Saturday, July 29, 2006

826 Saturday

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I went to Poughkeepsie this morning, to the credit union, and paid off the Aerio loan. On the way back I stopped at the fitness center (after Saturday hours, so I got to use my new special key) and put 45 minutes on the treadmill. Then I stopped at an outdoor stand and got a hot dog with green pickle relish, then to the grocery store for juice, cat food, and cottage cheese. Then I read blogs.

And that was my Saturday.

Sheesh. I should get a life.

825 Chicks and Old Crows

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Check this out: Further story at Whoop! I wanna work for them!


A (young female) blogger asked some time ago for opinions on young women referring to each other, among themselves, as "chicks". I didn't much care for it, but I couldn't put into words why.

This afternoon the TV was on in the background again, and there was a very old (and very bad) movie on. Jane Fonda was playing a character who was definitely mature, late 20s or early 30s perhaps, more than capable of taking care of herself, punching out the bad guys and all. She was also attractive. The bad guys kept referring to her as "the girl". "Where's the girl?" "The girl has the notebook." "You let the girl get away?"

That was the 60s, when men were "men", and women were "girls" - but only if the woman was a sexual object. When she became "too old", or too unattractive, a man would no longer refer to her as a girl, but as a woman. That led to 80-year-old men referring to 70-year-old women as "girls". Jay's father, in his 90s, still calls the 80-something wives of his friends, or the women on his elder hostel tours, "girls". It sounds weird. In my world, a "girl" is a female who is not yet capable of making her own decisions, who is still guided by her parents. Parallel to "boy". Those of us in the feminist movement worked very hard to get away from the dismissiveness and sexual connotation of "girl".

So there's my objection. Young women calling each other "chicks" is ok with me only if they refer to all women as chicks. Their friends, women of their mother's generation, their mothers, their grandmothers, and their great-grandmothers. Anyone it's possible to relate to. If they put an age or attractiveness cutoff on the term, then they are sexually objectifying themselves! They should have more respect for themselves.


I read an article in the local newspaper some weeks ago about a crow that had died. They think he was the oldest crow on record. (I forget how old he was.) He had fallen out of the nest as a chick, was injured, and had never been able to fly. He'd been raised by a local family, who had passed him down the line. Eventually, the last surviving family member was unable to keep him, so in I believe the 1980s or early 90s, he was given to a family friend. By this time he was very old, and mostly blind.

That's when NY state got involved. As long as members of the original family had him, he'd been "grandfathered", and was not subject to the more recent laws about keeping wild animals. But now that he was with a new family, the laws applied. He was declared a "wild animal", a ward of the state, and the state took him away from the family. The law said that he had to be rehabilitated and released to the wild. But since he couldn't see and couldn't fly and couldn't survive in the wild, the law said that he should be euthanized.

The family got an injunction and then sued the state for return of the bird. No one could believe that the wildlife officials could be so stupid. And this was the way it was presented in the newspaper article.

I remember this case. Of course, the officials weren't really stupid. It was the law that was stupid, they didn't like it either, and this was the perfect case to expose the stupidity of the law. It was the plaintiffs and the defendants combined against the stupid law. The judge gave the bird back to the family, which satisfied the people of the county (who had contributed gazillions to the legal fund), but I never did hear whether the law got changed, which was the real purpose of the lawsuit.

Friday, July 28, 2006

824 Friday

Friday, July 28, 2006

Congratulate me! I did 45 minutes on the treadmill this morning. Tomorrow morning I have to go to Poughkeepsie and give the credit union a check for the car loan. If I pay it off by the 31st, I don't pay any interest. I'll hit the treadmill again on the way back. I don't think I'll lose that last 20 pounds before Orlando, but I can try.

I did go to Trivia last night, and it was fun. Tom was playing at a mild flirtation. He should be more careful - it's been more than ten weeks since Ricketts Glen, and I'm too hungry for playing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

823 Where Does the Time Go?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It looks like maybe no treadmill again today. I decided to clean house a little, and finish the laundry. It's now 4:30 pm. I planned to go to the spa after Big Brother (BB) again today. Between now and BB, I wanted to pay the bills (an hour job usually), wash dishes, eat, and alter some too-big clothing.

But Tom called a few minutes ago and asked if I wanted to go to trivia tonight. I haven't been there in three weeks, and I won't have a chance for another three weeks. I DO want to go.

So now I have to pay the bills, bathe and do my hair, hit the bank and the gas station, set the VCR for BB, and leave here by 7 pm. I thought I'd have time to go to the treadmill first, like right now, but there are sheets in the dryer that will take a while longer to dry, and I never leave the house with the dryer running. The sheets have to go right on the bed, or Miss Thunderfoot will get fur all over the mattress.

