Saturday, May 06, 2006

677 Pushups

A friend, who is in her mid-30s, and whom I consider in terrific shape, mentioned pushups in her journal. I haven't done pushups in years. In my 30s, I used to be able to do 50 full-body pushups in a row (of course, I weighed a lot less then, too). I got curious.

She said that she had heard that a 30-year-old woman should be able to do 35, and you subtract 5 for each decade older. So I, in my 60s, should be able to do 20 (40s=30, 50s=25, 60s=20), right?

I dropped and did 20. First time in probably a decade or more. From the toes. Not quite with Marine-approved form - my middle (the heaviest part) tends to sag a bit, and I go flat to the floor between each, but I didn't pause between them and I was straight at the top of the lift. And I'll admit the last three were a bit difficult, but I'll bet within a week (if I kept it up), I could fix that.

She says she does them on her knees. So after finishing the first 20 from the toes, I immediately did another 20 from the knees (straight body, no butt-in-the-air), just to see if it was easier. Oddly enough, again the last three were a strain.

I really surprised myself. I'll bet it's those machines.

And now, of course, my lower back hurts. But my pecs don't.

676 Missing Comments?

I apologize to anyone who left a comment that seems to have disappeared. I moderate comments, because there are a lot of spam comments on Blogger. That means I get an email containing the comment text with links to accept or reject it. When they go to my regular id and folder, I approve the "real" ones within hours.

... Yahoo has been screwing up lately. I've heard that many "Yahoo Groups" are not getting messages posted, and today I found a few Blogger comment emails in the spam folder. I accepted them, and you'll find them posted now, but I have no idea whether any completely disappeared (aged out), because I haven't been checking the spam folder regularly. I don't understand why they are suddenly being considered spam.

Sorry. I'll pay more attention to the spam folder until the Yahoo world rights itself again.

675 How My Brain Works

Your brain: 20% interpersonal, 140% visual, 100% verbal, and 140% mathematical!

Congratulations on being 400% smart! Actually, on my test, everyone is. The above score breaks down what kind of thinking you most enjoy doing. A score above 100% means you use that kind of thinking more than average, and a score below 100% means you use it less. It says nothing about how good you are at any one, just how interested you are in each, relatively. A substantial difference in scores between two people means, conclusively, that they are different kinds of thinkers.

Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice, which I think is obvious:

  1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 80%.
  2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 100%.
  3. Don't have sex with someone if their math percentage is over 200%.

Link: The 4-Variable IQ Test written by chriscoyne on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Friday, May 05, 2006

674 Museum Open House

Daughter - covered in our phone call, so no need to read further.

The Maritime Museum start-of-season open house was this evening, so I went in this afternoon, figuring that there would be some last-minute things to be done. I made "place cards" for the restaurants who donated food, located trash cans and plastic liners and distributed them around the grounds, put price tags on some things and labeled shelves in the gift shop, and some other stuff. I also stood guard over the big ice boat out in the yard for a bit.

I had looked at the ice boat in storage last week, and Russ had told me it could do 100 mph. The guys who rigged it today were experienced, from an ice boat club, so I asked them, and they said this particular one might make 75 (it's very old and made of mahogany, with sailboat-style sails), but the new carbon ones "with razor sails" easily do 140 mph. I said "How, when the wind isn't that fast?", and they said that the faster you go into the wind, the faster the wind is hitting you, so your speed increases almost exponentially. Cool.

At one time, there were lots of ice boats on the Hudson. But now, the river doesn't freeze smoothly enough, and there are ice cutters keeping shipping lanes open and throwing blocks of ice around, so ice boats don't rule the winter any more. If you've never seen an ice boat, they are beautiful - long and narrow and spare, a ballerina, a damselfly with a lot of sail, and they just plain LOOK fast. The first time I'd ever seen one, someone asked me, "What's that?", and I answered, "I don't know, but I'll bet it's FAST!"

The Open House was pretty good. Eleven restaurants from the Rondout donated specialties, there was wine and beer and soda, a jazz band, the mayor spoke, and there was supposed to be some big Coast Guard boats tying up (I left early, after the food and the speeches - the Coast Guard may have arrived after I left).

I'm tired.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

#673 Assessment

I just got a call from Piper. He's very upset about the way the town has raised property assessments. He gave me a town-owned website where one can put in any address and find out all kinds of tax data on properties. He said that they raised assessments "10% across the board". I didn't tell him, but mine went up only 5%. (As an "elderly" widow, I also get an automatic small discount on the tax rate.) Maybe I should keep quiet on Grievance Day.

But I still intend to do the research.

Dinner with Roman tonight.

