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31 December 2003


News from New York
such as it is

Hi V - It was in the fifties here for Mon + Tues. but the after dark was cold!! Mon we went on a harbor cruise and saw Ellis Is and the Statue of Liberty at sunset. Tues we went to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas show and then did the NBC Studio tour. E didn't bring the camera on Mon but I got a couple of shots on Tuesday. Of course, when we didn't have the camera the buses took ages to arrive. With the camera they were right there!! I wanted to take a shot of E with the lights of Times Sq behind but we didn't want to wait for another bus. I'll see if Lenny can upload and send you what I got. I took one w/ Radio City and at the Macy's window but I haven't checked how they came out. I had trouble with the lens cover not being completely (!) back. So far so good. We are staying home today - it's a mad house out there for the last 2 days - it's got to be worse now. Maybe Thurs or Fri we'll try for more pix and some when people are here.

Luv - D + R + Lenny + Karen


30 December 2003

For some unknown reason now they put stupid questions at the end of books. I read the Life of Pi questions, and they were things I had no interest in at all. Did I have an experience that separated childhood from adulthood? No. They ask: "Which story do you believe?" Huh??? This is a work of fiction that has two stories. The two stories are necessary. It's like someone is telling you how to sew. They say, "The thread goes above the cloth, then the needle dives down through the cloth. The thread is then below the cloth. You continue alternating this way until the line of thread goes above/below/above/below and you are finished sewing. Now -- which do you believe in -- the thread above the cloth or the thread below? 1. Both are necessary and 2. There is no thread -- it's just a story about sewing. I was irritated, so I cut out those pages with an X-acto knife and used then for wadding for the small cannon I keep on the deck. I then shot the cannon into the lake. It's all right -- the cannon's range only goes midway, and no boats were coming.

Of the two books I was given for Christmas Life of Pi was by far the best. The Da Vinci Code is back in the dust somewhere.

Oh my god -- Alan Bates died. He was wonderful. I'm watching an Alan Bates movie right now called Quartet.

27 December 2003

I accidentally ran into this photo while surfing. What I THINK it is ... is the stretch of street in Sunderland with the Wheatsheaf pub and the roundhouse for trams in Sunderland. At least, if it's not, it made me think about this bit of family lore:

During the 14-18 war the women, of course, had to take over the job's held by men gone for soldiers. My great grandmother was a conductor on a tram. The roundhouse was near a pub (next to, I believe) called the Wheatsheaf. The Germans floated over in a blimp and dropped a bomb that hit the Wheatsheaf -- narrowly missing wiping out my family.

26 December 2003

E's in NYC, but she surprised Aunt Fluffy by refusing to talk to me on the phone when she was called over. I wasn't surprised. "There's someone who wants to talk to you," Aunt Fluffy said, to which I replied, "I doubt it." Dave took E to Seatac and got her on the plane. D + R picked her up at JFK, and now they're at Karen and Lenny's on Long Island. SJ and Michael made two trips but got the paintings from Missy's to my house. I hadn't seen the paintings for years -- nice. Some are in the garage un-viewed as yet. Jose the Jack Russell came in and was great fun. I got seriously exhausted, though -- especially coming after an exhausting day yesterday. I noticed as E and I were packing that there's a box for Richard and a box for Lenny. That's it. I guess they rate!! We all know E likes those (as Marilee calls them) penis people best. I got a card from Steven and just started crying. Dang -- started AGAIN.

25 December 2003

Christmas 2003

22 December 2003

Good Thing I'm Easily Amused

I received spam this morning from "Potentate O. Hemorrhoid."

Oh, what wonders one can achieve with a dictionary and a pin. They are capable of anything, I'm sure. I am constantly annoyed by the misplacement of apostrophes, especially in company websites, etc. I received spam with a misplaced apostrophe and I wondered -- "Is this a deliberate way they try to infuriate people into responding?" Maybe it's true.