Pardon me while I go recalculate the schedule.

Thinking burns almost as much calories as walking, right?

822 Scary Movies

'Toonguykc' at "Inner and Outer Demons" asks if we remember a movie from our childhood that scared us then, and that now seems silly.

My comment on his entry:
I was 11 in the mid-fifties, the heyday of the alien invasion movies. It was always robots that wreaked havoc. I don't remember the name of the movie (too young, too long ago), but there was one robot with a bullet-shaped head, and a panel that slid up where his eyes would be, and a lethal ray shot out of the eye space. He'd just turn toward you, and the panel would slide slowly up, and no matter how fast you ran, the ray would shoot out and zap you.

I had to ride my bicycle home after the movies, alone, in the dark, and it just so happened that the shadow the front fender made in the bike headlight was EXACTLY the same shape as the robot's head. I pedaled faster and faster and couldn't get away from the idea of the robot stalking me.

I think what made robots especially scary then was that they were absolutely emotionless, and impervious to reason. Sorta like my father, now that I think about it....


Until I wrote that comment, I hadn't made the connection. For years after that movie, even into my thirties, (actually, until my father died), that robot was an occasional part of my nightmares. The robot would be passing, and would notice me, and slowly turn, and the shutter would slide up, and it would kill me, and there was no emotion, and no recourse, no reasoning. Just like in real life, my father would be passing, and would notice me, and turn contemplatively, and the shutters would drop in his eyes, and he'd try to kill me, and there was no emotion (he'd feign anger, but it wasn't real), no recourse, no reasoning. I guess somewhere deep down I made the connection of course - and that's why the robot frightened me so much.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

821 Really Wednesday

Today I had lunch with the Gypsy. She has a lot of work to do this week, too, and since I was still feeling guilty about luring Piper away from his office, after a short lunch I dropped her off at her studio and left.

I went to the Suzuki dealership and picked up my registration. The floor mats and the book haven't come in yet - this could worry one about delays in getting parts. A two week wait for floormats? I've received eBay kimonos directly from Japan in less time.

Then I went searching for a larger cat carrier. Miss Thunderfoot will be going to kitty camp (that's what I tell her, anyway) while I'm in Orlando, and the two carriers I have are too small for her. I don't know what it is around here, but as soon as you locate a particular type of store, it disappears. I used to know where there were two large pet supply stores on the other side of the river, and neither of them is there now. I didn't happen to have a phone book in the car with me, so I wandered. Finally found a large (new!) pet shop in the next village down on this side of the river.

When I got home, I watched a video the Gypsy had given me, and a PBS show about the Andrea Doria, and then I decided to do some laundry.

Roman remarked last night that I seem to be having all kinds of bad luck lately.
The roof leaked, and had to be reshingled.
The damper in the fireplace broke and can't be closed.
Several trees fell down.
The minivan had two flat tires within two months.
The dehumidifier died.
The central air conditioning gave up the ghost.
The minivan got sick.

And now the washing machine won't fill with anything but very hot water. There's only a dribble of cold. Probably a glopped-up cold-water hose, same as the heat pump. Worse, the cold water shutoff valve in the washer is screwed up (probably full of mineral salts), so if you open the tap at the wall, the cold water dribbles - constantly. By the end of a wash cycle, the tub is overflowing. At the end of the spin cycle, the clothes are sopping. So after the laundry room got flooded a few times, I now just leave the cold water shut off at the wall. I don't want to use hot water for most of my clothes, and the rinse cycle (for all selections) is cold water only, so ... there's no rinse.

I've been getting around the problem by hooking up a hose to the utility sink next to the washer, and when the washer wants water, I stick the hose in and manually fill it for the wash and rinse cycles. Not a big deal. It works. Until you wander off and forget that the washer tub is filling. And flood the laundry room and the kitchen. Twice this evening. Not a big deal until you remember that the oriental rugs in the half-bath off the laundry room and in the kitchen are "village" rugs, made with vegetable dyes, and they will bleed and badly stain the floor if you don't get them up immediately. And find someplace that you can lay them out to dry, but where there's no danger of staining anything. Not so easy. Basement floor, I guess. And then you use a whole load of just-washed towels to sop up the water. Twice.

The second time the washer overflowed, I was standing there right next to it, hanging and folding stuff from the dryer. I didn't notice until my feet got wet.


No treadmill again tonight.

820 Tuesday continued & Wednesday

After lunch with Piper on Tuesday, I came home and decided to take care of that little breakin exposure. But before I fixed it so I, or anybody else, couldn't break into the house, I needed to get some spare keys to distribute. I went to the hardware store in the village, and had three copies made of the front door key. Then I came home and tried them in the door. The first two keys didn't work at all. The third key not only didn't work, it got stuck in the lock.