#672 100 Things About Me

There's a meme going around where you are to list 100 things about yourself. It's not as easy as it sounds.
  1. I was born in Scranton, Pa.
  2. I will be 62 years old next October
  3. I feel 37 years old
  4. Until I was 7, my family moved every few weeks (military)
  5. Until I was 17, my family moved every 1-2.5 years
  6. I didn't develop youthful social skills because there seemed to be no point, just pain
  7. I am the eldest of five, I have two brothers and two sisters
  8. I feel guilty because I am not much in contact with my siblings
  9. I feel guilty because my youngest sister died in her early 40s of alcoholism
  10. I feel guilty because my youngest brother is likely to die of a drug overdose
  11. I am afraid of the other brother
  12. I avoid contact with my siblings because the feelings are too strong
  13. Although I'm sure she must have at some time, I cannot remember my mother ever touching me
  14. I avoid hugging
  15. I crave hugs
  16. I graduated from a tiny high school on a mountain, most of my classmates had outhouses
  17. Within a year of graduation, 40% of the boys in my class asked me to marry them
  18. My mother had to cosign my first teaching contract because I was still a minor
  19. I've had several repeating dreams that have later come true, down to the details
  20. I am afraid of repeating dreams
  21. I am afraid of spiders
  22. I am not afraid of any other insects or animals
  23. I love mice
  24. I love toads
  25. I have a fox den in my front yard
  26. I sleep halfway on my stomach and halfway on my side
  27. I have an extremely high pain threshold, the "sternum rub" consciousness test doesn't work on me
  28. I am extremely conscious of pain, because I can't tell how serious it is
  29. I have fibromyalgia - I always have pain somewhere
  30. My anger is brief, but violent
  31. My love is forever, and passionate
  32. I know that #30 and 31 sometimes scare people, but I don't care
  33. I want to understand everything, which sometimes frustrates people close to me
  34. I often feel like I understand nothing, which frustrates me
  35. Psychoanalysis saved my life
  36. I almost always score 99.5%ile or above on standardized tests, on almost any subject
  37. ...including IQ tests
  38. I believe in fairies
  39. I am serious about #38
  40. I like nerds
  41. There are only two men that I believe knew the real me, and really truly loved me, and they both died young, one at age 32, the other at 49
  42. I lost four babies - three miscarried and one near-term stillborn after an apartment fire - before having Daughter at 31.
  43. I've had three husbands, two ex and one late
  44. I believe I will marry five times
  45. I won't tell you why I believe that, but I do
  46. I am afraid to marry a fourth for love
  47. I collect teapots
  48. I collect buttons
  49. I collect dust bunnies
  50. I own about 5,000 books
  51. I haven't had a bad cold in three years, maybe longer
  52. I am an excellent craftsman
  53. I have little creativity
  54. I have many skills
  55. I have no talents
  56. I can't dance well - no sense of rhythm
  57. Amadeo and I once cleared a dance floor in New Haven doing a fancy cha-cha
  58. Ruby, Jeannie, and I often enthralled the audience at the 6-15 club doing the Charleston
  59. I can't dance, but I can fake it well
  60. I love the sound of bells, especially carillons
  61. I own 7 different types of musical instruments, and can't play any of them
  62. My feet are always odiferous, even though there's nothing wrong, and even when I wear sandals all day
  63. My plans always outstrip my abilities or capacity or interest
  64. I hate being cold
  65. I don't mind heat
  66. I love hard cloudbursts when the sun is still shining through - I go out and play in the rain, even now
  67. I love when the sun is low but strong, so it lights leaves from underneath, and the air turns green and gold
  68. I don't like drizzle
  69. I read, or work crosswords or logic puzzles before falling asleep
  70. I often end up sleeping with the light on
  71. I prefer the freedom of a hotel to staying with friends or family, or even B&Bs, when I travel
  72. I can't cook
  73. I am very good at research
  74. I have a learning disability - I can't internalize the concept of "left" and "right"
  75. Marijuana makes #74 worse - to where I get seasick
  76. Yeah, I tried it - once, in the late 70's - and now I am so sensitive to it I get dizzy at the first whiff
  77. I can't remember names - people, places, flowers, bands, books, whatever
  78. I have been catless for only one short period since 1958
  79. All of my leukemia-free cats have lived into their twenties
  80. I don't mind being short
  81. ... but I wish my legs were longer
  82. I am very strong, and not just physically
  83. I am very sexual, sensual, and sensuous
  84. I tend to be very naive
  85. There's a large gap between my emotions and my intellect - maybe not a gap, maybe a wall
  86. I think #85 is a good thing
  87. I enjoy complicated crewel embroidery
  88. I am slightly ashamed that I enjoy embroidering
  89. I dislike spectator sports - I don't see any point to it
  90. I like equestrian spectator sports, even though there is no point
  91. I like strong drums, heavy rhythms, the thump in the chest
  92. I tear up when I watch marching bands in parades, especially kids doing it well
  93. I'm not patriotic
  94. I enjoy watching someone do something well, from dancing to teaching to sculpting, anything
  95. I refuse to fight over anything less than a life/death matter, I give in because it isn't worth it
  96. I prefer not to take responsibility for anything other than myself
  97. I have difficulty asking strangers personal questions
  98. When I do ask questions, they are frequently probing questions, the recipient gets defensive, and I come off as sarcastic, or trying to trap them
  99. I am afraid of sounding sarcastic
  100. I love.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I made the switch from heat to air conditioning yesterday evening. I had some windows open, but there was no breeze, and the furnace hadn't gone on in days, and it was nudging 80 in the kitchen, and I was cooking, so I thought it was time. Big mistake. I'm freezing today. I'm trying to resist switching back because it's supposed to get into the 70s tomorrow (and because it's a pain), which means into the 80s in the house. Maybe I'll just go to bed early and sleep late.

