Monday, August 29, 2011

more disasters, old grief

There was a hurricane yesterday, or most of a hurricane.  Hurricane Irene was actually Tropical Storm Irene by the time it made landfall here, and though it actually did make landfall in New York City, damage and power outages were minimal.  I think I did myself more damage worrying about it on Friday.  Even though we're relatively close to the water, we weren't one of the "low-lying area" that had to evacuate.

Amazingly, mass transit was back up again today, pretty much 100%.  The MTA was incredibly smart and well-organized for this one.  They closed up shop about eight hours before they expected trouble (apparently, 39 mph wind speed is their cutoff), and stored the trains and buses in places unlikely to flood.  I live about one subway stop from one of the major subway yards, and it got totally flooded, but the trains weren't there.  The MTA wasn't able to restart entirely for days after the blizzard last December.

Otherwise, things are pretty much status quo.  My brother actually called yesterday and for the first time in a couple of years, we didn't discuss That Bad Thing, which was a whole lot more pleasant.  Of course, the occasion for the call, besides the storm, was That Other Bad Thing, the one where my mother died 30 years ago this month at age 45.  Her birthday is also in August, so August has just become The Month of Feeling Mildly Shitty.  Not much in the way of big crying fits, possibly because we don't really do any family get-togethers or (ptui! ptui!) cemetery visits. 

Those "ptui!s" are spitting noises, because I REALLY hate cemetery visits.  To me, they're very morbid, and seem like invitations to get upset.  To me, they're something like religious services:  services put you in a spiritual mood, but you don't have to attend to be spiritual.  Cemetery visits put you in a mourning mood, but you can mourn anywhere and in your own way.  One of the really bad memories I have of the period right after my mother died, maybe at the services or the cemetery, was overhearing friends and relatives talking about how upset I was and how much I was crying, in a way that made me feel like my outward mourning was being judged.  I've always considered it something kind of private.

I'm about the opposite of my aunt (who I did not call this month, although my brother did), who used to drive out to the cemetery and pick out the weeds around the headstones, bring water and paper towels to clean the lettering incised in the stones, etc.  (My mother, stepfather, and my mother's parents are all buried in one plot together.)  I just think it's fetishy to get so involved in the location of a dead body, even if the location is considered something of a memorial.  I have my own ways to remember, and my own places, and my own times to grieve.

It's true that death anniversaries hit me a little harder the first few years after the death, I suppose because it's still so fresh.  The five-year anniversary of my mother's death clobbered me so hard that it landed me in AA at the end of August.  Wednesday will be 25 years since I drank or did coke.  I also didn't go near herb for about a dozen years but did eventually start that again, so orthodox AAers or NAers wouldn't consider me clean or sober.  Still, I haven't had a drink in 25 years, or any coke, which was a VERY severe problem.

I recently ran into an old program friend of mine who had also been a co-worker at NYU.  She was something of an old-timer when I cleaned up, but apparently had problems a couple of years ago.  She said, "I've been around The Rooms for 36 years, but I'm sober for two."  I'd put it that way if I were still around "The Rooms."  I stopped going at around nine years.  But I went constantly for my first four or five years, anywhere from once to four times a day, and did tons of service (setting up, chairing meetings, speaking, sponsoring).

I have to say that I really did not make lifelong friends in AA.  Some friendships simply did not last because I stopped going; there are some people in the fellowship who do not care for those of us who have fallen away, and some who won't have anything to do with people who are not sober in AA, period (that means not even people who aren't alcoholics). 

I guess I mostly had AA friends who were good for my recovery during those early years.  On the other hand, recovering addicts share a lot of similar emotional problems, so a lot of these relationships had difficulties or endpoints.  The good end of socializing in AA was having coffee with groups of people after meetings.  I used to go to a double meeting (one after the other, same room) on Saturday nights, and then coffee with a big bunch of people, and that took care of the I-need-to-have-fun-on-Saturday-night urges.  But sober dances and sober dating were horrible.  You cannot possibly imagine anything as awkward as a sober dance, those alleged substitutes for going clubbing.  And sober dating mostly seemed a parade of people who changed their minds with the breeze -- like a guy who stared at me at meetings for sixth months and panicked on the first simple-ass dinner date.  There was one who liked me until he realized I was actually available, and then went back to mooning over a tall, blonde married woman in our group. 

I did meet one fairly amazing man very soon in my recovery; we had a fling fairly early, and seemed very close to getting together right before I met Barry.  The guy and I drifted apart after I got married.  In truth, he had major commitment problems and it would likely have ended badly.

