Saturday, May 23, 2009

2406 Kitchens

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I was thinking about all the houses I'd lived in, in the 29 years between college and moving into this one in 1994. I remember layouts, floor plans, flooring and lighting. I remember cleaning, decorating, making pillows and curtains, landscaping and gardening. I remember the bathrooms, and doing laundry. I remember bedrooms and basements and attics. I remember almost everything about every room in every house - except the kitchens and cooking.

It's no secret I hate cooking. Nothing important ever comes out right, no matter how closely I follow the recipe.

The kitchens are a blank.

The only thing I can (vaguely, and not consistently) remember about any of the kitchens is washing dishes. The locations of sinks, appliances, cabinets, tables is all a mystery. Except for this house, I don't remember cooking a single meal in any of the kitchens. Many of the houses had eat-in kitchens, where we ate the majority of meals, but I have no memory of ever eating there. I remember grocery shopping and meal planning. One assumes I must have cooked, but I have no memory of actually having done it.

Weirder, I can remember almost every detail about other people's kitchens, even if I visited only briefly. I remember their kitchens even better than other rooms. Other people's kitchens stand out in my memory.

I wonder why I block out my own kitchens.

2405 Bits

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Most people have heard the urban legend of the woman "shot" in the back of her head, and holding her brains in (see Snopes, Well, I discovered that although unlikely, it may have been possible.

It was 84 degrees in my kitchen yesterday. I'd left a tube of refrigerator croissants, garlic flavored, on the counter. I was in the den when I heard a gunshot. Checked outside, nothing (hunters in the woods are not unusual). A little later, attracted to the kitchen by the strong odor of garlic, I found a swelling rope of croissant dough oozing from the end of the tube and hanging halfway down the cabinet. I still haven't found the blown-off end cap.


Product endorsement: I love Peter Luger Steak House Old Fashioned Sauce! I recommend it highly on steaks and burgers. At home, when there's nobody to see, after I finish the meat I lick the plate. Yummy.

It has to be kept refrigerated even before opening, so you'll find it in a refrigerated case in the store (and you shouldn't find it on a table in a restaurant).


The Snopes folks, commenting on a political spoof email that some people were forwarding as real news, pointed out that the author (and this cracked me up, as it's one of my guaranteed chain-jerkers) didn't know the difference between "lose" and "loose", and the article was full of misspellings, bad grammar, and poor punctuation, and "this is a major clue" to spoofs, spam, and phishing emails.

Yes. Grammar and spelling are the primary way I decide whether a writing is to be taken seriously or not. And that's one reason why I get very angry when I find sloppy professional writing. I'm afraid it will eventually get to the point where you can't judge how seriously to take anything any more - and this at the same time that there's an explosion of unmoderated and unedited information.

People will end up accepting any information they like and rejecting any information they don't like, because they have no other way to judge. Yeah, stupid people already do that, but we're in major trouble (and primed for manipulation) when even intelligent people start doing it.

(I realize it's not as simple as that. But it's definitely a factor among others.)


A bit of unexpected humor:
The Maury Show is mainly about paternity DNA tests these days. Lots of drama, couples screaming at each other, confessions of infidelity, accusations of whoredom, women who bring in five men one after another looking in vain for the baby-daddy, "can't be my baby 'cause he don't look like me!", victory dances when the test is negative. Sigh.

Yesterday I clicked "Display" on the tv remote. That gives me a description of the program. The description for The Maury Show -
A cheeringly compassionate journalist helps bring families and friends together by learning [sic] how to set aside their differences to work towards [sic] a common goal.
I cracked up.


On the 6th day God made man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor.


An observation from Field, at The Field Negro: "Is it just me, or do you all get the same feeling that [some] republicans are just praying that we get attacked before the reign of O is over?" (The "some" is his, not mine.)

Frankly, I wouldn't put it past Cheney to set something up.


I found an interesting website,, which describes itself as "The Critical Thinker's Guide to News, Politics, Religion, and Business". Check it out. They want you to register, but you can ignore that if you don't care about leaving comments.


The lose/loose confusion is a pet peeve. Another is growing. I am shocked to find the same thing happening to "site" and "sight", in sentences like "He is loosing site of the goal." Shiver...cringe ...bang head on desk.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2404 Competitive Consumerism

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another (very young) blogger was complaining that it looks like her future will consist of day after day of working, into her whole future, just so she could buy things, and how materialistic it all is.

