Saturday, March 21, 2009

2319 Spring's Over

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I've got to pay some bills. Before I can do that, I have to clean out the car. I have a habit of picking up the mail and the newspaper on the way up the driveway, checking it quickly for anything critical, and then just dumping the rest on the seat or floor, "for later".

I was standing at the open car door this morning, sorting the mess into rough recycle, office recycle, trash, bills, and "to be read/handled", got halfway through, and had to quit and come inside. It was too cold. My hands are burning, and you can't sort paper in gloves.

I guess Spring was yesterday. I missed it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

2318 Last Night at the Halfway Point

Friday, March 20, 2009

The title sounds like a movie. A dimly lit empty diner on a road bypassed by the new highway. A couple searching for a rendezvous point, and a little bit lost. A crazed cook with a cleaver.

The actuality would have made a great movie, but not one I'd want distributed. We didn't go to the usual karaoke. We had some rare concentrated time alone together, and made very good use of it. Man, he sure can talk.


I'm starting on a new smoke-cessation program.

I have brought up on several occasions with my doctor the subject of quitting smoking. She always suggests the nicotine gum or the patches.

They don't work for me, period.

I don't chew gum normally, and I had a lot of trouble regulating the "dosage" when I tried. One problem is that the brand I smoke is extremely mild, and the gum delivers too much nicotine, even when I cut it down to 1/4 of a stick.

The patches are a bit easier to use, except that I have to start with step 3, and since you can't cut them in half, there's nowhere to go from there. Plus the patches deliver a constant level of nicotine, and that's not what my body's used to.

The third problem is that it's not simply the nicotine I'm addicted to - it's also the ceremony. Having a cigarette is the punctuation to a task. When I finish something, I get up and go have a cigarette. It's the reward for the end of a task. When I need to think hard about a topic or decision, getting away from it for a cigarette usually leads to a decision. It's like I think better when I take that break. And then there's the simple ceremony of lighting, holding, drawing, directing the smoke.

The patches and gum do not supply the ceremony, and nothing else I'd found quite does it.

The result is anxiety, because I am bereft of my calming ceremony, and eventually the anxiety becomes unbearable, especially if I have to cope with something that has angered or frustrated me.

Now, there ARE prescriptions that can mitigate the anxiety. There are doctors who will prescribe those calming meds to help in smoke-cessation.

My doctor isn't one of them. I don't present as having anger management issues, or as being someone with anxiety problems, so I guess she just doesn't believe I need it. There's also the problem that a smoker may have an addictive personality, and trading one addiction for another isn't a solution.

So, until a few days ago, I was kind of stuck. I did actually stop smoking shortly after Christmas for amost three weeks, cold turkey, no aids, and then I got very angry and frustrated with someone, and it was like I sleepwalked to the deli and bought a pack, it was the only thing that calmed me down, and then I was right back where I started.

My ideal aid would be something that provided tapering nicotine, AND the calming ceremony.

Ta rah! I discovered E-Cigs. It's a "cigarette" consisting of a rechargeable battery, a microprocessor, an atomizing chamber, and replaceable capsules of a nicotine mixture (one pack's worth per capsule). When you draw on it, it produces "smoke" (actually water vapor with a touch of nicotine), and the tip lights up.

It provides nicotine and, except that you don't light it, the ceremony! without the tars and other chemicals.

They are apparently all the rage in Europe. In the US, the FDA is trying to block their importation, since they haven't been tested to the FDA's satisfaction, so they are marked as a "healthier nicotine delivery system", not as a smoking cessation device. But the capsules come in high, medium, low, and zero nicotine level, so it's pretty easy to figure out.

I bought enough capsules to last five weeks, with a taper down in nicotine level. They arrived this afternoon, and so far, they're satisfying enough.

Of course, they haven't been stress tested. I'm still floating on cloud nine today, and I'll be seeing The Man again tomorrow, and all day Sunday. The real test will come when he's unavailable for three or more weeks in a row.

(You can find them most inexpensively on eBay. Search for "electronic cigarette", or "smoking everywhere". )

2317 Boots

You Are Riding Boots

You are very sophisticated. You have refined tastes, and you don't fall for cheesy trends.

