Saturday, February 04, 2012

3456 Jasper says, "Eat more cat food!"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
--Sinclair Lewis --

(Yep. I hear ya, man.)


I'm having fits about food.

I have osteopenia - mainly as a result of suppression of calcium absorption caused by years on Nexium and Prilosec for severe acid reflux when I was heavy. So my GP said to increase my calcium intake, both dietary and supplements.

The nutritionist whose recommendations helped me to lose the weight wanted me to get most of my proteins from from beans, nuts, and dairy products like eggs, yogurt, and cheese. When I eat a carb, it should be combined with a protein, like peanut butter with an apple. I usually eat only one palm-sized serving of meat a day, maybe four or five of the seven days a week.

To slow down any tendency of the macular degeneration to grow, the ophthalmologist says I should eat more dark green vegetables, like kale, collards, spinach, and chard.

So far, it all goes together.

Because my kidney stones are calcium oxalate, the urologist says to curb my calcium and oxalate intake.

The dairy products are full of calcium. The dark greens and peanuts are full of oxalate.

I'm going nuts trying to figure out what I CAN eat. It's like I have both Jack Spratt and his wife inside.

Maybe I should just throw it all away and go on my grandmother's diet. She lived into her middle nineties on pot roast, cabbage, and root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, radishes, carrots, onions, potatoes, and rutabagas. And the occasional macaroni salad. And lots of Welsh cookies. Which are full of lard. Which makes them good.

Or I could take Jasper's advice.

Friday, February 03, 2012

3455 Mental Gymnastics

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vegetarian: an old Native American word meaning "lousy hunter".


I have a small patch of hair on the left side of my head, maybe like an eighth of an inch in diameter at the roots, that wants to stick out. The hair around it curves down, but this tendril wants to curve up. Every morning I have to wet that little patch and curve it over my fingers to get it to blend in.

But wind, dampness, whatever can make it stand up again.

This morning I stood there at the sink with the patch curling up, sticking up like a tiny antelope horn, feeling a bit of frustration, and I got the scissors out to cut it off. Just cut the part that curves up. It'll be shorter than the hair around it, might look like a bit strange...

...then I suddenly decided to leave it, let it do what it wants. I'll just call it cute. It's CUTE! Got it?

This afternoon I walked past a mirror, saw the lock sticking out, smiled, and thought without thinking, "Aw, that's cute."

I wish I could do that with other parts of my life.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

3454 Jasper says "Curtains are stupid!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
-- Steven Wright --


It got up to 67 degrees yesterday afternoon, and sunny. I put Hal's top down, and it was very nice. The groundhog says six more weeks of winter, but this winter I don't mind.


I didn't get around to changing the batteries in the smoke detector yesterday, partly because as the morning went on, the chirps got weaker and farther apart, and finally stopped, so I forgot about it. Now I'm wondering why it stopped. It's wired into the house, so why wouldn't it continue chirping? And if it's on house power, why would the battery run down anyway? Isn't it just for backup? Shouldn't it last as long as the backup batteries in clock radios?


I don't understand why soccer fans seem to be so fond of deadly riots. From ABC News, about yesterday's riot:
A narrow stadium exit turned into a death trap. Crowds of Egyptian soccer fans fleeing supporters of the opposing team armed with knives, clubs and stones rushed into the corridor, only to be crushed against a locked gate, their rivals attacking from behind, survivors and witnesses said.

The result was the world's worst soccer violence in 15 years, with 74 people crushed, suffocated or stabbed to death.
Huh? I just don't get it.

Most of the news articles talk about how the police "allowed" it to happen because they don't like the restraints they're under since the fall of Mubarak. They are not so powerful any more, so this is seen as "teaching the people a lesson", that police repression is needed. And so on, blah blah.

But nobody has addressed the reason soccer fans seem so prone to violence - whether they win or lose. They shouldn't NEED repressive police to keep fans from killing each other. What about THAT!


