Saturday, February 25, 2006

#586 Questions 13 thru 16

I have an optical migraine this evening. At least, that's what the opthamologist said it was last time it happened, a few years ago. No pain or headache, just a C-shaped sharp-edged jagged blur surrounding the center of my visual field. I got very little sleep again last night, so I fell asleep this afternoon while reading, with my neck in an awkward position, and I guess that's where it came from.

Why am I sleeping so badly? I have something bothering me, and no one I can talk it over with. So I talk it over with myself, incessantly. All day, when I should be doing other things. All night, when I should be sleeping.

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.)

13. What would constitute a "perfect evening" for you?
I guess most people would come up with a evening out, with candles and dancing and romance. Or a beach with breezes and stars and a fire. Or something. I guess I'm a bit pedestrian. Perfection for me is to be at home with a man I love, who will hold me with the promise that he'll be there tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and....

14. Would you rather be extremely successful professionally and have a tolerable yet unexciting private life, or have an extremely happy private life and only a tolerable and uninspiring professional life?
I can see where this might be a difficult choice for some people. I guess it depends on one's interests and goals. If one's profession is finding cures for cancer, I can see where one might get all the fulfillment one needs at work. I'd much rather have the extremely happy private life. In fact, I already wish I'd spent less time at the office. Maybe my private life would have been better. When I think back over my life, it's the personal moments that warm me. The professional successes are cold.

15. Whom do you admire most? In what way does that person inspire you?
Duh. Ummmm. You know, some people can easily come up with a famous name and all the reasons, and it always bothers me when they do. Partly it's that they ignore that person's failings. Partly it's that they seem to want to be positively compared to them. On the other hand, almost every person I know and like has at least one quality that I especially admire in them. But I don't know that I could say that any of them "inspire" me. Mainly I just admire them.

16. If at birth you could select the profession your child would eventually pursue, would you do so?
You know, through most of the world's cultures and most of the world's history, a child's eventual profession WAS pretty much set at birth, and still is in some places. If male, the eldest went into the family business, the second went to the church, and the third to the military or commerce, or whatever variation the local custom was. If female, and this is still true for most of the world's females, her destiny is set at birth. For both, aptitude and inclination had no part in the decision. In some advanced cultures today, especially in eastern countries, children are tested for aptitude at an early age, and aimed in certain directions and to certain schools based on the test results. There isn't much chance for appeal or personal choice. Getting back to the question, a parent naturally wants their childen to be happy and successful, so one does have a tendency to direct them into pursuits that a child seems naturally equipped for, and away from those with less promise (which, by the way, is not something that can be determined at birth). But the way society is changing so fast, it would be foolish to get too specific. So, no, not at birth. And yes somewhat, in a broad and general way, as the child develops.

Friday, February 24, 2006

#585 Bashed Arms

No questions tonight - it hurts to type, so I'm off to a bubble bath instead.

I went to the store this afternoon. Remember I said we weren't burning because of the wind? Well, a gust of wind caught me in the parking lot and literally threw me into the side of a car. I hit with both hands and they got bent way back at the wrist. The pain isn't IN the wrists, it's in the inside of the forearms, and it hurts to bend my wrists, so I suspect I just got some pulled tendons or something.

No big deal, but a good excuse to take the afternoon and evening off. Read a lot. Napped. Ate chicken wings and asparagus. I'm sure it all will feel better tomorrow.

#584 Trivia Evening

Friday, February 24, 2006

I went to Poughkeepsie last night to play trivia (NTN) again. Again, it was just Tom and me from Mensa, plus Tom's girlfriend (who didn't play). This is the place that had the delicious pulled pork quesedias, but this time I got the wings - also very good, very large, the one-bone pieces were almost as big as fryer drumsticks!, and only $1.44 per dozen. At that price, they don't let you take any out, you have to eat them all there, and although we ordered only one dozen, there were 18 on the plate, so every time the bartender turned his back I stuck one in my purse. I brought home enough for dinner tonight.