You are naturally chic and stylish. You can pull together a great look in no time flat.

You don't need a lot of flash or bling in your life. You prefer the glamour of the understated.

You treasure wisdom. You are attracted to ideas and things that have stood the test of time.

I'm rather pleased with this. I'm flattered. A friend has her result on her blog, and she came out "Combat Boots". Now, I'd never in any way think of her as a combat boot, not in any form, but the text description came out pretty accurate, and now that I think about it, yeah, she kicks ass.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2316 Undersea volcano!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm in a hurry to get cleaned up and out of here, but I had to share this. It's an undersea volcano eruption near Tonga. The video is real-time, but it's interesting how slowly it seems to move.



Amazing photos of the eruption from those Boston folks (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites):

2315 Going out

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm meeting The Man at the halfway point this evening. It's been only a week since we'd last gotten together, and he's making noises about this weekend.

Something's up. This is not normal. Yeah, ok, I'm happy and grateful (especially since yesterday's luncheon disaster), but I'm also waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2314 Tattoo Horror

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I found another interesting time-waster web site: Horrible Tattoos. It's over 500 photos of, well, horrible tattoos.

Actually some of them are pretty well done, but you have to wonder why on earth someone would put that, permanently, on their body, like, oh, say, this one:

Some of them are very very badly done.

I wonder what one does when what seemed like a nice design comes out horrible - like when words were misspelled, or it's just plain ugly. Some of the worst are renditions of photographs, like when the adored baby comes out looking like a lopsided smurf, or your late wife appears to have been a bearded sharp-toothed cannibal, with bones in her hair and a strange nose:
And this was one of the better-done photos.

The post owner thinks this next one is a terrible tattoo, but I kind of like it. I think it's funny without being embarrassing. It's something I might even consider:

I don't know how this one got into the "horrible" category. It's certainly well done, and it's beautiful. Maybe it's the finishing touches at the bottom, on the bottom. I may be wrong, but it looks like there might be implants for the nipples. Agh!

I question whether that last one is actually a tattoo. It looks like it could be paint.


In other areas, I'm getting tired of reading about something being a "right of passage". That's what a ticket on a cruise gets you. If you mean something one goes through as a step in one's growth, that's a "rite of passage".


When The Man calls, it shows on my caller id as "unknown caller". So when the phone rang this evening, and it said "unknown caller" on the screen, I answered it immediately.

It was my lunch date.

I hope this does not become a habit.

2313 It's a jungle out there

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Well, I went to the foolishly made lunch date today, and I'm glad I did. Of the nine or so immediate responses I got to my profile (which, by the way, was very quickly hidden) Monday night, this guy was the pick of the litter.

On the good side, you can see that in his youth he was probably quite handsome - he's still attractive around the eyes and cheeks. And I think he might even be a nice guy, in there somewhere.

He was 25 minutes late, because I didn't call him to confirm, even though I had told him several times that I would NOT call, and that I didn't need to confirm because I'd already committed, and if there was an emergency I'd email him.

When he didn't get a call, he assumed I'd canceled. Not a good listener, and perhaps lacking in confidence.

His profile put him at a bit younger than I, but I think he's actually many years older, that or he's lived a very rough life. Either his photo is not recent, or he photographs very well (which is possible, because I know I photograph badly). 90% of his conversation ran to sex. Worse, I would be talking about something, and he'd interrupt, and take it off in a sexual direction just before I got to my point. I kept bring things back to where I was, kind of like a hint, and he didn't notice. (I know I tend to take 50 words to say what could be said in 5, but if you stick with it and listen, sometimes it's worth it.)

The end result is that I know more about him than I want to, and he knows nothing about me.

Ok. I learned my lesson.

I find it difficult to say "I don't think this is going to work". The only guy I ever came right out and said that to was the one with the iron cross tattoo on the back of his hand, who said he had five piercings, and sitting across the table from him I saw none, and then I cringed.

