Saturday, December 02, 2006

997 Friday Fun

Saturday, December 2, 2006

[Later Edit - I just "got" the name of the band. My mind doesn't normally run that way. Besides, it was so very long ago....]

All week I had been looking forward to last night. I wanted to go to Woodstock to see the Tw1sted Tassels dance at 6pm, then to Saugerstock (that no-man's-land between Woodstock and Saugerties) to a 7 pm pot-luck party at the Blue Mountain Bistro, with FirstWoman (FW).

And then the weather came. It got darker and windier. The pine outside the kitchen window was leaning about 30 degrees. The electricity was flickering, and I was worried about trees going down. I called FW and told her I didn't think I would be going out. I'd be driving the minivan, on a twisty up and down road through some very lonely woods, and I wasn't too excited about a tree falling on me.

She talked me into trying. "Start out, and if it gets bad, you can always turn around and go home."

So I got all dressed and made up, and by then it was too late to attempt Woodstock, because it was pouring rain and it would have taken too long to get there. I got soaked between the front door and the car, and that was with the umbrella.

I had to stop at the deli for cigarettes, and I needed both money and gas. The 2.5-mile drive into the village took twice as long as normal because the rain was dense and blowing horizontally and I couldn't see the road. I was already considering giving up. Oddly, the very second I turned in to the deli, the rain stopped completely. But it got worse when the car radio announced a tornado watch - not for the county, or a section of the county, but for THE VILLAGE! The village which is four blocks wide and four blocks long. "Tornado in the vicinity of " this tiny village. I thought "Ok, do I go back home, or do I get the @#$% away from the village?", and just then the ambulance and heavy rescue vehicle tore past. (Heavy rescue indicates there's a motor vehicle accident.)

Things are not looking promising. However, I look really good, hair is behaving, outfit is nice, and I hate to waste all this pulchritudinosity. Rare as it is.

So, I go into the deli, and the electricity promptly went off. When it came back on, I told the deli man my dilemma, and he said the same thing FW had. So I went to the bank, and decided that if the ATM wasn't working because of the iffy power, that would make the decision. I got my money. Ok, I'll go to the gas station, and if the pumps aren't working, that'll make the decision. Got my gas. Ok, I'll head for the bridge, and if the bridge is closed because of the ferocious winds, that'll make the decision. All the traffic lights near the bridge were out, and cars trying to turn in off the side roads were taking crazy chances which explained the heavy rescue call, but the bridge was open, and the van didn't get blown off.

On the other side of the river there was no wind or rain, no trees down, the sky was clear with a bright moon, and I made it to Saugerstock with no trouble. Very strange. You see that a lot around here - 2 feet of snow on the ground in a blizzard, and you cross a bridge and there's clear ground and sunshine. Always a bridge. I don't understand.

So I made it to the party. I'm not sure whether I should call it a party. It was on and hosted by "Carl's List", which is a local website for business networking, advertising, and so on. There seems to be a concentration on arts. FW said it's mostly for business networking, but good for social networking, too. They have a get-together once a month or so.

I was concerned that, once again, I'd find myself the oldest one in the room, but was pleasantly surprised to find that everybody there was pretty close to my age.

FW and I set a goal - we would speak with at least four strange men, stranger men, men we'd never met before. And we did. I actually walked up to people (I included women), introduced myself, and had a few minutes conversation. I think I may be embarking on a new phase. I wasn't afraid, and I don't know why, don't know what has changed in me.

I thought FW was familiar with this group, but it turned out it was all new to her too, and she considers herself shy, too. She had found out about CarlsList by having met Carl at some other (job-related) function.

FW ran into some old acquaintances there whom she hadn't seen in years. She's very active socially, knows a lot of people, but her interests and activities are very different from mine, and so her social contacts are pretty far outside my usual realm. Mindset-wise, I mean. She's a painter, and her lifestyle is very, um, experimental. I'm pretty conservative. But we seem to get along just fine.

Anyway, along about 10 pm, somebody mentioned that there was dancing at New World Home Cooking, just down the road, so a bunch of us went there. The band was Monica's Kneepads (which seems to have some meaning beyond a band name - I'll have to research that [Later edit - ok. Figured it out.] - and where do bands get these weird names anyhow?), see the photo at the link, and they were really dressed like that, huge wigs and all, and they were very very good. Whatever is changing in me hasn't made it all the way yet, because I couldn't quite make it onto the dance floor, it seems like "dancing" these days consists of just jumping up and down and I can't do that, but I enjoyed the show and the conversations anyway. Also a Cosmopolitan. Or two.

