Saturday, February 26, 2011

3174 Now I'm getting scared.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

“The most ineffective workers are systematically moved
to the place where they can do the least damage: management.”
-- Scott Adams --


FW is heating up, and I don't understand why. I wouldn't be surprised to find her coming at me with a jar of acid. I'm not kidding. I almost never lock my front door during daylight, but I'm locking it now. She's flat-out crazy.

I have found that I can usually let go of things by writing them out, so here goes. The history. This is pretty long, as is every study in madness.


She's a member of Mid-Hudson Mensa. At a group dinner in late 2006, I mentioned that I couldn't remember ever going out for New Year's Eve. She mentioned a dinner and a good retro band, but she couldn't afford it, so we decided to go together, and I paid for the evening for both of us.

We enjoyed it. We started going to parties, dances, dinners, movies, and so on together. She and I are very different (she's a nudist, heavy marijuana user, politically involved, artistic, and she has described herself as bi in the past "but is no longer"), so I found her views fascinating. She's on disability, so I usually footed the bill. I didn't mind, because I have it and at least I was getting out.

This was also the period when Roman was jerking me around, and I needed someone to talk with. She was madly in love with a guy who was living with another woman, with whom he had two or three small children. They used to get together at a place back in the woods near Mohonk where nudists hung out all summer. (She tried many times to talk me into going there with her, but I'm absolutely not a nudist, not even close, and from the stories, it wasn't a place for people just to be free of clothing restrictions - it was more a place for gays to cruise and straights to roll around together in the poison ivy - very sexually charged.) Or he'd show up at her house and they'd roll around there, then he'd leave. He kept promising her he was going to leave the other woman, but it showed no signs of happening.

Anyway, within a few months, she was chewing me out for not being attentive enough. She informed me that she expected chatty phone calls, a minimum of once a week. I'd told her many times that I hate the telephone, when I make a call to anyone, it's brief, to conduct some kind of business or ask a question, I just don't EVER call anyone just to chat. I hate the telephone! Even my cell phone was turned on only in emergencies. She continued to castigate me for not calling. She said some nasty things to me over my not calling. (Note - she rarely called me because it was a toll call.) She said hurtful things that left me feeling bad.

Things bumped on that way through most of 2007. I, by early summer, had started turning down invitations, because it seemed that no matter what I did, how I was, it wasn't what she thought I should do/say/be, it just wasn't enough for her. She was very demanding, and vicious when things didn't go as she wanted.

In September of 2007, she decided she wanted to go to the Mensa Hallowe'en gathering in Chicago, but she didn't want to go alone. I wasn't particularly interested, but she talked me into it. What the heck, this is supposed to be one of the largest and best of the regional gatherings, so ok, at least I'd have someone to go with. (I absolutely wouldn't have gone alone, so this was an opportunity.) I said yes, and paid for my gathering registration and four nights at the hotel, and made the flight reservation.

A week later, she informed me that she couldn't afford both the gathering registration and the plane ticket. I shrugged and paid her gathering registration. A few days after that, she asked if she could share my room, since she couldn't afford a room of her own. By now, I'm already into this for two registrations, four days' room for me, and my plane ticket, almost $1,000. Either I find her a place to sleep, or cancel everything and take the loss, or I end up going alone. I don't share a room, ever, except with a man I'm sleeping with, it just doesn't work for me, so I shrugged and reserved another room for four nights for her.

Yeah, you feel what's coming next? A few days later she says she can't afford the plane ticket. I somewhere acquired some balls and wished her luck finding a courier ticket or something. No, I couldn't afford to fly her out. Sorry.

I guess she found some money somewhere, because she made it to the gathering. I arrived Thursday afternoon, she arrived in the evening, and we had dinner at the hotel. She was having new troubles with that guy, and talked steadily about him during dinner. I knew she wouldn't want to hear what I had to say about him, so I listened, I really was attentive, "uh huh"ed at the appropriate moments, didn't say anything against him, and refrained from changing the topic.

She didn't sleep in her room Thursday night. She spent the whole night in the hospitality suite, drinking and talking, and then slept most of Friday.

Friday night was the Hallowe'en party. She decided she was going to go '60s and had asked me if I knew how to do a beehive. I said yes, so she decided I was going to do her hair early that evening. At a time of her choosing, of course. It took 1.5 hours. There were two presentations I wanted to see that I blew off to do her hair. She slept in her room that night, BUT, and I'm sorry, but I found this unbelievable, she informed me that night that she was leaving the gathering in the morning to meet a blind date in Chicago, and would be going clubbing with him Saturday and Sunday nights, and would be staying with him until her return home Monday. I asked if she had canceled the hotel room for those nights, and she acted surprised.

