Thursday, December 30, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Christmas at my mother's was short lived. A major coastal storm was brewing, and everyone wanted to get home before the roads got dangerous. It snowed all the way into Richmond, and all the way back out into the Piedmont on my return trip, but because VDOT crews had treated all the major roads in advance, the snow wasn't sticking to the highways yet. Today I'm afraid, will be another story as the storm moves off shore and intensifies, drawing in copious amounts of Atlantic moisture. Predictions for my neck of the woods aren't too bad. So far I've only got about 2 inches and a total of 3-5 inches is all that's expected, but Richmond could get as much as 7-8 inches before its all over tonight. The poor folks up in New England I'm afraid, are really going to get hammered, with anywhere from 1 to 2 feet of snow! This is shaping up to be a classic winter nor'easter.
Despite an early departure from Mom's condo, we all left with our bellies full, having had a sumptuous Christmas meal. The main course was roast turkey, but this unfortunate bird was apparently the victim of some horrible farm accident, because it came sans wings and legs! Still.....it's succulent breast meat was a perfect companion to the wonderfully seasoned stuffing, steamed asparagus, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes. My sister also made a cranberry and orange relish, and a delicious sweet potato casserole topped with pecans. Lemon meringue pie, and butter pecan ice cream topped it all off.
My brother-in-law was well behaved this time, except for one unfortunate incident. Despite protestations, he insisted on dropping his pants to show off the Christmas underwear his new girlfriend gave him!
I hope all of you had a good Christmas, and that you are all safe and warm!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
We seem to have entered a bit of a thaw. The mercury made it all the way up to 38°F/3°C today, so after clearing yesterday's three inches of snow from my deck, steps, and truck, I made my way up to the mail box out on the highway, and then back down to the house for a shower, followed by a long overdue full body epilation. It only took an hour to do my entire body from my neck to my ankles. That's how much my body hair has been reduced by regular epilation. No wonder that electrologists tell you to stop waxing or using an epilator. More hairs for them to take care of......and charge you for! I first noticed this phenomenon decades ago, after I began to tweeze my eyebrows. After a while, I noticed that some of the hairs were not growing back. This was especially true of the hairs between my eyes, above the bridge of my nose, and the hairs that used to wrap around the outside corners of my eyes. Today they are all gone for good. In effect, the constant plucking had enabled me to permanently achieve a much more naturally feminine brow line. Later I would discover this same phenomenon on my legs, and eventually on my entire body.
So............the lesson to be learned boys and girls, is that constant hair plucking weakens, and in some cases even eliminates hairs! If I had know that, I would have started waxing my face as soon as the peach fuzz began to appear!
Anyway...........I am now completely hairless once again, and it feels absolutely wonderful!
As I type, I am listening to the Nutcracker on my local NPR station. I love the music, but regret to say that I have never even once seen the ballet! Oh, I've see snippets of various productions on TV. Those are unavoidable this time of year, but I have never sat in a theater, and actually watched the entire performance unfold before my eyes on stage. Am I a sad case, or what?
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I used to pass by her house at night, on my walks to the local grocery store. I could see her through her uncurtained windows, some of her cats sleeping on the window sills, and others walking about the table where she would sit, surrounded by stacks of old newspapers, while reading by candlelight in her darkened house, that she had inherited from her father years earlier.
Her name was Grace, and she was a neighborhood fixture, often coming up to you as you walked down the street, and asking if you could spare a few dollars. I always gave her something. She was very well informed from all of the reading that she did, and you could actually have some interesting conversations with her about politics and current events, but she was also quite mad. One day while walking down the street, a friend and I ran into Grace, and she immediately began asking us if we had heard about the alien women, who were seducing young earth males, and then eating them, once they had them in their clutches! My friend and I laughed all the way home after that one.
Grace was eventually evicted from her house, which was condemned by the city, and forced to live in an institutionalized setting that she hated. Her dilapidated house was claimed by the city for owed back taxes, and then sold on the cheap to yuppies, who fully renovated it. I never saw Grace again after that, and every Christmas I wonder how she is doing, or if she is even still alive. As for her house, it is now a glowing exhibition of bourgeois charm, but for me, that will never be as appealing, as the uncurtained, candle lit hovel, of the neighborhood cat lady.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Winter is here dear readers. Snow and ice make roads treacherous. When conditions are dangerous, please stay off the roads if you can, but if you have to go out, take extra care. Drive slow, leave plenty of distance between you and others, and watch out for black ice! Also, if road conditions are wet, or slippery, never use cruise control!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
There is a nasty cold front pushing its way east tonight, that has left a wake of destruction in its path, and being surrounded by tall trees out here in the wilderness, it has me be a bit worried. I can tell by the sound of the wind gusts rushing through the trees tops, that the wind is already picking up out in front of the front. Temperatures east of the front have been unseasonably high, while temperature on the back side of the front are much more wintery. With the warm humid air, that comes up north from Gulf of Mexico and the southeast Atlantic coast, this is usually a recipe for disaster. Disaster in the form of strong thunderstorms, micro bursts, and tornados, caused by a collision of the two fronts. It all reminds me of a scene from an old Woody Allen Movie, where he was living in an old, poorly heated apartment. He complained that when he took a hot shower, the warm front coming from the bathroom, would meet the cold font coming from the living room, and he would have thundershowers in the hallway!
