Saturday, January 01, 2011

3217 Spree

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."


I don't need any more clothes. But, uh, it's damp windy cold here. I need some warmer pants. I had a warm pair I'd bought from my favorite online store, and I had two $20 gift certificates the store had sent as a reward for past purchases, so I decided to go see if they had any more of those warm slacks in the outlet. $40 would get me possibly two pair. (Their list prices are ridiculous, so I never buy anything except from the outlet, where items might be 70% off - in fact since I wear a petite small, I'll often wait until that's all that's left and the price is at rock bottom, but they don't seem to notice and consider me one of their best customers, and send me reward coupons. Fools.)

Surprise! Today they were taking 50% off everything! Whoop!

The slacks I wanted were in XL only, phooey, but I bought a different pair of slacks, a pair of stretch jeans, a sweater, and a jacket, original total list price over $210, total in the outlet $80, then 50% off for a $40 total. With my $40 in gift coupons, I ended up paying the $10 shipping only.

I didn't need any of it, but with that deal, how could I not?


This is from Radiolab and NPR, a beautiful exploration of the varied meanings of common words:


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3216 It's all me

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Computers make it easier to do a lot of things,
but most of the things they make it easier to do
don't need to be done."
-- Andy Rooney --


When I was in therapy in my 30's, Dr. K. said I had (among other things) an omnipotence problem - that I thought that when anything went wrong, anywhere, it was entirely my fault. It was difficult for him to convince me otherwise, because I had so much evidence. There was too much connection for it to all be coincidence. Besides, everyone always blamed me.

I moved down here, hoping for less snow.

Sunday was the first snow of the winter. It was the worst snowstorm in this area in decades.

I am sitting here feeling that it's all my fault.


I have the antenna booster, one upstairs and one down, and I'm getting about 40 over-the-air TV channels out of NYC, but there's next to nothing worth watching in the evenings now that this season of "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" are finished. There's nothing but chintzy talk shows, celebrity gossip shows, and ancient reruns of once-decent shows. It's way worse than the Schenectady schedule that I got at the old house.

That, plus the house getting colder in the evenings, has been sending me to bed by 9 every night, where I've been watching "My Name is Earl" DVDs. I'm working my way through the whole four sets. I love that show! It's 180 degrees off "Big Bang Theory", which I also loved. (Loved, because like all situation comedies, it's starting to repeat itself.)

"Jude the Obscure" is on the night table next to the bed, and I have promised myself I won't get into any other book until I finish that, but I just can't stay awake reading it. I pick it up, read a page and a half, and either fall asleep or think of something else to do, like tape another room for painting. I think I'm avoiding it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3215 Shorthand alerts

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

“All wish to possess knowledge, but few, comparatively speaking, are willing to pay the price.”
-- Roman poet Juvenal --


"Mom" means I'm about to be given information, or lectured on some failing of mine.

"Mommy" means I'm on low-level duty.

"MommyMommyMommy" means I'm to swing into full mommyhood and be very supportive.

It's nice to get the alerts. Makes it easier to change to the appropriate mode.

Monday, December 27, 2010

3214 Fun

Monday, December 27, 2010

“Our virtues are most frequently but vices disguised.”
-- Roman poet Juvenal --


Me, wielding a snow shovel in 30 mph gusts.

A skateboard with a sail.

Not a lot of difference.

3213 Drifting Snow

Monday, December 27, 2010

Of all the people in history that have reached 65 years of age,
half of them are living right now.
-- --


I think the snow has stopped falling. Can't tell because the wind is so strong and the air is full of snow.

The north side of my house is a windbreak, so the snow has drifted funny. One-third of my driveway is clear - I can see the blacktop - but the other two-thirds has a three-foot drift. The patio slab in the back is clear, but then the snow is again several feet deep beyond the patio.

I don't think there's much point in trying to clear the snow until the wind calms down.

The front porch, from the front door:

The patio slab, through the back sliding glass door:

Bonus photo, to counteract the effects of the above photos - Housewarming/birthday flowers I got in late October from a male admirer:

I feel sorry for people who have to go to work today. The roads aren't clear, and the trains and buses aren't running. There are people who have been sitting for hours on stuck subway trains. There's a "snow emergency" of course, where only emergency driving is allowed, but I remember that when I worked for The Company, there was no such thing as snow emergencies. You were expected to be in the office no matter what. If you decided not to go in, you had to use a vacation or personal business day.

Some people can't afford that luxury.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

3212 Snow, Curry, ATM, etc.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche --


I shoveled my driveway and the kid's driveway about an hour ago. There was about five inches on the ground, and it was fairly easy to push to the sides with the plastic plowing shovel. My plan was to shovel about every five inches or so, and that way I'd avoid deep heavy lifting.

Yeah. Sure. I just looked out the door, and there's another five already, and the wind is blowing it so hard I can't see across the street. I think maybe there's no point in clearing now. It'll all just blow back. 12-18" predicted.


Some people can't eat or drink certain things without it coming out on their skin. Ex#2 insisted on drinking scotch (in college, scotch was cool, and he never managed to get past that), and after drinking scotch he literally stank for two days. Jay got an odd odor if he overindulged in diet Coke. I can't drink wine for the same reason. Certain spices make my facial oils smell strong.

Well, a few days ago some doctor show on TV was talking about various spices and their beneficial effects on body processes. They said curry contained spices with several good effects on the immune system, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., and recommended sprinkling it on everything, like salt and pepper. So I thought I'd try it.

It IS good. I like it on yams, potatoes, meat, salad, in sandwiches. But I can't stand the smell of my face. Or urine. Or "bubbles". Jasper even left the bed last night. Tsk.


