Friday, March 11, 2011

3189 @#$%^& Builder!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Little girls grow up to be women. Little boys grow up to be ... big boys.


Wanna see sumthin creepy? Literally creepy?
  1. Click on this link:
  2. Then "click me to get trippy",
  3. Look at the center of the screen for 30 seconds (no cheating), and then
  4. Look at your hand. You'll be shocked at what you see.
Caution - do not try it if you are prone to epilepsy or motion sickness.


I'm mad at someone, not sure right now whether it's the builder, his lawyer, or my lawyer. I closed on this house in mid-October. The deed didn't get filed until mid-February! Somebody screwed up there. Around here they want the taxes paid quarterly. There was a tax bill sent out in December or January, but I never got it because the authorities weren't yet aware I'd bought the house. So, the bill for the next quarter arrived today, and guess what? I'm in arrears for the previous quarter. Surprise. Penalty and interest assessed.

I figure that the builder was still the owner of record for the December/January mailing, and therefore the SOB got the bill and never bothered to forward it to me, or even notify me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3188 Pain Redux

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Explanations are interpreted at the level and understanding of the listener, not the speaker.


The above quote is, as usual, random, but this is one case where it applies to the post it heads.


I confessed to Daughter yesterday that I had raised a bit of a stink in the Grandparents' class Monday evening, over the nurse's overuse of the word "pain". Daughter smirked. That particular nurse teaches the Lamaze classes, AND the Cesarean classes.

Daughter says she pretty much agrees with me that setting up for expectation of pain can cause pain, for a variety of reasons, but that it goes further than that. She said that she and I are a bit different from the average American in that we are more European and Asian in our views of the relationship of mind and body, and the relative roles of internal and external intervention, and therefore we won't necessarily understand the average American's response, and they won't understand ours.

Like when she or I have a headache, our first response is to figure out why we have the headache, and then remove or fix that stimulus. Most Americans' first or only response is to take aspirin.

She and I think a fever is a good thing, it's the body's way of making itself inhospitable to an invader, and she and I let it do its work (unless and until it gets too high). The average American immediately tries to reduce the fever, as if the fever itself is a bad thing, then relies on antibiotics to do the fever's work (which then upsets the natural good-bug/bad-bug balance in the gut, necessitating further intervention).

She and I look inwardly for balance and healing. Most Americans look outwardly, they don't trust their bodies, as if their bodies don't know what to do and the cure has to come from outside.

Yes, there are always times when outward intervention is absolutely necessary, especially when the damage has originated from the outside, or when the body's natural defenses are damaged or not sufficient, or the body doesn't recognize the threat, or either doesn't react or overreacts. The problem is that the average American has been conditioned to believe that outward intervention is always the best and only way.

A tiny example: Does a little cut on your hand always require the application of an antibiotic cream?** If so, you are probably an average American.


**(That was one thing that Jay and I didn't agree on. He always put antibiotic cream on every cut, even tiny paper cuts. And yet it was Jay the chemist who explained to me that those creams, and alcohol, and most other things people use on cuts, kill the living body cells at the edges and inside the cut in addition to any bacteria in the area.)

3187 Haircut Update

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Heat, pressure, time. The same things that make a diamond also make a waffle.


I've been nibbling at my hair. Rat tail comb, scissors, mirrors. The original cut was much too long, difficult to deal with.

I was a little worried about what The Man would think, but I guess it was ok. He said he liked that the back was short - that too many women, when they go short, leave it too long in the back. Which was kind of neat because it was just the night before he saw it that I went after the back and chopped it all off.

This is what it looked like in November when the professional was finished:
Feminine, sexy, but next to impossible to keep the back looking right without "product", and difficult to wear a hat without killing it entirely. Just too much hair behind my ears.

This is what it looks like since I've been nibbling:
From the front (sorry about the focus, or whatever it is that went wrong - call it a virtual face lift - which helps a lot because I have no makeup on):

It even looks like the hair is thicker when it's shorter. Not so much scalp showing through. Note how the color has changed as the old blond dye is growing out and the natural is coming in. It's still blonder in the front and on the sides. The light has a lot to do with the color, too.

I might eventually go blond again, but I figured it was a good opportunity to find out what color it really is these days. (It's actually darker in the lower back than shows here.)


