Saturday, February 03, 2007

1105 Urban Legends

Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's definitely way past time to clean up around here. Last Monday night when I couldn't sleep I was off and on reading a novel in bed. I got interested in it, and at some point on Wednesday I carried it out of the bedroom to somewhere else in the house. Now I can't find it. I've looked everywhere.

I got absolutely no sleep Thursday night, either. This time my mind wasn't spinning, it was just too much iced coffee and a fear that I wouldn't wake up early enough on Friday morning to both wash my hair and ensure that the Aerio would start. So I was reading a book about urban legends in bed, and got interested in it. On Friday I took it with me to the service garage, in a canvas tote bag. I distinctly remember taking it out of the bag this morning, when I was on my way to meet Piper for lunch and needed my gloves. They were in the bag, too. Now I can't find the book.

The mess has reached a critical point, what the scientists call a tipping point.


So anyway, the book has all kinds of urban legends, with the author's analysis, and his research to track down the origins. Most of them, of course, either never happened, or are updated versions of ancient tales. One thing that bothers me about his method, however, is that if he can find the same or a very similar story turning up here and there all over the country or in other countries, then he concludes that it's just the same story circulating over and over and therefore not true, never happened, no matter how reasonable or possible it sounds.

Sorry, fella, but that doesn't make it not true. It still could have happened.

He says that there are stories about, say, a woman whose purse is stolen, and then a few days later the woman gets a call from the manager of the store where the purse was lifted, saying that the purse has been found, minus the money but with everything else still in it. (It IS true that purse snatchers will often quickly remove all cash and then throw the purse and contents into the nearest wastebasket.) The manager asks her if it would be convenient
for her to come and get it at such-and-such a time, and in the course of the conversation (will you need a sitter?) discovers whether or not children and husbands will be home at that time. The woman goes to the store, the store manager knows nothing about it, and she comes home to find her house has been burglarized. Of course, it was the purse snatcher, with her address and house key, who had called her.

The author of the book concludes that this has never actually happened, because the stories almost always have a town mentioned, and police in those towns always deny the story.

Well, that doesn't mean it never happened! In fact, thieves hearing the story are likely to try it.

I know they will, because it happened to me.

We were living in Germantown, Maryland, north of Washington, DC. One morning, my purse was stolen in the local grocery store. What's really weird is that I had a very bad feeling, a premonition, and I purposely put my purse in the shopping cart to prove to myself how silly I was being (I never do that!), but then I got nervous, so I buried it under frozen foods, but I was still nervous, and felt even sillier, so I turned my back on the cart for a full three seconds. When I turned around the purse was gone. I totally freaked - not because the purse was gone so much as because I had known it was going to happen. That's freaky. Anyway, police were called, all wastebaskets were checked, and all along the sides of the road up to the next intersections, and that was that.

Within an hour of returning home, I got a call from a guy at the department of energy, which was around the corner from the grocery store. He said he had been jogging at lunch and found the purse along the road. There was no money in it, but there were credit cards, a gold pocket watch, driver's license, checkbook. If I would come to the DOE and ask for him the next day, he'd bring it out for me.

Sociopaths, by the way, are very charming. He did charm me out of the information that my daughter was in school (so going to the DOE was not a problem) and that my husband worked days (in the context of where he worked, no, not DOE or near DOE). He kept emphasizing that "everything" was still in the purse, so it would not be necessary for me to cancel credit cards or anything like that. I told him I had already canceled them and had
notified my bank, and I wondered how he knew "everything" was there, if he didn't know what had started out there.

I went. Of course, the receptionist at DOE had never heard of the name I had been given. When I got home, my neighbor said we'd had a visitor come to the door.

Even though he had a key, he didn't get into the house, because when he was discovering whether there'd be anyone home, he never asked about dogs. We had a nice big Austrailian Kelpie with long teeth and a protective attitude. I had put her in the house when I went to the DOE, because the phone call had left me suspicious, and I hadn't yet been able to change the locks. Her furious barking had brought the neighbor to her door. She was able to describe him and his car, which matched the description of a stolen car.