So Saturday morning I frogmarched her down to the desk and made sure she canceled the room, and wished her luck with the rest of the weekend. So, except for dinner Thursday, doing her hair Friday, and checking her out on Saturday morning, I was there alone for the gathering. Exactly what I didn't want to do. I felt royally used. She just wanted a trip to Chicago.

Well the next week, she called me and chewed me out up one side and down the other for not being sympathetic enough at dinner Thursday! I, like a guilty puppy, just took her abuse. I said nothing. In fact, I think I may even have apologized. It was only later that I realized that I had done nothing wrong. No thank you for the registration and room, no thank you for blowing off my plans and doing her hair instead, nothing. I felt royally used.

I did nothing, said nothing. But the next time she called, wanting to go to dinner or something, I told her that I didn't think I could be around her any more, that she made me feel bad too often, that I had worked very hard to learn to like myself and I couldn't allow her to keep tearing me down, so no, I don't think our getting together is a good idea.

That was 2007.

Now, she was the president of the local Mensa group, and I had volunteered to rewrite the Bylaws. The sessions were to be held at her home, as central to the three of us on the committee. That worked out ok. We were civil. And then something terrifying happened in April of 2008. It's amusingly described here:

I had to "break up with her" all over again.

In June, another group member, John, was having a cookout and invited all the active members. When he called her to invite her, he asked for other members' phone numbers. She wouldn't give him my number. She told him not to bother calling me, she'd call me and tell me about it. She never did. When I heard about the cookout, I was a little hurt that everyone but me (I?) had been invited. Of course, no one knew that FW had told John she'd take care of it, John didn't know she hadn't, and of course no one was going to ask John why I hadn't been invited.

That was all in 2008.

In 2009, other people in the group starting having run-ins with her. There was a public incident in a restaurant which resulted in the group treasurer resigning on the spot. Other members of the governing board were accused of undermining her control when they simply did what they thought were their duties. She was getting increasingly paranoid and irrational. A possible contributing factor was that the guy she'd been involved with married the other woman and moved to the Carolinas.

In August of 2009, she had to go to the hospital for surgery, and, amazingly, called me to ask me to take her to the hospital and to help her. I did. Somehow, that's an "of course". I was still thinking we could be civil. That story is here:

That was 2009.

In March of 2010, we had the public "F**k you" screaming incident, described at, in case you skipped it in the previous post.

2010 was a group election year. I was on the nominating committee, and I worked hard to get a full slate. Several of the people nominated were people she'd had problems with. She announced that she wasn't going to run for reelection, and I didn't push her to change her mind. She started skipping governing board meetings, and then suddenly resigned her position. She dropped out of the Yahoo group. She withdrew from chapter activities, which was a relief for a lot of people, because they had gone beyond finding her merely difficult to work with, and were beginning to actively fear her.

Several people told me that she had decided to no longer take her medications. She thought she could function without them. That scared ME! Not for me, for her.

Our last direct contact had been the "F**k you" thing. The next time I saw her was at the holiday dinner in December, when we ignored each other, and I got the distinct impression that she expected me to approach her first. Then there was the dinner last week, when I again did not approach her.

And now there's the Yahoo group exchanges detailed in the previous post. All I was trying to do was help her, and she attacked me and anyone who attempted to defend me.

It has gotten worse since.

Yesterday I found something amusing and posted it to the group. This is the complete text of my post:
Subject: Accepting your Oscar: A Guide

From (

Thank the little people, but don't call them "little people" because they HATE that.
Thank the spiritual being of your choice. Point up/over/ wherever (probably not down).
Thank the producer, even if he's just some rich jerk who knows nothing about movie making.
Definitely act surprised. Practice this one in the mirror beforehand.
Thank significant other, then blow a kiss to him/her. Have significant other
practice "in love" face.
Use the exit music to dance your way off stage. "The Worm" would be preferable.
I thought it amusing. If you watch people accepting Oscars, that's exactly how they do it. Except for the last sentence, maybe.

Well, today I got this personal email from another member:

FYI and confidential - [the group moderator] has placed [FW] in a "Moderator must approve posts" category on our Yahoo group. One of her two most recent posts is pending moderator approval. It claims your "Accepting Your Oscar" post is actually a slew of double entendres, and the tone of her note implies paranoia.

Regardless of whether there is anything going on (which I seriously doubt), I don't think anyone else would see that and would simply assume it is "[FW] being [FW]."

[FW] will be at [the regional gathering next weekend].
(I admit I am wrong to post that note when the author has marked it confidential, but if I turn up dead or seriously injured this weekend, show this post to the cops.)