Tom and his friend left before I had finished my nursed-so-long-I had-to-add-ice glass of Chablis, and just as I was about to leave, someone in the group of two couples next to me at the bar mentioned Shamokin, Pa., and I ended up staying another half hour wrapped/rapt in conversation with them about Pennsylvania, and how it's such a great place to live, all the "still wild" places, even if the politics is a bit whacked. One of the guys was familiar with Ricketts Glen, and agreed it was a magical place.

So I had a nice evening. I didn't do too well at the trivia, though. Came in something like 220th nationally, but that's partly because I missed the whole first game. Tom had said he wouldn't be there until 8, so I got there at 8, and it turned out Tom had been there since about 7 and played the first game. Fooey. I like the place and I like the kind of people there, so I won't be uncomfortable alone, so next time I'm coming early regardless.

Up and dressed early this morning to meet The Hunk and burn brush, but it's too windy today, so we're putting it off again, probably until early next week, since it's supposed to rain or snow this weekend. Personally, I think a foot of snow on the ground would be perfect for burning. We wouldn't have to worry about a grass fire, and we wouldn't need the hose - a snowshovel would do for an extinguisher.

Off to get some things done. I'll do some questions later.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Last session of class last night. I think QuickBooks could be very useful when I (eventually) get my business up and selling, so I bought the software (for less than half price, from, recommended by Roman. I'm not so certain it would have been useful enough at full price.) It won't run on my current system, but I plan to upgrade sometime soon.

I have decided I'm not really ready for stranger-dating at the moment, so I have "hidden" my profiles on the online dating sites. I've got to get the rest of my life in order first, then we'll see what's happening.

Tall Dark & Handsome #1 gave my mood a boost yesterday when he said that he can't wait for spring, when I might start wearing the Indian outfits again (salwar-kameez sets, and saris). He said that I look "very graceful" in them. Actually, I feel bulky in them, but that's when I WAS 30-plus pounds bulkier. Twenty more pounds to go, by the way. I seem to have hit a plateau, but as soon as it gets warm enough to walk without my nose and toes freezing off, I think the rest will go quickly.

I was up early this morning because the Hairless Hunk was supposed to come over and get the burn started on the brush pile, trees and branches that fell in storms. I need him to start the fire (you won't find me tossing gasoline around!) and set his hose up. My hoses alone aren't long enough to reach the pile. And then when it burns down a ways, he has the backhoe (or whatever it is) and the muscles to push the edges in. But he can't make it today, so ... I'll be up early again tomorrow. If it's not raining or snowing, that is.

My energy seems mysteriously renewed. I think I'll throw some more stuff around in the basement this afternoon.

#582 Photos

I have some photos I thought I might like to use in the "About Me" section, but first I need to fool Blogger into uploading them. So, here they are.

The young man is "Hercules", otherwise known as "The Leading Candidate for Son-in-law". The blonde is, of course, me.

The hand shows a henna pattern I got last fall. It lasted all of about 10 days, and then only because I didn't wash dishes during that time.

The woodsy photo is one of the twenty-some falls on the Kitchen Creek trail at Ricketts Glen, in Pennsylvania. I try to go there at least once a year. A favorite place.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

#581 Yummy Goodies!

I lifted this from a friend's website - I'm sure she won't mind:

Go visit this most AWESOME page! If you are into the renaissance and getting dressed up or want to have something to show off your great cleavage, go here!

Me again --- may I add that some of her dresses make the most beautiful wedding gowns, too.

#580 Nohari - Whoa!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Since I sent out requests for contributions to my Nohari Window, I've been getting notes back from folks saying they can't do it, it's just too hard, it insists on a minimum of five words and they can't find five, and so on.

Considering that I found six right off, and another nine that may not be consitutionally present, but are certainly often there, I couldn't understand the difficulty.

Then I went to a friend's Nohari Window, to contribute to hers, and whoa! It IS hard! Sheesh! NOTHING applies! Not all the time, anyway.