Back on 6/16/09 I mentioned in this journal that I'd had bad numbers on my bone density test, and that the doctor had recommended a different calcium supplement. I decided (I, not the doctor) that it was the Prilosec. I'd been taking it daily for years, and it's my theory that the reduction in stomach acid was interfering with breaking down the calcium. So I quit taking the Prilosec. It turned out I didn't seem to need it anymore, probably because I'd lost weight and changed my diet.

In a 12/3/10 post I predicted class action suits, people who had been taking an acid inhibitor and ended up with broken legs and hips.

Well, guess what? In the past few days there have been multiple news stories about "the connection between broken hips and Nexium, Prilosec, and other acid inhibitors." Nothing yet about lawsuits, but I'm taking bets....

No kidding.


All my operating money is still in the Credit Union up by the old house. They had told me that I could use any NYCE ATM in this area to get cash with no charge. I went online and looked for NYCE ATMs near here. One was at a Bank of America just down from the post office. Note- it's the only BOA in the area.

I went there Friday to get some cash.

First off, there was no "going into the bank". They had a drive-up window, and a walk-up on the other side where you had to stand in the wind and push things through a sliding drawer and talk into a microphone to a person behind bullet-proof glass. What? Are they afraid of bank robbers or something?

So I went to the drive-up ATM, and got $200 out, and they charged me $3 for the transaction! What? If I have a NYCE card, and it's a NYCE ATM, what happened to "free"?

Imma haffta call someone.

3211 Snow, Paint, Drafts, etc.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence
without civilization in between."
-- Oscar Wilde --


It's snowing. The prediction is 10 to 16 inches, with 30-50 mph wind gusts. I went early this morning to Home Depot to buy show snovels (that's not a typo - that's how I say it. I've never been able to say "show snovel". Oops. See? I can say each word separately, but not together.) I bought a lightweight metal one for lifting and throwing snow, and a heavier plastic one for pushing and plowing snow. I also bought 40 pounds of "pet friendly" ice killer. The driveway slopes precipitously and I can just see Hal sliding out of the garage, down the drive, and right into the cars parked across the street. Oops.

I'm starting to love the local Home Depot. There are plenty of orange-vested folks in the aisles, and they are always more than willing to help. I've never spent more than a few seconds being confused or lost. This morning they were bringing out flat after flat of shovels and salt, and handing them out right off the flats, and directing heavy customer traffic efficiently into and out of the seasonal aisle. A guy even went out with me to help get the bags of ice killer and shovels into my car, and was a bit startled that two show snovels barely fit into Hal's back seat. Hal isn't very wide. We had to wiggle the shovels around and angle them upward.

Daughter and Hercules went to Pennsylvania on Friday and won't be home until tomorrow or Tuesday, so I'm in charge of their cats, and, I guess, making sure they can get into the driveway when they get home. The neighbors have told me that I don't have to worry about anything - everybody digs everybody else out.


I painted most of the downstairs hall and one wall in the kitchen Friday and yesterday. I love the paint. It's Behr Premium Plus "Silky Bamboo" UL180-15. On the card it looks like a pale heavy cream, but on the walls it changes dramatically depending on the light. In the morning, in the kitchen, where the daylight hits it's a cream with a yellow tone, and on the same wall at the other end, where the light isn't direct, it morphs into a rosy peach sand. In the evening, that wall gets a faint greenish tone. The hall walls range from sunny yellow to rosy peach sand. It also changes depending on whether you're looking directly at it, or at an angle. I love it!

The plan was to first paint walls where heavy furniture would be going, so in theory the kitchen and halls would be last. But I have a huge desk with credenza arriving in the next week or two, and it will go along that long wall in the kitchen.

The desk in the old house is an enormous wooden manager's desk from The Company, purchased by Jay at an employee surplus sale perhaps twenty-five years ago. It's very nice, but it's huge, and provides relatively little storage for the amount of floor space it takes up. Not to mention the weight. So it won't be moving down here. I found the new desk online, and I just so happen to have several bookcases that (I hope) will match it perfectly.


While standing on the ladder taping the hall yesterday, I noticed the smoke detector just above my head. The center button said "Hold to test / Press to quiet" or something like that. Considering the way everything else in the house was installed, I figured it might be a good idea to test it.

Man! It works! In spades! Every detector in the house went off (and there are many), some screeched, some whooped, some wailed, and a woman's voice upstairs yelled "Fire! Fire!" I couldn't get them to shut up. I kept pressing the button, and they just kept going. They finally quit. If I ever decide to get a burglar alarm, to heck with hooking it up to "central". I'll just have them wire it into the smoke alarm.

(Daughter said not to bother with a burglar alarm system. Back in her electrician days, she worked for an alarm system company. She says they are very easy to circumvent, they won't even slow down anyone who knows what they're doing, and even if they go off, the security people are too late to save anything anyway.)


I have cut down the drafts and heat loss in the house considerably with a cheap, simple, safe, quick fix. I put strips of painting tape over all the unused electrical sockets on outside walls. Pow. It's ugly as sin, but it works.

I also found out why The Man thought the house was warm. On the floor, the thermometer registers 66 degrees. At counter height, it says 73. At the top of my tall stepladder, it says 75. The Man is more than a foot taller than I. No damn wonder he was warm while I was cold.

The old house had cathedral ceilings in the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The house was fairly tight, but I long ago discovered I needed a fan on the floor aimed up in the winter to circulate the heat down from the ceiling. Next trip to a department store, I'll try to find a small fan for here.


Well, the snow is starting to build up. I plan to shovel every three inches or so, try to keep ahead of it, so excuse me while I go eat some ice cream to keep my strength up.