College was not, as it turned out, particularly useful for practical stuff. Although I learned a reasonable amount, it had a tendency to be the kind of thing that makes great conversation while playing Trivial Pursuit rather than while trying to figure out your household budget for the month.
Consider the subject of infinite sets. I am not a mathematician. I’m okay with arithmetic and I can figure out a basic, algebraic equation if you give me enough time and scratch paper … but otherwise? Unless it’s part of a computer language, I’m at a loss.
I remember infinite sets because it was similar to trying to understand time travel.
An infinite set is any combination of numbers that has no end. There are lots and lots of them. All positive numbers, like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 … and obviously, you can keep counting until the moon turns blue and the world is exhausted.
But what about an infinite set of all negative AND positive numbers, so they go back forever into the minuses as well and forward into the positives. Forever and a day. Without end. That would be twice as big as all positive number … but equally infinite.
There can be infinite sets of only numbers which divide by three or cardinal number and any bizarre combination of fractions. They are all infinite. But some are bigger than others.
How can one infinity be bigger than another infinity? Apparently, universes are sort of like that and now, my brain is due for an explosion because I can’t keep this kind of information there.
Our personal numeric world consists of shockingly finite numbers. That’s one of the amazing parts of retirement. You have what you have and you will never have more unless you hit the lottery or have an extremely rich relative planning to die and leave his fortune behind for you.
Retirement income just “IS.” It won’t get bigger. Retirement income pretty much stays the same while the world trundles on. Life and the universe may be infinite, but retirement is not.
It’s just a thought to ponder if you feel like pondering.
Nope, not part of a challenge. It’s merely that I have so many pictures of birds taken this week, I figure I ought to share them.
I have a new bird book. I broke my vow and ordered the long lens for my Olympus OMD — which cost more than the camera cost — but it’s the only game in town and I really need to use the camera that I can focus.
I don’t see a lot of squirrels in the feeder, but by the volume of disappearing food, I’m betting they get there, eat a lot, and disappear. Probably to take a long nap in a tall tree.
In the course of this week, the various flocks of Goldfinch (Magnolia, American, et al) have totally taken over the feeder. They fly around it in flocks. Somehow, a few Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and various woodpeckers drop by, but mostly … lots and lots of Goldfinch.
Oh, and about the Juncos. I have a few that are so fat, I’m surprised they can still fly.
Today, the feeder was pretty close to empty. My son has other stuff going on and I didn’t want to bother him, so I figured “How long can it take to fill a bird feeder?” Owen does it in two minutes.
But you see, he’s well over six feet tall and I am just barely hitting five feet. I couldn’t reach the feeder. I dragged out something to stand on, but it was too tall and I was afraid I’d ruin my future by falling off the deck head first, so finally, I turned it sideways and stood crookedly on its legs. Not very comfortable — or steady.
And it turns out that this bird feeder holds five pounds of food. Maybe more. It’s a lot of food. A lot more food than you think. Like … tubs of it. Maybe that’s why the Juncos are so fat? Also, some of the Goldfinch look pretty well-rounded too.
Eventually, they will all just sit on my deck waiting for the goodies. Unable to fly. Just sitting like little, feathered cupcakes.
I think even the squirrels are bloated.
Is it possible that I am over-feeding my wild creatures?
And finally, just so you don’t think I’m delusional, this is a picture of my Pileated Woodpecker. It’s blurry, but I think it’s definitely that big woodpecker. I’m hoping one day, he’ll drop by and hang around long enough for me to take a picture that has … you know … edges.
I know the dogs are a total mess when I stop taking pictures of them. The Duke tends to look good most of the time, but both Scottish terriers get seriously grubby. They love dirt. They long for filth.
Terriers — dogs of the earth — love to dig. They love to roll in the dirt they dug and the hole they made. Our front yard — any part of it that isn’t entirely rocky — looks like a missile testing site.
They race outside and bury their faces in the mud. We brought Bonnie home from “The Bark Ark” where they trimmed her down to something dog-shaped (she needs to lose a few pounds), put a Christmas style bandanna on her and home we came.