I love this, from "Friends of Irony":
I hope the kitty was stopped before he overdosed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

3453 Oh! The Ravens!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr. --


On Sunday I promised an answer to why the legend is that the monarchy is doomed if the ravens leave the tower, and then I wandered away.

There are many theories, most of them much too literary, much too complicated, involving too much navel-gazing. The simplest answer (with the exception of explanations of human motives) is often the truest.

Ravens eat (among other things) carrion. The Tower was the site of executions, and the bodies of traitors to the Crown were left on display. Ravens hung around for the feasts.

If the Crown grew complacent and stopped public executions of traitors, it would be a sign of weakness, and the Crown wouldn't exist for long.


3452 Jasper says he loves me anyway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

There’s a skinny woman inside me begging to get out.
I can usually shut the bitch up with cookies.


I have a few personality defects. Everyone does. Mostly I don't think about them. If they bother other people, they can take it or leave it.

One of them is a desire for control. It worked to our advantage in my relationship with Jay because he needed a manager, and appreciated my taking over most decisions, and he was clear enough when things or directions were important to him that I knew when it was important to defer.

Now, with Daughter and the Nugget, I am making a real effort to back off. Daughter will do or not do things with Nugget, and I sometimes have to bite my tongue. Even when she asks my advice, I'll give her some options, things to consider, and then I'll end with, "But you're the Mommy. You know best. You know her best, and your instincts will be good."

Of course my halo slips often. Like "Um, shouldn't she have a hat on?" Daughter is also getting better at resisting me, "She hates hats, and that jacket is very warm." So far I've been good enough that I can be proud of myself.

There is one defect that I do struggle with, because it directly affects me. I tend to carry old resentment. The more I examine it, the more it seems to be bound up with Ex#2. Even 30 years after leaving him, I still get flashes of annoyance at him, and it's not even anything he has done recently - it's all old old old stuff that I can't seem to let go of.

For example, every time I clean the lint filter in the dryer, I think of him and feel smoldering anger. Every! Single! Time! For 30 years! I'm tired of feeling that anger and wish I could stop it, but I can't.

Back then I would occasionally ask him to move laundry from the washer to the dryer, or get a load out of the dryer and bring it to me for hanging and folding. And every time he'd dutifully clean the lint filter.

Now, the proper way to clear the lint filter is to catch an edge of the lint blanket and roll it up and out off the screen, right?

He'd press his fingers on the top of the middle of the lint and rub as hard as he could, which forced most of the lint through the screen and into the air. There'd be a few balls formed, which he'd lift out. After a few loads of his cleaning the filter, everything within 20 feet of the laundry room would be covered with a layer of lint.

I showed him how to do it neatly over and over, and then I'd walk in and he'd be standing in a cloud of lint, furiously rubbing the screen again. He never learned. Eventually I gave up and would have to drop whatever I was doing, no matter what, to go hang his shirts before the wrinkles set. And when I walked past him sitting there with his feet up, dozing, waiting for dinner, I'd get angry.

There was no point in telling him that it was ok to spread the lint if he'd vacuum it up. He would vacuum if I asked him to, but he'd crash the beater head into everything, knocking over plants and lamps and scarring wood furniture. Then when he changed the bag, he'd squash the full bag into the kitchen garbage can opening up, and a cloud of dust would envelope everything in the kitchen. He never learned how to vacuum, either.

He also lied about having done things he never did, like when he swore that he'd registered toddler Daughter for the company Christmas party, but when we arrived, she was not allowed in because she'd never been registered. He had forgotten, and after the deadline passed, he lied rather than admit he'd forgotten. Or this or that or the other thing.

There were so many things like that, and when I am reminded of them now, I get flashbacks and feel the anger in full force all over again.

I grew to hate him.

Throughout my life, there have been people who "done me wrong" in one way or another, like the guy who took credit (and the award and promotion) for my work, or the guys who lied to me on topics they knew were important to me, and so on. Even Jay bugged the hell out of me occasionally, like when I'd leave him alone in the den thinking he was working (he telecommuted the last year he worked) and I'd walk in with a sandwich for him and find him deep in a computer game. Which meant that we'd have to cancel the evening plans because he had stuff due the next day.

