[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Friday, May 3rd, 2013|
|what the hell
I haven't posted here in such a long time. I can't think why I'd want to start again, but the idea of having this "journal" deleted for inactivity stimulates my egotism. How can they think of deleting My Words? (I've already lost one journal by carelessly allowing the URL to my journal of my second trip to Russia in 2009 to lapse, I don't want to lose this one, even though it has virtually nothing in it.)
Ah well. Such is life. It's a Friday morning in May, I have errands to run today that will keep me going until after midnight, if things go as they have been over the past few days, I'll be achy and frantic by the end of the day, wishing I could find a way to be comfortable and relax.
Cat wants attention.
Tea kettle has boiled, so I can make my usual breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.
Ain't life thrilling?
|Tuesday, August 7th, 2007|
|I got to talk to an actual Russian in Russian!!
We were originally to board the plane to Moscow from Gate 6. Then they moved us to Gate 4, and we joked about them making sure we got enough exercise to fight off deep vein thrombosis, the formation of clots in the veins of the legs caused by too many hours sitting on airplanes. Then they announced that we were moving to Gate 1. A Russian woman who had been sitting across the way from me looked confused, because the announcement was only made in English. So i cobbled together as best I could "they've moved us to Gate 1".in Russian. "на москва?" ("To Moscow?"), she asked me. I nodded.
I cannot express how thrilled I am to have heard her say "на москва?" An actual Russian spoke actual Russian to me!!
If only we were not delayed in boarding until they get an actual airplane to the gate for us. And now I'm imagining missing our connection to Vladivostok. But at least there will be 71 other Elderhostel participants in the same predicament.
The people I've met have been friendly and interesting without being intrusive or monomaniacal. I think this is going to be a very good time. Current Mood: eager
|posting from a high stool at a food place in JFK Terminal 1
Assumptions will get you every time.
First assumption: that I would be able to check in my big bag, freeing me to wander around the terminal relatively unencumbered. Not so. The Aeroflot checkin doesn't exist until closer to departure time. The Aeroflot ticket counter isn't open until 2:00. I have no idea when the checkin desk (one of a dozen of so shared among various international airlines) opens. I've paid $3.00 for a baggage cart to haul my belongings around in, but it makes wandering cumbersome. (What do you suppose the "cumber" part of "encumber" and "cumbersome" is? If I ever find a wireless hot spot, I'll look it up. Could it relate to cucumbers? Seems unlikely.)
Second assumption: the international terminal would be a lively and varied place with lots of places to wander in and lots of shops to explore. Not so. It's actually quiet here in this echoing, hangar-like building. Very few people, even fewer seats for them. I suppose I could ride the AirTrain around and around for a couple hours, but I'm actually hungry.
Baggage storage facilities are available "for my convenience" at the arrivals level. If I do that, I'll pay to store my big bag and have to pay $3 again when I get it out and need another cart to get it up to the departures level to check it in.
I did sleep some in the plane, but shallow -- well, dang, look at that. I just connected to free public wifi. Let's see what that lets me do.
Later: turns out the public wifi wasn't very reliable, but for a mere $7.95 I could connect for a day to some other wireless, which is slightly less unreliable than the public wifi. I've got a widget on my desktop that tells me just how fast I'm using up my battery, and it's telling me I'm using it up pretty fast. Plus which I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. Oh well, at least I've eaten -- a cup of yogurt and granola with fruit, a bottle of Dasani for $13.50. I want to lie down somewhere warm and sleep. Not gonna happen. At least things have livened up a bit. I saw one of the agents at Japan Air Lines walk out to the customer area to straighten the rugs so they lined up with one another. Let's hear it for cultural stereotyping!
And I have to say, I've found the people here to be friendly and helpful, not at all the cultural stereotype of New Yorkers. JFK has nine terminals connected by an Air Train that arrives every minute or so -- really! -- and they have people in the Air Train stations in red jackets just to answer the questions of clueless tourists, which they do in a very courteous and thorough manner.
