Saturday, March 24, 2007

1183 Nobody's Listening 2

Saturday, March 24, 2007

This morning, when I left the house to drive to Pennsylvania, I walked out the door saying, "Anniversary card, gift wrap, stockings". I had picked out a long dress to wear tomorrow evening, but was out of knee-high sheer stockings. (I insist on washing them in the washing machine, so they don't last long. Hey, I put them in a net bag with my trouser socks! Wadda ya want from me!)

I drove down the road repeating "Card, wrap, stockings." I parked at the pharmacy saying, "Card, wrap, stockings". I walked into the drug store and said, "Card, wrap, -------?" A woman walking by noticed the stunned look on my face, and I said "I KNEW I shoulda wrote it down!" I walked up and down every aisle hoping something would jog my memory, but nada. I did get the card and wrap, and ribbon, and was smart enough to have packed tape and scissors. I somehow had the idea that what I was missing started with a "C", and almost walked out of there with cough medicine before I remembered I don't have a cold. I even studied the disposable cameras. I don't know why I associated "C" with stockings.

I got 150 miles down the road when out of the blue, I shouted, "Stockings!" Yeah, Roman, sometimes I talk to myself and no one's listening.

So the first order of business tomorrow will be to find stockings.

1182 Back Home in the Mountains!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm sitting in a motel room (hotel? motel? the doors open to an interior hall, not to the parking lot, so technically I think it's a hotel) in central Pennsylvania, in the mountains, slightly northwest of State College (that's really the name of the town where Penn State is, honest).

The desk clerk/manager had bad teeth and no hair. The guest who recommended a restaurant had bad hair and no teeth. They both had nice eyes. I'm back in my mountains - my kinda people. Not pretentious and very friendly.

Pennsylvania is miles and miles of miles and miles. If you take route 80 through the state, you'd swear there's nothing here but mountains (friendly rounded walk-up-able ones), trees, and deer. I'd forgotten how nice Pa. feels. I'm starting to feel crowded in the Hudson Valley. Too many people.

It was 5.5 hours of driving, which was less than I thought it would be. When Daughter was in college, it took me 6 hours to get to State College. In the early days of Jay's illness, when Daughter needed something delivered or picked up, I would often drive to State College in the morning, and then back home in the evening. It's all highway, no towns, no villages, no turns, no nothing, and it really didn't feel so far.

I had dinner in a Dutch Pantry up the way (wow! I'm turning back into a Pennsylvanian! Pretty soon it'll be "up the ways a piece"!), and I was bouncing up and down in my seat over the menu. Creamed corn fritters! Stuffed cabbage! Wet-bottom Shoo-fly Pie! (I gotta buy a whole pie before I leave Monday. Wet-bottom. Dry-bottom is yuck. I'm a shoo-fly connoisseur.) Buncha other stuff I haven't seen on a menu in ages! I bet they'll have scrapple on the breakfast menu. I won't eat it, but it'll be nice to see it there. (Note - Firefox doesn't like scrapple either. Firefox is insisting I've misspelled "scrappers".)

My friend The Rabbi and his wife are renewing their vows tomorrow evening, followed by a 40th anniversary party, so I've got the morning and afternoon to futz around. I could call them and tell them I'm here, but then they might feel obligated to invite me over, and I'm sure they have all kinds of things to do tomorrow, so I'm not going to call. I will see him tomorrow evening for the first time in 43 years. We rediscovered each other two years ago thanks to the internet.

Daughter is feeling much better. I advised her to take it easy anyway. "Heck, fake it if you have to. It may be the only vacation you get this year."
As of July 2006, "I brake for Shoofly Pie" is the official bumper sticker of the state of Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 23, 2007

1181 Bonked a Car

Friday, March 23, 2007

Talked to Daughter and Hercules at 7pm. She's feeling a little better. She took a bath (she prefers showers, but she wasn't sure she could stand that long), and had been able to hold down water and saltines for a few hours. She said that when she called me at 2, she was very frightened by how weak she was.

Right after I got off the phone with them, I went to the deli, and backed into another woman's car. She was sitting at the edge of the road getting ready to pull out, and when I backed out of my space, I curved around and my offside rear bumper scraped along her offside rear bumper. I DID look, but somehow completely missed her. The Aerio has a very high rear end, and I guess the tail lights on her black car were below where I could see.