And I met one very wonderful man, maybe one of the best I've ever met.  It took about four and a half months for us to properly notice each other -- well, maybe for me to properly notice him.  Unfortunately, I was rather dazzled by his better-looking friend, who treated me like shit.  But then I really noticed Joe, and realized he'd been crazy about me from the start...and before we could even go on a first real date, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died a little over four months later.  It just doesn't get much more tragic than that.  On top of that, since our relationship wasn't known by more than a few close friends, the two or three mean old maiden aunts who were his final caretakers did not offer me (or any other close AA friends) any keepsakes, nor did they invite us to join them after the funeral.  In fact, those nasty aunts tried to keep me and Joe's other friends away from him when he was dying.  One or more of them had decided that the best they could do for him was permit him to die calmly, and that having his friends around would disrupt his peacefulness.  They moved him to a hospital in Red Bank, NJ, and were clearly not pleased when I continued to show up there, with or without other friends.  They said anti-Semitic things.  (They were very old-school Irish, what I believe is called "Lace-Curtain Irish.")  They wouldn't stay in touch by phone, either before or after his death.  I guess they had good intentions, but they were so unkind to me.  And every time I visited, no matter how out-of-it Joe was, there was always at least one little window where he recognized me and knew I was there, which made it all worthwhile.  He'd even do funny shit which I'm convinced he knew he was doing, because I think he found his aunts somewhat of a pain -- the last time I was there, he kept yelling "What's THIS?" and grabbing my tit.

Anyway, who knows what might have been.  Joe was gone, his family was gone, and even our mutual friends vanished pretty quickly.  A few of us went out for coffee after the funeral, and one said to me, "You can't dwell on this forever," meaning that I should already be past it, an hour after burying him.  Another was the better-looking friend, who stayed glued to the woman he had dumped me for and basically ignored Joe the last couple of months.  (I understand that it's hard to see an old friend die, but that's no excuse to be an asshole.  Joe asked for Larry a lot, and Larry was nowhere to be found.)

I also seem to remember a lot of AA people looking rather impatient when I shared about "my friend" who was dying, who died, who had died.  My allegedly "near and dear" didn't stand by me too well.  I know these things make people uncomfortable -- hell, being in hospitals makes me uncomfortable.  But when I have to, I go to hospitals, I go to funerals, I deal with it.  A lot of people in AA seemed to stayed cocooned and whining.  That wasn't for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

earthquake and other disasters, and some plans

Somehow, I missed the earthquake yesterday.  I must have been preoccupied with something at work.  Barry said things shook at home and the cats freaked out.

But I may not miss out on disaster entirely, since there's supposed to be a big frigging hurricane messing with the entire east coast all weekend.  It would have to be on the weekend I'm supposed to go to Jannah's and finally go out on her boat!

Since I'm getting somewhat involved with development and fundraising on the job, I think I'm finally going to get myself schooled in grant writing.  This is something I've wanted to do for eons.  If it's writing, I've got the chops, and I know that it's something you can do freelance and make some loot.  I don't know if I'll need to take a class or classes, or if I can just school myself, but if it's classes, maybe my job will pick up the tab.  I would mostly be using it for PPSC.

Amazon Associates seems to be working again, and is even showing the "best seller" that I was going to plug in my last post.  But it was a bit of a lightweight read.  I'm now on to another Childs/Preston, so that's today's plug.

I think I forgot to mention how extremely happy I am that the West Memphis 3 were finally freed.  In fact, there's a very good book about them, too.  The WM3 case involved the murder of three young boys, a totally botched police investigation, and the arrest and conviction of three teenagers who liked to wear black tee shirts and listen to Metallica -- they were of course accused of being Satanists, etc.  I think they served something like 18 years, and are now grown men.  There was also an excellent documentary, which I think is actually how I first heard about the case.  It was a dreadful business, and at least it's been made as right as is possible, since those 18 years are forever lost to those young men.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Big Picture

Things with Barry pretty much righted themselves after about a week, although I'm still keeping him on a very tight leash with money.

The Big Picture is this:  one, my depression and anxiety are not being properly controlled.  I need to see a new psychiatrist ASAP.  I am still taking the lamotrigine (generic Lamictal), but a low dose, 125 mg a day.  (The bad psychiatrist had had me on 400, up from 200.)  I lowered my own dose because after my meltdown and after reading up on the drug a little more thoroughly, I decided that it's a nasty thing to have in my body and I only wanted to take a minimal amount until my med could be switched.  But Barry, who does my doctor research because he has the time, has had trouble finding a network psychiatrist who's taking new patients and who has hours outside of 9-5.  At this point, I told him any hour will work for me -- I just need to see someone.