I said: “We should take her picture right away — before she’s dirty again.”
Garry agreed and went directly to the back deck — from which every last bird departed as we arrived. You’d think they’d figure out by now we aren’t planning to eat them for dinner. Never mind.
I had to go inside and get The Good Camera. By the time (a minute later) I was back on the deck, Bonnie was rolling her face around on the deck and had managed to add a few sticks, twigs, and dead leaves to her beautiful trim.
I dusted her off, told Garry to please hold her so I could take pictures. She’s short even by my standards. When she’s on the deck, the only way to get her picture would be for me to lie flat and hope she cooperates. That didn’t seem likely. Anyway, getting up from lying flat on the deck didn’t seem like my best idea of the day.
Now I have pictures. For Bonnie, this is as good as it gets. And I think we’ve found a new groomer. The price is the same, but they are miles closer to us and don’t have quite the same attitude that they are doing us a favor by grooming the dogs. They are groomers. They are supposed to groom dogs.
Of course, they haven’t met Gibbs or The Duke yet.
A note on local groomers:
Most of them don’t seem to have any idea what a pure-bred dog should look like when groomed. Let’s assume that half the dogs they groom are pure-bred, but aren’t going to be shown (because people who are showing dogs do their own grooming).
You would think that the groomers would buy a book about dogs and look at the pictures, thereby getting an idea of what this particular dog should look like, wouldn’t you? Even if they aren’t going into a show ring, every breed has some kind of standard.
I’ve gotten my dogs back with puffy tails. With eyebrows and beards shaved off. With tufted ears.
Good grief! A Scottish Terrier with tufted ears and a puffy tail is a travesty.
These people actually knew what I meant when I said: “Face Scotty, shave everything else down because all that long hair does is collect more dirt.” They knew exactly what to do … AND because I explained that Bonnie’s eyes are bad and need constant treatment, they trimmed her eyebrows so that they look “Scotty,” but are leaving enough of her face clear so it will be easy to treat her. I appreciate that.
Sometimes, when she’s really in her final grubby stage, I have trouble finding her eyes. I know they are there. But where?
When Garry came into the bedroom, I was staring at the radio. Garry takes his hearing aids off at night, so we have bedtime conversations at high volume. Shouting, really.
“Why are you staring at the radio?”
“I’m trying to figure out if it’s on. Oh, it just started to make noise. It’s on.”
“But why are you staring at it?”
“I thought if I stared at it for a while, it would start to play. Or not. One way or the other, I would find out what the red light means.”
“What red light, and why are you staring at it? How will staring at it help?”
“That’s how I figure things out. It didn’t come with instructions.”
Pause. “Have you taken any drugs?”
“No. See, there’s the red light. I didn’t if know the red light means the CD player is on or off. I had to wait to see if it started playing. I was pretty sure a blinking red light means pause, but I wasn’t sure what a steady red light means. I waited when there was no light. Nothing happened. So I tried it the other way. Now it’s making noise. Therefore, the red light means it’s on. It’s slow getting started.”
I wasn’t trying to be funny, but Garry started to laugh and couldn’t stop. “That’s the sort of thing I would do,” he said,
“Well, how else would I know what the red light means?”
He laughed some more.
Garry thinks I know a lot of stuff I don’t really know, especially about technical issues. I push buttons. If staring (and waiting) doesn’t fix what’s broken, I push another button. Or push the same button again. Or hold the button for a couple of seconds and see if it does something different.
While I’m waiting, I watch. Intently. Maybe I’ll get a message. Isn’t this how everyone fixes stuff? I used to look things up in the manual, but since no one supplies a manual anymore, it’s more art than science.
My husband finds this hilarious.
I spend a lot of time staring at computers, waiting for something — anything — to happen. Hoping an idea will occur to me or for the system to reboot. To see if a blue screen will recur, or the diagnostic will tell me there’s no problem, even though I’m sure there is.
I am waiting for a message.
I must be doing something right. Beethoven is playing on the CD player/radio. And most of the time, the computers work.
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