sometimes it feels like one of those maddening puzzles where you have to move the rings, one at a time, from one of the three poles to the other side, but only so that the top ring is always smaller than the ones it sits on.
Saturday I got this 'special' looking envelope that gives you instructions on how to open it, fold here, tear carefully, step one, step two, etc. When I opened it I discovered that my bank had given me a new pin number for my debit card.
wasnt that nice of them, I thought. A kind of follow up to the phone call(s) I made last week about setting my pin by phone.
then I looked at the number. ho ho ho. its a different number. So now it gets interesting.
1. is this the real pin number, invalidating the old 'new' number?
2. do they both work?
3. and no one on the phone last week said anything about my old card (the old old card) being automatically invalidated as soon as the new (now known as the "old new" number) number was given/used/validated...I could have two cards, three pin numbers, and none of them speaking to each other. lol
4. if I use this to try to validate the card, will my card be eaten by the ATM and armed guards arrive to beat me senseless?
5. will using this number cause both numbers to become illegal?
6. if I use the other number, will that open a hidden trap in the floor and both I and the offending card be thrown in among wolves and spiders?
7. will neither of them work, forcing me to invent yet another pin number? shoot, after four years I finally had the old one memorized, this new one took two looks...
8. I believe this calls for shoes and a trip to the Bank in the City, so that if I do go up in flames I will be doing it on their territory and it will be their mess to clean up.
I think we all have events that happen to us over which we have little or no control: the loss of a friend, or a loved one, a misunderstanding that escalates into something way out of proportion to the original intent--a life-changer, perhaps. You can't seem to get your balance back, and even years later you find yourself reliving bits of this and bits of that, perhaps even inventing a different ending. Or a different beginning.
And then we get all embarrassed and worried, because we are "obsessing" and we tamp it down even harder.
I'm trying something a bit different. Im writing it out, the way I wanted it to be. You imagine, perhaps, that an old buddy or an old flame has suddenly come back into your life twenty, thirty years later. Write it down from where the possiblities kick in, and then play it as you want it to go. I tried this a few days ago, working my way through a possible if imaginary reunion, and somewhere near the end, something magical happened. I wasn't writing it anymore, it was writing itself.
The reason Im doing this, is when ordinarily I write something as a prose piece, once it gets said, typed out, and corrected, it goes into a drawer and I forget about it. Ive said what I needed to say, and its over. I thought, why not do this with reality? Granted, its a reality that will never happen, for whatever reason. But its a stab at a reality that could have happened, given a few shakes of the snow globe.
And now I have no more desire to write it again, to play it out, to invent. To obsess.
this is part of the prperty we have in the Land Trust--we've been chipping away at access roads, and the more I see these, the more excited I get about this. This particular road runs from behind our house for about a half mile back into the property, and ends at an old cellar hole that was, according to the deeds, abandoned around 1856. Why, we have no idea. There was a fair sized barn and a small house, situated fairly close together, a well, and what might have been a privy.
We are down now to small changes in the wording, lawyers being fussy about loopholes, and all...another site visit, and we may have this nailed by winter.
Last week I received a breathless letter from our bank informing me that my debit card was one of many that had been "compromised" when someone apparently hacked in to the computer system there. oh, treats.
Now. This is where it gets really interesting.
My card is apparently compromised. They are going to send me a new one very very soon. Until then, my old compromised card is still live, still out there like a dead fish on the dock. They also state that the old card will remain active until the end of September (excuse me?) at which time it will be rendered inactive.
At that time, once its been wiped from their books and the password is history, they tell me I must then destroy the card so that no one can use it.
If the card is deactivated, how can anyone use it? Wouldnt it have been much simpler to just have me change my password? Now?
After 15 years my old hair dryer died. clickclickclickclick.
for 15$ it didn't owe me anything, and it did simple things; dry hair, get the steam off the mirror, annoy the cats.
