Saturday, April 07, 2007

1198 I'm Still Alive?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Forty-five years ago I made a few promises to my Gramma. I kept them all as long as she was alive. She's been gone about thirty years now, and one by one the promises have fallen aside. I now play cards on Sunday. I bought a lottery ticket. I even dated some non-Protestant men. Other sins.

I broke the last standing promise yesterday. I ate meat on Good Friday.

Friday, April 06, 2007

1197 Spam

Friday, April 6, 2007

I had to go back and edit the last five posts - I was stuck in March. Oh well, at least I'm pretty solidly into 2007 by now.

I am amused by the subject lines on spam. It looks like they just pick random words. Today's spam:

image smaller
Or of version
them whenever Forgive
I looking for serious relation, are you?
by he glory
fc Buyers GuideGifts forfrom
Re: Or multifarious
by so dear
As community
Re: chameleon lively
A stage
you be cartoon
As bernville before gualala
He wood
As earthquake
RE:Why look anywhere else? I found it here
But juntura on keenesburg
you have got new "show interests" from ladie
her whom wednesday
do in parental

That "you be cartoon" worries me a tad.

1196 Closed Doors

Friday, April 6, 2007
[Edit - fixed the date.]

Talking with Roman on the phone last night, I was telling him about the too-small house and how Daughter and Hercules need space between them sometimes, and he said, "Don't the rooms have doors?" Me, "Doors?" He, "You can go into a room and close the door."

I had an instant feeling of revulsion, which I did not express.

In my mind, there's an enormous difference between space between a couple, and a closed door between them. Space is respect. A closed door is rejection.

It seems to illustrate the difference between Roman and me.

Not to say he's wrong, or bad, it's just a different way of being, and I don't like it. I am pleased that the concept of closed doors doesn't come naturally to Daughter and Hercules.

Or me.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

1195 Animal Games

Thursday, April 5, 2007
[4/6 Edit - fixed the date.]

A friend sent me a description and observation from her friend, who had seen three young rabbits playing leapfrog, almost exactly the way children play it. They lined up, and the end rabbit jumped over each of the other two, then the end rabbit jumped over two, and the line of bunnies progressed across the lawn that way. She had seen squirrels "playing" before, but was surprised that rabbits play, too.

I'm not. I have several times seen two rabbits playing leapfrog, taking turns leaping over each other. Almost all young animals have games of some kind, games that can only be described as games because they don't seem to have any survival purpose, and the animals are so obviously enjoying them.

I've seen the calves down the road play something that looks a lot like tag. They have another game where they form a circle, all facing in, and they stand very still for a moment, and then suddenly one calf will break out and run away, and all the others try to catch her. Year after year the calves play the same games, and you have to wonder where they learn them.

In mammals, play usually seems to disappear at puberty, but not always.

I've watched adult crows play. One favorite game is where everybody forms a line in the sky, then the line loops around to form a horizontal figure 8, and the crows go 'round and 'round the figure 8, interweaving at the crossing. As each crow interleaves, alternates, through the crossing, they caw loudly. The enjoyment is obvious.

If joy is an emotion, how can people say animals don't experience emotions?


The day was spent on catching up on emails, and on the telephone. FirstWoman called in the morning, and we talked for quite a while. The Man called on his way into work at noon, and we talked for quite a while. The lady from the volunteer program called to ask if I could man a table at a charity fair. We didn't talk long, because I wasn't available that day. I called Piper to find out how his lady is doing, and we talked for maybe a half hour (she's fine). Roman called this evening, and we talked for quite a while.

For someone who hates the telephone, I sure am appreciating calls these days. Maybe I've finally just found people I like talking to on the phone.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

1194 Back Again, Again

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
[Edit - fixed the date.]

I'm back from a visit with Daughter and Hercules, and I'm so tired at this point I literally can't see straight. I occasionally pull all-nighters, and they don't seem to affect me too badly, so I don't know why I'm so tired. Maybe it was from thinking a lot as opposed to doing a lot.

It was a very good visit. A lot of very good things happened. Rather than attempt to compose an entry tonight, I'm going to simply paste in an email I wrote earlier this evening.

A few explanatory notes:
The person to whom I am writing the note, a family member, had sent me one of those "going around the internet things". The text was about how you can tell that summer's coming when young women start displaying their belly buttons, followed by a photo of a very heavy woman sitting on a park bench. The skirt of the woman's dress reaches to her knees, and hanging down from under the hem, between her spread knees, is a fold of drooping belly, complete with belly button.

