Saturday, December 06, 2008

2148 Saturday?

Saturday, December 5, 2008

Saturday already? I'm pretty out of it, mentally.

The good news is that the friend that I was worried about doesn't have what he feared (colon cancer). What the tests showed is unlikely to kill him (sciatica - no pain but it stopped peristalsis), but if he doesn't take care of himself it could be pretty uncomfortable. And he doesn't exactly have a history of taking care of himself. He seems to think that the immune system is a myth, and just because he can operate on three hours sleep a night it's ok to do so, and he doesn't eat right and never drinks water, and doesn't exercise, and doesn't pay any attention to what his body is trying to tell him, and yeah, that all bugs me. So, anyway, I'm not going to worry about it any more. It's all his. Pain is ok. Dying's not.

Actually, I'm trying to convince me to stop worrying, but, well, I'm not sure I believe him. Nerve problem in the lower back was what I had suggested to him could be the problem. I'm suspicious. He's not the most truthful person I've ever met.

Friday, December 05, 2008

2147 AP Thud

Friday, November 5, 2008

There's something in the news today that I'd love to comment on, but I can't. At bottom of the article is this note:
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Note that it doesn't say that I can't copy their sentences. It says I can't even "rewrite" any of "the information".

That means I can't mention any facts, or even that such-and-such happened, even if I give credit as to where I read it. Apparently AP thinks they own the names of the people involved, the where/what/when/who, indeed the entire incident.

Duh? Isn't that going just a little too far?

I propose that we ALL write to AP and insist on written permission before we discuss each item of the daily news around the watercooler (that's "broadcasting", you know). Let's overwhelm them.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

2146 Bits

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I got nuttin' today. Brain is frizzed. Instead, I'll send you to The Eggcorn Database. Fun browsing.


For a very long time now, since I moved the blog and turned off searchability for the first few months, I've been invisible to search engines. It takes a while to work your way back up in the search lists, and that was fine. I don't want to be found. Fine, except that I sort of missed seeing the very strange search combinations that got people here.

Well, Google sent someone in England here yesterday. The search args were "was raped by red dawg me bartender". Leaves one wondering what they were really looking for.

And I thought it was finally safe to talk about Deputy Dawg....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

2145 Health Plan

Wednesday, November 3, 2008

On November 21 I mentioned making the health plan selections for next year. What I didn't mention was that I had to do it by telephone, with no information as to what local doctors were in or out of network. One was supposed to log on to the website, where one would be able to explore details. This one tried, and this one screwed it up and got locked out.

They wanted my SS#, and insisted that I had a pin. I swear I've never been to this site before, so I tried three likely passwords, and they didn't work. So the system then asked me a "security question", namely, what was my first pet's name. (How would they know - I've never been here before!) I hate that question, because sometimes I'm sure my first grade kitten's name was Missy and other times I'm sure it was Misty. So sometimes I use my first dog, but that's not good because there are several ways to spell his name. It's not like he had a driver's license! So whenever they offer that question at setup, I ALWAYS request a different one, so that's another reason I'm sure I'd never been to this site.

I really think they were jerking my chain.

Anyway, after I failed the pet name three times, they threw me out and locked me out forever. I wonder how many other people got locked out.

Yesterday I got a letter from The Company telling me to log onto the site and verify my choices. I'm still locked out. They didn't even bother trying the pin diversion again. So I called technical support and got a new pin, and verified my choices.

And this time I was finally able to get some info on what providers are in network. The good news is that my current GP is.

The bad news is that practically no one else is.

I have a "choice" of one dentist, 17 miles away across the river, who ominously does not have the "accepting new patients" mark next to his name, and, should I need it, one oncologist, who is also not accepting new patients. Several opthamologists and dermatologists, though (all across the river). I guess I can get that mole looked at, but it better not be bad.

When Jay was sick, the insurance folks were so good to us. Even helpful and accommodating. I'm afraid those days are long over.

2144 Foreboding

Wednesday, November 3, 2008

I've been trying to get to bed earlier, and up earlier lately. My bedtime tends to slip, and it had got to where I was going to sleep about 4 or 5 am and then not waking until 11 or noon. That means I had about 5 hours of daylight every day, and I thought that might be contributing to my malaise.

So I pulled an all-nighter one night last week to guarantee being tired, went to bed the next day at 11 pm, got up at 7ish, and that seemed to work. I kept it up for a few days, and was beginning to like it.

I blew it last night. I got to sleep around 3 am, and got up at 9 this morning. And I awoke feeling awful.

Several friends and acquaintances have been laid off within the past few weeks. Old friend NJ had surgery for colon cancer, and by her choice has dropped out of sight, none of us know how she's doing. And one particularly dear friend may be seriously ill (scheduled for tests today, it doesn't look rosy, and he has no health insurance). So there's a lot of depressing stuff going around.

