Thursday, September 14, 2006

881 Limburger, Cousins, Paternity

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Grocery shopping this evening. Saw some Limburger cheese. Heard all the jokes. Never tried it. Hmmm. Curiosity. Bought it. Brought it home. Opened it. Tasted it. Wrapped it in three layers of foil and threw it out. Can't get the smell off my hands. Can't get the taste out of my mouth.

Ex#1 liked Limburger and onion sandwiches. Said he did, anyway. Shoulda been a sign. 'Nuff said.


Paying bills this morning, one of those daytime shock shows on TV in the background. The old "That's not my baby" DNA-test topic. I get so frustrated every time I hear some guy say that "ain't my baby" because he/she "don' look nuthin' like me!" And then the mother gets up and points out all the ways they "do look just like!" They don't, but that has nothing to do with anything anyway. Come on, people! You can't tell parentage by a infant's looks. They're pudding! A baby is not a carbon copy of anybody. They combine bits and pieces from the parents, the grandparents, and maybe even the great grandparents in new and novel ways.

When I was in the hospital after giving birth to Daughter, my roommate was a very young and uneducated girl. She and her baby's father, equally young and uneducated, got into an actual name-calling fight over the 1-day-old baby's nose. She said the baby had his nose, he said the baby had her nose, then he threw in that his mother didn't think the baby had his nose. I tried very hard to ignore it, but finally the girl asked for my opinion (and support).

My own opinion was that the baby had a birth-canal-squashed button of no particular shape, just like all babies. But I pretended to study the baby carefully, and I said, "Well, I think the bridge is yours (pointing at the boy), and the tip is yours (pointing at the girl)." As I walked away, the two of them were peering intently into the bassinet, "Yeah. She's right!", and then they were all lovey-dovey again. I didn't have a lot of hope for that little family.


Right after the "ain't my baby" show, the next show had cousins that were sleeping together. The ex-girlfriend was horrified. The family was horrified. The emcee was horrified. The audience was horrified. "Your COUSIN! That's INCEST!"

It isn't. Except as defined by some states for baseless reasons.

The social ban has to do with back when brides were bartered to cement family political alliances. Marrying within the family was a waste of a perfectly good bride. The scientific reasons, retardation etc., have no basis in fact, as has been shown by multiple studies. The incidence of genetic-caused problems is no higher, or only slightly higher for some things, than in the general population. If there is some genetic disease that runs in the family, genetic counseling may be in order, but if it's a serious disease, that's advisable in any case. So there's no reason not to allow even first cousins to marry.

On the other hand, if everyone knew that cousins could marry, there'd be a lot more cousin marriages. They grew up together. They commiserated. They likely have a lot of the same interests and habits. If we had known it was permitted, there's a very good chance that my cousin and I would have married. When we were young, we both often felt that only the other really understood....


Family business this weekend. Probably no further update until Sunday at the earliest.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

880 The White Truck

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sitting in the den, I can usually hear vehicles coming up the driveway. Sometimes not. But I can always hear a car door in the driveway, and for some strange reason, I can always hear a vehicle going down the driveway, even if I didn't hear it come up.

I heard a door slam in the drive a few minutes ago, and I looked out to see a white pickup truck disappearing down the driveway. It reminded me of a cute story about Jay. I may have written about this already, I forget. Whatever. I want to now. I'm thinking about him a lot today. (Yeah, I want him back. Even severely damaged, I want him back.)

When he was no longer able to go to the office every day, The Company allowed him to telecommute from home. I'd drive him in when he needed to attend meetings. Now, something to remember, Jay had no innate sense of time. It got worse as the tumor grew. A day, a week, a month were all the same to him. The past was simply the past, all one lump.

One day, after he'd been home a few months, he asked me "Who's the guy in the white pickup?". I asked what pickup. He said "The one that pulls into the driveway, and then turns around and leaves. He keeps doing that. Why doesn't he come to the door?" I assured him that I didn't know anyone who drove a white pickup.

As the months passed, he got more agitated about the guy in the white pickup. He never heard him arriving, but always heard a door slam, and then caught a glimpse of the truck as it left. It had multicolored stripes on the side, so he was sure it was the same truck every time.

