Friday, March 07, 2008

1720 Big Red

Friday, March 7, 2008

I was exposed to one of those women today. The kind I think of as the Ugly Americans.

I took Susy to the service station this afternoon to get her oil changed and all her fluids and pressures checked. I was the only person in the waiting room, sipping my tea and reading my book, when a woman in perhaps her mid to late 40s, her mother, and two teenaged sons slammed the door open and whirled in. Seriously, it was like a hurricane had arrived. The boys were quiet, but the woman and her mother were LOUD!!! It was like they wanted the entire neighborhood to hear everything they said, and they commented on and argued about everything.

The younger of the two women was loud in appearance, too. That brilliant dark red hair that screams fake, a diamond stud in the side of her nose. She wasn't necessarily fat, but she was large, seemed to fill the small room, moved in large gestures, and emphasized her bulk with a down parka. She didn't shut up for the 20 minutes we shared the room. She was hurting my ears.

I wanted to turn to her and ask, "Why are you so loud?"

These are the kind of American women I kept running into in Europe. The ones who made me want to be Canadian.

1719 Gravel

Friday, March 7, 2008

Gravel. The snowbanks left lining the roads are beginning to melt, and they are turning black. They're half gravel.

When there's ice, the county spreads a salt-gravel mixture on the roads, then the plows come by and push it all to the sides. Later traffic scatters the rest to the sides. Along about the middle of May, the county sends around a sweeper to sweep the roads clean of gravel. Maybe in the village, where there are curbs to confine the gravel, this is effective, but out here, by the time the sweeper comes, there's nothing left on the road. It's all in our lawns, for about three or four feet in.

Here it's not such a big problem for me personally because where my yard meets the road is either driveway or steep rocky bank, so the gravel just builds up at the bottom of the bank. The only problem is that when it builds up in front of the mailbox I have to shovel it away, or the mailbox ends up too low to meet requirements.

Where I used to live before moving in with Jay, my lawn was flat, and the buildup of salty gravel, several inches thick, killed my grass close to the road, and when I mowed the lawn, thrown gravel peppered my legs. A leaf blower won't move it. I think the only thing that might work is a shop vacuum.

Oddly, I never hear anyone else complain about it.

1718 Maybe Katie?

Somebody is visiting from the eastern time zone via their Google toolbar (or something googly). Who? Confess, or I'll have to get all researchy on you!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

1717 Domestic

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Earlier this evening while wandering around YouTube looking for Tracy Chapman songs, I found this one, "Behind the Wall". It's on my album, but I almost always skip it because it bothers me.


I grew up listening to screams behind the wall, and often hearing my own as if they came from far away.

Later, when I was 20 and first living on my own, and thought I was finally away from it, there was a single woman in her late thirties living upstairs over my apartment. I guess she had a boyfriend who visited, I never actually saw him, but somebody beat the crap out of her once or twice a week. I'd hear him shouting, and her screaming and crying and begging, and things crashing.

I would huddle with my cat, curled in a tight ball, shaking. I wouldn't sleep that night. I knew from personal experience that calling the police would do no good. That was 1965-66, when men had a virtual right to beat women they "owned".

I never met her. I passed her in the hall only a few times. She was covered with bruises in a variety of colors, and she would never meet my eyes. I lived there only eighteen months, but I still wonder what eventually happened to her.

1716 In Love with the Vision

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Free advice: Never take out a loan to buy something depreciable.


As you get older, you get wiser in some areas, and stupider in others. Or maybe not more stupid, just better at fooling yourself.

I have long believed that when men fall in love, it's not so much the woman herself that they fall in love with as the way they feel when they're with her, most likely strong and capable. Of course that's a trap, because at some point some condition is going to arise where he feels inadequate. Maybe that's why marriages often don't survive breast cancer.

I think women often fall in love not so much with the man, but with the vision of what they imagine life would be like with him. And that's a trap, because eventually real life intrudes on the vision.

I guess it's hard to tell, when you fall in love, whether it's the other person you love, or the trap. You probably don't know until it's over, because you convince yourself that it's the person.

Jay had abandonment issues. Some things had happened in his childhood that made him afraid that no one would care for him. He had bad dreams of his mother walking off and turning a corner and disappearing, or driving off in the car and leaving him stranded in the middle of nowhere. He was unhappy in his previous marriage because his wife pretty much lived her own life, she didn't much "do" for him. She had pretty much emotionally abandoned him. So I know that much of his love for me came from his knowing that I would care for him and not abandon him. I mothered him, and that's exactly what he needed.

Did I love him, or the vision? Well, any rosy vision was pretty much destroyed by the brain cancer diagnosis, but I still loved him just as much, so yeah, I think it was just him.

And Roman, the Roman of all the 2005 and 2006 fuss and furor? It was the vision. I was tired of being alone, and here was someone who liked a lot of the same things I did, wanted to travel, challenged my mind, and would be a good companion for the remainder of my years. Of course I liked him a lot, too, but it really was mainly the vision I was tied up in. It wasn't until I gave up on having that vision that I realized that although I do like him a lot, still, as a person, we really aren't suited as a couple.