I bought automatic dishwasher detergent the other day, "Regular Scent". Scent? Why scent?


Some guy has written an extension for browsers that will automatically blank out any mention of "Charlie Sheen", as well as photos, for those of us who are sick of the whole thing cluttering up our environment.

You know, even though I intensely dislike the show, I hope the network continues "Two and a Half Men" with another actor in Sheen's role, and that the show is even more successful with the replacement actor. That would really be ironic, pop ol' Sheen's ego-trip bubble, show him that it WAS the writing and production that made it successful after all, not him.


Vocabulary lesson of the day: The term is straitjacket, or strait jacket, not straight jacket, where "strait" means "narrow, confined".

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

3186 First sure sign of Spring!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Originality is the fine art of remembering what you heard,
but forgetting where you heard it.


I shaved my legs four days ago, and I've already got 1/4 inch of hair there!

3185 Two classes

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Computers have raised writing to a new low.


I went to the grandparents' education class at the maternity hospital last night. The 4 hours did cover a lot more than just "put the kid on its back". They went over the labor and delivery procedures and policies and a whole bunch of stuff, and ended with a tour of the labor/delivery rooms (very homey, and you deliver in the same room as labor) and the nursery and so on. They do have rooming-in if the mommy wants it. It all sounded pretty good.

I did have two spots of annoying concern.
  • Five people had signed up: me, two women who were apparently the future maternal and paternal grandmas of the same baby, and a grandma/grandpa couple. The couple didn't show up, so it was just three of us. And yet, the nurse conducting the class, fully expecting five people, had brought only two informational packets. Um, disorganized much?
  • The nurse said she teaches the Lamaze classes, and she repeatedly referred to "pain". Pain, pain, pain. It was always, over and over, pain.

It's my opinion that it's NOT pain. It is extremely intense, yes, but it's like when someone else removes a splinter from your finger, it hurts, but when you remove the splinter yourself, even though you are doing the exact same thing, it's not pain. If everything goes as it's designed to, if you fully understand what is going on during birth, if you understand that your uterus knows exactly what it's doing and is doing it right, if you are able to relax the rest of your body so that all the energy goes to the uterus, and if you are allowed to feel that you retain control of what's happening to you, knowing that you are delivering the baby, not the doctor, then it's not painful**. It's hard hard work, and very intense, but not painful.

If, however, someone in a position of authority tells you over and over that it will be painful, then I guarantee it will be. It sets you up with the expectation, which causes tension, which CAUSES PAIN! and even when there's no tension, if you expect pain, then you will interpret the expected intense contractions not as the natural wonder of the uterus doing its job in spectacular fashion (wow! look how strong it is!), but you will interpret it as pain, because that's what you'd been told it is.


I've had two babies completely absolutely totally naturally, no meds whatsoever, one baby's head was out before I got to the hospital, and it was very hard work and very tiring, but THERE WAS NO PAIN! Because I knew what was going on, and I knew about relaxing the lower muscles and pushing only with the upper muscles, exactly the opposite of the "like a bowel movement" crap they tell you, which is completely counter-productive and will cause the vagina and vulva to resist, which causes the muscles there to separate rather than to stretch, which causes PAIN! and tearing. Or that "little snip", which should be totally unnecessary. Plus if those muscles separate rather than stretch, they don't go back and you end up loose.

I do know whereof I speak.

Anyone who wants to argue that they have more experience in these matters and they know I'm wrong, simply has the wrong experience, dealing with frightened tense women who have been taught to push wrong and to expect pain and who feel no control.

So there!

**Note that women who deliver "by surprise" in their kitchens, or in a taxi, with no meds, nobody taking over, never say anything about pain.


Daughter took an interesting anatomy class last year. The class got (relatively) fresh cadavers, and, in groups of three, over the course of the class, they took their cadavers completely apart.

Daughter was fascinated by all of it, of course, but one thing was surprising to her. In anatomy books and everywhere else, when there's a diagram of what's inside, they all show the liver "here", the spleen "here", the kidneys "there", the pancreas "over there", the intestines "just so", and so on. The diagrams always look pretty much the same.