Power to the People

Despite a couple of windstorms, my power was out just once -- for a mere 45 minutes. I believe the work Asplundh is doing* is helping a great deal. One day I stopped and thanked some A-men who were working. I'm not a fan of brushcutting, particularly, and I almost never like it when trees are cut down -- however having m.s. and no power is quite nasty, and the brushcuttingtreecutting is the reason my power has stayed on (except for that short time). It all comes down to selfishness! Ah!
*on behalf of Puget Power

21 December 2003

More Concerning the Price Calculation of Groceries
Maybe it would be better to dispense with decimals entirely. I could get her to add the dollars, then look at the tag and if it has any cents, add 1. Maybe it would turn out to be close. Has to be closer than accidentally putting in 50 dollars instead of fifty cents.

I have an email in to Slaveways asking them if they have any ideas.

And I looked into the idea of deliveries, but that isn't going on here. Yet, anyway. I remember a billion years ago when Peterson's Food Town was trying to compete with enormous Death Star-like grocery universes that moved in and were out to smash each other and anyone else who got in the way. Peterson's was selling a lot of organic food, and delivering -- trying vainly to find a niche. I shopped there when I was (horrors!!) married (shudder). And sad but true, despite their efforts they went under (I used to know the story but I've forgotten now). Top Foods, which opened in about 1988, advertised that they were open 24 hours a day, every day. They quickly gave that up, however. I hold that against them, just a little. Many times I've shopped at the Tumwater Slaveways at extremely late hours, however -- like maybe 2am or what have you -- which is actually a nice time to shop. I used to live very close to that store (which in other respects wasn't particularly my favorite). I don't go to Albertson's EVER because once in about 1981 I bought something in their snack bar* that made me very ill. Years ago the downtown waterfront market had a waterfall in the front. It's been remodeled several times since then. I never go there because I always see lots of people I know there, and because if a 6-pack of beer was on sale and you bought only one, they charged you the not-on-sale price. After my marriage ended disastrously it took me years before I'd go to the west side of Olympia -- the scene of the, so-to-speak, crime. All this adds up to the modern human equivilent of those animal paths in the woods that seem to tack right or left for no reason. There IS a reason, I'm sure. A reason like my reasons.

*in the store on Sleater Kinney Road, which hasn't existed for years and is now the Office Depot against which I've developed a mad-on. An accursed spot?

I was just reading about a man having treatments for cancer who stole identities and used them to get cell phones. I only scanned the article -- so maybe I missed some (or all) of the pertinent information. It seemed risable and I couldn't read as it interferred with my ability to snort in derision. Want my phone... my identity? No? Didn't think so. Neither do I.

Everyone I know is having surgery -- Tiff, Brad, Loosh, Connie. Well, I know more people than that, but I think four is enough.

Finally! The 4th Avenue Bridge opened yesterday -- it's been a long time since the earthquake. Maybe the traffic will ease up a bit now. E has been watching the progress the bridge-builders made all year as she rode to and from work. She's very taken with the lights on the new bridge. We drove across it yesterday (on the way to loan a videocamera to Samantha so she can tape her baby), and I told her that she can say now that she went across it the first day it was open. We went to Office Depot looking for a computer desk for her. I bought one online (hope it's all right as it's not returnable). I was pissed off at them for certain reasons -- goodbye Office Depot. We went groceterificating at Slaveways, where we continued our calculator lessons. I rather despair -- it's quite difficult since E has no sense of money. She can't just "know" that orange juice isn't fifty dollars or that if you add one dollar and two dollars and five dollars the total amount is not going to be in the hundreds. She can't tell if it's wrong -- so maybe I can somehow customise her calculator. Could I go ask Slaveways if I think that will help? I guess I'll go have a look at their website and see if I can strike up a little email correspondence.
Wild Divine
In my ever widening quest to upload myself into cyberspace I have now installed a program that uses biofeedback to provide interactivity. One connects one's fingertips to a cable that USBs into the computer. It's fun. After a while I developed the same thing I get when they have to take blood, though -- "no detectable heartbeat." It took me a few minutes to get both There and Wild Divine working properly -- now everything is great but I need a usb hub as I've had to disconnect my lakecam. Still, amusements come and amusements go.