The new one looks Electronic. It has a retractable cord, and black on black instructions on the plug explaining what the red and yellow buttons are for. Let me get my glasses. Ah, one is for reset (which I always get nervous about, I have visions of small wires in the wiring bundle HIDDEN in the wall, slowly frying away, getting brighter and brighter. there has to be a reason why a plug needs to be reset, few of them good.) and the other is for test. In case you weren't sure it was working before, "test" will tell you those small wires hidden in the wall are still glowing and you need to Call Someone. =)
I have issues with electricity. You may have noticed.
It also says, "do not use if test fails".
There is a two sided warning sticker on the cord itself--one side says "always "unplug it" after use" (why the quotes?); is this one of those wink wink nudge nudge phrases? Then it says DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG, and to further enhance your hair experience, WARN CHILDREN OF THE RISK OF DEATH BY ELECTRIC SHOCK. There is a rough drawing of a plugged in hairdryer, obviously "on" and plugged in to the wall, floating eerily above a bathtub full of water. A transparent bathtub, with waves apparently sloshing back and forth so you KNOW its water
pictures in the enclosed 11"x15" sheet, showing you how to use a hairdryer. how to plug it in and unplug it. In four languages. and it also has, for no extra charge, "ionic conditioning' to stop the frizz. Probably what you get when you drop it in the water and try to retrieve it. Well worth 19 dollars.
the only thing worse than re-reading a book but not recall it until you're nearly at the end (and suddenly know how it ends) is re-reading a book and finally remember that not only did you read it a year ago, but you didnt like it then either. Sigh.
It's happened. Just got The Call from my husband in the grocery store. He wanted to know if he should get this size or that size of coffee, and I said, get the one that's the better value. He said, "but..." i said, you're doing the 'how many eggs do we have in the refrigerator' thing.
He laughed, I laughed, and I promise, I will never get/use a cell phone just because I can't remember if we need milk or not. Ever.
The first winter we spent in here, in 1976, was one of the more dreadful winters we had experienced. It was during those years when we had gone back into a cold weather cycle, and it took us broadside. Temps went down to -20 and stayed there, and zero was considered a warming trend. We had only green oak (never trust avuncular wood guys, they dont hear what you need; they hear what they think you need) to burn for most of the winter, and the parlor stove I guilted my mother out of. The dog would wake me in the morning, barking ferociously at his water dish, which had frozen solid over night. He was never a fan of ice, lol.
One of the cats, weary of being cold all the time, royally expressed her annoyance by peeing in the dog's bed, all the way through all the old blankets, staring straight at me the entire time. If she had had a middle finger, it would have been used. Did it for an entire week at 5 am every morning, and then stopped. The point had been made, and she managed to score a few points off the dog, too.
There was no running water, no washing machine, no indoor plumbing. The windows were covered with plastic sheeting to at least keep the wind out a bit. on a windy day it was like living in an iron lung, as the plastic billowed in and out...
I had no driver's license and couldn't leave the house that long anyway, because the kitchen stove was good for three hours, and then it would go out as if it had been switched off. Did I mention the roof leaked?
But. And this is important. Neither one of us ever said, or even thought, this is ridiculous, why don't we just pack it in and go to town? We didn't stay because of the cats or the dog, or because we were so broke we couldn't have afforded an apartment somewhere (which we weren't); it quite simply never occurred to us to leave. There were harder years, and colder winters, but we were more prepared for them, and had learned how to work around the hard parts.
I finally understand that it has become, for us, a meditation. For someone else it might be the neighbor's apple orchard, or the lake you visit every summer with a profound sense of coming home, and the long wait all winter to return. It can even be an avocation (woodworking, pottery, photography...) chosen without the sense of "This instead of That" in the process. "This" you say, solidly, "is what I am, and what I do." It defines you, even as you define it within yourself. For Harry Truman, (the Mt. St. Helen's guy, not the President) it was the mountain. When they came to bring him down from the mountain, he refused. It was his home, he said. I can understand that.
