Friday, September 11, 2009

2581 More blood, well, actually, less

Friday, September 11, 2009

David Gerrold, “The Martian Child“: It's almost always dangerous
to be right too soon.


Last night I went to dinner and bar trivia in Warwick. It was the paper trivia, not NTN. You play in teams, have a lot of time to think about the answer, and bet points on your confidence. It was awfully slow, but still fun. Our group had two tables of five people each. One team came in first, and the other came in last. I won't tell you which I was on.

This morning I drank over a quart of water between 8 and 9 am, and then went to the doctor's office for a blood draw. Today's appointment was originally for blood glucose, but when they put me on the thyroid supplement and said the thyroid (TSH) had to be checked in about six weeks, we just added the TSH to the sugar appointment.

I am so glad I asked when I sat down in the torture chair, "Glucose and thyroid, right?" The gal said no, just thyroid. She checked the book and confirmed just thyroid. I freaked slightly, insisted it was both. A nurse practitioner heard me explaining about the two appointments scheduled together, came in, and looked beyond the top page in the book. "Yeah, both. See, two separate orders."

I got stuck only once, but again it was pretty bad. She needed two tubes, but I shut down before she even filled the first one. She decided that rather than stick me again, she'd transfer some blood from the one tube into another. I asked why it's so hard, are my veins too deep, or pressure too low, or what? She said I just have tiny veins.

I tried an experiment. The tourniquet is supposed to slow down return of the arterial blood pumped to the hand, making it pool up in the vein. Hmmmm. It would seem that when I get stuck, I'm not pumping much blood into the hand. This is actually a good reaction, the body being able to slow down blood to an extremity can prevent bleeding to death if it's cut. So I tried concentrating on sending blood to that hand. "Warm. Warm. Make it warm. This "cut" is ok. There is no danger. Send blood down that arm."

It didn't help then, but 15 minutes after leaving the chair I was in the bank and looked at my right hand. It was pinker and plumper. The skin was less drawn. I held my hands to my cheeks and the right one was definitely much warmer.

Next time, I'll have to try warming my hands in the ladies' room sink and concentrating on flow to the hands BEFORE I go in.


Tonight I'm going to the movies in Albany. We'll see "9". The organizer keeps changing things. Show time is 8 pm. Originally we were supposed to meet at the tables next to the ticket counter at 7:30. The theater is on the second floor of a large mall. A few days ago he changed to meet at the escalator (top or bottom?) at 7:15. Now he says to meet at the elevator (elevator? there's an elevator?) at 7. For an 8 pm show? I know where the escalator is, but elevator? Obviously there must be one, but where? And which floor will he be at? Ground floor, or the theater floor?

At this point I have reason to believe I'm smarter than the organizer. I'll go a little early. I'll find them. Or I'll just go alone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2580 Ack ack!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

LaVerne on Empty Nest:
“Those who help those who won't help themselves are stupid.”


I opened a new quart bottle of Hot V8 about a half hour ago, and poured six ounces into a 12-ounce glass. When I went to put the bottle into the refrigerator, I set it right next to an already-open bottle I'd forgotten was there.

So I took the old one out, peered into it. It looked good, smelled ok, so I poured the remaining three ounces or so into the glass.

Then over the next 20 minutes I sipped at it --- until I got almost to the bottom, and noticed the lump resting on the bottom. A V8-colored fuzzy lump, about two inches across and an inch thick.

If I die this afternoon, it will be from moldy V8.


A few comments on Pres. Obama's health care speech last night.

He talked about how insurance companies would not be allowed to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, or to drop coverage during treatment of expensive conditions. Note that nothing was said about insurance companies not being allowed to raise premiums for preexisting or expensive conditions. If I can't afford the coverage, it may as well be denied or dropped, and private insurance companies are run for profit. Period. Their purpose is not to assist me. That's the one advantage of socialized medicine, the nonprofit aspect, but it's a big one.

Second, it was emphasized that illegal aliens would not be eligible for the insurance programs. That doesn't really say anything. Yeah, they can't apply for and get the insurance policy and id and so on, but if an illegal alien shows up at an emergency room with a life-threatening injury or serious illness (or any illness for that matter, or if it's a child, or a pregnant and delivering woman), does that mean he/she/it will be turned away? Doubtful. I'm not sure I'd want to live in a country that would turn them away. So who pays for the care? And isn't that a kind of insurance we all pay for, either through taxes or increased hospital costs? That's another advantage of socialized medicine. Nobody cares who you are, all humans are treated humanely.