A lot more happened with this guy, some really strange stuff, but I'll write that up sometime later. The main point right now is that just because police deny it, or somebody got the town wrong, doesn't mean a story didn't happen.

When the author of the urban legends book finds a true story that turns into an expanded UL, he admits that at least one version is true. I was amused to find that one of the most unbelievable happened right around here, in Poughkeepsie. There's even a transcript of the actual call to the police.

A man hit a deer on the road. He put it in the back seat of his car (why waste all that venison?), but the deer was only stunned and came to, rather upset. The guy pulled over near an enclosed telephone booth (this was obviously a very long time ago), where he made a very strange and profanity-filled call to the police.

When the deer had regained consciousness, it had thrashed around, and it bit him on the back of the neck. He pulled over, intending to let the deer out, but before he could get the back door open, a big dog came out of nowhere and bit him on the leg. The dog was very excited by the deer, and the guy kept saying "The f***ing deer bit me on the f***ing neck, and now the f***ing dog wants the f***ing deer! He won't let me near the f***ing car!" He was unable to tell the police where he was. The dog had him trapped in the phone booth, and at one point there's a disruption in the call, somehow the booth door got opened and the dog had bit the guy again, this time "on the f***ing a*s!!!" In the meantime the deer is tearing up the interior of the guy's car.

And that's the truth.


1104 Got the Sheets!

Saturday February 03, 2007

The Aerio started just fine on Friday morning, and more importantly, on the drive to the dealer's the horrible grating sound in the wheel well, the cause of her having been parked for the past three months, was gone. She ran just fine. They looked her all over anyway, and found nothing wrong. The tech suggested that maybe a stone or something had gotten up in there, and finally got worn down enough to fall out. So I had a regular 5,000/20,000 mile service done. Three hours. No charge for diagnosis. Oil change free. $160 of other stuff done.

Then I went looking for sheets - two king flats and two queen flats, at least 360 thread count, to make envelope covers (duvets) for the featherbed and the comforter.

Every store had sets, but no packages of single sheets in 300 or higher thread count at a reasonable price. Three stores later I ended up in Marshalls, where they had no queens, but they did have king flats. I bought four 400 count king flats for a total (including tax) of $66. That's $33 plus a little time on the sewing machine per custom-fitted duvet. I think that was pretty durn good.

Friday, February 02, 2007

1103 Tornado? Where?!

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's an even (non-blogging) day, so this will be quick.

I hadn't heard about the tornadoes in Florida until the evening news. I HATE it when they say stuff like "central Florida", or "several communities north of Orlando", as they did tonight in referring to where the tornado hit. My sister lives in "central Florida", in a "community north of Orlando". Why on earth can't they show us a map of the tornado's path? I had this same complaint last year with the hurricanes.

I spent an hour trying to find out online exactly where the damage was, but the only site that might have had a map took the browser down. I tried to call Sister, but "all circuits are busy" etc.

You know, if the evening news were more specific about where things happen, you wouldn't have a few million people all worrying needlessly and all calling at once to find out if their people are ok!

I finally found some more specific information - the tornado was 50 miles north-west of Orlando. Ok, now I know my sister is not in the damage area, and I don't have to contribute to jamming up phone lines that could be better used for emergencies.

Why the heck couldn't the evening news have been at LEAST that specific? Where my worrying about Sister is concerned, there's a big difference between "north of Orlando" (Ack!) and "50 miles north-west of Orlando" (Whew.)

-------------- Slightly later update ------------ has a page where if you are in a disaster area, you can put in your name and a short message like "I'm ok". So if you're worried, you can look your people up there.


If they're dead, they won't be listed there for a long time, if ever.
If they're camping in the toolshed with no electricity, they can't list themselves.
If the disaster is 50 miles from where they are, it wouldn't occur to them to bother listing themselves.

