NOTES

Make It Count – You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?


I’m totally blank. I can’t think of any message I could send once to anyone in time or space that would make a difference.

Send a note to Julius Caesar and tell him to skip the senate that day? They would have killed him on a different day.

How about: “Hey, Ulysses. Don’t get involved with those girl singers.”

“Achilles, don’t brag about your invulnerability and how you came by it. And cover those heels!”

hyannis boat flag harbor

“Oh Chris? Yes, you. Columbo. Turn back. Your crew is carrying disease and you are going to wipe out millions of innocent people. Oh, you like that idea do you? Come closer. Let me kill you myself.”

“Mr. Lincoln, don’t go to the theater tonight. And get the Secret Service on that Wilkes guy. He’s more than merely a bad actor.”

“Mr. Kennedy, sir! Please do not ride through Dallas top down today. In fact, call in sick. Get a pedicure. Take a nap. Anything but a drive through Dallas.”

A couple of timely notes to myself could help. “Go to a better surgeon. Don’t let that hack anywhere near you with a scalpel.” I’d need to send at least two such warning notes. I am apparently a slow learner. Or, I could fix my own life. I could send a note to my Mom warning her not to get involved with my dad. Oops, but then there would be no me to send the note — and we get into all kinds of time travel-related complexities.

Or how about “Don’t buy the condo in Lynn. Wait. Garry’s going to ask you to marry him and you can get a place together!” That might have made a difference!

I’m just going to not say anything to anyone. You know about the butterfly effect? Anything I want to do would probably cause the world to end. I’ve got enough on my plate. I’ll leave world breaking to someone else

WHY CAN’T I FIX IT WITH SOFTWARE? HAPPY 5775!

Monday, the well went dry. Bummer. Scary bummer. Mother Nature saying “The joke’s on YOU!”

While I’m saying “Hey … but … wait a minute … Can’t I fix that with software? “

Going home

So after I stop running around in circles and weeping hysterically — bet you’re glad you missed it — and with the help of a whole lot of people (it takes a village), we gather money to fix the well. Because we have been assured by both well contractors who work in our area that our well can be fixed. And they have the know-how and equipment to do it.

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We need a firm estimate — real numbers. Not the vague estimate one typically gets from a contractor. A commitment to do the work before the ground freezes. Contractors are a lot like Mother Nature. You can’t control a contractor. They show up when they show up, work when they work. If you annoy them, they might not work and you don’t want that. If you haven’t seen The Money Pit, see it. It’s a hilarious movie, in a rueful way. Good for a guffaw mixed with memories of other jobs, other contractors. Waiting for them to show up, hoping they will show up. Feeling you should have a party if they do show up.

There is nothing more humbling than being in thrall to a contractor. You can’t do the work yourself. You need him and are committed. If he doesn’t get the work done when he says he will, for the price he has promised, you are so screwed.

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In the middle of this sturm und drang, I had to go to the cardiologist. And the pacemaker lab. The pacemaker lab both fascinates and creeps me out. They mess around with my heart. Literally, tuning me up. Tuning me up? She does a read-out and tells me my heart has had no “incidents.” There’s a complete electronic record of everything my heart has — or has not — done since my last visit. She decides to skip a beat. Weird feeling. Then she speeds up my heart and skips two beats. If my heart is beating faster, missing a couple of beats won’t bother me so much, she says. Not really.

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“I’m going to turn down your pacemaker to 55. I’m going to turn it down to 50 from midnight to 8 am. So it might make you sleepy. A little sleepy. Not a lot. You might not even notice.” I’m in favor in anything that has a prayer of helping me sleep.

“Okay. That’s pretty much my natural — or was my natural — heart rate. I mean, before all of the surgery and the pacemaker and everything.”

“That’s the point. Try to integrate the pacemaker with your natural heart rhythm. Uses less battery power.”

Battery power. “What happens if the battery dies?”

“It won’t.”

“How do you know?”

“Because it’s telling me it has 12.5 years of life left in it. Actually, you don’t have to worry about the battery. It’s the wires.”

“The wires?”

“Yes, the wires that run from the pacemaker to the parts of your heart. They could come loose.”

“Then my heart stops beating.”

“Not necessarily.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, it’s not quite that simple. There’s more to it than that. There are back-ups and fail safes and anyway, by the time you need a new battery, who knows what the technology will be?”

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I actually find that comforting. I am one sick puppy. She gives me a souvenir pacemaker after I explain I’m a blogger and I like taking pictures of this stuff. It’s not exactly the same as my pacemaker, but it’s close. And there are no wires. But mine has wires and I can feel them through my skin. I can feel the wires, the little screws to which the wires are attached. All of it. I have no muscle or breast tissue there because I had a double mastectomy a couple of years before all this heart surgery … and I’m not a very big woman. But time to move on down the hall to the doctor himself.

“How are you?” asks my doctor.

“Fine,” I answer, skipping over the catastrophes of the past week. “Terrific.” I’m lying but, it’s easier that way.

Chit chatting, getting prescriptions. He tells me I need more exercise. I can’t argue with this. I do need more exercise, though I doubt it’ll happen. I’m anti-motivated toward exercise. It hurts. But I’m not going to tell him that. He wishes me a happy New Year. It’s Rosh HaShannah. Tonight.

Happy 5775. That is a lot of years.

And now, I’ve chased down the contractor. Firmed up a price. I was scared when the well went dry, but I think I was even more terrified waiting for that number from the well guys.