Now I'm in love with another. (I tease him that women see him as a "fast car", after the Tracy Chapman song (see below), thinking that he'll take them out of a life they don't like and make it all better, and when he doesn't, they get mad.) I'm pretty sure it's him, not the vision that has me hooked, because, frankly, I have no vision of a future with him. I just can't see it. He's a workaholic, and nowhere near retirement, has no desire for world travel (unless the Vikings happen to play in France), vastly prefers city living, and on and on. I just don't see it. What we want from life is so different. So I'm pretty sure it's HIM that keeps me coming back for more, not the vision of a future together.

I don't know why he loves me. Of course he says it's the brains, the thoughtfulness, my itty-bittiness, and my independence, and so on, but I know I also make him feel very strong and masculine, and I'm smart enough to fully appreciate his brainpower. I don't know if it's me he loves, or the way I make him feel.

Why does it matter? Because if it's me, I can say or do or be any way consistent with me, and he'll still love me. If it's only the way I make him feel that he loves, that's REAL easy to lose. A wrong word could kill it.

And now, for your listening pleasure, Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car".


And just 'cause I love her, here's another favorite:


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

1715 The Silk Pyjamas Do It

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I have admitted unusual taste in men. For one, I find Morgan Freeman sexy. I was gratified to hear a woman on TV today, when asked what would make her happy, answer, "Morgan Freeman in silk pyjamas feeding me chili cheese fries." The lady has taste. Well, maybe not the chili cheese part.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

1714 Bathing Suits

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Becs has an amusing post about wrestling a bathing suit into submission. I can sympathise. I had a dress once that grabbed me around the chest and wouldn't let go.

I have completely given up on regular bathing suits. I don't know why, but they just don't fit me, even when I can get separate tops and bottoms - that just means I have two parts that don't feel right. There's always either some part that is too tight and wants to creep someplace it doesn't belong and creates bulges, or too loose and I feel floppy.

I have discovered something that works better for me - a leotard with a mesh middle. Sugar Petals sells them (see The sleeveless tanks work fine. They have full bottom coverage, and enough power to hold everything in, even in the middle mesh, and the mesh makes it look like a two-piece, so they're sexy, too. I have one in black and one in tan. I can't wear the tan in public, though. From more than a few feet away I look naked. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

(I wear them without a bra, the fronts are lined and thick enough, but Sugar Petals also sells bra forms that you can tuck inside.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

1713 Sewing

Monday, March 3, 2008

I spent the day trying to find the bedroom rocking chair. It's buried under a 4' stack of sewing. My neck and back killing me now, from peering over the top of my glasses to rip seams, and from hunching over the sewing machine.

Way back in the mists of time, when I first graduated from college and started teaching, my very first purchase was a used sewing machine. I made all of my clothes (except underwear), curtains, bed coverings, slipcovers, pillow covers, etc., and I knitted or crocheted all my sweaters. (BTW - I hated knitting sweaters in sections and sewing them together. I used to rewrite patterns so I could do them all in one piece on circular needles. No seams.)

That used sewing machine served me well for almost 30 years.

Now, I buy everything, but almost all my clothing still needs altering - hemming, taking in here, letting out there. If anything has wrist cuffs, I have to take the cuffs off, shorten the sleeves, and then put the cuffs back on.

My own mother didn't know how to thread a needle. She was tiny, and took all her purchases to a tailor for altering. They say some characteristics skip a generation - Daughter is like my mother. When Daughter went off to college, and I wouldn't be available to do her tailoring for her, I bought her a sewing machine and taught her how to use it. With all her engineering and math skills, she couldn't seem to understand the concept of equal top and bottom tension. She and the machine just didn't get along. She also refuses to learn how to knit, crochet, or embroider.

She's tiny. She's maybe two inches taller than I, but a good 50 lbs lighter, with my deep hips and short legs. I KNOW she needs pants and long skirts hemmed, if nothing else. I don't how she gets them done, and I know better than to ask.

Well, 14 hours sewing today, and the rocking chair is still a theory.


Today is the first anniversary of friend and I meeting, and trading contact information. I sent him an e-card.

When you're dating someone, what does one consider the anniversary? Is it the first meeting (with instant attraction)? First unchaperoned date? First kiss? First overnight? And for us, there's the evening that Daughter interviewed him for two hours, and then approved him for dating her mother.

I think probably first overnight, because that involved a serious decision and commitment. (I'm old fashioned. One man at a time.) Not that it really matters. I'd be willing to celebrate each and every one of the milestones.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

1712 Aggression in Turkeys, and Others

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I have dinosaurs in my front yard. The wild turkey flock (I keep wanting to call it a herd) is getting big. I counted thirty yesterday, and some of those birds are huge - footprints seven inches long! I have several wild cherry trees, and every time it snows, the turkeys come and scratch away the snow under the trees, right down to bare ground. They look like a herd of velociraptors, and if they've found a lode of dried cherries, they're about as docile.