'Tain't so. When the students visited each other's cadavers, they discovered that the organs were all over the place. Some higher than expected, some lower, some more toward the center, some flat-out reversed or backward, some much larger or smaller than expected. It seems it isn't really all that easy to predict where you'll find something. Or even that it will actually be there.

Cool. Makes laparoscopic surgery a treasure hunt.

(I'm remembering the surprise when we discovered that Jay had only one HUGE kidney. Now I'm wondering why the doctors freaked out over that.)

Monday, March 07, 2011

3184 Houdini socks

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
(When all else fails, play dead.)


Z's comment on the previous post about dryer lint made me laugh.

I have some habits (sometimes I'm almost OCD), one of which concerns socks.

When I drop a pair into the laundry basket, I either tie them into a loose knot or tuck one into the other. So they live in the basket in pairs. When I sort them for washing, I untie them and put them directly, as pairs, into a net lingerie bag with a zipper closure, with a pin holding the zipper closed. They go through the washer and dryer in the bag.

When I take clothes out of the dryer, I take out the stuff that goes on hangers first, then the stuff to be folded, and last the lingerie bag full of socks.

I unpin the pin, unzip the bag, and dump the contents onto a table for pairing and tucking or tying together.

There's almost always ONE sock missing.

How? At what point could it have gone missing? Jasper's a mighty hunter, but even he's not Houdini.

Two missing can be explained - I probably mismatched/swapped members of two pairs sometime in the past. ONE cannot. Right now I have five orphan trouser socks on the shelf, none of which match any of the others.

I don't understand.


Daughter has registered me for a "Grandparents' Education" class at the hospital this evening. At the time she signed me up, she thought it had to do with delivery stuff, tour of the maternity area, etc., which I would have liked, but since then she has discovered it has to do with stuff like "we don't put babies to sleep on their bellies any more", so she said I didn't have to go to be patronized if I didn't want to.

I think I'll go anyway. Maybe if I get annoyed I'll skewer them with some questions.

Off to the shower. I'll count my feet when I get out.

3183 How do I have any clothes left?

Monday, March 7, 2011

"There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory."
-- Josh Billings --


Here's something else I don't understand:

I wash and dry a small load of clothes, say seven light knit tops, one sweater, and two t-shirts that I sleep in. Folded, they make a stack about 10 inches high.

When I clean out the lint trap, I remove a ball of lint the size of my fist, even when squeezed.

All that lint came from those few pieces.

I have a LOT of clothes, some things are very old, because I rarely throw anything out. It just moves down on the "acceptable in public" list. So I can pretty much guarantee that every item in that load had been washed at least, at a minimum, a dozen times, assuming I wore it twice a year. More likely a LOT more.

How do I have any clothes left? Howcum they're not transparent by now?

3182 Metaphor

Monday, March 7, 2011

Plants are living things too - they're just easier to catch and you can’t hear them scream.


Back in post 3178 Why I disliked poetry professors, I said I hated the way they made us analyze the meaning of a poem, as if anyone could really know what the author was thinking. Not only that, but the profs seemed to think that even though there could be many interpretations, theirs was the correct one.

Well, last weekend I went to a Mensa gathering, and was reminded of one I attended in Washington, I think, in the late '70s. One of the speakers was a semi-famous British poet, and one of the things he said was that he is pleased when people see one of his works as a metaphor for something that has meaning to them, but he hates when someone states that this is obviously what he meant. He gave an example. (I don't remember his name, and I don't remember the poem he used as his example, so I'll make one up that comes pretty close to his example.)

He was going through a period of depression, sort of writer's block. One morning he was sitting in the breakfast room, glanced out the window, and saw a patch of bright summer morning sun shining on the rose bushes, dark maroon bushes backed by white climbing roses trellised up the garden wall. The roses glowed, and he'd never seen them so beautiful. The sight made him feel so good, he wanted to capture the effect so that when he felt down, he could revisit it. So he wrote the poem, right there at the breakfast table.

Later he realized that the poem contained a lot of possible meanings, that it could be interpreted many ways. That's often what makes a good poem great. There was one interpretation that he didn't consider. Others saw the sky as representing Heaven, and the sun as God, the maroon roses as sinners and the white roses climbing up the wall toward Heaven as the virtuous, but that God's light and love shone on both alike. Very Victorian.

