carose59: computers and other machines (what do you think you're doing dave)
"One Doesn't Usually See This Kind Of Behavior In A Forklift."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Many, many years ago, Pat and I got up one Sunday morning to discover the on/off switch on the TV was gone.

This wasn't a knob; it was a recessed button (like how a doorbell is), so it couldn't have simply fallen off. There was just a hole where the part of the button that protruded used to be. And there was no way to replace it. From then on we had to turn the TV on and off with the remote.

I still have no idea what happened.

About a month ago, something else happened.

I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, when I noticed something strange about my shampoo.

There's a window over the bathtub and I keep my shampoo and stuff on the window sill. I was running low on one kind of shampoo, so I had the bottle turned upside down, but since the lid was rounded, it was wedged between the wall and another shampoo bottle. What I noticed was that there was a puddle of shampoo under the bottle. When I took the bottle away, I found that the lid had broken and was missing. I looked in the bathtub and found the pieces.

The bottle was where it had been; it had not been moved. But why had the lid cracked? It wasn't terribly cold, we hadn't had the cold snap yet; it certainly wasn't weight, the shampoo bottle was only a quarter full, and with the bottle being held up by the wall and another bottle, the lid wasn't even supporting the full weight. But the part I really don't understand is how the broken lid got out from under the bottle without disturbing it.

I could almost think Pat was messing with me.

There was an episode of The Twilight Zone where a little girl (and her dog) disappear into another dimension. Her frantic parents call their next door neighbor, who happens to be a physicist, to come help get her back. Whenever odd things happened, Pat and I would say, "I wish we had a physicist next door we could call!"

Maybe that's what happened to the bracelet that disappeared, it slipped into another dimension but it can't call out to me like the little girl on The Twilight Zone. I could use a physicist right about now.


*Martin Nash
carose59: the past (today's music ain't got the same soul)
I'm Going To Memorize Your Name And Throw My Head Away.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

(That subject line is a metaphor.)

A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from work, I found that the first building where Pat and I lived was being torn down.

I'd been expecting that for a while; it was condemned some years ago. It's only a few blocks from my house and I pass it every day to and from work, so I'd been watching it decay and dilapidate. We only lived there a year, but it was our first year and it was special. On the ground floor were little stores—a grocery, I remember, and on the corner, a flower shop. The man who owned the building was the florist Up a flight of stairs were apartments—eight altogether, I think, four to a section.

Today it was nothing but dirt, a tiny field.



Yesterday, I bought a new phone.

It wasn't a choice, exactly; it was necessary. The screen of my old phone died, and with everything going on right now, I need a reliable phone.

It took four hours, and I'm planning on writing about that later. But while I was at AT&T I threw away part of my past.

Pat had a cellphone first, because of her falling. A couple of them in succession: first a big, brick-like thing, then a smaller brick-like thing, then a nice silver flip phone. She got the last one the year she died, and I got one just like it at the same time. I think it was sometime in the early spring. We played with them a lot; we'd call each other from the same room and answer saying things like, "I can't talk now, I'm busy," or "What do you want?" or "You have the wrong number," or "Why do you keep calling me?" We had fun.

(This is the thing I miss most, the frivolity, the having a confidante. I've got this bluetooth thing that I'd like to experiment with and if Pat were alive I would ask her to call me so I could see what happens when I get a call, so I could practice using the silly thing. Even just answering the phone is complicated and I have to keep telling people, "I got a smart phone but it didn't make me any smarter." Pat would like that. Pat would help me, and she'd enjoy it.)

We were on a family plan, and we had talked about getting my mother a phone. But Pat died. So I just gave my mother Pat's phone.

And she doesn't use it. The only time she's ever used it is when I was taking her to Coumadin Clinic; she'd call to come pick her up. I've been paying for it every month for twelve years for it to live in a drawer, but I'm a very good daughter. I can't make my mother carry a cellphone, but I can make sure she has a cellphone even if she won't carry it.

It's been annoying and frustrating, and expensive when you consider it was completely going to waste, but it kept me from having to do something I really didn't want to do: releasing Pat's phone number. I really wanted to keep Pat's number.

