Saturday, November 17, 2007

1558 Paths Not Taken

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back when I was going through some very bad times in my twenties and early thirties, I "seriously" considered suicide a few times. "Seriously" is in quotes because I didn't do it, and the "only" reason I didn't is because I had to stay alive to take care of my cat. But I thought about it a lot.

Another thing I thought about a lot was prostitution. Not the standing on the street corner kind, and not the getting calls to "escort" a stranger, either. More like a mistress to a few men who could afford me. Maybe three or four "regulars". It seemed like handled discreetly and carefully, it could be an easier way to make a lot more money than whatever I was doing, and I'd be in control of my time. I could make at least five times what I was making legit, doing something that wasn't much effort and I enjoyed anyway, and I'd invest the money carefully, and be fully retired by 35.

I had met a lot of older guys (by "older", then, I meant over 40) who thought I was just wonderful. They liked the way I could converse about almost anything. They thought I was just the sexiest little thing. I could have picked several suitable clients.

There were a few I found without even trying, like the Italian electrical engineer in H---ford who wanted me, but couldn't marry me because I was a divorcee, but actually offered me a "hostess" contract, covering duties, an attractive salary, and child support should any result.

Then there was the 45-year-old guy in G---burg who used to knock on my door whenever he'd had a few drinks. I knew him as one of the more successful businessmen in town, and often talked with him when he was sober, but I never opened the door to him on these slightly drunk nocturnal visits. He'd sit on my doorstep outside the closed door, and we'd talk for hours through the door, about cabbages and kings, until he sobered up and went home to his invalid (as in ill, not illegal) wife. Usually, depending on how much he remembered of the conversation, a few days later I'd find a gift on the doorstep, perfume, books, a scarf, usually something in the $40-$60 range (at a time when I was making $100 a week teaching), along with a note thanking me for my patience and understanding.

I often wondered what I'd have gotten if I had opened the door.

Well, those were paths not taken. But I do wonder sometimes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

1557 Honesty

Friday, November 16, 2007

I like to think I'm honest. I do try, honest....

I just did something that bothers me, a little bit.

There's a particular store where I buy almost all of my clothing. Their cut and sizing just happens to fit me well. I've bought enough from them that they now consider me a special customer, and I get advance opportunities on sales, $-off coupons in the mail, and a "personal shopper" (whatever that is) in the brick & mortar store. They also have an online store with an outlet section with some great deals.

I've dropped another size since last winter, so this morning I filled in my winter wardrobe.

They've got a deal going now where if your order is over $100, you get $30 off the order. Not 30 percent - a flat $30.

I went through the online catalog, and ordered a bunch of stuff, mostly from the outlet, so it was already a good 50% or more off (which, actually, is about what the stuff should cost in the first place, but that's another issue). Anyway, when I had my entire order together, I noticed that the total came to a little over $400.

I thought about that. I was going to get a flat $30 off.

I printed out the "shopping cart" page, divided it up into four separate orders, started over and placed the first $100 order, got $30 off, then started over again, placed the second $100 order, got another $30 off ... and so on.

So instead of saving $30, I saved $120.

Somehow, that feels dishonest. Very satisfying, but dishonest.

1556 Triple Your Money

Late night. Stupid "paid program" on tv, trying to convince people to sell trashy junk for a drop-ship company. Any remote possibility that I might be tempted to try it evaporated when they showed an item that sells for $12, but "costs you only $4", giving you an $8 profit, "you instantly triple your money!"

I can't see doing business with a company that can't do simple math.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

1555 Boooorrring....

When I was very young, I learned that it was much easier to always tell the truth, because then you didn't have to remember which made-up story you had told to whom.

Now I'm older, and and truth is ingrained. The difficulty in age is in remembering which true stories I've already told to whom. And how many times.

1554 Domino Pool

This is a little fuzzy (low resolution?) but pretty cool anyway.


It's not that terribly complicated. You set up the ramps first, and you can fiddle around with them until they send the balls exactly where you want them to go, then the dominoes are (literally) child's play. Even knowing that, the effect is pretty good.

