Thursday, February 16, 2012

3468 Caffeine and NJ country squire living

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What part of “Thou shalt not kill” don’t you understand?
-- God --


I mentioned a while back that I'd had some dreams lately of a very unusual nature. Like, very sexy. And I wondered why.

I'd forgotten something from long ago, 48 years ago. When I was in college, you could buy pills in the campus bookstore that would help you to stay awake to study. They were super caffeine.

I tried them a few times, and discovered they were no help. I stayed awake all right, but I was swamped by very sexy daydreams. My libido jumped to the top of the scale. I even started eyeing the 75-year-old security guard on his rounds. Definitely not conducive to studying.

It's the caffeine!

I never used to drink coffee until I discovered vanilla creamer. Now I have a few cups every morning. But, it's a mix of half ordinary instant coffee and half decaffeinated, and I make a three-cup pot using about as much coffee as one would ordinarily use for one cup. So I didn't think I was getting that much.

On the evenings of the interesting dreams, I'd had a pot late in the evening.

Hmmm. Next time The Man drifts by, I think I'll treat him to some caffeinated Silk. Not that I need an aphrodisiac when he's within reach, but it could be interesting anyway.


Last Sunday I went to a Meetup luncheon a bit south of here - six other women and me. One of the women was a realtor, and she was doing an open house that afternoon at a house in Wall that was listed at $900,000+. I'd heard that Wall was the snooty neighborhood. Three of us decided to attend the open house and check it out.

It looked nice from outside - a huge square two-story with a porch around three sides, and a patio and pool off to the side. It had a lot of windows, and huge rooms. It was apparent that a decorator had been engaged to do the window treatments. But after that it was a mess.

There was different colored carpet in every room, and the upstairs hall carpet was a tough industrial-looking gray berber which ended up clashing with all the different colors and textures at every door jamb. Rooms didn't flow nicely. Halls twisted. Levels didn't flow. It seemed like every 10 feet or so you had to go up or down three or four steps. The bathrooms looked very small and plain, like they'd bought the fixtures from my builder's leftovers.

The house didn't feel at all comfortable or happy. It looked ... well ... like a house divided into warrens where emotions would be hidden away. So many windows, but so little connection within. I wasn't surprised to hear it was on the market because of a nasty divorce.

It was a disappointment.

But I think maybe I would enjoy watching for more open houses in the Wall area.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

3467 Jasper says rub my belly and I'll love-bite you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The wise will act; the foolish will hope.


On the medical stuff, I got an x-ray of my left kidney today and made a Friday appointment for an ultrasound. From walking into the hospital until walking out was 2.5 hours. I'm tired from just sitting. I hadn't taken a book because I didn't expect to get the x-ray today and certainly didn't expect to sit and stare at a blank wall for 40 minutes at a time.

The kidney stone is still there.

I'm trying to schedule blood work, but the only way the lab makes appointments is online, and there are no morning appointments available for two weeks. It has to be morning because it requires fasting. I'm dropping urine off tomorrow, so I'll ask if they could do something about that.

--------------------------------'s Big Picture today ( is about Valentine's Day around the world.

I had assumed that Valentine's Day was a Euro-Americas thing, so I was surprised to find photos from:
San Salvador
Kuala Lumpur
Prachinburi province, Thailand

I'm surprised that many of those countries are Islamic. I'm amused that all the favors and all the red balloons being sold on street corners all over the world had "I love you" on them ... in English!

3466 Done and to do

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Please stop blaming your narrow-minded prejudices on God.


I hope to accomplish a few things today. Last night I wrote checks for the month's bills and I'll mail them today. No, I don't do online or automatic payments - no one sticks their fingers in my bank accounts but me!

I'm paying $284 per month for fuel oil for the old house on a 12-month budget plan. Of course I've been using a lot less oil, so I now have a $1,200+ credit with them, with four more months to go on the plan. So I called them, and they have marked my account paid in full. We'll start again in July with a much lower monthly amount.

Same thing with the electricity for the old house. That's $164/month on the budget plan, and I'm running a healthy credit. It's the dehumidifier, furnace fan, and upright freezer eating power. Next trip up I'll empty the freezer and so that should drop, too.

I discovered that is still hitting my credit card for membership, so I went to the website and discovered that I have manual renewal, NOT automatic renewal so they shouldn't be doing that. I could probably sue them. I called the credit card company and that will now stop.

My GP and the urologist wrote some scripts for tests. I can't read them, so I don't know what to schedule with the lab and the hospital. I think I'll just go there, show them the bits of paper, and let the folks at the desks figure it out.

I wrote an email to The Angel to let him know I killed my DBA, and I need to pull together the tax stuff to mail to him.


