Sunday, July 15, 2012

Being a woman...

Today I read about photographer Liz Gorman getting groped in Dupont Circle and then I discovered the CASS site, which is worth checking out.

Years ago, in Chicago, on a crowded street on a sunny afternoon, I had an eerily similar experience. Last Friday night, although thankfully there was no contact, I had a creepy experience that reminded me that even at 62, being a woman means I sometimes feel very vulnerable, in a way that men don't.

As I was finishing up my walk, about 2 blocks from my house, I heard someone coming up behind me. I thought at first it was someone on a bicycle, and although I was on the sidewalk, I glanced over my shoulder to see if I needed to get out of the way. To my surprise, the guy was not on a bike, but was on foot, jogging, with a dog on a leash. He held a cellphone to his ear, and he was talking loudly into the phone, so loudly that I could hear his conversation, and my hearing is not that great. Among other things, he said he was only in Dallas for a couple of weeks, yada yada yada. Flags went up in my head on hearing this because there are no hotels anywhere near my neighborhood, and if that was the case, whose dog was he walking? But then I thought well, he must be staying with a friend, or in a friend's place...

He was jogging, I was walking, so I moved to the side to let him pass, but he didn't pass. Instead, he stayed right behind me, closing the distance, with the dog off to the side. This felt weird, and made me nervous. I increased my speed, and as I turned the corner, to my relief, I saw an elderly neighbor whom I don't know by name, but whom I frequently see when I walk in the evening as he steps outside his house to allow his ancient dachshund to take a few steps for his evening constitutional. As usual, we exchanged hellos. I slowed a bit to let the jogger pass, but the jogger slowed too; he wasn't passing. I could see my elderly neighbor checking him out, and I thought well I'm not the only one who finds this weird. I'd completed the short block and was now at my street; relieved, I turned the corner, thinking I'd lose the creep. WRONG. He turned the corner right behind me, and continued to stay about 10 feet behind me, although he was now in the middle of the street, which didn't particularly reassure me. I heard him say into his phone that he'd been running for 1.7 miles and the comment seemed so pointless that I got a feeling that there was no one else on that call. Suddenly, to my great relief, I saw another neighbor jogging toward me on the opposite side of the street. I ran the rest of the way to my door, unlocked it, and rushed inside, very relieved to be home safe and sound.

Was I unnecessarily paranoid? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure that guys have completely different concerns when they're out in the world, and I wonder if this will ever change.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Are the trolls winning?

So I've had to enable comment moderation, not because I worry that any of my friends or family will make a comment I can't live with, but because I've been spammed recently and I'm tired of having to go in and delete the spam. I've reported it, but I don't have a lot of confidence that anything can or will be done about it. It's my understanding that the people who do this move from account to account to avoid having to deal with the consequences of their actions. I don't understand spam at all, whether it's left as a comment on a blog post or shows up as an annoying pop-up when I'm trying to read or watch something. Are there really enough people out there whose reaction to a pop-up for a cruise or an expensive handbag is, "Goodness, why didn't I think of that? That's exactly what I need/want!" Somehow I doubt it. Nevertheless, spam is here to stay and we all have to deal with it. For me, that means using comment moderation on my blog, at least for now.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Facebook madness...

Tonight I went onto Facebook to post my walking stats and when I went to my profile to see if I'd been successful, for some reason my family profile popped up. I glanced at it and noticed that it showed just 3 of my 4 chickadees: Alex, Kath, and Christo were there, but Michael was not. I hit the "Edit" button, and he showed up, only to disappear again when I went back to the full family profile.


I then noticed that his profile pic was missing, so I clicked on his name, only to see this message: "This account has been deactivated. Only you can see Michael on your family list. You can unfriend Michael if you like."

I have to admit I had a moment of absolute panic. Ridiculous, perhaps, but it's what I felt. And no, I did not feel like unfriending him; sheesh, I can't bear to remove the names of long lost friends from old address books! So instead of unfriending my son, I did what every good mom in this technologically advanced society does; I picked up my iPhone and texted him: "Hey, I saw that you deactivated your FB account; is everything OK?" In about 2 minutes, to my great relief, Mike texted me back. Everything is fine; he's just in the middle of moving halfway across the country again and taking a break from FB in the meantime.