I now have some black paint on the side of my bumper, and she has white paint on hers. My car is otherwise fine, but the plastic cover over her tail light is broken. There are no other dents or scrapes on either car. (My first thought when I heard the crunch was "Oh %^&@! I gotta drive to Pa. tomorrow!")

Oddly enough, an off-duty town cop was sitting in his car in the lot and saw the whole thing, which actually is good, since nobody will exaggerate damage now. And the woman's husband owns a body shop in Kingston. He called this evening, and said he'd just charge for the part (assuming there's no internal damage, that is).

I don't intend to inform the insurance company.

1180 Daughter Is Sick

Friday, March 23, 2007

I got a call from Daughter about 2pm. She was calling from the floor in her bathroom. She thinks it might be her milk sensitivity, because she ate some butter last night. I think it's Norovirus. At any rate, she's rapidly heading for dehydration, sounded very weak, was too weak to make it to the kitchen. She's afraid to eat or drink anything anyway, because the reaction is so violent.

I told her that I'd come, but I couldn't get there inside three hours, so she should call Hercules at work and tell him to come home, NOW.

Hercules, like many men, refuses to see illness in his mate. Plus, he doesn't like his schedule disrupted. She didn't have to tell me this - I see it on my own. At any rate, she was afraid to call him, afraid that he would be annoyed and unsympathetic.

So, in my role as new mother-in-law, *I* called him and told him to get his tail home, NOW!

He did. Wasn't that sweet?

He called at 3 to say that she's still on the floor. She had pulled two rugs under her, and she got cold, so she pulled a towel down on her. I told him to watch her, make her drink something, and if she gets unresponsive or incoherent, to call 911.

"Why is she still on the floor?"
"She wants to be close to the toilet in case she needs to throw up."
"In bed with a basin, or a large bowl, might be more comfortable."
"Oh. Yeah."

He is to call me at 7 pm to report her progress. If it's Noro, she should feel a little better by then.

Norovirus is highly contagious, and I almost hope he gets it. He might have a little more sympathy.

I was supposed to go to a movie with Mensa this evening
("Some Like it Hot", believe it or not, I'd never seen it), but the organizer called to say that the Bardavon had canceled the showing. I don't know why it was canceled, but it makes me more comfortable. I'd prefer to stay home while Daughter is sick , just in case, or at least if I'm out, be somewhere that the cell phone is not disruptive.

1179 No One's Listening

Friday, March 23, 2007

I got an email from a friend, at the end of which he asks, "Do you ever talk to yourself and find that no one's listening?"

I've been trying for three days to think of a good comeback, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's not simply a cute quip. It's actually very deep.

I talk to myself a lot, and the voice in my head is very logical and makes a lot of sense. However, the voice is that of my parents, councilors, advisors, managers, authorities. I know I should do as they tell me, but I don't want to. What I want is not always logical or sensible. What I want is sometimes even dangerous.

I rebel.

So yeah, I talk to myself, and no one's listening.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

1178 New Glasses

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I've been reading through old journal entries. Even a year ago I had things to say: observations, philosophy, personal experiences that affected the course of my life. I had opinions and passion. Some of it was interesting to me, rereading, and I already know what it says!

Quite different from entries these days. I don't seem to be thinking much. It's like I'm on hold. Waiting. Listening to the uninspiring music in my head.


Today I got the Aerio checked out, and as expected, it was a loose heat shield. They removed it. Seems like every car I've ever owned eventually lost its heat shield. One of these days I'm going to park in high grass and burn a village down.

Then I went to the mall and got a major eye exam, four different kinds of drops, dilation, six different machines to peer into, the works. Conclusion: I don't have hardening of the eyeball or rotting of the retina. And just for fun, I got a definitive analysis of my eye color.

The doctor kept saying "Your eyes are such a beautiful color", so I asked him, "What color are they, exactly? There's always been some difference of opinion there, and you should be an expert." He said "Gray, uh, gray-blue, uh, gray-green? Gee, I don't know." So he said "Let's go back to the microscope, and I'll tell you exactly what you've got in there."

I don't know if it's common or rare, but he seemed to be surprised by what he found, or what he didn't find. I have some bits of brown right around the pupil, and some specks of definite green throughout the rest of the iris, but that's the only color there. NO blue, and NO gray. What was surprising is that most of the iris has NO COLOR at all! None. There's no pigment. He said that's what causes the silvery color, and also why they can be very different depending on what I'm wearing, and the ambient light.