That interpretation didn't bother him - if people wanted to see it that way, that's ok, although he didn't because he is atheist. What really pissed him off was when people decided that he saw himself as one of the maroon roses, a sinner, and the poem represented his repudiation of atheism, that it was an epiphany for him. That became the accepted interpretation in academia no matter how much he denied it.

He almost whined, "I just wanted to remember the sun on the roses. That's all."

I think anyone other than the author who says, "This is what it means" without adding the "to me" is being incredibly arrogant.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

3181 What's the difference?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Life is uncertain. Order your dessert first.


For an excellent social analysis, please read

3180 Gathering, Image, Id card

Sunday, March 6, 2011

There can’t be sin without knowledge.


Friday I went 13 minutes up the road to the Central NJ regional gathering. It started at 4 pm on Friday, and went 'til about noonish today, with conversation and food in the hospitality room, a slate of speakers, and people from all over the north east in attendance. I heard one of the organizers say they had about 200 people registered, but I don't know where they were all hiding, because it didn't seem like that many to me.

The Man and I had met at this gathering four years ago, so this is sorta like an anniversary for us. It was a fluke that he was there that year. He just doesn't enjoy the gatherings.

I got a room at the host hotel for Friday night, but not for Saturday, because not much happens on Sunday anyway, so I figured I'd leave late Saturday night.

I sent The Man a note mid-week to tell him I'd be there and would love to see him. He's been working in Delaware, so I was a bit shocked (and very happy) when he said yes. He arrived Friday evening, bearing sushi, and we had dinner in the room. He'd said he had to leave on Saturday for a 4 pm dinner with his son, but what I didn't realize was that he'd be meeting his son in Maryland. So he left a little before noon Saturday. That means he drove from Delaware to central NJ to see me, then drove back through Delaware to Maryland - I was way out of his way. I am gratified. It feels good.

Back in the Hospitality room, many people were commenting (not exactly complaining) that they were disappointed in the speakers. Seems like nobody was up to par. There were no topics that interested me until a 4 pm talk on "Humor", by a guy who was the 2006 Time magazine "Man of the Year". I thought that would be good. Like what makes something funny? What are the differences in regional or national humor? What effect does laughter have on one's attitude and health? On brain chemistry? Why do some people find some things funny (like slapstick, the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men) that others (like me) find offensive? What is the anatomy of a joke? There were so many approaches that would have been interesting.

A series of ancient jokes wasn't it.

I actually left the room before it ended, and I rarely walk out on a speaker. Sorry. I was tired (a night with The Man does that...) and I was falling asleep sitting there, which I suspect is worse than quietly creeping out.

There was nothing else on the roster that interested me, so after wandering around a bit and talking to a few people, I left. I was home by 6:30 pm, and in bed by 10.


When a perfectly presentable person looks in the mirror, and sees a fat slob, or an ugly face, or is generally unhappy with their appearance, we have names for that. It's seen as a psychological problem. A disconnect between reality and perception.

I wonder if there's a name for my problem. When I look in the mirror, I'm happy with what I see. I think I look not only fine, but downright sexy, verging on pretty. Everything about my mirror image pleases me, and I think I'm being critical and realistic.

But when I see a photo of me, I'm shocked. Look at the wrinkles! The scars! The sags! The belly sticking out! The thunder thighs! The thin shapeless hair! The droopy neck! The yellow crooked teeth! Where did all those chins come from! My God, that nose is HUGE! Who IS that person!

And then I'm embarrassed. I wonder, when people look at me, do they see my mirror image or the photo image? I guess I have a disconnect between reality and perception, too. But is it good or bad? Healthy or unhealthy?


I keep hearing that the Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party folks, most, anyway, want less government messing in our lives. But read this:

It seems to me that what they really mean is less regulation of corporations and big business (campaign contributors), but more messing in and control of the lives of the "little people".

I don't see where a national id card would be any safer than the existing ids. The terrorists used faked driver's licenses. Would faking a national card be any more difficult? Especially when much of the info comes from state DMVs anyway? Seems to me it's more like an excuse to gather information on me, and you, and everyone else. That's all. An extension of the Patriot Act that has already destroyed our privacy, gone a major step farther.