The second point of The Big Picture is that I worry about money every waking hour.  I used to tell one of my therapists that I was bad with money, and he always said the same thing:  "No, you just don't earn enough."  It took me a long time to understand this.  The point was not to be perfect with money -- the point was to have enough that if you weren't perfect, it wouldn't be a disaster.  I'm not earning close to enough.  Even during a month without a financial catastrophe like having to replace a computer, we don't have enough money.  It doesn't help that our monthly nut just went up $200 -- $100 for my therapy, and $100 for my carfare (the Back-to-Work job retention program paid my carfare for 90 days).  There is absolutely nothing coming in except my salary, and even though I now consider myself good with money (WAY better than I used to be), there just plain isn't enough.

I find I have to poke at Barry all the time to look for work, take classes or see a counselor at FEGS, try to sell our unused CDs to someone on Craigslist, etc.  I think he feels that his doing all of the shopping, cooking, doctor appointments, etc is enough.  I don't know how many times I have to freak out and yell that we need more money coming in, that he has to get something, anything, part-time, minimum wage, I don't care.  That generally buys me one day of him saying, "I looked at Craigslist this morning."  A few times over this past week, I took some time at work to look at Craigslist myself, and forwarded him a dozen ads each time.  That shouldn't have to be my job.  (Of course, there have been plenty of times in the past when I've said "That shouldn't have to be my job" concerning something that Barry wasn't doing, and I've always realized that if I don't make it my job, it won't get done.)

So the upshot of The Big Picture is that I cry almost all the time.  If I'm not crying, I'm close to it.  I usually don't cry in front of other people except Barry and my therapist, but I cry walking down the street, in the subway, alone at work.  I went through this once before, toward the end of my time at Penguin -- also an impending-doom scenario.  It's mostly just silent weeping, tears pouring out of my eyes without much sobbing or fuss.  If I feel particularly agitated, I take a lorazepam (generic Atavan), which is my anxiety-rescue med (as needed, no more than twice a day).  Some days I don't take it at all, some days I take one or two, or even three or four.  (Each pill is 2 mg.)  But I don't want to have to do that.

I don't know how to make more income happen.  I've even looked around for a part-time job that I could do evenings or weekends, but haven't found one.

In addition, our Medicaid runs out at the end of September.  My employers promised (in writing) to provide insurance when my Medicaid runs out, and for Barry as well if he is not yet working, "estimated at $3,600."  I think that was my low-ball estimate because I didn't want to seem too grabby.  $3,600 is nothing.  Even if they pay more and get me a decent plan, I'll have co-pays, which I don't have now.  Or I may have to pay in to the cost of insurance, which I can't possibly do.  This in and of itself is enough to cause constant weeping.

I am supposed to visit Jannah this weekend if I can manage to hang on to $30 for train fare.  That would certainly be a much-needed break, and I think I could actually stop worrying about finances for a couple of days.

My Amazon Associates widget is again not working, but I am reading The Help -- the movie based on it just opened very successfully.  The book is a little on the liberal-southern-chick-lit side, but not bad.  I'd really rather have seen it told exclusively from the points of view of the African-American maids, since the white protagonist kind of makes me grind my teeth in embarrassment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I am mostly crying

Honestly, I think I'd rather be in desperate financial straits on my own.  That wasn't how I felt before this past weekend.  I thought that Barry was helping: looking for bargains, making dinner, even running to food pantries (which is how bad our situation is).  But now I have to wonder how much money he was siphoning off for things we can't afford:  cigarettes, chips, soda.  Maybe our finances aren't even that bad; maybe he's just been misspending too much money.  But it's exhausting to have to police him on top of everything else I do.  Plus, I don't really trust that he's doing that much as far as job hunting.  First and foremost, he absolutely needs to be working, whether or not I leave or kick him out.

At least on my own, I would know exactly who was handling money well or fucking it up.  I would not have to discover that someone who was allegedly helping me was actually doing harm.  I felt a lot of love in pitching in together in this very bad situation, and absolutely heartbroken that he was actually working against me.  And it's not just the cigarettes or the money or the lying:  it's also that I'm the one who would get to nurse him through emphysema or lung cancer.  It's spending money we don't have on something very harmful.  I quit a cigarette habit twice as bad as his -- I smoked twice as much -- and it's been six years.  I'm not asking for something I wouldn't and didn't do myself.

I was really, finally feeling settled into this marriage, feeling a lot of love and appreciation despite a lot of lacks and problems (like no sex for many years), but now I really want out.  I want to be responsible for myself, period.

