Saturday, December 27, 2008

2184 Oops.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I just noticed I didn't post yesterday, and probably shan't today, except for this: I rediscovered Bejeweled on my laptop yesterday. It's hypnotic. I've been pulled away from it only to feed beasties.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

2183 Bad Habit

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Well, in the previous post I confessed to a bad clothes shopping habit. I linked to a haori site so folks could see what haoris are. Bad decision.

Because then I shopped.

I bought some. If you look quickly, you can still see them. I bought:
Silky Cream HAORI with Twinkling Damask Maple Leaves
Artistic Watercolor Diamonds HAORI in Rainbow Hues
Chic Black HAORI with Stunning Midnight Chrysanthemums, and
Ethereal Pink HAORI with Glowing Arabesque Designs.
[Update 1/5/09 - Oops, you missed it. The links now take you to a main catalog page.]

Yeah, I have a problem. Especially for things like this. The fabrics are beautiful, and every stitch in the garment is by hand - no machine stitching. I appreciate.

2182 About Me

Thursday, December 25, 2008

As usual, I won't tag anyone. And, as usual, I got verbose. The original of this is on Jackie's Town USA, if you'd care to repeat it.

1. Clothes

I have too much, probably about 30 closet-bar feet, packed solid. I think I'm still searching for something that looks good on me. I buy almost all of my clothes online, from two or three shops whose sizing I'm familiar with. They consider me a good enough customer that they send me coupons, and offer me 50-75% off, at the rate of once a month, which encourages my bad behavior.

I never show my legs. It's all pants or ankle-length skirts. I love fabrics that flow and flutter when I move.

I like ethnic things that others might consider costumes, and sometimes wear saris in the summer (even to the grocery store), salwar-kameez in the winter, and haori (kimono jackets) in the spring and fall.

2. Furniture

When Jay first got sick, many of our usual activities and entertainments were curtailed. About the same time, we visited a friend whose mother had bequeathed her a collection of antique furniture. To my surprise, my huge scientist husband fell in love with delicate Victorian settees. We were living with a mix from prior marriages (heck, he still had COLLEGE crap!) and disliked each other's stuff, and just 2 miles down the road was one of the best auction houses in the valley, so we started going to auctions.

My house is now furnished with antiques, most from the 1880s. The prices we paid for almost all of it were amazing! In almost all cases, we paid half of what we would have paid for less-well-made modern stuff.

The dining room set is an 1880's carved mahogany Berkey & Gay acorn design table, six chairs, and three cases, and a Moroccan brass-bound chest. (Less than $2000 for the whole lot.)

The living room has an Eastlake inspired settee with two chairs, and an 1860's cameo-back carved sofa. I've been searching for some matching marble-topped side tables, but they always exceed my budget at auction, so I settled for some very nice reproductions. There's a little leather-topped oak desk, and a huge chest that Jay accidentally bought ($10), and the center table is ceramic and marble inlaid in a starburst pattern. There's a heavy carved mahogany Chinese 4-panel screen.

My bedroom furniture is still in boxes in the garage, but when I get the bedroom cleared enough to move it in, I'll have several antique Chinese lacquered chests, and a gorgeous enclosed marriage bed (this type of bed, but a bit different in design. Mine has more interestingly carved panels). There's also a long Victorian sofa with lines I love, I find it very relaxing.

The guest bedroom has a 1920's vanity with a 5-foot diameter round mirror (free in exchange for some paint stripping I did for a friend), 1920's Jenny Lind twin beds I bought from a friend in St. Louis ($75 for the pair!), and a gorgeous 2-panel Japanese screen with embroidered silk panels.

There are some tall Chinese vases, a lot of old Morrocan silvered brass vases and ewers, and several small Tibetan cabinets scattered around.

I love all of it, and it's all one of the reasons I can't move. It's all huge and heavy, and there's nothing I'm ready to give up yet.

3. Sweet

I'm not big on sugary stuff. Given a choice, I prefer oily & salty to sweet. Which I guess is good, because I'm insulin resistant now. The occasional chocolate craving is best satisfied with Lindt truffles.

4. City

I live in a rural area, and like it. In my 30's I spent a lot of time in Chicago, and it's nice to visit, but there's no way I'd care to live there, or in any other city.

5. Drink

A lot of water, hot tea, and iced tea. In alcohol I prefer the sweet liquors, like Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Bailey's Irish Creme, and so on. I almost never drink more than one. I rarely drink anything carbonated.

6. Music

Super eclectic. World music. Folk and bluegrass. Oldies. Classical. "New Age". I appreciate talent. I don't like noise, screaming, bad voices.

