Saturday, December 24, 2011

3426 Title? I don't need no stinkin' title!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Half the people you know are below average.
-- Steven Wright --


I'm in love again. Fourteen hours with The Man will do that to me.

One of the many things we talked about - he marveled at a coworker who, when the clock hits 4:30, stands up, puts his coat on, and leaves, leaving coffee on his desk, the computer open to whatever he was working on, conversations unfinished, he just leaves! It drives The Man crazy. He can't understand it. (Part of it was that the guy doesn't clean up before leaving, part of it was the leaving.)

Reminded me of this:

That's so true. The more you do, the more you get to do. When I worked for The Company - oh hell, it's far enough out now I think I can use the name - IBM, 10 to 15% overtime was built into every project. Being salaried, we didn't get paid overtime, but overtime was expected. Missing schedules was bad for your performance reviews, so overtime was necessary. And yet, it seemed like the people who got the raises and the promotions were also the people who left on time every day.

I knew one woman, Nancy, who worked like a dog. She took on everything she was asked to do, worked 10-15 hours of unpaid overtime every week. She pulled her department's tail out of the fire over and over. But over and over she was downgraded on the performance reviews because she "demonstrated poor time management", while other members of her department left on time every day, and got good reviews.

Nancy did a quarter of the entire work assigned to that entire 8 person department! She got no credit for it.

Simply put, those other people were able to convince their managers that they couldn't possibly take on additional projects. So all the additional department load was dumped on Nancy, who couldn't seem to say no. It was always, "Yeah, ok, I can do that."

Jay had pretty much the same problem.

I guess it's good time management when you don't accept any work that interferes with your personal life, even though overtime is part of the job. I think it's poor people management when you don't see the difference between loads carried.

3425 Five Christmas cards....

December 24, 2011

[Note - "" is YouTube's URL shortener. I wondered when I saw it, and researched it. It's safe. You'll notice that it expands to the full URL, like magic.]

This is long, at a hair over seven minutes, but it's beautiful and might make you cry. He's not particularly friendly to what Man has made of religion, but he "gets" the family aspects of Christmas: Tim Minchin : white wine in the sun


This one is short, at about 14 seconds: a Christmas message from Cyriak


Thirty-nine seconds, cute. Having grown up with porcupines in the yard, I can confirm that they really do talk a lot:


This one's for all the beastie lovers out there:


These kids aren't all that good (possibly why the director is in disguise), but it was a great idea:


Thursday, December 22, 2011

3424 Photo memories

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Illegal immigration began in 1492. Who are we to complain now?


I just read an article on taking better holiday photos. (At Their first directive is not to pose folks. The idea is to take pictures with something natural happening.

That reminded me of Jay's father's holiday photos. He worked for Kodak, and took a lot of pictures, but the man didn't have an artistic bone in his body. Apparently, he had heard about not stiffly posing groups. So he'd take a picture of the mother reading a story to the kids. BUT! Mother would be sitting in a chair looking at an open book on her lap, and the kids and Father would be standing beside each other and her, on either side of her, also looking down at the book.

Nah. Doesn't look posed. Uh uh. Not at all.

There are photos of poor toddler Jay standing next to a tiny sidetable, with his hand on the top of a toy truck on the table, looking miserable. I can just hear his father saying, "Now play with the truck." On an fifteen-inch-wide table?

I doubt it would ever occur to Jay's father to get down on the floor some time when Jay was playing naturally. That way he wasn't controlling the shot. And Jay's father was all about control.

I look at those photos now, and I feel so sorry for the child Jay.


When I first met Jay, I envied him his childhood, with parents who didn't fight, a father who didn't beat anyone, his whole life in the same school system, and the same house in a beautiful neighborhood, with Grandmother on the next street over.

Then I met his family (his mother had died a few years before). His father was ultra controlling - Jay wasn't even allowed to make any decisions on his own until he married me, his father even wrote all his application essays and cover letters, did all his boy scout projects, nothing Jay could do on his own was ever good enough, his sisters barely remember him as a child, and they weren't that far apart in age, they simply weren't involved, it was all very cold and demanding.

You know, I think I could have handled his death so young (49) if he had at least had a good early life. But he was just beginning to find himself and like himself when he got the diagnosis. That's hard to accept.

I threw all those photos out.

3423 Muse

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The last time Republicans cared about my life, I was a fetus.


There's a jewelry store near Albany named "Castiglione". How would you pronounce that? I'd pronounce it the Italian way, with five syllables. They pronounce it "Cast'line". Strange.


The mice are running riot in the old house. There's mouse poop everywhere. Loads of it. I hate to do it (I love and admire mice), but I'm going to have to visit the hardware store and spread some poison before I leave this evening.


I'm debating what to do about winterizing. I think I'll just turn off the pump, release pressure in the pipes to allow for expansion, empty the toilet tanks, and pour antifreeze in the toilets and drains. That way when I visit, I can just turn the pump back on and have water. And if we do lose electricity (and therefore heat) for a long period and a pipe does freeze, the damage would at least be limited to any remaining water standing in pipes.

I'm not going to drain the pressure tank or hot water heater. I don't think that even in the worst case they'd freeze enough to blow out.

We lose power here frequently, but usually just a quick bounce. Every time I visit, even when it's every week, all the clocks and timers are blinking. We must have lost power for a significant period recently, because stuff in the freezer had thawed and refrozen. The popsicles were the first clue.

Hint: If you ever leave your house for a while and want to be able to verify that stuff in your freezer is ok when you return, put a bag or a covered bowl of ice cubes in the freezer before you leave. If you come back to water or a solid block, you had a serious problem. If the cubes are still cubes, you're fine. If they're a bit fused but still distinguishable as cubes, most thicker items will still be ok.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

3422 The world is crazy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Jesus said to love your enemies, He probably meant don’t kill them.