(So, if I have mostly no pigment, why am I not more sensitive to strong light?) Anyway, he kept marveling over how light my eyes are. Oddly, they've never looked particularly light to me, but things do look different in a mirror. Mirrors affect color. Ladies with blue hair think it's steel gray.

I lucked out on the frames. Among the thousands of narrow frames, there was one small stand of rounder, deeper frames, and they were on sale! I bought two pairs (I am so dependant on my glasses, I always get two), one at $98, and the other at $87. The $87 ones were originally $250, and they're the ones you can bend every which way and they spring back. They're both half-frames, with the nylon thread around the bottom of the lens. The lenses, on the other hand, were $250 per pair.

The whole procedure took five hours, and cost $500 after the 30% discount AAA got me. I do have vision insurance through The Company health plan, but, well, nobody but a few private practice ophthalmologists accept it.

It takes ages for my eyes to "undilate", so that shot the rest of the day.

Dr. said there was a large change in my prescription, I'm a lot less nearsighted now (one of the few benefits of age) and it might take a few days for me to get used to the difference.

I notice no difference, other than that I can now read the newspaper.

1177 Who's in Poughkeepsie?

I've had a visit here from someone in Poughkeepsie! And they came directly, not through a random search, so they knew where they were going.

Confess! Who are you?


1176 The Painting I'd Like to Step Into

As promised -

The painting I'd most like to step into for a visit is one of Cassius Coolidge's painting of dogs playing poker.

1175 What's Normal?

"Normalize" means "to make normal". When our historical relationship with another country has been one of mutual suspicion, distrust, and reprisal, why do "they" speak of improving the relationship as an attempt to normalize it? That always grates on my ears.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

1174 I Have a Printer!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I ran a bunch of errands today.

I went to the bank and deposited a check for $1.37 - a dividend from one of those lots of stray stocks. It probably cost them more to cut and send the check. Got some cash for the weekend.

The Aerio has developed a rattly noise underneath. Probably a loose bolt, probably the exhaust system cover or something. With the six-hour drive into central Pa. coming up this weekend, I went looking for someplace that could put it on a lift and fix it. Don't want something important falling off on my trip. It took me three garages to find someone who can look at it before Saturday. Appointment tomorrow, 9:30 am.

Went shopping for an anniversary gift for the college friend and his wife, the folks I'll be visiting this weekend. I have determined that there is no nice lead crystal in all of Kingston. There are also no afghans. I ended up with a brass and glass world globe, where the countries are all different inset stones. Not at all what I wanted, but Piper has a smaller one on his desk, and I had always admired it.

Along the way I bought a set of Egyptian cotton sheets at one of the mall anchor stores, on sale, and two sheer tops. My arms look awful, because the skin on my upper arms hasn't tightened since I lost the weight, so I think this summer I'll mostly wear 3/4 sleeves. I want some very light sheer things I can wear over sleeveless stuff I already have. Old Navy had some gauzy picot knits with a wide deep neckline that seem perfect.

I visited an office supply store to buy the printer cable, and discovered that they had paper on sale, so I bought a box of 4 reams of paper that's usually $28 per box, for $7.

When I got home, I connected up the printer (the one that had been sitting over there unused for the past two-plus years), turned on the laptop, and ... it took off and installed the printer itself. It works perfectly.

Went to to find out how much I can expect to pay for ink refills. ACK!!!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

1173 Too Tired

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm very tired today. I haven't slept well in the past two weeks or more. It's not obsessive thoughts, the usual problem when I don't sleep, it's physical pain. My body aches. Hips, shoulders, neck. I can't get comfortable, I keep waking up, and in the morning I hurt. It may be the pillow. They die after a while....

Maybe there should have been at least two semicolons in the above paragraph. I probably should learn semicolon rules.

My goal for today was to get the printer hooked up to the laptop. I kept putting it off because the last time I installed a printer on the desktop, I screwed it up somehow. The PC knows it's there, the printer "burps" at the appropriate times, but when I try to send a file to it, I'm informed it's offline. I've been without a printer for about two and a half years. Saved a lot on ink and paper. It turns out you don't really have to print all the things you think you do. Only once did I have to print a large amount of info, and a friend let me use her computer. The rest has been just a few online travel tickets, and those I do at Piper's, or Roman's, or Daughter's.

