Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just Try

I was chatting yesterday with JW, my friend of many years 1300 miles to the north. The conversation centered around men and women, looks and aging, body types and preferences. He offered that the ugly guy with no socially redeeming characteristics gets the drop dead gorgeous (technology-savvy) babe because he is the only one brave enough to try.

That made me start thinking about the woman who has been my best friend since second grade. I will see her in Orlando this weekend, for the first time in over five years. She is the most brilliant woman I have ever known. When you put that together with how kind, nice, sweet and loving she is, and the fact that she is stunningly gorgeous (5'10", fabulous figure, beautiful thick long blonde hair that always does exactly what she wants, and incredible fashion savvy). Well, she's quite a package.

And yet she's never had a man in her life who was man enough to truly appreciate what he had. Her first husband decided after a few months of marriage that he wanted to date around. Her second husband travelled a lot in his work and brought home photos of the women he was with in other cities. Her third husband let his life go to hell rather than recognize what a wonderful life he had. (I'm oversimplifying of course, and encapsulating years into one phrase, but you get the gist of her life.) This woman would be a treasure to any [wise] man, but the men in her life have never been wise enough.

I'm not drawing any conclusions here. I just think it's interesting that the number of available good men as compared to the number of available good women is so small. Much less than 1:1.

Oh, JW has applied a new appellation to me, which I quite like. He says I am "truly a thoroughly modern, Internet babe."

He always knows how to make me smile when I'm feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated.

My Own Personal Dysfunctional Family

As you know, I'm traveling to Orlando on Friday for my 40th high school reunion. I e-mailed my brother, Jerry, who lives in Orlando to say I would be in town and encourage him to come to the events at the high school

<Sidebar On>
I attended Orlando Church School for grades 1-8 and Forest Lake Academy for 9-12. These are both Seventh-day Adventist institutions (and I use that word purposely). There were probably 100 people in the graduating class and everyone knew everyone. Probably half of the 100 still live in Orlando and most work in the medical field, many on staff at Florida Hospital, which is an Adventist hospital.

I did not graduate from FLA, but dropped out during the first semester of my senior year, to finish quickly at a technical high school and then start college a semester early. Over the years, my own class (1968) has abandoned me but the class of 1967, in which I had many more close friends, adopted me. Many of the people I'll see this weekend are people I've known since I was two or three years old; probably ten or fifteen will be people I've gone to school with since first grade. It's a very closed, sheltered, protected community!

The weekend starts on Friday night and concludes with a class dinner on Saturday night. A church service or two will be included, and plenty of prayers will be said. I'll be working very hard to keep my cynicism under control.
<Sidebar Off>

Jerry e-mailed me back saying we'd have to get together, but that's all I've heard from him. I had hoped we would offer his guest room, but there was no way I was going to just come out and ask. And I've heard nothing further from him, so imagine my surprise when Mother told me this week that Jerry was taking me out to dinner at noon on Sabbath.

Isn't communication wonderful?!

Quotes of the Day

Two quotes today, the first courtesy of Tyler, who's listened to more sad stories of strange men across the years than anyone's child should have to hear.

Computer dating is fine, if you're a computer.
~Rita Mae Brown

And the second from Real Simple.

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
~Yiddish Proverb

I think those two quotations, taken together, speak volumes!

Good Intentions

My yard god has turned into a nightmare, and I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to learn from this experience. Not to trust people? Not to believe the best of everyone? Maybe so.

He did get me off my butt as far as the yard is concerned, and it looks much better (and will continue to improve as the new real-yard-people start work today).

I like people who believe in the inherent goodness of people. I like that I possess that trait. Too bad it had to come back to bite me and force me to rethink it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Long Live the Caveman

My friend Gail Remaly, her aunt, Nancy, and I went to UAPresents last night to hear The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Joshua Bell. Gail's husband had a surgical procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale on Friday and was wanting her to go for him and do for him before she left to pick up Nancy and meet me for dinner. She warned him that if didn't start doing some things for himself, he might have to have surgery on his knees on Monday.

Gail's stories reminded me of some anecdotes from my third marriage.