Of course, the big problem here is that there's no way to separate.  We have one reasonably priced apartment and one job.  I'll be trying to set aside money to move, although it's really not my preference, but he has no income and can't really stay alone or move.  (I'm not close to being that mean.)  So we're stuck together for the time being, which is really awkward.  I might even consider staying together in the apartment if he gets a job, and has some of his own fucking money to waste.

Barry is in denial.  He met me at the subway yesterday, which he had been doing some in better times, and I asked, "What are you doing here?"  He said, "I came to meet you.  What's wrong?"  I said, "I'm trying to decide whether or not I can continue to live under the same roof with you."  So he turned and walked home, then got into bed.  Didn't get up to make dinner or anything else.  He takes to bed when there's something he doesn't want to deal with.

I guess there's not much else to say at this point.  I'm going to Jannah's for a weekend a week from tomorrow.  All of these discussions with St. Ann's people are depressing me dreadfully.  Some of them want to meet.  But as much as they share the problems they had at the school and their feelings of worthlessness, they're all achieving now and I'm not.  These are not friends I want.  I don't need any help feeling bad about myself.  And I really wish they would all stop asking if I still write poetry.  Considering the fact that Emmett Jarrett, the teacher who edited the literary magazine, only saw fit to publish one of my poems in all those years (and it wasn't even one I considered one of my best), I can't imagine how these people identify me as someone who wrote poetry.  Everyone wrote poetry at that school, and a lot of them still do.  It's been many years since I even the early 90s, I may have tried my hand at some song lyrics, but that went nowhere.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

still not much happier

I feel like this whole issue is really dragging me down.  Barry is in total denial.  I think he's just looking at the current event, not the many times I've found cigarette ashes and butts and cellophane pack-bottoms here and there in the apartment ("It's not!"  "It's old!"  etc.).  In fact, earlier in the day that I caught him buying cigarettes at Rite-Aid, I'd found a cigarette ash on the computer keyboard, which he claimed was from a joint.  He never has enough pot in the house to roll a joint rather than smoke from a pipe.  But I let that one go.

But how do I live with someone who's working against me?  Of course, I don't hate him enough to throw him out with no income, or to move out leaving him with none.  Honestly, I hadn't been thinking in terms of "his money" and "my money" up to this point, and I know we spent a lot of "his money" last year -- his inheritance from his father.  But "my money" right now is what I'm going out and earning every day.  He does a lot of chores and housework but he doesn't bring in a cent.  In fact, he has to borrow money that I have to repay (I have no idea how long he owed that $15 to Alfonso, but it must have been a while ago since Alfonso felt he had to remind me).

He has gotten better about bargain shopping and doing without most luxuries this year, since the unemployment and my Dweck job vanished, but I guess he still doesn't understand that payday means unlimited wealth.  He also doesn't seem to understand that doing chores and housework doesn't mean that he can stop looking for work.  We walked by a cell phone store the other days with a "Help Wanted" sign in the window -- why should I have had to be the one to say "go in and get an application"?  I can't work *and* job-hunt for him at the same time.

I can't seem to work or to get much done at all, although I did a frantic cleaning of the kitchen sink on Saturday afternoon.  He washes most of the dishes most of the time, but not the sink or the area around it, which was really gross.  I'm trying to get the place clean, bit by bit, but he never goes past the maintenance chores.  I've been waiting for him to put up a towel rack in the bathroom for eight months or so (and have reminded/complaining from time to time).

I don't really have the time or energy to do the shopping on top of everything else, but I've had to cancel some doctor's appointments so I can do it.  I can't just give him money.  Let him feel like a fucking hobo.  I feel like a fucking idiot.

And all bets are off on any kind of "misbehaving."  As far as I'm concerned, I'm moving out of this marriage, and much as I'd like a single life, I could probably do a little more at this point than bat my eyes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

this is a bad state of affairs

I seem to be having a marriage problem.  If I sound surprised, it's because I am.

It goes this way:  Barry supposedly stopped smoking cigarettes about two years ago.  I had stopped some years earlier, and the smoke was starting to bother me, and the smell of smoke, and the health issues, and most of all the price.  We had an agreement that he would stop when it went over $10 a pack, and then it went over and he didn't tell me.  So I blew a fuse and gave him 30 days.  I did say that if he wanted, he could mooch one if he was with a smoking friend, but that was it.

Now, I've caught him here and there with a pack in his dresser, or trying to mooch from people on the street, and have done my share of yelling about it.

So, on Saturday, my pay hit my account, and we went out shopping.  For about a week before, I'd been making lists of what he needed to buy when I got paid and the costs.  So when we went out on Saturday, I had a very set shopping list, a very set amount I was taking out of the bank, plus I was going to buy a one-month unlimited Metrocard for myself and put $35 on one for Barry. 