And I hope the woman who sent me the sculpture park photos will not be offended. The outrage at the deterioration of morality upon which I comment was not hers, but that of the person who sent it to her.

I have edited to remove real names and insert the usual [aliases].

------------start of email-----------

I opened the "spring belly button" on the ancient desktop, and so the photo "revealed" very slowly, a line at a time. It crept down and I thought, "yes, not a belly button I'd want to see", and then it got to the skirt hem, then below, and then I almost fell off the chair! OMG!!

My second thought was "the poor woman". She probably didn't realize what was showing. I think we can be pretty certain that even if she knew her picture was being taken, she wouldn't want to be broadcast looking like that all over the internet! I worry that somehow, someone, some way, maybe someone who knows her, will send it to her. Of course, the photo may have been "shopped", and she didn't really look like that at all, but she's still a real person, and that might even be worse.

I guess I'm a prude. Am I strange to worry about the feelings of a stranger?

I got a broadcast from a woman in a retirement community in Miami, a blogging-buddy, complaining about how "this sculpture park" (in Denmark, I think) proves the erosion of morality today. Included were about 30 photos of anatomically correct statues, mostly couples in XXX-rated positions.

Now, I have to wonder, why would someone who is so concerned about the erosion of morals send those photos to 70 of their closest friends?

Ok, yeah, I'm a prude, and proud of it.

I was amazed at the latest photos of [niece]'s tummy. Now THAT's a belly button to be proud of! I can't believe how perfectly round she is. I also can't believe there's still so long to go. This is the first tummy I've seen where the word "burst" is the first thought. "Twins" is the second.

I was visiting [Daughter] and [Hercules] Monday and Tuesday. [Daughter] and I went out with her realtor and looked at some houses. It was interesting and fun.

[Daughter] is very easily swayed by propinquity to woods. She's in love with, and they have a (too low) bid in on, a house that's more than they can afford, and very tiny, but that backs on woods and a creek. I pointed out that she and [Hercules] often need to have space between them. This house has the rooms arranged all around the center, so that no matter where they are in the house, they'd never be more than just around the corner from each other. She agreed that could be a problem.

One house she liked was in very bad condition, but much larger and $70,000 less than most of what they'd seen, so maybe they could fix it up. I found some, and I suspect extensive, dry rot. I advised her she'd not be buying a house, but a lot and foundation. This house was meant for someone who wants to tear down and custom-build.

Another house was extremely ugly inside, and the tenants lived like pigs. It was really bad. But the structure looked sound and well-kept, and there was nothing a crowbar, paint, new flooring and new molding wouldn't fix. It had great potential. Best of all, it had three or four bedrooms, an attic that smelled like an attic should, and was big enough that if they were in opposite ends, they'd be completely unaware of each other. Oh, and the roof looked new. Even if they don't go for that house (it's next to a busy road), I hope she at least learned a little bit from my comments. (I had promised myself I would make no persuasive comments at all, but, well, I tried to be quiet, but she asked....)

She and [Hercules] are both frustrated that they can't find something that a) they both agree on, b) they can afford, and c) doesn't sell out from under them. I explained to her my "theory of fate":

I told her that things happen as they should. If they don't find the perfect house now, or what seems to be the perfect house is torn away from them, it's because it's not yet the right time, or not yet the right house. It will all happen as it should.

That doesn't mean that bad things don't happen. Sometimes bad things happen because they should, because there is an experience you are meant to have, or a lesson you need to learn. You might buy the absolute perfect house, and then find it's on a floodplain. Those kinds of bad things you recover from eventually, and you are stronger, smarter, and better for them.

That's only if you have been honest and moral going into something. If you cheat, or do something you know is wrong, then any bad outcome is not a survivable beneficial lesson, but deserved retribution, from which you learn and earn nothing. It's not part of your "path", because you left your path. I really believe this.

[Daughter] was surprised when I said that. "Retribution" sounded like, um, God, religion, which isn't "me". I said it's not necessarily a religious thing. It's not an old man up there meting out punishment. It's just the way things work. Actually, it's probably psychology. Surviving, learning, and strengthening from something you did not cause is easier than from something you know was your own "badness". But that's not all of it. I do believe that some things are "ordained", are meant to happen on your path to enlightenment. I believe that if you do and be "good", stay true to yourself, then things will happen as they should, and even if they seem bad, they are necessary.

On the personal front, after many less than satisfactory experiences, I have killed all my online dating profiles. If I ever try that again, I'm going to be a lot more mysterious on paper, and insist on a fast meeting, so that the dashed expectations aren't so painful.