At 12:30 am I was headed for the bridge and passed Wal*Mart, so I decided to stop in. I need a bulb for the bedside reading lamp, and I have discovered that they restock in the wee hours, and sometimes they put out a few samples of some really nice things that are all gone by the next morning. I found boots! Finally, warm comfortable driveway-clearing snow boots that I can actually get on past my high insteps!

At 1:50 am I was raising Cain at the W*M customer service desk because there were TEN! people lined up at the ONE! open checkout counter, and the SIX! people in line in front of me had multiple carts each, overflowing with groceries. They opened two more registers. I got cheers from the others in line. After which the people behind me almost knocked me over trying to beat me to the opened counters. I was still feeling very Cosmopolitan, and snarled, and they actually backed off.

I am woman, and I'm learning to roar. And talk to strange men.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

996 Early Snow?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I've been trying to remember when the first snow came when I was young. These days I'm always surprised by the first snow. I never expect it.

In the 1800s snow came very early. The world was going through a "mini-ice age" then. People wore wool in high summer. That's why "Over the River and Through the Wood", a Thanksgiving poem/song written in 1844, talks about the horse pulling a sleigh.

I'm pretty sure snow at Thanksgiving was rare when I was a child, because I always wondered why the song mentioned enough snow for a sleigh (not just snow, but "deep and drifting" snow!) But whether snow was usual for Christmas in my life is harder to remember.

I have many memories of getting sleds or "flying saucers" for Christmas and being disappointed because there was no snow. On the other hand, I have memories of getting bicycles from Santa and being unable to use them because there was too much snow. Which doesn't sound right, because I got my first bicycle when I was 11, a big heavy no-gears Columbia, and never got another. Maybe I'm actually remembering the disappointment of siblings or Daughter. Hey, it's the short-term memory that's supposed to go, not the long-term!

My middle school years were spent in Ottawa, Canada, so even if I were sure what I remember from then , it wouldn't apply. Most of my high school years were on the mountain, and nothing from there applies to here. (We got our first snow on the mountain in October.)

It bothers me that I can't remember whether there was usually snow for my childhood Christmases. (Yes, I lived all over the US then, but Christmas was always at Gramma's, in Pennsylvania.)

I hate snow. Maybe I'll buy myself a sled - that might work to hold it off for a while.


995 Trivial Blahs

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I was supposed to go to Tom's trivia tonight, but as the time got closer and closer to when I would have to leave the house (it's an hour drive), and I hadn't even begun to clean up or dress, I realized I just didn't feel like it. I'm torn. I really did want to go, but I really didn't want to make the effort. I wish it were closer.

I hope I have more energy tomorrow night. Twisted Tassels is dancing in Woodstock at 6 pm, and then there's a singles group pot luck just down the road at 7. I'd like to make both.

But it's about these "To Do" lists that seem to get longer and longer....

Maybe if I got to bed earlier and got up earlier, maybe.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

994 My Right Foot

While looking through the sculpture park photo rejects, I noticed this one. It's fuzzy because it was a long shot and I had to cut the "live people" and enlarge it to show just the feet. That's my legs in the black. Note the right foot (on the left in the picture). That's the one that I can't sense. The one that I just figured out swings in front of the other when I walk. This photo seems to confirm that. I need more pictures, taken when I don't know I'm being photographed. Maybe a "candid camera" video of me walking and standing.

When Jay "lost" his left side, if you told him to raise his left hand, he couldn't do it. But if you brought his hand to the center front where he could see it, then he could use it. He couldn't walk unless he could see his left foot, and then only if he had his head turned so that the foot was in his center or right field of vision. That's why "hemi-paralyzed" wasn't accurate. The proper term was "left side neglect". His left side simply wasn't there when he couldn't see it. (Of course, once he went blind, it was effectively paralysis.)

Similarly, when I am paying attention, except for a slight rigidness of the ankle on the right, I probably don't exhibit a problem.

Hmmm. Now I'm wondering if this explains why the muscle at the top of my right thigh is more developed than on the left. I thought it was just uneven fat.... It absolutely explains the way my shoe soles wear!


Mel Gibson has a movie coming out soon, and I hear that some people are already gearing up to picket theaters. Why? If you don't like what you assume he thinks, that's not the way to educate him, to change his thinking. If you object only to what he reportedly said, then his retraction, apology, and promise never to say it again should have satisfied you. So I don't understand the picket line. You're just throwing a temper tantrum and trying to punish him.