Yesterday I cancelled that line. A woman who can't talk doesn't need a cellphone. If a phone rings in the forest and there's no-one to answer it, what difference does it make?

Pieces of my life are falling off or drifting away and there's really nothing I can do about it. All I can do is let go so I don't go with them.


*Oscar Levant

First Saturday in May

Saturday, 7 May 2016 04:21 pm
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
"He's One Of The Few Scientists In The World Who Can't Subtract."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I just finished watching a documentary on the Beatles post-breakup. It's called "The Beatles: Parting Ways." It was mostly OK—very balanced, pretty dull if you already know all this stuff.

That's not a complaint. You're waiting for the complaint, aren't you? Good, because there is one, or rather, a cry of bafflement.

I understand they couldn't get rights to any of the Beatles' music--I'm being generous and assuming this. And I understand they undoubtedly wanted some music in their movie. But what in the name of God could have made them choose The Animals' We Gotta Get Out of This Place? I admit, I'm not the crazy about the song, but that's really not the point.

The point is, couldn't they just get some cheap ambient music? Because playing a song by a contemporary of the Beatles makes me wonder if they were all that clear about who the Beatles were. Also, since the tone of the whole thing seemed to be directed at an audience whose knowledge of the Beatles consists of hearing some songs on the radio, knowing John Lennon is dead (though possibly not knowing there's any connection between John and the Beatles), and having seen some of A Hard Day's Night one Saturday afternoon (but not knowing what it was). This is an audience who is very likely not to know that what they're hearing is not, in fact, a Beatles' song.

I think a documentary should, at the very least, not confuse and mislead its audience.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I thought that was going to be the most interesting thing to happen to me today, but that was before the phone call.

It was a withheld number, but I was bored, so I answered it. It was a man who asked me if I had a computer. I asked him what his name was and why he had a withheld number. This startled him. He told me his name (which I promptly forgot), then asked me again if I had a computer. I said yes in a decidedly mocking tone that he ignored. Then he asked me the last time I surfed the web. I told him last night, and he told me that he was a computer expert, and that my computer had downloaded something that was very dangerous.

I said it was very peculiar, the information he had and the information he didn't have. He had my phone number, but he didn't know whether I had a computer or whether I'd been online, but he did know that I'd downloaded something dangerous, and how did he explain that?

And that was when he said the best thing I've heard in I-don't-know-how-long. He told me had permission from the internet to call me—

I interrupted him. "Did you say you have permission from the internet?" I really thought I must have heard wrong.

"Yes, permission from the internet," he continued, as though this was actually something that made sense, "to contact you—"

"Permission from the internet." It was too hilarious not to say again.

Unfortunately, that was when my mother called, so I had to go. I wouldn't have had him much longer anyway, since I was going to ask him just how the internet contacted him to give him permission and who exactly he worked for.

Maybe he works for the internet.


*Sabrina Stuart
carose59: computers and other machines (what do you think you're doing dave)
"And I Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too, Except For—My Entire Plan!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

This story, such as it is, starts with my slacks.

Many years ago, I bought five pair of lightweight knit slacks: green, wine, navy, black and purple. They're perfect for work in the spring and autumn, but they do have issues. They have the same problem most of my slacks have: they're built for someone much taller. Sadly, I am not someone much taller. The waistband goes up to the edge of my bra. They also do not have pockets.

Now that the groundwork is laid, let's begin the narrative. I have a very strict morning ritual. Upon awakening, I rip off my CPAP mask, maneuver my way off the bed without disturbing Meg, and dash to the bathroom to pee.

After that I take care of everything I need to do in the bathroom (which, when the weather is nice, includes opening the window and putting a can of cat food out for Meg. When the weather is nice, Meg eats breakfast alfresco. Although I might have to rethink that, because ants have been getting into his food. Maybe I'll buy him a cucumber for the window sill). Where was I? Oh, yes, after I'm done in the bathroom, I go into the bedroom and get dressed. Socks, underwear, slacks, and shirt. I'm a very basic person. Once my clothes are on, I take my phone from the bedside table and put it in my pants pocket.

