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2008 june Through July

Continuation of WEDNESDAY, 6/11/08: 3:40PM: Start new set of a hundred notebook pages, and think to make life easier for myself by calling it simply NH, for NOTEBOOKH.

SHARON B. 67                                                  6/11/08

Decided NOT to phone her, but get there at 5:28PM to find the door LOCKED. Knock, and she comes out, saying she'd told the other person to leave it unlocked, but they locked it anyway. I said I was ABOUT to call, but decided to "trust" her, and she joked about almost not being worthy of the trust. She asked how the trip was, and I summarized about the easy last days in Greenland, even though it was disappointing that we couldn't take any tours, but I used the chance to rest up. But kept talking about the "shadow" over the trip, or over ME, and she finally said something about "being too happy" that I said "rang a bell," and though I hadn't EXPRESSED it much recently, it MAY WELL BE that old feeling that if I'm TOO happy, something BAD will happen. Like I gave the example of "the weather always being good." We DID get to and from Greenland, even though the husband of the beautiful woman who sold Steve his first Tupilik might not have gotten back that evening, AND we found that the town wasn't nearly as muddy or snowy or messy as she implied he said it was. Told her of how much I liked the guide, the scenery, and all but the one asshole on the trip, describing the beautiful women and "the hunk" who was with us on the trip, and told her of the earthquake, and only at the very end, when I said, "My dreams haven't been very interesting, mostly about travel, but---" and THEN I remembered the dream from BEFORE the trip---NO, checked back and it was AFTER the trip, on 6/7! [DREAMS:6/7/08]---of the earthquake, which I'd never connected with the ACTUAL earthquake, so it's all bogus. Talked of Mildred being angry when I asked her to "keep me on a longer leash," and she retorted that I kept her on a short leash, and that didn't get anywhere useful. Told her earlier about the goodness of the guide; the success of Steve and my sharing a room: his generosity, our cooperation, his tolerance of my coughing and snuffling; and the goodness of the scenery and my "usual" luck with the weather: warm enough not to ever have to use my heavy gloves and socks or long johns, but again worried that the "hubris" of my taking pride in that might cause "the gods" to rebel and cause something awful to happen. Mentioned taking a couple Valium on a few days before the trip to Greenland, so as not to worry about it happening or not, and about taking it last night in preparation for the trip to the dentist this morning. Mentioned about the speed of my catching up with things from the trip, even unnecessarily adding that I picked up the required batteries on the way back from the dentist at noon today. Felt like a "different person," I said, maybe because I was using a new camera and had to operate in a "different" way. Friends said that I was traveling too much and spending too much money, but I HAD to because in ten years I wouldn't be ABLE to travel like this, and described sitting opposite the 80-year-old man, who was constantly corrected by his wife for words or dates or locations, worrying that I'd become as frail as he was, using a cane, going slowly, in just a few years. Mentioned my appointment with Dr. Chin on Friday about my knee x-rays, and mentioned also the "crick" in my neck, which she said was usually a sign of STRESS, only a muscular tightness, which I said I hoped it was, rather than, say, a brain tumor. She said that the more I RECOGNIZED the pattern of not "daring" to feel too happy because I'd be punished, or I'd have to punish myself so that I WAS not too happy (told her about the one entry: "I'm HAPPY" I made in my journal), in order to "protect" myself from some disaster, the more I'd get used to having it, and just set it aside as something I habitually thought, which had nothing to do with the reality of the situation. Didn't mention buying an AlphaSmart replacement, praised my getting through the Times quickly this time, processing all the mail business in one day, watching old tapes, going out to meals, and she said she was sure I'd remain strong, enjoy St. Petersburg, and NOT feel it was happening too quickly when the time came. (Return to the end of SHARON66).  (Go to NOTEBOOK:SHARON68).

FRIDAY, 6/13/08: 6:10AM: Tried sending two e-mails to Tris last night, one of one movie, one of a movie and three stills. Both took hours to be sent, could be "interrupted" but not stopped, so I let it go overnight when I couldn't even access the e-mail package itself. This morning I got the message: that my one transmission of "over 20,482 kilobytes" to Tris "exceeded the limit of 20,480 kilobytes" possible with these servers. At least it didn't wreck my computer, as I'd feared! BUT when I got BACK to e-mail (Outlook Express), I found I was STILL trying to send the two messages. Finally went to "outbox" and found that I could HIGHLIGHT the two messages and DELETE them, which I did, and then went to find that they were STILL trying to be sent, but it was some kind of artefact, because when I went BACK to e-mail, they had disappeared, except for one MORE message, which I deleted, and seemed to have stopped the process for good. Now can I go back to bed at 6:15AM? 9:12AM: Type second dream [DREAMS:6/13/08], and am pleased to be ALMOST caught up from the trip within a week of the trip. Just a few more stacks to be put away, and then I can get to the numerous things left from BEFORE the trip: Chin today, Russian visa, slide-show update (easier now that I've had my FINAL show at 140 Cadman Plaza), and then lots and lots of stuff to do with the website, always with me. Now to try Saga from Icelandair at 9:15AM, since I called at 9:04AM and they said their hours were 9AM-5PM, so please call back THEN. Ha! 1:10PM: Then I had to send them an e-mail, which I said was "very inconvenient." Put rest of stuff from table away, and coming back from the gym just now I felt a lump in my jeans pocket and THERE was a single Icelandic kroner! So I LIED when I said this was the first trip from which I brought back NO native money! Got the new AlphaSmart replacement and will now open it. Rita called from the Orlando airport, leaving for Canada, and will call back later tonight.