And the new car for Daughter (her car is 10 years old) isn't going to happen in this economy. Not to mention my new car. (Sob. I so wanted a new, my-first-choice car. I've driven ultra-cheap new or used cars all my life, practical stuff, and before they take the keys away from me, just once, I want a fun sexy car.)

And the medical plan stuff. And, and, and....

So anyway, there's plenty of things to worry about.

When I woke this morning I felt awful. My stomach felt so queasy I reviewed what I'd eaten last night. It had that "this is not good" feeling, which quickly grew into a "death is imminent" feeling. I was very aware of my mortality. I was frightened. I thought of all the things that could be wrong with me. I looked around the house and thought "I'm not ready." I felt like something disastrous was going to happen.

It lasted about an hour. I'm still a little shaken.

I don't like it. I think there are people who have that feeling often. I guess I ought to clean and organize the house and files, though, just in case.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

2143 My Cats Are Starving

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cats are pretty smart. They can figure things out and plan attacks, how to find the good spots and avoid the bad. They don't usually learn "behaviors", like sitting on command or shaking hands, but that's because unlike dogs, they see no compelling reason to do so.

One of my previous cats figured out how to open all kinds of doors, She used to open the back door to let the dog out, and open it again to let him in (well, maybe that part wasn't so smart). If she got hungry, she'd open the refrigerator and check out what was on the shelves. You'd open the door to get an apple or something, and she'd be sitting there inside (well, maybe that part wasn't so smart).

My current felines know that Mommy feeds them when she gets up in the morning, midday, and before she goes to bed. They know the morning and night food is dry, which Mommy pours from a crinkly bag. They know the food is always put in a particular dish - a black one in the kitchen for Thunder and a white one in the pantry for Jasper, always the same dishes - and they know they are not to touch the contents of the other's dish. It's a very ritualized process.

So, howcum, when it's morning or evening, and I pour dry food from a crinkly bag into the black dish in the kitchen and the white dish in the pantry, howcum if it's a new flavor,


I don't understand.

Monday, December 01, 2008

2142 New Template

Monday, December 1, 2008

Well, I bit the bullet and upgraded to Blogger's new template format. I'd been putting it off for months because I was afraid I'd lose the links and gadgets over there on the right. I think I figured it out.

There are a few things I'd like to change. I'm not too thrilled with the dark blue background, for one, but the dohickey for changing colors doesn't seem to allow a choice on that, and if I pick a different basic template now, I'd have to do all the links and gadgets all over again. I think. I'm not too sure. And the text area seems narrower than the old format. Not sure how I feel about that.

Well. It's done for now.


Later - Tried another template, got rid of that dark blue. The pinks still aren't muted enough, but if I can get the code for the colors I want elsewhere I now know where to plug them in. Eventually.

2141 Wolves. Do They Still Exist?

Monday, December 1, 2008

In an earlier post, I used the phrase "like wolves can sniff out rabbits" to refer to men who victimize women. That kicked off a thought.

Prior to Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem (whom a lot of people thought I looked like back then) and all the rest, men who sexually preyed on women were called "wolves". Like the new secretary at work would be advised to avoid talking with George, the salesman, because "He's a wolf." That was the term back then, and it most definitely was not a term of respect.

Women used the word "wolf". Men mostly didn't. One man would rarely refer to another as a wolf.

Nowadays, the term seems to be "player" (I guess, I confess I'm not up on the current terminology).

There are two big differences between now and then, the '60s. "Player" implies more of an equality between the player and playee than "wolf" does. It implies that women do have more power than they used to have. That's good. Second, although men back then didn't refer to another as a wolf, they now will call another man a player - and the sad part is that there's an element of envy and respect when they do. That's very sad.

I get annoyed when young women refer to themselves or each other as "chicks". It's easy to figure out why it bothers me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

2140 Photo, 1969

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Me (left) and Jean (right) in 1969

It's a Polaroid photo, so it's more faded and battered than age would justify.

I had left the town where I'd started teaching in the summer of 1967, when Ex#1 got out of the army and we moved to Lansdale, Pa. In 1969 I came back to visit Jean. That's a wig I'm wearing. They were very popular then. That's not a wig she's wearing.

2139 The Incident - Part 3 of 3

Sunday, November 30, 2008

(Read 2134, Part 1 and 2136, Part 2 first.)

In 1966 it was next to impossible to make a rape charge stick without witnesses ((unless the guy was black, the only human less believable than a woman, nice period in our history)). In most states, if the guy was white, a woman needed a minimum of two witnesses. Even if she had witnesses, her demeanor, clothing, makeup, and sexual history were pertinent to the case, even though the man's were not. The second wave of feminists got us a lot more than almost equal pay, folks. The only way we were more free then than many of the world's currently "oppressed" women is that we didn't have the burka.

