Friday, July 07, 2006

782 Leading Candidate Rounds the Final Turn!

Daughter and the Leading-Candidate-For-Son-In-Law applied for the New Jersey marriage license today. I was a witness. I'm risking a $7,500 fine by swearing that they are both mentally competent.

Hercules has rounded the final turn and is headed for the wire!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

781 Car Shopping

Thursday, July 6, 2006

We are supposed to have a rare few days without rain starting today, so I had planned to spray the prickly stickery nasty stuff that's trying to return to the cleared side yard.

Instead, after Mr. T.'s call about the van, I went to the Chrysler Dodge dealership down the road to talk to someone in the service department and make an appointment for Monday.

Then, on impulse, I decided to go car "window shopping". Just to find out what's available, and how much I'm likely to have to pay.

Since this is a "backup car", which I might trade in on a "real car" in a year or two, I don't want to pay much. I will consider new or used, depending on value for price. Therefore, my criteria:
No more than three years old
Less than 60,000 miles
Preferably an import
"Certified", with decent warranty
I can take to Mr. T. for his opinion
Seller will service, and is reasonably close to my home
Color, style, and appearance are of no importance

I hit five new-and-used dealers, and it looks like I'll pay at a minimum $15,000 for new, and $9,000 for used within my criteria.

The 2006 Kia Rio is supposed to be the best value for the money, and that's what I'm driving now from Enterprise and I like it ok for a backup car, but the nearest Kia dealership is more than 30 miles away, and that's too far if something goes wrong during the warranty period. So I don't know.

You might ask, "Why not just bite the bullet and buy the 'real car' now?" Because I need something RIGHT NOW, as soon as possible, so I can get out from under the rental fees, and definitely before the end of July, and I haven't done the research yet to select a real car. Eventually I want a hybrid, but they're not ready for me yet. And I don't know yet what shape the minivan will be in, so it's hard to plan.

Oh, something funny happened. The first place I went was to a used car dealer that I know. He said that he had only one car on the lot that met my criteria, and it was a really nice one. He handed me the keys. I got in, started it, and ...

... the "check engine" light went on!!!!

And stayed on.

The salesman looked shocked.

Gee, maybe it's me?

780 Van News - Expensive News!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Mr. T. called this morning. He said that he went to the local Chrysler dealer and talked to the service guy. They figure the problem is probably (no guarantees) in the wiring harness to the computer. Mr. T. says the dealership might be able to tweak and repair it, and they have better access to parts, so I should take the van to them. Mr. T. would have to replace rather than repair, and that's $1300 to $1800. And it could still be that much at the dealer.

And even if it's "fixed", I'm nervous. I'm thinking I'm going to have to buy a small, cheap, maybe used car, for just in case. In the past six months, I've driven something like six weeks worth of rental cars, and that's ridiculous.

Mr. T. says it's time to get rid of the van. I suspect what he's really saying is "I don't want to work on this dog anymore. Go buy me something nicer and simpler to work on."

In good shape, because of its rarity and the demand for handicap-equipped minivans, I could get close to $30,000 for it. But I won't get much if it's not dependable. It looks like I'd have to fix it, THEN sell it, but if it's fixed well enough to sell, I won't want to sell it. Deep breath.

My earlier moans about finances are increased. I am very unhappy.

It's not like I don't have it, but I'd have to spend from working principal (as opposed to a savings account, which since the reroofing is zero), and that's against my principles. Spending principal reduces my income - forever! It especially grates this year. We moved me out of 100% equity (stock) and into a mix of equity, fixed, and money market. Piper keeps saying that all these tax-free bonds he's buying me will "save a fortune in income tax" thereby significantly increasing my effective annual income. The other day, I startled him by pointing out that it will take seven years! of tax free interest income to make up for the enormous capital gains tax I have to pay this year (out of principal!) on all that stock we sold.

I'm getting really nervous. Mother is not happy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

779 Dance Videos - Smaller Versions

I've been sending these to Daughter. I forgot there might be others interested.

Willow has created smaller versions of her routines from the show at SUNY New Paltz on June 17. If you didn't have the patience for the one I posted earlier, these should be quicker loading.