The list seems pretty useless to me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

1102 Salty People, River, Roads, Etc.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Scott Adams wrote in The Dilbert Blog about people who react passionately in blog comments to things he writes, his "favorite" being a particular person who "made it a personal mission to misunderstand me and then get very angry about his misunderstandings." (Oooo, I like that....)

Oh, my, yes. I've known a few of them. They are incapable of the "grain of salt", or of asking "what did you mean by...." They interpret everything literally, misunderstand statement or purpose, take everything personally, react in anger, pick things apart, and make personal attacks. They see insult and attack where there is none meant. Then they won't let it go, and return to snipe again and again, until they really are getting insults.

I've never understood why they get so angry. Really, who cares? Ask for clarification, or let it go. Walk away, you'll live longer.

I still remember one coworker who was like that. There was an email argument going on over some technical point, and it got way past the initial issue that still needed resolution. So I sent an email to all the parties, asking that we please drop the side issues and get back to the question. In my usual "Dear Folks" way, I started out with (and I remember this exactly), "Hey, c'mon guys, let's bring this back to ..." blah blah. "C'mon" as in "Hey, come on". Isn't that how you took it?

One guy forwarded my note to the entire world, up and down the management line, demanding a public apology from me for calling him and others in the discussion "common", as opposed to what I must see as my "self-defined exalted position". He went on for three screens about how by looking down on him as "common", I had insulted his intelligence, his job title, and those of everyone else on the distribution list. (By the way, none of those coworkers knew I was in Mensa.)

Some people laughed at him. Others snubbed and sneered at me. It still burns. It's the reason I mostly don't blog about topics that might generate controversy. There are still people out there like him, and I don't want to attract their attention, because there's no way to respond to them.


A quick trip to the store to buy two queen and two flat sheets ended up costing six hours, four 22-mile round trips, one of which was a $90 taxi ride, and produced no sheets. But it was an opportunity to examine the roads.

Environmental groups are all het up because the salt line is moving north up the Hudson River. The river is tidal. A certain amount of sea water comes upriver at high tide. At one time, I guess, salt reached only as far up as West Point. Now, the river is showing definite salt at Poughkeepsie and higher (I may have these levels wrong, but that doesn't really matter for this post) and the salt line is moving steadily north.

Some watchdogs are blaming the moving salt line on sea-going tankers and cargo ships. They claim that as the ships move up the river, they dump their seawater ballast, and take on the river's fresh water, which they then later sell to freshwater-starved sea islands. They are very indignant that the shipping companies are "stealing" and carelessly salting our water, and changing the character of the river.

There have been laws passed making it illegal for ships to dump seawater in the river. (There are several good reasons for this, like various beasties that could "escape" and upset the balance, but the main reason given was the salt.)

Baloney. I don't believe, even if every ship that came up the river was dumping, I don't believe they could dump enough to cause the jump in the salt line. There IS a current, you know.

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the salt on the roads. Salt dumped on the roads will be washed away by melt and rains, and almost all surface water ends up eventually in the river. That's how it works.

So far this winter, in the vicinity of my home, we've had one ice storm, but it didn't affect the roads. There have been maybe two or three overnight snow showers which deposited a slight dusting (not enough to hide the grass) which remains in heavily shaded spots, but which was blown off the roads as it fell, by passing traffic.

And yet, the roads around here are so heavily salt covered that it actually, literally, looks like snow on the roads.

Howcum nobody sees a connection? How long before our wells go salty? The highway department would love to chop down every tree within 100 feet of every road, but they can't get away with that. Is this a conspiracy to slowly kill every tree bordering the roads? Is that why they've dumped a normal three-month quota of salt even though there's been no reason to do so?

Every year I get more paranoid about it.


1101 Aerio Battery

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Today's task was to get the Aerio battery charged so I can take the car in for service tomorrow.

Last Saturday, when the Hairless Hunk was here to help me get the lug nuts off the van's flat, he asked me to start the Aerio and move it out a bit, so he could look in the wheel well, where the strange noise was coming from. It wouldn't start. R-er-er-er.