By the way, the other of her "two most recent posts" was "Subject: The excitement is Growing", and contained only this link: Now, how does "the excitement is growing" apply as the subject? Do you find it ominous that it's hate-filled ranting?

So. I'm seriously scared. It will be impossible to avoid her at the gathering, and if nobody shows up at her Oscar party tomorrow night she WILL blame me. That's just the way she thinks. And she WILL retaliate. I'm serious. But I can't allow her to keep me from going to the gathering. I won't hide from her. I think I'm going to have to ask some of the other friends there to act as bodyguard. Never leave me alone.

Friday, February 25, 2011

3173 Foiled again

Friday, February 25, 2011

Next time you’re stuck in traffic, remember - you ARE the traffic.


I had told the world I would be heading to the old house today, with the van, and I intended to bring back loads and loads of stuff Saturday or Sunday morning. I've GOT to get moving on this.

The forecast is rain rain rain here and all the way up the road, where it becomes snow at the old house. Worse, they predict wind, with gusts up to 60 mph.

Are you kidding me?!

I guess there's no point in trying.


FW is getting vicious again.

In December, I went to a Mensa holiday dinner with about 30 people, and she was there. She was sitting at a different table, and neither she nor I said hello. At one point in the evening she walked past my table (where she was headed I don't know) with her face averted, but her eyes were slid over at me. I think she expected me to make the first move.

It was one year ago next weekend that she screamed "F**k you!" over and over at me in public (story here: at the annual Central NJ Mensa Gathering, embarrassing herself so badly that within a few months she resigned as president of the group. Many other people had experienced her wrath on other occasions, and nobody wants to work with her any more. She also withdrew from the Yahoo group where events are posted, topics are discussed, and people RSVP for events.

Well, she's sorta back.

She attended the dinner I went to last week. At least three people had made a point of warning me that she'd be there. I said, "Thanks for the heads-up, but I don't expect any problem. I'll be civil, but I don't intend to give her any openings."

So, as we met at the restaurant, when we were ready to order, she had not yet arrived. Peter mentioned to the waitress that we were expecting one more, and the waitress rolled her eyes and said, "She's probably lost." Turns out FW had called for directions, and the waitress told her blah blah and then turn right at blah blah intersection, and FW said, "No, I turn left there", and argued with the waitress as to where the restaurant was. According to the waitress, it was very unpleasant.

The others at the table decided that the annual Central NJ Gathering was a forbidden topic, because most of us were going, and if it were mentioned, she'd likely ask for a ride and for someone to share a hotel room with her. (To her, "share a room" means you pay for it and she sleeps in it.)

She arrived. She sat on the same side of the table as me, with Roman between us, so we couldn't really see each other unless we leaned forward. At one point she did lean forward and said she liked my haircut. I said thank you, and a guy across the table asked why I had cut it, and I launched into an explanation involving wind and hats, directed to him, and then the conversation moved on. FW laughed a lot at things that were said, she tried to be pleasant, but I was a little worried because her laugh was a bit too loud and a bit too high pitched. It seemed to me that she was wound pretty tight. All the more reason not to engage her.

Then a notice was posted on the Yahoo group. She was hosting a Oscars night party at her home. I got a little worried, because everyone who might attend had either been seriously offended by her, or was flat-out afraid of her. When a few days went by with no positive RSVPs, I got worried for her. If no one came, it could kick her over the edge.

I knew that there was one thing that always draws Mensans, and that's free food. Her notice had said that there would be "light refreshments." She has always set a good table. Everything is always a little unusual, and always delectable. So I posted a general note that they "[FW]'s refreshments may be light, but they are always delicious".

The shit hit the fan.

First she posted something she'd found on the internet - a list of "backhanded compliments".

Then she posted a public note addressed to me, that she "didn't need any backhanded compliments from" me.

I responded, "That wasn't meant as backhanded. You yourself described them as 'light'. I salivated when I read 'refreshments'. You've always laid a delicious table. Please don't read into it just because it came from me, and you perhaps feel some guilt and perhaps expect retaliation. I don't do that."

(Yeah, a subtle reminder that SHE had attacked ME over and over, and had never apologized. OK, I'm not perfect.)

Her response: "We all know that Silk. You're pure as a newborn babe."

A newish member who has never met either of us posted that she didn't know what was going on between us, but exchanges like that don't exactly encourage inactive members to become active: "Well, this is really going to encourage inactive members to come. Unless there is some existing enmity between the two of you, I can't see how Silk's original remark was anything but completely logical and innocuous. Actually it's the sort of thing I would say myself."