I like the comment I left, and decided to repeat it here. It pretty much expresses my philosophy:
"The less stuff you need to buy to keep yourself content, the more you can save, and the sooner you can retire and do what you want. Happiness lies in avoiding competitive consumerism. "
"Competitive consumerism." I like that. It expresses the fallacy in needing bigger and better than the neighbors' stuff, the "right" labels. It bestows the contempt it deserves. I can't believe it came out of my head.

Let's get up some kind of movement to end it. Who's with me?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2403 Another sidebar giggle

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Um, wear black lipstick?

2402 Succession

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To clear up a misconception, yes, the Constitution lists succession to the presidency, and yes, the Speaker of the House is listed as third in line. However, this does not mean that if the president dies, and then a few days or months later the vice-president dies, that Nancy Pelosi becomes president.

The constitutional line-up is followed only if the president and vice-president both are incapacitated at or about the same time.

If the president is killed, one of the first duties of the vice-president after being sworn in as president is to appoint a new vice-president. That new vice-president is now the second in line. If something then happens to the new president, the appointed vice-president succeeds and appoints a new vice-president. So it's possible to end up with a president and a vice-president neither of whom were ever elected to any office.


The above explanation seemed necessary because of Elizabeth of The View getting all het up over Nancy Pelosi's claims that she had been misinformed by the CIA about torture. Elizabeth says that Nancy should resign as Speaker of the House, on the grounds that she's third in succession, and is now incapable of governing because she's lost credibility. (Duh, Elizabeth, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we have a recent president with no credibility, whom you thought was doing just fine?)

Anyway, "third in line" isn't as close as Elizabeth seemed to think (especially if the president and vice-president can put in place a kind of "living will", naming successors should something happen to them or to each other. That's not the kind of thing you don't consider until it happens).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2401 Failings

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I make to-do lists. There's often one consisting of small things for the day, and one of bigger projects that need doing sometime soon. I usually get through the small stuff in reasonable time, but I have a big problem with the big stuff.

I prioritize the major projects, and then do them in order. Or that's the intent, anyway.

The problem is that some of those projects are physically or mentally onerous, and I just plain don't want to do them. When I hit one of those on the list, it stops. I know I have to do that item, and I feel guilty about procrastinating, and I know it's more important than the next thing on the list, so I don't do anything else on the list because I know I really have to do this item first ... and the end result is that nothing gets done at all, often for months and months.

I hate when I do that.


When my mother was a few years younger than I am now, I sent Daughter to Florida for a few weeks to get to know her grandmother and cousins.

When she came home, she said she got tired of her grandmother really quickly. Why? Because she complained constantly, about everything. If they went for a walk, she complained about the neighbors' lawns, or their dogs, or the weather. In restaurants she complained about the service, or the food. In the mall she complained about shoddy products, or prices, or the way teens were dressed. On and on. She didn't seem to appreciate or like or enjoy anything.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm turning into my mother. If this journal lately is any indication, I am.

That's a frequent complaint about older people - that they complain all the time.

I don't know why others complain, but I know why I do. After 60 plus years of living, you've seen a lot. You pretty much know what works and what doesn't, what is worthy and what's not. You see things and relationships more clearly. Somehow, you expected things, society, to get better. You expected positive evolution. Instead, it looks like everything is going to Hell in a handbasket. You lose patience with obvious stupidity.

Like, doesn't it bother anybody else that kids today (there's a senior term for you) seem to read nothing except what each other writes - badly?

Does the phrase "my fiance and our three kids" infuriate you?

How did "right" and "entitlement" get so confused?

We feminists didn't fight for equality so that girls could send sexual messages that undermine respect. Look at how men dress for the office, and then look at how magazines, television, and movies depict women's office attire, and then all the young women who seem to think that's the expected way to dress - too tight, too low, too short. I want to slap them.

And so on, and on, and on.

Y'all should be grateful that seniors just complain. Deep down, they'd like to slap some sense into just about everybody.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2400 Annoyed

Monday, May 18, 2009

Frost warnings for tonight. High twenties low thirties predicted. It might get all the way up to a high of 50 F tomorrow.

I don't understand.


I got annoyed at the morning news. They did a piece on a woman with a "pea-sized" brain tumor who had a new, immediate, non-invasive treatment "by robot! whoop whoop" which required very little recovery time.

