Saturday, April 15, 2006

#643 Dates

OK, so I met Fishkill for the first time this morning. He showed up at Barnes & Noble with a huge box of chocolates. I find him intelligent, very good-looking, and interesting. He seems to have had a colorful life, and he did ask some probing questions. I don't think he liked some of the answers. He could be difficult, but he could be worth it. He could also be dangerous. I love the smell of testosterone. He seems full of the stuff. The difficulty is that he may be looking for an as-long-as-it's-fun bed partner, and I'm looking for a life partner. I indicated that I'd like to see him again, and his answer was interesting. He said that right now he wanted to sleep with me, and he'd have to let that die down before he could think reasonably about it. So however it goes, at least he's honest and up-front, and if there's a difference in our expectations, he's aware of it and taking it into consideration.

Dinner this evening with Dreyfuss, second meeting. He's the one with the piercings I don't want to know about. Our backgrounds and lifestyles are so very different, I had sort of planned to cut him loose this evening. But I didn't. I couldn't. He's very nice, and good looking, a gentleman, and very easy to talk with. He's intelligent, understanding and accepting, and unfazed by my most outrageous statements. A very open mind. So, he asked me out again, and I said yes. This may be a mistake. I wish I could see the future.

And, that's how my day went.

I don't know why I'm not very excited about any of it. Maybe it's because these guys are strangers, the big unknown, and I really want something more comfortable. Someone I've known for a long time. Something more predictable.

The big difference between the young me and the now me is that the young me could see the good and the bad, wanted the good, and figured she could change, fix, or live with the bad. The now me knows that you have to accept the bad with the good, ain't nothin' gonna change, nohow. So my advice to me now is that if something bothers me now, don't bother going any further, because the bother just gets bigger.

I'm not very good at taking my own advice. This could get interesting.

Friday, April 14, 2006

#642 Fallout Zone?

I was talking with someone recently about how this area was getting so built up so fast, and housing prices were still going up so fast, and that it was odd that just 20 miles south, where it's so much easier to commute to the city, what with a Metro North station and the highways and all, there isn't the same growth.

He said, "Indian Point."

Indian Point is a nuclear facility on the Hudson River.

This area marks the northernmost boundary of the fallout zone.


#641 Nohari Results

It's been a long time since I requested contributions to my Nohari Window. Many invitees sent an email saying that they couldn't find any terms that fit, or that fit consistently enough that they felt comfortable selecting them, and Nohari insisted on a minimum of five terms, so they refused to do it. So I got only 5 contributors.

Of the five, four know me in person (three currently, and one old friend I haven't actually seen since college), and one knows me only from my journals.

I had selected as my self-description:
  • aloof
  • insecure
  • insensitive
  • inattentive
  • cynical
  • predictable
and I had no difficulty whatsoever on choosing those words. In fact, I could have picked more.

Others chose:
  • aloof - 3
  • withdrawn - 2
  • unhappy -2
  • boastful - 2
  • impatient - 2
  • intolerant - 1
  • inflexible - 1
  • cynical - 1
  • distant - 1
  • imperceptive - 1
  • chaotic - 1
  • embarrassed - 1
  • panicky - 1
  • self-satisfied - 1
  • overdramatic - 1
  • predictable - 1
  • unreliable - 1
Well, at least no one picked "dull", "unethical", or "cold". I'm very surprised that no one chose "needy". Since "aloof", "withdrawn", and "distant" are all pretty similar, I figure I got 6 votes out of 5 respondents for some variation on aloofness. Not surprising. I am socially inept and a bit shy, and I am very quiet when there are more than a very few people around. I often feel outside the action.

Also, I hesitate to ask people questions unless I already know them very well, already know that the question is not intrusive, or already know the answer. I am very wary of intruding. That could be seen as aloofness, I guess. Like I don't care. I do, but I prefer that information be volunteered. I don't know why I'm so shy about that (well, I vividy recall being severely chastized on a few occasions in my youth by people I respected for asking questions that were "none of my business", and it frightened me then). I am aware it is a problem.