I think he got the idea anyway. And I have a renewed appreciation for The Man. He's got everything I want; I just have to figure out how to get more of it out of him.

I don't know if I mentioned the OTHER site I played with Monday night. That one was specifically for seniors, and also required that you sign up and fill out a profile before doing a search. I'd learned my lesson on the first site. The profile I briefly had on the second site says I'm 80 years old, bald, smoke cigars, drink like a fish, and I'm looking for a rich man to pay my bills and change my dressings.

No hits on that one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2312 I think I've hurt me, Part 2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I hurt me twice. Once by doing something stupid last night, and once by doing too much today.

Part 2 - Today

I volunteered at the nursing home. They were having a St. Patrick's Day parade, where the residents dress up and parade through the halls led by a 21-piece bagpipe and drum band and "floats" (shopping carts decorated by the various interest groups), and they needed about 35 volunteers to push wheelchairs and floats.

I'm not sure how it happened, I think maybe because I was the only volunteer that followed directions and didn't just run and grab someone but waited to be assigned, which we'd been told to do but it never happened because everyone else just ran and grabbed someone - anyway, I was the last to get a resident to push. Everybody else had shopping carts or regular big-wheeled pipe-and-canvas-type wheelchairs. I had a nice, but very large, lady in one of those big thickly upholstered recliner-type chairs. The only one like that in the whole building. (Imagine a LazyBoy with a too-small handle on the back and tiny serving cart wheels, on carpet. No kidding.)

Obviously no one else wanted to push that one, and I can see why. It was heavy and awkward, and the small wheels that spun independently would swoosh it off sideways if you didn't pay attention.

It had so much inertia to overcome to get it moving, that I, the smallest of all the volunteers, had to stretch out at an extreme angle to get it moving. Everybody carefully ignored my struggles, and by the time I realized how hard it was going to be, the parade was moving out, my lady and I were the last in line, and there was no one I could ask to trade.

The home is laid out with halls leading to circular nursing stations, and then halls branching off from the stations - sort of like a snowflake. Maximizes windows in the rooms. We followed the right wall, up and down the halls. Right turn after right turn, with a heavy awkward chair that wanted to skitter sideways into the walls, threatening to smash my lady's fingers, and me leaning sideways against the pull.

I had to throw my entire body into moving, turning, and maneuvering the chair.

I don't know how far we walked, but it was 50 minutes at a normal walking pace. In the first ten minutes, the inside of my right knee started to complain, from the hard right turning with it stretched out to the side. Twenty minutes in, I had a stitch in my right side. By the time it was over, even my sternum hurt.

Tonight it's obvious I've strained my back. I have upper and lower back pain, and abdominal cramps, which indicates a nerve under pressure. Bleck.

Oh well, with any luck I won't be able to move tomorrow, and I can honestly cancel the dreaded lunch.

2311 I think I've hurt me, Part 1.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twice. Once by doing something stupid last night, and once by doing too much today.

Part 1 -Last Night

Some time ago, in conversation with a friend about online dating sites, I mentioned that my experience from a few years ago turned up very few men within 50 miles of my home. They just aren't there. She said that I should check out, that they had oodles of local men. I thought I knew all the sites. I'd never heard of that one.

Now, since the medical scare, and a reevaluation of my current relationship, as satisfying as it is when I see him, I don't think it's likely to be "going anywhere", I'm beginning to think that as strong as the feelings may be on either side (I really do adore him, and I believe him when he says he loves me), it's probably just a casual thing, and darn it I want more, but I'm not going to find more unless I look, and all those other crazy thoughts I reject as soon as I think them, oh go away crazy lady - well, I've been thinking about getting "out there" just to see what's possible. I mean, I don't have to DO anything, right? Just window shop. Shake the bush and see what falls out.

So I went to and started a search. Naturally, you can't search until you register (free). And you can't register until you fill out a profile. And they must have some good text checking software, because they won't let you set up a dummy profile full of nonsense.

Ok, so maybe I should have made me sound crazy. I didn't. I made it real (except that for the first time ever, I lied about my age). And I did say I was just window shopping. I hit "Save", and within twenty seconds I had five winks, and three emails. And an invitation to chat.

