Saturday, January 08, 2011

3225 Ready for snow! (Almost)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In this age of texting and instant messaging, capitalization is dying. But it's important. It's the only difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse, and ....


Early in December I was looking at snowthrowers.

The one I had at the old house is a huge electric-start gas-powered Toro workhorse. It could easily handle snow up to 18 inches deep, and cut a 2' wide swath. But it needed constant service. Carburetor cleaning. Gas carrying. I needed something that big to handle the 350' driveway.

The current driveway is maybe 50' at most, and we aren't as likely to lose electricity in snow as at the old house, so I was considering a smaller electric snowthrower.

Just before the Christmas blizzard, I decided to buy one.

Ha! There were no snowthrowers left anywhere. They had been replaced by spring gardening equipment.

What? That's worse than clothing stores where you can't find anything warm after mid-January! We hadn't even had our first snow yet.

So, online.

It arrived this morning.

We had snow almost all day yesterday, but it was light and didn't stick anywhere but on the existing snow. More snow today. A few inches might start sticking by this evening. So I need to go out and buy an outside 50' extension cord.

Then I'm ready.

3224 Hair

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nobody notices what I do until I don’t do it.


I got my hair cut Thursday evening. I've had my hair professionally cut three times in my life, professionally highlighted once, and professionally styled once, and all five times I cried for weeks afterward. So this was a VERY big deal.

Daughter and I went together.

Every time in the past, the main problem with cuts has been that they teased, gelled, blew dry over rollers, tweaked, flipped, and sprayed, and when they were done it looked ok, but I just don't DO that! So naturally, the next day, or after the first washing, it looked like Hell.

And every single time I had told them right from the beginning, "I don't tease, blow dry, use 'product', or spray. I want to let it air dry with some scrunching with my fingers, and that's all. So it's imperative that you take my natural curl into consideration."

Every hairdresser in the world insists on cutting the hair sopping wet, and I've never understood how you can judge the natural tendencies when going from long to short, if the hair is wet. How can you tell which way it wants to curl, and how much?

Well, again, I said several times, "I don't want to have to fuss with it. Wash, fluff with fingers, and that's it."

I got a bad feeling when she cut it sopping wet.

A worse feeling when she put gobs of gel in it.

Much worse when she blew it dry pulling it over a round brush, then tweaked and placed and sprayed it solid.

By the end, I was thinking that apparently natural tendencies don't matter. We'll just force it to go the way we want it to go. Oh well. I guess I can shave my head and let it grow out....

When I got home, it was a solid mass, and I had trouble sleeping because it smelled so strong. I washed it yesterday morning and let it air dry with a little finger scrunching.

This is what it looks like this morning - straight from the bed, no brushing or combing, no nothing, its own natural shape:
I think maybe I like it. Those tendrils right behind my ears,and maybe across the back, need to be a little shorter, but the rest is ok. I think. The lady said I could come in to get it shorter anytime in the next two weeks without charge.

It will very quickly get too long, but I think we have a good base cut to work from.

Friday, January 07, 2011

3223 Spell Check Disaster

Friday, January 7, 2011

"The argument that capital punishment degrades the state is moonshine,
for if that were true then it would degrade the state to send men to war...
The state, in truth, is degraded in its very nature:
a few butcheries cannot do it any further damage."
-- HL Mencken --


Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Candidate for a Pullet Surprise
by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar

There's a longer version at the link.

3222 Expectations

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."
-- HL Mencken --


A few weeks ago I went to the holiday dinner with the old Mensa group, and First Woman was there. [Link to a description of our last previous encounter:]

I'm still a little bit disturbed by what happened at the dinner.

What happened? Nothing. And that's what's bothering me.

When I arrived, FW was seated at a table with five other people. When I walked past her table, she kept her face turned away from me, but she slid her eyes sideways to look at me (reminding me of a ticked-off cat who will sit in front of you with her back to you, pointedly ignoring you, but with her ears turned back toward you).

I knew instantly what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to walk over to her, enter her space, and request her attention with a little fawning.

Being the rebellious contrarian that I am, I didn't, just because I knew it was expected.