It can also be the land you live on, the house you own. It matters.
my mother in law, the least fanciful of women, once said, 'this is a good place to heal". and she was right.
in several directions, and this place, sadly, has been mostly at the bottom of my priority list. Not for reading, but for contributing. (slaps the blog lady on the wrist--get your act together, lady, people are watching)
however, I did add a link to a place called "Lope" which I keep forgetting about and shouldn't>>>over there in the Interactive List. http://www.lope.ca/
If you dont use Bing as a home page... this link should take you to a gallery of views of an incredible bridge. I've always loved the Chinese landscapes, there seem to be mountains all over the place, and it has made the Chinese into incredible engineers in the process. the slideshow is really worth the trip.
--and I know when I've reached the pivot point of the summer when I start thinking "next year I need to do this and put that over there" and understand that for this year I've done all the titrivating and tweaking I can do. But by golly, next year...=)
sometimes (as I think i have mentioned before) things happen in bunches. all the water backs up in the dam and spills over (no no, that was a metaphor), you go to the doctor and he says, we need to have some blood work done.
The little oh oh light goes on in your head.
So now I am making the rounds of osteo doctors, physicians, blood work places. The folder I started last winter now has a new one beside it. Last winter it was about tests and scheduling and exams. Physical Therapy. This new one will probably be an extension of that, with treatments and results as well.
We're also in the middle of finalizing the Land Trust for this place, and that takes up a fair size hunk of energy, mental and otherwise.
I just fired my old reliable wood guy because he was becoming less than reliable and more expensive as well. I hated to do it, but at some point you have to stop making mental excuses for him, and move on.
And I guess moving forward is what we do, every day. Sometimes a bit of backtracking, but it's still progress of a visible kind.
this is a porcupine leaving, totally fed up with my incessant picture taking; I often feel this way, just want to turn my back and walk away. If i had his quills, I just might =)
Every year I do a bit of titrivating to the garden, much the way I used to rearrange furniture in different rooms; next year, I say, I want peonies over there and maybe a bit of poppy for color...
and next year thats what I do. This year however we have raised the bar a bit, and instead of replanting peonies and scaring the daylights out of unsuspecting jonquils when the new neighbors move in next door, we have decided that stove A (parlor stove) really needs to be in the dining room and stove B (log burner) really needs to be in the parlor.
From there it's like a rock dropped in a still pond.
In order to make this work properly, we have to change the kind and amounts of wood we will be using, and make a space for the new shorter stuff so that its easily accessible and more plentiful. Before this, we just culled out short bits and stored them on the attic stairs. This year we are actually buying quantities, and it needs to be separate, and will be living on the porch. and arent you all fascinated by this. It will also be dumped on my lovely lawn. sob.
We got more long wood last year than we could use, so we have to explain to the wood guy in short words and with a lot of arm waving and pointing, that no no we need short chunks and then 16-18" stuff. 12 cords total. Then he tells me how much that will be and I go in the house and have a nervous breakdown.
And of course due to global warming last winter was, by some accounts, one of the mildest on record (whose record, and which southern tropical island did they take the readings from)--it was so mild that Florida had snow and Louisiana got to practice driving sidways in snow with one foot on the brake and one on the gas...and we had such a mild winter that we actually burnt 13 cords of wood. three years ago we were averaging 8 to 9.
i have been having problems with a new website, and someone suggested installing Opera as a browser; don't ever try this at home...
I got part way through the install process and in order to proceed it asked me if I wanted at least three tool bars, including an instaweather one, a music all the time one, and a calendar. I said no, not really. further down the line it said you really need to install this WONDERFUL registry scan program, and proceeded to do so. It told me I had over a 1,000 harmful errors in the registry (implying that if I didnt Do Something the entire western world would collapse into the ocean. No thank you, I said.
Undaunted, they tried to give me the same registry scan and I stopped the install. However I had to uninstall the basics from the Uninstall program (there were five) and then go into the registry and delete the bits they had oh so conveniently left behind. There were lots. They even installed a shortcut button on my desktop, which I deleted.
Now, two days later, I find that like puppies around an empty food dish the Opera program is still sitting on my desktop with its tail wagging hopefully. I clicked on the short cut button and it started barking and leaping and installing...so I dumped it. Again.