I'll be going to dinner and bar trivia with some southern Orange county Mensans this evening.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2579 Disaster in Russia

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jef Mallett: "An opinion should be the result of thought,
not a substitute for it."


Rather than attempt to net it out, I'll just copy from
"On August 17th, near Sayanogorsk in south central Russia, a catastrophic accident took place in the turbine and transformer rooms of the hydroelectric plant of the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam. The exact cause is still under investigation, but what is known so far is that a tremendous amount of water from the Yenisei River flooded the turbine room, causing at least one transformer explosion and extensive damage to all ten turbines, destroying at least three of them. 74 workers are known to have lost their lives in the accident, while one remains missing. Additionally, 40 tons of transformer oil were spilled into the river, killing an estimated 400 tons of trout in two fisheries. Investigators plan to release findings in two months, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for a nationwide infrastructure inspection. (32 photos total)"
The link at the end of the paragraph will take you to the photos.

This is a huge human and ecological disaster, but until I got the alert for the photos today, I had been completely unaware of it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2578 She does know how to smile!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Alfred North Whitehead: "There are no whole truths;
all truths are half-truths.

It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil."


I just saw Julianna Margulies on tv, and she smiled! A bunch of times! In one hundred thirty-five episodes of ER, I swear I never saw her smile, not once, no matter what. I thought she didn't know how. Or maybe that "happy" or "amused" were not part of her acting repertoire.

2577 Temporarily shortened feeds

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sir Richard Francis Burton: "The more I study religions
the more I am convinced that man never worshiped anything
but himself."


I have temporarily shortened the feeds. If you are reading this on (through?) a feed (as opposed to having had to go to the actual blog to read it) and you can see the whole post, I'd very much appreciate it if you would please go to the blog and leave a comment (anonymous is ok), and tell me what feeds aggregator or reader you are using (Bloglines, Google, etc.). I'm trying to figure out how that works.

Thank you for your assistance. When I get the info I need, I'll go back to full feeds.

2576 Bored

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aldus Huxley (alleged): "An intellectual is a person who's found one thing
that's more interesting than sex."


I volunteered at the tourism booth at the Woodstock/New Paltz craft fair yesterday. They had a lot more materials, a better location, and REAL county maps this time. A lot more people stopped by, so even though I'd left my book in the car, I didn't miss it.

One woman asked me how to get to the Mohonk Mountain House. I pulled out one of the maps and showed her the route. Later I realized I'd sent her to the wrong place. I always go up the hairpin turns to the climbing cliffs, and walk to the hotel from there, a few miles of sometimes rough terrain. I should have sent her around the other side of the mountain to the main gates, where she could get a shuttle to the hotel. I felt really bad about that for a long time.

It annoys me that they include "Woodstock" in the advertising for the annual craft fair. It's on the county fair grounds, a few miles outside New Paltz. It's about 30 miles from Woodstock. They can't even claim that most of the exhibitors are from Woodstock. The vast majority are from out of state. I think they use the lure of Woodstock to draw city folk. I consider it false advertising. Bait and switch. I'll bet some people arrive expecting to walk along the Woodstock village streets, looking at all the artistry....

Nothing much else going on.

A nifty link:, where knowledge junkies get their fix.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

2575 Photos from the past

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Old Italian saying: If you’re standing with one foot in the past, and one foot in the future, you’re pissing on today.


Jay's sister sent me a large box of some of the photographs she found when cleaning out Jay's father's house. I went through them last night. A lot are from Jay's childhood. Some are of him and his ex-wife, and many are of him and me.

When I met him, in his middle thirties, he was a big man, 6'3", 240 pounds, with a very small round potbelly. Judging from these photos, he was always tall, and until his thirties, he was skinny. If it weren't for the dates on the back of the photos, I'd be unable to judge his age. There was also a boy scout uniform shirt in the box. I remember him telling me that he had been a cub scout, but was in the boy scouts for only a few years. The shirt fit me. I wear a 40" chest.