SHARON B. 68                                                  6/18/08

Start by quizzing HER on what she thought of my slides, and she said they were wonderful, the music didn't seem too loud to her, she thought that was a great idea, and she said I was very professional in my presentation: did I do that a lot at IBM? No, but I'd presented this show four or five times. She concluded that it showed a very good side of me. I even said that I vaguely felt as if I'd had a tranquilizer: even when the projector didn't immediately operate and I had to turn light switches on and off to see if I'd inadvertently turned off the wall source, then checked all the plug connections, and finally got it to operate, she SAID that she noted that I took it all very calmly. I said I almost MISSED "fretting," as if I'd become a different person without it, and she noted the woman who'd always used a cane saying the same thing when she'd had a knee operation and didn't need her cane anymore. I said I'd been so BUSY all week that I didn't have a chance to fret, and though things came close to their deadline, I DID finish them. She asked if there was anything I'd NOT done "in time," and I thought and thought, but couldn't come up with any examples. We established that I had two more sessions left before my trip, where I'd lose only two sessions. I mentioned I was thinking NOTHING, and that I'd recently accepted that that was OK. In the pause, I asked if SHE thought there were any "loose ends" to be cleared up. She said that I was free-associating very well, that we'd gone into the past enough to get many insights into my NEED to fill time with activity to avoid feeling lonely, that I MIGHT note some of my dreams to give us something to work with, but that we'd done very well: I was doing most of the work very well, and she was pleased with my progress, though I might still come to a point where I thought of something that would cause a panicked "don't go there!" reaction that would give us more to look into with more depth. I thought of ending the session early a few times, but at one point I reached down to pick up my plastic bag from the day, saying how I'd handled THOSE things efficiently, and she said we could end now, and I left to find that it was 6:15PM, the regular ending time, without actually planning for it. (Return to end of SHARON67). (Go to NOTEBOOK:SHARON69).

THURSDAY, 6/19/08: 10:04AM: Ken gets me out of bed by calling to say that the Nomad Restaurant event is really for Greens, and couldn't say whether they'd get insufficient response from them that would allow them to accept a few "non-Green" members (old shits like us). He told me to check the e-mails in case they open it to "us," and I complained that they couldn't even put us on an "old fart" waiting list if they DID need more registrations. Typed Sharon's page, got out the papers to get my Russian visa today, still VERY conscious of the MANY things on my desk to do, some of them trivial, some of them quite time-consuming.

SUNDAY, 6/22/08: 1:43PM: RUSSIAN VISA HASSLE!! Of course I had the visa application on my desk for a couple of months, but decided that I'd wait until I got back from Iceland to commit my passport to the Russian Consulate. When I phoned them it seemed simple: bring passport, filled application form, $131 cashier's check, and I figured to bring along my correspondence with the hotel, if that were needed, and my airline reservation confirmation, if THAT were needed. The application form had one cause for concern: for whatever reason, some of the important squares were black, so that any number I wrote in them was hard to see (maybe that made the numbers more difficult to change, I don't know). So I didn't put my photograph on the application, nor did I date or sign it. Then the aftermath of the Iceland vacation dragged on, and I got more and more involved with checking Marj's proofreading of my NOTEBOOK files, until finally I decided to do it on Thursday: not the start or end of the week. Because I wrote the note sloppily, I read that it was open "12-5" M-F, but I'd separated the numerals of "12" on purpose: the hours were actually something like "9-1 2-5." So when I got there at 1:35PM there were two enormous lines outside the door, where I read they were open 2-5. The line on the left was for visas, the line on the right, much longer, for passports. I was about 6th on line for visas. The doors opened promptly at 2PM, and the visa line was let in first, thankfully leaving behind some of the pushy women who made their way up the LEFT stairs, though wanting passports. Into a small room with the leftmost window for Processing Fees, the other four windows labeled, simply, "VISA." I asked over someone's shoulder, of the woman behind the Processing Fees window, which I had to visit first, and she motioned to the VISA window. Finally it opened, and about 2:15 a second window opened, asking for "next." I got to the window about 2:29PM, and the kindly clerk looked at my papers and asked for my Confirmation papers from the hotel. I'd read something like that from the bulletin board on the wall on the right: the first time I'd heard anything like that. He said the hotel should have e-mailed me the Confirmation; I said they hadn't said a word about it. He gave me two sample forms, one in Russian, the other in English from a Travel AGENCY, giving the proper seal and signature. He said that the black boxes on my application form were OK, and pasted one of my passport pictures (oh, I'd tried copying my old passport photo onto plain white paper, then onto photographic paper, but I never got the orientation right, so I decided to stop off at CVS for a new passport photo, and was delighted to find they took the picture, developed it, got SIX copies, cut them to size, and gave them to me in about ten minutes for $8 and change; then to the bank to pay $5 for a $131 cashier's check, for which I couldn't pay in cash, so the $136 was withdrawn from my checking account, though the teller couldn't inform me of the date on which my $2095 check would clear: "You have to ask at the front desk"; the woman at the front desk asked me where I deposited the check and I looked at her in puzzlement and said "at the bank," like, where else?; THEN it turned out that the magic word was ATM, and THAT took two days to get into the system at ALL, so they couldn't check the availability of a check I put into the ATM machine YESTERDAY) onto the form, added the word "Tourism" where I'd only checked "Private" for the "Reason for travel," and put US in the space where it asked what OTHER countries I'd applied for passports from. So I left confident that the form was OK: all I needed was the Confirmation from Nordhostel. E-mailed them 5:36PM Thursday, saying I was sorry to bother them, and gave them the information (names, dates, passport information) that was on the sample form. Checked my e-mail on Friday almost hourly afterwards, until it was clear that they weren't going to respond. Agonized over it Saturday night, and then at 2:18AM Sunday sent a SECOND e-mail, saying I hadn't heard in two days, surely the hotel was doing business over the weekend, and I was concerned that my travel dates were getting closer, and please could they respond. They replied at 6:53AM Sunday, saying, "Yes, you paid for your room, but Confirmation letters are 35 euros extra, look at the attached sites." So I studied them, couldn't use PayPal, and sent them an e-mail 9:53AM Sunday saying please send the Confirmation as soon as possible; I'll be going to the bank on Monday and sending you the 35 euros. Then thought again, and at 12:30PM Sunday sent them ANOTHER e-mail: "Would it be possible to 'trust' me and let me 'borrow' 35 euros of the approximately 1000 euros I've already sent you for the room, so that you could send the Confirmation NOW and I'll pay you LATER, as you've trusted me to pay you later for the approximately 35 euros for the taxi to the hotel from the airport on July 9." Somewhere on one of the websites I read something, ghastly, about INSURANCE, so I phoned John and asked what he did, and he said he trusted EVERYTHING to a visa agency and didn't really know anything about the details. "I'd strongly advise you to Google 'Russian visa' and find a local agency that'll listen to what's happened so far and handle everything for you from this point." I said I'd wait to hear from the hotel, but he, again, strongly suggested I go to a travel service IN ANY CASE, which is what he'd recommended I do in the first place, but I'd decided (to my current sadness and frustration) to risk because the message from the Russian Consulate made it SEEM relatively simple. Now at 2:20 I check e-mail for the third time since 12:30, and again find "no new messages." What grist for the Actualism meeting this afternoon!