So, if you are having difficulty finding the right words, try prefacing each choice with "Sometimes she can be just a little bit ..." and see if that helps. In the end, only the one or two words that most people seem to gravitate to will matter, anyway.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

#579 Johari Window - Results

It's been a week since I made my initial request for contributions to my Johari Window, so I think I've probably got just about all the responses I'm going to get. To see the complete results, go to (note that it has moved from its original name). For information on the concept, see

Later edit - the site is having some problems. It gets overrun late at night, and as of 3 pm today, Tuesday, February 21, both of my ISPs are having difficulty even finding it. If you can't get to it, wait. It will, I hope, settle down.

I listed my salient characteristics as
  • able
  • independent
  • intelligent
  • happy
  • relaxed

Breakdown of respondents:
  • 6 are from people who know me in person now;
  • 4 are from people who knew me well in the past, and are now in touch by email and telephone;
  • 4 are from people who know me only through my journal and email.

The 14 responses say I present myself as
  • 10 - intelligent
  • 7 - independent
  • 3 - brave
  • 3 - clever
  • 3 - energetic
  • 3 - knowledgeable
  • 3 - loving
  • 3 - reflective
  • 3 - responsive
  • 3 - sentimental
  • 3 - sympathetic
  • 2 - able
  • 2 - bold
  • 2 - caring
  • 2 - confident
  • 2 - dignified
  • 2 - extroverted
  • 2 - giving
  • 2 - observant
  • 2 - searching
  • 2 - wise
  • 2 - witty
  • and a smattering of other words with 1 each.

Note that no one, besides me, chose "happy" and "relaxed". I think I am, but I guess those are an internal thing, and I don't show it so much on the outside. It's also interesting that once y'all got past "independent", no more than three people of the fourteen could agree on anything else, and how they know me didn't seem to show any pattern. I can't be everything to everyone (not since psychotherapy, anyway), so my conclusion is that my personality is a bit blah. I don't come through very well. Maybe I ought to pick a few I like, that I think are there but hidden, like "loving", "caring", "giving", and work on showing them more. I should expose me better.

Now the hard part.

You noticed that the Johari Window offered mostly positive descriptors. What about the negatives?

Introducing (Ta-ra!) my Nohari Window! Those who responded to the Johari request are now honor-bound to go to, and select negative adjectives to describe me. I realize that this will of course be very difficult for you, seeing as I am so perfect and all, so I won't be at all hurt if you take greater care to disguise your id this time. And I know it will be especially difficult to choose more than one, but do try to chose five or six. I found six with no difficulty, and could easily have selected nine more, but then, I know my evil thoughts.

Have fun....

(And no fair doing the Nohari without having done the Johari, too! Go back to it if you have to!)

#578 Birthday Songs

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Well, I paid the bills last night. Wrote 15 checks. I was surprised to find out that nothing was more than a few days past the due date. Squeaked by again, I guess.


From John Scalzi of By the Way..., if you go to this site , you can find out what song was Billboard Magazine's #1 song in the US on a particular date. I was happy to find that the list goes back to the forties.

I tried 9/11/01, and found that the top song that day was "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. (It was also the top song on 9/10/01.)
The top song on my birthday, 10/27/44, was "You Always Hurt the One You Love" by The Mills Brothers.
On Daughter's birthday, 10/19/75, it was "Bad Blood" by Neil Sedaka.
On Jay's birthday, 03/05/52, "Cry" by Johnnie Day & the Four Lads.
The day Jay and I were married, 01/07/94, "Hero" by Mariah Carey.
The day Jay died, 10/29/01, it was "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.
Roman's birthday (I think) - "I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)" by Harry James.

Not that it has any meaning. But I do find the 9/11 one interesting....

Monday, February 20, 2006

#577 My Reawakening? & The Reawakening

I'm being awfully remiss lately. I have whole bunches of things I have to do, and it's like I've dug my heels in and I'm refusing to do them. I don't know why I'm being so rebellious.

If I don't water plants pretty soon, I'm going to lose more, and all I've got left at this point are the favorites. But I just can't get me started.

Bills have been coming in, but I haven't paid any since early last month. I'm not too worried about my credit rating, because I've done this before, and nobody ever got upset. But by now everything is way overdue. I walk past the desk, and all that paper on it is just so overwhelming.