From the table I sat at, every time I looked past my table companions, I was looking directly at her, and every time I glanced her way, she was staring at me. And every time, she quickly averted her eyes.

At one point, she walked past our table, I don't know why - there was nothing of interest past our corner - and again she averted her face, but her eyes slid sideways toward me. Again, I had the impression I was being given a chance to request her attention. Again, I didn't.

[If you haven't read or don't remember the "F**k You!" post linked above, go read it now. And while you're at it, visit this one, too: - insight into how she operates.]

So, it's been bothering me. I know her. I know what she's like, and I know she has some emotional problems. I don't resent her for the incident at the gathering, I hold no resentment. I consider myself a forgiving person, easy to get along with.

So why didn't I give in and give her what she wanted, reach out to her, be the bigger person? That question has been bothering me ever since that evening. I know I hurt her feelings by not making the move. It bothers me that I hurt her feelings, knowing full well that's what I was doing.

So I've been thinking about it.

I didn't make the first move because she expected it.

She assigned that role to me.

And that was the basic problem back when I tried to be friends with her.

She's certifiably nuts, on a variety of medications the dosages of which she messes around with resulting in some strange effects, but that's part of what makes her an interesting person. She's bohemian. I'm easy to get along with. I know that once I figure out what a person is like, what weird things they might be or do, I can decide whether I can accept and/or work around that, or not. I don't mind a little crazy. Once I know there's mood swings, I can work around them, let them roll off. I'm easy. I try to understand, not judge or condemn.

And it wasn't her craziness that drove me away, that necessitated my telling her that I refuse to put myself in her path any more, that she was poisoning me. (The Man refers to her as my "Psycho Ex-Girlfriend". Read that post, too. It's funny.)

It wasn't craziness that drove me away. It wasn't all the times she used me. It wasn't all the times she was very verbally nasty.

It was her expectations of me.

Instead of getting to know me, learning what I am like, what is natural to me, how I relate, how I respond, instead of accepting me for what and how I am, she decided that I should be a certain way, should do certain things and react in certain ways. And when I didn't, she castigated me in exceedingly harsh terms.

I hate the telephone. But she expected me to call her a minimum of once a week. If I didn't, she would finally call me and pour a load of vitriol on me for not caring about her or her problems. Note that I was to call her. Her calling me was apparently a breech of protocol, for which I was to be punished.

She expected me to listen for hours at a time to her problems with her boyfriend - a married man with several small children who would turn up at her house once a month, roll around in her bed with her for an hour, and then go home for dinner. I know she was unreasonably in love with him, and I really didn't want to hear about him and how uncaring he was, but I let her talk because she needed to - I'd give her the "uh huh, uh huh, wow, that's sad" - but I didn't sympathize enough, and that pissed her off, and she'd tear me a new one because I didn't say the right things, didn't give her the advice she wanted and expected.

There was so much like that. So many expectations that I didn't meet, and she'd get nasty every time I "failed her".

Sheesh. I don't feel I failed anyone. I am what I am, I am who I am, and a lot of people find that to be good enough, including me!

And that's why I had to cut her off three years ago, and that's why I didn't make the first move, or any move, at the dinner. Precisely because she acted like it was expected of me.

I'm not giving anyone anything just because they expect it of me. If she'd bothered to learn anything about me back when, she'd have known that.


This isn't just me. You can't define how other people should relate or react. Other people are what they are, and you are free to accept or reject them. But you should never expect anything, or you're guaranteed disappointment. I couldn't get along with FW because she decided I should be a certain way, even if she had to push and shove and punish me into being that way. It took me a long time to find myself, and she, in making me feel inadequate, was destroying the me that it took so long to find.

By feeling that I had done something wrong at the dinner, by fussing over it, I demonstrated again the power she has to make me doubt myself. I'm glad now that I didn't give her the satisfaction.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

3221 Blue collar love

Thursday, January 6, 2011

American journalism thrives on exploring conflicts, often to the exclusion of ideas.