Bob was Mormon, in all that entails: me - Tarzan, you - Jane; outside of the house - mine; inside of the house - yours. And if you know the Mormon people, you know that they take care of each other. If someone is ill or going to be hospitalized, the women of the church will band together and make sure their "sister" is cared for.

About eight months into our marriage, I needed to have a hysterectomy. My doctor told me I would need three weeks for recuperation. I knew my women friends would take care of me and I wouldn't have to worry about things in the house being taken care of.

So about two weeks before the surgery, Bob told me that he expected me to have six weeks of meals prepared and in the freezer before I went into the hospital. He was not going to have other people providing for us. So being the obedient good girl, I sliced and diced and cooked and baked until the requisite six weeks of meals were safely stowed in the freezer, right next to the head and antlers of the buck that he had shot and was storing until he could get it mounted.

A couple of weeks later, post-surgery, when I was in lots of pain every day, I was lying on the floor with my feet on the couch to try to relieve some of the back pain. Bob was sitting on the couch, watching TV, and decided he wanted something to drink. So he stepped over me to walk to the kitchen to get his drink or snack. He never thought to ask me if he could get me anything while he was up.

This was the marriage where his son threatened to shoot me and he refused to lock up the guns and ammunition. I hope you're not still wondering why I'm no longer married to this caveman.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Gotta Love Technology

At IBM, many of us use a product called NotesBuddy that interfaces with our Lotus Notes e-mail program. NotesBuddy gives us Instant Messaging capability (including the ability to "ping" graphics back and forth) and it monitors our inboxes and tells us when new mail has arrived. A unique aspect to NotesBuddy is instead of merely beeping or dinging when something arrives, it has a voice synthesizer and speaks to us.

For example, if my buddy Ed pings me "Look at this page" and includes the URL, the voice will read out "look at this page" and the entire URL ("http www ibm com systems storage smb" or whatever the URL is). And there are several voices from which to choose. You can have child, male, female, old male, old female. Well, of course, I chose male (and not old male, thank you very much). If I can't have a real male speak to me, at least I can have my little synthesized male speak to me repeatedly throughout the day.

When e-mail arrives, the default is for the little man to tell me "You have new mail from Jan Crews about [whatever is contained in the subject line of the e-mail]." Buuut, you can personalize the announcement. You could have him say "You have new mail from Jan Crews" or just "You have new mail". I was sick of hearing him say "You have new mail," so I changed mine to say "Hi Beautiful." The only problem is his inflection is a little off. There's no implicit raising of the eyebrows as he speaks — it's all very monotone. But at least somebody's speaking flirtatiously with me, even if he's not very good at it!

Now I want to see if there's any way to code the program to draw randomly from a file. I'd like to have him rotate among: "Hi Gorgeous", "Hi Beautiful", "You look mahvelous", "You look especially yummy today" and "What are you doing for dinner?".

What did we do before there were computers?!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dogs and Children

You've been spared the dating stories of late as I haven't really been dating; I've just been hanging out. But tonight was another example of how few good men are out there.

A man who's new to Tucson and just starting a business importing goods from Guatemala winked at me on Match the other night, and we emailed a little and talked. He asked if I'd like to have dinner and we agreed on tonight. Let me tell you why this was the first and last date with this guy.

We met at Blue Willow, a very casual, home-cooking, seat-yourself kinda restaurant that I like very much. As I got out of my car and walked toward the door, I looked around for him. I realized he was playing hide-and-seek with me around a car that was situated between us. (Really, this is something Boston would do. Boston's five years old. It's cute in a grandchild. It's not cute in a date.)

<Personal note to the mother of my grandson>
Jaci, Honey, promise me you'll teach Boston that he's got to grow up before he turns 55.
<Personal note off>

We went in and sat down on the patio. The hostess brought our drinks. We talked for a few minutes, then looked at the menu. The waitress came to take our orders and I deftly asked for separate checks. (I'm getting good at this! Yuck. I don't want to be good at this.) We chatted some more and then continued chatting over dinner. It was easy conversation, but I had determined for myself beforehand that there was going to be no sharing-of-life-stories, 'cause I really didn't care.