What I'm having trouble with is - what starts the balls on the cues, that go from table to table? I don't see anything bumping them.

1553 Cavemen

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I loved the Geico commercials with the caveman, and looked forward to the sitcom. I got annoyed at people who, never having seen a single episode, were predicting that it would die early. Before it started, a friend told me he had pulled "four episodes" in the office pool. I'm glad he lost. Nya nya!

I've been watching it online, and loving it. The three cavemen roommates have distinct personalities, and the storyline and comedic material is consistent and believable. The writing reminds me of the early days of Frasier. It's clean. No sexual innuendo or boob shots. If it dies, that will be why. (I never understood the fascination with Two and a Half Men. An ugly show.)

For anyone who has never seen it, I recommend the episode of Cavemen that aired 11/13/07. You can watch it on - click on "full episodes", ensure popups are allowed (it screens in a popup), select the cavemen, and select the 11/13 episode. There are only two or three extremely short commercials, for other ABC shows.

(I always have a small problem with the sound breaking up toward the middle or end, probably having to do with my line speed, and if that happens, just back it up to replay a tiny bit, and that fixes it.)

1552 Third Thursday

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Third Thursday dinner was tonight. Roman, who usually hosts it, is teaching an evening class, so he had passed the hosting duties to First Woman, whose car died, so she passed it on to John, who decided he couldn't come because he has a long drive through the mountains, and freezing rain was predicted, so in a phone call this afternoon he passed it on to me.

I was wondering if there was any point in going, because the above list is pretty much the entire core group, and it's pretty obvious none of them will be showing up. It's a 40 minute drive for me. But somebody has to be there, just in case. Especially since I'm the one who complained so loudly when in the past I'd arrive at the gathering place, and no one was there.

So, I went. The only other person to arrive was The Ditz.

You know, something has changed with her. She's gotten a lot easier to talk with. We had a good time with just the two of us, and at parting, she said she was glad it was just us, because we had an opportunity to get to know each other.

Yeah. It was ok.

1551 Think

The AOL "Goodbye" screen had an interesting warning this evening:

Anything you post online can be seen by anyone.
Think before you post.

Good advice. I've had a few blog posts I wish I'd never written, not because they were injurious to anyone, but because they were found in searches by people I would prefer not to deal with. I considered deleting the entries, or at least changing some words so they wouldn't turn up in searches, but it wouldn't do any good, because the original version will still be out there in caches. It really IS forever!

(My foreskin restoration post (not one that worries me, BTW) is apparently being passed around in emails or something - people are coming in to that post from all over the world, but not usually from links or searches. They're coming direct. Weird, because searches turn up lots of much more interesting sites on that topic.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1550 So, How's It Going?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yeah, I'm not writing about people and relationships much lately. That's on purpose.

Another blogger asked people to say whether they were happier now than five years ago. He got nineteen comments, and of the nineteen, seventeen said they were happier. I wonder if that's true for almost everyone. When we look back five years, do almost all of us feel happier now? Are we really, or does it just seem that way?

The answer's pretty easy for me.

Five years ago, November 2002, Jay had been gone eleven months. My support structure had collapsed during his illness - all my friends from The Company had transferred out, moved away, and I'd lost touch with everyone else. That first year I had tried to be active. I took some classes, joined the volunteer fire department rescue squad (kind of as a payback for their help with Jay), and went to fairs and antique auctions. In November it all kind of fell apart. The rescue squad started talking about holding the ambulance on calls so that I could make it (I lived just that wee bit too far out), and so I quit rather than be responsible for that. And then winter came, and I pretty much crashed. I went into seclusion for the next two and a half years, bought tons of stuff on eBay, lost all the muscles I'd gained caring for Jay, and gained 45 pounds.

It's been a long climb out of that hole. Oddly, asked then how I felt, I always answered "Content", and I was. Asked if I were lonely, I always answered "No", and I wasn't.