7. TV series

I don't have cable and don't want it, so my choices are limited, and that's good. Favorites right now are The Big Bang Theory, Boston Legal (it's over, sob), Pushing Daisies (to be canceled, sob), The Amazing Race, House (makes me angry, but I like the hunt), and Survivor.

8. Film

Don't go to movies much. If I have to name the latest favorite it would be "Once Were Warriors", but for very personal reasons.

9. Workout

I walk.

10. Pastries

I like flaky stuff. I rarely eat pie crust.

11. Coffee

For me it's a powerful laxative. I rarely drink brewed coffee. No matter how well made, it always tastes bitter to me. I'll drink instant, but only with sugar-free French vanilla Coffee-Mate, and only if I have a bathroom available.


That's it. Welcome to my world.

2181 For the Day

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2179 Rewriting

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Daughter and I have a rather strained relationship sometimes. I don't know how to describe it. She seems to get angry with me for no reason. At least, no reason that I can see.

Lately we've been working through some stuff - like one item every time I see her. She remembers things so very differently from my memory of the same incident. So many times she misinterpreted something I'd said or done long long ago, something that somehow became significant to her, and which she had misunderstood mainly because she was too young to understand, or she overheard me say something to another adult and she didn't understand the words or the situation, and she put her own spin on it.

Yesterday I was complaining that I'd never much cared for the idea of Santa Claus, that it makes Christmas all about getting stuff. She got annoyed and asked how I could say that, how come I insisted that she had to believe in Santa when she was a kid, and that I got really mad when she came home from school one day and informed me that she knew there was no Santa, that it was all me. She said that I was mad at her for not believing in Santa. So how can I say I never liked the idea of Santa?

I had no idea what she was talking about, I didn't remember that at all. I asked her how the conversation went. Is it possible that I wasn't angry about what you said, but how you said it?

She thought about it. She remembered that she was angry that I had lied to her, allowed her to believe a lie. She was angry that I had made her look foolish to the other kids because they knew the truth and she didn't. It turns out that that day, she didn't simply say, like, "Hey Mom. Guess what? There's no Santa." What actually happened was that she came home from school thoroughly pissed, and burst through the door accusing me of lying to her for years, "and what else have you lied to me about", are you even really my mother, and so on.

So my reaction was NOT to her not believing in Santa, I was reacting to her attack on me.

I told her I didn't purposely lie to her, that it's a dilemma when you live in a culture that pushes Santa, and if you tell your kid, your kid will snottily tell other younger kids, and you'll end up with all the neighborhood parents pissed at you, so you kinda have to let the kids find out themselves, which they do, pretty much all at once as an age group. I said that what I was most likely to have said was "Yes, Santa isn't a real person, but the idea of Santa is real, inside each of us."

And she said, yeah, come to think of it, I did say that.

So, her interpretation of what happened was quite different from mine. She had stored it as "Mom was angry because I didn't believe in Santa", expanded to "Mom is angry because I don't believe her lies." Actually I was angry because she accused me of lying and wouldn't accept that I didn't do it on purpose to make her look foolish, and wouldn't listen to any explanations. As far as I was concerned, Santa wasn't even the issue.

It's funny how many things there are like that. Many of them, if she stopped to look carefully at them, she'd see them in a new light. But the memories are stored in 4-year-old or 6-year-old terms, not 33-year-old terms, so until she dredges them up and rewrites them based on new adult information, they continue to influence her as if she were 4 or 6.

The hardest memories to rewrite are the ones stored before language, before there were words to describe them. Those are the ones that continue to influence our reactions for the rest of our lives. We may be aware that there's something unreasonable going on in there, but we don't know what it is, because it isn't in words. We reason in words, but we react without words. And even when we reason, it's built on a foundation of no words, something we can't describe, and therefore can't easily change.

2178 His Name Is Mr. Black

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back in the late '60s, early '70s, one of my favorite people at The Company was a manager in the development area, named Bob Black. The name suited him. He was probably late 40s, well over 6 feet tall, and huge - shaped like the letter "D". Those were the days when men wore suits to work, and his were always black. He had black hair, and a full long thick black beard that covered the knot in his tie.

We often sat at the same table at lunch. I adored him. He was intelligent and pleasant, and sometimes downright sweet.

One day at lunch, a few days before Christmas, he showed up at the table with a salad, instead of his usual tray loaded with goodies. When asked, he blushed and said that it was brought home to him that it was time to lose weight.

The day before, he'd been shopping with his wife, and had misplaced her. He was standing in a store aisle, craning to look over the racks to locate her, when he felt a series of tugs on his suit jacket, and became aware of a small voice somewhere in the vicinity of his knee. He looked down, and there was a little girl, maybe four years old, with a grip on his jacket, and an adoring look on her face, beaming up at him,

and she was saying, "...and a doll house, and a paint set, and roller skates, and...."