I have become more conscious of money lately. I sold $320K of stock (not from the managed account, from the portfolios I still controlled) to buy this house. Piper said it was fine, that I was just transferring investments from stock to real estate. He seemed to think it was an equal trade. His analysis annoyed me, because those stocks paid over $8K/year in dividends, adding to my income, plus they increased in value. So my disposable income dropped. Worse, this house is costing me almost $10K/year in taxes and insurance, for a net loss of $18K/year in cash that used to be available for other purposes. I do not consider trading an investment that paid 8k/year for an investment that costs 10K/year a wise investment. This house certainly is NOT increasing in value by 18K/year.

My retirement and SS checks total about $36K per year, so I now have to pull from my managed account to cover big ticket items like long term insurance, car insurance, life insurance, various taxes, and so on, thus reducing that principal.

My SS checks are not on my own account. I'm drawing widow's benefits on Jay's account, so I'm going to go to the SS office, maybe tomorrow, to see if I'll get more if I switch to my own account. I have a longer work history than Jay, at a higher salary, so maybe it'll be a little bit more. Maybe not. The online SS site won't tell me because I haven't worked in so long (or some dumb fool reason - I forget exactly).

I'm glad I'm on a diet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

3465 Negative vs positive perception

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You’re pro-life AND pro-war? I’m anti-hypocrite, thanks.


I read an article on perception this morning, at, about how we don't see what we are not expecting to see, and how being focused on something can blank out other things, and how that affects jury expectations and eyewitness testimony.

Yeah. I've often said that even if a miscreant were three inches from my face, I'm not sure I could pick him out of a lineup, even if I had known him for years. I don't believe anyone else can, either, not positively. I have been told many times that I was SEEN places I've never been, doing things I have never done, they were absolutely positive it was me, and I'm a bit unique in appearance so that's very hard to understand.

As usual, I read the comments, and as usual the comments generated discussion beyond the topic. This particular off-topic comment was interesting:
...Could this relate to the percentage of us that will persistently perceive the negative, when no bias or even a positive bias is expressed? Those that will always look for the hidden message which must of course be negative? Then again, some percentage of the population will always perceive the positive, when negative aspects are presented? Would the term “Predetermined Perception (of reality)” apply to either? Are both simply alternate ways of filtering the real world to fit our expectations?....
Daughter is one of those folks who, if there's any necessity to fill in the blanks, any action or comment she doesn't fully understand, will always fill in negatively. She will attribute negative motives where none exist, until proven differently. That expectation is just a part of her personality, and has existed since infancy.

I'm mostly the opposite. I give the benefit of doubt. I expect and will attribute positive or neutral motives right up until the other person slaps me in the face. And even then, I try to understand why.

I'm not sure which is better.

Daughter assumes negativity, and is satisfied when she is right, and is pleasantly surprised when she's wrong.

I make positive assumptions, but being right is just "eh", and when I'm proven wrong I am terribly, deeply, hurt by the abuse of my trust.

So in the long run, maybe Daughter is happier? Maybe she's not because it's not often her negative assumptions are corrected, so she doesn't trust easily? Am I and my Pollyanna outlook better off, because it mostly doesn't matter when I'm wrong since I seldom actually get hurt? Is it better to run negative with frequent peaks of pleasant surprise, or to run positive with occasional plunges of hurt and disappointment?


If someone says something to you and you're not sure where they're coming from do you assume a positive meaning or a negative meaning?
If you see someone hanging around outside a building, do you assume they're waiting for a ride, or that they're scoping the place out for a robbery?
Do you assume people want to take from you or give to you?
Do you interpret things negatively or positively until otherwise proven? And why?


A quick example from a few weeks ago. Daughter and I were on a main road at about 5:30 pm, traffic was heavy, when we passed a house with a business-suited woman trying to open a front window, next to the front door, only a few feet from the road. She had gotten out of her car parked in front of the house and had gone straight to the window. Daughter wanted to call 911 and report a break-in in progress. I was not concerned. I pointed out that there was too much stop-and-go traffic and she was too visible for it to be a break-in. My immediate assumption was that she had locked herself out.

(I'd have been more concerned if she were working on a side or back window, and wearing something other than a skirt and high heels. And even if it was a break-in, being that visible, I'll bet she is known to the occupants.)

What would you think? Which way would you be inclined to jump first?

3464 Jasper says, yummies?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your day is only as good as the strength of the table you're dancing on.


A few weeks ago when Nugget was working on her first two teeth, Daughter was having difficulty finding biscuits for her to teethe on. Not so many years ago we had zweiback. It was ideal because the baby couldn't break off large chunks, and small chunks would soften before choking the baby.

Daughter couldn't find zweiback anywhere. I don't know why. The baby sections had teething biscuits, but they were scary because they'd break into large solid chunks that we'd have to fish out of the Nugget's mouth over her objections.