I couldn't simply jump start the Aerio, because I can't drive it to recharge it until on the way to service, and it would be too late to find out that a jump won't work on Friday morning. So today I went looking for Jay's old charger. I finally found it in the packed-solid totally disorganized garage. Of course, there were no instructions, and it looked pretty primitive. Mother was not happy.

I decided to go to the store where I'd forgotten the sweaters last night, and I'd stop at an automotive store and see if I could find a charger I could be more comfortable with. I ended up buying one that figures everything out itself. It will even determine if the battery has become "sulfated", such that it can't take a normal charge, and will "desulfate" it. Whatever that is.

So with the new charger, all I have to worry about is battery acid, exploding gases, and electrocution. It worries me that the booklet says to remove all metal from your body, including earrings, before hooking things up.

I located and dragged out several heavy-duty extension cords. The Aerio is parked on the lawn, quite a distance from any outlets. I got a nightlight and checked the porch outlet. It works.

I wished there were someone within screaming distance while I'm doing this.

I screwed up my courage and ... decided to try starting the Aerio first. After all, it's above freezing today, almost 20 degrees warmer than Saturday.

It started on the second try.

I moved it closer to the porch, and decided to try letting it run for a while, maybe it'll charge itself. (Durn those daytime running lights! I don't know how to turn them off, and they're drawing power.) I stuck my head out the door every so often to make sure it didn't rev too high, and every fifteen minutes I went out to check the temp and gas gauges. It sat there and purred quietly to itself for 90 minutes, with occasional louder fan purrs, when I figured that HAD to be enough. (The new charger has a tester, and can tell me the % charge, but I'm not going to mess with it if I don't have to.)

Now the van and the Aerio are snuggling nose to nose, so if the van has to do CPR before the Aerio's trip to the doctor tomorrow morning, it'll be easy.


1100 Why Tell?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A constant theme on the Maury show is paternity tests. Some of the stories I understand, some I don't. (No, I don't sit there avidly soaking up Maury stories. It's just noise in the background, what happens to come on when I'm too busy or too disinterested to change the channel.)

A common story is that a couple are in love and living together, maybe even married. They have an x-month/year-old child. The man is madly in love with the baby, absolute adoration. The baby loves its daddy. Everything was wonderful until three weeks ago, when the woman confessed to the man that back when they were temporarily separated for a few months, just before they had gotten back together, she had slept with another man, and the baby might or might not be his. The man usually declares that it doesn't matter to him, that this is his child no matter what.

Sometimes the paternity test goes one way, sometimes another, sometimes the relationship survives, sometimes it dies, whatever.

What I don't understand is why the woman said anything at all! Why didn't she just leave it alone? Telling this secret has the potential to disrupt a minimum of four lives. Not telling preserves a happy family. Ok, it's a secret, and keeping secrets can be hard, but some secrets are meant to be kept.

The show never asks why she told. For me, that's the most interesting part.

P.S. - Back in the 80s, before DNA paternity tests were common, I read somewhere that something like one in five babies is not fathered by the man whose name is on the birth certificate. I wonder if that number has been updated.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

1099 Another Blown Day

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"There's no sense beating a dead horse -- but if you've reached the point where you even seriously consider that abusing a dead animal might improve your lot in life, I say go ahead and give it a shot." --- (Anthony Myers)


My "to do" list is so long that I get overwhelmed just looking at it, and end up doing nothing. On the theory that any single step forward, no matter how small a step, is still a step forward, I've decided to use a trick I used when I worked. At night, you make a small list for the next day, being careful to put only as many tasks on the list as can reasonably be accomplished. Many of the tasks might be things you have to do again and again (like laundry), but you have to be sure to include at least ONE "do it once and it's done forever" task every day.

I put five things on my list for today:
- Make appointment for Suzuki service
- Shop for mats and sheets
- Pay bills
- Take at least two boxes down to basement
- Mothproof and store red pepper rug.
That sounds manageable, doesn't it?

I started out at 1 pm, and I went to the Suzuki dealership to check on some things and to make an appointment for service on Friday. Item #1 accomplished.