There are times I've come close to taking a break from FB myself, and I've had a number of friends do this before Mike did, but nevertheless, I always feel alarmed when a name disappears from my circle of FB friends. I always wonder if that person is OK, and so far, thank goodness, they always have been. This is the first time I've seen the option to unfriend someone with a deactivated account, though. That option strikes me as really weird, and horribly cold, but then, I do still have the names and addresses of people long gone from my life in my rolodex (remember those?) and address books. Instead of offering me the option to unfriend him, I wish FB would provide persons deactivating their accounts the option to notify friends and/or family that they're doing so. But that's probably way too old fashioned an idea for FB.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

8 days into South Beach, desperately craving carbs...

I've done this before, but not like this. South Beach PLUS rigorous daily exercise. Not the smartest plan, really, because that exercise needs carbs to fuel it, but 8 days in I've lost 8 pounds, which is good; I need the jump start, always. But I absolutely can't face the thought of 6 more days of eggs, meat, and V-8 for breakfast. I almost gag thinking about it.

I don't know what I'm going to do about breakfast, because tonight my mind was, of course, on dinner. I was thinking maybe I'd go out someplace and have a nice filet of fish; something I'm not good at preparing myself. But eating out is expensive, and I'm a perfectly good cook myself. Last night I grilled some chicken breasts, so tonight I went out and got whole wheat pitas...I don't really give a damn that they're verboten right now...and tomatoes, avocados, sprouts, thick bacon...I came home and cut a few strips of the bacon into pieces and fried it; then I assembled one of the world's best sandwiches: cut up grilled chicken, topped with sprouts, bacon, avocado, tomato, and a special sauce comprised of half mayo, half taco sauce...HEAVEN! It was so good, that I may have it for breakfast again tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

More reasons to hate T-W cable...

All I wanted to do was pay my bill.

I pay most bills online, including my cable account, which I've been successfully reviewing and paying online for several years. This month, though, when I clicked on the link in the email, I was taken to a page with this message:

MyServices Just Got Better,
to Make Your Life Easier
Now, when you register for MyServices, you can view and
pay your bill online with PayXpress – no extra sign in
needed – and manage your TV, Internet, phone, and more.

I was pretty sure I'd already registered for My Services, so I tried signing in as usual, but that didn't work; I received a message saying I needed to register for MyServices.

So I clicked on the link that said Register Now, which took me to a page that asked for my email address.

I typed it in, clicked SUBMIT, and got this message:

We've sent an email to [my email addy]with a link to complete the registration process. Please add to your address book to prevent our emails from being marked spam.

I went to my gmail account, opened the requisite message, and clicked on the link, which took me to a page that read:


Session has expired

Please restart the process by verifying your email address. If you have already completed registration, simply sign in.

So I started all over again, only to end up stuck in some kind of Time-Warner hell, an endless loop of these messages that no doubt has some Time-Warner IT guys doubled over with laughter, because for sure this is T-W’s idea of fun.

Frustrated, I went back to the page where I began, and saw that I had the option of signing in to my T-W account with my PayXpress ID, which I did. I then had to [again] accept the terms of their online billing, which might print out into about 42 pages if I were so inclined, but I’m not; there’s simply no point because you can’t pay online if you don’t accept their terms, so I clicked “I accept” and hit Enter, only to be immediately asked if I wouldn’t please agree to go paperless. This account has been paperless from the beginning, but there were no options to move forward unless I clicked “I accept”, so I did…only to be told that I’m already paperless; would I like to receive paper statements again?

NO! NO! NO!...all I wanted to do was pay my bill, which I could have done easier and faster using a checkbook and snail mail.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012


We are truly animals, or at least I admit that I am. I have a job that requires me to sit in front of 2 computer screens for 8 hours a day, plus I spend an average of 3 hours a day in my car, driving the just over a hundred miles round trip to work each day, which means I've been sedentary approximately 11 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 6 wonder my body has been screaming ENOUGH!