It turns out I was right about the traffic. I left at 7 pm, took the parkway, and the usually 2.25 hour trip took 3.5 hours. Heavy traffic, accident, 10 mile backup at about 5-15 mph. But, I made it, 10:30 last night. I slept very well.

You know, I love this house. It's falling apart - the dishwasher, the deck, the toilets, the A/C, the driveway, all need replacing. It desperately needs a water softener and filter system - the pipes are full of salts and silt, so the water pressure is low. But all that can be fixed. I simply LOVE the way the house is laid out. And the windows. And the quiet. And the forever view. And the huge garage. I even love the sunny clean basement.


I read an article about how people aren't getting married much any more, and those who do are marrying later. A short excerpt from
Heading into 2012, trend watchers note that barely half of all adults in the United States are married, and the median age at the time of a first marriage has never been higher — slightly more than 26 years old for women and nearly 29 for men.

In 1960, 72 percent of married adults 18 and older were married. The percentage fell to 57 percent in 2000 and today it's just 51 percent, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

The share of marrieds could dip below half in a few years as single-person households, single parents and couples living together outside the bounds of legal marriage multiply.
IMHO, it's due to two things:
  • Women's liberation - when there were few lucrative opportunities for women, they pretty much had to get married to survive. Now, a woman can take care of herself; a husband is nice, but no longer a necessity. Therefore a woman can have higher standards and more choice.
  • Collapse of moral values - once upon a time, living with someone you weren't married to was "shacking up", and socially unacceptable. An unmarried woman could not get a prescription for birth control. A young unmarried pregnant woman "went away" for a while, and the secret baby was put up for adoption, so her life wouldn't be ruined forever. That's just the way it was done, as late as the '70s. Now nobody needs a ring for sex. It's free and easy. This makes it easier for men to delay or avoid marriage.
(... until they get older. I'm seeing a lot of men in their 50s and 60s on online dating sites who are or claim to be desperate for marriage. I think they suddenly realize that having someone who cares is important. I am amused that women in the same age group aren't so desperate.)

Maybe that's the point of the suppression of women in much of the rest of the world, the fundamental religion parts. It's the only way to make sure every man has a woman to do his cooking and laundry. Who else would marry some of those guys.


I spent all day running around. I went to the DMV and turned in the old NY plates for my cars. Then I wandered around Poughkeepsie for two hours trying to find my insurance agent - they'd moved twice since I'd last been to the office, and the letter I'd brought from home was an old one with the old address. I eventually found them, and discovered that even though Travelers' does insure in NJ, they can't simply transfer my old policy. I had to apply for a new policy. And contrary to what the rep at the main Travelers' office had told me, it's NOT cheaper in NJ. The new policy has only two cars (since I'd given Suzie to Daughter) but it's about $500 more per year.

Sigh. Remind me why I moved....

Anyway, they were able to get it all done and I got the "proof of" cards that I need to get the cars inspected in NJ. That has to be done next week.

Then I drove to Saugerties to my attorney's office to pick up the files from the closed estates - Jay's and his fathers. After going through them there, it turned out there was nothing I didn't already have copies of.

In the meantime, three different people over the past two days have tried to kill me, or at least seriously injure Hal. On three occasions, as I was driving down narrow city streets with cars parked along the curb to my right, the driver of a parked car suddenly opened their car door fully, swung it fast all the freakin' way, right into my path. I've heard of this happening, but until yesterday I'd never actually experienced it.

Hal is pretty nimble, so on two of those occasions I was able to swerve left and miss the door. But the third time, there was a car coming toward me on the other side and I wasn't able to swerve. I hit the brake so hard Hal took a nose-drive. I was doing maybe 25, and stopped in three feet, about six inches from the woman's door, stalling Hal. I'm just lucky there was no one behind me. The woman looked startled. I said nothing. Just backed up so she could close the door, and left.

Crazy people. I'm not going to yell at crazy people.

You know, I can't help but wonder if it was because I was driving a car registered in NJ, with NY insurance. Hmmmm. Now that my insurance is copacetic, maybe I will have no more threats.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

3421 Determined

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Actually, I never said that.
-- God --


The folks across the street got a puppy for Christmas 2010. One of those tiny fluffy smooch-nosed yappers. The first few months, the kids played with it in the yard, and the girl walked it on a leash every day.

It's a year later, and since the beginning of summer, nobody walks it any more. A few times a day it's clipped onto a chain in the front yard for a few minutes to do its duty. Lately it's more than a few minutes. Like they forget it. I feel sorry for the poor thing. It sits on the front stoop in freezing wind and cries.

I hate when people lose interest in a beastie.


I plan to go upriver today. I HAVE to go! It's been in the teens and twenties up there, and I absolutely have to turn off the water and winterize the old house. I also need to turn in the NY plates at the DMV, stop by the auto insurance agent and get the insurance switched to NJ, so I can get the cars inspected next week, and stop by my attorney in Saugerties to pick up some papers.

I've been very frustrated because every time I've planned to go lately, something happens to stop me.

Imagine how I felt when I heard that a small plane had crashed on route 287 this morning. Yeah, ok, I figure the consequences were worse for the folks IN the plane, but damn!, does Fate have to go THAT far to try to stop me?

287 is my favorite route north in late afternoon because there's much less traffic than on the parkway, mostly just big trucks, which are not allowed on the parkway, and although it makes the trip 15 minutes longer, it's much more relaxing. Ok, 287 is awkward to get on north of the crash, so ok, I can take the parkway, but traffic normally on 287 will be diverted to the parkway! So it's going to be even worse than usual.



Breaking news - details on the plane crash - three adults, two children, and a dog. No survivors. Four days before Christmas. Sheesh. And they must have been nice people - taking their dog with them.