One day, after some tests at the hospital, we were driving through Kingston, and we passed a service garage with the doors open. There was a white pickup on one of the lifts, and Jay said "That's it! That's the truck! I recognize the stripes!" I figured it was time to solve the mystery, so we turned around and went past again, slowly.

White pickup truck.
Stripes on the side.
Writing on the door.
The writing said "Central Hudson Gas & Electric".

The meter reader.

Jay then sheepishly confessed that he was beginning to think that I had another man, who pulled in and then left when he saw Jay's car in the driveway.

I tried very hard not to laugh at him.

The phone rang a few minutes ago and I didn't answer it. The caller didn't leave a message. It may have been Booker (I've had two emails from him this morning). I don't know what to say just yet. He's such a nice guy and I'm such a nasty person to want more than just that. Sigh.

879 Booker

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One question sorta answered - when I brought up AOL this morning, all my email was there, including an email from AOL saying that AOL 9.0 had been successfully downloaded. Huh? When? Oh, well, my mail's back.

I met "Booker" yesterday. We'd been emailing for about two months now, since he found my profile on one of the dating sites and contacted me. He lives about 100 miles away, and normally I'd just say "Thank you, I'm flattered, but you're too far away", but I was impressed with his intelligence, wit, and cheerfulness. He's very well read. Even though the distance makes a naturally developing friendship difficult, I wanted to meet him.

We agreed that it was time to meet about three weeks or more ago, but it seemed like things kept coming up to put it off. Yesterday was the time. We met in Stockbridge, which was about halfway.

He has a handsome face, marvelous eyes. Speaks well, both amusing and serious. Emotionally in touch with himself. Positive outlook. Soft spot in his heart for animals. All the good stuff. Didn't attempt excess familiarity (i.e., didn't touch me, until we were parting, and then he politely asked for a hug. I approve. The guy last week grabbed me.)

However (why is there always a "however"?) he seems to have something seriously wrong with his back, or hips, or legs. He does not walk smoothly. He was wearing very baggy cargo pants, so I wasn't able to get any idea of what might be going on in there, but he was bent over and his feet looked swollen. Sitting at a table looking at him, everything is fine. Moving, not so. This does not bode well. Most of what I like to do involves a lot walking or standing.

I'm almost ashamed to say this, but I don't want to be someone's long-term-care plan. If I were to fall in love with a man, and after a few good years something awful happens, then I would of course take care of him. Lovingly. That's what happened with Jay. I've done that. I don't regret having married him. But I want those few good years first.

I suspect that's why "the other woman" keeps Roman on a string, even though she doesn't completely appreciate him. He's her long term care plan. And I think he knows that, and accepts it. I don't think he knows what he's getting into, because when it gets to where she needs him enough to let him in entirely, she won't be the same person he knows now. But in the meantime, he feels virtuous (and gets the approval he needs).

So, I feel guilty that I'm not so altruistic. I don't know what to do with Booker. I guess maybe I should find out exactly what his health situation is, but right now I suspect that it, combined with the distance, is simply more than I want to consider.

I had planned to go to the Maritime Museum today and finish those phone calls, but I've got some desk stuff I've got to do, so maybe I'll put off the museum until tomorrow.

Right now I'm feeling a little depressed. Maybe discouraged is a better word.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

878 Computer Problems Again....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sometimes I just don't know what to think.

Every once in a while, this machine goes kerflooey, and then, without my doing anything, it all fixes itself. Magically. I don't understand. I never know when to get excited or worried.

About a week ago, things started slowing down again. Seemed to be the connection to the internet. Ok, I figure they're futzing around again out there in Middlefield or wherever they are. It's now back up to its usual plod.

But then my system slowed down. Like when I was not connected, and writing a document, or playing solitaire, it would get really slow. Sometimes. Not always.

Next thing that happened was that both Netscape and Firefox were program checking ("illegal operation"). Often. They'd drop three or four times an hour. I was getting nothing done. I noticed that it seemed to be animated ads that were doing it, but I'm not sure. (Throw in stuff like the one day when Firefox was using tabs, out of the blue, and then it stopped.)

After a few days of dropping, Netscape and Firefox seemed to stay up longer, but over and over, here, there, and everywhere, I'd get a little box that says that a script did something illegal, and I should restart the browser, or that a script is running slowly and could halt my system, should the script be canceled? Of course I always say yes, and now that message is showing up a lot more.