And as a special added attraction, I find that this little number has been haunting me for a week; even have begun humming snatches of it (quelle horreur) when no one is looking. It needs a new home. Im sure it will love it at yours. Henery the Eighth
im still here. still breathing. the solar storms are raging, there are flutterings of the magnetic poles, someone is now trying to blame our cool summers here in New England on you-know-what and Al Gore is beginning to sound uncomfortably like the man carrying the sandwich sign that says "repent of your sins, we are doomed".
however, its a beautiful weekend and i have been enjoying it to full advantage. Charlie ate a baby turkeylet the other day, much to the consternation of the baby's mother and me, and this morning I caught him stalking three full grown hen turkeys, obviously with designs on their ediblity.
this could turn out to be a long expensive summer, lol.
Oh, and happy solstice, everyone. It's been a long long wait, hasn't it.
Windows7 works very well. we just installed it about a month ago (why rush into these things, right) and aside from a few unhappy moments it has been a nearly intuitive process.
There is always a however, isnt there. In this particular OS, Word has integrated itself with all text functions. If I misspell a word in Outlook, Word underlines it in wobbly red. If I forget the apostrophe, it adds it. If I decide to type teh for the, it gets corrected. I have managed to turn of the wobbly red line, but teh and apostrophe's still get corrected, as does waht, taht, etc. Lord help us all if I have occasion to email a Mr. Taht. Who does exist, I just checked.
Last week something arrived in my Inbox and before I had a chance to open it the Officious Email Police informed me that this was a potentially dangerous website and could be sending me potentially dangerous email. And promptly deleted the mail.
Now and then I do like to get out on that high wire with "Potential Virus" hanging over my head like a malevolent crow, but Microsoft no longer allows me that thrill.
and if anyone has a clue as to how to delete that damn spell check from my email, you will be my bestest friend forever.
As part of the Easement process here, Moose Mountain Regional Greenways (our Easement holder) will be sponsoring three or four walks/tours a year, wholly staffed and sponsored by them. Saturday we had the first.
I can only imagine what the neighbors must have thought, seeing 15+ cars in a long train (this is truly back of beyond countryside) heading up the road...several neighbors got involved too (great if exhausting way to meet folks), and off we went, covered in Deet and sporting an amazing assortment of walking sticks, canes, and bits of tree limbs for support.
It was surprising how many botanists, bird people, and flat out nature observant people there were. We found lady slippers (to my surprise), lotsa skiddy wet leaves, which is the quick way to get down a steep hill, black flies, mosquitoes, ticks. I was at the tail end of things, and to look ahead and see this conga line of enthusiastic people was both encouraging and funny at the same time. They pondered the meaning of scratch marks on beech trees (bears was the general consensus), of linden trees and hop hornbeam; we admired the mountain view from the edge of our neighbor's field and probably nine gazillion pictures were taken along the way.
I am still a bit wired from it, but pleased and surprised at the turnout.
Head out to plant the tomato plants which are now languishing in teeny pots and looking like gangly teenagers, and three hours later they are still sitting beside the garden, and you have moved from pulling weeds to mulching, you've mowed one side lawn, started turning the compost bin, and are now hunting for the bag of lime and the lopping shears...
I was searching about the web, wondering how CE was doing, and this one hit me smack in the face. It may not mean a lot to many people who read here but anyone who was writing and online in the last 15 years or so may remember Melic Review both as a poetry crit board and as a lovely online poetry magazine, one of the few at that time who would accept work exclusively online.
He was the first online publisher (and only one actually) who ever took my work, and we were friends for several years while Melic was still online.
I shall miss him, and even just the fact of him online.
I have dug and mowed and mulched and mowed and planted and mulched and mowed and rearranged and dug and discovered ticks and black flies and mowed and it is now raining, and I can stop doing stuff.
As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "I have leaped onto my horse and am about to ride off in all directions", and I never understand that more than when summer arrives.
All the apple trees are in full flower, the lilacs and early peonies are one step away from blooming. This is the time of year I really like best, when the tidying up is done and all those wonderful varied mounds of green are about to turn into something else. All that potential, all those possiblities.