So anyway, here I am, myself, in New York City waiting for Russians to show up at the checkin counter.
Oh, and if you plan to do any traveling, remember not to wear any belts with metal on them. You have to take them off and then rethread them through the belt loops every time you go through security.
My latte, which is a discredit to the very name "latte", is at least hot enough and caffeinated enough to make me feel less like I'm coming down with a cold. And after all, it's not as if I were at SEA-TAC or PDX. Current Mood: bouncy
|Monday, August 6th, 2007|
|today is The Day
Well, OK, only just barely -- the plane leaves PDX at 11:59 p.m. this evening, but still, it's today. I've got the big suitcase packed, and it weighs in under 40 pounds, which is good, since the limit for the Russian flights is 44 pounds. I still have a laundry and various housecleaning tasks to do, the small suitcase to pack, the cat to take to the B&B (yes, really, they call it a cat B&B, but it's in a ritzy section of town, so I guess they have to, and they take really good care of Ochi), I've got it all listed out in excruciating detail, and it won't take the whole day, and I'll probably go nuts waiting for 9 p.m. when my daughter picks me up to drive me to the airport. Maybe it will take the whole day. I'll bet I can make it take the whole day just by doing happy dances in between chores.
Next post maybe from a wireless hot spot in JFK, maybe from a hot spot in Moscow (if there's time to sit down between arrival at the international terminal, retrieval of luggage, customs, and transit to the "local" terminal), maybe from the hotel in Vladivostok.
Wheeeeeee! Current Mood: excited
|Sunday, July 29th, 2007|
My first frighteningly retired day. Frightening because empty.
And it's not as if I did nothing. This morning, I got up and walked down a mile or so to a crafts fair, wandered about in it, then walked back. I took my camera along, but it was a dreary gray day, felt sticky, and I was uninspired to do the playing with it that will be necessary to make it useful on my trip, which starts day after tomorrow.
I twiddled some more with the packing lists, sorted through my traveling gadgets, discovered that I had just ordered a second copy of something that I already have, realized again that I'm going to have a heck of a time getting all the stuff into my carry-on that I want to carry on, read a couple stories out of "Kolyma Tales" about the Soviet labor camps in Siberia.
But there was a great emptiness, a lack of direction, an insufficiency of life in my life. If I didn't have the Transitions paradigm (period of coming from, period of going to, and terrifying emptiness in between), I'd be really scared. I guess that's one of the benefits of being old -- you have a vast treasury of paradigms to apply to experience, fitting one after another until you find one that is both appropriate and comforting.
My knee is entirely healed. I think maybe my mostly joking theory that it was psychosomatic must be give more serious credence. And I won't be able to start on the Russian trip for a week. There's lots of do during that week, trip-related and otherwise. But the trip is so enormous, looming there at the other end of eight days, that it kind of casts a shadow on everything else. Current Mood: impatient
|Wednesday, July 25th, 2007|
|trip to Russia may not happen
OK, so after tossing and turning for a couple hours trying to find a position comfortable enough to sleep in, I drove myself in to the urgent care center. I waited for four hours, finally got in, saw very pleasant, attentive doctor who xrayed my knee, saw nothing obvious wrong, and sent me home with crutches and Vicodin. He said the problem is either a strain/sprain, which should clear up in a few days, or a torn cartilage, which may not clear up at all.
So today is July 25. My departure for Vladivostok is scheduled for August 6. Best case, this weekend (in three or four days), my knee will feel better. Worst case, it won't. And even best case, as my daughter pointed out to me, do I want to undertake this trip when I might reinjure myself in the middle of it?
Yerg. There are trips to Siberia next summer -- one that includes a solar eclipse, the other that includes the opening of a major Mongolian folk festival including horse racing across the plains. I have thought occasionally that it would be nice to have more time to adjust to retirement, more time to get my Russian solidly learned and practiced through the community college classes.
Maybe it's a psychosomatic knee, giving me an excuse to postpone the trip.