Then I went to a shopping cluster to buy some mats to put around the cat's litter box so she won't track the litter so badly, then to a huge big-box store to buy the sheets to make the feather bed and comforter covers. I didn't get the sheets (they had single flats only in 200 count, bleck), but I impulsively bought a rather awkwardly large piece of office equipment. Item #2 not yet accomplished - no sheets.

When I went out to my minivan, I was missing my keys. Gone. I am absolutely certain I had them when I walked into the store. I lost them somewhere IN the store. I had recently switched purses, and the spares didn't get switched. They're home. Of course.

Back into the store, watching the ground the whole way. I went first to Customer Service (CS). No keys. Parked my purchase, still in the cart, and retraced my earlier wandering pattern through the store. No keys. Back to CS. No keys. Called a taxi.

Took the taxi home, used the secret key to get in the house, located the spare van key, and took the taxi back to the store to retrieve the van. It's exactly 22.0 miles round trip, store to home to store, and it cost me $90 (cash only) including tip. The only lucky part is that since I won't have an ATM card for 10 days, I had taken out a lot of cash on Monday.

Back into the store, to CS, nope, no keys yet. I figured that as long as I'm in the store, I'd buy a couple of those magnetic spare key boxes that you tuck under the chassis. On the way to the auto section, I saw some 3/4 sleeve sweaters on clearance. Picked up one. Went home.

I was home ten minutes when the store called and said my keys had been turned in. In the meantime, I had tried the sweater on, and I love it! I am hard to fit. I'm now into the smaller sizes, popular with teens, my bust is big and my arms are short. When I find something that looks good, I'll go back and buy more of the same, and especially when it's on closeout.

So, back to the van, back to the store to pick up my keys and see if they had more of the sweaters in my size. There was exactly ONE in my size in each of five colors. So I bought the five. Checkout. Pick up bag and go home. Open bag. Two sweaters in the bag. Five sweaters on the receipt. I must have missed a second bag.

Called the store. CS again. They recognised my voice. Snickers. If the sweaters were left, "they'd have been put in the returns cart to go back on the rack". "Oh, no! They were the only ones in my size! Please, can you rescue them and hold them for me?"

The lady found them, and they're holding them for me to pick up tomorrow.

Not only did I get only one of the five "to do"s done, but now I have to add a trip across the river to tomorrow's list.

A necessary item on tomorrow's list is to locate the battery charger, and charge up the dead Aerio, so I can get it in for service Friday. That's an absolute requirement. I don't know when I'll get to the other four things on today's list....


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1098 No Sleep

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Laura Bush bought her husband a parrot for his birthday.

She told Dick Cheney, "The bird is so smart! George has already taught him to mis-pronounce over 200 words!"

"Wow, that's pretty impressive," Cheney said. "But you realize that he just says the words. He doesn't understand what they mean."

"That's okay," Laura replied "Neither does the parrot."


I broke a few rules today.

I called Daughter on my cell phone before the "free" period. She sounds a lot better, and we had a very good mother-daughter talk, venturing into areas we don't normally go into. She's planning to go to work tomorrow. I wish she'd take another day off. She says Hercules is coming down with something, now, too, so I extended the same offer that I'd made to her - if she needs me, I can come down for a few days to take care of the invalid. Appreciated, but refused.

I'm also blogging (horrors!) on an even numbered day.

I got no sleep last night. I slept well Sunday night, but after writing yesterday about my surprise and confusion, those thoughts consumed me last night. I worked some crossword puzzles, turned the light off, and then tossed and turned and thought. I turned the light back on, and read my book. That usually serves to narrow and slow down spinning thoughts so I can fall asleep. It didn't work. As soon as I turned the light out, I started thinking again. I think I slept only between 8 and 10 am, and even that was broken.

I think I figured it out.

I expected The Duchess to look a certain way. She didn't, but her appearance doesn't much matter. It's her personality that matters.