Here's Katy Perry, making us all feel like we're living a teenage dream:
Magical thinking - Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
Arrogance - A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
Envy - A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
Entitlement - Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
Exploitation - can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
Bad Boundaries - narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and be expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between self and other.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Yesterday I went on line, to find an appropriate holiday centerpiece for mom's table. I settled on a wicker cornucopia filled with colorful autumn flowers and leaves. It always amazes me how much it costs to send flowers theses days. A simple arrangement that list's for $39.99, will end up costing you over $60.00 after shipping, handling, rush delivery, and taxes are added in. Mom always tells me not to bother, because of the cost, but I always send her centerpieces for Thanksgiving and Christmas anyway, because I know how much she enjoys displaying them on her table. She kept last Christmas's evergreen centerpiece on her table for several months after Christmas. It was so dry by then, that it would have burst into flames, if a lit match came within an inch of it. I finally told her, she should either throw it away, or have it encased in a block of plastic!
Yesterday I also finally got around to installing the cover over the opening to my crawl space. After 21 years of exposure to the elements, the existing wooden framing and cover had almost completely rotted away. When I started to pull it out, two pieces of cinder block, supported by the top piece of framing fell out, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to completely seal the hole. Fortunately I had the piece of 1/2" pressure treated plywood that I got last week, cut large enough to cover the additional space that those two pieces of block took up. I drilled three holes on each side of the cover, then used a masonry bit to drill three corresponding wholes in the cinderblock on each side of the opening. Then it was just a matter of simply fastening the cover to the block with self-tapping masonry screws. It was a bit hard drilling into the block, because I couldn't find my relatively new DeWalt 3/4" drill motor, and I had to use a 35 year old Black & Decker 1/2" drill motor, that sounded like an old hand held electric mixer, and had about the same power. It did the job, but took some time, and I worked up a pretty good sweat keeping enough pressure on it to get the drill to penetrate the block. Once the holes were drilled, putting the screws in was a breeze using a nut driver to start them, and a socket and ratchet to tighten them down. The cover fit good and tight, and it won't be going anywhere, without using a wrench to take it loose. Hopefully it will help keep the mice out too, but I won't count on that. Eventually they always seem to find a way to get in. It was wet and muddy under the deck, so you can imagine what I looked like after crawling under there on my hands an knees, and spending 45 minutes sitting in front of the opening. When I was done, I was covered in mud, and wet all the way through my underwear. I'm thankful that's all over with!
I got the bill last week for the well pump, well pipe, and pressure tank replacement. It was just $126 short of $2000! If I had hired a carpenter to reframe the opening and install a new cover, I probably woud have had to add another $300-$400. My fix cost me just $45 in materials, and about an hour of sweat.
The following is a video on the history of Thanksgiving. I hope yours is a happy one!
Monday, November 22, 2010
With cold weather coming on, I needed to get the opening to my crawlspace covered, so that freezing cold air does not blow on the tank and associated pipes and valves. I measured the opening, and determined that a 26" x 30" piece of pressure treated plywood could be fastened over the opening with masonry screws, and thereby keep me from having to hire a a carpenter to reframe the opening, and construct a replacement cover, which had rotted away after 21 years. So I drove into Richmond yesterday, and went to Lowe's ( a big box hardware store ), and got them to cut cut me the appropriate size piece of pressure treated plywood, which by the way those mercenary SOB's charged me the price of a full sheet of plywood for, even though it was less than a quarter of a sheet! I also got some masonry screws, an appropriate size masonry drill bit, and a new broom, since my 18 year old straw broom has seen better days. I'm thinking of donating my old broom to a certain witch, who seems to delight in tormenting selected bloggers in our little trans blogger community. Maybe she can use it to fly somewhere far, far away! Of course she won't. She is far too pathologically obsessed, to refrain from stalking sites where she has clearly been told she is not welcome.