We were going to do most of our shopping at Rite-Aid -- we have a 20% off card there, so we buy a lot of housewares there as well as pharmacy items.  As we were walking to Rite-Aid, Barry asked if I would give him $20 to walk around with, "So I won't feel like a hobo."  I gave this to him, which made me remember that he owed $15 to a guy in a local deli.  I said, "We can stop at Eagle on the way back and you can pay Alfonso, since you have the $20."  He said something like, "This 20 is for me, we can give Alfonso another 20."  I explained that I was counting every dime because I was, as always, very worried about money, and didn't want to be tight at the end of the month yet again.

So we get into Rite-Aid, I get a cart, and Barry says there's something he wants to look at, he'll catch up with me in a minute.  So I go down one aisle, then up another, and I see him at the checkout, and I hear the guy counting out eight-odd dollars in change.  I yelled, and I hope the whole store heard, 'WHAT ARE YOU BUYING???"  I yelled until he said he'd return it, and when he did, he found that this did not solve the problem.

I yelled all the way home, called him a liar, said I couldn't trust him, and said he'd broken my heart.  I said he would only be handled small sums of money any more, and I had no idea when this would change because it was a matter of my being able to trust him again.

So that's a deal -- I'm only giving him a few more bucks than he needs for a particular payment of shopping trip, and making him show me receipts.  Fuck of a lot of extra work for me.  (And that's before we look at the fact that I'm the only one working, and it;s MY money that he was trying to spend on cigarettes.)

Since then, I speak to him, but there's no affection.  I sure don't feel it.  I haven't touched him or kissed him or said I loved him, and haven't worn my wedding ring.  I actually had a nice present for him on Sunday which he did not get.  The whole birthday thing may be off.  The whole marriage thing may be off.  How I am going to live with someone I can't trust?

Mostly, I want him to get a fucking job, so I won't be paying for his bad habits, and I can move out without leaving him flat broke.  I'm at least that kind.  But even if it was a "spur of the moment weakness," as he claims, it's happened before and will happen again.  I've found evidence of smoking in the house and he denies it, acting offended.  Now I'm the one who's offended.  There's really no way for him to make this right or to make it up to me.  Once you've done something you're never supposed to do, how do you fix that?

We basically have a partnership at this point, not really a marriage.  Delilah is on hold, because I don't think I want to start any kind of "together" project with him.  This one may have broken the back of our marriage.  I've been tolerant with a lot of little things, but I can't overlook this.  It's really bad.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

a message to my St. Ann's friends

This was sent by personal message to a group of 26 members of the St. Ann's Faculty/Alumni group of Facebook, in response to a long message by Dave Samuels:

Dear David and friends,

David, I appreciate your honesty and clarity. My feelings about Stanley and about St. Ann's as an institution were also very mixed. I became quite troubled after about age nine, when my parents divorced just before the great divorce boom; none of my other friends had divorced parents, and I was lonely and confused. Stanley was not sensitive to this, was not supportive of my being in therapy. There was relief, and even joy, in my classes and with my fellow students, but I continued to feel quite alienated and unnoticed by the institution. I was also someone from what seemed a more average family than many of my peers -- we lived in the Heights, but in a modest rental. I was on half scholarship, and my parents struggled financially.

When I started to cut classes and neglect schoolwork, no one noticed or acted on it. No private or family conferences with Stanley were called. I got away with way too much. I did not fulfill the requirements of some classes and was passed anyway.

Toward the end of high school, the institution and particularly Stanley seemed so hell-bent on getting us all into prestigious schools that no one noticed that I didn't have the skills. I managed to escape St. Ann's without ever writing a term paper. I had no study or research discipline. I was admitted to Oberlin, Wesleyan, and Vassar, but instead accepted admission at my "backup" state school. This was because I was 16, had no major in mind, and my mother was very concerned because my family could pay almost nothing toward college and she was worried about the loans I would have to carry. Out of our graduating class of 68, I was one of two who did not attend a private college (and the other had only been admitted to a state school -- she may have been more neglected than I was). Stanley's response to this was to refer to my mother as "an hysterical woman" and then stop talking to me for three months. I always felt like a failure and an underachiever after that, which is basically why none of you saw or heard from me for 35 years.