Screwdriver. Remove doorknob. Take whole mess to hardware store. Surprise - key copying machine is now broken. No kidding. What was the first clue?

They sent me to their sister store in the next village, where the stuck key was pried out of the lock, and three new keys were cut. An advantage of having the doorknob with me, we were able to test them on the spot. Back home, replace doorknob. A three hour job.

I haven't been on the treadmill in two weeks, and stuff like those keys is partly why. Time gets eaten up. The other reason is that after I'm on the treadmill, my hair isn't presentable until I can defrizz it, so I keep putting it off every day until it gets too late.

On the way back from the hardware store, I stopped at the spa and got an electronic key that will get me in after hours - up until 10 pm. That'll be a lot more convenient for me. I figured I'd go home and watch Big Brother (Well, watch Kaysar. The show this season is really boring, and the producers seem to know it, because they've been featuring Kaysar a lot. To keep things interesting, I guess. Works for me) from 8 'til 9, then go to the spa.

At 9:00 I was headed out the door, headed for the treadmill, and the phone rang. It was Daughter. We had a pretty good 25-minute conversation, and hung up in enough time that I could still make it. I was headed out the door, and the phone rang. It was Roman. We had a pretty good conversation, and ... I missed my window. The spa key works only up 'til 10. If you're in by 10, you can stay as long as you want, but you can't get in after 10. Roman and I had talked for over an hour. It didn't seem that long.

Scratch the treadmill. Again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

819 Piper's House

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Three-hour lunch with Piper today, and I feel a little guilty about it because he has a lot of work this week. Actually, lunch wasn't that long, but on the way back he wanted to stop at his home and pick up some papers, so I finally got to see his house.

It was pretty incredible. As he's said, it's not a large house, but it looks, inside and out, like something out of a magazine. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, every plant carefully selected and in exactly the right spot, truckloads of black mulch. Split-rail fences. Wide wrap-around deck, with classy comfortable outdoor furniture.

Inside it was like something out of a magazine. Every single piece of furniture, lamps, pillows, was top of the line and obviously carefully selected. Every item on tables or shelves was individually selected and arranged for effect. The kitchen counters were not only uncluttered, but there was no sign that the kitchen was for anything but looking at - no sponge at the sink, no dishtowels, no utensils next to the stove. Same with the bathrooms - no personal grooming items in evidence. Items arranged for show. It really truly looked like it was set up for a photo spread. The bed in the master bedroom had all those fancy pillows at the top, and I couldn't help saying "Oh, come on! Nobody REALLY does that!" The house didn't look like it was for living in.

That's not how I see Piper. I suspect it's entirely his lady. I haven't met her yet, but if that's representative of her personality, I'm not sure I want to.

I also got to meet Piper's dog. It's one of those cute little wiggly long-haired pug-nosed thingies. I picked him up and got thoroughly licked. His name is the same as Roman's real name, which is a common unsophisticated name, like "George". I can't imagine anyone naming one of those doggies "George". Very strange.

Surreal, even.


I had saved at this point, then I came back and wrote more, about the locks, and phone calls, and stuff, and then my browser crashed and I lost it all. It's now 1:12 am, and I'm too tired to do it all over again. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, July 24, 2006

818 Maritime Monday

Monday, July 24, 2006

I got a call shortly after I woke up this morning. Whoever was supposed to ride the register at the Maritime Museum today wasn't able to come in, so could I? So I did.

We had an unusual number of visitors for a Monday. There was a group of about thirty urban 15-year-olds with a bunch of adult chaperones, a family from Columbia, SA, a mother and daughter from Seattle who were collecting lighthouse visit stamps in some kind of lighthouse association "passport" book, and several other couples.

There are some displays on the grounds, but we keep the back door, the door to the docks, locked so people from the boats can't just wander in. You can get out that door, but to get back into the museum, you have to go through the gate in the fence and come back in through the front door. I looked out the window to check the gate when I first arrived, and the gate was open. I was telling people that after they finished touring the museum, they should go out that door and see the sailboats and the tug boat in the back.

So all these people were going out the back door to the fenced area. Imagine my embarrassment when I discovered that someone had closed and padlocked the gate (who? There was no one there but me), trapping everyone in the back yard. My first clue was when I heard a couple open the back door to go out, and I heard someone outside yell "Don't let the door close!" ... slam ... click ....

Note to self - find out where the padlock key is kept.