I usually clear deposits out of Miss Thunderfoot's litter box shortly after she makes them, and change the whole thing at the first whiff of ammonia, but (until this morning - yes, I took care of it) for some reason I ignored her box for three solid weeks! (Ya know, this pine stuff is pretty good. It really wasn't that bad.)

I've got to get all the tax stuff together and get it to The Angel before he gets overwhelmed, but I keep putting it off. I just know there are going to be things missing, and I don't want to deal with that right now.

I'd been finding and contacting old high school and college friends, and they've been responding, and then I ignore their responses. There's a growing stack of correspondence needing replies. I keep putting things off, like maybe I'll think of something more interesting to say tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

I keep making promises to myself, like that I will wash everything in the sink before I go to bed every night (most days the only thing to be washed is one cat food can and maybe a teacup), and then one day I really look in the sink, and there are 12 cat food cans and 5 teacups in there.

The pile of "things to be hemmed/altered" on the rocking chair in the bedroom is so high it teeters and slides to the floor every so often (rocking chairs not being all that stable anyway...). There are some things in that pile I have wanted to wear several times lately, but that doesn't seem to be enough incentive to actually get them done.

And the house is not going to get "company ready", or even "washer service guy ready", until I get the basement cleared out, and I have done absolutely nothing down there since before New Year's. Intellectually I know it's not cold in the basement, but every time I think about going down there and doing something, I get chills.

Maybe I'm depressed?

The good news is that I never notice I'm depressed until I'm coming out of it.


I just finished reading The Reawakening, by Primo Levi. The man has written several books dealing with his survival of Auschwitz, which I am reading rather out of order. The Reawakening covers the period of his liberation by the Red Army, and how the Russians helped to get him, and several thousand other Italian Jews, back to Italy. By train. In a round-about way. With many hitches in the git-along. And many characters along the way.

In the Afterword, he has provided answers to questions he is asked whenever he speaks to groups. I found his first question and answer provocative:

1. In these books there are no expressions of hatred for the Germans, no desire for revenge. Have you forgiven them?
My personal temperament is not inclined to hatred. I regard it as bestial, crude, and prefer on the contrary that my actions and thoughts, as far as possible, should be the product of reason; therefore I have never cultivated within myself hatred as a desire for revenge, or as a desire to inflict suffering on my real or presumed enemy, or as a private vendetta. Even less do I accept hatred as directed collectively at an ethnic group, for example, all the Germans; if I accepted it, I would feel that I was following the precepts of Nazism, which was founded precisely on national and racial hatred. ....

Two of my friends, both of whom I consider intelligent and gentle men, have lately expressed hatred for groups - one for all Muslims, for the current upheavals, and the other for all Poles, for their treatment of Jews. Both men were passionate in their denunciations of entire ethnic groups.

I agree with Primo Levi, and I don't know how to react to this. To listen silently, to sympathize, to defend, or to point out that they are making the same mistakes as those they denounce? Each path has its pitfalls. To listen silently may be the worst, since that is essentially what the German and Polish populace did.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

#576 Johari Window - Moved!

I had started a Johari Window, using my given first name, and invited certain friends and journal readers to contribute to it. Well, two things went wrong.

First, I should not have used my real name. I've been careful so far to keep it out of journals, so that meant I couldn't refer to the window here. Bummer.

Second, even before I had sent out the invitation to contribute, I had five contributors. Now that most (but not all! and you know who you are!) of my invitees have contributed, I find those first five just don't fit. I now suspect that there's someone else out there with my first name (no kidding), and these contributors thought I was that person. That also explains the wide range in responses. (I was beginning to worry that I was fracturing again!)

So - I have opened another at ("Silken" because "Silk" was already taken), and I have moved all the valid contributions over to the new window. The results now look more reasonable.

When I figure it's got about all the responses it's going to get, I'll post the results here. In the meantime, you can go to to see it so far, or click on the link above to contribute.