There is one more thing I've ached to write about, but could not share in our online group as someone involved belongs on Facebook and I believe is in our faculty/alumni group. When I was in art class one day, and left my purse on the bookcase where we all left our books, a change purse was taken from it, which contained a few dollars, and a ring and a pair of earrings I had left in it. I was about twelve. I had seen a few girls standing by that bookcase, and a few days later, I saw one of them brazenly wearing my earrings at school. I was terrified. At the time, I was focused on the fact that someone had done something wrong to me, but in truth, I felt unsafe and terrified. I was not a confrontational person, and I suppose that was a family trait, as my mother suggested that I take the issue to Stanley. I did, and again focused on the fact that I wanted my property returned (the earrings were not costly but they were one-of-a-kind, purchase by me from the Summa Gallery downstairs). He did not seem to understand that I felt unsafe, and sent me away with a vague promise to talk to the girl in question. A month later, I went to see him again, asking if he had spoken to her, and he had not. The subject was never broached again. He never suggested that I speak to her myself, or that my mother should call hers. I have my own ideas as to why Stanley would not confront or punish this girl, but that isn't the point. He did not restore my sense of safety and he permitted the unjust and unfair action to stand without any consequences. He did not do the right thing.

I had some teachers who changed my life, and I now have all of you: blessings beyond blessing. This would not have been the case without Stanley. But Stanley also failed to support me when I had emotional problems, neglected my academic problems, did not provide justice when I was wrong, and behaved childishly when I did not choose the college he wanted me to attend. Stanley was a mixed blessing.

Love to you all,


Thursday, August 11, 2011

strange changes

I have indeed changed the title and description of my blog, and if I do buy a domain name, it will be some iteration of the new title.  A lot of people are carrying the banner of Coney Island and of Brooklyn a whole lot better than I am.  That's not being hard on myself; it's just a fact.  I'm writing about other things.  And lately, it seems to be more opinion than memoir.  If you read way back, it's very memoir-y, but these days, not so much.

Yet again, I can't seem to use or see my Amazon widgets from my home computer.  Am I starting to hate Blogger again?  Perhaps.  I did figure out, though, how to change my job from book publishing to whatever it is I do now.  Actually, I love my job.  I kind of bustle around all day long, although it's mostly sitting at my computer, updating lists and documents, and especially reading and sending e-mail.  My phone rings maybe twice a day, but the e-mail just pours in.  Obviously, I adore e-mail as a form of communication.  All of that letter-writing I did from around 1971 right up to around 1998 or 1999 has done me some good.  (And the only reason I wrote letters that long was that I was very close to someone in Chicago who didn't have e-mail and was also a great letter-writer.)

My mind is wandering a little.  I've had a cold all week, and yesterday it was so severe that I stayed home, coughing and sneezing and nose-blowing all day.  Read a lot of the latest book on my Kindle, The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and someone whose name I could tell you if my Amazon Associates widget was working.  (Seriously, Blogger, whassup?)

A kitten is under consideration.  There is a cat rescue woman named Patricia, who sets up right across from Union Square, in front of Whole Foods, weather permitting.  She and I have become very friendly, since I show up practically every day she's out, and we are both great cat lovers.  She is a wonderful woman.  Anyway, I've been resisting, resisting, and resisting...really not easy, because she always has so many lovely and adorable kittens and cats.  But somehow, one of the kittens got to me.  She's six weeks old, a long-haired calico, and Barry and I are in love with her.  We had thought about the name Martha if we ever got another cat; Barry's mother's name in Poland was Marta (which was changed to Myrna when she came over here at age 8), but I thought Marta was a little harsh-sounding and suggested Martha.  And when I first saw the long-haired calico, I thought Coco would be an excellent name.  But of course, she has her rescue-cat name, the name Patricia's been calling her, which is Delilah.  So of course, we've been referring to her as Delilah, and I think if she comes to live with us, Delilah it is.  (That's how our middle cat, Lolly, got her name -- is was her rescue-cat name.  Xena and Maya both came to us without names, and I named them both.  I'm a pretty good cat-namer.)

Anyway, someone has already adopted one of Delilah's sibs, and may or may not want Delilah as well.  If not, Delilah is ours.  I've held her a couple of times, and she cuddles right up and purrs.  She's a beauty, and I've never had a long-haired cat.  Of course, we would then have four cats.  Barry didn't bat an eye -- I'm afraid I've made him into an even crazier cat person than I was or am.  He fell for her right away; he has a particular soft spot for calicos, ever since we got Lolly -- although I'm the one who spotted and chose her.  I'm a good cat-picker too.  I was the first one to spot Lolly, Xena and Maya, and brought Maya home without Barry ever seeing her first.  (This was after Tiggy died, and she and I were so crazy about each other it was pretty much a given that I'd be coming home with a new kitten at some point.)

