Saturday, February 18, 2006

#573 Questions 9 thru 12

Well, I found out where all the single men "of a certain age" hang out at 5 pm on a Saturday. The IGA was chock full of them, most quite willing to help a little lady reach things on high shelves. One gentleman, after helping me with some fruit juice, kept turning up in subsequent aisles, catching my eye and smiling shyly. Sorry, fella. I'm off men for the moment.

Continuing with questions from The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., Workman Publishing Company, Inc., $6.95. (If you like the idea, you should buy the book. Get yourself all the questions at once.)

9. Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again?
Bad question. If one already has $10,000,000, the question is moot. If one has $10, the answer is easy. We've already established that I'd leave for love with no money. So now we're establishing my dollar price, eh? Well, for one million, probably not. For two million, maybe. For three million, definitely, since then I would be able to buy or bring to me at any time anything or anyone I wanted to have or see.

If you were expelled from the country and had only limited financial resources, where would you try to rebuild your life?
Probably Canada or England, since at least I speak the language, and I'm too old to fight new battles in an entirely foreign culture.

10. Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture?
I don't think either sex has it easier. They both have it hard in different ways.

Have you ever wished you were of the opposite sex?
No. Never. I have often thought about what it would be like to be male, especially when I had just been put down or shoved aside, but the demands on men are too great. Not that the demands on females are less, if anything they're greater, but those demands are at least more in a direction I am willing to go.

11. You are given the power to kill people simply by thinking of their deaths and twice repeating the word "Goodbye". People would die a natural death and no one would suspect you. Are there any situations in which you would use this power?
I invoke the fifth on this one. Let's just say I would be very sorely tempted. Not in anger, but in one case in sympathy, and in another in frustration. Good girl, bad girl.

12. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Easy. Body. Assuming of course that the brain is part of the body (and I rather suspect that this is not what the questioner intended, but it is how I choose to interpret it). The 30-year-old has everything working well, including the brain, but the mind is only half developed. My brain was in much better condition when I was thirty, but my mind is in much better condition now. So I'd choose the body (including brain) of a 30-year-old to keep, and the mind of the 90-year old, with all the accrued wisdom. In fact, I wish I had had that when I was 30. However, this could be a curse. One would never be ready to die. (Which is where question #11 would come in handy.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

#572 Endowment

A friend is redoing her will, and a few months ago she had asked me to recommend some of my favorite charities.

I just got a note from her. She is setting up an endowment in my name for Heifer International (, because she is grateful for some assistance I had given her when she needed it.

Isn't that cool?

It's set to reinvest, and the charity gets the profits from it.

#571 Catchup

Friday, February 17, 2006

The wind has ended, and I think I actually still have most of my trees. None down in the yard or the driveway, anyway, although there are a few more suspiciously clear areas in the woods.

Backing up to Tuesday, I had dinner with the Kingston guy. He showed up with yellow roses. I think he's probably very nice, but at the moment he has a minor and temporary, but very painful, medical condition, which leaves him distracted and uncomfortable. Plus, I think I (and Mensa) intimidated him a bit. He's probably used to more sophisticated less bouncy women. I'm used to men who smile and laugh more. Maybe when his problem resolves, he'll smile more, and my bouncing won't trouble him, but, at any rate, if I ever see him again (and I do think I'd sorta like to get to know him when he's more himself), it won't be for a while. He has decided to withdraw from social contact until he feels better. I sent him a rather raunchy get well card. Probable end of story. Tsk. A pity. Other than the dour thing, he was promising.

Wednesday I had dinner with Roman, and then class. I'm confused. He's confused. Neither of us is sleeping well. Same old story. So what else is new. I do miss him terribly. I don't know how I'll manage after this class ends, next Wednesday.

Thursday I woke with twisty tender pain in my left side, just under and in front of the lowest ribs, which progressed to occasional waves of abdominal cramps. I had other pain too, but I don't know if it was related, or just the normally ignored pain that I suddenly became more aware of, but I had a hot spot in my right palm, a crampy muscle in my neck, pain in the right temple that shot thunderbolts down my jaw, left hip ache, and left foot pain. (You know, sitting here now, I just sampled my body, and yeah, all those other pains are there, just at a lower level. Isn't that strange....)

At first I couldn't take a deep breath, so I thought maybe it was a cramp in my diaphragm, but then decided it was too low for that. Kidney infection? Nope, too far forward. Twisted intestine? Possible, but that usually happens on the right side, not the left, and lower. Then I discovered it didn't hurt at all if I lay on my right side, so I concluded that it probably isn't an internal organ. Conclusion: muscle, probably pinching a nerve which causes the intestinal cramps. Probably a result of falling asleep at 4 am with my face in a book again (for the fourth night in a row). So I spent the day alternating between bed and bath. Soaking in very warm water made it possible to move and breathe for a while before it clenched again.