Elderhostel is very reasonable about canceling trips -- a $500 charge, and the rest refunded or rolled over to another program. It's all very doable.
Well, let's see how things look in a couple days. At least the vicodin lets me sleep. Current Mood: distressed
OK, now I'm retired. Now I'm not just not going to work, I'm actually HERE. This is it. I finished up my (blessedly!) empty TIP shift, undertaken because JLa needed a replacement, and I owe her, twiddled around a bit, then suddenly, I had to get out of here. Which is a good thing. At least I won't be a total recluse, which I have been mostly for the past ten days or so, what with dispatching, then the extra shift. Now there's nothing between me and the trip to Siberia -- well, not nothing, but nothing that will allow/force me to stay home.
My right knee hurts. It hurt when I walked down to get an ice cream, and then, since LRC was closed for remodeling, to the deli to get a Haagen-Dasz bar, then to the garden squares to eat it, then home, and it still hurts. Hurts worse. I can't find a position that doesn't hurt. Dang!
But anyway. There I was, TIP shift complete, prayer of gratitude quickly whispered, and I had to get out of here. When I lived alone in Beaverton, it got to where I walked a couple miles a day to get coffee and a muffin up at Coffee People, just about every morning.
So there's hope for regular exercise.
And I'm bored with all the things I can do with the laptop except, perhaps, this.
And I've bought roughly 150% of the things I need for the trip. Well, no, I still have to get gifts to give Russians I like and a sheaf of fresh $1 bills. And, eventually, grapes and Luna bars and ginger ale (for here) and gum with extra flavor.
Oww!! Dang! This is no fun. Probably the aspirin I'll take tonight will fix it. I should take that aspirin now.
|Thursday, July 5th, 2007|
|the glories of a retired morning
I woke up with the light around 6:00, went back to bed, had a gloriously detailed and weird dream, woke again around 9:30 when some fundraiser or other put a 1-800 number on my bedside phone, which I ignored, then just lay in bed and thought about what I'd do today. It was like the feeling of endless potential I wish I'd had when I was younger and which I was too internally scrambled to enjoy then. Now admittedly, the items of this potential lack a certain glamor -- call and find out when my broken heat pump will be replaced so I don't have to sit sweating through the next two weeks, predicted to be in the 80s and 90s every day; clean the cat box; buy clothes for my trip to Russia; buy groceries; join the Mazamas for a leisurely walk through northwest Portland. But they all could be done, and it's all up to me, and the day is MINE!! Glorious!
Even the weird dream. I could lie in bed mulling over the details, from which I could make no sense whatsoever. Oops. Just made sense of one detail, Beaverton police telling me they wouldn't be working with TIP any more, a clear reflection of last night's loss of Obligations that provide order. But the rest of it -- the guy firing off pistols into the air in the empty lot that doesn't actually exist west of the Burgerville in Beaverton to get publicity for his get-rich-quick seminars, him handing me one of his pistols, which I wanted to hide but could find no place for, the friendly Beaverton policewoman falling off the ledge and smashing to bits, then becoming a ghost riding on my windshield.
Like I said, weird. But I could lie there and ponder it. And I can come out here and write about it, and about feeling so free and full of potential.
I know I won't do all the things I thought of. Unlike youth, old age knows its character limitations. But I can. The time is mine.
Yahoo! Current Mood: exuberant
|Wednesday, July 4th, 2007|
|of course, there's also "I can't"
But after six decades, my desires and my abilities run pretty much in the same directions. I do not want to win Wimbledon or a Pulitzer Prize or dunk a basketball or swim the English Channel (does anyone do that any more?) or be elected to public office. But it's so much easier and so much less visible to say "I can't" than "I don't want to", and I've just lost a good source of "I can't"s, both true and convenient.
I need to do these in some format that lets me do "I can't"s in a more obvious way. Like this maybe: I can't
s. Hmmm. No. I can't
s. No. It just needs to be written a different way. "I've just lost a good source of reasons to beg off, both true and convenient." Yeah, much better.