Dinner over, the waitress brought the checks, we chatted for a few more minutes, and then I drew the evening to a close. As we were walking to the register, he asked, "how tall are you anyway?" That's never a good sign. But I didn't care, remember?

<Sidebar on>
Regarding men and height: In online profiles, men routinely state the height they had achieved before turning 45. They ignore the fact that men start shrinking at 45. The guy I had dinner with Sunday? NOT 6'3". The guy I had dinner with tonight? NOT 5'10". (And we wonder why they all think this is 6"!)
<Sidebar off>

As we paid our respective bills, the cashier asked me how my dinner was. I said, "wonderful, as always." Then he paid, and as he walked away from the counter, he turned back to the cashier and said, "you didn't ask me how my dinner was." So she said, "how was your dinner?" He replied, "awful, I have indigestion." She said, "oh, I'm sorry." He responded, "I'm just kidding."

Geeeeeeezzzzzz. A sense of humor is never a bad thing. Inanity always is!

We parted without any talk of getting together again. I went straight to Rio Cafe. As I walked in the door, I made a tipping-the-glass motion towards Richard, who immediately grabbed a wine glass and poured my favorite Chardonnay into a glass for me. I sat and did my crossword puzzle, then requested the creme brulee. It had been a long day. But as I left Rio Cafe, my darling Eduardo (Richard's partner) said, "as soon as you quit looking for him, he'll turn up."

That's it. I quit. Really. You can quote me. And you can remind me the next time I start looking again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Life Questions

Continuing with the current line of questioning, I share with you today's quote of the day from The Quotations Page:

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
- Mark Twain

"Scoundrel" Tattooed on His Forehead

JW, my dear friend for 25+ years 1300 miles to the north, tells me repeatedly that all men are dogs. He says there is no honorable intention in any of them, although they can keep a good facade going long enough to get what they want. (Don't make me spell it out here — you all know what it is.)

So if that's the case, then how can we women get what we want, which for me is kindness, caring, muscles to lift heavy packages, and a little cuddling on the couch, while being treated with respect?

Maybe that's the question for all centuries!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Body Image

I was speaking with TJ this morning, who has just returned from his half-sister's wedding in the Denver area. He said a guy's sister shouldn't wear a dress that fits like Lauren's dress fit. He said he never realized how well-built his sister was.

In a flash, I remembered an incident when Tyler was a teenager. I was trying to remember the name of Dolly Parton in whatever story I was telling or point I was trying to make, but just couldn't get the name. So I asked Tyler, "Who has the biggest boobs you've ever seen?" He innocently replied, "You?"

Ummmm, no.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What I Attract versus What I Want

And further, do I attract scoundrels, and if so, why so?

Thinking back to last year, where Bob told me he loved me yet kept his profile up and three months into the relationship made a date on a Friday night with a woman on Match. And Doug, who broke up with me via e-mail. And Frank, who had been seeing me for two-and-a-half months, then didn't come to my concert (for which I had given him tickets) because he was chasing a woman he met on a walk around his neighborhood. What is wrong with these men? Why can't they deal with one thing at a time: if it's broke, fix it or get rid of it, don't set it aside and acquire another of the same item.

Frank and I went to dinner Saturday night, then to a resort to listen to my favorite band. When I got to his house to pick him up after my pedicure, the neighborhood woman was there, picking up her dog who now has doggy day care and plays with Frank's dog. (What_Ever.) It was very interesting to see her, the same build and hair color as me. But more interesting were the feelings it evoked within me, those same feelings of rejection and questions of "what's wrong with me that you want to chase after someone else when we've got something perfectly good going here."

Someday I will learn that it's not "what's wrong with me?" but "WTF's wrong with YOU?"

I think of dinner last night and think, "this guy is nice, smart, and probably not a scoundrel." But that's the thing with scoundrels. None of them has "Scoundrel" tattooed on his forehead. It takes a while to peel away the layers to realize the guy is a skilled scoundrel.

What I Want

I had a second first date with a 55-year-old doctor last night (D.O.). The first first date was almost three years ago. I remember being unimpressed then, and last night I was unimpressed again.