TUESDAY, 6/24/08: 8:47AM: Went to bed at 1:03AM and got to sleep almost instantly. Woke at 6:55AM and fretted more about getting my Confirmation letter from Nordhostel, so I got up and write another begging e-mail to them at 7:05AM. Thought to start Actualism, but just wrote myself a note: 1) Write Actualism page from Sunday's session, 2) Find out when my last meeting with them was. Again thought to start Actualism, but ended up thinking about the dilemma in which I found myself yesterday, handling Marj's proofing of NOTEBOOKF: how do I handle, or indicate, buttons concerning the string of sessions with Sharon---the SSS problem. I diagrammed a possible solution, thinking I could talk to Tris about it when he phoned, but then decided that it was so complicated, the better way of handling it was to write a TRSMEM13, which I'll start now at 8:55AM. Finish it at 9:56PM, Paul M. having called about Paul C.'s impending visit. 9PM: Tris called when I was at the gym, saying he'd call back tomorrow. I kept checking for Confirmation letter, but by 8:50PM I got nothing, looked into many visa agencies without finding any that I felt I could trust with my passport, and e-mailed Nordhostel a PLEA to respond today (since they got my e-mail 25-6-08), or I'd be FORCED to send my passport away. Just in AGONY about this AWFUL situation! CAN'T think of anything else. Finally went to the gym (for the second consecutive time) after FOUR days, still with a pile of things to take care of. Updated my Actualism file, getting the dates and events of my prior attendance, mostly over ten years ago, only an 11/99 private session for a new energy with Bernice being MORE recent than ten years, and hardly anything near the "five years" that I roughly estimated since my last meeting with anyone. Desk still full of stuff to file away, but I ordered my last batch of food before my trip, put the food away that arrived just before I went to the gym, and now feel ready for dinner and an early bed, since I got to bed past 1AM this morning and got up well before 8AM. Thankfully, after some rain around 2:30, the day is mild and, with my newly clean body, comfortable to be in. My Canon digital just doesn't seem to work: chuck it?

WEDNESDAY, 6/25/08: 5:37AM: Woke with a dream [DREAMS:6/25/08] about 5AM, peed, saw that the sun seemed very near rising (I actually thought it was 5AM near the solstice), and I stood around looking at an increasing reddening sky while I felt for my heart rate, which seemed to be double as I lay in bed wondering if I was having an attack, or at least fibrillation. But when I rolled over and tried against the clock at 5:04AM, I couldn't feel the beat distinctly enough to count. Then checked e-mail once again, and at 2:something AM this morning I received an e-mail from Marsha saying that she knows the letter is complete and will be sending it to me sometime today, which means before NOON, so that I can plan for the Russian Consulate this afternoon with a trip to the Whitney with Charles! If she actually DOES it, and it DOES work: what a RELIEF! Finish typing at 5:41AM, ready for more bed. 2:50PM: Try Actualism, but can't get into it, so I get up and check my e-mail and find a note from Marsha: "It's done and I should have it today and forward it to you today." GREAT RELIEF! Have breakfast watching snippets of various things on TV, keeping checking e-mail but finding nothing, start talking to Tris at 11:30AM (for "half an hour"), and HE starts with various TRAVEL file questions, ending by saying he wants MORE files, and he only has NOTEBOOKA so far, and when I get to corrections, about 12:30PM, he drops a bomb: For each DAY to be an entry-point, each DAY would have to be a separate web page! Obviously impractical. He thinks a bit and we agree on a complicated solution: the hyperlink NOTEBOOK:1/22/06 will remain, but the "mouse cover" (what the system needs to execute the link) will give only NOTEBOOK2006, which will throw the user to the top of the NOTEBOOK2006 page, which will be followed by a LIST OF ALL DATES WITH ENTRIES IN 2006 (I absolutely refused to consider his first suggestion, that we find only those dates which are actually referred to, since I have NO WAY of knowing what dates may be referenced from DOZENS of other pages yet to be processed), and the user will have had to copy down that he wanted 1/22, on which he then clicks to get to the proper part of the 2006 page. AND, if he reads and then pushes BACK on the browser, it gets ONLY to the TOP of the page jumped from, not to the PLACE on the page that he left, because those sites are "data based" for commercial purposes, which our website is NOT; so if he wants to RETURN to the next dream, which he's found to be DREAMS:1/25/06, he'll have to write THAT down, ALSO. What a PAIN. Do some corrections, then at 1:30 he says he just HAS to get to lunch. So I call Spartacus and Mildred and leave word with them in case they'd tried to call me earlier and couldn't get me. Call Charles, who's leaving for the island at 4PM, sympathizes with my not getting my Confirmation letter yet, takes down the number of his ballet seat on 7/1, and wishes me luck. Call Marj at 2:30, insisting on a short call, since I hadn't remembered my opening phrase yesterday ("Pardon my premature ejaculation") with my happiness that I WAS going to get my Confirmation letter (HA!), and then WE get into the hassle about the website cross-references, and I finally hang up on her, saying I'm starving for lunch, at 2:45PM. Then CHARLES calls back, saying that he wrote Merry Widow on his calendar for 7/2, but I do insist it's 7/1, and he'd earlier said that he was ALSO invited to Carolyn's on 7/4, which I'm happy to hear. Then decide I MUST type all this up, finishing at 3:08PM, expecting, sadly, to close this, check another time for "No new messages," and have lunch.

SHARON B. 69                                                  6/25/08

Tell her EVERYTHING about the prior week; start with Oh, I didn't tell her the DATE of her HIP nonpayment; SHE got the same letter. Then Shelley reminding me it's 5PM and I see Sharon at 5:30. The Actualism address mess, the Russian visa mess, my dream of food in a restaurant's kitchen; my recalling details of Tris's specifications, realizing my FORMER luck makes this "out of my control" week the worst EVER, one more week to go, "It's so hard being PERFECT," when I tolerate Mildred, manage to get to the gym, and still TRUST Marsha more than a strange Visa Service, which would need the SAME letter! Afterwards, I thought of details I really should add: 1) told her about my "palpitations" this morning, which felt, when I was lying on my stomach, like my heart was beating twice as fast as it normally does; but when I rolled over to my back to try to TIME the beat-rate, I couldn't feel ANY heartbeat at all! She asked if I'd felt that before, and I said I might be able to recall once or twice before. "Why didn't you want to tell me?" she asked. "It's more a medical problem than a psychological problem; though I remember how supportive you were when I talked about a pain at the side of my head: you recommended I bring it up with my doctor"; 2) detailed my refusal to Google someone for Mildred, saying she should go to the library and get someone to teach her how: she said she'd done that a number of times, but they simply talked too fast: "Put your cursor here, press that button, scroll down, hit that, and that's all you have to do," and when she asked them to go slower so she could take notes, they just refused to listen to her. At THIS moment [7:54AM 6/26] it occurs to me that I could phone her and say I'm going to the Russian Consulate, will probably be finished sometime between 10 and noon, and maybe we could go to the library and I could teach her how to use Google, and then have lunch at the Mexican restaurant in her neighborhood that she asked me to go to yesterday and I refused, saying I didn't care for Mexican food, even though she said this was supposed to be a cut above the "rice and beans" of the usual New York City Mexican restaurant. (Return to end of SHARON68). (Go to NOTEBOOK:SHARON70).