I expected her to be sweet and gentle and retiring, and I couldn't have been more wrong. From the very small taste I had, I think she's likely to be strong, demanding, critical, and exacting. In fact, I think she probably has a lot of characteristics in common with Roman's mother.

Roman, since childhood, desperately wanted his mother's approval, and found it very difficult to obtain. I think perhaps that in acting as escort, handyman (she has a limiting handicap), and housemaid to The Duchess, he is able to finally get the approval of a mother-substitute. For him, that's a deep need.

He knows she doesn't love him completely. He knows that there are aspects of him she doesn't like, can't accept. I heard some of that from her on Sunday. One of the times we broke up, he said that I was forcing him to look at things he didn't want to see, didn't want to think about.

When we first became intimate, he told me not to mother him, not to nag him. His divorce was just final, and I thought he was reacting to his ex-wife. But he and The Duchess had hit a major snag at that time, that's why he started up with me, and now I wonder if it was a reaction to her. When his mother was in the hospital, and he was caring for his father and having difficulty getting him dressed and out to appointments, I asked him how his mother got the man moving, and he said "She nags."

I asked him Sunday if he felt like an orphan, and he said no.

Probably because he has a mother-substitute, from whom he can obtain approval, even if she doesn't love him.

Who knows where it will go from here. Now that his real mother is gone, will he need the approval of the substitute even more? Or will he no longer need maternal approval at all?

It helps to feel like I understand, even if I don't really. Now I wish she appreciated him MORE for WHAT he is, WHO and HOW he is, instead of what he does for her. But if he continues to need approval from his mother, and he gets that from The Duchess, and it satisfies him (although I know he knows there's someting important missing in their relationship - he's said that several times), I think maybe I can accept, and maybe, eventually, even be happy for him.

Monday, January 29, 2007

1097 Daughter Is Sick

Monday, January 29, 2007

Daughter has finally admitted she's sick. She stayed home from work today, and plans to stay home tomorrow. She saw the doctor and got another antibiotic (different from the one she got last week). Doctor thinks it's a sinus infection.

She said, "Mom, I'm so sick I didn't even take a shower today."

I have been very worried about her, because she seems to be constantly sick, not just now, but all the time - either coughing, or sore throat, or stuffed up. We're not talking just a few months here - it's more like the whole past year, and off and on for the previous several years. She coughs a lot, has been coughing forever it seems. She's physically active, and healthy in all her habits. I'm worried that there's something else wrong.

She was born with a hole in her heart, between the ventricles, which "closed on its own" within her first year. Coughing can sometimes be a sign of heart trouble - but, when she coughs, she has upper respiratory and/or throat symptoms too. So I don't know. Sometimes the coughing can roughen the tissues enough to allow an infection, so we don't really know which is the chicken and which the egg at this point.

I'm not allowed to push, so I can't do anything but wait and see.


1096 Surprised and Confused

Monday, January 29, 2007

Entry 1093 Sunday's Memorial talks about the nice and simple things from Sunday. I am vaguely dissatisfied because I left out the strange and confusing things. Roman confuses me. I never know what to think, how to take him.

I like to think of myself as a nice person, but I am having very nasty very negative thoughts now. I am not thinking nice things.

"She" was there. The other woman. Roman's "girlfriend". Hereinafter dubbed "The Duchess". I absolutely like her less now than before I met her, and that's bad. Very bad. Very distressing to me.

She is exactly what I was referring to when I had asked him if it would be at all awkward for me to be there, and I know he had to know that's what I meant, and he said no, no awkwardness, and he never warned me in subsequent conversations that she'd be there. I didn't specifically ask because I don't bring up the subject of her directly because it makes him defensive. The good part is that he apparently trusted me not to blow it. (Is there any chance he was hoping I'd blow it? I already know she's not sensitive or smart enough to figure out who I am.)

I had expected to like her. I was prepared to like her. I WANTED to like her. I NEED to understand what it is about her that so fascinates Roman. I still thought she was taking advantage of Roman, being unfair to him, which angers me, but I expected her to be a sweet, pretty, and charming person. She's not. I am confused by my own head.

