Saturday, October 07, 2006

918 I Feel Blech

Saturday, October 8, 2006

I've been feeling very contented, even happy lately. Getting out and exploring new places with the Pilot Log deliveries has been unexpectedly fun. I'm feeling very positive.

However, my body is not happy. For the past few weeks I've had a lot of joint and muscle pain. It seems to have started high in my neck, moved down my back, and is now all over. My knees complain when I stand from sitting. My shoulders ache. Sometimes my arms feel too heavy to lift. My feet ache, and every once in a while there's a sudden arch cramp. I had pain in my lower back that made it hard to sleep last night and there must have been a pinched nerve in there because I had really bad abdominal cramps all evening and through the night. Moving around today seemed to help it, but there's a residual headache. And I've got that heavy feeling in the sides of my jaw and neck that sometimes means I'm fighting off a virus.

At home alone I feel like crawling into bed, pulling the covers over my head, and giving up. So tired. But when I get out, I'm fine as long as I keep moving.

Maybe it's that the weather is changing. I hate cold. I hate being cold. I hate drafts.

Maybe it's that the house is closed up tight, and the furnace is slowly poisoning me.

Maybe I am in fact fighting off some horrible virus.

Maybe this is my old fibromyalgia, and this is how I used to feel all the time, and I just felt better the past year because of the Roman-generated hormonal surges, and I had forgotten how I used to feel, and now it's back. Unfortunately, this is perfectly possible. I know I used to complain that I had constant pain all the time, and this past year I really did feel better.

Maybe my body is trying to tell me I need more chocolate.

I don't know, but I wish whatever it is it would go away.

Or explain itself.

917 Antiques Fair

Saturday, October 8, 2006

Went to the antiques fair today. There were 181 booths, and this year there seemed to be a lot more business conducted than last year - every aisle I went up or down had someone trundling out a huge piece of furniture.

I bought a marquisite ring, sterling silver intertwining leaves, for $15, and a amethyst ring, a large pinkish cabuchon surrounded by darker purple cut stones, for $10. Neither antique, but very pretty. I also bought a 150-year-old round crochet/netting tablecloth with gathered fine linen inserts. Very unusual and very beautiful, and perfect for the big table in my living room. It had only one broken thread, in a spot where it's barely noticeable, and one spot where there are three very small brown stains. Otherwise it looked like it had never been out of the cedar chest.

There was a lot of Triffari jewelry in the cases, with pretty hefty prices. (Triffari is "good" costume jewelry from about the 50s and 60s. Not exactly antique, but apparently collectible.) I have a lot of Triffari. Wow. An accidental investment.

I bought my ticket for the historic house tours tomorrow. The newspaper blurb led me to think that I could visit whatever houses I wanted on either Saturday or Sunday. There were two houses I wanted to visit on this side of the river, and three on the other side. But it turns out that today was the six or eight houses open on this side, and tomorrow is the houses on the other side. Ouch. I guess I'll have to wait until next year to get to the houses on this side. Worse, the tickets were $50 a day! So it would have cost $100 and two days to visit all the houses. I had thought that for my $50 I could pick and choose.

Gotta remember to set the alarm tonight ...

Friday, October 06, 2006

916 Mansion Museums

Friday, October 6, 2006

I delivered the last of the Pilot Logs and a batch of rack cards to the Mills, Wilderstein, Vanderbilt, and Roosevelt Mansions, the Norrie Point Marina, and the Rhinebeck and Staatsburg libraries today. I enjoyed seeing the mansions again, and it was even easier than I expected to get them to take the brochures because I asked them if they had some of their own brochures that I could take back to the Maritime Museum, and they all leapt at the opportunity to trade.

Wilderstein has had a lot of exterior work. It's looking really good. I also noticed that they now have marked trails, too. I'll have to go back someday and check that out.

This weekend there's an antiques fair at the Rhinebeck Fairgrounds, and a tour of historic private homes in Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff, and the Kingston Rondout. Tickets are limited for the house tours. I didn't reserve by phone ahead of time, so tomorrow morning I'm going to try to get house tour tickets for Sunday, when they go on sale in Rhinebeck, then go to the Antiques Fair. I prefer to hit the fair the first day, before all the best stuff disappears.