When I do any kind of search, until recently, I had some kind of thingy that would tell me whether sites listed were safe or not, whether they had a lot of popups or not. That's not working all of a sudden.

Yesterday, twice, my cursor got ignored. I could move it around, but clicks were ignored. Ctrl/Alt/Del didn't work, either. I had to push the off button and start over.

This morning, I got a new bug - my AOL password is no longer stored. I have to type it in. And when I ask AOL to store it, AOL doesn't complain, but doesn't store it, either. AOL is my main email address. Other passwords from cookies are working fine.

Just a few minutes ago, I switched from one AOL id to another (to my main id, as a matter of fact), and guess what? My mailbox is empty. Last time I looked, I had 27 "letters" there. I did get a message "Unable to access email at this time - try again later", so maybe they're not completely lost, maybe it's their problem, not mine, but sheesh!

AND, as if that isn't enough, the Kodak photo program breaks half the times I IPL. Not all the time, just half the time. The other half of the time, I get random messages that this module or that module is missing. What's weird is that it's never the same one. If it were really missing, you'd think it would be missing all the time, no? Oh, yeah, almost forgot - Explorer program checked yesterday.

What absolutely blows my mind is that when something weird happens, it happens for one or two days, and then it fixes itself, but then something else goes wrong - for a day or two.

I've been through cycles like this before. Never understood then, either.

Monday, September 11, 2006

877 Monday, Museum

Monday, September 11, 2006

I got a call from RSVP, the volunteer "mother ship", this morning. They want me to be a middle school pen pal. I'll find out more about it when they send me the packet, but the way I understand it, they pair you up with a kid, 11 or 12 years old, and you write letters to each other. About 4 letters each over the school year. It's a writing and composition exercise for the kids. You don't get each other's addresses, the letters are funneled through the school office, I guess. This is the same deal where I attended the picnic with the kids last spring, when I enjoyed them so much. So I said yes. Sigh. When do I get to meet the mid-50s to mid-60s men? Am I being tested?

I worked a few hours at the maritime Museum this afternoon, calling supporters/advertisers again to arrange for delivery of the "Pilot's Log". I'll probably start delivering them on Wednesday.

And that's about it for today. (No more beeping, thank Goodness.)

I'm meeting an online friend in Stockbridge, MA, tomorrow. He lives too far away for dating, we're meeting in Stockbridge because that seems halfway, but he seems nice, and it never hurts to meet people and make friends.

876 Beep

Monday, September 11, 2006

I woke up yesterday to Beep (1.5 minute pause) Beep (1.5 minute pause) Beep (1.5 minute pause).... It sounded like a smoke alarm battery was low.

I've got smoke alarms and CO2 detectors scattered around, so I went looking for the one that was beeping.

No so easy. I was aware that my right ear was a little less sensitive than the left, a legacy of the rifle range in my teens, but I've never had a big problem with it. This morning, no matter where I stood, the beep was in the left ear. I guess it was too high a frequency for the right. That makes a sound rather difficult to locate, when it always sounds to the left.

The beeps were spaced far enough apart that I couldn't just move around near an alarm to verify it. Sometimes it wouldn't beep until I moved away. Skipping beeps. It was frustrating.

I ended up testing the batteries in each one, and replacing a few.

Then - Beep (1.5 minute pause), Beep (1.5 minute pause), Beep (1.5 minute pause)....

Could it be the furnace? The freezer? Where's it coming from? It couldn't be any of the detectors I'd checked the batteries in, because I had heard the beeps somewhere, elsewhere, while I was working on each one.

I forgot about the CO2 detector in the living room. That one doesn't HAVE batteries! It plugs into an outlet on the wall. I unplugged it, and it stopped beeping. I plugged it in in the kitchen, just around the corner, and it didn't start beeping again.

A mystery. Why was it beeping? If it detects CO2 it's supposed to scream.

Everything was fine until about 10 pm, then.....

Beep (1.5 minute pause), Beep (1.5 minute pause), Beep (1.5 minute pause)....

Not the CO2 detector again. I checked that one first.

Another cock the head, stay still, listen, narrow down, give up, remove batteries from detectors one by one again - and it was one that I had changed the batteries in. I hadn't pushed the new 9-volt in tight enough. I guess. I needed pliers to get it in tight enough.