He's smart, talented, successful. He's a recovering alcoholic, so he's intelligent enough to realize when he's got a problem and get help to fix it. Points are awarded for that trait. He cares about his kids and is involved in their lives. Points for that. He's successful in his work. More points. But I was bored.

As I reflected during the course of the evening following dinner, I realized I want conversation that flows easily. I don't want to have to work to figure out what topic to approach next. And I don't-don't-don't want to listen to a long philosophical discourse on any topic — politics, war, religion. Four years with Steve cured me forever on philosophy.

The relationships with all four of the men I was involved with last year began over meals where the conversation burbled and flowed like a brook over polished rocks. In fact, the one with Bob/Mr. Match began with lightning striking the table, which was magical. But he turned out to be a scoundrel, so that's not what I want.

He and I quickly turned into "old married" and that was nice. I didn't mind quickly moving to that point, and wish it had continued.

Comfort. That's the operative word. I want to sit down across from someone and be able to talk easily, feel a compatibility with the man, and intuit that my kids would like him and he would fit into my family. If I don't have those three things, we might be friends, but it's never going to go beyond that.

And we might not even work into a friendship, as I get very bored with being bored.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Up in the Sky

Today is the air show at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Now that I live midtown, I can see much of the activity from my backyard. This post is written, laptop in hand, under the umbrella on the patio, next to the pool. It's about 85 degrees and the sky is Tucson blue with no clouds. Exquisite. This is why we move to Tucson.

I have always loved airplanes. I have always dreamed of learning to fly. I don't know that I'll ever follow up on that dream, but it's a dream nonetheless.

Knowing that the air show is in town makes me miss the babies, as I remember the last time we took them to the show, three years ago. Ty and Jaci and I got as much excitement from watching the looks in their eyes as they got from watching the planes.

And seeing these planes also brings John back to me. I remember his many stories from his years as an Air Force navigator and an electronic warfare officer. He loved his work.

And now, if you'll excuse me, the Blue Angels just flew overhead and I'm gonna go watch.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Further to Alternative Lifestyles

When Frank met Jeff (the yard god), he told me to be sure and keep my doors locked. I do. But I want to share with you today's Real Simple thought for the day:

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.
— Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ten Million Minutes

Jim in PA and I are talking back and forth about all the factors in making a decision such as is ahead of me. One thing he said that really smacked me upside the head was this:

As to staying out west though, I will give you some more to think about. You are going to be alive about 10 million more minutes. How many of them will be special to "you" and what would make them special. I don't regret moving to the mountains even though things didn't work as planned. And it hasn't been for "large" reasons but rather simple ones. I got to watch a purple flower last fall that lasted a month beyond the other ones. I had the time to just go out and look at it and how beautiful it was.

If I put off being near the children now just for the purpose of living somewhere where I can make a bucket of money and then something happens and I'm gone in two years without having been able to babysit for Ty and Jaci to have date night, or having been able to go to the park with the kids or teach them to play real (as opposed to virtual) solitaire, then my life would have been less full, less meaningful.

I've had some "friends" here say I have a good life here, should just get a life here. But I had a life and it moved to Ohio and I miss it.

Interesting serendipities are occurring daily around me that all seem to point to Ohio.

I want to use all my minutes wisely.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Tucsonans Fear: Other Drivers

I was Googling something else and came across this description of driving in Tucson, which I had to share with you.

Men and Relationships

I have mentioned that I'm corresponding by e-mail with a recovering workaholic who now lives in Western Pennsylvania and spends his time monitoring his investments. We write about all sorts of things, and he's very generous in sharing his thoughts with me.

I talked about how very clear I am on wanting a relationship and how I share that clarity freely with men I date. I don't play games. I don't pretend. I'm 56 years old. I want one more relationship in my life. And all the men who say they want the same thing, in reality, don't.

I asked if men have to be coaxed into relationships.

Jim's response: What a woman brings to a man is a place of safety where he doesn't have to compete and isn't always being judged.

I thought that was a brilliant statement. But why is it so hard for men to realize the ability to have that "soft place to fall" (as Dr. Phil calls it) is right in front of them? Why is it so hard for them to open their hearts and take a chance?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good Friends Feel Your Pain

Jill and I were out for drinks with the Girls' Night Out bunch a week ago, and she lovingly laughed each time I stopped in the middle of a conversation to fan myself. Yesterday I received the following in the mail from her. The words she wrote: "You're not alone." Thanks, Jill. I needed that.