THURSDAY, 6/26/08: 8AM: HAD to get out of the "Sharon" page, which I still may add to later, and say that I phoned Mildred, WAKING her, though she admitted it was VERY unusual that she would sleep past 7:55AM, and I apologized for being rude to her on the telephone yesterday by asking if I could stop by after visiting the Russian Consulate (which my note CLEARLY says is open from 9:30-1 2-5 M-Thu, which I had misread as 12-5 M-Thu before): 1) I could go WITH her to the library, 2) we could have a Mexican lunch, and she says, "But you can't come in," which I at first took to say she wouldn't accept me, but then clarifies to say, "I'll just come out and we'll go." I say it probably wouldn't be before 11AM, and she says she'll wait for me. NOW I have to describe the absolutely HORRIBLE time I had last night trying to print out the 2 PDF images of my Confirmation letters (and just GO to the web because I forgot the acronym PDF, and find that she actually RESPONDED "ok" to my thanking her for the letters, when I also said that all the information was correct): 1) when I opened the PDFs and tried to print them, nothing happened. I fussed and fussed with the new printer, trying two different "print" buttons on the PDF-handling screen, confused about the "PDF device" that came up to the right of my HP printer on the print screen, fleetingly got a mysterious message saying that "HP all-in-one" hadn't properly installed, which I ignored, but took into consideration later. But after two hours, from about 6:30-8:30, during which time I managed to see there were 8 or so images in the print queue, which had happened once before, and all I could think to do was REINSTALL the HP printer, and when I put in the installation DVD it began by uninstalling lots of components, which may have helped at the very last, but it went through a couple of false attempts, and at one point went so SLOWLY, with VANISHINGLY slow progress, that I decided the DELL was hopelessly enmeshed in my trying to print the PDFs and restarted IT, TWICE as it turned out, trying to start with a clean slate, and STILL it wouldn't work: the printer would turn off when I didn't want it to, sometimes the two stars for quality didn't appear, sometimes it would SAY "printing" but wouldn't be printing. Finally it seemed to install but STILL wouldn't print the PDFs. In desperation I tried copying the two documents onto my A disk and transferred it to my PC, where I knew there was an Adobe Acrobat button, since the PDF had to be opened with Adobe but my Dell didn't seem to be able to use it, though I know I paid to get it, and the first time the A disk was almost full and both files failed on reading on the PC, so I cleared off an A disk and tried again and then they displayed properly, but I turned on my old printer and tried again and again to print them, but it just wouldn't work for about fifteen minutes until a flash of inspiration hit me: I hadn't pushed the switch that transferred the old printer from the Dell to the PC! Pushed that switch and slowly, painstakingly, the old printer began a fuzzy, light, dot-matrix print of one of the forms! The first form (the letter-size and letter-oriented one-page form) took about ten minutes (maybe a bit less, but it was like a pot trying to boil), and in the middle of printing the second copy, the NEW printer suddenly came to life and spit out two perfect copies of the SECOND form (the two-page-horizontal form)! I was totally astounded. Tried to print the FIRST form, and it took AGES, it seemed, while it digested the information, MAYBE going through some kind of elaborate retranslation of a PDF form into something else, and then ACTUALLY PRINTED two copies of the FIRST form. By this time it was 9:40PM. Phoned Spartacus to crow, but he said he was about to have dinner and could he call me back in 20 minutes. I crowed to Mildred, who had the bizarre suggestion that the new printer "learned" from the old printer; then decided I was hungry, put in my salmon dinner, and it was ready when Spartacus called back at 9:50PM, stupidly asking why I would want to start dinner when he said he was going to call back in 20 minutes, and I was so exasperated with life in general that I simply said, "I'll talk to you later," and hung up, having a fairly cold dinner while watching TV, the AFI tribute to Warren Beatty on USA apparently not taking place, and I started watching one of Ken's tapes, and got to bed 12:10AM.

Continuation of THURSDAY, 6/26/08: 9:20PM: [Going through part of the day again.] Get up early, try Actualism but it really doesn't go, and I call Mildred at 8AM and agree to go to her place after the Russian Consulate. Have breakfast and leave about 9:05AM, getting to the DOOR of the visa department at 9:45AM, and in soon after to find 6-8 people in front of me. Finally taken just before 11AM, he looks at my stuff, gives me most of it back to take on the trip with me, and declares that I can pick it up after 11AM on July 4, "Which is an American holiday, but not for us; you won't have to wait on a long line." They take my $131 money order and I get out at 11:02AM to find a Venetian-blind rod in the gutter steps away from the Consulate! But it doesn't seem to fit my system, sadly. Get to Mildred's, she finally allows me in, and we talk until 11:45, when we go to the library on 96th Street and I teach her how to get to and use Google. Then we have lunch at El Paso Taqueria and I get home to get through the mail, set up a tape for Daughter of the Regiment, clear out the living room, get a return call from Chin that my liver is normal, talk to Marj and John about getting my visa, and John keeps INSISTING I need a new St. Petersburg guide, saying there's NO information available there. Continue filing stuff away until I finally figure expenses on the Iceland trip, coming in at SECOND-most expensive per day of $512.34, only behind the more-than-$700/day of the Japan trip with Ken. Then settle the Visa bill, putting it with Marj's bill to pay next week, and clear up the last of the medical notes, and now at 9:33PM type a summary of the Tony Awards last Sunday: August: Osage County won 5 announced Tonys (they had many awarded before the TV program started); South Pacific took for director (Bartlet Sher), actor in musical (Paolo Szot), and revived musical; while In the Heights took 4 for composer, musical, and two others. Everyone keeps saying I should see South Pacific, but I'd like to get in Die Soldaten on July 5, and Damn Yankees, with a great cast of Sean Hayes, Jane Krakowski, and Cheyenne Jackson, after I get back, on July 23-27. Now to try the "Gay Male Attractiveness Study." That's pretty awful, to 9:57, when I play Spider to 11:20, going down in score to have only 19 wins-over-losses, down from 22. Time for dinner!