On March 3rd, I met a new man at a weekend Mensa gathering in New Jersey. Absolutely everything is wrong with the whole thing! He lives too far away ([Northern NJ]), he's too tall, too urban, too much into sports, too into pop culture, and much much too young (46). I absolutely cannot see him walking in the woods or going to county fairs with me. But he's nice looking, has a fast and eclectic mind that fascinates me, a backstory I'd like to hear, and he seems to be impressed with something about me. Not sure what, but I'll take it. He had dinner with[Daughter], [Hercules], and me last Monday. [Daughter]'s opinion is that maybe it won't work in the long run, but otherwise she approves and says "Have fun, Mom!"

Well, we'll see. He's certainly very attentive. I haven't had that in a very long time.

------------end of email-----------

When I said "everything is wrong", I am referring to "The Requirements". I sort of had an idea of what I wanted to find in a man. (I'm going to call this guy "The Man".) The Man is nice looking, but appearance wasn't a requirement. Among the requirements were that a candidate for my affections had to be smarter and faster than I, and possess an intricate mind. I think he does. It's the first thing I noticed about him. I suspect that he can not only stand up to me, but is capable of manipulating the "Master Manipulator" (as I have been called, but never believed). He could be very dangerous.

In no other way does he fit any of the other oh-so-important requirements, like age, height, propinquity, retirement (available time), social similarities, etc. It's interesting that I'm beginning to think that maybe those aren't so important after all.
He does do volunteer work with autistic kids. A service requirement I hadn't considered.

"Have fun, Mom!"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

1193 The Uncomfortable Thing

Sunday, April 1, 2007
[4/6 Edit - fixed the date.]

I mentioned that something uncomfortable had happened last weekend, when I went to The Rabbi's 40th anniversary celebration.

Ever since he contacted me, almost two years ago, I'd been wanting to visit, to see him again and meet The Rebbetzin. (I had been searching for what to call her. Rabbess? Rabbette? Rabbit?! Turns out rebbetzin is the proper term for a rabbi's wife. Cool.)

I was happy to get the invitation. It was perfect for a visit. I wouldn't be "putting them out" at all.

He and I had started college in the same class, but I graduated a year early. I wasn't aware that he was dating anyone. When he said that they were married a little less than a year after he graduated, my thought was that he worked fast.

After they renewed their vows in the church, there was a communion. I was probably the only person who didn't get in line. I'm technically not Christian, so I didn't feel it would be right. The couple stood at the front, and spoke to everyone as they came through. I noticed that The Rabbi hugged every person, male and female, young and old. At the end of the service, the couple were at the back, again greeting and hugging everyone as they left. I tacked myself on the very end of the line. When I got up to them, The Rabbi took my hand in both of his, and we three chatted. Smiles, but no hug. I didn't really notice then. I'm not a hugger anyway.

During the reception, they made the rounds. Whenever I spoke with The Rebbetzin with people around, she was gracious and smiled.

I had stayed to help clean up. It also gave me a chance to talk with them a little more. I saw her sitting alone against the wall, looking a bit worn out. Given that she had cooked all the food (and it was all delicious), I wasn't surprised. I went over to chat, started by complimenting the cake, I think, and she didn't smile. I was getting a rather hard look. Finally she interrupted me, and said, "We HAVE met. I visited [The Rabbi] at college, a couple times, and we met then." Still no smile. I was confused, and admitted that I didn't remember. I sputtered some blather - her hard look was confusing - and excused myself to go clear up some more.

Later, I ran into The Rabbi in the kitchen. I told him what she'd said, and he confirmed it. We'd apparently met more than once. I wondered if I had offended her back then. It had to be more than my simply not remembering meeting her (although it does trouble me that I don't).

Well, turns out she was in high school when he was in college, and they had been dating during that whole time. I don't remember him dating anyone. In fact, his roommate was flamboyant (in the early '60s, that's as specific as anyone would get), and I sometimes wondered if The Rabbi was interested in girls at all. I mean, given that, you'd think I'd remember meeting a girlfriend!

After meeting me, he says she was absolutely convinced that he and I were carrying on a torrid campus affair, and there was nothing he could say to convince her otherwise. She absolutely believed it to her core. Apparently she "forgave" him, because she married him, but he thinks she still believes it.

A surprise to me, to say the least.

So now I feel bad that I went at all. Maybe it would have been better had I taken a date along. Had I known, I wouldn't have gone, and had I gone, I shouldn't have stayed to help clean up. The only thing I didn't do wrong - at least I wore a nice sedate ankle-length little old lady dress, and my hair was tied back.