(Note - anybody can still contribute to the original one. I'll just move the lists to the new one myself to keep it up to date.)

#575 Repeat entry - Analysis of a Marriage

Several journalers are repeating their favorite entries of months past, and since this is a new location, I have decided to repeat my two favorite entries from the old AOL journal. Both are from the period when I was trying to lift myself out of my depression, and let Jay go, and both entries were instrumental in that effort. The previous entry, #574, was my first choice. This is the second, from August 3, 2005:

#312 Analysis of a Marriage

Jay and I had the most amazing relationship. We meshed perfectly and deeply. It felt like more than just chance. It felt like Destiny. Like we had been together before, and would be together again, that we had searched all of this life for each other, our lost half.

During the eight years that we were platonic friends, before we were intimate, all of our friends and coworkers had picked up on something. They thought we were having an affair for years before we actually touched (touched anything! Including clothing!) When we did first touch, it was an explosion. We both reeled. Matter meets antimatter. After we were married, many people remarked on how one of us would change when the other walked into the room, the brightening, the change in posture, the softening of expression. We were so comfortable with each other, necessary to each other, really like the much-maligned "two parts of a whole". We were the embodiment of union.

In the last few years, the doctors and nurses noticed and mentioned it. I think that's one reason why I was allowed so many liberties in the hospitals that were allowed to no one else. I was good for Jay, and they saw it.

And then he died. I figured life after Jay would be just marking time. I couldn't imagine romance after Jay. There wasn't another man on earth who could meet my standards after Jay, no man who could live up to the precedent set by Jay, and it wouldn't be fair to ask any to try.

So, now it's four years.

I'm starting to notice men again, and maybe even want one of them thangs fer myself. There are things I miss touching.

I have been trying to understand the relationship between Jay and me, to figure out why we were the way we were. And why I don't expect to see that again. And what it means to possible future relationships.

I think I finally understand.

As I've mentioned before, Jay was (accidentally - they weren't looking for it) diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (amusingly called The Geek Syndrome) during testing before brain surgery. No one said anything to him about it, but apparently he was aware he'd "failed" some of the tests, did some research on his own, and a few weeks later he came up with the same diagnosis. He was very excited. He'd finally found his "box of bent pieces"! We dropped it then, sort of forgot about it, because we had other more important stuff, like life and death stuff, going on.

The past few months, I've been reading books about autism in general. The past few weeks, I've been reading specifically about long-term relationships and Asperger's. One book is Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships, by Ashley Stanford, wife of an Aspie. I've been carrying it around with me to read during wait-times, and it has had me laughing out loud in automobile service stations and restaurants. It is SO VERY Jay. I recognize so much of him in her interactions with her Aspie husband.

Another book, The Other Half of Asperger Syndrome - "A guide to living in an intimate relationship with a partner who has Asperger Syndrome", by Maxine C. Aston, is not so upbeat, not so much fun. Apparently, the usual non-Aspie has a lot of unhappiness and difficulty in the relationship, because of the Aspie's different social responses. The non-Aspie has to do a lot of basically unnatural things to get the reactions she needs, and to accept that in some cases, she will just have to grin and bear it, understanding that her partner is simply incapable of understanding or doing some things.

Judging by the second book, either Jay had a mild case, or his high intelligence had enabled him to learn to fake it. And they have to learn to fake it - the connections for certain normal innate social things, like recognizing nonverbal cues, knowing what other people are thinking or feeling, those connections are simply not there in the Aspie brain. Asking them to "try harder" would be like asking someone blind since birth to try harder to see.

The reason Jay and I meshed so well was that the typical Aspie deficits didn't bother me at all, in some cases even amused me. I am the type that if I don't get what I need, I ask for it. I don't sit around waiting for it.

Jay had great difficulty making decisions, I have no difficulty, so in all but the things that were most important to him, I made all the decisions, and it didn't bother me, and he was grateful. I frankly managed him, even micromanaged him, and he appreciated it. He needed it.