I'm cleaning right now -- have my robot vacuum cleaner sweating away in the other room. I have Susan's old TV hooked up to a vcr, and I'm deciding if I want to move it -- my idea is that it might like to live on the eating-type counter. Come to think of it, I had it there last xmas when I got movies for E and my mum, and made my mum lie in my bed. Sadly -- well, I can't continue as EVERYTHING is sad. Oh, well. I love the biofeedback program. And I recently got spam from made-up names that I thought were hilarious -- "Scruffy P. Redolent," and "Palate E. Deed." ]

I'm watching "Utamaro and His Five Women," a Japanese movie from 1946. It's good. I'm reading "Native Son," except I reached the trunk part and got agitated -- skimmed to the part that says something like, "... the head wouldn't come off..." and think I just can't read it.

E is bummed that her friend Trudie, who was to've come on Christmas, is now going to her sister's house. Oh well. E's work had a gift exchange and E got an Elvis game -- which will figure in our xmas along with Scrabble, I'd reckon.

19 December 2003

The Unbelievable Lightness of Bears
Yesterday Andrew made a very nice Ferrari race gif -- which will show up on the car webpage soon. T remarked how A likes cars. I said, "Me, too." She said, "I don't like cars." [H said, "She rides a turtle to school every morning!"] She said, "I like horses." [H said, "She rides a horse to school every morning!"] I said, "So do I. Just because you like one doesn't mean you don't like the other."* She said, "I like cars, too. I like Lamborghinis."

I've been getting movies from the library, and wind up with interesting juxtapositions -- I just saw (again) Women In Love, and The Incredible Lightness of Being. I loved W-In-Love (book and movie) and Point Counterpoint -- part of my delving into the 1920s that I did in the 60s -- thinking the 20s were a lot like the 60s. I think the whole idea of "it skips a generation" is caused by lots of people doing the opposite of whatever their parents did. If the parents were strict, some children would grow up to be lax parents. My own parents were... hmmm... well, that blows that theory. I spend my childhood on the back of a horse, miles from home accompanied only by my dogs, and my parents never asked what I was doing, or even thought about it. I always had to write my own excuse notes for school since my parents wouldn't do things like that -- they told me school was my job. I have always been completely anti-authoritarian. I even tell my students not to pay attention to me (however if they get annoyingly out of line I fall back on my fake authority and kick them out for my own convenience). They are better off if they don't follow anyone blindly, so I'm happier if they know they have to decide if I'm FOS and invent their own way of doing something or take what I say as true. Yesterday I developed a huge headache, which I still have. Ugh.

17 December 2003


16 December 2003

Behind Curtain Number 1

Loosh called me on the way home from surgery in Seattle yesterday (she had the hole worn through by the inplanted baclofen plump). They believed it IS a huge big deal when there is a hole looking in to the abdominal cavity. Well what do you know. Lucia said she wanted to see the surgery, but there was a curtain -- the surgeon called it a "blood-brain barrier," which we thought was funny -- and she was sedated. Well, I'm glad it's taken care of. I forgot to note that Jim, husband of Loosh, was HIT BY A CYCLONE but only received a minor injury.* I should add that he works at the Fifth Avenue Theatre which was were one could find cyclones, Dorothy, Toto, and that lot.

*I went through a cyclone but all I received was this lousy T shirt, I mean injury.