I've been searching for side tables for the living room for years. The upholstered furniture is mostly Renaissance Revival (and a 1860's carved cameo sofa). I've been haunting antiques auctions looking for Ren Rev marble-topped tables, but every one I've seen has gone for about three times what I was willing to pay, even when they were in terrible condition.

On my travels yesterday, I saw an Indonesian import store and decided to stop in. They had my tables! They're not antique, but they are exactly what I want. Dark heavy wood, carved beautifully, 4-post-pedestal with a finial in the bottom center, round white marble top. Sturdy and stable. Both tables for about 1/3 of what I'd pay for one antique marble-topped table - assuming I could even find one. I bought them.

Oh, and I forgot - remember the guy who stood me up on Monday? I got an email from him on Wednesday, and he did apologize and had a good excuse. We'll try again next Monday.

915 Obituary


'What will your obituary say?' at

Thursday, October 05, 2006

914 Nice Drives

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Today I delivered Pilot Logs to an aerospace company in Woodstock. I was looking forward to that, as I had heard a lot about this company, but didn't know where it was. Woodstock isn't a "corporate" kind of place. Sure enough, the plant was tucked back in the woods on its own road. If you didn't have the address, you'd never know it was there.

It was another beautiful day (although a bit chilly), so I decided to find Cooper Lake, a high lake in the mountains north of Woodstock, very pretty, and then I explored a bit. I got "lost" a few times when I took roads that my map said went through the mountains and met a county road further up, but when I took the roads, they turned to gravel, then dirt, then died. But it was a beautiful scenic drive anyway.

Way back in the late 60s, when I first arrived in this area (before moving away, away, away, and finally coming back in the 80s), every guy I dated took me down a dirt mountain road that was absolutely beautiful, and at the same time absolutely terrifying. On the driver's side was sheer rock. On the passenger side was a steep dropoff into a deep valley. We were high up on the side of a mountain, and there were like three other mountains on the other side of the narrow deep valley, crowding close. No guardrails. Barely wide enough for getting by oncoming cars. The road is closed from November to April.

Yesterday, driving route 9W near Bear Mountain, I was reminded of that mountain road. I never knew exactly where it was. All I could remember about it was that it was a back road out of a small hamlet or village. I mentally flipped through all the villages I could think of that might be candidates, and came up zero.

Today, driving through the mountains, I thought of that road again, and how I'd like to find it.

I eventually found a way through to route 214, that goes to Hunter and Tannersville. I headed for Tannersville, intending to take 23A, another very scenic drive, to Catskill. I thought maybe I'd stop at Kaaterskill Falls. I hadn't been to the falls in years. I had forgotten that 23A east of Tannersville is closed for bridge work.

Checking my map again, I noticed that route 16, Platt Clove Road, out of Tannersville, meets route 33 in West Saugerties, and that'll get me home. So I took it.

That is The Road! I found it, entirely by chance! Absolutely amazing! Tannersville as the village would never have occurred to me.

What's really weird is that I have a friend who lives just off route 33, so I've been up that way several times in the past few years, but never went up past her house far enough to recognize "The" road.

This sort of thing has happened several times in the past three weeks. Finding places I'd thought I'd never find again. I'm loving it.

Now, I have a request for whoever or whatever is guiding me: About forty years ago, I was potting around in the Fleischmanns area, took a road through a wide valley, and found a church. The church was a simple box with a squarish steeple on the front, and a steeply pitched roof. Unpainted varnished golden wood. What was remarkable was that it was dripping with hand-carved gingerbread everywhere. It was beautiful. A few weeks after I first found it, I took a friend to see it, and we couldn't find it. I tried several times back then, marking roads on the map and systematically checking them off, but I was never able to find it again.

I feel encouraged to go look for it now. Like if I just head up there and wander, it will reveal itself.

913 Peeve - Pretext

Current peeve: Every time someone on a news program mentions the HP spying scandal, I get annoyed. The investigators impersonated telephone account owners to get copies of their phone records without their knowledge or permission. They are calling this "pretexting".