I didn't do much tonight. I just sat in front of the TV, and watched PBS. Globe Trekker came on first at 7:00 PM, and gave us a glimpse of Paris, especially it's history, including the revolution and the Bastille, and a bit of an insight into the last days of Marie Antoinette, before her beheading. Her story always reminds me of the hilarious cartoon that Gary Larson of the Far Side once drew. He was one of the best cartoonists ever, and he depicted a terrified Marie Antoinette being hauled up the steps to the Guillotine, screaming, "And ice cream! I said, let them eat cake, and ice cream!"
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance has past, but that doen't mean we have to stop thinking about the victims of trans related violence. Indeed, we should never stop thinking of them. I apologize to Amy for lifting this from her blog, but everyone needs to see it:
Roy Antonio Jones III
Location: Southampton, NY
Cause of Death: Punched repeatedly and grabbed by the neck
Date of Death: August 1, 2010
Roy was 16 Months old.
Note: 20 year old Pedro Jones told police he had struck the infant several times with a closed fist. Jones said he was “trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl."
God love that dear sweet little child! The poor baby never never had a chance.
There is something radically wrong with our culture, when a 20 year old male feels compelled to beat a toddler to death with his closed fist, because he doesn't think the innocent babe is acting manly enough! I can think of few things sicker, than expecting a 16 month old child, who hasn't even realized itself, whether it is male, or female, to act like a male! I had this very same trouble with my own mother, when I was growing up, and although she could indeed be quite violent, and often was, at least she wasn't murderous. Still, she expected me to be a miniature version of a mature adult male, as early as three years old. In my very first blog post, An Assault On Innocence, I chronicled how violently my mother reacted, when I came home one afternoon, joyously sporting bright red fingernails, after spending a day with two very sweet teenage female baby sitters.
When are we going to get smart, and stop projecting our gender ideas on others, especially on innocent babes, when lives can be destroyed before they ever begin?
God love everyone who has ever been a victim of violence based on their gender identity, or sexual orientation, but especially all of the innocent children, who suffered at the hands of spoiled, selfish, and immature adults, who knew in their hearts, that they were wrong to visit such horror on innocent little babes.
With a tear in my eye, I bid love to you all,
Friday, November 19, 2010
And speaking of the late Gilda Radner
Here is a lovely little treasure of her, and the late Madeline Kahn together back in the day. Both of them always made me smile, but only when they weren't making me laugh hysterically with their crazy antics.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
OK....I know.......that line is pretty trite, but I needed a quick opening. Can you find it in your heart, you forgive me?
No........I'm not dead, nor have I been driven to ground, as one dear friend surmised. I'm afraid the explanation is much more mundane............internet problems. It seems that my trusty old wireless modem, that connected to the internet so gloriously fast for over a week, just kicked the bucket, but what did I expect? It was seriously out of shape. For two and one half years, it was connecting a cumbersome desktop to the web. A good hard pull to be sure, but never the aerobic workout it was designed for.
Wireless modems are marathon runners, not weight lifters, and my poor modem had become out of shape and muscle bound. When suddenly it was tasked with connecting the speedy laptop that it was originally designed for, it gave its all, and sent me surfing the web at blistering speeds! Then suddenly it faltered. It began to disconnect every five minutes, as if to say, "Slow down.....pant, pant......I can't keep up!" But being the cruel misstress that I am, I would dimiss its complaints, and instantly reconnect. Time and again it would try to do its duty, only to disconnect once more, then ultimately it collapsed. Presumably of heart failure. No attempts at resuscitation, could bring it back to life. Rest in peace, kind and faithful modem. You rescued me from the hell of dial-up, and for that I will be forever grateful.
We never realize how dependent we have become on our modern devices, until they are no longer available to us. For two and half days, I had no internet access at all, and I felt totally isolated from the world! No email, no internet news, no Wikipedia, no Blogger, but worst of all, I was faced with the prospect of actually writing and mailing checks to pay my bills! Imagine the horror! Now, that was just too much! Something had to be done, and it had to be done fast, so today I made the long trek into Richmond to visit my wireless provider's store, and get a new wireless USB modem.
The speed with which technology progresses never ceases to amaze me. The modem I bought to replace my nearly 3 year old modem with, was only a quarter of its size, and required no CD to to install it, because its driver was built in. It's hard to figue out the pricing of some of this communications stuff. The modem had a list price of$189.00, but was on sale for $50.00, with a $50.00 mail in rebate, making it essentially free with a new two year contract. I'm sure that at the end of two years, I will have paid far more than the actual cost of the modem, but C'est la vie!