I remember all of that, but I no longer feel the anger or frustration. In many cases I feel sorry for the miscreant because I understand what led them to do what they did, even if I don't agree with their motives, or I find the story amusing now. Now, it's all just stuff that happened.

Why can't I let it go where Ex#2 is concerned?

Possibly because he never listened to me. Never gave any credit to anything I said. Never admitted there was any kind of problem. Never seemed to care about my feelings. Never admitted any fault. Never said Oops. According to Daughter, to this day he's the same. And maybe knowing that he's still alive, still the same, still won't admit fault, maybe that's why I still resent him. (Plus, he still hasn't admitted hiding assets at the divorce.)

I don't know. I just wish I could let it go. I'm tired of being angry at him. Tired of him intruding into my laundry days.

3451 Jasper wonders where the bird is.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
-- Steven Wright --


It's now 7:30 AM, and it's 47 F and raining. This is a very strange winter.

I was awakened at 2:30 am. I had been dreaming that I was masturbating (I wasn't, and that's a very strange dream for me) and a massive orgasm woke me up at the same time I heard a smoke alarm chirp. It's since been chirping every 30 seconds (hence Jasper wandering around wondering where the bird is). I don't want to climb a ladder until I've had breakfast and caffeine, so it's still chirping.

The orgasm thing is worrying me a bit, although it's also very nice. That's never happened in my sleep before, not that I know of, anyway, until this past week. This was the second in a week. Maybe like an adolescent boy, my androgens are out of whack? Pituitary problem? Where's House when you need him. (Wasn't there a House show, or Scrubs, or maybe a Grey's Anatomy episode, long ago about a woman who was having spontaneous orgasms all day?)

It's weird that since menopause I've become much more responsive, not less. And it's definitely not the "lack of fear of pregnancy" that so many people want to attribute it to. It's real sensitivity, like nerve connections that had been dulled before. Throughout my youth I'd had to tell guys to quit fiddling with my breasts. It was more annoying than stimulating. Last year I had my first orgasm from nipple stimulation alone. Blew my mind! (Yeah, The Man is GOOD!)

I suspect a lot of older women experience that awakening. I suspect it goes either up or down, maybe in equal numbers. For those of us that go up, it's unfortunate that men of our age are slowing down. We want more than they can provide. Maybe that's why so many older women are interested in younger men.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

3450 Jasper is snoring, so no title.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle
will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
-- The Buddha --


Along about January 18th I got a bit concerned about Jasper. He ate some dry food, drank a little water, then promptly threw it all up. He did that once in the morning and once in the evening. Cats are famous for throwing up, but Jasper almost never throws up - probably because he almost never grooms himself, so he doesn't ingest fur. This was a new cat food, and maybe it didn't agree with him, or he didn't like it.

He seemed ok until the next evening, when I noticed he hadn't nibbled at his food since morning. The day after that I noticed that there was no new poopy in the litter box. By then it was Friday evening. He didn't seem to be uncomfortable, and his belly felt like the usual birthday balloon. If he wasn't eating, no poop wouldn't be odd. He was still drinking water and piddling.

Was he blocked? Or just registering a stubborn rejection of the new (good for kidneys, which automatically means cats will hate it) food?

Saturday, Sunday, no eating, no pooping. I decided to call the traveling "vet in a van" on Monday.

Monday morning there was poop in the litter. Why do pets and kids always get sickest just before the weekend, when you go nuts wondering what you should do, then they're all better on Monday? (Ok, not just pets and kids. If I'm going to have any kind of emergency attack, it'll happen on a weekend. Always.)


I've given up on "lose" and "loose". Even professional writers don't seem capable of figuring it out any more. Now there's a new one. Five times in the past three days, in five different places, I've seen "mirrow" when the writer meant "mirror".

I am depressed.


