Friday, April 17, 2009

2366 Tick!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I mentioned that I don't let the cats out because we have coyotes. I noticed something a little sad this morning. A neighbor got a flock of about 12 or more guinea fowl a few months ago. They are popular around here because they eat ticks, even though they're rather annoyingly loud. The usual husbandry is to let them roam during the day and shut them in a pen at night. They stick together as a flock during their roamings.
(Photo borrowed from the internet....)

They're rather stupid, and I've several times had to stop on the road while they frittered around crossing in front of me, and then I worried because when they seem to have all crossed, it's not unusual for one or two to turn and cross back right under the moving car.

I went to the post office this morning, and the flock crossed the road. Sad. The flock was two birds.


I felt a small hard raised spot on my side this evening, just aft of the center line - that spot where you can just barely see it by twisting hard. At first I thought it was a wart. I have a problem with tiny warts. I scratched at it, and --- it was a tiny tick! I haven't had a tick actually get attached to me in ages!

[5/15/09 I removed the image of ticks that had been here because I was getting a lot of Google hits on it, and it was starting to make me nervous.]

I probably picked the tick up yesterday inspecting the yard.

The skin all around the tick was very angry red. It was a deer tick, so I'm going to have to watch for Lyme. It was in a spot where I couldn't get both hands to it, so I couldn't use my usual "thread lasso around the mouthparts" removal method. I had to resort to a mirror and tweezers. It wasn't blown up yet, so that wasn't too very unsafe.

Now, every time a strand of hair touches my neck or shoulders, I jump.

Of all the beasties in the entire world, the only one I actively fear and hate is ticks.


I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Ex#2. Suddenly he's interested in genealogy, and wanted info on my side of the family. I know next to nothing, and what I do know is mostly not true anyway. And most of what he found out doesn't jive with the few things I do know as true. Just because census data says something doesn't make it true. People lie to census takers, you know.

He wants to make up trees as a gift for Daughter and Hercules, two large charts, matted and framed, which he expects them to hang side-by-side in their bedroom. Hearing that, I cringed. Why do people do stuff like that, decide how others should decorate? I'd suggest to him that just a nicely printed set that THEY could either frame and hang, or roll up and keep in a drawer, might be a better way to go.

Well, he comes by it honestly. I happened to once, long ago, mention to his mother that my mother was giving me Smithsonian owl figurines, and I liked them. She decided I loved owls, and for the next four years inundated me with plastic tote bags with owls on them, owls on glass candle jars, owl pins, owl dish towels, aaaaaggggh! Remember, this is the guy who gave me a space heater for our first Christmas.

I'm debating whether I should warn Daughter, or say something to him, or just stay out of it.

2365 More Ms. Boyle

Friday, April 17, 2009

I heard that the Susan Boyle videos (I posted a link a few days ago) have set the record for views on YouTube. Probably because almost no one watches it once. Many people have noted that it makes them cry, and they're not sure why.

From Lisa Schwarzbaum, at Popwatch:
...I'm pondering why the experience of watching and listening to Ms. Boyle makes so many viewers cry, me among them. And I think I've got a simple answer, at least for me: In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging -- the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts -- the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms. Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace. She pierced my defenses. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective from time to time. ....

Me, it's because I'm so happy for her.

Here she is singing Cry Me a River, from a 1999 limited edition CD for a charity. Sorry about the pops, every one I tried had the same popping sound. Odd that this one doesn't make me cry, probably because I just listened, didn't watch. I guess it IS the image that does it.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

2364 Pap, tea bags, and a mob.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Doctor's appointment today. General checkup, PAP test, got a slip for a bone density scan at the hospital, and an appointment for fasting blood workup. Now I just need to find a dentist and a dermatologist.

Dr. D. says what's on my elbows is not psoriasis. She says it just looks like I lean on my elbows a lot, which cuts the blood supply (I know that's bad, and I DO try to distribute the pressure around) and makes the skin super dry and horny. I told her that I've tried literally everything, from lanolin and olive oil to expensive moisturizers, and the only thing that works is 1% cortisol cream, which I use only when it gets really bad because I'm reluctant to use it constantly. She says it's ok to use it constantly. So. Maybe my elbows will be pink this summer instead of their usual gray.