The van got its new sensor this morning (free!), and I took the bubble wrap and a magazine rack/table to the Elmendorph, and a huge load of Jay's clothing to the Salvation Army. That was weird - I had filled out the receipt form in detail, and they signed it, but no one made any effort to ensure that my list had any connection to what I actually dropped off. Given what was on that list, I might have some trouble convincing the IRS it's for real.

I think I'm going to be donating a lot of my clothes, too. I pulled out a pair of jeans this morning that I hadn't worn in a year, and they're huge. The crotch seam is literally 4 full inches below where it should be, and the front is so loose it flops when I walk. I can't believe they ever fit! I'm going to have to go through the closet and try on all my clothes.

Somebody has been calling and hanging up before the recorder starts, several times yesterday and today. Three times it was when I was just coming in the front door, and they hung up before I could get to the phone. Last evening I was worried that Fishkill might call while Roman was here, so I had turned the "screening volume" down, and when the phone rang (while we were eating dinner) I didn't answer. It must be someone who knows how many rings I have it set for, because they hang up right before the tape picks up, which also means it's probably not "spam". If it's anyone reading this, please leave a message. You're driving me crazy!

Something else that's driving me crazy - the tax assessment. They reassessed everybody last year, for the first time in about 10 years, and everybody's assessed value pretty much doubled. (But the amount of tax stayed the same. Except for some people who got hit really hard - Piper said his quadrupled.) Well, today I got a letter from the town - they've raised my assessment. They now value my house at $350,500. Huh? It's a ranch, three bedrooms, living room, kitchen, informal dining area, laundry room, 2.5 baths, fireplace, walk-out unfinished basement, 2-car garage, 1,700 square feet on 1.3 acres, on a dead-end street, in a rural area, with a well, septic tank, above-ground electric (as in "telephone poles") and NO other services. (It's also full of mice, spiders, moths, and possibly carpenter ants. Does that count for anything?) Grievance Day is May 23. That doesn't leave a lot of time for research. I need to find out what other comparable houses are assessed.

It's funny - all the neighbors seem to think this house is the largest on the street ("...oh, yeah, the real big house, with the daffodils..."). I'll say, "well, no, it's not that big", and what I get back is "Oh yes it is - I saw when they were building it". Well, hey, I live in it! There are several neighbors with at least as large a footprint AND a second story! Sheesh! Look at the flippin' satellite photos! A third of that roofline is garage! Sigh.

I don't understand.

(On the other hand, in my life I have lived in at least 14 houses before this one, and this house has by far the largest kitchen I've ever had, with the most counter and cabinet space. I will never again be happy with less. I'm officially forever spoiled. (Which isn't really true at all. I know what my priorities are, and I will happily trade "the big house" and the huge kitchen for something of greater value, should it ever be offered.))

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

#670 Pleasant / Mixed Tuesday

Up early again with man on roof, lunch with Piper and Vinnie, bank, grocery store (last Saturday they put my case of coffee yogurt out and it sold out before I got to it, so they were supposed to order another case for me for today, but they forgot, so now it's tomorrow, bleck), got home to find that the roofer had cut his finger terribly, his wife had come and bandaged it, she and I both think he should go to the hospital for stitches, Roman came to tutor Piper again and again was amazed at how little Piper had retained from the last lesson, I'm not surprised, I had told him to make sure Piper took good notes, I made spaghetti & meatballs with steamed asparagus for dinner with Roman, he even had seconds, a very nice evening, Roman hooked up my DVD player, but it needs some kind of modulator, which he'll bring next time he visits, all done, here I am.

Tomorrow early, van to second-choice garage to get sensor replaced, pick up yogurt, deliver donations to Elmendorph Inn and Salvation Army, maybe make it to the exercise machines.

Now, sleep.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I tried defragmenting again. This time I closed everything but Explorer. "Ctrl/Alt/Delete" says only Explorer was running when I started the defragment job. Twelve hours later, it was still only 10% complete. It kept restarting again, claiming that the disk contents had changed. I give up. ("It USED to work!", she whines....)
I don't understand.