And as for my mood (geeky), there are grammatic and syntactical geeks as well as technical ones. Current Mood: geeky
|why lacking Obligations is scary
Now I must own up to what I want to do. No more "Gosh, I'd like to, but I have to work tomorrow." No more excuses about not having time because I'm so worn out from work. No more sense of entitlement to weekends because weeks have been so wearing. If I don't want to, the only reason not to is because I don't want to. The only reason.
I'm not used to being that visible. Current Mood: confessional
The picture is the flowers my kids sent me yesterday to celebrate my last day at work. I am now officially retired. I was on call for TIP today, but the shift is over, and now I really am retired. It feels a bit odd. I'm watching TV and realizing that I no longer have Obligations. My life, which until today was seriously structured around a five-day-a-week-9-to-5(more or less) job, no longer is. I'm sure it will eventually restructure, but right now, the whole rest of the world has Obligations and I have none.
Once, a decade or two ago, I worked at Intel and took part in the employee stock purchase program. When I checked the value of my purchase, I found that it had doubled in six months WITHOUT MY HAVING DONE ANYTHING AT ALL TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. Yeah, I know, that's what owning stock is all about. Still, it creeped me out to such an extent that I gave the stocks to my grandchildren, feeling that their innocence would in some sense neutralize the weirdness of stuff pouring money on me without visible justification.
I've gotten better about that, but there's still enough Protestant ethic that I'm sort of feeling around in my mind for the barriers that contained and directed my energy day before yesterday. They're gone.
What happens now? Current Mood: pensive
|Sunday, November 5th, 2006|
OK, I'm curious. Does this seem right to anyone who has actually heard me speak?
Current Mood: cheerful
|What American accent do you have? |
Your Result: The Inland North
You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."
|What American accent do you have?|
Take More Quizzes
|Friday, September 8th, 2006|
|five favorite foods at Trader Joes
1. Green chile chicken enchiladas -- I could eat these every day and still enjoy them.
2. Fruit floes -- like popsicles, only with fruit juice; the lime ones are actually tart and make a great hot summer evening treat
3. Mango granola -- perfect under yogurt instead of milk
4. Tuna salad sandwich on pretzel bread -- I would never have tried it except that it was listed in the "100 best foods". Now I'm addicted.
5. Unsweetened Gravenstein applesauce -- delicious by itself and as a dip for their black bean taquitos. I know, I know, very inauthentic, but the cold sweet beautifully offsets the hot tangy, plus which it's quick to make and requires no thought.
(I got the idea for this entry from a blog I read by conservative economist Dan Drezner. I do feel the need to read reasonable representatives of the Other Side now and again.) Current Mood: increasingly hungry
|Monday, August 21st, 2006|
|quotes that are me -- and aren't
A blog I like suggests going to http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
and picking out the first five quotations that express who I am -- and the first five that seem like hogwash to me. So here you go:
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
William Shakespeare, 'Hamlet,' Act I, Scene iii
Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Education is the best provision for the journey to old age.
Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, & zoologist (384 BC - 322 BC)
One hour of thoughtful solitude may nerve the heart for days of conflict - girding up its armor to meet the most insidious foe.
You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.
US black nationalist leader (1925 - 1965)
Unjust dominion cannot be eternal.
Roman dramatist, philosopher, & politician (5 BC - 65 AD)
[Neither can just dominion.]
When a thought is too weak to be expressed simply, it should be rejected.
Marquis de Vauvenargues
[The problem may not be with the thought but with the expressive capabilities of the thinker.]
America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
Austrian psychologist (1856 - 1939)
[Nope. Contrary to current evidence, I think we've got the basis of a really good thing going here, and I think we can return it to what it is capable of.]
We should every night call ourselves to an account; What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
Roman dramatist, philosopher, & politician (5 BC - 65 AD)
[I don't mean to pick on Seneca, but this sounds absolutely awful. Grim, self-righteous, prime territory for hypocrisy, judgmental instead of compassionate, proud instead of humble, and awfully self-centered.]