The Aspie positive aspects - they, and most definitely Jay, tend to be unusually gentle, tender, loyal, higher than average in intelligence, and eager to please. This is exactly what I appreciate most in a man. I didn't have a preconceived idea of roles, and neither did he - with the exception that, in Aspie fashion, he felt it was his duty to "take care of" me, so I let him. The difference in our sizes helped him to feel that he was succeeding in that, and of course as an Aspie he never noticed the things I was doing in the background to make sure he succeeded.

Aspies usually have one all-consuming interest, which can drive those close to them crazy. Jay had several - computers, chemistry, math, photography, and practically everything else. The difference between a normal interest and an Aspie interest is the depth, and that the Aspie thinks everyone else shares their interest to the same degree, or would if they only understood the topic better (remember, they don't have the wiring to detect otherwise) and they will happily bore people to tears. Jay seemed to have learned somewhere along the line (probably painfully) that he shouldn't assume others are interested, so he never initiated conversations, but if anyone at work asked a question about almost any programming issue, they were astounded at his knowledge and his willingness, even eagerness, to share it. He was well known as the "go-to" guy for any arcane question, and for inventive solutions.

At home, he was free to indulge his passions. I learned more chemistry (complete with diagrams) than I ever wanted to. When he started explaining to me how crude oils and plastics are related, and how and why slight changes in the molecular structure cause large changes in the properties, I loved the way he got so excited, his intensity, and thinking of perspicacious questions to ask was a good mental exercise, which I enjoy, so he was happy that I seemed interested, and I was happy that he was happy. Apparently other Aspie/non-Aspie couples don't do that for each other.

Aspies have usually had a hard childhood, teased, always feeling on the outside of things, knowing that something is wrong, but not knowing what, except that it's somehow them. So Aspie men often marry older women, because Aspies aren't as concerned about social conventions, and they instinctively recognize that older women are more maternal, and it makes them feel safe. I was about 8 years older than Jay. And (oh good grief!) my favorite pet name for him was "Baby Boy"! I meant it teasingly, (when I first found out his birthdate, after we had become physically intimate, I was 46, he was 38, I said "My God, you're a baby! I'm a child molester!"), but I see now that "Baby Boy" was emotionally comforting to him. I must have unconsciously picked up on that, because until I fell into it with him, I had always considered "Baby Boy" (a southern endearment) to be demeaning.

So now I understand a lot more about our relationship. Maybe no other man can ever be like him, I won't ever mesh with anyone like that again, but that's only because most other men are "normal". And after all, a "normal" relationship can't be all that bad. Just different. Any "normal" man would just have to be strong enough to stand up to me sometimes, when I try to "handle" him the same way that was necessary with Jay, and actually, I'd kinda like that.

I'd hate to have to admit I can't be normal.


PS - I think there actually was some destiny involved - I fell instantly in love with him at first sight. I rounded a corner into a friend's office, and he was sitting at her keyboard, debugging something for her. My view was a south-west view of his back and side. He said "oops!" and froze, peering at the terminal, and I fell immediately in love with his intensity, and his voice, and a silky spot under and behind his left ear. I didn't know anything about his personality then. Hadn't even seen his face. But I somehow knew. Destiny.

PPS - Most descriptions of Asperger's mention physical clumsiness. Jay was unusually graceful, in body and movement. Before meeting me, he had been a competitive ballroom dancer, and a national-level square dancer. He also skied and scuba dived - more solitary pursuits. He, like most Aspies, was not interested in team sports. Most sports are social, often depending on non-verbal communication, and attempting a sport (or any social interaction) is stressful to an Aspie, resulting in frustration and awkwardness.

Links in this entry:

(August 3, 2005)

#574 Repeat entry - A Memorial to Jay

Several journalers are repeating their favorite entries of months or years past, and since this is a new location, I have decided to repeat my two favorite entries from the old AOL journal. Both are from the period when I was trying to lift myself out of my depression, and let Jay go. This is the first, from October 27, 2004 (my 60th birthday):

#74 A Memorial to Jay

In a few days, it will be three years since Jay left. At his memorial service, the pastor said something about putting "memories in a crystal jar". I liked the thought, and decided to do exactly that. I have a crystal jar on the bookcase in the livingroom, and I have filled it with tiny slips of paper, like from a fortune cookie, each a memory of something special about Jay.