FRIDAY, 6/27/08: 8:14AM: Now that my "piles" are sorted out, I have to choose between
A) niggly things like
1) updating Schwab files,
2) making a slide-show list,
3) getting a new camcorder,
4) applying for an international driver's license,
5) getting the unused rolls of film to the Cohls,
6) buying a ticket to Die Soldaten,
7) getting Ken to make Indian pudding, or
8) checking out Bartenone wine;
and B) website-connected tasks like
1) writing TRSMEM14 about ways of navigating the site,
2) checking more of Marj's proofreading,
3) supplying Tris with more files to put on the site,
4) finding out how to burn DVDs,
5) finishing travel-site synopses,
6) scanning slides,
7) learning Pinnacle for putting videotapes on the site, or
8) resolving final corrections with Tris. Amusing that on page 8 I'm typing about the two sets of 8 things to do before my trip in 11 days; but at least "things to do" are at last COUNTABLE, rather than being a set of messy stacks. Then decide that I NEED a typed do-list to check things off as I do them, so I put the 16 tasks into paragraph form to make the page longer, so I can type out two copies: one for the page stack, another for me to check and DO, in fact. And now at 8:33AM I have to decide how early I can call Tris, which will clarify what will go into TRSMEM14 without having to decide it all on my own.

SUNDAY, 6/29/08: 10:15AM: After I printed out the list of "niggly things," above, I decided to tackle them on Friday: Tris hadn't called me back, Marj didn't need anything soon, so I could put the website-connected tasks on temporary hold. Started with the slide-show list, needing the 2005-2007 calendars to complete the list, and when it was finished by noon I decided that I really didn't need to TYPE it, it sufficed as it was written, so I just put it atop the slide lists on the black shelf. By 12:10PM I'd gotten a $157.50 ticket for Die Soldaten by phone. Go to the gym later and when I pass Towne Liquors I go in and ask about "Bartenone" wines, and am referred to Bartonera, a Kosher wine, and buy a bottle of their red, hoping it might be good, but I drink it between 5-11PM on Saturday and it's nothing to rave about. Phyllis Cohl phones and says she'll send me $30 if I Priority Mail her the five remaining rolls of Fuji Sensia 200 slide film, costing an estimated $5 each, with a $4.80 Priority Mail stamp, and I wrap that up by 3:55PM. Finish my application for an international driver's permit by 4:15PM, and start work on the Schwab files, completing the Roth and regular IRA, and getting a good start on the Schwab One file by 6:15, at which time I leave to meet Leon at 6:35PM on Cadman Plaza for an A-train local ride to 81st Street for Hamlet, everyone carrying raingear to make sure it doesn't rain. We get six front-row seats on the extreme right, and since a wheelchair takes up TWO seats, I'm bumped from my 107 to 101, the last on the right. I'm not that happy with the casting for Hamlet (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Gertrude (Margaret Colin), but Lauren Ambrose as Ophelia is about the best; Sam Waterston and Andre Braugher taking the most audience-recognition notices. Leon likes it and is sad that I don't care for it, admitting that Hamlet might be a bit old for the part. The first act is over at 9:41PM, and final bows take place at 11:32PM, and since we just missed a Brooklyn-bound subway, we don't get home until 12:30AM. Saturday I get a call at 9:30AM that my glasses are ready; I finish the Times by about 10:30, having a late breakfast. Phone Ken about his Indian pudding, which he says is a WINTER dessert, so I put the card nicely away in my calendar for November 1. Then leave to pick up my glasses about 2:15PM and R-train to Best Buy at 23rd and 6th to give over my video camera for repairs, hoping to have it replaced with a new digital, and file the paper at the July 29 estimated completion date. Get home about 3:45PM just as it starts raining. Decide to finish the penultimate tape from Ken, so I finish Daughter of the Regiment with a late lunch, opening the Bartonera red, and continue with Does Your Soul Have a Cold? about Smith Kline Glaxo's antidepressant "utsu-net" that creates an enormous market for its Paxil. Then watch a gloomy The Fire Within, with a sexy (and sexually ambiguous) Maurice Ronet, who ends up shooting himself in the HEART (no symbolism here!), and finish with a bizarre Black Moon, with Joe Dallasandro in a nonspeaking but great-looking part with Alexandra Stewart, coincidentally also in Malle's The Fire Within, absolutely beautiful with striking oblong-shaped eyes. Bed at 1:55AM, pee at 2:59AM, again at 7:45AM, think to try Actualism but just shit, hear the Times hit the floor outside, have an early breakfast at 8:45AM, deciding to start NOW on earlier-to-bed and earlier-to-rise in preparation for the six-hour time difference in ten days in St. Petersburg. Now at 10:40AM finish this and turn to finish off updating the last two Schwab-account files, which, except for getting a haircut, will finish off the niggly things, leaving only the website to pay attention to. THAT is really niggly work, too, and at 1PM Marj phones, I say I'll call her after I finish Schwab files AND have lunch. Finish the files and put them away by 1:50PM, then have good barbecued pork lunch to 2:20, call Marj, and we chat until 2:30, getting through the first page by the time she wants to watch a tennis update 2:45-3:15, at which point she'll call ME back. I wear my reading glasses for the first time, but THEN I can't look at details out the WINDOW, even further obscured by a HEAVY rainfall and a BLAST of lightning nearby that literally causes a "click" in the phone at my ear, but we don't get off, since I can't REALLY believe there's much danger with plastic phones in lightning storms. Then go back to work on page 36 of NOTEBOOKF. Get to page 49 and have had enough, so make dinner and watch two of Ken's movies: Intermission, which I saw 12/30/07 and BARELY remember, so watch it again; and The Girl in the Cafe, which ends just at midnight, interrupted by the end of the fireworks from the Gay Parade (which had TERRIBLE rain twice during their afternoon!) from 10:45-11PM, so I get to bed about 12:10AM.