15 December 2003

Yesterday on the way to the theatre I asked Elizabeth, who had just said that Santa Claus on the Christmas Cruise boat recognised her and knew her name, "Do you believe in Santa Claus?" She said, "Yes -- I do," while looking at me like I might say something she had no desire to hear. I said well, good. If ever a person can consciously choose to believe in things that she has decided are beneficial, it's E. That's a useful thing to be able to do, I'd guess (guess because I wouldn't know for sure). I don't really believe in anything -- and I suppose I don't disbelieve in anything, either. At least I don't believe unequally since it all gets an equal share of nothing. That makes E a lot smarter than me, I'm sure.

14 December 2003

Went to see "Pump Boys and Dinettes" at a local playhouse -- it was delightful! My friend A got me a comp ticket and Elizabeth bought her own ticket. Afterwards I had to get E back so she could be picked up for a party -- a full weekend for her. The timing was tight, but Elizabeth got back in time. I just spoke with the person who'd picked her up -- apparently she just thought E asking her what time she was going to be picked up and me calling and leaving messages was just because we're weird and nervous. I explained that I'd called because we were going to a play and if it ran over we wouldn't be home in time -- but I could've dropped E at the restaurant. Anyway, it worked out all right -- but people always think you're sitting at home twiddling your thumbs or something. Before the play I made E take off her watch and leave it in the car -- she enjoyed the show, and thank heavens there was no beep-beep in the middle of the performance! The singing voices were great -- and the acting sensational. The woman next to me (a stranger) leant over and whispered to me, "I think I know the man in the blue shirt." Umm..... they were ALL* wearing blue shirts. Maybe she... thought she knew them all? I stopped at the grocery outlet after dropping E off, and as I was waiting in line I noticed someone had enhanced a little snowman on their window -- the lower circle had a big bum crack. A plumber snowman! I always buy me a xmas present -- this year I am getting the biofeedback computer interactive "journey." Teaches how to control mental states, etc. I don't remember what it's called -- I read about it in Discover, went online and bought it one minute later. I'm getting one step closer to my goal of becoming Max Headroom.
Cintinuing my Fellini festival with La Strada.

13 December 2003

When I got the tree for E I also got two star ornament/picture frames as I thought she might like to have her mummy and daddy on the tree. When I got home I thought, "Damn! I should've got three." Instead of mum and dad it's likely to be mum and Elvis.

Loosh has an implanted baclofen pump to dispense that anti-spasticity drug into her spine. She just noticed it's working its way out -- there's a hole and metal is showing. Reminds me of The Terminator. She's flipped out and thinks it's funny at the same time, much like Ginger, a student at Wa He Lut, who wrote about the 1996 flood that destroyed the school, "It was horrible but cool."

I'm going with E to see Pump Boys and Dinettes* tomorrow, then we have to scamper back to her place so she can go to Joe's birthday. I told Loosh this morning that I am trying to make this a good xmas for her. As we both saw, however, E is having a very good time going to NYC, Joe's birthday, Pump Boys, the Christmas Cruise -- and being the recipient of things and more from many people.

*this might involve She Who Cannot Be Mentioned In My Blog -- wait... is that allowed? Did I mention SWCBMIMB?