Video - Willow Finger Cymbals -Aziza - Small File - 8 mb

Video - Willow Floorwork - Armut Agaci - Small File - 4.6 mb
based on choreography by Ansuya

778 DBA; Fun With Journaling

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

[07/06 Edit - added date and changed font sizes. That's all, folks!]

I got up early and dressed to go to the county offices to renew my "assumed name" (as New York State calls what everyone else knows as a DBA). I had been told by my accountant that it would need renewal after two years. I had originally applied for "
(Hidden)" on July 9, 2004. But when I dug out the documents, even though I applied for it in July, the papers from the state are dated May, 2005. So when do I have to renew? Now or next May? The accountant had also said that the state would send me a reminder, but I know better than to depend on New York State.

I called the county record center, and they said it never expires. I have to actively cancel it.

I'm not sure who to believe. At any rate, I didn't go. Heck, it's a 45 minute drive, one way.

I am again amused by the site statistics ( The count of people looking for "800-503-7001" has shot up again. (And if you're one of them, type the phone number into the white box above, and click on "search this blog". Then read the entries and the comments. It's a scam, especially if they mentioned a "" web site, and you should watch your phone bill carefully for a few months.)

Somebody in Doha, Qatar, ended up here by searching for "i love silk against my skin feel it trail it over my thighs". Whoa! I wonder what he or she was really looking for. A poem, perhaps? It's certainly pretty specific. This is what the search engine hit on in my journal: "I haven't been active on eBay in over a year. So, how did "Silk  ... That's what it feels like, mostly all over my thighs and ... Sometimes I don't know whether to love her, hate her, or feel sorry ...". Bits from hither and yon, unrelated to each other.

Another person, from Durham, North Carolina, found me by searching for "locating and correcting reading difficulties". My journal was on page 18 (!!) of the search results. One wonders, given what he or she was obviously looking for, why he/she bothered to click on and read my journal. Especially when the search hit produced, from this journal, "to lie, and not to allow her to believe untruths by not correcting... I had assumed that the other woman had physical difficulties, but NJ ...".

Accidentally getting this journal when you're searching for something else is one thing. Actually clicking on it and reading it when it's so obviously not what you're looking for is something else. Curiouser and curiouser.


With such a slow connection, when a site is loading, I can watch the process messages at the bottom, like "Waiting for", and "Transferring data from', and so on. More and more lately, I've been seeing mention of "" in those messages. Huh? Why do I see a reference to when I'm loading something like a news site, or whatever?

Y'all know I have an interest in belly dance. There are several schools or styles - what most people are familiar with is cabaret. I kinda like American Tribal Style (ATS). "Fusion" means a melding of two or more styles or forms. It's entirely possible that in the past I had visited a site named "TribalFusion". So seeing it jumping in there almost every time I visit somewhere else is disturbing.

Turns out is an advertising placement site! Nothing whatsoever to do with any form of dance. I wonder how and why they chose that name.

Just another thing I don't understand....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

777 Tuesday, July 4, 2006 - All Quiet

No big holiday stuff here. Just another day in the village.

I worked at the Maritime Museum today, running the cash register. The Rondout wasn't as crowded as one would expect on a holiday, but we still had a lot of visitors.

There was a large river cruise ship tied up at the museum docks. It seems that it had been headed up river to the Erie Canal toward Buffalo, but because of all the rain, flooding has blown out several of the locks on the canal, and the canal is closed. There have been stories on the TV about people in private boats who are stranded at points along the canal - living on their boats and wondering how they'll get the boats home. The locks may not be repaired for a very long time, if ever.

So anyway, the cruise ship is desperately trying to find alternate things to amuse the passengers. They loaded them on buses today and took them to the Roosevelt Mansion, and after they got back, many of them visited the Maritime Museum.

There are no fireworks in Kingston tonight. Kingston did their fireworks a week or so ago (in pouring rain!). The cruise ship would have done better to have docked near Saugerties or Hudson (but I don't think there's any place they could dock there). Maybe they'll take a run up the river tonight? I hope so.... Otherwise it's pretty sad for the passengers.

As I was typing that, I could hear fireworks. We used to be able to see them from from the deck, from like 25 miles north to 10 miles south, and all the way west to Woodstock, but the trees have grown up too high and thick, and I can't see anything any more. Not while leaves are on the trees, anyway.

Where's all that wind when you need it?