Why am I reminded of the "check engine" light in the minivan, and the screwy motor sensors? Which, by the way, reminds me. As of today, the minivan has been at the dealer's shop 15 days, and I've heard nothing from them.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

875 Chuck's Simple Pleasures

Please read this, from Chuck Ferris. What's sad is that those of us who have experienced these things know, but those who haven't won't understand at all.

874 Making Decisions

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That personality test from a few days ago said "You take your time when making decisions and will deliberate on all the possible consequences and alternatives."

People have occasionally remarked that I seem to make decisions quickly and easily, and once having made the decision, I don't seem to agonize about it. They seem to think it has to do with confidence or something.

Nope. Not confidence. And not exactly easily.

Before I make a decision, I gather what seems like a reasonable amount of information. I try to look at the problem from several viewpoints. I try not to overdo information gathering, because that can turn into not making a decision at all, and that's a decision in itself, and usually a bad one.

Then the important step. I ask what are the absolute worst things that can happen if I make the wrong decision, and if that happens, can I accept it, can I live with it? Is no one else affected by it? Can I recover from it? Is there a way I can ensure that is not the result?

When I get that all worked out, especially the recovering or ensuring parts, the rest is easy.

I may not have so much confidence in the rightness of the decision, but at least I know that one way or another, I can handle the worst result.

873 Firethorn Bruises; Friday

Saturday, September 9, 2006 (late)

I'll have bruises all over my body tomorrow, I think.

There was a pyracantha bush growing beside the front walk, in front of the door. When Jay and his ex planted it twenty years ago, the plan was to espalier it against the side wall, but they never got around to it. It became a huge shrub. It has nice flowers in the spring, red leaves in the fall, and berries through the winter, but! It grows much too fast, and I just can't keep up with it. It crowds the walk with dangerously thorned twigs, and blocks my view of the drive from the window in the front door. I hate trimming it because the thorns are so bad. Straight, super sharp, and over an inch long. They'll easily go through heavy leather gloves, not to mention shoe soles.

I wasn't sure I was spelling pyracantha correctly, so I Googled it, and found entries like "a lethally thorned bush/shrub/tree thingy", "a load of viciously spiked pyrocanthia [sic]", "a.k.a. Firethorn", and plenty of recommendations for planting it under and around windows to "control access" - "will deter the most determined burglar". So I guess I'm not the only one who noticed the thorns.

This morning, when I realized that if I didn't trim it away from the walk, again, for the third time this year, I'd be open to a negligence suit from some deliveryman, I decided I'd about had it. The shrub was going. Today.

I have several sets of those long-handled loppers - two "scissor-style", and one very large very heavy (too heavy) "anvil-style" with some kind of levery thingy that increases the force. And I set to.

Having done a lot of brush clearing lately, I've developed a system. For branches of about an inch or over, I can't get enough force just pulling the handles together, so I rest one handle against some part of my body (thigh, hip, stomach, shoulder, depending on height) and then use both hands to pull the other handle. It gets the job done, but leaves me with interesting bruises.

Now I've got a 5 foot heap of wilting nastiness on the driveway. Tomorrow I get to move it all to the burn pile. I plan to spread a tarp and rake it onto the tarp, and drag it away, without getting anywhere near the thorns. (It's been my experience that dead thorny things are more vicious than live thorny things.)

I found three old bird nests in the pyracantha. Smart birds. (That makes six nests within eight feet of the front door!)

I'll have to decide what to put there instead. Maybe a few gentle slow-growing azaleas.


Friday I volunteered at the Maritime Museum again. They put out a yearly "Pilot's Log", 60 or so pages of paid ads from supporting businesses interspersed with a few articles. A few months ago I had scanned in and sized the ads. It has been printed. Yesterday I called about 30 of the 96 supporters to ask how many (free) copies they wanted.

I'll have to go in again sometime next week to make more calls. Then, they have to be delivered. I've volunteered to do that, too. That could almost be fun. I'll get to visit a lot of offices - doctors, lawyers, CPAs, engineers, restaurants, shipyards, marinas ... I'm going to find out more about the county and what's where. It'll be like a combination road rally and scavenger hunt.