I know four cats is crazy.  Tell me something I don't know.  That's what we get for not having children.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the question of congestion, and goodbye to Stanley

I'm home (8:41 AM) and will most probably be here all day.  I have something that is either a bad cold or the worst possible allergies, but allergy mes are not helping and it's been getting worse since Monday,  I can't stop coughing, sneezing, or blowing my nose.  I've e-mailed my intern and hope she can man the ship today; I can access office email at home, but I'm waiting to hear from Sarah.  I hope she checks e-mail before she goes to work (she usually starts at 10:00).

And I must say -- coming home last night was extra-miserable.  It rained, but since this was not in the forecast, I had no umbrella.  So I got drenched between work and the subway, and then got on one of those extra-freezingly-air-conditioned trains.  So I shivered, coughed, sneezed, and blew my nose the whole way home.  Still, I did finish that Preston/Childs books, and started The Strain by Gullermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.  (Now Blogger feels like doing italics -- not bad.  Couldn't get a bold or underline to save my life some days back, but of course my text wasn't posting, so it didn't make much difference.)  I'll let you know if it's any good.  I may go back to Preston/Childs after that.

I went to Saint Ann's School for ten years, second grade through the end of high school, which was a school for gifted children -- fairly dysfunctional back then, better now.  It is in fact a highly regarded private (not religious) school at this time.  When I started in 1965, it had 63 students and was very experimental.  (The school was housed in the undercroft of St. Ann's Church for its first couple of years, which is why it has a religious-school sounding name.  You can't imagine how many times during my life I've had to explain that -- although these days, at least in NYC, the school is well-known enough that people actually know what it is.)

Over the past 20 years, until five years or so ago, when I mentioned Saint Ann's to parent-age New Yorkers, they say something like, "oh, with that guy..."  "That guy" was founder and headmaster Stanley Bosworth, who died three days ago.  The linked article pretty much says it all.  Stanley was brilliant and maddening and inappropriate.  He never hit on me, before or after school, but Beth Bosworth, "wife number three" as he referred to her in the article, was in my graduating class. Ewww!  To me, he was warm, difficult, and confusing.  And he pissed me off a few times.  But the bottom line is that he created a really amazing school, where I had some amazing teachers and amazing peers.  I was a bit of a social misfit when I was there, but have since become reacquainted with a lot of former alumni via Facebook, and I love almost all of them.  And just for that, if nothing else, I must be ever-grateful to Stanley.  As much as we in the Facebook St. Ann's Alumni and Faculty have bashed him and told bad-Stanley stories, there's a lot of grief there today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

help me, Blogger!

I just took a peek at the "about me" on the published blog page, and it still says I work in book publishing.  Can't seem to find how to change that.  Of course.

dove lady

I'm on the subway platform this morning, waiting for my train.  It's an elevated platform, and a lot of birds roost right under it.  This morning, I heard some particularly loud dove burbling, and turned to see where it was coming from -- is was so loud that I thought the doves might have been visible.  So when I turned to look at the spot, there was a woman there, and she said, "Yes, it's me."  Then I realized she was talking into a cell phone.

I can tell from my subway platform how cloudy or overcast it is.  If it's clear, I can see the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island between two buildings. Cloudy, no Wonder Wheel.  Coney is an icky place to live, but I love being able to see even a sliver of it from my subway platform.

I'm mildly burnt-out at work.  It's almost exactly four months, and I'd love a touch of extra time off.  But I'm going to Jannah's on the evening of the 26th, for the weekend, and I do have Labor Day off, so those should be some nice brief breaks.

Also, I think this is the second of two really bad allergy days.  (And like a dope, I forgot to take my allergy pills both days.)  Yesterday, I wasn't even sure if it was allergies or a cold.  Runny nose, scratchy throat.  I know a cold isn't a big deal, but it tends to paralyze me; I can't get past the way my head feels full of cement, my ears are clogged, my voice doesn't sound right, my nose is running, I'm coughing.  It's hard for me to think about anything past how lousy I feel.

I'm reading Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs.  It happens to be the second book in a series, and I realized as I was reading it that I had, at some point, read the first book in the series, Relic.  The books are kind of spooky-science-mysteries, and the super-detective is an odd, genius, wealthy, albino FBI Special Agent who kind of freelances wherever the crimes are.  The first two books are set in around the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which is way cool.  (I interned there for a short time in high school.)  I also just found out that there are something like ten books in the series, and I seem to have them all. Yay for ebooks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

now the text is showing again

Go fig.  As I've been investigating other blog hosts, I keep seeing that Blogger is supposed to be the E-Z one.  Ha!  I tried for days to figure out why the text of my posts weren't appearing, trying to figure out the ever-confusing template settings, and even (double ha) trying to get some online help.  There's no one to respond to an inquiry if your problem isn't in the FAQ -- you get pointed to a Forum.  I posted my problem there, and was supposed to receive an e-mail notification of any follow-up post (which might have been an answer), but never got one.  BTW, if you ever hear about me participating heavily in a Forum about Blogger, please encourage me to get a life.