About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether we (Soviet Union) exist. If you don't like us, don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it our not, history is on our side. We will bury you.
Russian Soviet politician (1894 - 1971)
[Whoops, guess not! I know, cheap shot, but the deal is the first five.] Current Mood: thoughtful
|Monday, July 3rd, 2006|
|Update on post-retirement trip
How about this for encouraging? From the Wikipedia entry on Vladivostok, the starting point of the trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway?
"Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many businesses have opened offices in Vladivostok, taking advantage of its location.
Unfortunately, the crime rate and cost of living have also increased, and the city is believed to be a hotbed of organized crime activity and abuse of power by regional and municipal authorities."
And you can't fly directly to Vladivostok from any American city. Some time in the next month or so, I'll get information from the "travel provider" that will tell me where we'll go from Los Angeles. The options include Osaka, Japan; Hanoi, Vietnam; and (unlikely) Pyongyang, North Korea.
I actually am taking the online Russian lessons from Rosetta stone. So far, I'm:
(a) astounded at how much Russian I recall from having studied it for a year or so in high school
(b) horrified at the irregularity of the language, which is even worse than English, in that past tense verbs seem to vary in form depending on the gender of the noun to which they are attached, the gender of which can't be determined by its form
(c) deeply grateful that I have a year to gain some primitive literacy in the language
(d) surprised to find that I actually do spend time regularly studying.
But it seems unlikely that I will know enough in a year to talk my way out of a confrontation with the Russian mafia, which probably speaks an argot that is not included in the Rosetta Stone lessons.
|Thursday, June 15th, 2006|
|my exciting future
I am 63 today. And I just put down a deposit on a 17-day Elderhostel trip in 2007 on the Trans-Siberian Railway, from Vladivostok through Ulan Bator to Moscow. This means that my retirement, which was kind of unfocussed some time between next January and July 2009, will now occur in July 2007. I can spend the next year learning elementary Russian via Rosetta Stone (yes, I know I already have $600 worth of Rosetta Stone for Spanish, but I can learn that when I get back from Russia) and tracking down a passport and figuring out what clothes I need to acquire for a summer jaunt across Siberia and deciding at least twice that it was a really stupid idea but not taking back my deposit. I'll be sharing accommodations with one other person (both in lower bunks, this is ElderHostel, after all) and showering in the shower car and dashing down the corridor to the bathroom and doing without internet access (probably, though it would be cool to blog the Trans-Siberian Railway). Ulan Bator has always seemed to me to be the farthest place on earth, and I'm going to be there eating Mongolian cuisine and hearing lectures about Mongolian culture. I'm going to see Siberia and the vast Russian steppes and the Caspian Sea and Moscow. I won't be able to afford much traveling after that, but it seems a shame not to allow myself one major outing to kickstart my retirement years.
Whee!! Current Mood: quixotic
|Friday, March 17th, 2006|
|dang! Lookee there!
Whatever they did wiped out my colorful personality test DNA display. OK, I'm a trained computer professional, let's see if I can get it back.
OK, that didn't work. Let's try re-inserting the HTML:
Ah, there we go. Now on to what I originally came up here to write about. (Added note: when I preview this, I see the display. When I post it, I don't. I love computers.)
A blog I read is going through a meme that involves memories of states. I am appalled at how few I have. Maybe after I retire I'll drive my yellow New Beetle around to all the states just so I can say I've been there. (Yes, I know driving to Hawaii or even Alaska may prove challenging, but once I've retired, what will I have to do but confront challenges?) Let's see. Never been to any southern states except Missouri and Texas, neither of which really counts. Only Massachusetts in New England, and then only to Martha's Vineyard. Lots of midwest. Only vague memories of the Southwest, through which I passed on my way to my honeymoon in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
And, it occurs to me, I'm babbling and dealing in trivialities because a ghastly thing happened to a woman I love, and the alternative is to sit here at my desk (I'm between assignments at the moment) and cry, not professional behavior. Any more than making LJ entries at work is.