I had to cancel out on lunch with Piper, the Third Thursday Mensa dinner (and wouldn't you know - Roman was working, so he had given me the coupons to take), and NTN (trivia) after. Sadness. I enjoy all three.

Today my side is a little tender, but everything else has settled down.

Saddest part of all this? I hear it was 61 degrees yesterday! I didn't get to feel it.

#570 Wind!

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's very windy today and the power is flickering, so I'm going to turn this thing off in a minute. After yesterday's entry I figured I should let y'all know I'm better than yesterday. Still some minor muscle pain, but no more abdominal cramping.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


No entry today - pain. Maybe pulled muscle, maybe pinched spine. Can't stand or sit comfortably.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

#568 Question 6 Revisited

I've been thinking about question #6, previous entry, the one about toddlers switched at birth. The more I think about it, the more I don't like the idea of swapping babies back. If you could do it in the first few weeks, it may be possible to do it without harm, or even after the children have reached "the age of reason" when they would be able to understand what had happened. But at one year, there's a big problem.

At that age, the child doesn't think in language. But they still think, feel, and remember, and the memories are stored as pictures and feeling only, as interpreted as the child. I'm afraid that a swap at that age will be stored forever as "my parents traded me for another kid they liked better." We'll have two children feeling that, and since it's stored as feelings without words or understanding, it will be very difficult to eradicate, even after the children know and understand the story. We could end up with some really messed up kids.

That leaves option a) kidnapping.

Or combining the two families - buy a duplex and pretty much live together. Ack!

Time to get ready for class, and I still have to return Piper's Monday phone call. I'll post again later tonight, because I want to talk about yesterday. Man, "I don't understand" is a very good name for this journal - there's so much I don't understand.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

#567 Questions 5 thru 8

Continuing with questions from The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., Workman Publishing Company, Inc., $6.95, questions you can use to explore your own feelings and attitudes, or to spark a discussion with others. I've decided I'm going to go through the book periodically, and answer the questions here. I invite readers to comment, not so much on my responses, but with your responses - and simple yes or no won't do. Elaborate. (I'm hoping I can get around the copyright restrictions by recommending that, if you like the idea too, you should buy the book. Get yourself all the questions at once.)

5. If a new medicine were developed that would cure arthritis but cause a fatal reaction in 1 percent of those who took it, would you want it released to the public?
Absolutely! No question in my mind. Advanced arthritis is incredibly painful, and I firmly believe that it should be up to the individual as to whether they want to take the risk or not. I feel that way about just about everything like this. I don't like others making decisions for me or for any other competent adult. Given our litigious society, there would have to be all kinds of safeguards in place to protect the manufacturers, and that may be impossible, but I still think any risk is up to the person choosing that risk.

6. You discover your wonderful one-year-old child is, because of a mix-up at the hospital, not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to try to correct the mistake?

Hell, no. What I'd WANT to do is put out a contract on the other parents, then after they're dead, prove through DNA that I should be awarded custody of "their" child. Sheesh! I couldn't possibly leave my own child with strangers (unless they're absolutely wonderful and I'm in jail), so the only other options would be to a) kidnap the kid and abscond to some country without extradition with BOTH children, or b) exchange the children and then hope that the other parents would keep in touch, maybe with a visitation agreement, or something. But that's not what I'd WANT!

7. Do you think the world will be a better or a worse place 100 years from now?

Define "better". Is the world a better place now than it was 100 years ago? It's just different. Better or worse depends on your expectations at the time you live. We are human. We'll never create a Utopia. So 100 years from now, it will be different, but on the whole probably no better or worse than it ever was. We'll just move away from the current problems and find different ones - probably involving overpopulation.

8. Would you rather be a member of a world championship sports team or be the champion of an individual sport?
Individual. If I were a member of a team, I'd always feel that my contributions were small, no matter how much I actually influenced the outcome. I'd be happier as a winning individual, because no one, not even I, could negate my accomplishment. I'd be walking around saying "Wow, I did good! I really did!"
Which sport would you choose?

Swimming or diving. That will surprise a lot of people because I don't like water more than four feet deep. But my mother was a swimmer and exhibition diver, and I'd feel like it was a tribute to her.

Monday, February 13, 2006

#566 "Personality Test"

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

#565 Questions 1 thru 4

Last time I visited Daughter, she gave me a book, The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., Workman Publishing Company, Inc., $6.95, saying that it was not something they were into, but that I might like it. I do! It's full of questions you can use to explore your own feelings and attitudes, or to spark a discussion with others. I've decided I'm going to go through the book periodically, and answer the questions here. I invite readers to comment, not so much on my responses, but with your responses - and simple yes or no won't do. Elaborate. (I'm hoping I can get around the copyright restrictions by recommending that, if you like the idea too, you should buy the book. Get yourself all the questions at once.)