Daughter commented just yesterday, in connection with planning the time and location of her various wedding festivities, that I am obviously more comfortable in smaller groups, so she wouldn't feel bad about scheduling the bigger bashes when I might not be available. Which is a bit off, because although I am more likely to participate in a smaller group, I still enjoy larger groups as much. It's just that I am more quiet, more the watcher on the sidelines, in a larger group. (You know, it has just occurred to me that maybe my being a watcher sometimes makes others uncomfortable. But I'm not all that judgmental....)

The "unhappy" surprised me a bit. I think I'm basically happy. I have unhappy flashes, but I eventually beat them away. Mostly, I'm a little lonely now. I'm happy enough being alone, but sometimes I need someone to share with, and that need does seem to be increasing. (Funny, I just noticed that statement conflicts with the "aloof" perception.)

If you want to see the positives, just for review, go to my Johari Window.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

#640 Bits & Pieces, 04/13/06

I coulda sworn I posted an entry yesterday, but I can't find it anywhere.

The temperature in the village was 78 today. So nice. I stopped in at Piper's office to review the tax forms, and ended up trying to help him to access his email. Roman had taught him, but Piper forgot. His account is with Frontiernet. I have email accounts on something like five different servers, and I have never seen a less intuitive less usable interface. Frontiernet is a mess. We ended up going to lunch, and I brought the tax returns home with me to review.

When I came home I checked my own email. One of my accounts I use for "groups" only. I usually see maybe 1 to 5 emails on that account per day. Today there were 26! At first I thought there was something wrong, but it turned out that the local Mensa group had gotten all het up on two topics, and went a little crazy. Unfortunately, nobody had anything interesting to say about any of it. One of the topics, in fact, was all kinds of suggestions to fix a monthly dinner that 1) isn't broken, and 2) is the provence of the host (who happens to be Roman, who was at work and not involved in the discussion), and others should stay out of it anyway. So I blasted off a blistering post to that effect --- and there hasn't been a peep out of anyone since. Ain't nothin' like pissing off half your entire social group in one fell swoop.

Do you know what the "fell" in "fell swoop" means? It means "destructive, or deadly".


It's mid-April, and May is almost here. May, when the trees are in bloom, is my favorite month, especially around here, where there are so many orchards. My woods are mostly black locust, ancient apples (remnants of a colonial orchard), and wild cherries. In past years, when the locusts bloomed, long grape-like clusters of creamy flowers, the heavy sweet scent was heavenly. The last few years they've been hardly blooming. There's some kind of pest that's killing the locusts, and they aren't blooming because they're so weak. Sad.


I have two dates next Saturday.

I'll be meeting Fishkill (he's a golfer, not an angler - Fishkill is a town down the road) for the first time Saturday morning, for coffee and yummies. After almost two weeks and about 30 emails, it's about time. I like the way his mind works, so I'm hoping for the best. His profile describes his match as "slender and fit". I'm hoping my smiling eyes and scintillating mind will distract him.

Saturday evening I'll have dinner with Dreyfuss. I'm looking for something for the long haul, and I think I'm going to have to tell him that although I find him interesting, I don't think the prospects are good. Our interests and backgrounds are too dissimilar. (There's the NASCAR thing. And his small tattoos don't bother me, but when we were talking about them on Sunday, he happened to mention that he also had some piercings. I was sitting across the table from him, and I could see his face and ears, and his arms to mid-forearm, and I didn't see any piercings. Um. Cringe. Super cringe. I didn't ask. I changed the subject. I really really don't EVER want to know.)

Roman called last night and we talked for about an hour, and as predicted, I softened. It looks like we are settling into a rather standard date every two weeks(!), and one phone call on the off weeks, and no "intimate time". This is not my choice. At first it seemed like he was trying to start over - we had been going dutch for a long time - now he wants to pay for everything. But now I'm not sure. I don't know what's going on. Last month he was teaching evening classes Monday through Thursday, so time was tight, but this week it's Tuesday and Thursday only, so I can't use that as an excuse any more. I'm trying to be very cool about it. (Well, warm to him, but cool about the situation.)