And to my sons: I'm sorry if I embarrass the living daylights out of you. But just think how much better prepared you'll be when your wives go through menopause. (Yes, TJ, I'm expecting you to have a wife who will go through menopause. You can thank me later.)

Monday, March 12, 2007

An Honest Man

Y'know how I've complained repeatedly about the men who say "I want one woman . . .; I want that last woman . . .; I want one last relationship . . ." but who, in reality, want hot and cold running women?

I hadn't been feeling well today, so treated myself to my favorite salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden. As always, I sat down at the bar with a book (ho hum, a book on Second Life). I was seated next to a fine-looking probably 65-70yo man. He turned to me and asked if there was a shopping center nearby. Shortly I put my book away and we started chatting. He paid his bill, then sat there and ordered dessert. (Clever, this one.) We continued talking until I was finished with my dinner, at which time he insisted on paying for my dinner. We exchanged cards as we parted, as he is frequently in Tucson on business.

<Sidebar on>
It's frightening how much this man reminds me of Mr. Match, who is a retired pilot from south Florida. This gentleman is a pilot who started and then sold three airlines based out of south Florida. There were many mannerisms, many patterns of speech, and word choices that just astonished me as being so much like Mr. Match. Interesting.
<Sidebar off>

He was talking about having lived in London from 1995 through 2005. When his work moved him to London, his wife refused to relocate from South Florida to London. (I'd make that move in a heartbeat!) Anyway, he said quite frankly that since then he's just enjoyed playing the field.

What a refreshing situation — a man who admits that he plays the field and enjoys it and isn't looking for just one woman, for his ultimate woman.

He could give lessons in sincerity and truth-telling!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

What is your purpose?

I've been e-mailing with a man who lives in Oil City, Pennsylvania — about an hour from Youngstown. He saw my profile on Match and has been offering wonderful advice and things to think about. He totally changed his life after his wife and others in his life passed on. Where he was once a workaholic executive in Boston, he's now retired and living on a very small income in western Pennsylvania.

Our notes back and forth have made me think about the meaning and purpose of one's life. For me, the meaning in my life comes from helping others, especially my children. I would sacrifice anything to give me children a better life. In fact, I did sacrifice everything for about two years in the hell that was life with Steve. The bottom line for me in that relationship was that TJ and Ty and Jaci were better off than they would have been had I left that relationship of my own volition, rather than waiting to be booted out. Of course, I now have to wear bite guards to compensate for the damage I did to my TMJ during that horribly stressful time.

But back to meaning and purpose. I once whined to my therapist that I had no purpose in life. She said, "Of course you do. Your purpose is to create beautiful things." That felt good and right, and I've tried to hold on to that.

I envision Jim-in-Oil-City's life and wonder what life as a retiree at 57 in a small town is like. He goes into Pittsburgh to go to museums and theatre. He drives through the mountains and along rivers and just enjoys himself. But I find myself wanting to say to him, "but what do you do?"

If I were to quit work, I would spent about three years sewing my fabric stash (yes, it would take that long). And I'd do stained glass again. And maybe more pottery classes. So I would be working, on things I love and enjoy but that don't pay at all. I've got to learn to budget — maybe working without pay wouldn't be a bad thing!

Friday, March 09, 2007

What is My Second-Best Case Scenario?

I've said all along that my best-case scenario would be if IBM would let me telecommute from Youngstown. My team lead, the Webmaster, is in favor of it. She and I work very well together and she depends on me heavily. But she doesn't make the decisions. An old-school control-freak fortyish man in Raleigh makes the decisions. He wants the team to be located only in Raleigh and Tucson. Ignore the fact that one woman telecommutes from Austin, TX, and a part-time man telecommutes from Montana during the summer.

My employer asked my IBM manager a month ago if I could telecommute, and the answer came back this morning: "He is not willing to let you work remotely at this point."