OK, I desist. Current Mood: ditzy
|Tuesday, March 14th, 2006|
|an unusually pleasant personality inventory
Here I am:
I thought I was more empathetic than that, and I haven't, to my knowledge, ever invented anything, but responding with sliders and dots in two-D spaces makes so much better sense than assigning numbers to qualities. I grok their recommendations, too. Let's see, does this include the URL?
Hmmm. It includes the URL, but it doesn't draw out the whole lozenge of colors. I may have to -- aha! there it is, I just had to use rich text mode. Thank God I don't actually have to untangle that entire snake of HTML.
Anyway, give it a whirl in your copious free time. Current Mood: chipper
|Friday, February 17th, 2006|
|my upcoming retirement
Well, "upcoming" is a bit premature, but I will most likely retire in early July, 2007. I'll be able to continue my current health insurance under COBRA until I qualify for Medicare, plus which I will have worked long enough in 2007 to qualify for the yearly bonus which is paid in August. So. July, 2007.
And what will I do once I no longer come in to work (and spend my time at work mostly surfing the Web and playing solitaire, since we're in one of those awkward pauses between assignments)?
One good idea: a weekly 18th-century day. No computer. No television. No outgoing phone calls. No twiddling with my combination phone/PDA. Maybe even no electric lights. Did they have running water in the 18th century? Well, I've got no alternative to that, so in my 18th century, yes, they did. No microwaved dinners. No Teaching Company lectures on my iPod nano.
Maybe 18th century is a bit much -- I want it to be an aid to meditation, not an exercise in total geeky weirdness. Heck, even a 1950's day would be a serious change. That way, I'd have electricity but no TV remote control. (Can I even turn the TV on without the remote control?) No TiVo. No computer.
Books. Paper. Pencil. Stuff to eat that I can cook on the stovetop. I rather liked the idea of candles for light, though, maybe it could be 1950 in a power outage that only affected the lights. Hmmm.
Maybe it's just a day when I don't use anything electronic: computer, TV, cell phone/PDA, nano. My car seems hopelessly entangled in electronics, I wouldn't go anywhere I couldn't walk to. Radio? No, just on general principles.
And which day? Wednesday. Absolutely no idea why it should be Wednesday, but the idea seems to be stuck in my mind. And what about my electric toothbrush? I think that gets an exemption as a health-and-well-being implement.
Once a week? Once a month? It needs to recur regularly.
I am SO READY TO NOT BE WORKING ANY MORE, and, at the same time, I'm frightened of the great indeterminacy of days not regimented by work. A week or two of that is refreshing. But this will be the rest of my life, however long or short that might be. Yes, I know I could get a part-time job and possibly will. I'm already involved in volunteer work and may get more involved. But to not be a contributing member of society (let's hear it for Protestant ethic), to not have the level of income I now have, the kind of includedness. How long has it been since I didn't work? I was a stay-at-home Mom for a few years, but oh wow does that ever count as work! So let's see. 1967, when I worked writing feature stories for The Bluffton News. So it will be roughly 40 years. Does graduate school count? Maybe so, maybe not, but I was Mommy then too.
40 years. Doesn't sound that long. I've got a kid older than that. Current Mood: anticipatory
|Tuesday, November 8th, 2005|
|there just may be hope
Though I'm somewhat taken aback to be grateful to Senator Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), lookee here:
"Hastert and Frist make a big show of calling for an investigation into a leak allegedly affecting national security -- the locations of secret "black site" torture prisons. And then -- BOOM!!! Lott just said, Tuesday afternoon, that he thinks it was a GOP Senator who leaked the info to the Washington Post last week. He says the details had been discussed at a GOP Senators-only meeting last week, and that many of those details made it into the WaPo story.
Money quote from Lott; "We can not remain silent. We have met the enemy, and it is us.""
Me and Trent, quoting Pogo. Dang!