Now that I'm back, I hope that all of the ridiculous carping over "is you is, or is you ain't a real lady" is finally over. Since there is no exact science concerning gender identity, and in spite of all of the pseudo-intellectual tripe that has been offered as science concerning transsexualism, essentially transsexualism remains a self-diagnosis. How absolutely absurd, to tell anyone you have never even met, and haven't spent any time with, that the way they self-identify is bogus! Hang in there sisters! You are who you say you are! And don't worry for one second about how pretty you are. Pettiness is not a requirement for womanhood. If you don't believe that, just take a look at all of the women around you.
I've been watching a really good documentary series on PBS, called Circus. Here are some videos from that series. If you get a chance, check it out. It's well worth the watch.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
On Monday evening, I went to my mother's in Richmond, for supper as usual. Before I went, I took a shower. Upon my return, I wanted to wash my hands and face, so I went into the bathroom and turned on the tap. Nothing! Just a sickening gurgling sound. My first reaction was, WTF? I have been living here for nearly 18 years, and the only time I ever lost water was when the power went out, but this time the power was on, and I had just taken a shower five hours earlier. I went straight to the circuit breaker panel to see if my well pump had tripped the breaker, but it hadn't.
Flowing water is such a basic necessity of modern life. You need it to wash your body, your clothes, your dishes, and most of all...........to flush your toilets. Suddenly I felt my body being washed in that sickening flood of adrenaline, that happens whenever panic begins to set in. Oh crap! What was I going to do now? What would it cost me to replace a well pump, or pressure tank, or both? Who would I even call, that I could trust to do a decent, honest job? I went to bed that night, with the aid of two Benadryl tablets to help me take my mind off of it all and get to sleep. Otherwise I would have lain in bed all night, agonizing over it.
The next day was spent fruitlessly searching the internet for well and pump contractors in my county. I could find none. Finally I looked up the county Chamber of Commerce, something I should have done in the first place, and asked if they new of any reputable well and pump contractors that servered our county. The woman I spoke to gave me the name of a contrator that recently worked on her well, as well as several others. None were located in our county, but they were in adjacent counties, and served our area as well. I looked up the one that she said did some work for her on the internet, and they were only 25 miles away. I read their reviews and, they seemed to get good reports, so I decided to call them. The trouble was, it was late in the day by then, so I waited until the next morning. Fortunately I had several five gallon jugs of fresh water, for my drinking water dispenser, so I could at least wash my hands and face and brush my teeth.
So, this morning.........well yesterday morning actually, by the look of the clock, I called them right after breakfast. Their secretary took my call and information, and said that she would get back with me shortly, or one of their service teams would call. About 30 minutes later, I got a call from one of their technicians, and he said he would be there within 30-45 minutes! I was surprised! I was sure I would have to wait a day or two, but sure as he said, his truck pulled up in my driveway in about 40 minutes!
Now, I had spent 37 years, working in a large chemical plant, maintenance department, staffed mainly by a large contingent of........well, let's be frank.........rednecks. Many of them were some of the surliest, cocksure, hard to get along with men I have ever known. It's been so nice the last three years, to get away from that type, and I feared having to deal with it again, but these guys were great! I stood and watched them, and talked to them the whole time, and they were nothing, if not very courteous and knowledgeable good workers, and far as I could tell, honest.
It turns out, the pvc pipe connecting my well pump to the main water line, broke at the brass fitting. They said that type of pvc pipe weakens with age, and the constant torque of the pump starting and stopping, eventually broke the pipe off at that junction. The pump was still working, but it and the pressure tank under the house were 21 years old. They were amazed that it lasted that long, and said the average age of a well pump was 8-10 years. Since they had to pull the pump, to replace the old pvc pipe with new blue poly tubing, I told them to go ahead and install a new pump and pressure tank as well, so I wouldn't have to call them back six monts to a year from now. Amazingly, they pulled out 180 feet of pipe, and installed a new pump and pressure tank in just a little over two hours time! So this afternoon and evening was spent, happily doing laundry, and once again giving toilets a well needed flush! Now I await the bill for their services. I'm expecting anywhere between $1,200 to $2,000. I'll let you know what the damage is, when the bill arrives in the mail, but whatever, as the old folks say, "C'est la vie"!
It was a beautiful autumn day to be outside! The temperature was in the low to mid 60's, thanks to a high pressure system stalled out over the eastern part of the US. The sky was azure, (If we were in central Asia, I would say it was, "Azure by John!") and the remaining turning leaves basked in the glory of the late autumn sun! There were so many uncollected leaves on the ground, that the well technicians lost a few electrical butt splice connectors under them. No worry though, since they had a well equipped service truck, filed with whatever they needed. No Jacklegs, these guys. They were true professionals!