MONDAY, 6/30/08: Wake during the night, jot notes for a dream [DREAMS:6/30/08] and then out of bed about 7:15AM to order three St. Petersburg books from Amazon, which will come in two packages over the next three days. Then send Tris NOTEBOOKA, NOTEBOOKB, NOTEBOOKD from 8:49-9:30AM, then NOTEBOOKE, which I say to ignore while I make final corrections and check dates, and then have breakfast while reading Scientific American, and then correct and send NOTEBOOKE by 11:15, calling Marj, who's just on her way out for errands, so I go to the gym and get a haircut until 2:15, when I return for lunch, call Marj at 3, but she wants some more time, so I get a bit more done on NOTEBOOKF. Then we correct to page 51 to 4:15PM, she needing to finish an index, so she'll call me, rather than me calling her. Then Tris calls, and he tells me that he's left the FREEWAY system that formerly counted visits to the website, and he hasn't yet hooked up with an Adobe system that counts visits. We laboriously define how the anchors and links on the website will work, using NOTEBOOKB as a sample that will furnish content for 1996, 1997, and 1998 buttons after the 1990s button in JOURNALS BY DECADE, and after a long discussion (he assures me the dates as Marj added them will be enough for him to construct the proper anchor points) I tell him to start with NOTEBOOKD, which I then scan for the number of DREAMS demanded, and find 11 in 1999, 14 in 2000, 6 in 2001, and 7 in 2002, with 8 Cambodia dreams and 12 Scotland dreams that seem to be already included in the TRAVEL files. Then look through the DREAMS files to find 2 discrepancies in 1999, 3 in 2000, and 2 in 2001. Decide to change five NOTEBOOKD entry-dates and the dates of two DREAMS, and it's FINISHED. Call Tori to leave word with Tris that I found only 7 errors, and he can either call me back tonight or tomorrow to get them. I finish with this at 7:50PM, ready for an evening of videotapes. Watch Saps at Sea and Queer Duck and get to bed at 11:35PM.

TUESDAY, 7/1/08: Up at 5:55AM, knowing it's not enough sleep and I have The Merry Widow tonight, but I can always nap during the day, and I feel energized to get up and check Marj's flash drive for contents, deleting some duplicates and figuring she can go to proofread TRAVEL files next, after I tell her how to head them. Then do a quick survey of AR and JV to see what files and journal dates are where, still missing journals from 1/1/79 to 6/1/83 and from 3/5/92 to 8/29/92, though I MAY not have kept ANY notes then! Then write two checks, for Choice Visa and Marj, and get them down to the mailbox at 10:45, back to check that my last EKG was 5/25/07 and call Chin to ask him to call me back about my "murmurs." Finish this at 11AM and decide to check restaurant week on the web. Tell Mildred about Telepan and Ruth's Chris, so she makes reservations for Telepan. I check through page 67 of Marj's notes for NOTEBOOKF, and she calls before I can finish, so we talk till 3:55PM, Charles having called about meeting to get his ticket tonight for The Merry Widow, and I called Tris to tell him not to try to get me before 4PM, and Marj and I finish at 3:55, and then I finish the rest of the tracking to 4:15PM, glad that she said I won't be getting NOTEBOOKG before I leave for my trip. Leave at 7:10PM, after dinner, for the opera, and get back at 11PM and get right to bed without finishing the unfinished dinner under Saran Wrap in the fridge.

WEDNESDAY, 7/2/08: Wake and type a dream [DREAMS:7/2/08] just before 7AM, then look up Vilar (trial begins in August) and Velia, which turns out to be Vilia, from the OPERA by Lehar, and of course that's DIFFERENT from the ballet. "You idiot," I say to myself. Then Google Maryinsky and by 10:30, through MANY tries and phone calls, get three tickets from, which will be delivered to Nordhostel on 7/9 "in a red envelope" for a Visa charge of $177.58, getting 7% discount for early booking and an additional 5% for being a senior. Get Corsaire (7/11) and King Roger (7/16), premiere by Szymanski, at the Maryinsky, and Swan Lake (7/13) at the Imperial Ballet Theater. Let's hope this WORKS! Talk to Charles, and then type this to 10:45AM, ready to get back to the website tasks.

SHARON B. 70                                                  7/2/08

Get there at 5:30PM exactly, and read a half column of New Yorker when she calls me in. I start by saying I had a FABULOUS week, getting EVERYTHING off my desk except for the website work, but then LAST NIGHT I felt the pall of DREAD settle over me, for no particular reason: yes, the ballet wasn't as good as I expected, the woman behind kept kicking the back of my seat, and again it just might be the CONTRAST of this week's "everything going well" that made "that old dread-y feeling" just worse. Then told her of the dream of last night: trying to find a john, seeing a room with just urinals, then pissing on a blank wall to find a toilet covered in black leather with two small holes, and I made quite a mess in one hole with awful toilet paper, and I felt oddly calm as I cleaned everything up, but "What do you think of the shit?" from Sharon got the response, "At the worst, looking at my website this week, I thought that much of IT was shit," and then I told her the story of the SUDDEN PEAR, which I read as its intended SUDDEN FEAR until the P for the F hit me, and that was followed by "screaming and pissing and shitting" as the disaster struck, and I felt (insisting that I was overdramatizing) that if I got any MORE anxious about the evening that I might stand up right there in the ballet and start screaming, though that was only the MOST FLEETING thought, but she encouraged me to more connections, and at the last I asked her about my dream from last week, and she flipped through her pages until she reminded both of us ("Sometimes I remember what the dreams from the week before were!") that it was the breakfast with much meat, and I said that was SO prescient about this week, when I had some of the meat-filled Healthy Heart lunches in place of my usual default oatmeal breakfast, trying to get rid of backed-up dishes before my trip, and I had to add that I'd just told MARJ that so much of this was just garbage, and I really didn't care HOW she edited this stuff, though she was perfect for the job with all the boring stuff, but there was STILL a lot of WONDERFUL stuff coming, that I got pleasure about reading ahead in some of the trips that would be coming up, that she'd almost finished the MOST boring part, the NOTEBOOKS, and even said that the SUDDEN PEAR was from one of our sessions, and Sharon didn't seem to mind that she was part of an enormous website, and I at one point admitted, after defining "messianic" to her, that "If everyone in the world read my website, it would become a wonderful place," because in with all the shit, just like the horse, were valuable pieces of wisdom that everyone could benefit from, and she started praising my ability to connect things: from last week's dream, and this week's dream, and through the week itself, and how I was a genius at free-association techniques, and she even got me to talking how superior my toilet's water (never getting that awful red circle) was to the old toilet on Hicks Street, and how I enjoyed my apartment, though with my reading glasses I saw how dirty the windows were, and had remarked to Marj about how long it'd been since I vacuumed, and she brought all that into the shitty toilet, that I was punishing myself in the old way (maybe even for the hubris of hoping that such things would never hound me again!) for feeling so good, and that she knew I'd have a good trip, that I'd enjoy the tickets I got from the Internet this morning, that the website would be wonderful, that the dreams themselves were a book, that the whole thing was a wonderful undertaking, and she wished me the best of luck on the trip, establishing that I'd be back in time for meeting on July 23, and I left feeling good I may TELL her this SHIT!  (Return to end of SHARON69). (Go to NOTEBOOK:SHARON71).