At 9 pm I said ok, let's just do it, and discovered that I don't have a connector for the USB port. Ok. Safe for tonight. I'll have to go buy a cable tomorrow.



Monday, March 19, 2007

1172 Financial News

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ticklers from today's financial news:
  • Stocks spike on news of merger deals...
  • Stocks spiker higher Monday as Wall Street joined overseas markets in riding a wave...
  • ExxonMobil up on OPEC...
  • Mergers warm Wall Street after subprime chills...

Can I call it? I'd have felt really bad if I had sold out when I was supposed to. This doesn't mean it won't dip again, but the future looks better.


1171 Step In

Monday, March 19, 2007

Time to leave a comment!

If a famous painting could suddenly come alive, and if you could step into the painting, become a part of the scene, but invisible to the people in the scene, for perhaps a half hour or so, what painting would you want to visit?

The comment facility might ask you to log in with your Google id, but it's my understanding that if you select "anonymous", it skips the logging in part.

My second choice is the Vermeer painting of the woman standing at a window with the light flowing over her, reading a letter. I want to know what's in the letter, and I'd like to see the house and the neighborhood.

I'll tell my first choice on Wednesday.

1170 Financial Decisions

Monday, March 19, 2007

Talked with Daughter yesterday. Her father has agreed to retire, has signed the papers, and will be moving back east. His elderly mother's home has her old beauty parlor attached, and his sister has begun converting it into an apartment for him. The ball's rolling. I guess the main impetus was when his blood sugar got low enough that he was able to look around and realize all the things he had let go, like the taxes, car registration, and so on. Daughter was supposed to return last Saturday, but her flight had been canceled because of the snow, so she's returning Tuesday, late. I asked her what the weather was like there, and she said it's in the 70s. I was surprised. It's in the low 20s here, and near Boulder it's 70s?

According to both the thermostat and the thermometer on the desk, it's 74 in my house right now, and I'm still freezing. My hands and nose and legs are so cold. Maybe it's because there's no sun today. Maybe I'm not eating enough fats or something. I am literally shivering.

Piper told me last Wednesday that he wants me to sell all my odd lots of stock, and about half the large oil company blocks "by the end of the week", so we can transfer more into bonds and mutual funds. By the end of last week. He said that the recent severe drops in the market wouldn't affect the odd lots much (like, 3 shares of this cheap stock, 14 shares of that moribund albatross, most acquired through spinoffs), and that the oil stocks have held their value, so they'd be ok. Well, I got busy with other stuff, and it didn't happen.

I spent much of today gathering transfer agent contact information, and researching recent market activity on the stocks, intending to make the sell order calls this afternoon. And now I'm glad I didn't sell last week, and I think it'll be a while before I unload the oil stocks.

Yeah, the oil stocks didn't drop much in the "market correction", relative to the share price, not like other industries that got hit harder, but it still averages out to $7 per share. Considering that I was about to sell more than 2,000 shares, a drop of $7 is $14,000 !!! The drop in oil stocks is a temporary "ouch" reaction, and it's going to go back up, faster probably than the rest of the market. So, uh uh, I'm not going to sell right now. Piper will just have to wait.

Yeah, ok, why do I have a financial adviser if I won't listen to his advice?

He's not just looking at the stock sale prices - he's also looking at tax issues and the prices of the tax-free bonds and mutual funds he wants to buy. That's what he does. But I have a feeling that the oil stock will rise before the bonds and funds. Oil will be ahead of the average. If it takes two months (and I don't think it'll take that long), that's only two months of taxes. That's not so bad. I have this weird idea that I can take a $14,000 "loss" to buy less expensive bonds, and bonds don't grow, or I can "grow" $14,000 then buy $14,000 more bonds, which retain value. The latter makes more sense to me.

Piper's job is to recommend a conservative and cautious path. I'm willing to take a chance. We get along because he doesn't fuss at me when I do it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

1169 Green Eggs

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sore today. Hips and thighs. Stiff. Three hours with the snowthrower yesterday. Yeah, it's self-propelled, but it's big and heavy, and yesterday's snow required a lot of turning and fighting the pull to the cutting side, and backing up when it got overwhelmed. A lot. Turning and pulling it backward requires that I throw my whole body into it.

Two hour bubble bath on the evening schedule.

This morning was the annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast at NJ's, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday. The scrambled eggs really are green. The champagne is not. There were maybe 14-15 of us there, and it was good. I am burping Bloody Mary.