From there others jumped in and it went west, as they say.

Sheesh. All I wanted to do was encourage members to attend her Oscar night party, tempting them with good munchies, to save her from a total rejection, and she attacks me for that. If she commits suicide during the Oscars, I'll feel guilty.


By the way, the suicide reference above sounds snide, but it isn't. She has seriously attempted suicide before, and was committed for an extended period, and she is fragile. And that's why I wanted to save her the pain of Oscar night no-shows. It might not get that bad, but it could tip her into ... into ... wherever that dark place is that she goes when she feels dissed. I just wanted to help.

If she shows up at the annual central NJ gathering next weekend, I don't know what I'll do. It will be impossible to talk with her, it won't be easy to avoid her, and I refuse to leave a room just because she's in it. But I know damn well that if she has any opportunity, she'll attack. She'll blame me for nobody showing up for her Oscars party.

So, anybody have any opinions, suggestions?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

3172 Zombie laptop

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.


My laptop is acting weird.

I put it to sleep Tuesday night after closing the ISP (a Verizon broadband doohickey that plugs into a USB port) and the browser (Firefox), and Wednesday morning I found it up and running, and displaying the message "Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown".


Scheduled things will still run through sleep, so I thought maybe it was running a defragment job and burped and thought it had to restart. That's reasonable, I guess.

So last night instead of sleep, I shut it down completely. Again this morning I found it up and running, and displaying the message "Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown".

Duh? That's not reasonable.

How do I kill it and make it stay dead? If I unplug it and it starts itself, it'll just run down the battery.

The internet is no help. Apparently it happens to other people, but they're on networks, or there's a bad connection in the "on" button and it gets jiggled, stuff like that, and I'm pretty sure that's not my problem.

I'm not worried about a virus, because I don't do unsafe stuff, and I have multiple sniffers and checkers. It's not somebody trying to remotely access my system because it's not connected to the internet at the time, and can't connect because of my connection type.


Another problem, all of a sudden it won't bring devices online on the fly. You know how if you plug something in, it makes that ba-cling sound, and then you can use it? Today I plugged the printer in a USB port, and never got the ba-cling. The printer remained offline. And I didn't get the ba-clunk sound when I unplugged it to try another USB port. Same thing with the scanner.

However, if the printer or scanner is plugged in when I do a restart, it's online and works fine.

Something is messed up.

3171 Unraveling the budget and the knitting in one fell swoop

Thursday, February 24, 20011

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


Fred the minivan has been leaking a bright pink fluid for some time now, which has made me reluctant to drive him the 2.5 hours up to the old house. I consulted the book, and it said it could be either power steering or transmission fluid. It leaks only for a few days after I'd driven him, and then it stops, and it was bright pink, not a dirty pink, so I suspected it was the power steering - on the theory that transmission fluid would be a bit more "used" looking.

I had been waiting for a warmish day with no wind so I could check the levels of both, and then it occurred to me that even if I did find one low, what then? I could add more fluid, but what if it let loose all of a sudden on the thruway? I decided to have it professionally diagnosed.

I spent a few hours knitting this morning in the Chrysler dealership waiting room. It was the transmission seals.

Net - between Hal's pothole bubbled tire and Fred's seals, I've spent about $1,500 on car repairs this past month. Taxes are due on the old house, the gas bill on the new house is murder, and premiums on three insurance policies will come due within the next month. Yeah, I've got savings, I'm not going to starve, but, let's face it, I'm the one who washes zip-lock bags and reuses them. I BUDGET!

I guess I *can* wait to find out why Suzie Suzuki is belching smoke.


I wanted to knit a baby blanket. I bought a kit from Herrschners, which included the yarn and a pattern book, and on the last trip to the old house I picked up my needles. I wanted to make the blanket, "Little Blessings", on the cover of the pattern book.

The pattern is screwed up!

It says at the end of row 16, you should have 159 stitches. But after doing row 17 and ripping it out twice, I mapped the pattern for row 17, and it requires 160 stitches. I added another stitch, and row 17 worked. Then when I got to row 19, the repeating lacy pattern didn't match up to row 17. On row 17, the pattern repeats every 6 stitches. On row 19, the pattern repeats every 7 stitches! Something's very wrong. I ripped out three rows and tried to add a stitch to the pattern on row 17, or subtract a stitch on row 19, and then realized that since I don't really know which is the "correct" guess at the error, there was a 50-50 chance I'd run into worse problems further up, when the design changed.

I ripped the whole thing out and started over with a free fan and shell ripple pattern from the internet.