So I told Daughter a story that I thought would make her cringe. Yeah, I gave her zweiback when she was teething, but there was something that worked better. I had two dogs at the time, and Daughter loved the doggy cookies. Milk Bones. There's nothing awful in them, and they work very well. Daughter teethed on Milk Bones.

To my surprise, she thought that was a great idea.

Hence this photo:

Monday, February 13, 2012

3463 Blast from the past

Monday, February 13, 2012

The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don’t have any.
-- Alice Walker --


A number of posts ago I mentioned that when I lived in Ottawa, Ontario, we kids had a lot of freedom. We'd take the city bus into the city and skate on the Rideau Canal that winds through the downtown. Well, the Boston Globe's Big Picture spread today is all about ice skating, and I was surprised to immediately recognize this location:

This is photo #7: "Thousands of people skate on the Rideau Canal and take part in Winterlude festivities in Ottawa on February 4, 2012. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press/Associated Press) #"

(It was not that crowded when we kids were skating. There's a festival going on.)

3462 Jasper says garbage trucks are scary.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Caring for the health of others - isn’t that a moral value?


I don't care for most groups that define themselves as "metal". Seems like it's just noise with screaming. But check out the Swedish group "Therion". They seem to have had training in music theory, and the lead actually sings. Well, I haven't heard everything they've done, but what I have heard is interesting.

Go to Youtube and search for 'therion'. Don't watch the videos - just listen.


I have a profile on OKCupid. It's usually disabled, doesn't show up, but occasionally I enable it to check the journals or profiles of others, or when I'm bored and want to see how random people answered questions. And then I can't disable it for a week, them's the rules ya know, so sometimes it's visible. I have a paragraph at the top saying that it's virtually invisible, and should be ignored. I still get the occasional nibble anyway. And I think about them.

Back when I had active profiles, I did meet some guys. I have a rule that I don't chat, or have extended email explorations, or phone calls. If we look at all interesting to each other, we meet someplace quiet but public immediately. I figure you can learn more about a person in one lunch than in weeks of emails or phone calls.

Partly that rule is because of one guy I'd corresponded with back in 2006. He owned a used bookstore just over the line in Connecticut and wrote the most beautiful emails. We clicked in philosophical matters. We couldn't seem to get our schedules in synch, so we corresponded for three months before we met, and by then I was half in love with him. Then one day we met.

He was a complete mess, physically and emotionally. He had severe edema in his legs, couldn't walk more than a few feet, and didn't know why because he hadn't seen a doctor about it. The skin was actually cracking and weeping. He had three dogs that literally were not allowed out of his sight. We couldn't go to the restaurant originally selected because there wasn't parking close to the outdoor dining area. We had to find a restaurant with a patio in sight of the parking lot so he'd be able to see the dogs in the car. And it was COLD and windy that day.

I was so disappointed, because by then ... well, I felt bad not just because I was crushed, but because I like to think I'm more interested in mind than body, but "maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe I'm a bad person for having so negative a reaction", and so on.

So after that, if you look interesting, we MEET, immediately, before you can crawl into my mind and heart and set up shop, and I'm forced to evict you.

Of course I haven't met anyone from those sites in years, not since the first date with The Man, but I remember what it was like.

Most of these guys seem to have a weird expectation. They seem to think that having agreed to meet, we already have some kind of relationship, a commitment. Like if there were anyone around to introduce me to, I'd already be presented as "my girlfriend". Some kind of Wild Western mail-order bride. And if you don't act like that, some of them get angry. If at the end of the meeting you indicate that you are happy to have met him but don't think we're a good match, they act like "why did you agree to meet me if you don't intend to follow through, why did you waste my time?" Yeah, I've heard those exact words.

I guess one way to handle that is to part letting him think you adore him, and then say no thanks from the safety of home. And that's another reason avoiding emails (except through the site) and phone calls is a good idea. I don't give out my contact info or my last name until the third date.

I guess it's because so many of those guys are desperate for a woman. That's all they want. A woman. Almost any will do. Some of them want only a vagina.

What do I want? (If I were still trolling online, that is....)

I DON'T want a man who
- needs a woman to complete his life.
- needs a housekeeper, maid, cook, or nurse.
- expects to move in together.
- starts out thinking we'll be getting married.
- wants someone to share expenses with that he can also sleep with.
- is willing to accept me before even knowing me.

I DO want a man who
- already is secure and happy alone.
- wants someone to share enthusiasms (museums, activities, festivals, travel) with.
- wants one or two weekends a month together (eventually), his place or mine.
- is willing to go Dutch on almost everything.
- doesn't need me, but learns to appreciate and want me.
- (Yeah, there are some bedroom requirements, too, but let's start with the basics.)

You know what? I think that kind of guy is extremely rare on online dating sites.
Wow. A light bulb just went on.