I'm feeling very disappointed this morning, as I'm good at this job and would like to continue in this position. But my family is my higher priority. I want to be within driving distance to my family so I can watch these babies grow and provide any help that is needed.

So now I try again to figure out what is next.

Back to Original Topic

Okay, I know I said I was never going into an online dating venue again, but I got lonely and had a momentary lapse into hopefulness. Geez, nothing's changed. It's still slim pickings and lame men out there.

I received an e-mail from a man who, for all appearances in his photo, is gooooorgeous. (Yeah, yeah, that's assuming the photos are really him. No one knows you're a dog on the Internet.) He's 50 and widowed. He winked. I returned the wink. He wrote and asked if I'd like to correspond and asked me to tell him a little about myself, beyond what's in my profile. So I wrote a few paragraphs and asked him to tell me about himself.

In response, I got a letter that began like this:
Hello Dear. i hope this note will not come as a surprise rather a piece of golden tone i am writing to win ur love and ur heart. my name is J**** S********, 50 yrs old and a single parent.
On my search for companionship, a woman who i will like to spend my life with, grow old and grey with,a soul mate, a best friend and some one to accept and love me regardless the age difference and distance.

Sound good so far? Well, except for the "ur" and the lack of proper capitalization and the incomplete sentences. So why am I grousing. It was cut-and-pasted! He's sent the same "heartfelt" letter to every woman he's corresponded with. It actually goes on for another five paragraphs, rife with misspellings and sloppy punctuation.

So I wrote back that while I felt we had some things in common (widowed, adopted), I was attempting to move to DC or Ohio and would not consider living in Florida again. Oh, and I threw in something to the effect that I would have preferred to have received an original letter rather than something cut-and-pasted. I really wanted to pull a Dr. Phil and say, ". . . and how's that workin' for ya?"

To those of you readers who are in stable relationships: You may not think your relationship is wonderful, and you might think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Trust me; it's not.

Tomorrow I'll give you a better example. This is not someone I'm interested in, but someone who is generous with his thoughts and experience and giving me lots to think about as I try to determine where to go.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Second Life

The marketing staff at IBM (of which I am one) has been challenged to hold a marketing event on Second Life in association with a product announcement on April 24.

You already know that I feel like my life is totally out of control. Well, thank you very much IBM, now there's a whole other universe where my life is out of control. Only this time it's my virtual life. Great. Both my real life and my virtual life are out of control.

I won't tell you my opinion of IBM's actions in this realm ("ours not to question why, ours just to guffaw and do it"). I will tell you I think Second Life (SL) is very strange. People are making money - real US$ money - out there. There are reports that between $500K and $1M changes hands every day in this cyberworld. There's a book on Amazon entitled Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot.

I don't understand it. I just thought I'd share with you that my life is even more out-of-control than it was at this time last week. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go practice my flying.

If you'd like to view a demo on YouTube, go here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Pass

The first two years of my law school attendance was while I was working fulltime at IBM. Four nights a week I would race out of the office at 5:00, drive through Roy Rogers' to grab dinner, which I would eat while racing down I-270 and the Beltway and River Road to get to class on time. I often joked that I had dropped enough food under the driver's seat to feed a family of four for two weeks.

I tried very hard to keep current with all the reading for my classes, but it was very difficult. Frequently my eyes would pass over the words without my fully absorbing the issues. As I sat in class, I practiced saying "I pass" to myself in case the professor called on me. I was scared to death of being called on and not knowing the answer or looking like a fool.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a dinner date loosely scheduled with Mr. Match for the weekend, then I heard nothing from him. He called last night as I was driving home and I didn't answer the call. I wanted time to practice saying "I pass". He left a message and I called him back three times throughout the rest of the evening, but he was on another call for over an hour.

The "I pass" statement he's going to get as soon as we speak is "I deserve better treatment that you're willing to practice." I refuse to do this via e-mail. It must be by phone.

I feel strongly enough about this man that I would stay in Tucson and just take regular trips to Youngstown. This is his loss!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Day of Fast Dancing

Just a quick post for the blog junkies.

IBM acquired Softek yesterday and the Web team has 48 hours to get the pages prepared and published. Tonight I start my new gig as accompanist with Christian Youth Theatre Tucson. I met these people on Saturday and think this is going to be great fun.