That's not nice and not productive. (Unless punishing people makes you feel good.)

993 Sculpture Park Photos, 3 of 3

After the "Books as Art" exhibition a few weeks ago at Vassar, I was interested in this group. Books and newspaper had been dipped in wax, and then shaped and carved. You could still read the printing. I liked these better than the things at Vassar. They looked and felt ancient.

Hercules found a screwdriver over a doorframe in the gardens, and then found an empty platform. He created his own exhibit. Something about the loneliness of the skilled craftsman, or something.

"Rats", the restaurant on the Grounds, was in "Toad Hall", a cluster of buildings containing also a gift shop, a museum, offices, and storage. This is outside Toad Hall.

That's Rats in the background. The round pavilion is the dance floor.

This small sculpture was in the men's room in Rats. Title: "Resting on His Laurels".

992 Sculpture Park Photos, 2 of 3

We were walking down a path and came around a corner, and found a statue of a man painting. Naturally, we looked at the easel to see what he was painting, and then we looked to see what he was looking at, and it was this scene. (I don't know the name of the painting, or the original artist.) Some of the greenery in the garden is live and some is fake. The chairs and the figures from this vantage point are faithful to the painting, but when you walk down into it, you notice that everything is "off", out of kilter. The man, for example, looks right from this angle, but when you stand near the man and woman, you find that the man is huge compared to the woman. And the chair on the right is not sit-in-able. The original painting does have the boat. The boat is not there now, probably removed for the winter. This particular shot is from a prior visit by Daughter and Hercules, but I wanted to use it because of the boat.
We also stumbled upon that painting of the picnic with two men and a woman in the foreground, and another woman in the background, bent over standing in a pond. Everybody is rather heavily dressed except the foreground woman, who is blissfully naked, with her clothing and hat piled next to her. It was reproduced down to the leaves, and a real pond the second woman was in. Didn't get a photo of that one.

I recently saw this installation in a magazine. Of course, I don't remember the name or the artist, but I do remember the subject. It's depression-era men lined up at a soup kitchen door. Again, I had to behead the live person.

Pregnant lady. Not a fountain. Still. Quiet. Contemplating. Protecting.

Water feature.

Same as above, but from a much more interesting angle.

991 Sculpture Park Photos, 1 of 3

Photos from last Friday's visit to Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, courtesy of Hercules.

I'm unsure what the rules are for posting photos of artwork without attribution, but all of these pieces are at GFS, so consider it an advertisement for them. Go see them in 3-D.


Daughter gets all upset when I put photos of living people in here, so I had to behead Hercules. Imagine him properly horrified.

This lady was reclining on a couch in the center of a bamboo grove. Hercules fell in love with her.

The path through here was bordered by thick hedges, except for this strategically placed window.

Fiber art inside one of the buildings. Is it supposed to remind me of a ship? A ship to the sun?

This was one of my favorite installations. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the group as it was meant to be seen. Hercules stuck the camera inside one of the pieces to take this picture. There was also a shot without the flash, which I actually liked better. It was five or so "structures", about 10 or 12 feet tall. They were vaguely humanoid, copper I think, tattered, and in a grove that was rather dark. There was a feeling of despair about them, and yet they stood tall, firm, and steadfast.

This installation was inside a building. The beasties are breaking out of the furniture. Notice the squirrel on top of the plaque on the wall? Well, the coyotes on the couch, a fox on the chair, and a guinea pig made of the carpet were similarly rising out of body-pattern cuts out of the furniture. I thought the artist had missed a bet - he/she should have had deer-body-shaped cuts in the wall paneling for the deer to come out of. It was cute, but I'm not sure what it was "saying".

990 Gifting

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[Later edit - shortened link so it doesn't extend across margin.]

Dear Folks,

Just in case I happen to be on anyone's shopping list for the coming holidays, I want to make sure that everyone understands that I may send a few gifts here and there, but that they are given freely, unconnected with the season, and with no expectation of reciprocity. Don't shop for me. A letter, a card, a thought, a prayer will do.

I think that people have lost sight of ... well, you know what I'm saying. I'm sure you think it too. Sending people something they don't need and don't want, at a particular time of the year, just because you're "supposed to", doesn't strike me as "in the spirit". I prefer to give things when and where they are wanted and needed.