1. For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again?
Yes. No hesitation. Maybe a few decades ago this would have been a more difficult question, but with international post, telephones, radiophones, and the internet I could still keep some contact. There are internet cafes even in Ulan Bator, for Pete's sake! Seeing and touching them is not as important as knowing that they are ok, and that they have love of their own. If they're not ok, note that the question says "little chance", not "no chance". I'm sure I would have periods of sadness and longing, but for love I would do it.

2. Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits? Would you be willing to spend a night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted?
This is two questions. I do believe in a persistence of energy, but not necessarily the way that most people think when they hear "ghost" or "evil spirit". My belief is quite different. Incidentally, I DID see what I believe to be a conventional ghost once, in Wales, and I don't know how to fit that into my belief system! As to the haunted house, I would have no problem with spending a night there. Even if there are ghosts, and even if the house is haunted, I still believe that they cannot harm me except through fear, and therefore there's nothing to be afraid of.

3. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven't you told them yet?
I learned a long time ago to tell everyone everything I wanted them to hear, at every opportunity. I can't think of anyone I love who doesn't know I love them, anyone I like or appreciate who doesn't know I like them, and exactly how much. If they don't know, it's because they weren't listening.

So it comes down to mundane stuff, like that I have some rare and valuable things scattered around here that Daughter may not recognize as such, and just throw out or give away with the rest of the trash. I doubt that she'd care, but I'd feel bad that the age and history and rarity of the item was not respected. That would be a pity. A loss to the world. Maybe I should stick little red tags on them or something.... Why not yet? Lazy. And I'm not planning to die for a while.

4. If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience would you do so? If not, why not?
I can't think of a single reason not to say yes. Maybe it would mean giving up all memory of a year of my life, that isn't clear, but, gee, I wouldn't miss it, right? I know I had at least two years of almost perfect happiness with Jay, between the year of unemployment and the diagnosis, and now, ten years later, all I have left is the knowledge that they happened. I don't retain the actual feeling of that time. Not being able to recapture that feeling is certainly no reason not to have had the experience.

Some of these questions have a follow-up question in the back of the book, and this is one of them. The follow-up is: Which is more important: actual experiences or the memories that remain when the experiences are over? I'm not sure. But I have such a terrible memory anyway. Everything tends to get colored by subsequent experiences. Then again, looking at it logically, you wouldn't have the memories without having had the experience, therefore the experience must be more important, even if sometimes you don't retain the memory. Chicken/egg thing.

These early questions seem fairly easy. I've been flipping through the book, and some of the later ones get harder. I'm going to do them in order anyway.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my answers at any time.

#564 Relationship "How To"

There's some guy who is making a mint teaching the military and various groups how to build a relationship, how to find the right person. I checked out his program, and phooey! it looks exactly like what we girls all knew back in the 60s. He has just expanded it into a "book length" course with a lot of acronyms. (Like anyone would actually remember the acronyms or apply them in actual situations.)

Basically, what we all knew way back then was that the phases must go in the following order, no skipping. You must completely explore one phase before you can consider yourself fully into the next, because each phase is built on the previous.
  1. Friendship. Get to know each other. Learn about his family, background, values, interests, goals. Find out how he reacts in different situations. Discover common interests and dreams. Find out what you share. Give this phase enough time to get past the posing and into the real person. Mystery is bad. Do you have real fun together, even when you aren't doing fun things? Do you admire each other's strengths? Can you accept each other's weaknesses?
  2. Trust. You need to have trust and faith in him. Does he always do what he says he will do, is he honest, open, and forthright, do you sense there's something hidden, is the friendship on an even keel or does he seem to swing back and forth? Does he seem to have his, or your, best interests in mind? Can you always believe him when he speaks?
  3. Emotional intimacy. Do you feel that you can say anything to him, and he will understand? Is he able to say anything to you without you getting upset? Does he let you into his deepest feelings? Do you understand how each other's minds work? Can you predict reactions? When you feel especially good or especially bad about something, is he the first person you think of to share it with?
  4. Commitment. If you've both done a good job on #2 and #3, this follows almost naturally. This is not necessarily a formal declaration, but that you both feel that the other is "the one", and that neither of you will put the relationship in jeopardy.
  5. Physical intimacy.
Nowadays, folks want to reverse steps 4 and 5. I guess it would work for younger people, but I'm afraid I'm stuck in MY youth. I'm glad I was reminded of this.

Jay and I were forced by circumstance into following the steps over a very long period. I suppose that's why it was so perfect between us.

And I know now what went wrong with Roman - I skimped on the steps. Knowing the process is one thing. Following it is another. I thought we were bumping along just fine, but that was denial. I'm afraid that we may never recover #2, and I'm not sure he is capable of #3. Not now, anyway, he may be too old to learn new tricks, and mental and emotional intimacy is something I absolutely need. It's not one of those weaknesses I can accept. Despite evidence to the contrary, I do believe he is capable of commitment. Too bad #5 was so darn good. It threw a blanket over everything else that was wrong.

I wish my printer was working. I'd print this thing out and nail it to the inside of the front door.