Many of the photos including me were a surprise in more ways than one. Half of them, I have no idea where they were taken. I can tell when by the date on the back, but unless they were in a known house, I have no idea where, or what the occasion was.

I had gained weight after we got married in 1994. During Jay's illness, starting in 1999, I lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle. I looked great, and that's an objective opinion. Then after he died at the end of 2001, I gained a lot of weight. By 2005 I was the heaviest I'd ever been. I knew I was heavy then, because I couldn't find clothes to fit. What I didn't know was how I looked back before he got sick. It was about 10 pounds less than 2005's high, and looking at those photos, I can't believe I didn't know how bad I looked, or that I ever got even bigger.

I guess have a distorted body image. When I look in the mirror, I think I look fine, in the face and figure. But when I see photographs I'm shocked. My face is older than I realize, and my body is, um, wider. My weight has fluctuated wildly over the past fifteen years, a 50 pound difference between the highs and the lows, but except for right now, I never really realized when I was heavy.

I think perhaps I tend to see myself as my romantic interest sees me. Jay thought I looked fine back then. The Man, now, would prefer me a bit heavier, I think. Me, I want my spectacular thirties back.


A selection from the box.

Jay's father worked for Kodak, and took a lot of pictures. He viewed the world through a lens. A good portion of the box contents is his kids, frame after frame, pose after pose. He'd set Jay up with a toy - maybe a toy truck - on a side table, and obviously said "play with it", and then took picture after picture. Those kids must have spent some miserable afternoons.

He took a lot of pictures when he visited us, but I'd never seen any of them until this box arrived.

December 1954. Jay would have been 33 months old, and look how tall he is. The older sister would have been about ten years old.
1964. Jay at about 12 years old. The shirt he's wearing, that fits me, was also in the box.August 1984. This was right about the time I first met him.
October 1985. This house under construction. That's Jay, his ex-wife, and his mother on the deck. This is the back wall of the living room. The trees have grown up since, so that view is now available only in the winter when the leaves are gone.
October 1985. Construction, this house, no fireplace mantel yet. That's the dining room around the corner to the left, and I included this photo to show that there's more glass in the dining room. Master bedroom has more.
December 1987. Three years before he left the Ex. Seven years before we married. He's 35 in this shot, and look at all the white starting in his beard already. He and the Ex had been married about four years, and he was unhappy. They had been dating in Texas when he was transferred to NY, so they got married rather quickly. Within months he was sleeping in the guest bedroom, and she had pretty much set up a life separate from him. He had always wanted children. After they were married, she said she didn't want children. She was deliriously happy in the marriage. She was supported, nice house, handsome escort whenever she wanted to go out, major travel twice a year, and she didn't have to do anything in exchange. Before he left the office every day, he'd call her and she'd tell him what takeout to pick up. We, his friends, knew he was not happy, but we didn't know why.
You'll notice that from here on down, every time you see me, my hair is a different color. It isn't really. I didn't do anything to it. I considered it a dark reddish-brown, like in the 1995 photos, but what color it looks like in photos is rather random. It seems to depend on the lighting, and whether the light shines through it or on it, natural light or flash.

September 1994. The mini-Schnauzer belonged to Jay's father. That dog hated me. Bit me seriously three times over the next few years, and yet every time his father went to Europe on his annual trip, he insisted on leaving the dog with us. The blond dog, Baby, was left with us when Daughter went to college, and promptly fell madly in love with Jay. The gray Keeshund, Ninja, had a skin problem, so we had to keep him clipped. And here's a "heavy" photo. I look like a walking cracker box.
February 1995.
February 1995.
June 1995. Ninja and me. Jay's father would find a pose he liked, and then insist that everyone do it.
June 1995. Jay, same pose, with father's dog Robin. There are versions of various combinations of animals and people, but none of me with Robin. That dog hated me.
January 1996. Yes, I'm standing.
June 1998. Daughter's cat Scruffy, who also moved in with us when she went to college. Scruffy was a huge mellow Maine 'Coon cat, a Harley biker in a cat suit. I'm sorry his tail isn't in that picture. It was a huge fluffy raccoon tail. And look how light my hair is with the sun shining through it.
Later: When I checked the posting, the song that played was "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". Sniff.