Pretext is not a verb! Pretext is a noun! The verb form for "pretext" would be "pretend". The miscreants "pretended" to be the account owners, or, better, "impersonated" the owners. They "employed a pretext" to acquire the information.

It is not ok by me to "verb a noun" when there is a perfectly good verb available.

"Google" is a noun, and I have used it as a verb, "to Google some topic", but the difference is that Google is a very new word, and we are creating ways to use it. The only suitable verb to use instead of "to Google" would be a modified phrase, "to search using Google".

"Pretext" is an old word. Don't mess with my old words!

And don't give me garbage about evolving language. Idiots have evolved "problematic" to the point where it is now useless.

Fowler is spinning in his grave....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

912 Odd Musings

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Today I delivered a handful of Pilot's Logs to a marina about 9 miles south of the Bear Mountain bridge. Five and a half hours, a little over 150 miles. It was a beautiful day for the drive (although it would have been much nicer to be out of the car), sunny and high 70s. Route 9W along the section just above and below Bear Mountain is very scenic. I pulled into overlooks several times on the way home, including one that overlooks West Point.

I got into an odd train of thought on the Throughway on the way south, concerning infinity. (I've never heard this argument before, so there must be something wrong with it....)
No even numbers (except 2) are prime,
all prime numbers are odd,
odd numbers can therefore be grouped as prime or not prime,
and all non-prime odd numbers are the product of odd numbers.

So all numbers greater than 2 are
  • Even, factors are even x even;
  • Even, factors are even x odd;
  • Odd, factors are odd x odd; or
  • Odd and prime
When you start grouping together all unique combinations of multipliers, 1/4 of the sets are even/even, 2/4 are even/odd, and 1/4 are odd/odd.
  • Therefore there are three times as many even products as there are odd non-prime products.
  • Since there are as many odd numbers as even, and only 1/3 of odd numbers are non-prime products, then two thirds of all odd numbers must be prime.
  • Therefore the average difference between prime numbers should be less than 4.
  • But if you look at a list of the first 1,000 prime numbers, the 1000th prime number is 7919.
  • That's an average difference of almost 8.
  • There are 105,097,565 prime numbers between 2 and 2,147,483,647 (ref. here).
  • That's an average difference of about 20.
  • It's reasonable to assume that the difference increases as the numbers go up (primes get more scarce because non-prime multipliers get more common).
  • Therefore, there's a huge (impossible) clump of prime numbers up there somewhere taking up the slack,
  • or there's a fallacy in the argument - can you spot it?
Or, third possibility, there's something holding the end of the chain, and it's overwhelmingly prime, and very very odd.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

911 Hotel Reservations

[Update 10/04/06 - I just tried again, and I got a non-smoking room.]

I just reserved a room for Saturday night of Rakkasah East. The Rakkasah web site says they negotiated "a very special rate of $82 per night for 1-4 people in the room". I used the AAA discount, and got a room for 1-5 people (two double beds and a couch, I guess) for $79. The only problem was that they didn't have any non-smoking rooms at that rate. I may try again tomorrow. If I can get a non-smoking room I will cancel this one.

What makes me think I might be able to get a non-smoking room tomorrow? Because of my experiences last night.

Last night I went to the hotel website, and requested a room etc. The ONLY things they had available for the AAA discount were a honeymoon package (champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, breakfast for two), for $119, or a deluxe room for somewhere over $230. So I thought well, maybe they don't consider all rooms when you want a discount. So I backed up and tried without the AAA discount. Same result, and the difference in price was small. Ok, I guess I'll take the honeymoon package, with the AAA discount. Only this time, the search results were "no rooms available on that date". They were both taken while I futzed around?


So I tried tonight, and suddenly there are a multitude of rooms available, but all are smoking. I wonder if they had cancellations, or what?

Yes, I smoke. No, I don't want a smoking room. Why? Because I don't care to smoke indoors. And I've stayed at this hotel before, and there is NO ventilation to the outside. The hall where the smoking rooms are smells bad, and the smokers' rooms are so bad that when I get home I have to launder all the clothes I took, even if I didn't wear them.

910 Got the Van Back

Quoting directly from the report:

"Cust. states vehicle stalls out instermittenly, check engine light comes on intermittenly.

