Saturday, May 27, 2006

706 Happy Dance

I figure after the previous post I should tell y'all about some good stuff, too.

The roofers of last week installed a rooftop thermostat-controlled fan, and it's great! It got up to at least 84 outside today, which would ordinarily push the house into the 90s, and tax my poor groundwater heat pump air conditioning (read high electric bill) to the max to pull it down. But it got to only 81 inside, for a short period, without the air conditioning on or any windows open. Very nice.


You may remember that last fall I gave the young man building a house below mine permission to run his electric line through my property, in exchange for his clearing my strip of woods of all undergrowth, downed trees, and all trees smaller than my thigh. (It's mostly wild roses and raspberries in there, which smell nice when they bloom, but make it impossible to walk in the woods, and try to take over the lawn and driveway.)

He started working on that on Friday, and he's half done already. He's even going further than we had agreed, in that he's also leveling the ground. It looks great! I had imagined that it would take him weeks, but he's got some major equipment out there, a narrow beast with tires up to my chin with a bucket on the front and a brush hog on the back. He's not leaving stumps, either. I don't know exactly how he's doing it, but even without grass, it already looks like lawn in there. The kid's a worker!

(My only concern is that the monster he's using is bumping trees, and tearing holes in the bark. I hope it doesn't kill them. I'll have to check, and any that are torn more than a total of 1/4 of the circumference will have to come out now.)


You may have heard of It's supposed to give you all kinds of details about houses you're considering buying, in particular the market value. I looked up my house a week ago, and they didn't have any data on this area yet. A few days ago, Hercules suggested that I look again. They have my house now. Zillow gave me one more bedroom, one less bathroom, an additional few hundred square feet, and claimed my tax assessment was about half the actual. It didn't even sound like my house. The market value they came up with wouldn't buy you a hovel around here. About the only thing they had right was the acreage. They have a button to "tell us if we got any details wrong", so I clicked it and sent them a note. I got back an immediate screen that said that they are unable to act on or respond to any comments, but thanked me for letting them know what I thought. Sheesh! Why bother offering the opportunity to correct the entry if they're not interested in correcting the entry?

Where's the happy dance here? I wonder if I can use this info to fight the tax assessment. (Giggle) "It's on the internet. It's Zillow. It's gotta be right, right?"

705 Pity Party

The Maritime Museum needed someone to cover the gift shop yesterday (Friday) from 1 to 5 pm, and the volunteer coordinator begged me, so I went in. I thought we'd have a lot of visitors, people getting a jump on the weekend - but we didn't. Only one couple came in, and they wanted only information ("How do we get out to the lighthouse?")

The tedium was relieved by the arrival of the schooner Mystic Whaler. Captain John came in to ask where he could find a grocery store. Ho hum.

I did make one sale - I bought a book.

By the time I left I was very depressed. One of my reasons for volunteering was to meet people (and maybe even some 60-ish single men). But I seem to be spending all my time at the museum alone. Driving home, I felt like I wanted to cry - you know, that lump in the throat thing - but I couldn't seem to muster any tears, so I didn't. I'm so alone. Here it is a holiday weekend, and I have no one to share it with. I have friends, but they're all either old and tired (in mind if not body), married, or in relationships, leaving no room for me.

I intended today to go to the antiques fair in Rhinebeck and then to the 4:15 showing of "Water" at the Upstate Cinema, but when I realized that I'd left myself only 2 hours for the fair, I skipped it and just went to the movie. Alone.

That was also a depressing experience when I realized two things. There wasn't a single person in the audience younger than me, and I was the only person there alone.

Then I went out for dinner at the new restaurant in the village. Alone. I read my Smithsonian at the table.

I feel like I want to cry again, but there are no tears.

I'll go to the antiques fair tomorrow. Alone.

Friday, May 26, 2006

704 - More Falls Photos (4)

More of Roman's photos.

The glen is often called Waterfall Heaven. It smells good. It's clean. I've never seen a tick or a mosquito there. Deer, bears, bobcats, lynxes, rattlesnakes, copperheads, yes. Ticks and mosquitoes, no. Kitchen Creek is fed from Lake Jean, and Lake Jean is fed from springs. The water is clear and cold.

This Jack-in-the-Pulpit was at the edge of the path. In my experience, they are very rare! This guy was tiny - the entire pulpit was no more than 2 or 2.5 inches tall I think Roman did an excellent job photographing it.

One of these days, I'll manage to visit when the mountain laurel is in bloom.

703 - More Falls Photos (3)

More of Roman's photos.

A cliff wall alongside the trail. By summer, this will be full of ferns. That's water dribbling down. It's not from the recent rains - there's always water coming through the cliff faces along the path.

A cascade.

And another. The little beige blob just above the water, on the left, is a hiker.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

702 -More Falls Photos (2)

More of Roman's photos.

Ganoga, I think.


Some little old lady at the above falls. She'd been rained on. Tsk. Wet mouse.

701 - More Falls Photos (1)

This is a selection of Roman's photos from our trip to Ricketts Glen.

A huge rock at the top of the trail. It fascinated him.

Kitchen Creek.


The same falls as above, different view.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

700 Lotsa Bits

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If you have ever driven the Taconic Parkway (or if you have never driven it), please please go read this short poem from Michael, of "One Foot in Front of the Other".


I learned something today from The Sandmonkey that I didn't know before. Under Egyptian laws based on Sharia (Islamic law) if a baby is born out of wedlock, and the father has refused to acknowledge the child, the child "gets no birth certificate, no passport, no nothing, and you couldn't force the father to take a paternity test either". This means the child will be treated as an outcast and a non-citizen in its own country, and can't leave either I suppose, having no identity as far as the government is concerned. I would suppose that it limits educational and employment opportunities, too, for no fault of the child. To spare their children this hell, many single pregnant Egyptian women get abortions.