I briefly searched for an uncopyrighted turkey photo that had something for size reference, that I could stick in here. No luck. Just look at the chair you're sitting in. When they are bent over pecking at the ground, their back is higher than the chair seat.

Now put thirty of those monsters pecking cherries between you and your mailbox.


A good point was made on a talk show this morning - that when a primary campaign gets negative, that gives fodder to the other party for the later campaign.


Blogger spellcheck is back! Welcome. I missed you.


I have a younger male friend who has had bad experiences with women. They tend to go a bit nuts on him, do crazy things when he tries to break up with them. One after another. Not just getting mad, but damaging property or even him. Police intervention on some. I think I know him well enough to know that he doesn't lead them on excessively or mistreat them, to where even sane women would want revenge - they just overreact and get vicious.

Well, maybe he does contribute. He tends to shut down, become impenetrable when he doesn't want to talk about something. That can drive a woman mad. But still, we don't all pick up bricks when we're angry.

So now he's woman-shy.

I told him that not all women are like that. Maybe he just selects for that type. Maybe one of the things that attracts him is passion, assertiveness to the point of aggression. Maybe he finds off-kilter intriguing. He's a bit of a nerd, so a woman would have to be a bit aggressive to get his attention. A sane less aggressive woman could flirt with him all day and he wouldn't notice.

So that got me thinking about my own selections.

Under "What I'm looking for" in my online dating profile (moribund for the past year, by the way), I said "bigger, smarter, and faster" than I am. (Which, by the way, I seem to have found, and not through the profile.) Anyway, in my dating history, I have always fallen for men whom I found very masculine. Someone who is strong and will take the lead, who can reason circles around me, but who is smart enough to appreciate my own smarts. I like men who are strong and definite and protective. I like to feel ultra feminine around my man. I need to smell the testosterone.

But in all the men I've chosen, there's always been one thing that ends up distressing me, and yes, I realize now that I initially chose that man precisely because of that. I reject men who don't have that quality, that characteristic. Pretty much the same way the young man above chooses women with a characteristic that ends up distressing him.

Wow. This is a stunning realization! Maybe I'm on my way to fixing it.

The problem? I tend to end up with men who are not sexually aggressive. Oh, they want it, and like it, and are very good at it, and hope all the time, and respond well, and all that - after all, I choose very sexy men who reek of testosterone blah blah blah. But the men I choose almost never initiate. I have to reach out and invite. And I hate that. I know that if I initiate, he will respond, so I feel like it's up to me to decide whether he may be too tired, or not in the mood, or needs his sleep for tomorrow, or ... whatever. And I can't ask, because - the men I choose - no matter what, if he thinks I want to, he'll accommodate me. I don't like having to make that decision all the time. I have to think about what's best for him.

I feel a little guilty now, because I let Jay sleep a lot in 2000, thinking he needed his sleep, what with all the chemotherapy and so on, not knowing that the surgery in January 2001 would end even the possibility. I suspect he may have wanted more. But he never would have made the first move. That decision was always mine, and I wonder now if I made the right one.

What I want is to be taken. To be "owned". Once we're intimate, I've always said "any time, anywhere, any way", and that torn clothing is just fine as long as they're willing to replace it. In fact, I'd rather like torn clothing. Sexual aggression, being passionately taken, is what I want, and I rarely get it from the men I choose.

Of course it's been obvious all along why this happens. I just never realized that I was actively rejecting sexually aggressive men, choosing more ... passive? no ... sensitive? no ... something-or-other men.

What happens is that early in the dating dance, I lose interest in a man as soon as he touches me without permission anywhere except my hands. Even just an arm around my shoulders will turn me off. He can't put an arm around me until I have snuggled into his shoulder to signal acceptance. Any man who touches me in any intimate way (and with me that's pretty much anywhere but the hands) before the first date will never get a first date. I never knew, until now, why I'd lose interest. Some guy would grab a quick hug, and I'd think "well, he's a nice guy, but I don't think we're compatible", without thinking about why we "weren't compatible". I guess because it's not reasonable for me to be turned off by a hug, I couldn't recognize that as the problem.

The men who passed the test were those men who were sensitive to and respected those signals. Gentlemen.

And then later, after we're intimate, I'm dissatisfied when he still waits for and respects the signals.

Hmmmmm. Where did that come from.

This probably goes back to my twenties, when I was emotionally fragile, and was taken advantage of by unscrupulous men. Many. It's like they can smell weakness. Wolves. Men who have no respect for any women in any way. Then in my mid-thirties, after several years of psychotherapy, I found me, and I got strong. I insist on respect now. And I guess one indicator of respect, in my mind, is that you don't touch me without permission.

So I select for men who demonstrate the proper respect. That turns out to be men who wait for me to initiate.

How do I fix that? I don't want to trade in the man I have now, but would it involve changing a basic part of his personality? I've already made it pretty clear verbally that he doesn't need specific permission, anywhere, any time, and I know he's capable of it. He surprised me once. I loved it! And I didn't even make him replace anything. How can I make that happen more often? Maybe I can suggest we take turns, and hey, it's your turn!