I was aware of the tea-bag protests yesterday, but only peripherally aware. I haven't the faintest idea what they were protesting, or why. Somehow they connected it to the Boston Tea Party, but the situation is vastly different, so I don't see how.

I suspect the Boston connection was just to appeal to the fools who thought it conveyed a veneer of patriotism. I suspect some part of the impetus was a lesson learned during the past election - that you can appeal to the stupidity and ignorance of hordes of people and bend them to your own purpose. I suspect a lot of it was not about taxes. It was personal pettiness, if you know where I'm going. After all, taxes are lower this year than last year, and yeah, we're all angry about bailouts, but what other options were offered, and besides, the enormous deficit was built, and the financial collapse was apparent but not headed off, over the past 8 years, and where were you all then?

It looks awfully personal.

Anyway, here's a few (safe) links that say it better than I ever could:

And this one tries to convince us that it's not related to a particular political party.


A video for your enjoyment. I really love these things! I wish I could participate, or be there when one happens.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2363 Daffodils!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My daffodils all bloomed at once again. I won't be able to take pictures tomorrow, and they might be past the peak by the time I can, so I took some pictures this evening, at about 6:30 pm. The sun was very low, and the flowers are in shadow or backlit, so it's not great, but here they are.

This is the large clump at the end of the driveway:

The following is a smaller clump a little further up the drive, on the other side:

These are around the side of the garage:

There are several other clumps that either don't get as much early sun, or compensating warmth from the foundation, so they haven't bloomed yet.

This is the additional yard I found today - from the grass on the right to just this side of the brush on the left. They cleared it today, and will seed it tomorrow. That's the young helper crouched behind the tree, pulling up a rock.
Bonus photo - wild turkeys! I found this on the camera, left over from last February. The gray in front is the driveway, close to the house. They scratched the snow away, and have dug into the lawn. I think they're eating wild cherries.


2362 Pushing boundaries

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mailed tax payments today, then stopped by Piper's office to ensure that the forms really were e-filed.

63 degrees F today, sunny, gentle breeze. I was amused by the variety of clothing choices in the village. My mechanic visited the post office in shorts. Several older women were wearing actual coats. Piper was wearing his usual cargo pants and a wool sweater, and a client who stopped in to see him while I was there was wearing a heavy wool walking suit. The guys (The Hunk and a young helper) working on my yard were in short-sleeved T-shirts. Me? I chose a fluttery India cotton long tulip skirt, sandals, and a lightweight scoop-necked long-sleeved knit top. And it was perfect.

Hairless Hunk thought he was finished cleaning up my yard, but I went out to look, and discovered that the posts defining the north boundary (the woods) seemed to have wandered around, and I'd lost about 15 feet of yard to undergrowth pushing in from the woods. So there was a 200 by (up to) 15 foot triangular section that he still had to clear and rake.

We remeasured today. He stuck some metal posts in to mark the boundary, but I pointed out that the drift will happen again, so we really need something more permanent.

Ta rah! When he had earlier cleared a clump of shrubs from down by the road, he had discovered a clutch of young maple trees. So he's going to transplant them along the lot line. If they live, they'll mark the line nicely, and in this area, there will always be lots more if we need them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2361 Blowing away

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lunch with Piper today. The Angel's office is in Fishkill, almost an hour downriver, and he didn't make it to the village with the tax forms yesterday, so Piper had gone down after work to get them. So I got to see the tax filings this morning, but I didn't get to review them because Piper didn't also pick up my envelope full of input. Oh well. Nothing obvious popped out, so I told Piper to tell The Angel to go ahead and e-file. If anything's wrong, it's better to file an amended form than to get an extension.

I owe over $3,000 additional federal, and I'm getting a $6 refund from the state. Gag. Choke.

Something I found out today - under the stimulus package, we do not have to pay taxes on 2008 capital gains. I wonder how many people know that. I sure didn't. Piper says it's in the instructions, but if you're using a software tax prep package that you bought in, say, early January, is it in that?


If you're an "Idol" fan and a Simon hater, the following video will blow you away. Meet Susan Boyle, a 47-year-old country dumpling of a British spinster with cats, caterpillar eyebrows, and a dream. She entered the British version of the show, "Britain's Got Talent". Apparently in Britain, the auditions take place on stage in front of an audience.

This one may mess up your eye makeup. Fair warning.