Unless my pants don't have a pocket. Then life becomes frightening and uncertain, and bad things happen.

Once I'm dressed, I go to the hall to do my exercise: twenty minutes on my pedal exerciser. It's like a stationary bike, except you don't have to climb on it and sit on an uncomfortable seat. And you can read while you do it, which I do. If I don't have a pocket, I might remember to carry my phone to the hall, where it sits on a shelf of the bookcase next to me. Sometimes it sits there all day.

Then I make sure the heat's adjusted, or the windows are closed, grab up my laptop, go to the front door and put on my shoes. My shoes live near the front door so I always know where they are. If my phone is in my hand when I go to the front door, I put it in my purse, or in my coat pocket if I'm wearing a coat when I leave. If my phone isn't in my hand, there's a good chance it will spend a lonely day on the bedside table or the bookcase.

Have you ever tried to explain to someone that you didn't answer their call because your pants don't have pockets? And because of the way those pants fit, you really cannot clip something to the waistband. And with the pacemaker, I'm not allowed to carry a cellphone in my bra.

In short, sometimes communication with the outside world is a crapshoot.


*Adam Felber

I am very stubborn.

Friday, 1 April 2016 09:31 pm
carose59: computers and other machines (what do you think you're doing dave)
"Things Are Sure Getting Tough. You Can't Go Anywhere Nowadays Without Having A Door Walk Up And Bust You In The Eye."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Back in December, I think, I decided to listen to all of the Nero Wolfe books, in order. I knew I had most of them on CD, and I was pretty sure that what I didn't have, the library did.

It was nice, sinking into the Nero Wolfe universe. They're read by Michael Prichard, who also read a lot of the Spenser books. The year Pat died, I spent a lot of time listening to both of these series. I spent more time with Michael Prichard than with anybody else.

I was going along fine until the end of January when I hit book twenty-four, Three Men Out. Along with novels, Rex Stout wrote a number of longish stories. He'd publish those in magazines, then gather enough of them together to make another book. One of those books is four stories long; the rest are three. Three Men Out is a three story book.

And it's rare as hen's teeth.

Our library doesn't have it. So I put in an interlibrary loan request, but none of the libraries we have an arrangement with have it. (I find it appalling that there are Indiana libraries that don't own all of Rex Stout's books. He was born in Noblesville, which is just north of Indianapolis.)

I started looking for it online. Audible doesn't have it. Nobody on Amazon or Ebay is selling it. Overdrive doesn't have it. Recorded Books doesn't have it (which is weird, because they did. Michael Prichard recorded it for them). iTunes doesn't have it, though they do have the ebook. I didn't even know they had ebooks. (All of this also applies to Three for the Chair, except it's book twenty-nine.)

So I started checking torrent sites.

I found one that looked good, but it wasn't Mac-compatible. Of course.

I gave it some thought, then hit the pawn shop down the street and there I found myself a lovely little Asus notebook for a small sum of money. It doesn't have the best battery in the world, but it's quite nice. And since there are some things one needs Windows for, it was a good investment.

Except it doesn't have enough memory. Of course.

So I did a little searching and found that Office Max was having a sale on external hard drives. For a c-note and change I picked one up with two terabytes of memory. Another good investment, and something I should have done years ago.

Then I read up on how to download directly to an external hard drive. And then I downloaded all the Nero Wolfe books.

(Through all this I refused to let myself listen to any other books. Instead I listened to back episodes of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. So while I've been frustrated, I haven't been suffering any.)

I've now heard Three Men Out and am only two books away from Three for the Chair. Being stubborn pays off.


*Managing Editor, Thirty-Day Princess
carose59: doctors (they understand matter not spirit)
"I Played Dumb, Which Was Easy, Seeing As How I Don't Know Anything."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Last summer I got a letter from . . . some medical people asking if I wanted to participate in some kind of medical consultation thingy. (Please excuse all the technical jargon, but I can't tell the story without it.) It was something about managing my medical care.