But a young woman, Hind Al Hinnawy (do read the article, and do follow the link about Urfi marriages), took the man to court in a paternity suit, and against all odds, has won. The child will have the father's name. Hind has set a precedent, which The Sandmonkey finds significant.

Wow. How bad must it be if this is exciting? I, as a '70s liberationist, find it still horribly sexist. The child still doesn't exist unless a man says it does, or, as in this case, is forced by the court to admit it does. Oh, well, baby steps, I guess.

And finally,
You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.
People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

699 Too Much Museum (Exactly what I was afraid of!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Roman tried to send me his pix from the falls trip, but the zip file was too large for email attachment, so he'll try again later, when he can break it up. I'm anxious.


I went to the Maritime Museum yesterday to set up the information notebooks they'd asked me to do. The volunteers in the museum, on the phones, and in the gift shop are always getting questions from tourists (when, where, how much, what's there, etc.) about the other museums and tours around town, so they wanted a page on each. (The official visitor's center is about two blocks up the street, and open every day, so I don't see why they couldn't just send people there, but I am in "shut-up-and-do-as-you're-told" mode these days, so....)

It wasn't as easy as it sounds. The available brochures and web sites have conflicting information. Many of the places are open only on weekends, and there's no cell phone service on the mountain, so I wasn't able to call any of them until just before they closed (5 pm) last Sunday, when we got closer to civilization on the way home. (BTW, Daughter, there's a brand new cell tower directly across the road from the little hotel. Not functional yet, but soon. Roman's daughter's birthday was last weekend, and he wanted to call her and was very frustrated by the sight "Is that what I think it is?!" of a non-functioning tower. So near and yet so far.)

Then when I tried to type up what I had yesterday, the editor on the museum computer kept program-checking, and every time it did, it locked the file I had been working on. [Insert choice words here.] I wanted to have it done by Friday, to be ready for the influx of tourists Memorial Day weekend. When I got home yesterday, I found a newspaper insert devoted to the river. All the information I was missing! Current information! Serendipity!

So I went in today to finish. The woman who was supposed to come in to work the shop never showed, so again I found myself minding the register, but we weren't busy, so I was still able to sneak upstairs and finish the notebooks. They look good. I'm proud of them.

In an earlier entry I said something about this being a rinkydink operation (in reference to charging sales tax). I needed a key today. I asked where it was kept. They told me. Incredible. I can't tell you what or where, but it's tantamount to keeping the front door key under the doormat, WITH a list of all the house valuables attached.

I need to draw the maps for the notebooks by Friday, and I have committed to tend the shop Friday afternoon. This is more time than I had planned to contribute - I still have this house to clear out - but I'll back off a bit after Friday. I'll ride on the goodwill from those wonderful notebooks for a while.

698 Some Photos from the Glen

I don't have many photos I can post. Roman photographed the falls, and I mostly took pictures of Roman photographing the falls. I'll post what he sends me later.

The first falls, at the top of the trail. The trail runs very close to the falls - you can see a part of it in the lower right corner. That's a person standing on the large flat rock downstream. Gives you some idea of how steep it is.

The first falls again, from slightly further down.

Ganoga Falls.

Ganoga again. That spot of bright blue is a hiker.

Another falls - I forget which this is - there are 20-some of them....

The trail. It's mostly rocks.

You may notice that I've removed a photo since this was first published. Yeah, the anonymous hiker in beige was Roman. Wasn't he pretty?

And now, something different:
Miss Thunderfoot. She'd rather sleep on scraps of cardboard than on the carpet. Probably because the carpet is full of clumps of fur.

Monday, May 22, 2006

697 Back From the Glen

I'm back. I'm happy.

I went home with Roman after the Third Thursday dinner, and we left from there after his Friday morning class. We needed two cars, one to leave at the bottom of the mountain, and the other to drive to the top, so we picked up a rental at Avoca. We stayed at the little hotel (which advertises itself as "conveniently located in the Middle of Nowhere"). I can't tell the name of it here because they don't rent to anyone they don't already know, because there's no one there when the restaurant isn't open, so they have to trust you. We had the whole place to ourselves.

It did rain off and on all weekend, but on the mountain it was mostly cloudy, with occasional patches of sun, and occasional patches of showers, so we did the trail anyway. It sprinkled three times during the 3.5 miles of the falls trail, but only the last shower was very heavy, and we were almost at the end by then. We got very wet and very very muddy from the knees down (we may never get the stains out of our shoes), but it wasn't too bad.

The rain actually made things perhaps more beautiful. There was more water roaring over the falls, the leaves were bright and shiny, and the wet tree trunks were in high contrast. Every once in a while the sun would burst through, and it was glorious.

I wore the right shoes this time, Daughter, so my toes didn't get stubbed. I hurt nowhere today.

Roman took a lot of photographs, which he will email to me soon, and I took a few with my 35-mm which I'll take in today to get developed and put on a CD. I'll post a selection sometime later.

He surprised me at one point. He set the timer on the camera so we could get a picture of us together, and then when it was counting down for the second photo, he kissed me. So there are two photos of us standing in front of the trail map sign, and one of them is rather incriminatingly difficult to explain away. It will be interesting to see whether he trusts me enough to send me a copy of that one.

Now I have to get dressed to go to the Maritime Museum to finish a project, and tonight there's a Mensa activities-planning dinner in Fishkill that I had promised to attend.