The city of Schenectady, about an hour up the river, "accidentally" passed a really stupid law. For a few days it was illegal to park a car on any city street for longer than 12 hours. Vehicles parked for more than 12 hours would be ticketed. Duh? On the residential streets, the houses are close together with postage-stamp lawns if any, and no garages or driveways. A member of the city council said that the purpose of the law was to prevent trailers and abandoned cars cluttering up the streets. The reporter interviewed a businessman who pointed out a Lexus with flat tires that had been parked in front of his store "for the past year". The law has been repealed and is being rewritten after complaints from the citizenry.

Now, I'm having a LOT of trouble with this story. It's got so much stupidity it scares me.

Did no one on the city council READ the law before they voted on it? "12 hours" is pretty specific. That wasn't an accident. They didn't think about what that meant? Maybe they meant the 12 hours to apply only to trailers? There's no city attorney to review proposed laws? Did they think that putting tickets on abandoned cars would stop people from abandoning them? If a citizen goes away on business and leaves his car parked in front of his home, will it be ticketed? What's he supposed to do with it? Take it with him? There's an abandoned Lexus sitting there for a year, and no one reported it? No one investigated it? Sounds to me like it's probably a stolen car, ditched after a joyride. Wouldn't it make more sense to encourage citizens to report abandoned cars, and have the police attempt to locate an owner and/or then tow? Ticketing abandoned cars makes no sense at all. ("Yes, you owe the city of Schenectady $145,820 in parking tickets for allowing your car to be stolen and then abandoned on our streets for over a year, you careless person. You probably litter, too!")

Schenectady scares me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

#639 On the Roof

I received the new estimate for the roof job in the mail today.

The first estimate, the one that floored me, was $16,500 all inclusive.

This one is $11,900 all inclusive. The guy left a sample of the shingles he would use, and they are comparable. In fact, possibly better, since these are 30-year, and in the first estimate I believe we were looking at 20-year. Everything else is the same - 40 squares (40 10x10 sections), ice and water shield on edges and valleys, 30-lb felt paper, new drip edge, new boots on exhaust pipes, antenna removed/replaced and flashed, cobra ridge vent, and all debris disposal.

AND, the best part, the father of the roofer had given me a card worth 10% off a roofing job, so I can deduct $1,190, making the estimate $10,710. (I verified all this on the phone a few minutes ago.)

That's a BIG difference.

Actually, it's not an estimate. It's more like a bid. It says on the bottom that there can be no alterations or deviations involving extra costs without a written order. Cool.

If this were the first estimate I'd received, I'd still be stunned. But as the second, I'm relieved.

#638 Tuesday

Blah day. 70 degrees, but no sun. Glad there's no wind, either, because the men were on the roof again today replacing the cement top on the chimney, and they have asked me to turn the furnace off and leave it off until the cement around the flue has had a chance to set. I guess I can let the house drop to about 60 this evening, but at that point I'm going to have to turn the furnace on. I'm annoyed that they didn't warn me about this part.

Hmmm - I forgot - I still have the backup electric heat on the heat pump. That will require swapping the baffles, which is a minor pain, but I could do that, I guess. At least I won't have to turn the water on. Good. If I hadn't written this, I wouldn't have remembered it.

I haven't heard from Fishkill since yesterday morning. Bad sign, considering that we had been swapping emails at the rate of three to five a day. I am such a klutz.

I also haven't heard from Roman since he was here last Wednesday - neither phone call nor email. Apparently Piper hasn't either. Somehow I wouldn't be surprised if neither of us heard from him until next week. He's really starting to piss me off.

Yeah, I think and say that all the time, and then completely forgive him as soon as I see him or hear his voice again.

I hate this. I wish I had better control of my own feelings.