When I first began working for The Company, in 1968, I lived in a 4-room log cabin in the woods, in a little depressed area called Ruby. The kind of neighborhood where there are trailers tucked into the woods, and old cars sinking into yards, and you can't see any neighbors when there are leaves on the trees. No lawns. Just mud and weed yards.

My friends thought it was a rather dangerous place for a small woman to live alone.

It turned out to be the ideal place. Half of my neighbors were nurses, state police, or city of Kingston cops, and the other half worked for the highway department. It was very safe, and when snow fell, my street was the first plowed, the most thoroughly plowed, and the most frequently plowed.

I'm finding that kind of advantage here, in my new home. The houses are small, on small lots. Very few have garages. It's definitely a lower middle class blue collar neighborhood.


The fire chief lives across the street. That's got to be handy. A few highway department folks live nearby. In the last storm, this street was one of the first plowed, and after the drifting stopped, a town frontloader came through and removed not only all the snow right up to the curbs, dumping it on some town-owned land down the street, he also cleaned out the plow piles across the end of the driveways. I didn't think anything of it until I ventured out onto the "better" streets, and found snow still halfway into the street lanes and people snowed into their driveways.

Morale of the story - don't judge the liveability of a neighborhood by appearances. It's good to live near the people who work to make life liveable.


By the way, although I have worked in white collar jobs and lived in some pretty snooty places, and many of my friends are upper crust ivy league, I freely admit I come from blue collar roots, and many of my attitudes and values are frankly blue collar. And I like it. It's a virtue.

3220 Island, vet, etc.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
which is proof against all arguments
and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance —
that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
-- Herbert Spencer --


I've been a bit busy the past few days.

Under my medical plan, I have to get long-term medications through the mail. The doctor writes a prescription for three months' worth, with three more refills. When my bottle of thyroid pills (the only prescription I take) gets down to 14 tablets, I go online and request that they send the next quarter's worth, and they arrive within the week.

I screwed up. I'm down to the last few, and I went online and discovered that there are no more refills. I don't have a doctor in this area yet, and because of confusion over health plan requirements, The Company hasn't got their ducks in a row yet, and I don't know whether I can just select my own doctor. And even if I could, it will take a while to get in to see one as a new patient. My old doctor is willing to send me a perscription for one month's worth, but no more unless I make an appointment for a checkup. So I did, but they can't get me in until February 7. Um, that's further out than one month.



My old kitchen had 10 drawers, all a pretty good size. The new kitchen has three, one large and two useless tiny ones. What on earth am I going to do with all those utensils and towels and mats and skewers and chopsticks and etc. from those ten drawers?

So I decided I'd find some kind of freestanding something-or-other with drawers, workspace on top, and maybe some more cabinet space. I shopped hard, both locally and online, and found this:
The wood doesn't look as nice in a photo as it does in person. It's warmer looking. It's larger than I wanted, I'd have been happy with just the drawers and one cabinet. But it was less than half the price of all the other possibilities out there, and it's SOLID WOOD! All over. It weighs a ton! I think it's mostly oak (even in the drawers), with an oil finish.

The top is butcher block, and the drop leaf swings up for more work space.
The paper towel holder doubles as a rolling pin.

It came as a kit, about 200 pieces, but I had read the reviews and everyone said it was easy to put together. The only complaint was that the guide holes for the plain wood screws were too small, and the wood was so hard that you had to drill the holes larger and deeper.

I have a drill. No problem.

It took me six hours, but it wasn't at all difficult. And it's sturdy!

Two of the four wheels lock. Once I decide on a permanent spot for it, I'll probably remove the casters. I'd prefer it a few inches lower anyway.


Daughter has three cats, two of whom were feral captures, like Jasper, and therefore very shy and easily frightened by strange people and experiences.

This was outside her house this morning:
It's a veterinary office on wheels! It even includes a surgical suite. A lot less trauma for the cats.

This will solve my problem with Jasper, and his freaking out in the carrier, and having seizures in the car.

Now I wonder if the vet will crawl under the bed to visit with him.