And winter is coming.

ANOTHER WEEK OF SHARING MY WORLD

Share Your World – 2014 Week 38

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

aloe veraI think I’d like to be something useful. Maybe aloe vera. Good for skin, burns, hair. A very useful plant and it smells good too.

If you could have a servant come to your house every day for one hour, what would you have them do?

Cook dinner!

kitchen condiments

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Salmon, probably. It’s my favorite fish. I’d honestly prefer shrimp, but my cholesterol wouldn’t hear of it.

atlantic_salmon

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

I washed poodles. By the time I was done with that job, I never wanted to bathe another animal of any kind. But I have. I have scrubbed many, many dogs, cats and other critters over many decades. But I never use poodle shampoo or paint their nails some weird color.

A LITMUS TEST FOR FRIENDSHIP?

Litmus, Litmus on the Wall – If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?


Does anyone remember for what litmus paper actually tests?

From the ubiquitous source of all knowledge and frequent misinformation — Wikipedia — comes this enlightening but incomplete (please feel free to conduct your own research) definition:

Litmus is a water-soluble mixture of different dyes extracted from lichens, especially Roccella tinctoria. It is often absorbed onto filter paper to produce one of the oldest forms of pH indicator, used to test materials for acidity. Blue litmus paper turns red under acidic conditions and red litmus paper turns blue under basic (alkaline) conditions, with the color change occurring over the pH range 4.5-8.3 at 25 °C. Neutral litmus paper is purple. Litmus can also be prepared as an aqueous solution that functions similarly. Under acidic conditions the solution is red, and under basic conditions the solution is blue.

I’ve yet to determine the “litmus test” for anything other than PH balance. Like in a tropical fish tank. You need to know the PH there or the fish will die. Otherwise, I don’t know anything about tests. I never know which posts will generate the most hits or comments. I have no idea who will turn out to be the person I can turn to in time of trouble. All my best friends became best friends because we liked each other, enjoyed each other’s company. Probably shared similar taste. There was no litmus or any other test. We hung out and couldn’t get rid of each other.

People and life aren’t a formula. There’s no single thing to indicate the potential quality of a friendship, the probably value of a relationship, the likely longevity of two hearts that resonate to each others’ rhythms.

I hade my face because I cannot bear the shame. Oh the horror!

I’m sure I’d never pass anyone’s “friend test.” Probably, assuming I could create one, not even my own. I don’t believe in standardized tests. Not in the schoolroom and certainly not in relationships.

As for standard litmus testing, I’m pretty sure I have a pH. If an actual litmus test were applied, I would definitely pass. Everyone would pass a litmus test because … (drumroll, trumpets) … you can’t fail a litmus test. There’s no correct answer and no passing grade. (Throw that bum out! His pH is way too low!) If my mother was any kind of judge, I’m too acidic, though there are days when I feel distinctly alkaline.

Since surviving my brief fling at youth, I have opinions, but I don’t test. I have standards. I don’t argue with stupid people. I’m referring to folks who combine blissful ignorance with strong opinions. I suppose there are a few other points, political, intellectual and social (don’t chew with your mouth open), but no test. I like people or not. I like what I like and I don’t know why. I don’t want to analyze it. Does that make me a loser? Or, as they say on Facebook, a looser? I’ll bet my problem is when I have nothing to say, I say nothing. That’s gotta be it!

If you want to be my friend, I promise you’ll never have to pass a test of any kind. Not a litmus or any other test. My love and loyalty are test-free, organic, and earth-friendly.

THANK YOU FOR CALLING OUR HOTLINE

Share Your World – 2014 Week 37

List three pet peeves.

Slow drivers.

Voice mail with so many selections I can’t remember the beginning of the list by the time I get to the middle.

CustServCartoon

Customer service voice mail robots designed to prevent you from ever speaking with a live human being.

Live customer service representatives who know less than I do about their product.

Death cust serv

Junk mail faxes and texts.

People who make pronouncements when they know nothing about the subject under discussion.

Have I listed too many? Oops.

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What makes you unique?

We are all unique. I’m no more unique than anyone else. Except, of course, those of you who are one of a pair (or more) of identical siblings. I suppose that would reduce your uniqueness. Otherwise? To be human is (usually) to be unique.

Would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

A surprise vacation to someplace I’ve always wanted to go. Prepaid with all the arrangements taken care of. I mean all arrangements. Nothing left for me to do but enjoy! Okay, I’ll settle for dinner out at a really great restaurant. Maybe with some good friends. I’m easy. I just want to do something fun in which I get to be the guest — not the organizer, cleanup crew, schedule manager, or any role beyond that of pampered guest.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

Over. Absolutely over. And out.

STAY CLEAR OF LANDMINES

Happy Radars – Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).


This is one of Those Prompts which I could answer it in one word. Or I could write book. I’m inclined to be one-word-ish on this. I think I’m an excellent judge of what is really going on if:

  1. I know the people intimately
  2. Spend more than a few minutes with them
  3. I have my radar turned on.

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I’m not a particularly astute judge of strangers unless I have some urgent reason to be. Moreover, I prefer to avoid intruding on friends’ personal business unless I feel I’ve been invited in. Even then, I tread softly. Other people’s private lives are a minefield. You can get blown to pieces if you don’t watch out.

So mostly, I don’t intrude. Most especially, I don’t judge and I don’t take sides.

Taking sides is how you lose friends and body parts.