I never chatted before. I was intrigued. Besides, the guy used to work for The Company. Maybe I already know him. We chatted a bit, and he sent me a photo (nice looking, don't know him), and ...

... I have a lunch date with him tomorow.

Oh crap. In the light of day I now want to cancel. I can't with good conscience do that. I'm going to have to go. I don't know what will happen, what I'll say. Maybe I'll just tell him about The Man, but then I'll come off as a royal ... um ... something-er-other. One of those people who jerks people around for their own amusement.

This is not cool. I think I hurt me. Worse, if you know what to give Google, it turns up the profile. Agh! Sometimes I don't understand ME!

Oh, and the friend was right - I did search, and there were about 80 guys on there within 50 miles. Amazing.

My profile is now "invisible".

Monday, March 16, 2009

2310 Town Car

Monday, March 16, 2009

I've never ridden in a limousine. I don't know that there's anything special about it, but I do feel like I'm missing an experience. Not so much the actual ride as the occasion that would call for it.

Thinking about that reminded me of my one experience with a limousine service. It was the early eighties, and Daughter and I went to England for a few weeks. The flight was out of Kennedy, and it was expensive (and worrisome) to leave my car in the lot that long, and the local rental car companies wouldn't allow one-way rentals. We got a ride to the airport with a friend, but getting home we were on our own. I found a local limousine service that would pick us up at the airport. They offered a stretch limousine for a small fortune, or a "Town Car" for a few hundred.

I chose the Town Car.

When we got off the plane, we saw lots of uniformed drivers with neatly printed signs. And one unshaved guy in jeans holding up a torn piece of cardboard. Took a while for me to realize that it was my name scrawled on the cardboard.

The "Town Car" was a battered old Ford with duct-taped bumpers that spewed black soot out the rear and burped exhaust through the floorboards. I hesitated to go with the guy. I had visions of my uniformed chauffeur lying tied up in an alley next to his stripped vehicle, while this guy abducted the stupid "rich lady". But he had all the proper documents, and the photo matched, and it was 9 pm, and 8-year-old Daughter was asleep on her feet, and it was pre-cell days, and the limousine company didn't answer the one pay phone call I attempted, so I gave up and we went.

I sat in the front so Daughter could sleep on the back seat, and the guy spent the next two hours of the drive apologizing for the car. His personal car was wonderful (a Mustang (which still isn't a Town Car you know)), and he was supposed to use his own car, he's a subcontractor, but he didn't want to put the mileage on it, so he had borrowed this one, and he was sure it was ok with the boss, but he'd appreciate it if I didn't tell him.

I was furious. Even if he did use the other car, it wasn't what I'd paid for.

I was younger and a bit beaten down back then. I should have called the limousine company and demanded at least half my money back, but I just didn't have the energy. I just told all the secretaries who handled the business travel arrangements for The Company.

Heh heh.

If I ever marry again, I want a stretch limousine. Just for the heck of it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2309 Maybe some progress

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Hairless Hunk was working on his yard as I passed this afternoon, so I stopped to talk with him. He's going to clear all my fallen trees this week. That'll be nice, because I was getting anxious about the wildflower seeds. I got them in too late last year, and will be cutting it close this year, but I couldn't have them sprouting and THEN have men tromping around and dragging tree trunks.

He also mentioned that he knows a good man to get me some real air conditioning. I've decided not to get geothermal again.

The old heat pump system took water from the well, ran it through a blower, and then dumped it into a dry well. I didn't want to do that again because the system eventually clogs with silt from the well. If I stayed with ground water heat pump, I'd want a closed system. But that means they'd have to bury several hundred feet of pipe like four feet deep in loops around the yard, and it would have to be in the front yard, because the back yard is my septic field, AND the yard is solid rock starting about 18" down. It would take explosives.

Nah. I'll get a regular old condenser in the side yard.

Plus, the Hairless Hunk says he can help me select and then he can install a water softener system for me.

So, things are looking manageable again.

I was beginning to feel like the house was falling apart around me.