12 December 2003

I've just been shopping for my great nieces/nephews in Australia, but it was a lot more fun when the exchange rate was good. Still -- it's a lucky thing to be able to buy things for them, although it can be difficult to know what things are or what they might like. Anji's two: I have picked out a telescope for Caitlin, and a baby-toy catamaran for Ryan. Jason's brood: For James I decided on a kit to build models of things. I really have no idea what it is, but it was 75 Aussie dollars so I hope it's ok. My reasoning is: Jason likes to build things, so therefore he and his son might have fun building these together. Then I got a set of quoits for Owen I reckon, a thing like an etch-a-sketch for Angus, and a dumptruck for Sarah. I heard a rumour of another pregnancy, but I have had no word either way. Jason has lovely children, but his wife is from an Irish Catholic family and has 17 siblings. Perhaps that seems normal to her. When I was a child I ALWAYS wanted to be from a large family -- like my friend Oobay, whose family lived in a castle-like house and were most interesting and fun. They'd put on plays, etc. Their mother was an artist who was always working in her studio, and their father was a dynamite salesman (as I recall anyway). Pennsylvania has loads of wild grapevines in the woods, which climb up the trees then run along the treetops. And that's exactly what WE'D do -- swarm up the tree the run around on the net of wild grapevines. We were light. I suppose children today don't do things like that. Although: In 1990 I had been thrown out of my marital home for having m.s., so I stayed at KGF's house for part of my homeless time. There was a family of newly arrived Russians next door, and those children climbed around on the roof. They ranged from 2 to 5 or 6. They were great kids. The eldest, Olga, was very responsible. Oleg, next in line, kept telling me he wanted to see the place I'd rented -- one day he said that he was leaving and if he didn't go today he'd never see my place. I didn't think he was right, but took him to see my new house anyway. Sure enough, the next day they were GONE. I got Olga and Oleg to paint on a painting I was doing at the time. Their brother Andre spoke a mix of Russian and English that only the children understood. Their mother said birch trees reminded her of Russia. I believe they moved to a Russian community in Auburn.

11 December 2003

8 am

10 December 2003

What's he doing?
He's Making a Chicken!

I liked La Dolce Vita, and have thought a lot about it beginning with what the heck does it mean? No plot, but a character-driven movie -- with many staircases, people who can't hear each other, bad parties and dawns -- which is almost 45 years old. I decided that the feeling one gets from the film must be the important thing Fellini wanted to express, and I get the feeling that the man is unable to find meaning in art, religion, and family life. He's clearer about what he lacks when he sees what looks desirable -- but his desires are more a temporary reflection of, or reaction to, whatever is around him than permanent needs. Like Marilee's van, which looks green when it's next to something blue, but looks blue when it's near something green. So he's unable to settle -- he thinks too much and can't make up his mind. If you pick one thing you can't have the other. I wondered about Emma, the fiancee, who just seems a nutball at the start of this millenium, but whose moaning and wailing might've been seen differently at the time. She says, "Most men are happy to have the love of a woman. But not you -- you are still chasing after other women." [well, something like that] He's not the only man who likes to keep chasing women -- but he's different in not making a commitment to family life then hiding the fact that he is pursuing other women. So -- I guess you have to commit whole-heartedly to something or life is just an endless series of bad parties.

I'm watching Star Wars Part I now, which is just dreadful.

08 December 2003

Anji just send me some pix, plus a Christmas card with 2 b&w formal shots in it. I like these, though -- the one of Ryan she's called, "Gardening." Makes me laugh.

05 December 2003

Monday I had jin shin, which did wonders so my Tuesday-long-workday was good. Went to sleep Tuesday night,
then developed a bad headache and awoke with it. Tiff and Sean were coming and I felt I had to do at least minimal cleaning activities so they wouldn't run in horror. They came and we had a great time -- Sean cooked for us, I sat like a big, ugly lump, and Tiff gave me a Xmas present and a poinsettia. I could hardly talk, but oh, well. Went to bed with the headache, woke up with it -- when the alarm went off the noise flipped me out and in my rush to extinguish it I fell out of bed and smacked my head on the table. Got up and went to work. Headache responded to blow by going away. after a time. Was staggering down the hall to deliver my 3 time slips (well I never get around to filling them out) and poor Gary came up behing me and said something jocular about me causing trouble again. I turned slightly and fell down, but Gary and Dyson kindly hauled me to a standing position. Gary said he felt awful, but I told him not to worry about it. Honestly, how could it have been his fault? No way. Dyson laughed and said it was like the time he pushed the door open for me as I was leaving the comp lab. My balance was upset and I promptly deposited my body onto the floor -- no one's fault at all. Just one of those things that happens if you prefer to live on the precarious edge, as I do. I had a Mysterious Boy, shy and hesitant, visit my room. He was obviously driving himself to overcome his natural reticence by introducing himself to me -- this weird, crip art teacher. I applaud his bravery. He came to see me twice, hovering nervously each time. We established that he would show me a drawing. I'm impressed -- I think it's no small deal to do that. I would reckon his age at about 13. Andrew drew a nice Ferrari, and we talked about making it into a large-size colored drawing on the computer, and an animated GIF. He laughed and said he hated making GIFs -- "It's HARD!" He's only done one, and it WAS hard -- but this one'll be easy, as I told him.