I expected her to be tiny, with delicate features and a pixy haircut. Roman notices and has opinions on women's clothing, so I expected her to be nicely dressed. Boy, was I wrong. She's rather broad and coarse featured, with that late-50's housewife bubble hairdo and mis-matched clothing.

I have dubbed her "The Duchess" because it was obvious that she likes to be the center of attention. She holds court. If attention turns from her, she wrests it back. She even brought her own "courtiers".

One example, when Roman and his sister introduced the people around the room, he introduced me as a friend, a coworker from 15 years ago, and a fellow Mensan. Then he introduced her as a friend whom he had met in Literacy Volunteers a few years ago. That's as far as he went in defining their relationship front of this group. When people were offering glimpses, she spoke up and said that although she hadn't known Roman's parents long, only the past few years, "since I've been a part of [Roman]'s life...". Gasp! It was Roman's place to define their relationship to the group, not hers.

I purposely didn't listen in on any of her conversations, but she said several things that I couldn't help but hear, and those things served only to reinforce my opinion of why she hangs on to Roman. A woman with a male escort has quite different social opportunities from those of a woman alone. A woman living alone in a house finds a dependable handyman very convenient. One of the many things I overheard her say was "I love to see a man working around the house. To me, that's a man being a man." No, that's a man being a handyman. And I strongly suspect that he's also her housemaid.

I don't think she fully appreciates him. She complained about his driving, "I just close my eyes", when Roman is one of the best drivers I've ever had the pleasure of riding with. She also doesn't appreciate his sense of humor. I think she hangs on to him because he's a man, and she figures he's the best she can get, and better than nothing.

She left about 4:30, with her cohort of four or five friends (and it was made clear that they were her friends, which she had graciously shared with Roman, how nice of her). After that, Roman turned his exclusive attention to me. I don't know if he wanted to be with me then, or if he knew I knew no one else in the room and was just being a good host, but I also know that he rarely sees some of the cousins and so on who were there, and should have wanted to talk with them, so I don't know. We talked for another hour. One of the things he said was that his inheritance would be significant, and he intends to quit his day job, which he doesn't enjoy because it's stressful and frustrating. He'll finally partially retire, keeping only the computer classes he teaches in the evenings.

I know he has wanted to retire for a long time. If The Duchess would allow him to move in with her, he could have retired long ago. But he says she wants to "preserve her independence". That's why she allows him there only over weekends. Well, part of my definition of love is that you want to help the other person to achieve their desires. Sometimes you have to give up something of yours to to so. That's where compromise comes in. I don't see why they couldn't live together, and still set some ground rules that would allow her a large measure of independence. I thought love longs for union.

I am very concerned that although she won't give up her independence for him, for his needs, now that he's inheriting a chunk, she'll be more than happy to give it up for financial security. That scares me, for him.

I hope he's not such a fool. But ... sigh.

He dropped his daughter at the airport for a Sunday midnight flight, and called me from the road on his way home (I had asked him to). One of the things he said then was that when the estate is settled, he wants to buy a co-op or a small house. So I assume he's not thinking she'll let him in any time soon.

I like him, and I wanted to like her, so that I could be happy for his being with her. I wanted to be happy for him. Now I'm even more angry with her. I am even more convinced that she doesn't love or even fully appreciate him, that she's just using him for her own convenience.

Daughter says I have to look at it philosophically. My belief is that we are here in this pass through life to learn lessons, and many of our most important connections exist as connections to teach us those lessons, and perhaps The Duchess exists to teach Roman something important to the development of his soul, and that I should love her for that.

I'm trying. So far it isn't working.


1095 Strange Search

Monday, January 29, 2007

With SiteMeter I can see when people find this journal through searches, and the search argument. It's very odd, but several times a week (it runs in bursts), someone gets here by searching on men sex and horses (yeah, they usually include the "and", the idiots).

Why? What are they looking for? No, never mind. I really don't want to think about why.