I was awakened this morning at 6:30 am by men stomping around on my roof. At about 6:50, an enormous truck arrived with the shingles. It used a crane to lift the pallets of shingles onto the roof, incidentally taking out a few tree branches and squashing driveway surface on the way.

The roofer had some bad news for me -- a tree branch was touching the roof in the back of the garage, and some carpenter ants had used it as a highway. They made a huge hole in the soffit. He said "I cleaned the nest out - got'em all I think." And he cut the branch down. Hmmmm. I think I'll talk to an exterminator pretty soon. Sigh. I really don't need more of this.


I delivered four bags of bubble wrap to a woman in Kingston this morning, and stowed three more bags in the van to go to the Elmendorph Inn Resale Shop when they open on Wednesday. On the way back from the woman's house, I stopped at the Salvation Army store to find out when I can donate stuff such that I can get a receipt. Then this afternoon I made a list and packed up Jay's sports coats and shirts that had been stored in the basement in movers' wardrobe boxes, ever since he'd moved here from Texas, and put them in the van to donate tomorrow or Wednesday.

There are three sports coats - one ordinary, one raw silk with leather elbow patches, and one hand-woven, hand-tailored in England, genuine Harris Tweed. All three had never been worn, still had the tags on them. When Jay was with his ex-wife, he used a special deodorant that left waxy deposits under the arms of his shirts, so it was easy to tell which shirts had been worn, and which had never been worn. I discarded the shirts with deposits. That left more than 35 never-worn shirts, about 3/4 are dress shirts. Do you believe it? I also added four windbreakers, all in excellent, possibly never-worn, condition.

While sorting out the windbreakers, I found Jay's old fraternity jacket (Pi Kappa Alpha, Carnegie Mellon). That one will go into a container of Jay's things that I can't bring myself to get rid of. I checked the pockets. There was a Kleenex in one pocket, and a Mars bar wrapper in the other. I had to sit down for a moment. Kleenex and chocolate wrappers were so very characteristic of Jay. He left trails of them everywhere.

This evening I will cut the buttons off the 15 or so discard shirts. For me, that's fun.

#668 Artsy Daughter

Back in early March, Roman and I had gone to a weekend Mensa regional gathering in New Jersey. Daughter joined us for Saturday evening. One of the activities that Daughter attended was a 1-hour painting workshop. After the talk, the attendees were instructed to paint a portrait of the person sitting at the table opposite them. Well, Daughter arrived at the room late, missed much of the talk, and was left with the rejects of the brushes.

The above is the painting she did of John, who sat opposite her. To fully appreciate this portrait, you need to know four things. 1) John was not sitting still. He was painting her at the same time. 2) The entire portrait is 4 inches high and 2.5 inches wide. 3) The brush Daughter used was one full inch wide! She painted using the corners of the brush. 4) John is immediately recognizable.

I think it's incredible.

This John guy was very interesting. A wee tad young for me, but interesting. I smelled testosterone. If I hadn't been there with Roman, I'd have flirted, and I don't know how to flirt, but I'd have tried. Daughter got his card, and I told her to hang onto it, I might want it later.

She discarded it.

I could kill her.

I'm KEEPING the painting! So there!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

#667 Tooky Made Me Do It

You've heard of him. I couldn't resist him. I've dreamed of him. And here he is. I present -- TOOKY!

These are not photographs - they're from a flatbed scanner, so yeah, they're washed out, but hey! I think it worked pretty well, considering.

From the back of his head to the front of his teeth, he's 5 inches, from the top of his brow to under his chin he's 3.75 inches, and cheek to cheek across his grin he's 3 inches. He's got a lot of personality.

#666 The Devil Made Me Do It

Revelation 13:18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.

For anyone who doesn't know, 666, "the number of the beast", does not represent Satan, or any version of Satan. It represented a real person known to the author.

The ancient Romans, Greeks, and Jews often used letters of the alphabet to represent numbers. And words or names made up of these letters would have numerical value (today's version is numerology). Isaac Asimov, in Asimov's Guide to the Bible, explains that the writer of Revelation was apparently afraid to mention the name of the man he castigates, for fear perhaps of a charge of treason, so he refers to the man by the number his name represents. The person Isaac says most commentators mention as most likely is Neron Caesar (Greek version of Nero). Isaac likes Domitian better - a ruler who was in power at the time Revelation was written, and who heavily persecuted Christians. (Note - the "Antichrist'" means one who is against (anti) Christians.)

Just thought I'd best not write anything with this entry number that folks might misinterpret.

(And yes, I can refer to him as Isaac. I knew him personally. He thought I had "a great pair". As usual, he was right.)