Monday, April 10, 2006

#637 OkCupid Type Test

The Sonnet
Deliberate Gentle Love Dreamer (DGLDf)
Romantic, hopeful, and composed. You are the Sonnet. Get it? Composed?

Sonnets want Love and have high ideals about it. They're conscientious people, caring & careful. You yourself have deep convictions, and you devote a lot of thought to romance and what it should be. This will frighten away most potential mates, but that's okay, because you're very choosy with your affections anyway. You'd absolutely refuse to date someone dumber than you, for instance.

Your exact opposite:
Genghis Khunt

Random Brutal Sex Master
Lovers who share your idealized perspective, or who are at least willing to totally throw themselves into a relationship, will be very, very happy with you. And you with them. You're already selfless and compassionate, and with the right partner, there's no doubt you can be sensual, even adventurously so.

You probably have lots of female friends, and they have a special soft spot for you. Babies do, too, at the tippy-top of their baby skulls.

ALWAYS AVOID: The 5-Night Stand, The False Messiah, The Hornivore, The Last Man on Earth

CONSIDER: The Loverboy

Link: The 32-Type Dating Test by OkCupid - Free Online Dating.
My profile name: [Deleted]

#636 And Now an Unanswerable Question

Monday, April 10, 2006

I had to call the AOL technical help phone line the other day to solve a problem. I expected to be on hold for a while, and to get blah assistance. My earlier experiences with AOL chat help were so bad I accused the "helper" of being an automated keyword recognition program. He was very indignant, "I am too alive!"

Instead, this time I got right in, the guy knew exactly what my problem was, fixed it immediately, and stayed on the line until I tried it and was satisfied.

So today AOL asked me to take a satisfaction survey. Everything was fine, I rated everything as "Excellent", until I got to the following two questions (quoted as well as I can remember):

What was your expectation of AOL Customer Service before you called?

I answered "Average", because I didn't expect much. The next question:

How would you rate AOL Customer Service on meeting your expectations?

Now how the heck do you answer that? They were nowhere near my expectations, so do I answer "Poor"? If I had expected the service to be "Poor", and if it was in fact "Poor", exactly as expected, should I respond that they were "Excellent" on meeting my expectations? Having met my expectations exactly? Maybe I should have answered "Average", but that would imply that I usually expect average performance and usually get excellent performance.

Did anyone review or test these questions before they sent them out?

#635 One Nice Note, and One Stupid Stupid Stupid Note

Monday, April 10, 2006

I forgot to mention - I heard from Dreyfuss. He says I'm "an attractive interesting lady" and he hopes that "perhaps we can meet again". So I suggested dinner (diner, dutch). I'm still not too very enthusiastic - remember, I'm looking for someone who can maybe possibly displace Roman. That's a tall order.

There's another guy, let's call him Fishkill, in whom I am very interested. We've been firing emails back and forth, probably 25 or so by now. I discovered we both also have profiles on a brand new site with an interesting "guided" process, where they select the people to whom they introduce you, and they don't allow direct email contact between two people until you have gone through personality tests, and answered specific questions posed to each other, and so on. So we've been following that process and "behind the building" commenting back and forth to each other about it (wildly against the rules!) I find his mind fascinating. My only concern is that he describes his ideal as "energetic, athletic, firm, and slender."

Uh oh.

Um, would you call Dolly Parton with wide baby-birthing hip bones and short powerful legs "slender"? I will NEVER be slender, even at my ideal weight, which, incidentally, is still two or three months off. And I am strong, even powerful, and fairly well muscled (I build muscle easily), but not I'm not "athletic". I can walk for miles at a reasonable pace, especially now that I've lost more weight, but I flatly refuse to run. (Not to mention that at my age and build, bouncing boobs bruise my chin.) And with all this loose newly-emptied skin, I am anything but "firm". Gack. Should I warn him or not? Should I hope that at first meeting my smiling eyes and scintillating mind distract him?

