Saturday, March 18, 2006

pet peeve of the day and a question:

I take daily exercise walks through my partially wooded neighborhood usually after it's dark. The residents of the area have gotten used to seeing me (and other people) taking constitutionals, usually keeping well to the side of the road (no sidewalks), 9 times out of 10 carrying a flashlight.

What is it that makes these drivers immediately flick on their highbeams after sighting me?

How does a woman in a zip-up fleece and sneakers resemble a deer, and why once they have identified me as a biped human, do they find it necessary to leave their brights on? The 10 seconds it takes for them to approach and pass me are excruciatingly long when I am literally blinded. It makes sense to stand still until they pass, like a - a...deer. In the headlights. I have taken to standing there with my arms over my face, a la Richard Dreyfus facing the mother ship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A bit dramatic perhaps, but it makes me feel better.

Word to the wise: turn your brights off until you've passed someone. Deer will not attack your car for the 3 seconds of halogen (or neon or xenon) brightened protection you will miss. Promise!

Rant over.

Deer in New Jersey, though...now there's a phenomenon I watch with interest. As some may know, I once kidded about making a horror flick called "The Herd," where bands of belligerent deer would start taking back the suburbs by making residents afraid to leave their homes. I know that given a chance to speak these allegedly gentle creatures with their giant liquid eyes and silent ways would be pretty pissed off, actually. "Another Dunkin' Donuts???" they would say. "Give me a freakin' break. Isn't one every other mile of highway enough?"

Or maybe I am just anthropomorphizing. Yeah. They'd probably be okay with all the development if there were more Borders. At least at Borders they have decent coffee, and you're always free to browse.

Har har! A little deer humor for you. Thank you very much! Enjoy your evening. I'm here all week!

Friday, March 17, 2006

if you're Irish, kiss yourself for me.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Remember my posting about money and what to do with it? Well, today as I eat my cereal before I buckle down to work I am mulling over this article on MSN. I may have to read the book the author mentions - sounds like it may discuss some of what I was starting to get at, the issues behind why I spend and don't save. Not surprisingly, the author suggests it could be a woman thing. I'm willing to believe it. As I said, my mother didn't teach me anything practical about money except get a man to handle it (my own dad was useless with a checkbook and a bit of a spendthrift, so I'm not sure that lesson worked).

I know I can figure out what I need to do with my money - I'm not really worried about that. But it seems so frustrating that there could be some emotional block that might keep me from doing better with what I have. Anyway, awareness is the first step, right?

http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Savinganddebt/Learntobudget/P145741.asp?GT1=7925

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I guess I am fully owning my status as a cat person now. I used to turn my nose up at this kind of stuff, but now I can't stay away. Anyway, I love this pic of Papa massaging a tabby. It reminds me of another photo I've seen of Jack Kerouac cradling a cat. Hee hee. Big, strong manly men writing about manly things, and besotted with felines.


http://new.pineapplepress.com/booksummary.asp?isbn=1-56164-342-4


Hemingway's Cats An Illustrated Biography
Carlene Brennen
Hardback $21.95ISBN: 1-56164-342-4Size: 8.5 x 11 200 Pages190 b&w photos
Hemingway’s Cats explores the life of Ernest Hemingway, the women he loved, and the cats and dogs he befriended throughout his life. His animals often helped him to cope with his failing relationships, deep-seated loneliness, and life-threatening diseases.
This intriguing book, filled with photographs, helps us understand Hemingway the man, the lover, the husband, the father, the hunter, the fisherman, the writer, as well as the devoted master of many cats and dogs. You will discover a kinder, gentler man known only to family and close friends, quite different from the macho character he himself helped to create—a man part fact, part fiction.
When you hear of Hemingway and Key West, you immediately imagine a yardful of six-toed cats. Key West was not the only town known for Hemingway cats. In Cuba, Hemingway had fifty-seven cats and five dogs roaming the grounds of his hilltop home. He once wrote in a letter from there: “One cat just leads to another. . . . The place is so damned big it doesn’t really seem as though there were many cats until you see them all moving like a mass migration at feeding time.” He called the cats “purr factories” and “love sponges” that soaked up love and in return gave them comfort and companionship.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just say NO!

And who wouldn't want to be pantsless in the Bahamas?
Another shred of evidence that people are waking up to see the evils of pants.

http://www.bahamas.com/assets/documents/train_ads/justsayno.pdf

Sunday, March 12, 2006

tiny riches...in the wine

One of the ugly things I tend not to talk about is money, or at least my lack of it. But score a mini-victory for me: I recently paid off a credit card that had been hounding me with its high interest and big balance since 2000. I am able to double my car payments to eat away at the principal. I have money left over even after paying all my bills and grocery shopping while hungry, without a list, at the slightly more expensive supermarket that has organic goodies. I have a little something in TWO savings accounts (a very little, in one, I might add).

I guess compared to my post-grad school, indebted-up-to-my-eyeballs, paycheck-to-paycheck and eying-the-change-jar-to-see-if-there's-gas-money financial status, I am finally comfortable.

But this is the comfort of someone who can go to the movies and get popcorn and a bucket of soda if she wants, or can go to the dealership not worried about what they might find wrong with the car (thank you, Kia, for the awesome warranty), not someone who can comfortably expense a surprise weekend in London because her passport expires next month. (Sad but true - I actually priced it out. I guess my collection of stamps will not grow as I hoped it might.)

My point in mentioning all of this is that I find myself with little windfalls every month and I am profoundly uncomfortable with the money in my pocket. It burns a hole there, as though it needs to spent right away, or it will disappear. So in the past month I have bought a few new clothes (a rant on this another time, I promise), a few things from Amazon (impulse items - me working in the book biz is like giving free samples to an addict), and, yesterday, on a trip through Borders I paid $127 retail for various books and DVDs. (I should be just getting it all from work, where I get a whopping 44% off books and 20% off media products.) If I had sat on all those purchases and saved the money, I'd have had what I needed for the trip. That's worrying! I can't sit still with a little money. How will I ever be able to manage large sums, like my retirement someday?

Well, I have a new inner voice (thanks to years of therapy) that tells me to go easy on myself. Maybe I need a period of adjustment to not living in hard times, to get the feel of it. It wasn't that long ago that bills ate everything up. I think I'm entitled to enjoy my tiny riches for right now.

At least until I remember that I owe Lexus-sized amounts of money to the gummint for my edu-macation, and if I want to retire, ever, I might-could start saving up a little in the mattress for that (another rant, surely, on this).

We live in confusing times. I am actually very proud of my ability to take care of myself financially, largely without assistance from anyone (the odd check from Mom, but that's it). I have myself to thank/blame for whatever my resources are right now. BUT I do receive weird hints from older-generation people (mainly women) to the effect that my "girl money" isn't nearly as impressive as my income could be if it was combined with the salary of a husband.

Yes, that's right: I should get married if I want to really help myself financially. As if I am not really taking care of myself, and that only a man could "save" me. My mother sent me an
un-funny cartoon from the New Yorker not too long ago where one woman effectively says to the other, "It's better to have married for a retirement fund than not to have married at all." Well, it would be funny if I didn't know that that happened to be her own personal philosophy. It sort of undermines the idea that I can be independent and support myself as a woman and says that only a man's money can really make my life comfortable, and choosing loveless marriage is OK if it leads to personal financial gain. So what happened to women's lib?