That search gets them to entry 890 Of Horses and Men, wherein I talk about my love of equestrian events, and separately about internet dating observations.

I doubt that's what they're looking for.

1094 Concoction Catastrophes

Monday, January 29, 2007

I mentioned in the previous entry that I can ruin any recipe. Some time ago I talked about using Daughter's delicious recipe for basil tomato salad, and my version gave everybody at a hafla horrible gas. Jay's sister makes a wonderful fruit desert, with sliced bananas, cubed apple (and optional other things like raisins), with a dressing made of 1/3 cool whip, 1/3 mayonnaise, and 1/3 peanut butter. When she makes it, it's creamy. Two out of three times I attempt it, the oils separate and it's awful. And yes, I did check, she does not use oil-free stuff. Mine will separate even if I use oil-free mayo and homogenized peanut butter.

Seriously, I can mess anything up, especially if I try really hard to follow directions precisely. If I ever get a recipe from you, you really don't want me giving you credit.


1093 Sunday's Memorial

Monday, January 29, 2007

I had a terrible time getting on the road to Long Island yesterday, more about that later, but I'm glad I went. Roman's directions were clear and easy, and it took about 2 hours and 15 minutes, in heavy but fast-moving traffic. (Too fast, in fact. I don't normally exceed the speed limit, but in dense traffic I'll move to the right and travel at the same speed as everyone around me. Yesterday that meant 65 to 70 in 55 mph areas. I really don't like that, but "they" tell me it's actually safer than obstinately holding to 55.)

There were quite a few people there, including Roman's cousins, his sister and his daughter, nieces and nephews, and family friends. They seemed like a nice bunch. After some socializing and munchies, Roman's nephew led a prayer and group reading. Then Roman and his sister introduced everyone, and then people talked about Roman's parents, their memories of them. It was very nice. I'd never met them, but I got a good sense of them, putting together what Roman has told me and what was said yesterday. There was more socializing and desserts - one of them the most delicious chocolate mocha cakes I'd ever tasted.

I had taken the fruit salad, and got several compliments on it - it disappeared faster than anything else on the table. Which I mention only because I am a disaster in the kitchen, especially when I make anything to share. I can ruin the simplest concoction.

I left about 5:30, and except for one easily rectified missed turn, made it home without incident.


The trouble getting on the road:
We already know about the flat tire that consumed Saturday. When I went to the grocery store to buy the fruit (and a bunch of other stuff) Saturday evening, I found that they no longer took checks with a driver's license. They now require their own id card, and they wouldn't take a credit card either, without their id card. So I was forced to use cash, which left me with only $14 in my purse. No problem, I can go to the ATM in the morning, right?

So Sunday morning I head out, and notice that I need gas. No problem. Get money, get gas, right?

I knew I was in trouble when the ATM couldn't read my card. Multiple tries.

I tried the VISA from the same bank, hoping that it had the same PIN as the ATM card and I could get cash, but no go. I then went to a different bank in the village, hoping that the problem was with the reader at the first ATM, but the second machine wouldn't read it either. Went to the gas station, paid for gas with the VISA, and unsuccessfully attempted their ATM, too, with no luck.

Now, this is the gas station with Tall Dark and Handsome #1 and 2, with whom I have been mildly flirting for years. They see me several times a week, they're my main iced tea source. On several occasions I'd stupidly been caught short, and they have cheerfully allowed me to leave with my purchases and pay later. TD&H #2 was on duty, and I asked if he'd cash a check for me, and I got a curt "No, we don't cash checks." So I asked if I could get cash on the VISA, and got "No, we don't do that." To put it mildly, I was stunned.

I headed down the river with $14 in my purse, and a fervent hope that my EZ-Pass would continue to work on the bridges. I was beginning to get the feeling something didn't want me to go, or, more likely, was testing my resolve to go.

Today, Monday, I went to the bank to have the ATM card checked out. Over the years it has occasionally needed to be rewritten. This time, the cashier said that the strip is badly worn (it's many years old), and I'd need a new card. Seven to ten days. Ouch!