Of course that drew my attention.

They then showed a focused narrow beam radiation doohicky swinging around her head, shooting beams from multiple directions, all of which converged on the tumor.


That's fractionated radiosurgery. It's not new! It's been around for more than a decade. Jay had it in 2000. The improvement is not the "robot" or the converged radiation. It's the preparation that's improved enormously.

Back when Jay had it, the radiologist had to map the beam directions by hand, so that they could enter and exit from as many directions as possible, all crossing at the tumor, without hitting certain areas of the brain, the eyes, the optic nerves, throat, and so on. He then fed the coordinates to the machine.

The big news is not the "robot". It's that now that CAT and MRI scans are digital, a computer can do the mapping, and feed the coordinates directly to the machine. That's faster, but not a great leap in "robotics".

But I guess that's not as sexy a story.

It also annoyed me that they presented it as a cure. Like, just snap your fingers, ten minutes with the machine instead of 10 hours in surgery, and voilĂ , all fixed. Yes, they actually said something like that.

Sorry folks, but if her tumor was malignant (which, without biopsy, they don't really know), this probably bought her six to nine months, and it can't be repeated. So she is likely to end up in surgery anyway. If it's operable. Otherwise, she's SOL.


The Man and I were supposed to get together again this week, but a work emergency has come up, and it may be another two weeks. Hearing this, I of course got annoyed and depressed.

Thinking about it, I realized that over the past two years, almost all my interests have died one by one, and my life has devolved to The Man, Daughter, and the internet. I don't do much of anything else any more.

  • The only bar in the village has closed, so there's been no afternoons of throwing the bull with the guys for a long time now.
  • Since the market dip, Piper has been too busy for our walks, and manages lunch only about once a month now instead of the old once a week.
  • Friends have gradually moved away, or have become much less active (I'm surprised at how many people my age have aged so quickly).
  • I've gradually wandered away from the dance community. I find I've lost interest in shows and haflas. I went to Rakkasah Spring Caravan only because the Gypsy needed someone to work her sales booth while she rehearsed and danced. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone.
  • I haven't been to a Mensa activity since February, when I realized that of the ten people I'm most likely to see at functions, I enjoy only three of them. The other seven are major stressors, and I don't need that. So I see Roman, Angie, and Nate occasionally outside Mensa, and since Roman has realized that, after two years, The Man is not a flash in the pan, his phone calls and invitations to lunch have tapered off. I guess we weren't friends after all. He was just waiting for another chance at reconciliation. ('Taint gonna happen!)
  • Last month I resigned as Mensa Ombudsman when I realized that there were some conflicts brewing, friends would call or email and tell me about shouting matches in restaurants, and it looked like FW would be at the middle of all of them. I don't care to mediate a conflict involving FW (whom The Man teasingly calls my psycho ex-girlfriend).
  • And so on.

I didn't replace those activities with anything else. Some days lately I don't even bother to get dressed. When I don't see The Man, I go into hibernation. I've gained 12 pounds in the past eighteen months (that's like 20 on a regular-sized woman).
That has to stop.

Over the weekend I went looking for activities.

I have signed up for two dinner groups, two movie/discussion groups, got on the mailing list for a science cafe, and joined a group in Woodstock that takes dogs for easy hikes. Their flyer said they welcomed people without dogs, and I miss my dogs. I'm hoping I can enjoy theirs. A friend has been trying to talk me into a line dancing thingy she goes to, but I'm not sure I'd like that. It's "called", sort of like square dancing, and I can never remember what name goes with what pattern. I also joined an over-50s singles group, but only because they have interesting activities - like a dinner cruise down the Hudson next month. I'm not looking for pairing up, and I may not last long with that, anyway. I remember those groups as being more than a bit vicious (but maybe I won't get into trouble if it's obvious that I'm not competing. "I don't want your man, lady. I have a perfectly good one of my own.")

So, we'll see. I have a feeling I may have some problem getting off my butt - sometimes it seems like too much trouble to get up, dressed, and out - but at least I've found some directions I can go.

2399 Thud

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's the wee hours. 1 am. Past time for bed. But for about the sixth time in the past two days, I've encountered "wa la", and I can't stand it any more.

Where in blazes did that come from?

It isn't spelled "wa la"! It isn't even pronounced "wa la"! It's "voilĂ ", and it's pronounced exactly the way it looks!