776 The Votary

This is the musing of a layperson working with too little information, in an effort to explain to herself something she needs to understand in order to handle her own feelings. An excuse. A vindication. So this is more about me than about anyone else (as is everything else in this journal, for that matter - everybody should remember that).


I've been doing a lot of internet research on a medical matter for a friend. Along the way, I came across something interesting.

I found a syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) that got me thinking. I don't want to get specific as to what it's called, and I have to use different terms to describe it, because if you go look for it, most of what you'll find out there describes the extreme cases, and naturally, it can get pretty sensational. What I'm thinking about isn't sensational. Just interesting.

The syndrome has three levels. The case that interests me is mild, at the lowest of the three levels. There's a name for people at that lowest level. I've been trying to find a good alias, and I've decided to use "The Votary", a term that implies committment and devotion.

The way it starts, The Votary grows up in a family where there are high expectations and little affection expressed. He (it's 10 to 1 a male) feels early on that he isn't good enough, that he is a disappointment to his parents, that nothing he does meets their expectations. He craves his mother's attention and approval, he wants softness from her, but he doesn't get it. He feels inadequate.

Usually between 4 and 10 years of age, The Votary is made aware of someone who has been lamed by an illness or an accident, who uses a legbrace, wheelchair, prosthetic, or other assistance. (Most people with this syndrome are now in their 50s to 70s, and had friends or family members who contracted polio.) His parents admire and express for the impaired person the affection, admiration, and softness that he wants so badly for himself.

Sometimes the child is expected to care for and assist the impaired person, whether they want to or not. Sometimes the child wishes that he himself was impaired, so his parents would love and admire and care for him, too.

Most Votaries grow up to be sensitive, caring, thoughtful, and altruistic adults with a need to be in a loving relationship. They have a strong need to care for others. Caring for others is the highest goal. It brings them fulfillment. It makes them feel worthwhile. It might even bring them the approval they crave. (Approval from themselves? Their parents? Society? Their Diety? A justification for their life, the higher calling above personal happiness?)

They are extremely aware of and solicitous toward handicapped acquaintances, and, seeing someone limping or wearing legbraces might even cause a physiological response. This is the key definition of the lower level of the syndrome - the interest in the lameness, the fascination with the condition, the need to get close to it, to help.

That's general. Let's propose a specific instance:

Along comes a woman. A woman wearing a legbrace, suffering the pain and fatigue of Post-Polio Syndrome, let's say. An attractive recent divorcee, at the moment when The Votary is going through his own divorce. A woman who needs assistance. A Votary who needs emotional support.

There's something called the Polio Personality. People who have had polio tend to be "Type-A" personalities. A drive to succeed, to overcome, to achieve independence, a perfectionist. The diagnosis of PPS can be devastating to someone who has worked so hard all her life to be "normal" despite her handicap. She's in a hard place.

The Votary puts her on a pedestal and sees her as someone to be admired for her strength and courage in overcoming a handicap. He is impressed by the way she copes year after year with her disability and gets on with life so well despite it. He is likely to idealize her. Helping her to cope satisfies a deep need in The Votary.

Helping with the legbrace can have sexual overtones. Physically assisting her when the brace is off is very sexual. So, in theory, the sexual chemistry has a double opportunity to work. Plus, there's her need of him and dependence on him, even though she doesn't want dependence. There's a sexual tension there, too.

Women who have had polio often do not feel sexually attractive, so she may be grateful to The Votary for his sexual interest.

Powerful, eh? Match made in Heaven.

Unfortunately, the literature says that a sexual relationship between The Votary and the object of his devotion is unlikely to end happily. It's not a meeting of two people - it's a condition with needs meeting a need with conditions. Either eventually she begins to suspect that he loves her condition more than he loves her, which would be painful to her, or she falls off the pedestal and he doesn't like what he sees, or her condition changes and he no longer gets the emotional reward that was the impetus and basis of his interest.

Unfortunately, by this time, the woman is dependent on The Votary, and he feels responsible for her care, and they are stuck with each other.


Yeah, I know someone that this might fit. My head went boing when I read the part about the child's family dynamics - it's exactly as he has described his feelings. That's what led me into reading the rest of the article. A few days ago I asked, and he confirmed that when he was seven, his parents made him visit and play with a family acquaintance of his own age, a little boy who'd had polio. (He disliked the kid.) I was floored.