More from WEDNESDAY, 7/2/08: 7:30PM: Hungry for dinner, but felt I should fill out the rest of today with finishing proofing NOTEBOOKF, having Marj let me off the hook by not sending me NOTEBOOKG (and taking the printed pages from the printer I'm so pleased by how DARK the ribbons are keeping!), and I got a package from Amazon, so I'll have St. Petersburg stuff to look at (on the plane), and I can try to find the still-missing journal pages, the missing dreams from the Atlantic Ocean Islands trip, and get more files to Tris so he can fill up the website quicker, not to mention trying to get to burning DVDs, sending slides, and other website tasks. But now I'm HUNGRY!

FRIDAY, 7/4/08: 7PM: Phone Ken and try to make arrangements to leave off his VHS tapes and pick up new ones from him, but he's got his own tasks and deadlines and "not-before" times, so I just let him say what he has to say. I'm obsessed with the advice of the guy next to me on the visa line: "Don't wait too long in the day; they may close early if they don't have much business." So I leave at 9:45AM, JUST catch the train to Borough Hall, and just MISS the 4/5 into Manhattan. Start reading Leningrad, I guess borrowed from Spartacus because it has a St. Petersburg clipping from the Times from 2001 stuck into it. Subway comes at 10, getting me to 86th Street at 10:30, to the visa line outside at 10:40, and in to get my passport almost instantly by 10:42. Miss an M3 bus, and then a "limited stop" M3 BYPASSES the stop marked "5th Avenue and 87th Street," which has a timetable saying the "limited stop" M3 STOPS at 86th, and it stops down at 84th Street! Onto a M3 local at 11:04 and get off at 11:30 at 14th Street, buy some tooth stuff (and it later turns out she seems not to have put my $1.09 Butler Stimulators into my bag!), get to Ken's 11:45, exchange tapes, see his new Hundertwasser lithographs, listen to some songs by a Colombian guy recording in Cuba, leave at 12:26PM after drinking some Weisen beer, and get home at 12:50 to decide to SCAN the 21 pages of ATLANTIC OCEAN ISLANDS DREAMS, since I can't find them on the computer ANYWHERE, and the PWP I typed them on, back in 1996, is long gone. Stop in the middle for lunch, watching Odds Against Tomorrow, and then go back to the scanning, which goes VERY well, since the typed pages are VERY clear, and even proofread through page 15 (of 21) when I leave for Carolyn's Fourth-of-July gathering.

SATURDAY, 7/5/08: 1:45PM: The walk to Carolyn's last night is through the start of a very slight shower, even though it's not really that humid-feeling. Get there at 7:40PM to greet Aaron and Sally (the couple who's been there a few times before, whose names I NEVER remember, but I may this time); Ralph, a bright-eyed, black-haired energetic young man whom Carolyn says I must have met many times before, since their relationship dates to her time at Catalyst; and a few additional nondescript women (not PC, but that's the way it goes). Charles arrives just seconds after I do, and I start filling up on salami, deviled eggs, cheeses, wines, nuts, and Charles's wonderful cherries. Later, Carolyn unwraps a roast chicken that I have maybe a quarter of, and there's banana bread and strawberries with Cool Whip and other goodies. We're up to the roof at 9PM, where Carolyn fusses like a mother about people going too close to the edge of the unrailed roof. Lots of other people dot adjoining rooftops, it starts raining, so I go downstairs to get my umbrella, and settle comfortably into a lawn chair near the edge of the roof, watching the incredibly prolific set of fireworks from New Jersey, probably Liberty State Park, directly west of Carolyn's roof, but far removed. Then about 9:20 the single barge south of the Brooklyn Bridge starts off, and we can see the 34th Street three or four barges' productions silhouetting Brooklyn buildings, some of them Cadman Towers. More champagne is poured until the ending at 9:45PM, not very successfully choreographed, and I go down to praise the virtues of CHicken, CHeese, CHerries, CHampagne (pronounced, of course CHAMpagne, rather than SHAMpagne), and, I add, CHarles. Leave with Aaron and Sally, look at their ground-floor apartment on State and Henry until 11:50PM, and home tired to bed.

SUNDAY, 7/6/08: 10:15PM: Got up early for breakfast 7:50-8:15AM, reading the Times, taking a Valium, to try to get more into St. Petersburg time after Die Soldaten last night. Lunch started at 12:50, I got the data for, and sent, a huge TRISMEMO15 with 95% of the known corrections, some of which are still in the future. Watched Immortal Beloved during dinner starting at 6:30PM, still not very much on the early side. Sent off the memo and got to bed later than I wanted at 10:20PM, but managed to get to sleep fairly quickly.