I felt so bad. I wonder if I put a cloud on her day. I wonder what on earth possessed him to contact me through the college alumni website! That had to annoy her.

I wonder if she gave him a rough time later.

I feel guilty. But I didn't do anything wrong! It's not my fault!

Normally, I'd be writing a nice note thanking them for an enjoyable evening, and wishing them many more years of happiness.

Now I don't know how that would be received.

Phooey. I'm not sure what to do.


This has been a recurring theme in my life. My best friend in college cut me off completely when she met the man she later married (and they're still married) because she decided I was "after him". I barely even met him. I sent her email after I found her in the college alumni data base, several, in fact, over the past two years, and she has not responded.

After college, my best friend in Gettysburg cut me off completely when she met the man she later married (and they're still married) because she decided I was "after him". I barely even met him.

Several married men have told me that their wives don't want me around, because I'm "after" their husbands.

I'm really really tired of it. I thought all that crap was all behind me, and here it is biting me again.

I mostly didn't date in college. There was Byron, the summer between first and second years. He dropped me because I wouldn't let him so much as open a button, and then he told the most outrageous stories about me. And that was it until my last year when I met Ex#1. And yet, I know definitely of several guys who swear they "scored" with me, that I was easy. To hear some of the stories, half the guys on campus slept with me. And no, it's not that I was too drunk to remember (although that's part of the claims), because I went to exactly two parties with alcohol - one at Penn State and one local - and I'm 100% certain nothing happened at either.

I'm half tempted to just go ahead and fulfill everyone's fantasies. I'd have a lot more fun! But it was that kind of thinking that put me into therapy thirty years ago, and I know now that the fantasies are not me.

Part of the problem is that guys talk about me to their wives/girlfriends, like "Silk says this", "Silk does that". A few guys have told me I'm sensible, and they wish their wives were more like me. Yeah, sure. Then how come I could get so many undeserved rumors all my life, and so few deserved dates?

I was talking with Piper yesterday about something like this, and I asked him if he ever mentions me to his lady, and he said yes, he talks about me all the time. I reacted with horror, and told him to stop immediately. Never never ever mention me to her again!

That way be dragons!


1192 Possibilities

Sunday, April 1, 2007
[4/6 Edit - fixed the date.]

Yesterday seemed to be a telephone day. Roman called on his way to LI. He was headed for a significant meeting, and was excited and nervous, and we talked for quite a long time. The signal kept dropping (as is usual when he calls from the road) and he kept redialing, but it was ok.

As soon as our call was finished, FirstWoman called, and we talked for quite a while. She needs more responsiveness from me. That's one of my problems - I don't reach out much. Part of it is a reluctance to annoy, part is inertia, part is that time passing is theoretical to me, and part is that - ick! - "they" changed my cel phone calling plan. I used to get 100 hours a month, now I get 100 minutes, same price. Gotta do something about that.... So, anyway, I don't make long distance calls before 9 pm. All not very good excuses. I guess that's why people forget me and wander away.

Then I went into the village, and saw Piper's car outside his office, so I stopped in to find out how his lady's surgery went. All good. They plan radiation, but not chemo, so I guess that's a good sign.

Later, Roman called on his way back from LI, and we talked a bunch more.

Speaking of keeping in touch, I had sent an email to a guy I met at the gathering in NJ, some information I had promised him. He sent an intriguing response. I replied to that email last night (after a two week pause), and next thing I know, I get a torrent of emails, and a phone call this morning, and I've invited him to join Daughter and Hercules and me for dinner tomorrow evening. Wow!

I find him interesting and stimulating. I think it may be reciprocal. I'm not sure what I want to do about that. He lives in NJ (about a half hour north of Daughter, about 2 hours from here). He's also much younger, probably at least 15 years from retirement. I don't think he realizes my age - he referred to "people our age".

It's funny, I am always quite open about my age, I'm rather proud of the fact that I look pretty darn good for my age, but if he ever asked, I'd be reluctant to tell him. Stupid, because it's going to be a bit hard to talk about experiences without giving it away. At the gathering, the original Woodstock concert came up, and he said he was only 9? 11? years old then, and his father wouldn't let him go. I was four or five years out of college then. Ack!

He's rather hedonistic, I think. Clubs. Rock concerts. Likes to start driving and see where he ends up (we're talking like, Canada). Likes to put the top down. He might tire me out. I suspect hikes in the woods and county fairs aren't his style.

But, so far I like him, and a little flirtation is fun. We'll see.