It explains so many odd things he has said to me. It explains the strange almost hypnotic fascination he has for her, even though he knows there's something wrong with their relationship, something "missing". It explains his involvement with me.

(The literature says that Votaries have an unnatural ability to detect impairments anywhere in their vicinity. I often have an almost imperceptible limp, due to the dead nerves in my right ankle. Most people never notice. I wonder if that had anything to do with his initial attraction to me.)

Of course, he won't see the syndrome if it exists. He has to deny it even if it is so, if this is what's going on. If one could see it while one is in it, it would be too psychologically confusing. One could not fall into it so completely if one were aware that's what's going on. But at the same time, he knows there's something wrong. He has said he's confused.

And --- that's what's on my mind today.

I'll think about something else tomorrow.

Monday, July 03, 2006

775 Monday Moans

Jay always said that you shouldn't drink pure distilled water, because it would pull minerals out of your body. Is this true? Ordinary water doesn't?

I need to have the driveway retopped, the siding washed, and the deck replaced. After shooting the budget on a new roof this year, I thought I'd do all that next year. Then more things came up this year, but might have to wait for next year - I have decided I'm going to have to buy a regular car, and I need to get the side yard raked, graded, and seeded. But I do want to replace the computer this year, and get some kind of faster connection.

Today I admitted that I can't put off replacing the air conditioning any longer.

The current air conditioner is a 24-year-old heat pump. It pulls water from the well and blows air over it and then throughout the house. It's been getting gradually less and less efficient. In 2001 it was fine while there was only Jay and me in the house, but as soon as the nurse or health care assistant came to visit, the temperature shot up. Now it's not good enough even with just me here. By early evening it's 83 degrees, and that's with the attic fan going full blast and the air conditioning on constantly (set at 75). It's still cooler than the outside air during the day, but not by much. I don't want to open windows if I don't have to because of the humidity. (Roman gave me a sheet of white office paper, which I held in my hand while we were talking last Wednesday evening. By the time I got in the car, the paper was actually soggy. I had to iron it.)

I'm going to the Mensa World Gathering at Disney World next month. Ten days at the Coronado Springs Resort (7 days of gathering and three days to visit family and play tourist). I guess I'd better enjoy it. There won't be any more fancy vacations for a while.

I bought my plane tickets for the Gathering. Last time I flew, last summer to New Orleans, I decided that I would never again fly tourist class. The seats are too narrow for me to shift my hips, or to tuck my legs under me, and that gets painful. Plus there's something about the seat backs - they make me bend forward in the wrong places. It takes me three days of pain to recover. So I decided I wanted business class.

There's no business class to Orlando from any airport within two hours of here. I ended up with tickets from Newark, nonstop, first class. At three times the tourist class price. Incredible. They'd better treat me well.

Actually, I could have flown out of White Plains for slightly less, but they have very limited parking there, and I didn't want to take the chance on arriving for my flight and having no place to leave my car.

Would you believe it's cheaper to leave a car for ten days at airport parking, than to rent a car for a one-way trip to or from this area? It's all screwed up.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

774 My Hearing Is 100%! New Jersey Is Not.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

I bought some new lightbulbs the other day. They're coiled fluorescent, came in a package of three, and are guaranteed to last 5 years.

I put one in the bedside lamp, and --- whoa! The color of the light is white with a pale icky green cast. Bleck! NOT flattering.

Worse, I can HEAR it! From halfway across the room! It makes a fuzzzzzz sound.

Jay always said he could hear fluorescent lights. He also said he could see the flicker. It's a common characteristic of autism. He hated fluorescent lights.

Great. I've got 15 years of lightbulbs I can't stand the sound of.


The state of New Jersey closed yesterday.

Budget disagreements, deadline passed, so all state government offices (except critical services) are closed until further notice.

Daughter and Leading-Candidate-for-Son-In-Law (he's getting closer and closer to the wire) are supposed to get their marriage license on Friday. Apparently it's a big production, because they had to make an appointment, and they need two witnesses who have known them at least 100 years, and everybody, including the witnesses, needs fifty-seven varieties of identification.

This could be a problem.

773 One for All, and All for One

Making the rounds, from