Since I had the pacemaker put in last February, I met my out-of-pocket very early, putting me in golden time for most of the year. So I figured what the hell and I agreed. I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk to my doctor about klonopin, which he's been very difficult about prescribing. (I understand his point; long-term use of it can certainly be a problem. But he seems to have missed the part in doctor school where you don't keep threatening to cut off your patient's anti-anxiety medication, since that tends to make the patient even more anxious.)

But that didn't happen because my doctor wasn't there. This had nothing to do with my doctor. Instead I saw a psychologist, a social worker, and . . . a caseworker? Maybe? I don't know. It's been over six months. We talked about various stuff. It was a not unpleasant experience, but I don't know what the point was. (I sound really good when I talk to strangers.)

I saw one of them again in November. (I have no idea which one.) Again we talked. Again I don't know what the point was. (She was really lovely. I had a serious anxiety attack on my way to the appointment and I was very late, but she was very nice about it.) On the way out, I used the restroom where the automatic sink couldn't see me. That wouldn't have been a problem except the automatic soap dispenser had seen me and I really wanted to get the soap off my hands. I ended up wiping it off with a paper towel (the automatic paper towel dispenser also saw me).

I got a call the other day from possibly the same woman wanting to set up another appointment, which I agreed to. I was supposed to see her today. But it was a nice, warmish rainy day and I had things to do. And I still don't know what the point of all this is, and besides, it's a new year and I have no idea how much this costs. So I called and cancelled. Fortunately, I got voicemail and didn't have to talk to an actual person.

I feel like I should ask somebody about this, but I'm not entirely sure who or what to ask. Maybe when she calls again I just won't answer the phone. My life is already needlessly complicated.


*Commander Russell Taylor
carose59: the rose behind the fence (Default)
'Cause It All Comes Out Wrong
Unless I Put It In A Song.
So The Radio Plays,
"I Think I Need A New Heart"
Just For You.
"I Think I Need A New Heart."


-:- -:- -:- -:-

I've been listening to the Nero Wolfe series at work, and I'm up to the twenty-third book, Three Men Out. The library doesn't own it, nor do any of the libraries we have a reciprocal borrowing agreement. It's readily available to buy, and I wouldn't mind buying it—it's only eight dollars.

So why is there a problem? Because the only place it's available is iTunes, and neither my iMac nor my MacBook is new enough for it.

So I'm looking at buying a new computer to so I can listen to two books. (There's another book later on that's unavailable any other way—at least, any other way I can find.)

By "a new computer," I mean going to the hock shop down the street and seeing what I can find. The requirements for a PC are more lenient, and they're cheaper and easier to find. But it's still stupid.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The Tommy cat showed up again yesterday. I saw him down the block a few months ago; I thought he had a new home, but now I'm not sure.

He was sitting by my car when I went out to go to my mother's, and he started up the ramp and gave me a little meow. I feel so bad for him; he wants a home and somebody to love him, and I simply cannot do this. I'm committed to Meg, who I'm sure won't accept another cat. The best way for me to get Meg to come when I want him is to talk to Little Cat; he comes and pushes her out of the way. He's my baby. And here's this poor cat who needs a home and love.

Anyway, it's awfully cold, so I made the Tommy a bed. I put an old, soft coat in a plastic box, then I put the box inside an old trash can. I put the whole thing with the opening close to the side of the house to keep out the wind, but with enough space for him to get in.

I sprinkled catnip and dry food on the coat.

And you know what I keep thinking? Some possum's going to find himself a nice bed. How do people who put out these cat beds make sure cats get them? Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find Meg curled up there, and how do I keep that from happening? I don't understand how other people's lives work.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Today is the first anniversary of my pacemaker. I'm used to my heart beating hard when I exert myself. It never used to do that, and when it started, it disturbed the hell out of me.


*I Think I Need a New Heart The Magnetic Fields
carose59: computers and other machines (what do you think you're doing dave)
"Anything That Takes A Double-A Battery Is All Right In My Book!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Pat had a cell phone for a while, then the year she died, she got a new one and I got my first one. (This was before she died, in case that wasn't obvious.) The whole family-plan thing. We were talking about getting my mother one, also on the family plan.