(Embedding has been disabled "by request" for all of the versions of this video on YouTube, so you'll have to follow the link. Go. It's worth it.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

2360 Charity

Monday, April 13, 2009

"The essence of charity is giving what the other wants, not what you've decided they need."

I don't remember where I got that, but it's true. Governments, formal charities, and individuals seem to think we know better what another needs. We don't listen to, or brush away, what they want. I guess we figure that since we don't need and they do, we therefore must know better.

This may be at the root of the "making and keeping friends" problem.

I am generous. I give a lot to various favorite charities. I am willing to help people at cost to myself. I used to tell people that if they need assistance at any time of the day or night, they can call on me.

I don't much do that any more. The few times that someone actually took me up on the offer, they seemed to become completely dependent on me for a very long time after. Like because I came through for them then, I would handle all their problems (marital, financial, emotional, professional, medical, legal) from that time forward. It became oppressive. I guess I'm not as charitable as I thought.

That's an extreme. Those people probably needed a Mommy, someone who seemed sure, someone to make decisions for them. It's probably different with the majority of people.

I wonder if with potential friends I come across as too "I know what you need", and not enough "What do you want".

An example: If someone's beloved cat is in the final stages of kidney failure, all she really wants is a hug. But my first tendency is to advise her not to replace her carpeting yet. Just shampoo it for now, because her other cats are getting up there in age, too.

How many times can you say stuff like that to people before they roll their eyes and don't want to hear from you any more?

Maybe the problem with my making and keeping friends is that I give them too much of what I think they need, and not enough of what they want.

I think I have difficulty figuring out what people want. I don't read people well. Add to that the fact that what I would want in the same situation is what I try to give. Maybe I don't want what other people want. I'm weird.


An aside: Did anyone ever ask the people of Iraq what they wanted?


Several people have lately noted that people tend to avoid them when they're depressed. I think I know why. We know that there's not much we can do. Yeah, we can listen, but that doesn't really seem to help. Yeah, a depressed person is a drag, but that's not the real reason.

The real reason is that we can't predict what they might do, what they might pick up on.

If there's the slightest possibility of suicide or other kinds of harm, I, for one, would never be able to forgive myself if I thought that it was something I said or did or didn't do that "set them off". One never knows what the proverbial last straw might be. It's easier to avoid the whole problem by avoiding the person.

It's the only way to be sure anything that happens wasn't my fault.

2359 Doubly Tripoli

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm a little worried because I haven't heard from The Angel that my taxes are ready. What if there's an error like last year's, which led to all kinds of grief? I'll call Piper later and ask.


The Somali pirates are in the news, of course. What a lot of people don't realize is that this isn't the first time the US has had a similar problem with pirates. That's what the Barbary Wars in the early 1800s were all about - piracy. The pirates sailed out of the city of Tripoli (in what is now Libya), and that's what the phrase "shores of Tripoli" in the Marine hymn refers to.

The biggest difference is that the Barbary pirates were controlled by the government (the pasha), and if you paid tribute to the pasha, your ships were safe. The Somali government on the other hand, seems to have no control whatsoever, and doesn't seem to be directly profiting from the practice. So battering Somali, as some reich wingers would like, is unlikely to have any effect.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

2358 Movie Day

Sunday, April 13, 2009

It was brought to my attention a few days ago that I had never seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's". I thought I had, because I had a picture in my head, but the picture was from the cover of the novel, which I'd bought but never read. How odd.

So I watched it today, in 14 6-9 minute YouTube segments.

It wasn't at all what I thought.

I didn't like it.

I think one of the determinants of whether I like a movie or not is whether I like or can identify with the protagonist(s). Whether that's a reasonable judgment or not is immaterial. It just is.

The only one I liked in this movie was Cat.

2357 Remember your jump rope?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This is the Kings Firecrackers, a performance jump rope team of talented 4th-8th graders from the Kings Local School District in Ohio. They practice 2 hours a day six days a week during the performance season.

The video made me cry, literally, tears running down my face. These are babies! The precision! The energy!

It starts out sort of ordinary, but then they get rockin! By the end *I* was out of breath.

Sorry I couldn't imbed it, but the link is safe.

(If you let it keep going, there's more.)

If you don't like going to links in blogs, I found this version on YouTube, but the video quality isn't very good. In fact, it's pretty bad. You completely miss the details. Please go to the link above.