I read a natural science article on ravens and crows. I used to enjoy watching the crows from my back deck at the old house. They're playful acrobats, and smart. There were ravens on one of the trails I used to walk. They're sober, and even smarter.

I've seen the ravens at the Tower of London. Their wings are clipped, so they can't fly far, to keep them from leaving because of some old prophesy that when the ravens leave the tower, the monarchy will fall. "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it."

Funny how nobody ever questions that prophesy. How would the ravens leaving affect the monarchy?

Leave your theories in the comments. I'll tell why tomorrow.

3449 Jasper says, "Catnip?"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
-- Steven Wright --


I don't seem to be updating much lately. Don't know why. Oh, well....


Back when I was choosing my new glasses and lenses, the rep talked me out of progressives. After I had researched progressives and realized she had given me very good advice probably at the cost of a larger sale, I wrote a letter to LensCrafters' corporate complimenting her.

Early last week I went in to pick up the gold glasses, that they had told me would take about two weeks. They took a lot less. I was fitted by the store manager. He was really nice. The glasses were perfect, and then they replaced the badly-cut lenses in the silver frames, and they were perfect, too. Then as I stood up to leave, he said, "I want to thank you for the letter you wrote to corporate. That was really nice of you."

Wow. I thought it would be anonymous. Well, I've accidentally discovered the way to get great and fast service, I guess.


I still don't understand men's ties. They've got to be more idiotic than women's high heels (although not as idiotic as those stupid platform shoes). And if you absolutely have to wear the tie because it's "traditional" and says "serious business attire", then what the heck is wrong with clip-on ties? Does it HAVE to be difficult and uncomfortable to count?


I watched "Driving Miss Daisy" on cable a few days ago, and was shocked by something I missed the first umpteen times I'd watched it. I think it was probably the late '60s when the son gave the chauffeur a $75/week raise. It knocked me over. In the late '60s a teacher's starting salary was $4,500 per YEAR! The usual decent raise was $300 per YEAR! When I started with IBM, a programmer made about $9,000 per year.

I think I went into the wrong profession.

I mentioned it to Daughter, and she said quite seriously that when she graduated from college with the engineering degree in three areas, chauffeurs were earning more than she, and she had seriously considered switching careers.

Now, I think the chauffeur's raise in the movie had more to do with appreciation for his care for Miss Daisy than with the job, but although he showed appreciation for the amount, his reaction was not like he'd just won a million-dollar lottery, which is more like it. It was his "Wow. OK. Thanks." reaction that floored me.


I had a brief discussion re macular degeneration with Zarina in the comments on a previous post. I agree with her that sometimes it can move quickly, and I'll need to have it checked often. Later I remembered something.

I'm trying to remember when it was. Jay was alive and healthy, so it must have been before 1998. My vision plan didn't cover optometrists but did cover ophthalmologists, so when it was time for a new prescription, I went to an ophthalmologist. I don't remember exactly what he said, but he did mention macular degeneration, both eyes, very small, nothing to worry about, but --- he gave me a square grid with a dot in the middle. I was to put it on the wall somewhere that I'd see it every day (I put it on the refrigerator), and I was to call him immediately if the lines ever got wavy.

It was there for years, got aged, stained, and tattered, and then one day somebody "helped" me by cleaning all the junk off the refrigerator (yeah, Daughter, I'm looking at you), and the grid disappeared. (The opthalmologist had died suddenly a few years before, and the scandal in the village was that his landlord had thrown out all his records.) I didn't bother replacing the grid.

Between then and now, probably 15 years or more, I've had four or five exams, all with dilation, some with ophthalmologists and some with optometrists, and no one has mentioned macular degeneration until this recent one.

So, it doesn't seem to be progressing. And the spots are in exactly the same place in both eyes, so it might even be congenital. Evidence arguing for a congenital spot of insufficient blood supply is that every ophthalmologist and optometrist I've ever seen since the age of 12 has remarked that they can't get me to 20-20.

So I doubt that it's a big deal. On the other hand, I have to watch for the effects of age, so it's a good idea to get an eye exam every year and mention that they should look for it.