Only she died. So I gave my mother her phone with no guilt or hesitation, since we'd already talked about it.

She doesn't use it. She doesn't even carry it, or keep it charged. It makes me crazy. And when I bring it up, she starts talking about getting something cheaper, which from what I can tell doesn't exist.

Anyway, she's on her second phone and I'm on like my fourth. I hate new phones. I don't want it to be smart. I want it to flip or slide or something. If I were given a choice between something brand new and brilliant, and one of the old brick-like ones, I would be hard-pressed to choose. So buying a new phone pisses me off.

Yesterday I had the conversation with my mother again, about the phone. It isn't even in her house, I still have it from the last time I left mine at work or something, and that's been months. But she wants to keep it, has decided she really should carry it with her, which is good.

What's wrong with my phone is, the screen has gone blank. I can still make and receive calls, but that's as far as it goes. All my contacts are gone again. I should try learning something sometime.

So after we had the conversation, I suggested I change sim cards and she keep my phone and I use hers. It actually does less than my phone used to, but of course my phone now does exactly what she wants to do with it (if she ever does anything with it), so it's a win-win.

And the part that I try not to think about when this subject comes up: if I get rid of the other phone, Pat's phone number becomes some stranger's phone number. This is a stupid thing to spend money on every month, but I don't want to stop, so it's good that there's a better reason than that attached to it.


*Ray Magliozzi
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
If You Think I Understand All This, You Will Be Profoundly Mistaken.*

-:- -:- -:-

I've been on vacation this week, and so far I've spent two mornings sitting in Pat's old chair, wrapped in a blanket, sleeping with the TV on.

It's very comforting and very relaxing.

I've got a C-PAP machine, and I've been using it for the last month. According to the machine, I'm doing great. But I feel like I'm not relaxing, and I wake up with a backache every morning from laying funny. (I have to lay with my face off the pillow so the mask doesn't get pushed out of position. I don't like sleeping on my back, and it's not recommended anyway.)

But I miss is the sensual pleasure of just sleeping like a normal person. It's like being put on a diet of pills, pills that are perfectly calibrated to give me the right nutrition, but what joy is there in taking pills?

And I can't get past the ridiculous, pointless thought of how, if Pat was alive, it would make things so much more complicated: no more just snuggling and falling asleep, I'd have to strap on my mask and turn on my machine and figure out how to lay. It's been ten years since I could do that anyway, but that's the thing that makes me so sad.

On the plus side, it's a very quiet machine. I can lie in bed and listen to it rain. And after one night of just staring at the box all night, Meg decided it's not dangerous, and now he ignores it and sleeps with me the same as before.


*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: MKK (richer than i you can never be)
No Matter How Old A Mother Is, She Watches Her Middle-Aged Children For Signs Of Improvement.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I was at work, and my mother called to ask me who I got my new central air conditioner from three years ago. Her a/c had stopped working. I gave her the name and number, and reminded her of how quickly they got my new a/c in, and how easy the payments were.

After we hung up, I grabbed my purse and told Angie (who's in charge when Jeanne's not there) that I was running home for a little while.

I have a couple of those tower-type fans that actually cool the air somewhat, and I got the big one and took it to my mother's. She was very pleased by this, and thanked me. Then she said, "I want you to go in the basement and pick your clothes up off the floor." (My clothes are on her floor because it's where I do my laundry, and I have too many clothes.) Then she added, "And while you're down there, get rid of the dead bug, and sweep up the dirt. Oh, and empty the trash can." And she handed me a trash bag.

I said, "This is all about the bug, isn't it?" She has water bugs, and they freak her out. Getting rid of a dead one takes several days of preparation. (When it's a live one, she puts a glass over it and scoots it out of the way until it either dies or she's able to cope with it. Coping consists of sliding a piece of cardboard under the glass to trap it, then throwing the bug and cardboard out in the yard.)

She didn't say anything, but she did laugh.

I went down to the basement and took care of things, then I went back to work.