In those days, "date rape" didn't exist. There was no such thing. If she knew the guy, and was with him willingly, then it wasn't rape. She obviously led him on, she wanted it or she wouldn't have been with him, and if she yelled rape after, it's just because she's mad at him. All rapes were violent by definition, and by strangers, and if the woman wasn't badly injured, then it was all her fault because she didn't fight hard enough. After all, we all know "a man can't run with his pants around his ankles." She would get no sympathy from anyone. This is absolutely true. Women didn't report rape because they'd be torn to shreds if they did.

As the deputy had pointed out, the desk clerks would testify that I went to the room with him willingly. I didn't need to think about that. It was just the way it was. I had bruises. No broken bones, no cuts, no bullets. A few chunks of hair missing. End of story. Stand up and move on.

I had completely forgotten about Jean. Didn't think of her until Saturday morning, when I realized I needed to talk with someone. I needed support and sympathy. I also needed to apologize for leaving her in the lurch.

As it turned out, she had arrived at the hotel only a few minutes after I'd left the bar. Believe it or not, before she even sat down, her brother showed up, and she left with him. She thought I was late, so she'd left a note with the bartender (who denied I'd been there), to tell me she'd found a ride. She asked me why I was late.

I said, "Well, Deputy So-and-so ....", and I got only that far when she laughed, "Oh, Deputy Dawg! Yeah, I can see why he'd slow you down. Every woman in town gets hassled by him if she's alone in a car at night. The SOB tries to get sex services in exchange for dropping bogus charges. Everybody knows about him. He stopped So-and-so just the other night, and when he made her get out of the car and grabbed her breasts, she kicked him in the crotch. I don't know why he thinks he can get away with it. Well, it's ok. I got home. Sorry it was a problem for you."

I was stunned. I didn't tell her what happened. How stupid I had been.

So it really was all my fault?

I crashed and burned. "They" were right. This was the proof. I was stupid. I couldn't do anything right, and others could tell that just by looking at me. That's how he knew he could get away with it. That's why whoever had called him to the hotel knew that, too. It was all my fault. There's something very wrong with me, and everyone can see it.

I lost me for the next fifteen years.


The first ten years were very bad. I was raped (technically) more times than I care to count, and it didn't take physical violence to do it. I thought it was pretty much my lot in life. Like that was my role, to be the victim. Somebody has to do it. What's weird is that there are men who make it a habit to victimize women, and those men can unerringly identify women who can be used - the naive or needy women who need only a few kind words to turn their heads, and then are easily coerced. Like wolves can sniff out rabbits. They know exactly the right words to say, precisely how to defuse her feeble defenses.

What you need to understand is that I, my mother, and my siblings were all regularly brutally beaten by my father, told how stupid and useless we were, how everything that happened to us was our own fault, and we deserved it. I'd been beaten to unconsciousness many times. My next younger brother and I tried to get help - police, teachers, doctors - and we were always told "just don't make him mad". Which was a way of telling us that it was our own fault. Note that "domestic violence" wasn't known then - the term didn't even exist as a concept. The prevailing social attitude was that a man had a right to beat his wife and children to "keep them in line", and in fact even had a responsibility to do so. If a man didn't beat his family, it was because they were well behaved.

In high school, outside of the home, I had a pretty good life. I had good friends, and dated some nice boys, and none of them ever acted even remotely like my father. In 1966, in that small town, where I was liked, and appreciated, and successful, I thought maybe I was not stupid, not useless, that maybe I did deserve a good life. Maybe I could really do it. Maybe my father was wrong.

And then the deputy, the symbol of town authority, took that silly dream away from me. Over the next decade I met many men like him. Most were more subtle. They'd tell me they liked me. I'd think they liked me. They didn't. They just wanted to get me alone, just once. And then they'd say, I heard it over and over so it must have been true, right?, "You wanted it. You know you wanted it. You can't walk around looking like that and not want it."

I looked and smelled like rabbit.

I spent much of my adult life afraid of men. I was deathly afraid of angering men. I acted, behaved, became whatever seemed to elicit approval from men. I lost myself.

I was 37 years old before I figured out that it wasn't me, that I was neither bad nor stupid and never have been, that the problem was all in them, they were the bad people, and yes I was wrong to believe them, but that's the only way I was wrong.

The real me, the me I am inside, is pretty darn ok.

Since that realization, no man has coerced me, physically or mentally, into doing anything I myself didn't choose to do. I have been lied to by men, and misled, and taken advantage of, but that's different, because there was a grudging acknowledgment of equality in there. That's human, not rabbit, so that's ok.