Home computer (Tamsir II, although we still tend to call it 'Putie, which is what we've called all our computers) is working fairly well.  The computer is great.  I'm still not in love with Windows 7, and it's still confusing in some ways, but I'm working around the confusing parts.  (For instance:  I'm keeping my documents in C://Users/Administrator/My Documents, but I can't unpack into it with WinRAR.  I can unpack into C://Users/User, but I can't move my documents (My Documents) into C://Users/User.  WTF, Windows 7?  One or the other has to be the default, right?

Also, Mozy flat-out failed me.  After several restore attempts, I lost a bunch of e-books and ALL of my written documents (resumes, writing samples, etc.).  I re-restored a couple of times from older versions, but just found that those written document folders on my computer are empty, and the versions of my backup that contain them are gone.  Mozy will soon be gone, too.  Someone's recommended Carbonite, and someone's recommended something called CrashDeal (I think that's the name).

But overall the computer is fast and multi-tasks a lot better than Dead Putie did.

I wish I could duplicate the lost posts.  There was something about not being able to use a public blog to talk about things like having crushes on people.  I know "what the hell happened to my body?" had to do with some post-menopausal changes (dry skin, thin hair) that I hope to reverse by hormone replacement therapy -- my general doctor finally OKed it, and I'm seeing the GYN tomorrow.

Here's more:  this past weekend, I made jewelry for the first time since I had the procedure for trigger finger.  Even though my finger's about 85% OK. not much pain (although I'm having a bit more OT on it), I hadn't tried to make any jewelry because I was afraid that I couldn't.  (If that makes no sense, you may be better-adjusted than I am).  But my wonderful intern Sarah showed up here the other day with a wire-wrapped ring she'd bought from a local street vendor.  I told her that I made them myself, and she said that her mother wanted one, so I brought in what I had.  She bought a citrine for herself (I charged her $10,, same as the street vendor), but she said her mother needed a size 7.  I think I sent her home with some beads to show her mother, and she ordered two rings, size 7, one amethyst and one amber, both with gold-colored wire.  So I made them this weekend.  I hadn't made a wire-wrapped ring in a long time, and have only ever made a few, so I had to look at instructions.  I did find out, which I hadn't known before, that they get smaller as you work on them, which is why you have to start a size bigger (that is, wrap the band at a size 8 and you end up with a 7).  After I made the rings for Sarah's mom, I made a ring I'd promised Barry for a while, a replacement for his banged-to-hell turquoise ring.  It came out nice, real silver, and I adjusted the fit until it was perfect.

I missed making jewelry.  And it's certainly not that I'm missing anything I want personally...I have SO many earrings, and plenty of necklaces and bracelets.  But I miss the doing.  I need that creative thing.  The writing is also a creative thing, but the jewelry is my visual-arts creative thing.  I'm going to see Jannah the weekend of the 26-28th, and want to make some blue crystal cluster earrings for her (she admired mine), and I think I want to make more of those rings.

I got an amazing present the other day.  I may have mentioned that I've gone a bit above-and-beyond with a couple of faculty committees here, because they needed the help and because I had something to offer.  It's not exactly that these things weren't part of my job, but I did give a little extra -- two of the faculty committees have asked me to attend their meetings, for instance.  Anyway, one of those committee chairs came by the other day and gave me, in appreciation, an orchid plant!  I've always loved plants, even though I can't have them at home (bad light and frisky cats).  But I particularly like plants that you can collect, since that brings together the green thumb and the insane collector.  (I used to have a great selection of cacti; I tried African violets once, but couldn't get them to grow well.)  Orchids you can collect...lots of types and colors.  Mine is a pink-violet phalaenopsis, which is relatively common.  If I can keep it alive and thriving, I will undoubtedly get more.  But I love, love, love this plant!  And I love Gerard for the thoughtful gift.  Everyone is so nice to me here it's almost embarrassing.

Something I was considering when I was looking at other blog sites:  getting myself a domain name.  Have to see if I can do that with Blogger, if I stay here.  Found one I wanted that checked out OK with GoDaddy, but haven't bought it yet.

I know that my posts aren't showing and have been trying to debug my template, but am also looking at other blog-hosting sites

Will post any changes in a blog title if I can't get the text to ever show again.