Monday, December 22, 2008

2177 Visit to NJ, Visit from Elves

Monday, December 22, 2008

The days are running together. I'm having trouble remembering when was snow, and when I cleared the driveway. All I know for sure is that I'm out of gas for the snowthrower, and there's a few inches of snow out there now, and sleet predicted sometime soon, so I'd better get in gear and get more gas and get those few inches cleared before it gets sleeted on.

I hate winter.

Yesterday, Sunday, I woke to snow. Coming down thickly. There was about 5 inches on the driveway when I cleared it, and 3 or more in the offing. But I had to clear it anyway because I planned to drive to New Jersey. At noon, the snow was still falling, and our street hadn't been plowed yet. It occurred to me that if I didn't leave soon, I may not be able to get out at all. Who knows when the county would get around to our street. (Yesterday's blog post, by the way, was written Saturday and stacked for auto-post yesterday. I knew I wouldn't have time to post otherwise.)

So I left.

Mine were the only tracks in the deep snow in the street.

The drive south was miserable. Snow snow snow. Even on the NYS Thruway, I didn't get over 45 until I was almost in New Jersey. I went through the toll booths at the end, and POW! there was no snow. The skies, which had been solid white, were suddenly clear blue. The sun was so bright I went "snow blind", and couldn't see anything on the dashboard or the GPS. They were solid black.

I got to the hotel at 2:45. The Man had already settled in and gone back to his office. I didn't call him to let him know I'd arrived until after a 2-hour long soak in a hot tub. I ached.

So he and I had dinner and watched football and stuff, and then this morning I drove to Daughter's and we went shopping. She'd done almost none of her Christmas shopping. (Yeah, she's my daughter.)

I got home about 10:30 this evening.

Since it had been snowing when I left Sunday, and since the road hadn't been plowed yet, I expected to find a plowdrift across the end of the driveway, and who knows how much snow on the drive. I hoped that the plowdrift might be small enough that I could just bull through it, and maybe even make it up the driveway. Absolute worst scenario would be a huge plowdrift. Then I'd have to park on the street, hike up to the porch for the shovel, and shovel out enough space to get the car off the street (no parking allowed on roads in the winter), and then carry all my bags and packages up to the house. I really hoped I wouldn't have to do that.

When I turned into my street, I was immediately discouraged. The plowdrifts lining the street were up to my car windows. Oh Good Grief - worse than I thought possible. I'm too tired to shovel that tonight. What on earth am I going to do with my car?

Then I rounded the last curve, and actually literally stopped dead in the road.

Someone had cleared the plowdrift at the end of my driveway! I don't know who or how, but it was completely open. No one knew I was away, let alone that I'd be returning late tonight.

There was a few inches of snow on the drive, but with no plowdrift to hinder her, the Aerio was able to scoot right on up.

Who cleared it? Elves?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2176 Dale What's-His-Name and Me

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Company sent me to Dale Carnegie Seminars. One of the sessions was on how to remember people's names. You make a picture in your head, based on some physical characteristic of that person and tied somehow to their name.

I can't do it. I can make the picture, and when I see the person again, I remember the picture - so far so good - but I can't make that jump from the picture to the name. I always screw that up somehow, usually in an embarrassing manner.

An example: There's a very pretty village upriver. Wide tree-lined streets, big old Victorian houses set back with deep lawns and wraparound porches, a friendly looking business section. It looks like a great place to raise kids. The name is Kinderhook. For some reason I can't remember that name. So I made the mental picture - a girl and a boy (kinder, it being a good place for kids), she holding a Bo-Peep shepherd's crook (hook), and he holding a fishing pole (hook). Kinder Hook. Perfect.

So whenever I want to mention that village, I see the boy and girl with crook and pole. And I think, "Kids? Children? Shepherd? Fish? Summer vacation? Bo-Peep and Huckleberry Finn? What the heck was I thinking?"

Maybe if I changed it to a picture of Peter Pan's Captain Hook burning the village down (kindling?). But that's going to make me call it Red Hook (another local village), not Kinderhook.

There's a secret method, and I'm just not getting it.

2175 So Much for Radar

Sunday, December 21, 2008

TV weather has radar. They're proud of it, even show the rotating scopes. I'm sitting here in the den looking at the weather report. There's no green showing within miles of my house, meaning that we are clear, the snow clouds have moved north.

I turn and look out the window, and it's still coming down thickly with no signs of stopping.

I don't understand.