Monday, January 03, 2011

3219 Flying AH Guide to commenting

Monday, January 3, 2011

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
-- Sir Winston Churchill --


Oh, you've GOT to read this! She absolutely nailed it!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

3218 Warm spell

Sunday, January 2, 2011

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”


The green quote above is so very true! If we think we don't deserve, we don't accept. We push away what's offered. If we don't think we are worthy, we are suspicious of love. On the other hand, if we love ourselves, we accept that others can love us, too. There's so much in those eight simple words.

It's difficult to love someone who doesn't believe it can possibly be real.


There's one FAIL! and one big WIN! in the video in the previous post. Did you spot them? The foot on the brake is the failure. That's a different word. The two men sharing the sundae is the big win. Do you get why?


I shoveled the last of the snow in the driveway this morning. It's 52 F degrees out there, so the driveway should be completely clear by this evening.

I also glued up the house numbers. The builder had stuck some chintzy small small numbers low on a porch post. They were made of nothing more than black plastic tape, were no more than 2 inches high, nonreflective, and not visible from the street, especially at night. Now I've got larger reflective numbers on the garage, between the garage door and the front door. I had a glue that was supposed to work under harsh conditions on difficult materials, but it wanted a minimum of 40 degrees to set, so I was afraid I wouldn't get them mounted until spring.

Now people can find me on the first pass down the street.


The woman next door had said it's very dusty here. I haven't noticed much dust in the house, but I am quite literally shocked at how dirty the snow in the front yard is. It's not from gravel on the road - they didn't salt or gravel this street. It's just a black soot-like coating. It think it's blowing in the air, because it's thicker on the windward sides of ridges in the snow.

I'm kinda used to snow being white for a while, even coming from an area where every second house has a wood stove pouring out smoke and ash.


If there's one thing I'm good at, it's being Devil's Advocate. I can look at all sides of an argument, think of multiple possibilities and meanings. And I enjoy doing it. It's one reason why I enjoyed my stint as a small claims court mediator so much.

The only difficulty is that people often think that when I do offer other ways to think of or look at something, that I'm expressing my personal opinion of what's going on, even if I preface it with, "Another way to look at it....". It may or may not be my opinion.

Another way it causes problems is that when someone has "done me wrong", I can find all kinds of explanations as to why, and I always choose to believe the most positive. Sometimes it just ain't so. They just plain shat on me for no other reason than meanness, but I keep giving them the benefit of the doubt, keep assigning excuses, keep giving them second chances, and they keep on crapping on me. That's what was going on with First Woman. It took me a long time to accept that I was being used. I guess that's why it's called Devil's Advocate instead of Angel's View.

I have a good example of playing Devil's Advocate. Some people may recognize this example, but it's difficult to disguise it and get the same effect. Sorry if I'm stepping on toes.

Suppose you make and sell doggie cookies. A friend who has bought cookies from you in the past says that she would like to buy some for her child to give to the dog for Christmas, but she can't afford them right now. A few days later, you find that she has purchased a squeaky toy, that might even have cost more than the cookies, for the child to give to the dog. You are hurt, and think the woman was not truthful, and didn't really want any cookies at all. She lied to your face.

The Advocate in me says: She may have been absolutely truthful as far as she went, in that she could afford only one gift for the dog. Cookies or toy. Cookies are a normal everyday thing, and won't last as long as the toy - so the child might see giving cookies to the dog about the same as getting socks from Santa. The gift has to be more special, something new and unique. So she chose the toy, and cannot now afford the cookies TOO.

If that's the case, she didn't lie. She was absolutely truthful; she just didn't tell you the whole story. But - she was under no obligation to do so.

I don't know what the truth is, but the point is that you don't either.

Some people always pick the most positive explanation, and sometimes they get taken advantage of as a consequence. Some people always pick the most negative reading, and those people never trust anyone. The ideal I guess would be to look at all the possibilities and choose the positive until it's obvious that isn't working (First Woman, Roman!) and then accept the negative.

Well, that's not the real ideal. The real ideal would be that if you think someone piddled on your foot, you ask what's going on. But that's not always possible. Some people will think they're being accused of piddling on your foot.


People are so complicated.