All I want this year (all year, every year!) is homemade peanut butter cookies (smooth, not chunky, very peanutty, with the fork Xs on top, some moist and some dry), and I think they're already signed up for.

May I suggest donations in the spirit:


989 Dinner in Tivoli

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There used to be a local Mensa special interest group (SIG) for pizza. Their goal was to rate pizza joints, and find the best. The group had a problem. It seemed like half the time they met at a place, it was closed - for a fire, renovations, it got sold, or just went out of business. Worse, every time they thought they'd found the best, it soon died.

The Pizza SIG was bad for business. It finally went out of business itself.

In the past few weeks there has been some interest in reviving it, but the woman who was going to do it suddenly emigrated to Israel.

She left the curse.

We all showed up at Luna 61 in Tivoli (for the ethnic dinner group, not the pizza SIG) last night, and it was closed. Suddenly. When Zig called yesterday afternoon to make the reservations, the man who answered the phone told him that they had decided, just Monday, to go to winter hours (weekends only, I guess). So we ended up at Santa Fe, across the street. Santa Fe, incidentally, used to close for the entire month of December. A lot of non-chain restaurants around here close or restrict their hours in the winter. Ya'd think this was a tourist area or something....

There were seven of us, including Roman and me. I dislike Mexican food (at least as interpreted in "fancy" northeastern restaurants), so I had a steak and salad.

I had a pretty good time. Flirting.

BTW - Luna 61 needs a proofreader for their website - someone who can spell. Apply within. On a weekend.

Monday, November 27, 2006

988 Bath Ball

Monday, November 27, 2006

Daughter gave me a fizzy bath ball when I was visiting. It was pink, and about the size of a softball. She knows how much I love long, hot, soaky, scented, bubbly baths.

I used it today.

I filled the tub with hot water and climbed in, and then dropped the ball in.

It fizzed. Then it started releasing leaves, stems, petals and flowers. LOTS of them. I didn't know they were in there.

They were brown, and tinted the water light brown. They floated and sank. They deteriorated and not. They stuck to the side of the tub and to me. They thickened the water. When I rubbed pieces between my fingers they felt slimy.

It felt like I was bathing in soup. Very nicely scented soup. Floral soup. But ... soup. Ick.

Cleaning the tub and unplugging the drain after was a pain.

Next time, I'll put the ball in a net bag before dropping it in the water.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

987 Zip the Lip

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Man, you really have to be careful what you put out there. It's permanent!

About half the visits to this blog are as a result of a search engine finding some word or phrase (and some of those searches are very strange. People don't know how to search. I'd like to do a whole entry on that sometime).

About half of those search engine hits are for one word in one particular entry that I am now sorry I wrote. Anything I write about myself or my family I don't mind being out there, no matter what it says, and anything I wrote about friends who might find this, it's not so much about them as about my reaction, to which I am entitled and which I can defend. But there's one particular entry that's entirely about someone else, and I really screwed up. I used a term that's popular in (what I consider) an abnormal offshoot of p0rn0graphy (I didn't use it in a p0rn0graphic way), and a lot of people who make me cringe are finding that entry because of that word.

(I'm learning. See how I just diverted searches for p0rn?)

Anyway, it wouldn't normally bother me. Every entry that mentions the Hairless Hunk, for example, gets a lot of hits from people looking for something titillating, and I don't mind those hits. But the post that worries me is, like I said, about someone else, it's speculation and very personal, and the weirdos who get off on that particular thing WILL find it ... um ... lip-smackingly salacious, shall we say. In fact, they have been recommending it to each other. I found a link to it on a site that worries me. (Note that the post is innocent, unless your mind is bent!)

I have considered editing the post to remove the offending word, but that would simply call attention to it, since it would be picked up on feeds as if it were a new entry. It would be better to delete it, but deleting it won't help, because it will continue to exist in caches and possibly archives. Worse, the more hits it gets, the more hits it will get, because it moves up in the search order, and will stay in caches longer. Ouch.

I cringe every time I see another visit from a search on that word. Most of them are coming from Northwestern Europe and the Philippines. Strange people there.

When I wrote that entry, I didn't know that people could find it so easily because of the topic. I didn't realize people would be searching for that topic! (And I'm not really sorry I wrote it - it was something I needed to do at the time. I'm just sorry it can't be better protected from misuse.)

Learn from my pain. Disguise provocative words.

The trick is to know which words might be provocative. At the time, I'd never have thought of "that" word as interesting to weird people.