In other news, the clinical trial for hot flash medication into which I was accepted closed before I was able to begin the meds. I was disappointed because I thought maybe I'd get some relief from these stinking hot flashes. But on the other hand, I was concerned about the side effects that might accompany the meds. So there you go. I continue ripping off my clothes and putting them back on all day long.

Okay, back to content creation.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Precocious Babies

Humor me while I tell you a "my grandson is brilliant" story. As you know, Boston is five, going on about fifteen. I called him yesterday and told him I had gotten the car washed and they had washed off all his drawings on the windows.

He asked if I had it washed because I wanted to remove the drawings or just because it was dirty. I thought that was rather insightful of him to make that distinction.

I reassured him that I was very sad to lose his drawings, and I only had it washed because it was filthy!

Oh, and to brag a little more: Boston has been tested at his new school and is reading at a second grade level. That's my boy!
In the News

I'm pretty quiet here about political things and news items. But the story last night about the two teenagers who were giving marijuana cigarettes to their 5-year-old and 2-year-old nephews has me outraged. All I could think of was what if somebody did that to Boston and Riah.

Those teenagers should be castrated without anesthesia and then forced to stand in front of a firing squad. Outrageous! And did you see the grandmother/greatgrandmother's reaction? She very passively said, "I'm very upset", or similar words. Thank God the babies are being removed from her home.
Weekend Silence = Productivity

To those of you who rely on a blog fix every morning, I apologize for not posting over the weekend. But I got so much done!

I can once again see the surface of my desk! I only got a little further with my tax preparation, but now I know where everything is. I went (yes, alone) to see "The Queen" and enjoyed it greatly. It's obvious why Helen Mirren won the Oscar. I sewed, making a couple of gifts for friends. (PianoLady, watch your mailbox.) I ran lots of errands and, on Sunday evening, had dinner with a fiber friend I met in Taos three years ago.

Here's a kicker: I got an e-mail from a very interesting-looking (meaning his profile and his photo) man in Santa Barbara who is planning to move to Youngstown. What?! I thought I was the only person in the world who was considering moving to Youngstown. The only other people I've talked to indicated they were trying to get out of Youngstown. This could be interesting . . . .

Oh, and regarding Mr. Match. I'm done. Let the cheering begin. He had called me on his way back from Anchorage on Tuesday and said he wanted to see me this weekend, that we would have dinner. We spoke again on Thursday, confirming what my schedule was and when I had free time. Then I heard nothing further. I reiterate: I'm done. I will not be treated in the cavalier fashion he wishes to employ. You've all known it for months. Now I know it. He may be Mr. Match, but he ain't Mr. Right.
Putting It All In Perspective

My best-friend-from-Washington, Judy, e-mailed this morning that her daughter, Shira, a 32yo attorney in Boston, had her first child this morning by C-section, several weeks early. Zachary was born with a heart defect that has been corrected with a catheterization, but he is in ICU. He was born with only one ear, a condition with which his mother was also born.

Stories like this make my perceived troubles seem pretty small.

Please keep Shira and baby Zachary in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Yeah, Whatever
God Forbid I Live to Age 93

I try to be a good daughter. I call my mother every morning. I'm relieved if she doesn't answer. (Okay, so maybe I'm not such a good daughter.) This morning I missed her, and she's been having some health issues lately, so I called her as I was leaving the office this evening.

I said, "I missed you this morning." Her response? "Well, I can't stay home all the time."

Excuze me?! If I had spoken to her that way, my cheeks would have been burning from the slap I would have received. Whatever.

(With apologies to Cheryl, who is trying to adjust to her mother's absence.)
Life in Tucson

I don't think anyone who has not lived in Tucson or visited for an extended period of time can truly appreciate the bizarre dress code here.

I was walking into the office this morning (it's a 10-minute walk from my car to my office) in 40 degree temperatures. I was wearing jeans, dress boots, a cotton tank top, a black turtleneck cashmere sweater, a black cotton cardigan (wearing it rather than carrying it to get it back to the office) and a hooded Burberry's quilted jacket. I happened to hit the sidewalk with a [cute guy named Joe] Raytheon employee wearing shorts and a polo shirt. He said I was looking very Nanook-of-the-north. I laughed and laughed.