Also yesterday I snapped out on George and Rene, who were not working hard enough. I told them to put their drawings away and go back to class. Immediately they wailed, "We'll work now, we promise!!!" I told them it was too bad, but they could do better next time. I don't do warnings -- if they want to waste their own time, they can do it away from my room. The one student I had left needed help, and when they left I could focus on her. Saw George as I was leaving. He said, "My teacher said I can't come next week." Apparently she feels he has done something in her room that requires Punishment [she can't take away his art class -- but I can't get that through to her -- it's like saying, "You've been bad, so you are not allowed to go to speech therapy." -- he is entitled by the federal government to have his art class (of course I can kick him out if he needs it)]. Oh, well. We'll see. George and I established that we were not angry at each other, which is good. I told him he needed to think about what he was doing, and be responsible for his own actions. He was climbing up the doors to the school as I spoke with him. "For instance, are you going to get into trouble for doing that?" He said yes.

Came home, for some reason ploughed into coloring the rejected Ferrari drawing Andrew had discarded -- made a GIF for no reason -- maybe just to make sure of process -- more like just from liking to work with images. Hadn't brought the drawing home on purpose -- it just got stacked with other papers accidentally.

Started watching Fellini's Satyricon (from the library). Continued this morning. More looking forward to La Dolce Vita. Don't much like the library website, but am entirely thankful that they will mail books and movies to me. Tomorrow is the Big Evil Day, but maybe it will work out. Monday I have to meet with the school board for something described as "Vivian Kendall Transition."

D wants E to go to NYC for NY -- E is excited about that and about having Xmas in her own place with her friend Trudy and me as guests. We have talked about food -- she reckoned perhaps pizza might be good. First she said shrimp and oyster salad. I'm going to take a cheesecake.


This is a nice Con/Chi-dog pic

03 December 2003

I've always loved Morgans. I just noticed that Peter Morgan of the car company family died a month ago. They have kind of a cool website. Although I try to get my students interested in cars that are strange to them, they mostly like things like Honda Civics.

I was surprised to hear Gertrude Ederle had died because I never thought she was still alive. Everyone remembers, I'm sure, that photograph of Gertrude smeared with fat and standing in the Channel.

a couple of minutes ago clouds floated just above the lake

Every Tub Must Sit On Its Own Bottom
PCs from D and Aunt Fluffy

01 December 2003

My landlord came yesterday and fixed the roof -- that is the roof update, and damned overdue but welcome. Hard going to work when you ain't had no zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Also yesterday got home from grocerifying E at about 7 or so. No scooters working at West Side Slaveways, so had to go to Tumbling Water instead. There one must stagger to the customer service desk and get a key. So -- had to find that, which had no one there, then she came, but she didn't hear me, etc. Finally got stupid scooter key -- is Tumwater such a hotbed of crime that they have to do that? All their scooters seem barely used, compared with the West Side's which are beaten into the ground from use.

Thank You, Hazel and Garth

I keep having happy little email exchanges with unknown workers (or owners) when I buy something online. I ordered some things from Giant Robot and the CoolestShop -- both of which I seem to buy from repeatedly -- and the recipients of my emails went to great lengths to make the experience better for me. Even to the point of giving me a discount for reasons of Love (their word). And Hazel drew a little greeting on the box I received. No wonder I like buying things from them. I should point out that I don't buy much, but most of my purchases are made through websites.



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