Well, back to the stupid stupid stupid note. We had to chose some questions to send each other on this new site. I answered both questions from him honestly, but one of my answers was (I feared) likely to raise a question in his mind which I would prefer not to answer just yet. But just in case, I spent some time last night composing an answer, really thinking about it, in case he asked the question. Giving myself time to think about it and all that. I wasn't completely satisfied with it, but I'd have more time to think about it, right? Then I stored it in the "To be sent later" folder on AOL. When I brought AOL up this morning, one of the first things that popped up was the "You have mail waiting to be sent" blurb.

Yeah. You guessed it.

I accidentally hit the "Send now" button, instead of the "Send later". I had recently installed a new version of AOL, and the location of that button had changed. The first time I had brought up this AOL, a few weeks ago, I had embarrassed myself terribly by doing the same thing, and sent some never-should-have-been-sent emails, notably to Roman (who knew my mood at the time I had originally written those unsent emails, and forgave me. I think.) Since then, I've been careful to put my own address in the "to" field, until I'm really ready to send it, so if I screw up it will just come to me. I didn't follow my own rule this time.

I immediately fired off a note telling him what had happened and begging for pity. (My premature anticipation of his unasked question makes me sound both aggressive and defensive, and a damned prude to boot.) Unfortunately, he didn't read that note until AFTER he had read the first note, and responded to it. His response was humorous, but with an undercurrent of sarcasm and bitterness. Which I completely understand. Sigh.

I may have blown it. Sad. He coulda been a contender.

#634 Monday

Monday, April 10, 2006

I went to a Mensa board meeting last night, where I was appointed a member of the newly formed dues hardship committee. They wanted life members on the committee, because we don't pay dues, and therefore would have less interest in the outcome. Then they gave us a budget equal to two memberships for the year. Two. We have 200+ members, most of whom are underemployed, and we have something like 9 colleges in our area. This could get nasty. I may have stepped in it. Gack.


I have men on my roof right now, with a masonry saw (?) and what looks and sounds like a mini-jackhammer, removing the cement cap from the chimney, and building a wood frame for the replacement cement. They've been up there for almost two hours now, and the noise is making it hard to think. At least no one has fallen off or through the roof yet - my biggest fear. Tomorrow the mason comes to pour a new cement cap. Wednesday, rain is predicted. Is this a problem?

There's also a young man with a ... um ... it's like a frontloader on one end and a mini-steamshovel on the other end ... spreading topsoil in the hollow in the front yard where we burned all the brush earlier this year. The Hairless Hunk is directing operations. I haven't had the heart yet to tell him I'm getting more estimates on replacing the shingles. But I have to.


There was a news story this morning about how libraries are getting tougher about overdue books and unpaid fines. Reminded me of a story.

My purse was stolen about 25 years ago. I immediately called the bank, and the credit card companies, and so on, and I also called the library to report my library card was stolen.

The woman I talked to was confused, "Why are you reporting a stolen library card?"

I told her, "Well, if I were a bad person and stole a library card, I'd immediately go to every library in the city, and take out a gazillion books, and keep them!"

When she stopped laughing, she pointed out that purse snatchers are not likely to be readers.

Me: "Oh."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

#633 Natural Highs

Got this off a Mensa site. Now I know why I'm generally happy. I get most of these things often, and I appreciate every one.

Natural Highs

1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
4. No lines at the supermarket
5. A special glance.
6. Getting mail
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
11. Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla or strawberry!)
12. A bubble bath.
13. Giggling.
14. A good conversation.
15. The beach.
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke.
24. Friends.
25. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
26. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
27. Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).
28. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
29. Playing with a new puppy.
30. Having someone play with your hair.
31. Sweet dreams.
32. Hot chocolate.
33. Road trips with friends.
34. Swinging on swings.
35. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
36. Making chocolate chip cookies.
37. Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
38. Holding hands with someone you care about.
39. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
40. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you.
41. Watching the sunrise.
42. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.
43. Knowing that somebody misses you.
44. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
45. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think.