Roadtested vehicle, confirmed vehicle stalls intermittenly, using computer diagnosis found code for no cam signal at pcm [Silk - powertrain control module - the onboard "computer" I guess] and 1/2 oxygen sensor stays at center, using wiring diagram tested wiring from cam sensor to pcm, tightened pins in pcm connector for cam sensor and oxygen sensor wiring, cleaned pcm connectors and installed diaelectric grease, removed cam sensor, installed sim card to set correct spacing between cam sensor and cam gear tone wheel, test drove six miles, no stalling, codes, or trip failures present, technician test drove vehicle home for two days and experienced stalling. [Silk- !!!!!!! Italics mine.] Tested, called star and ordered new pcm and wiring connectors (clips broken)"

So, we'll see how long the fix lasts. I think I will avoid long trips or crossing the river with it for a while yet.

909 Free AOL

Well, I decided to change my AOL account to a free account, since what I'm paying for is a dial-up number I never use (I have a separate service), and technical assistance I never call.

I hesitated at first because I didn't know what else I might lose. I use AOL for my main email accounts because it's pretty usable and has good spam controls, but I almost never surf the internet through AOL because it was so horribly slow.

Surprise. With the free AOL, the spam controls appear to be less effective - I'm getting three or four spam emails a day now, as opposed to the prior zero. That's still pretty good!

Bigger surprise - internet loading is MUCH faster now - almost as fast as Firefox and Netscape.

Biggest surprise - no new advertising. No new pop-ups. Nice and quiet. Looks the same as it always has.


908 Comfort Zone

Thinking about books that kick you out of your comfort zone. The book that did it for me was Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song (1979), about the life of Gary Gilmore.

Gilmore is the guy who wouldn't defend himself against a murder-during-robbery charge, insisted that he be executed immediately with no appeals, and, against the preferences of Utah, insisted that he be executed by firing squad.

The Wikipedia entry for him implies that he never attempted to reform after getting out of prison (a robbery conviction), but Mailer's book describes his attempts to "do it right". He wanted to have all the good things that right living brought others. However, things never seemed to work out for him.

I read the book in 1979 or 1980. I was 35 or 36 then, and I was not particularly naive, not sheltered. But the book was a revelation to me. I found it very disturbing. It shook me. Maybe I was more sheltered than I thought. I never knew that there were people who think like Gary Gilmore thought. To know that there were people out there who think like him, whose thinking is so foreign to me, frightened me more than any horror movie could have.

I guess my father being an Air Force officer, and being raised in a military family, I was raised among intelligent middle-class people. My high school classmates weren't for the most part middle class, but they were old-style central European stock mountain folk, with old-fashioned values. In college, and later working for The Company, again it was all intelligent middle-class people. Yeah, some of them weren't nice, and some were downright crazy, but at least they all knew the rules, and "how things work". We all had pretty much the same understanding.

Maybe today, with exposure to courtroom shows, Jerry Springer and his ilk, we see more of "the other side", and maybe if I were 35 and reading the book now, maybe I wouldn't be so shocked.

Gary Gilmore never understood why he couldn't succeed in "regular" life. He looked around at other people, friends, relatives, and saw that they had homes, TVs, cars, jobs they liked, all the things he wanted but couldn't have. His conclusion was that other people had luck that he didn't have. That other people gave each other "breaks", but that no one would give him a break. It angered him that he was (in his mind) treated differently.

It was very long ago, so I can't think of any specifics to him, so I'll give some made up "fer'zamples". He gets a job, and one day he doesn't feel like going in. He doesn't have a phone, so he doesn't call in either. He gets fired. In his mind, the boss didn't give him a break. Others had been working there for years, and obviously they must feel like not going in sometimes, but they don't get fired. And his not calling in isn't his fault because, hey!, he doesn't have a phone! What do people want from him?

He gets a good deal on a car. He runs out of money (having lost another job, maybe?), and so misses some payments. The car gets repossessed. He gets angry because how could anyone expect him to make the payments when he has no money? Again, they didn't give him a break. Got turned down for a loan because of rotten credit? Again, they won't give him a break.