The a/c guy was supposed to come between one and three, but he didn't get there until about five. (This wasn't bad service; they called her several times to keep her updated about a job that was taking longer than expected, and where he was.) Before he got there, my mother called and asked how I'd like pizza for dinner. Translation: I want pizza and I want you to order it. (I hate ordering pizza. When Pat was alive, she had to order the pizza, and I would go to the door to pay for it.) I thought that with the heat the way it was, she might like something cooler, like chicken salad from Subway, but she didn't sound enthusiastic. So I ordered us pizzas.

I was just about to take hers over to her when the phone rang—the a/c guy was there and she wanted me to come over.

So she's eating pizza while I'm waiting for the guy to come back from looking at the a/c. It ended up being a small thing, a hundred thirty-something dollars.

My mother asked him to look at the furnace—which has problems I can't begin to explain because nobody understands them. Let's just say my father had something to do with them and leave it at that. The guy came back upstairs looking completely baffled. He gave her a quote on a new furnace and a/c, and we said goodbye. She'll probably end up replacing them both in the fall, when she won't need either of them for a while.

We were talking about this, and my mother was eating her pizza. "This is comfort food," she told me. "This is what I needed." Sometimes I forget how much alike we are.


On the subject of food, she's been reading various books about women moving to Italy. This year instead of the Appalachian Trail, she's doing Italy. She bought herself a DVD about the food in various parts of Italy, and we watched it a couple of Saturdays ago (and laughed all the way through it). She told me about how my father's best friend—who's Italian-American—made ravioli one time for them. My mother grew up in a German neighborhood with an Irish father, so what little she knew about ravioli was that it was filled with meat. Only Bob's ravioli had spinach in it, which was a somewhat unpleasant surprise. (She didn't say anything, though.)

On the DVD they kept showing people making ravioli, and they were all putting spinach in them, and we were heckling them for this.

Today she told me how my aunt—whose family is Polish—used to make something like ravioli, only it had mashed potatoes inside instead of meat. "Well, that's better than spinach," I said, and she laughed. "I mean, it's not meat, but still."


*Florida Scott-Maxwell

Things I did today.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009 02:20 pm
carose59: crime and other violations (i read the news today oh boy)
"Why Must We Have Something To Look Forward To? Why Can't We Just Look At Now?"*

-:- -:- -:-

1. Went into work late because I was up late last night because I went out for dinner with my family. Because I was going in late enough for Subway to be open, I picked up a chicken salad sandwich on my way.

2. Finished one of the projects my boss gave me, but she wasn't there for me to tell.

3. Called my cousin Alan to cancel lunch with him. After spending half the day with Tony on Sunday and a few hours with family last night, the idea of having to be social made me want to scream. Fortunately, Alan is very much like me in that regard, and he understood. He told me to go home after work, turn off the phone, and go to bed early. I can't turn off the phone, but I am going to bed early. I need a lot of down time.

4. Stopped by to give my mother corn on the cob and was told she really appreciated my speaking up so forcefully and telling everyone that no-one was putting her in an assisted living facility. "They were trying to talk me into it when they came to visit Sunday."

5. Talked to Patrick--did I mention that I was lending him the Compaq I bought at a garage sale and he offered to buy it off me? I told him sure, and was going to let him have it for fifty dollars (five dollars less than I paid for it), but today he told me he was giving me sixty, which he's adding to the rent check he gives my mother in a couple days. Since I'm the one who deposits/cashes' the checks, this is very convenient. While we were talking, his pizzas were delivered (it's a a two for one place) and he gave me one.

I'm not hungry though, so I'll have pizza for lunch tomorrow and the next day. Tonight I had a little chocolate ice cream, and I hope to be in bed before eight.


*Jerry Rubin

(no subject)

Tuesday, 25 December 2007 09:00 am
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
Happy Melody's birthday, everyone!


Oh, and Merry Christmas, too, if you celebrate that kind of thing. *g*

ETA: if you've been following my laundry chronicles, you'll love how they end: I killed my washer! I burned out the motor! With a load of wet, soapy clothes in it!

Hey, for me this is a good Christmas—at least I'm not sick. *g*

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