#632 Do I Really Need A Title for Every Entry?

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Well, I met Dreyfuss this morning, and it was ok. There was no immediate connection - in fact for the first half hour he didn't look me in the eye, but then time speeded up and it got better. I was there an hour and a half. He seems nice enough. He doesn't have my last name or phone number yet. I'm to email him with my number, so I have a little time to think about it. I don't know where it might go. It didn't seem completely positive, but it wasn't negative, either. We'll see.


This is my Personality Profile from one of the newer dating sites:

You are a DIRECTOR/negotiator

You are an innovator. You are an inventive, thorough, independent thinker with a deep interest in how the world works. You quickly grasp patterns and relationships. And when you focus on a particular work-related or social puzzle, you often come up with novel theories and ideas about it.

You have a strong need to achieve. You want to make an impact on the world. And with your aptitude for theoretical thinking, your investigative rigor, your logic and your determination, you are likely to win the honors your hard work deserves.

You are a complex person, outwardly assertive, logical and intellectual, yet likely to see the many sides of an issue, feel deep sympathy for others and enjoy the spiritual as well as the concrete.

You can be friendly, insightful and eager to please. These attributes, combined with your love of challenges and knowledge, make you an exciting, and at times, very sensitive companion.


Well, it's wrong on winning the honors. I never win the honors. Not that I didn't deserve a few honors along the line, but it seems like I was always too early or too politically incorrect.

This one doesn't say anything about Leadership. Most profiles of me do, and as soon as I see "Leadership", I figure it's a lot of baloney. Leadership to me always brought a vision of someone leading the troops over a barricade, or whipping up enthusiasm in a team, or something. I can't, don't, and don't want to do anything like that. I was a team leader once at work, and hated it.

But I had a sort of epiphany today. Leadership doesn't necessarily involve pulling along followers! Leadership can also mean forging new paths. Innovating. Not following the herd. It's something a little more than simply not being a follower. It means having vision beyond the herd, and implementing that vision. (In fact, you can be a follower, and still be a leader. Power behind the throne kind of thing.) In that sense, I AM a Leader. I don't follow the group just because it's the safe thing to do. I frequently go my own way and do my own thing. Sometimes I can bring the herd along with me, but that frequently requires more social and political skill than I have. And more "desire to make an impact" than I have - so I guess the above profile is wrong there, too.


I mentioned that at the Volunteer Fair, I had signed up for, among other things, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). They deal with neglected and abused children involved in the family courts. To quote from their pamphlet: "Today, CASA is the only organization that empowers everyday citizens as officers of the court. [Me - not technically true, volunteer mediators are also officers of the court, which carries a legal requirement to report certain offenses to the court, and which can be a social burden.] CASA is an information gatherer and an advocate for the best interests of the child. Volunteer advocates review records, research information and talk to all involved. They visit the child regularly ... " etc. Where the social workers may have 20-30 cases at a time, the CASA volunteer concentrates on one or two.

I thought I could be good at this. I know about abuse and neglect. I know about manipulation. I'm very good at research. I write good clear reports. I pay attention to detail. There's a lot of education and training involved, but I have the time. I figured it would be a good way to meet handsome single lawyers. Ok, scratch that one. Family court attorneys are haggard and overworked.

But, almost everyone I've asked about it has advised me against it. They tell me I have too much of a tendency to take in strays, and this will tear me apart. One friend asked if I could work at the SPCA shelter, and if the answer is no, then I shouldn't attempt this. I can't even GO to the shelter. If I wanted to adopt a beastie, they'd have to bring The One out to me a few blocks away. I am still haunted to tears by a little abandoned whippet I had to leave on a Florida beach 13 years ago.

On the other hand, I remember how my brother and I tried to get help many years ago, and how no one would listen to us. I want to make a difference. (Ok, so maybe that profile's "desire to make an impact" isn't too far off.)

If I can't do it myself, maybe one of you can. See