On to other things.
I'm a peaceful type, and I tolerate a wide range of opinion, provided it's done in a civil manner. That's why it pained me so much to shut my blog down to someone yesterday. Ironically, for the ultra orthodox transwoman that I blocked, the only other person I have ever done that to before, was a fetishistic transvestite, who had a very kinky, sexually suggestive avatar. While I have nothing but love for all transgender people, wherever they stand on the gender spectrum, my blog is not sexually oriented, nor is it a blog for long running feuds with the transsexual elite. All those however, with open minds, open hearts, who are calm of nature, and possess a relatively good sense of taste (According to my judgement.........well........it is my blog after all!), and a good sense of humor, are perfectly welcome. I have to say that I was touched by all of the comments on my blog in support of me, and especially all of the emails! What lovely, supportive friends we have here, in our own little corner of the blogosphere!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Tonight marks the end of Daylight Savings Time here in the US. At 2:00 AM, we turn our clocks back one hour. This is better than when the reverse is true in the spring, because it means we get an extra hour to lounge between the sheets in the morning! The downside for many, is that it will now start to get dark by about 5:30 PM. That has never bothered me. I can relate to the night. Unlike Dracula however, I don't consider the barking of my neighbor's dogs in the middle of the night, to be beautiful music. No children of the night, these dogs.............just a bunch of rowdy yappers, but a fan in the bedroom drowns them out.
Actually, the early onset of darkness has it's advantages, for me at least. For one, it means one less hour a day, that my obsessive/compulsive disordered next door neighbor can run her noisy ass, gasoline powered leaf blower! What I've often been tempted to do with that infernal machine, is just too obscene to mention in this blog.
I was out driving around the countryside today, and while there are still plenty of leaves left on the trees in the Piedmont, sadly we are now past peak color. The brilliant reds, yellows and bright oranges have been replaced by pale greens, muted yellows, muted ambers, and browns. From my rear deck, I can once again see the houses on the other side of the pond, where only a month ago, they were obscured by the jungle of foliage between my house and the north bank. Two weeks from now all the color will be gone, and most of the trees will be bare. The shameless exhibitionism of Autumn, will be replace by the stark dignified beauty of the oncoming winter. It's currently 28.7° F/- 2.3° C, and I'm comfortably ensconced in front of a glowing quartz heater. Radiant quartz heaters are the next best thing to a crackling fire. Maybe even better, since they take only a fraction of the time to come up to temperature.
My new Mac Book Pro laptop has me mesmerized! I'm using the same wireless USB modem that I used with my now defunct I-Mac, but the connection speed with the lap top is ten times faster! No more ten minute waits for videos to play! I also prefer the tactile sensation of the keyboard, to the I-Mac. It seems to be much more sensitive. On the I-Mac, I always felt like I had to pound the keys pretty hard, or I would miss a character. The Mac Book keyboard is also back lit, making each character stand out. I was a bit taken back by the smaller screen size at first, but since it's sitting on my lap, directly in front of my face, and I can easily enlarge the text, or picture it's not a problem. I've never had a lap top before, so it took some getting used to. Eventually, I had to plug my trackball mouse into it, not only because I had become so used to the convenience of a trackball, but because I couldn't figure out which keys corresponded to the left and right mouse buttons. The Mac Book has a wonderful finger pad, that you can use one finger to move the cursor, or two fingers to scroll the page up and down or left and right, but I still haven't figured out the corresponding left and right click keys. Does anybody have any ideas?
A very dear sweet girlfriend came to my defense yesterday in an email, when a now notorious TS pedant, and drive by shooter, decided once again to spray my blog with her reactionary bullets. At 62 years old, I have so much scar tissue from far worse attacks, that bullets of this sort do no more than leave a small bruise. She is at least my age. Surely she must know by now, that while the heart remains soft for those who deserve its warmth, the skin thickens to protect it from the attacks of those who don't. What a shame she is so self-satisfied. Coming from the same generation, she and I could have been such great friends, but she burned that bridge, with her very first judgmental comment on my blog. I'm so sorry about that. Hopefully she will someday learn the truth revealed by Albert Einstein.....that everything is relative. That is a law that applies not only to the cosmos, but to everything within it, including our own existence. A lack of that fundamental understanding, or an unwillingness to accept it, has been at the root of every human misunderstanding, since the dawn of mankind. Unfortunately it will very likely remain so, and that is the curse of the human race.