Thursday, January 10, 2008

1636 Bleck

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Things are not going well today. I got me all washed and dressed to go to the store, and decided to take care of the litter box. It was pretty bad.

I use a pelleted pine sawdust kitty litter because it lasts a good long time (before it will suddenly get overwhelmed), and it's easy to dispose of. I can just dump it in the woods, which I can't do with the white stuff, or with clay.

So I picked up the (huge) pan, and carried it to the woods. In the dark.

I swung it out to spread the litter, and stepped in a hole, I guess. Off balance because of swinging the litter box, I fell - into the litter I'd dumped, and then I poured the rest of the litter over myself, filling my shoes and down inside the v-neck of my sweater.

Back to the shower, and the closet.

1635 Four pounds!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lots to do today - some major grocery shopping, clean out the car, etc. I'm taking the weekend off to laze a bit and watch some movies, and do some cooking for a real live man - something I have carefully and successfully avoided (not the man part, the cooking part) for years now.

Late last week I bought two lunches from the chinese take-out, and except for a sandwich on the drive on Sunday and a buffet at D's mother's house on Monday, that's all I've been nibbling on for the past week. And yet, I've gained four pounds!

I don't understand.

Those four pounds are just enough that I can't zip my sexy new leather jacket. With the unseasonable warmth we've had lately, I was looking forward to wearing that (sexy, new, butter-soft, black, silk-lined, stand-up collar, still smells of leather) jacket this weekend. I'm very annoyed.

And you can imagine how sexy it is when four pounds makes a difference!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

1634 Candidate Quiz

About what I figured.....

77% Hillary Clinton
77% Barack Obama
76% Chris Dodd
75% John Edwards
72% Joe Biden
65% Bill Richardson
63% Mike Gravel
61% Dennis Kucinich
53% Rudy Giuliani
43% Mitt Romney
40% John McCain
39% Tom Tancredo
31% Fred Thompson
29% Mike Huckabee
21% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

1633 Recommending a blog from Iraq

I have just discovered Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal.

He's a journalist with marines in Iraq. He writes so well, so easy to read, draws you in. And he asks all the right questions, the ones *I* want to ask. Great photos.

Even if you don't plan to subscribe to the feeds, and don't have time to read everything written, you really should read the January 2 post, A Plan to Kill Everyone.

1632 Grafitti

Funny, funky:
Click here. Be sure to scroll down.

(Note to Gypsy - it's safe.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

1631 My friend's father

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I need to write about my friend's father. I posted a photo several months ago, and I'll post it again, because I love it:

This photo was taken by D. when D.'s mother was visiting with D.'s father at the nursing home early in 2007. D.'s father (hereinafter "DF") had several serious medical problems, including an on-again off-again dementia. D.'s mother (hereinafter "DM") is frail.

DF died early New Year's Day. He'd been on life support for a few weeks.

I've known D. for twenty-five years. He was a college co-op in our department at The Company in the early 80s, for two summers. He's a real sweetheart. I attended his wedding, and we've kept in touch by snail mail and email since. I was aware that he came from a large family, and judging from how he turned out, it was a good family, but that's pretty much all I knew.

I went to DF's memorial service yesterday, and I was completely blown away by DF's story, and by D.'s family dynamics.

DF was born in North Carolina in 1922, the eldest of his father's six children, although there were three older siblings from his mother's earlier marriage. His father supported the family of nine children through farming, fishing, and making and selling wooden farming tools. When DF was 13, his father died suddenly of a heart attack, and DF left school to support the family, pursuing his father's crafts.

During his later teens, he moved north for better employment. By 18, he was driving an 18-wheeler for a chemical company in Baltimore, sending money home, and eventually found a job up north for a younger brother, too.

He met and married DM in 1945, was drafted, and served in the Navy through WWII as a petty officer and drill instructor. After the war, he worked as a barber, mortician, business owner, cab driver, cobbler, and craftsman, sometimes holding two and three jobs at once. He also obtained his high school diploma from a Baltimore high school, studying at night while supporting his family, which now consisted of three children and a fourth on the way.

In the early 1950s, the couple bought a home in northwest Baltimore, and DF enrolled at Morgan State, majoring in English and Humanities. He pledged to DM that all their children would go to college.

DF wanted five children. DM wanted four. They had nine. My friend D. and his twin sister are the youngest. By then, DF was employed by the US Postal Service, the career from which he retired. And during that employment, he usually held down a second full-time job.

All nine children did go to college. The nine of them have earned a total of more than twenty undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields including fine arts, music, psychology (two of D.'s brothers are psychologists), business, and computer science (D.).

The grandchildren are continuing the tradition.

Now, what makes all this most amazing is that DF accomplished so much in the 1940s to '60s, in Baltimore. Think about the social climate of the time. The barriers to be overcome.

He just went out there and DID it.

1630 Commitment papers

Wednesday, January 8, 2008

A thought on last night's radio discussion topic - young couples who don't bother to get married even when they have children like to say that they don't need a piece of paper to prove love or commitment.

My opinion is that they aren't defining proof of commitment correctly. Commitment isn't a "past" thing. Commitment has to do with the future. If you've been together for ten years without the paper, fine, that just means nothing went wrong for ten years. It doesn't mean you were commited. Perhaps you were not particularly commited, and just lazy. The piece of paper makes it more difficult to cut and run, and shows that you're sure enough to take that on, so the piece of paper shows commitment to a future, to making it work when things get rough.

1629 Civil litigation in NJ

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Driving home last night I was listening to a NJ talk radio station, and heard something startling.

They said that 95% of New Jersey businesses had been hit with civil suits within the past x years (I missed the number, but it was like 5). That it was fairly easy to win a civil suit in NJ, because of lenient judges who allow what amounts to nuisance cases, which actually draws people to sue. They went on to say that 25% of companies based in NJ were seriously considering moving out of the state as a direct result. Many of those who plan to stay in NJ plan to raise prices for their products and services to cover the cost of litigation.


The next item of news, and I'm not sure whether anyone at the radio station realized the irony, was that NJ judges were going to get a 10% raise in salary.

1628 Election Observation

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A religious fanatic with a lawnmower makes a good neighbor. A religious fanatic with an army makes a bad neighbor.

Monday, January 07, 2008

1627 Pansies in January!

Monday, January 07, 2008

There are pansies outside the hotel doors and in the flower bed across the parking lot. Purple pansies. In full bloom! In January!

I don't understand.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

1626 Things it's illegal to say


Hmmm. I just remembered, after posting this, that I'm just up the road a bit right now from those mysterious folks at Andrews AFB. The ones who have been visiting here. Right after every post. Hey, folks - note that it's not ME saying those bad things!

1625 I'm in Ballimer...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

... as the natives say. Baltimore for the rest of us. The memorial service for the father of the friend I mentioned a few posts back is tomorrow. So I'm here. In a residence inn, with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. I wouldn't mind turning my house over to the cats and clutter and living here. Although I'd probably clutter it up pretty quickly.

Google maps said it would take me five and a half hours to get here. I left home at 1 pm, and arrived at the hotel at 6:30, with two lazy relaxed stretch-the-legs rest stops. Including a sit-down dinner. Traffic was smooth, drive was easy.

Was even able to watch The Amazing Race.