When he looked at the success of other people, he didn't see commitment or responsibility - he saw luck and breaks. He didn't understand commitment and responsibility, the relationship between actions and consequences. He felt entitled to the same things everyone else had, and felt that "the man" was denying him those things for some reason he couldn't figure out. He felt that he was being singled out for unfair treatment.

Actually, I guess the book wouldn't have the same effect on me now. Roman teaches morning GED classes, older kids and young adults required by the county to attend, and those kids all seem to think like Gilmore. It frustrates Roman to no end, because there doesn't seem to be any way to get through to them. I listen to his frustrations, and sympathize with him, but I don't know how to fix it, either.

907 Feeding Cats

I've had cats all my life: Snowball, Smokey, Suzie, Peggy, Tigger, Obsidian (Siddy Kitty), Scruffy, and the current Miss Thunderfoot (Thunder). That doesn't look like 50 years worth, but most of my non-leukemia kitties lived 18 to 22 years.

Several people lately in bloggerland and real life have been having tooth problems with their cats. This seems to be the season for it.

One thing I've painfully learned is that their diet, kidneys, heart, and teeth/gums are closely related, in a delicate circle. A problem in one area will cascade to everything else. Tartar on the teeth can cause gum problems which can cause heart or kidney failure. Kidney problems can cause bleeding receding gums which will lead to more infection, which can cause heart failure or exacerbate the kidney problems. Heart problems can cause kidney problems, which cause gum problems, which ... and on and on, 'round and 'round.

Dry cat food helps to keep their teeth clean, but the less expensive dry foods are high in ash (whatever THAT is) and other things that can lead to kidney failure, which ... etc. The more expensive dry foods are better, but I haven't had a cat yet who would eat them. If you are going to feed mostly canned food, to avoid the ash, vets say you should brush the cat's teeth. Yeah, sure. Cats aren't as eager to please as dogs. They'll love you, but they won't compromise their own integrity. If you insist on brushing a cat's teeth, she'll start plotting to kill you in your sleep. And cats won't happily chew on bones or nylon chew toys to clean their teeth, like dogs will.

The healthiest way to feed a house cat, I conclude, is to throw them a live mouse or wounded bird a few times a day. Gives them a perfectly balanced diet (they get the partially digested vegetable matter they need from the prey's intestines), bones to keep their teeth clean, and some exercise.


I have a friend who dearly loves her multiple cats, and when one dies, which they do with distressing frequency, usually of heart disease, occasionally of kidney or thyroid disease, she and her husband both are cast into months-long depressions. I was visiting one day when she fed the cats. She opened those little cans, the ones with the pull tops, Fancy Feast?, and then just set the cans on the floor. I was shocked. I dump the food out onto a flat dish, and Miss Thunderfoot additionally insists that I break it up for her, and shape it into a pointed mound (reshaping is required as she eats it down).

My friend's cats licked like mad to get the food out of those tiny cans, and licked all around the (sharp!) edges to get the last bits. I couldn't believe it. This woman is a Mensan. Has it not occurred to her that her cats probably cut their tongues regularly? I have several times cut my fingers on those cans washing them for recycling. I didn't say anything, I know that she would not have reacted well, but I felt so sorry for those cats. My only consolation is that her cats are rescues, so it's still better than what might have been.

Miss Thunderfoot gets a Mommy-recipe dry mix of weight, age, and hairball formulations, and once a day she gets a small can of moist (formed into a pointed mound) of which she eats about half . About twice a day she demands (by sitting in front of the refrigerator and calling) an ounce of skim or 2% milk (she refuses 4%). Not only is she unusual in that she tolerates milk, but it seems to help her move hair through, so that she passes it rather than throwing up hairballs. I think she's about 11 now. At her last annual checkup in July, the vet said she does have some deposits on her teeth, but not much, and no more than she's had the past several years.

Either she and I have very good luck (since I know what I should do, but don't do it), or she's secretly catching and munching mice.


Monday, October 02, 2006

906 Stood Up!

Monday, October 2, 2006

I was supposed to meet a guy from an oline dating service today, at 4 pm, on the patio of a restaurant in Rhinebeck. I went, got there about 3:55, and waited (reading my book) until 4:20. No show.

