing was open, and no one was out - but Hercules says it was where I was - just south of Central Park. Not exactly Broadway and Times Square weekend-wise.

We made it to the theater almost in time (meaning they let us stand in the back until the first number was over, so we didn't miss much). I was surprised at how small the Orpheum is. For the next hour and 45 minutes I smiled like I haven't in months. My favorite part was the water-cooler jugs. Loved the sound of them.

When the show was over, I found a Ukrainian restaurant right next door selling pierogies, and I couldn't walk right past Ukranian pierogies. Then we decided instead of taking the two trains to Port Authority, we'd walk to the green one (on the subway map), take it two stops, and walk the rest of the way. Cool. Walking after pierogies. That means I could have a hot dog from one of those street carts, too! Whoo!

At one point we walked past a big building, and Hercules said "That's the Empire State Building", and I said "Oooo, can we?" so we did. It was pretty windy up there, but that's ok, it wasn't too very cold that evening. I was so jazzed that one of the security guards asked me if I was ok. He probably thought I was "on" something, but I was just enjoying everything enormously. I hopped up and down a lot. Sometimes I even broke into skipping. (Even if Daughter was acting like she was bored with the world and embarrassed by me.)

We walked through Times Square, where I got my real NYC steam cart hot dog (rather bland, actually, but only $2, and the bun was good), and Hercules showed me where he worked - we went into the building lobby and looked at the directory on the wall - and then we arrived back at the bus station. I thought my NYC experience was over. I was wrong.

There were about 24 people calmly lined up at the bay doors (#321), when two slick teenagers came out of the men's room behind us, looked at the line, discussed the situation (within our hearing, the idiots) and decided to cut line. They went out the doors of bay #322 and around the piece of wall and waited outside the #321 doors. They'd be first on the bus. There were three beefy middle-aged men in line just in front of us who didn't take too kindly to that. They referred to the young men as "the Gotti boys" (which worried one of the men, until I amended it to "more like Gotti cousins", to laughter - it's attitude, not blood). Hercules pointed out that the four of them ought to be able to escort two wimpy kids off the bus if it did turn out that seats were in short supply.

So we get on the bus, and sure enough, the two young men have appropriated the long back seat, and are lying on it, taking up the whole thing. And since we were near the end of the line, the annoyed men were in seats near the back. And, well, I couldn't see or hear much, but at least one of the older men, backed up by the others, went back there and told the kids that if they were so sick they needed to lie down, that they should get OFF! the bus NOW! and go get some medicine. He repeated it, in a very gentle and concerned, but firm, voice (but I'd have loved to have seen his face) until they "got it" and sat up. The other men then loudly and pointedly directed people back to the bench seat until it was full.

I was fascinated, especially because of the "Limbo" book I'm reading about the differences between blue collar or working class and white collar or middle class (in the cultural, not financial, sense). This was a very blue collar thing. According to the book, most men in the blue collar neighborhood feel strongly that it is their duty to correct and guide younger men in the proper way to act, and they're not going to let little snot-noses like this get away without proper instruction. That man was talking to them like he was their uncle, who was very disappointed in them, and I suspect they were from the same type of neighborhood, because they TOOK it like he was an uncle. It was a confrontational, territorial, and no-nonsense enforcing of the rules for behaviour.


The cap on the evening came this morning, when Hercules presented me with a DVD of the Stomp show, which he had picked up in the lobby while Daughter was visiting the restroom and I was following my nose to pierogies. He also made a CD of the audio portion, which I listened to as I drove home. Twice through.

A good weekend. I'm happy.