When I went to hear Denyce Graves the other evening, she was wearing a couple of exquisite evening gowns (not simultaneously!) and I was wearing my mink coat and my fave long wool knit dress with enormous cowl collar that I made back in 1998. (I wanted Denyce to feel right at home.) The guy sitting in front of me was wearing a striped short-sleeved polo shirt.

Neither Frank nor Doug own a suit or even a sports jacket. Doug told me that when his daughter got married a year-and-a-half ago, he gave her a really hard time about having to dress up for the wedding!

But the worst was the guy two years ago who only wore stained polo shirts. He did own a suit, but it was 20 years old and looked it.

I did mention, in laughing, to the guy I walked in with this morning that I spend more time taking my clothes off and on for my hot flashes than smokers take for all their smoke breaks. He offered to come help me clean my office anytime I needed it.
Spontaneous? No, Impulsive!

I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person. When I was in high school, my best friend Gail and I would hop in the car and run off to Daytona Beach for the afternoon. There are many, many more examples of spontaneity in my life, but right now their memory is eluding me.

But my boys have indicated that what I almost did this morning was impulsive rather than spontaneous. I think Tyler even used the word "rash".

You see, I almost bought tickets this morning to take the red-eye tomorrow night to arrive in Pittsburgh Sunday morning and then depart Pittsburgh on Monday morning to come back home. (To quote Frank: "it's only money".) I need a grandbaby fix! And Ty and Jaci are having a hard time getting settled into the house. So I thought I could help unpack or at least watch the babies while Ty and Jaci unpack. But most of all I could get hugs and read stories and have Boston read to me. And see where they're living so I can go there in my mind when I get too lonely.

Oh well, wiser minds prevailed. I'll put the trip off. Unfortunately, the next opening in my calendar is not until late April.

At least I had an hour this morning to think about the possibility of a trip and lift my sadness.

P.S. Thanks, TJ, for helping me with words this morning. I never can remember if it's my eyes or my memory that I miss the most.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More on Miraculous Women

When I walked down the hall a little bit ago to refill my water bottle, I noticed a woman wearing great red shoes. So I said to her, "cool shoes", and she replied, "thanks".

Do men do this? I think not. Doug (the Lemonade Tycoon) always wears cool shoes and artist-made batik shirts with fabulous buttons. But I doubt any man has looked at his cool shoes and commented on them.

At various times in my life I've made it a point to compliment each person I interacted with in a day. Genuinely compliment. I always remembered the horrible marriage to the mountain man in western Loudoun County, where he might as well have kicked me as I walked out the door, so sour was my mood after our morning interactions and my two-hour commute. It gave me an entirely different perspective on what causes people to react the way they do. Basically, you never know what happened to them when they left home that morning. Imagine how the tiniest positive comment can turn their day around.

So compliment someone today. And tip your hat to me, 'cause I'm having an unusually good day!
At Times Like This, A Girl Could Use A . . .

My friend Gail Remaly and I went to UAPresents this evening to hear Denyce Graves in concert. For her second encore (before closing with her signature aria from Carmen, she sang a song I'd never heard before, from the musical "Lucky Stiff". I thought I'd share the words with you for a few giggles.

[At Times Like This,] A Girl Could Use a Dog

A friendly face, the kind of face
That melts you with a grin
The kind of eyes that welcome you
The minute you walk in
A tender glance you simply can't refuse
At times like this a girl could use
A dog.

He listens when you tell him things,
There's nothing you can't say
And unlike certain people you can teach him how to stay
And if the world is giving you the blues
He cheers you up by chewing up the news.
It's things like that that make you choose
A dog

Other people need romance, dancing, playing around
Other people need constant fun, well I'm not one
I have my feet on the ground

Give me a quiet night, a stack of books
A tuna fish on rye.
A simple walk together
Underneath the starry sky
And suddenly the night is something rare
And all because there's someone special there.
Who's gazing at the views.
His head upon your shoes.
At times like this, I sure could use
A Dog