This may be the first time in my entire life that I've been stood up (except times when Roman said he'd call me and then didn't, which FELT like being stood up). Actually, with the online dating stuff, I'm surprised it hasn't happened before, since you never know what's really on the other end of those emails. So far everyone has been pretty ok (except for the usual weight, age, and health deceptions).

So at 4:20 I decided to leave. I thought I might stop by Piper's office on my way home, since I hadn't seen him in over a week, so I called him to make sure he'd be there. When I told him where I was (one of his favorite restaurants), and laughed that I'd been stood up, he said "Stay there! I'll be there in 10 minutes!", and he was.

So we went in and had some soup and an hour's good conversation. It was probably more fun than if Mystery Man had shown up.

(And no, there wasn't a single person there who even remotely could have been the culprit, and there were no teenagers giggling about the lady who fell for their fake profile and showed up to be humiliated (which I wasn't anyway), and there was no email or phone message when I got home (and I won't email him to ask, if there was an honest error, he'll have to contact me) - so 'tis a mystery. I do have a phone number he sent me, but I never call these guys or give them my phone number until AFTER I've met them, because with my phone number (even if cell or unlisted) they can get my full name and home address (yeah, I'm sure, 'cause I've done it myself), and, for a few dollars, even more details. One must be careful....)


Just saw some photos of Anna Nichol taken in the hospital just after the birth of her baby. She's actually very pretty without makeup, and with her hair pulled back (instead of those tortured hairstyles she usually has).

Which reminds me - Piper says I should cut my hair to mid-neck length. I told him to go to hell.

905 Messy

Monday, October 2, 2006

Roba, of "And Far Away", in this post shows a photo of a relatively neat bookcase, complaining of the mess and that she can't find anything. She has decided to start a contest for the messiest living space. Man, that girl don't KNOW from messy!!!

Here's my entry:
This is my den/computer room. In my defense, you can't reorganize and store unless you first pull everything out so you can see and sort it. Right now pretty much my entire house looks like this. Under that pile in the background there's a beautiful little Victorian settee. Someday I'll find it again.

904 Deadly Beauty

I'm reading Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, and came across a comment that physical beauty is probably one of "the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought."

That stopped me cold.

I think it may be true. And not just for beauty of the body, but beauty in general - of scenery, possessions, ideas.

Appearance of beauty. Possession of beauty. Search for beauty. It sounds virtuous, but I think perhaps it's not.

It may be an evil trap.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

903 Rainy Days and Sundays

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Rainy yesterday, rainy today. About mid-60s out there. One of the big craft fairs was in Rhinebeck this weekend (we ain't talking pipe cleaners here, folks), there was an antiques auction last night, and I was supposed to deliver some more Pilot Logs to the mansion museums this weekend. But rain puts me to sleep. I didn't do anything except write a bunch of emails, read a bunch of blogs, and do a little online flirting.

I ran a few errands this evening, and met Daughter in the village for a quick nibble. She was on her way home after a weekend visit to an old friend upstate.

I've boosted the heat up to 75 in the house, and I'm still cold. I guess I'm going to have to give up and put shoes on. The weather man said "extra blanket" weather coming, so I guess I get to put the down featherbed and comforter back on the bed - the only good thing about winter as far as I'm concerned. They are unbelievably thick and fluffy, and it's like snuggling deep into a warm cloud. (If you don't know what a featherbed is, it's a comforter-like down mattress topper. It goes under the bottom sheet and you sorta sink into it.)

Autumn is coming fast this year. Leaf peak is usually mid-October. We don't have a lot of color this year, but the leaves are already falling pretty heavily. I wonder if there will be any leaves left on the trees by mid-October.

What's with the "turn of the month" and the guys on the dating sites? All of a sudden I'm getting all kinds of nibbles again. It happens near the end of every month. Payday? Does the end of the month remind them time is passing? There's a 49-year-old attorney 50 miles away, a 58-year-old moustache 15 miles away, a 53-year-old "Sagatarius" [sic] 23 miles away, a 46-year-old 15 miles away who is interested in "a meaningful overnight relationship", a 48-year-old plumber 26 miles away. And several others more divergent in age or farther away.

I'm meeting the moustache tomorrow.