So I started walking again. I admit, I didn't feel like it. What I mostly felt like doing was more of the same; i.e., crawling back into bed and pulling the covers over my head until I felt rested. But despite being so sedentary, or maybe because of it, I never felt rested. Fortunately for me, my company has a wellness program, and a year ago, they offered free pedometers. I ordered one, and got into the habit of clipping it on each morning to record my steps. I had no idea how many steps were in a mile (approximately 2,000), or that a good goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. But once I figured all of that out, I approached it with my usual passion, and walked relentlessly, all last summer, when we had over a hundred days of temperatures over a hundred degrees. I overdid it. I got shooting pains in my feet and Achilles tendons and so I stopped walking for a while, and then I lost the clip for my pedometer, so I stopped completely. I immediately gained weight and felt awful. So early this year, I sent away for a replacement clip for the pedometer, and a couple of weeks ago, I started walking again.

Last night was a beautiful night, and I felt so good, I kept on going until I'd completed 6.2 miles, a 10K. I was absolutely wiped afterward, and still tired today; so tired that I came home and took a nap. I didn't feel like walking tonight. Psychologically, I was still tired from last night, and felt there would be no shame in taking a well deserved day of rest. But (and here's the animal in me), my LEGS wouldn't have it. I walked into my bedroom, intending to run a bath, but my legs had other ideas. Instead of running a bath, I walked into my closet and got out socks, pants, a t-shirt and my walking shoes. I ended up walking 3.2 miles (just over 5K) in a decent time, and although I was tired by the time I got home, I felt (and still feel) GOOD, and I know my sleep will be good. Even when I don't particularly want this, my body wants this. The animal in me wants this, and that's a good feeling.

Monday, March 19, 2012

When the world is puddle wonderful...

It's been a long, long, long, long time since I posted, and it's time to remedy that.

Recently I started walking again, with my immediate goal being to log at least 10,000 steps (5 miles) on my pedometer 5 days out of 7. The goal was set by my company's fitness site, not by me; personally, I'd prefer to have started more modestly, having been sedentary for most of the winter, but because that's the stated goal, I feel an obligation to try to meet it.

I clip the pedometer on my waistband as soon as I get dressed every day, so that all of my steps count, but the pedometer differentiates between steps and what it counts as aerobic steps...meaning steps where I've been moving without any stops for at least 10 minutes. I more than met the goal yesterday, logging a little over 3 miles of aerobic steps, but today I was tired, and in no mood to walk. I thought about using one of my rest days, but with walking, as with everything else, I prefer to get any heavy lifting done first, so tonight, with just over 5,000 non-aerobic steps logged on my pedometer, reluctantly, I started out for my walk, thinking I'd be happy to complete just 5000 aerobic steps (2 1/2 miles) tonight. I'd no sooner stepped outside the front door than several huge, cold drops of rain splatted onto my head. We were supposed to have stormy weather beginning this afternoon, but the rain held off until I was ready to walk (of course), so I immediately turned around and went back inside, where I put on my REI rain jacket, which has a decent hood, and then started on my way.

At first I was cold, but then a funny thing began to rain really hard, and the rain felt GOOD. I was wearing a pair of Teva river sandals, and to avoid the mud that had run off onto some of the sidewalks, I walked into the street, which was flooded. The water ran swift and cool and clean over my feet, and at first I kicked a little, and then a lot, since I was drenched anyway, splashing happily in the water. I was walking sufficiently far and sufficiently fast that I was no longer cold, and the rain smelled really good. The water was loud; not just the rain, whose loudness varied, but the water rushing into the wide hungry mouths in the gutters that carry the water to the sewers beneath the neighborhood to dump all of the street runoff into the creek that runs through this neighborhood...the water in some of those was almost roaring. I walked to several creek crossings, to watch the creek rise. I walked for almost 90 minutes, over 5 miles logged as aerobic walking, and in that time, the creek rose several feet, although it was nowhere near running up over the street itself. I've lived in this neighborhood for 28 years, and in that time I've seen the creek overrun the streets just once, which was quite enough.

Anyway, walking in the rain I was reminded of how much I love to walk in the rain, something I haven't really done, not like this walk, in years. And I thought of e.e. cummings wonderful poem, in Just:

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan whistles