The volunteer coordinator came in to close up, and she was surprised when the cash register receipts balanced. Apparently, that's highly unusual.

817 You May Now Kiss the Bride

(Blurry enough that Daughter won't be annoyed with me for posting it, I think.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

816 Dance Photos, 4 of 4

[Later Edit - Yes, this is Daughters of Ishtar, not Alchemy.]

I think this might be the Alchemy Dance Theater, but then again it might be Daughters of Ishtar (help?) Whatever. The have the prettiest cholis (tops). They look like they might be made from sari silk.

At one point (before the rain) I was looking at some belts one of the vendors had, and she asked if I was a dancer. I laughed and said "Once upon a time, 30 years ago." She (a youngster) said "Wow! I bet the dance has changed a lot since then." I said yes, it has.

It has probably changed more in the past 40 years than in the preceeding 2,000 years. Movies and tourism have had their effect.

There are subtle things. When you look at the photo above, the ladies are doing a hip (lift and) thrust, and the way they are doing it looks very nice. But back in my day, isolation was all. We would not have leaned the upper body like that. We would have got the same hip extension, but we'd keep the shoulders parallel to the floor, and the rib cage perpendicular to the floor. When we did hip movements, the upper body was kept out of it. Nowadays, there's more flow.

Willow was supposed to dance early in the evening, but when she was asked if she'd like to dance, she declined. So, near the end, when she decided to dance after all, I'd used up all my film. These are photos 25 and 26 on a 24-shot roll. As often as I have seen her dance, I never had a camera with me before, and this time I did, and I was still caught short. And they are terrible pictures. Oh, well, photos never do her justice anyway. You have to see her move.

This is an example of how NOT to photograph a bellydancer - catch her in the middle of a belly roll.
Her floor work is incredible, but she was dancing on a squishy sopping carpet, so no one expected her to go to the floor, but suddenly she leaned back, and we all held our breath, and whoop! She did a turkish drop right into the wetness. Audience pleaser to the core.

815 Dance Photos, 3 of 4

[Later Edit - the photos of the women in black, following, are in fact Alchemy Dance Theater.]

The band. That's Carmine Guida on the left. The drummer with the black box over his head is a kid (that's why I put the black box on him), 11 or 12 I think, who is absolutely fantastic. Goes off on riffs of his own that amaze everyone.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I believe this is the Daughters of Ishtar. (I may have Alchemy and Ishtar mixed up - somebody correct me if I've got them confused.) I don't have a link for them - searching for Daughters of Ishtar gets many hits, and I'm not sure which is the correct one, so if anyone can help with that, leave a comment.

Note the umbrella keeping Perizad dry, and the "spotlight" Barushka is holding. The show must go on!!!!!

814 Dance Photos, 2 of 4

This is Barushka, the hostess and organizer of the event. I'm afraid the second photo caught her in a less flattering position, but damn! She kept MOVING! (Cool!)

This is Serpentessa (and her friend). She was the first to dance, before the skies opened. The flash didn't go off for the second photo, but I included it anyway because it's still a nice picture.

813 Dance Photos, 1 of 4

As promised, photos from the Tribal Bonfire hafla, last night.

This is Perizad (in the black and gold) and two members of her troupe Twisted Tassels, one of my favorite troupes to watch. They are and have so much fun. They're dancing on sopping wet carpet in the carport, during the storm I mentioned in entry #809.

812 Daughter and Hercules Are Married!

Daughter and Leading-Candidate-for-Son-In-Law are married. Ta-Rah!

They managed a sort-of elopement this afternoon. Her father and his mother were there as their witnesses. They called me just before the ceremony, and kept the phone open so I could hear, but something went wrong (why do I suspect her father, Ex#2, was holding the cell phone?) and all I could hear were a few slightly louder words, and somebody breathing. But there will be a video on their website soon, so I can eventually see it. (If I had a computer and a connection that could handle videos, that is....)

Now I have to come up with something other than "Leading-Candidate-for-Son-In-Law". I could use "Leading-Candidate-for-Father-of-My-Grandchildren", I suppose. Just plain "Son-In-Law" is so ... just plain.

Besides, I have this need to throw hints.

811 A Confession, and more "English"

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Used to be, when I had a certain problem, I'd eat an orange. An orange took care of it, usually within 6 or 8 hours, especially if I nibbled some of the peel, too.

Over the last two years, I've discovered something faster. Starbucks Frappuccino (in the little glass bottle in every deli and gas station) works better, and it invariably works within 20 minutes. I can actually feel the stuff moving through.

So lately, I use it not only when I have the rare problem, but if I'll be driving a few hours, or going somewhere where a restroom won't be available, I'll drink a bottle a half hour before I leave the house. Potential problem ... um ... eliminated.