• The way he played video games with his tongue and whole body

• When something (a hammer, a pen) wasn’t where he expected to find it, he said "It escaped!", and seemed truly surprised

• He always tried to think honestly about his feelings, never hid anything from himself or me

• He never tried to talk me into skiing, never indicated in the least that he missed it

• Twinkling eyes

• He supported me against his father’s strong disapproval when I found the McDonald’s outside Versailles

• He couldn’t spell worth a damn

• He gave me the clouds and the moon

• "Carrot cake is a vegetable, right?"

• He loved Pleiades, volcanoes, and meteor showers

• In many ways, he was like my beloved mice - quiet, made nice warm nests, worked hard, personally very clean, and, like a mouse, he left the remnants of his tasks scattered behind him

• How huge he looked behind the windshields of his tiny cars - one wondered how he would ever unfold to get out

• The way he pronounced "oops"

• The mountain of his shoulders in bed, the angle of his hip

• When he stood at the bar of the Marlboro Inn in his three-piece dark suit, among the hunters and farmers - how tall he seemed, how impressively broad his shoulders

• After his diagnosis, he joked that he didn’t understand all the fuss - after all, his illness was just "all in his head"

• The way he could snatch flies right out of the air - and always released them outside

• He explained that there are things that are very clear and understandable, until you try to explain them - there are some things that just shouldn’t be looked at too carefully

• He was unaware of how big and powerful he was - he was timid about walking the streets of Binghamton after dark

• He never complained. Not once. No matter what

• His delicate tapering hands

• The way he gave off heat when he slept

• How playful he was

• The dangerous toiletries

• When he worked on something, he made a terrible mess of his environs, but the work itself was done neatly, delicately, and perfectly

• He acknowledged male hormonal urges and prohibitions - even better, he was able to describe male attitudes and thought patterns so that a female could actually understand and sympathize with them

• The way he couldn’t resist "improving" everything he bought

• How confident he was of his ability to understand/handle/fix anything

• Everybody says you have to work hard and constantly at a good marriage - it wasn’t work for him, he did what came naturally, and it was good

• The way his uni-eyebrow and beard were all one piece, and his nose hairs blended into his mustache

• The way his tongue helped him concentrate

• How sensitive he was to my moods, and always said and did exactly the right thing

• Joy in little things, like Ninja and Baby plowing a figure 8 in deep snow - "Just what I always wanted - a doggy choo-choo!"

• That silky spot behind and below his left ear

• How soft and liquid his eyes could get

• Lying on the ground looking at stars

• Pizza! Pizza, pizza, pizza!

• He was so clean about his body that it took me ten years to discover that he had a severe problem with seborrhea on his scalp, face, and ears.

• He remembered perfectly everything he heard or read

• Music confused him - too much information all at once

• Elfin hairs on the outer curve and lobes of his ears

• His absolute joy in yummies

• LOUD!!! sneezes

• He never got petulant when I consistently beat him at word games like Super Boggle, and he played happily because he knew I enjoyed them

• His delicate artist’s touch

• The wonderful lopsided smile when he saw me coming down the hall at the rehab center

• In the last months, when he was having hallucinations and delusions, he listened to me and believed me, even though everything he "saw" and felt told him differently

• Near the end, he said that one of the things he appreciated most about me was the way I so thoroughly understood him. He didn’t realize that was only because he opened himself so completely to me.

• Incredible force of will - he hung on until I told him it was time to go.

• The cloud formation a few days after he died - his face, with a winking moon eye

• The meteor shower a few days after he died - I got up at 5 am and went out to the deck only because I knew he would want me to, and I counted >50 in the first 2 minutes, then I stopped counting. Later, the newspaper and the astronomy club reported a peak of 30 per hour! I got a private show. I truly believe he arranged it for me.

Is it any wonder I'm still in love with him?

(October 27, 2004)