Now, 2007, I've found a man who fascinates me and appreciates me. I complain about the distance, which makes it hard to give or get a hug when it's needed, but on the other hand, distance has slowed things down, so hormonal overflow is not running the show, and that's good. Daughter is married, bought a house, and is finally finding herself. And although I have only a few local friends (2 male, 2 female), they're good ones.

So, yeah, I'm a lot happier now than five years ago.


1549 New Read

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If anybody is looking for something more to read, try the blog "Witt and Wisdom" ( I haven't the faintest idea how I discovered it, don't remember, maybe through a TAR fan, but I enjoy the way the author's mind works.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1548 Gender Gap

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The 2007 Global Gender Gap report is out, at The US comes in at #31, and you'd be surprised at some of the countries that are ahead of the US.

Odd - it seems like the colder the country, the more gains women have made in education, political empowerment, and economic participation.

1547 Think Before...

Think Before You Blog

1546 Free Rice

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go to ( to read about an interesting approach to ending world hunger. Click on tabs at the top to read about it, and then click on "Home" to take the vocabulary test.

For every word you get correct, 10 grains of rice are donated, paid for by the advertisers. (Don't tell those advertisers, but I wasn't even aware there were ads there. Oops!) Every time you get three words in a row correct, you are raised to a more difficult level. I got to level 47, with 60 of 70 words correct (and at level 47 you need to rely on a passing knowledge of Latin and Greek to figure out the base of the words, because I swear I've never heard of those words before!), and 600 grains paid for, before I went into brain freeze and quit.

It's addictive. I plan to go back and rack up more rice.

Update: See also

Monday, November 12, 2007

1545 Kitty Update

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jasper continues to grow. He is now, at perhaps 7 or 8 months, a bit larger than Miss Thunderfoot, at 11 years. Thunder still hates him, and won't allow him within five feet of her. He's gaining courage, and thinks it's great fun to bait her, and is now beginning to chase her. Not good. He knows well what "Jasper! No!!" means.

He's never still. Thunder sleeps all day, but I don't know that Jasper ever sleeps. Seriously - I have not seen him sleep except for a few brief naps on my lap with his chin on my elbow. Even then, I'm not sure he was actually asleep. He talks constantly, even when he's alone, and I fall asleep at night to "Eeeep eeeep", a tree frog in my living room.

He loves jingle balls, but even better are balls of crumpled aluminum foil. He bats the foil balls all over the kitchen and pantry floor, but when they stray through a doorway onto carpet, the foil balls don't make that wonderful sound anymore, and he immediately loses interest. I think he thinks he killed them.

He's a bad as a puppy. Puppies will chew whatever they find, and Jasper is almost as naughty. He plays with everything that's not nailed down. I'm finding spoons under sofas, the flyswatter has disappeared, and I'm missing shoes and gloves.

He and Thunder get the same food, Thunder in the kitchen and Jasper in the pantry, but Jasper is convinced that Thunder's food is better. When I put it down for them, he'll take a few tastes from his own dish, then go out and lurk in front of the refrigerator waiting for Thunder to leave her dish unguarded. He also has his own litterbox, and will piddle in it, but poops only in Thunder's litterbox.

So much drama. Poor Miss Thunderfoot. To be burdened with all this at her age.

1544 Why?

Why is a finished structure called a "building"? Why isn't it a "built"?

1543 Well That's a Fine Howdy-do

Monday, November 12, 2007

You can't send holiday cards or gifts to anonymous soldiers or vets. Not any more, anyway. The US Post Office will not accept mail addressed to "Any Soldier", and Walter Reed and other military hospitals will not distribute cards or packages received unless they are addressed to a specific patient.

Anonymous mailings are returned or discarded unopened, even if it's only a postcard.

You can, however, send cards and gifts through several organizations.

See for the explanation, and for alternate addresses.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

1542 Little Drummer Girl

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I went to the Hudson Valley Hafla last night. It was pretty much perfect. There was exactly the right ratio between performances and open dance/social time, and most of the dancers were terrific.

I bought an instructional DVD from Carmine, and have been happily drumming most of the day today. I'll never be good at it because my hands get confused when they try to move too fast, but that doesn't matter. I love trying.