I don't know how the subject came up, but I was surprised to hear that it has the same effect on Daughter.

Anyone else find that Starbucks Frappuccino has an immediate laxative effect?


Speaking of rest rooms, that reminds me of another "speak English" story. On that 1987 trip, Daughter and I were waiting for a train in a Welsh village. We needed a bathroom. I walked up to a uniformed man in the station and asked him where the rest room was. He said "We don't have a rest room, but there's a bench out by the tracks. You can use that."

Daughter and I looked at each other, shrugged, went outside, and sure enough, there was a bench on the apron. We looked at the bench, we looked at each other, and we laughed. Daughter said she didn't care what he said, she wasn't going to use it!

Of course, he had interpreted "rest room" as "waiting room". We should have asked for "the toilet". But in the US, the word "toilet" is never used in polite company except in the context of buying, repairing, or replacing the ceramic unit. One never implies actually sitting on one. The room it's in is the bathroom (even if there's no tub), the lavatory, the men's or ladies' room, or, most politely, the rest room. Among informal friends, one might ask for the throne room, the john, or the potty. But anyone who asks for the toilet would be viewed as rather crude.

It's that mental image. (Oops - sorry....)

810 I Do Too Speak English!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Herlock Sholmes has an amusing post on a recent language difficulty. It reminded me of the time I had a similar problem in England.

I speak English. What's the problem?

It was 1987. Great Britain wasn't as "Americanized" then as it seems to be now. Daughter and I were driving through tiny villages on our way from London to Wales, after having spent two weeks on a houseboat on the canals. Daughter was 12 years old, and had had her ears pierced just before we left the US, and I guess from the damp on the canals, her piercings had gotten infected. The pamphlet we had been given said to use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the earlobes and earrings.

So we set out to find a drug store and alcohol.

It wasn't easy. I kept asking people on the streets "Excuse me, ma'am, where can I find a drug store?" Most people just looked at me strangely, and said they didn't know. And then backed away from me. One woman, when I asked for a druggist, reared back and said in disgust, "We don't do that sort of thing around here!" She got really huffy when I explained that I wanted to get alcohol for my daughter. She told me I was a bad parent, and didn't deserve to have a child.

Three villages later, when I was very frustrated, I finally found a woman who laughed and explained that I wanted a "chemist", not a drug store. A seller of drugs is something quite different.

So we finally found a chemist shop. I looked on the shelves a bit, and couldn't find rubbing alcohol, so I went to the counter and asked. "I need alcohol. Where would I find it?"

The clerk directed me to the local pub.

It turns out what I wanted was medicinal spirits from a chemist, not alcohol from a drug store.

809 Yup. Rain Dance!

Late Saturday night, July 22, 2006

I went to the hafla. There was a mid-eastern caterer, and the food was very good. There was a pool, and I was very tempted to go in, in my clothes. A few of the dancers and vendors didn't show up because of the chance of rain. It was a small crowd. Very small, actually. But there was very little space for parking, so there couldn't have been many more people, anyway.

The band had set up on the lawn, where the dancers were to perform. The show area was ringed with citronella torches, and it was kind of pretty.

Serpentessa danced first, and then suddenly, almost the instant she finished, the sky turned black. A few drops of rain fell, and the oud player said that he couldn't have the amplifier out there in the rain, and someone said "Oh, it's just a few drops", and then the sky fell down. Very heavy rain. So sudden that most people got soaked running for the carport.

As it turned out, a large three-car carport is not a bad venue, except that the only light was a motion-detector, outside the carport shining in. The audience was arranged around the sides and back, so mostly they watched silhouettes. I stood at the outer opening, so I could see the costumes, which meant I was half under the eaves, and the rain was pouring off the roof. I had my biggest golf umbrella, but it got so wet that it didn't "umber" any more. The water ran down the shaft and down my left arm. What I didn't realize was that it was dripping off the point of my 3/4 sleeve, right into my purse. Bleck.

The light kept going off, until some little kids in bathing suits ran back and forth in the downpour in front of the light.

I left about 9, when they started open dance. The Gypsy, The Pixie, and The Dark Prince were leaving then, too, and although I did know a few others there, I didn't know them well. I was soaked and cold. There was supposed to be a fire dance later, and I love the fire dance, but I couldn't see that happening in the carport, and although the rain did taper off a bit it didn't look like it was going to quit.

What's a fire dance? Have you ever seen the Hawaiian dance with the puff balls on cords, where they whirl them around every which way while they dance? Like that, only the balls are on fire. Pretty cool in the dark.

Photos tomorrow. (Well, given the time, later today.)