The Herrschners pattern book is three years old. You can't convince me that no one has complained about that pattern. In decades past, when there was an error in a pattern book (and it's not uncommon), there has always been a correction letter tucked in the book.

I am very disappointed in you, Herrschners.

Monday, February 21, 2011

3170 At least most of the snow has melted

Monday, February 21, 2011

"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria."
-- Ben Franklin --


For two days at the end of last week, we had decent weather, in the low to mid 60s. Saturday we had a cold wind so strong it was difficult for me to stand. This morning we had snow. Not much, and it was mostly gone by evening, but still....

Mother Nature is a tease.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

3169 Spitting

Sunday, February 20, 2011

“[That] is forbidden. But possible.”
-- Common French saying --


I don't get into political discussions with Piper any more. He's solidly extreme right wing, sees only the wingnut viewpoint. He tries to "educate" me, to turn me from my obviously mistaken ways, but I just shake my head and change the subject.

In all the bad things that have been happening in his life right now, the good thing is that the market is picking up. He congratulated me Friday that of all his investment clients, I've been the only one who didn't panic at all back when everything was tanking. I just shrugged and assured him that everything would eventually come back. Sooner or later. Sit tight. (During the bad times he looked really bad. Discouraged. Wanted to avoid talking to his clients.)

I've made back all the money I lost during the dip, and made 3% on my investments in the past month alone. Piper wanted to give all the credit for the turnaround to his new tea bag buddies in Congress. I pointed out that yes, rich folks are brightening up. I've heard that sales of BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus are up, luxury resorts and spas are picking up again. But it's not so bright for the little folk. His buddies in Congress are making all kinds of cuts, but the programs they're cutting are all cuts to the poorer folks. Services. They're taking from the poor and giving to the rich. So yeah, naturally the rich are happy, and that's what's reflected in the market.

As Field says, "Those 235 poli-tricksters remind me of the bully that goes to the playground looking for a fight, and ignores the bigger kids shooting hoops and heads straight to the swing and jungle gym to pick on the smaller kids."

The smaller kids can't afford lobbyists.


I don't understand why they want to cut Social Security. Despite everything you hear, SS is not running out of money. In fact, SS has been running a significant surplus, and actually lends money to the federal government. They just don't want to count the loans as SS assets, because then they'd have to pay them back. Oh, by the way, remember when "they" wanted to "privatize" Social Security, i.e. invest the money in the stock market? Funny that we don't hear so much about that these days. I wonder why. I guess they forgot why Social Security was started in the first place.


Last time I had been to the old house, from all the droppings it looked like the mice were running riot, so I set mouse traps. I caught only one mouse. I don't understand.


I buy a lot of stuff online. The delivery guys around here (FedEx, UPS, USPS, and that other one) just drop the stuff on the doorstep. UPS is the only service that bothers to ring the doorbell, sometimes. At the old house, I was way up a long drive off the end of a dead-end street, and the house wasn't visible from the road or from neighbors' houses, but delivery guys always rang the doorbell when they left a package. Here, houses are cheek-by-jowl, the doorstep and anything on it is close to and clearly visible from a street full of traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians, but the delivery services just dump the package and run.

Several times I've stepped out the front door and found packages I didn't know were there.

Worse, I could have stepped out and NOT found packages I DIDN'T know SHOULD have been there.

FedEx is the weirdest. They have little stickies that say "We delivered your package", and have spaces for date and time, and check boxes for things like front door, back door, garage, neighbor, and so on.

Only two problems. They don't fill out ANY of the spaces or boxes, and they stick it on the package!

What good does that do?

(Oh, look, there's a Delivery Notice on this package saying they delivered a package. I wonder where the package is?)


When I'm on the computer in the morning and evening, Jasper bugs me to play. I accidentally discovered how to get him to not disturb me.

I sit at the desk on a canvas director's chair. I had put another canvas chair next to mine one day to show someone something on the computer. Jasper has appropriated the chair. I guess he likes the canvas sling seat. He's happy to sit or sleep there, as long as I reach over and stroke his head every so often.

The only problem is that it's right below the printer, so I have to warn him before I print anything. He's such a chicken....


Last month Daughter was running out of pants, so I invited her to shop in my closet. I had some loose knit drawstring pants that fit her expanding belly fine. She's fine on tops - she wears a lot of baggy sweaters anyway. Yesterday she said she's down to one pair of shoes, running shoes that are wide enough for her expanding feet. We wear about the same size, but my feet are wider than hers, so I think I'll be short some shoes soon, too.

Baby's due the end of April. No, after three frustrating ultrasounds, they still don't know, so "quit asking!"