MONDAY, 7/7/08: 9:15AM: Peed at 4AM, then THOUGHT about things I had to do for the trip until I had to pee again at 5:15AM. Did an Actualism session that didn't put me back to sleep, so I got up at 5:57AM, ate breakfast at 6:05 while watching Talk of the Town, quite engrossing, finishing it about 8:15AM. Then clipped my toenails, plucked my ear-hairs, shaved, took a Valium, started making a list of what I have to do today, then at 9:10AM phoned HIP to find that Chin didn't make an EKG appointment for me, so I asked for an appointment and they said I could come in at 9:45. Printed out TRISMEM15 for future reference, and now at 9:20AM got to get things together that I'll do around C.'s appointment: 1) Schwab check to HSBC, 2) Get HSBC cash and deposit the C. check, 3) Buy more fish oil from CVS, and 5) Get groceries. Lots to be done. 3:55PM: Wrote a $700 check and took out $500, worried about what I'll do for cash, since I called American Express and they came up with the ridiculous restriction that they can give only ONE one-time pin-number use in a 90-day period, and I've already had one in June. Got to C. at 9:45, he calls me in at 9:52 and puts me down for an EKG, which I sign up for under three waiting names. Get EKG 10:38-10:48, which C. says is normal 11:07-11:09, but since I've had two EKGs and an echocardiogram, I should come back on the 28th for a Holter Monitor, which will follow my heart for 24 hours. By then I know I should be having lunch, so I get home to start it at 11:25AM, not THAT early, and get a call from Steve H. that Bill P. called him from LICH to announce that he's going to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital for a triple bypass! I phone Bob L., who doesn't know anyone else that "Silly Billy" knows, except the guy across the hall from 12A, so I slip a note under his door when he doesn't answer and then tell Joshua about it, who directs me to the Manager, who happens to be talking to Toba at the time, and they sympathize that I have to notify people, and there's someone else mentioned on his "emergency file," which I guess they have for everyone. Then I'm out to buy fish oil, again 2 for 1, but they don't carry compasses. Get groceries, but they don't have peroxide, so I have to go BACK to CVS for that. Checked the used-book shop and it just so happens that the guidebook section is laboring under a new purchase and NOTHING is available at this time. Get a New York magazine in the mail, something to read on the plane, and put on the A/C because it's suddenly gotten VERY hot out. Will be glad for the relative coolth of St. Petersburg! Message from Tris, and he's got a few questions about TRISMEM15, and say he has NO idea why, Sunday at 9:30AM, I wasn't able to use the "find" facility on the website. Get to throw away more notes. Started sorting through the trip stack, leaving John's stuff in his black bag, dismayed that the Amazon-surrogate guidebook hasn't arrived YET! Now to look through the mail at 4:10PM, thinking that in 48 hours I'll be in St. Petersburg!! (Well, 48 hours minus 8 hours flying into the sun.) 5:45PM: My eyes just close and close while doing the New York magazine puzzle, and decide, even though I'm not hungry, that I just MUST eat dinner soon, and maybe get to bed while it's still light, though I guess I want to finish Jackass No. 2 while I'm eating it, and the batteries are still recharging though I thought they HAD been charged before, and I'd better take the recharger along, since I don't want to run the risk of running out of power. First set recharges by the time I go to bed, so I put in second set to recharge. Finish dinner with awful sauce on veggie strips, start watching L'Eclisse, very grim with an anhedonic Monica Vitti and a pretty Alain Delon, but my eyes start closing again and I turn it off in the middle and get to bed at 8:56PM with an Ambien just to make sure.

TUESDAY, 7/8/08: Pee at 4:22AM, shaving slept through nicely. Take a Valium at 4:31, preparing for a stressful day, and get up at 5:09AM. Decide to check Juno, have no e-mails, and decide to cancel, phoning the number and being told that I can continue to use the MegaMail until December 15, 2008, but I'll be getting no more bills from Juno. So eventually I'll be able to throw out the old PC taking up space under my desk for the last 4-5 years. Finish this at 6:05AM, ready for breakfast, same time as yesterday, no progress THERE. Finish L'Eclisse, rather slow and depressing, then start in on packing, figuring how much money I'm taking, few shirts and trousers, then update EB inserts with all trips up till now. Then see that British Airways is part of the American Airlines system, so I phone AA to see if I can get a seat on the BA plane, but they insist I have to go to their website, though he does give me the BA phone number, which gives the same information. Go to the website and find that I've been assigned 8F, which is just at the leading edge of the wing, and figure we'll be flying due east, with the sun in the south, so I really want the north side of the plane, and 6A is empty, though strangely there's no seat to the right of it, and it IS the first seat in the cabin, which I hope does NOT mean that I won't have a window! Though it DOES say window seat, and I'll bitch a lot if I DON'T have a window. Print out my boarding pass, which is convenient, being told that if I only have hand luggage (which shows PRECISELY the kind of hand luggage I have), I go to passport and visa check in Zone G before going to Security. Let's hope this all works out! Now 9AM and I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of the day, though I do want to go to the gym somewhat late so I won't be all sweaty in the afternoon AFTER the gym. 1:57PM sit to type this and remind myself it's 2PM and time to take another melatonin! Have an impulse to take another Valium, but I'm really so far out of it NOW that I'm not concerned about what I'm going to do in the hour left before the car comes. AH, play SPIDER!


SHARON B. 71                                                  7/24/08

Going through the mail Wednesday, I was appalled to get a call at 6PM from Sharon: "Weren't you going to come in this afternoon?" "Oh my goodness, YES, I wrote it down TWICE, but then got involved in mail and just FORGOT." "That's OK. Can you come at 4PM tomorrow?" "Let me check---yes, that's OK. SORRY to have forgotten: I WROTE it down." "Jetlag is rough; things aren't as clear as they might be. That's OK." So I made SURE I got there by 4PM Thursday, even prolonging my time after lunch with Doug and Mildred at Le Perigord by buying tweezers and picking up my simvastatin from CVS. She called me in, and I reported my feeling that she was being TOO good to me by excusing my not showing up on Wednesday---after all, she had to SIT there from 5:30 to 6 WAITING for me (not that she didn't have anything to DO, but she WAS supposed to be seeing ME then)---and I even checked with another professional, Shelley, who ALSO agreed that the day after a trip is a difficult day---but then was SHE also being too good to me? "What did you expect?" Sharon asked. I answered that I felt like I was a kid again, having to hew to rigid rules that didn't allow for ANY deviation for ANY reason whatsoever, both at home and in Catholic grade and high schools. Repeated the loneliness of the first year in NYC, away from everyone in Ohio, but then being so RELIEVED to meet a circle of friends that it WAS possible to be easy with: no arguing all the time, no fighting for the upper hand, no blaming or shaming or criticizing, just good friends together! Said that I didn't feel jetlag as not eating or sleeping at the right time, but as if there were a veil, or as if I were on Valium, things were DISTANT, somehow, which must be SOME kind of jetlag effect. Then went on to describe a number of the GOOD things on the trip: Alex guiding me on my first Metro trip, Alex taking a tour that allows me ONE seat at a WINDOW next to an ENGLISH teacher (though I also told about the strange "come-on" by the guy who took her seat when she left: he was definitely after my WALLET, not my BODY), having the Assistant Manager go back to my seat at the Maryinsky Theater and FINDING my umbrella, the couple leaving the building who told me to put the * in front of the code, the sisters and then the Cisco guy (who also went one stop BEYOND my stop on the Metro when we were AGAIN forced onto it) from the Bay Area who volunteered to be my English translators for the Novgorod trip, my luck at finding a good place to eat, but then countered with the two or three times it felt like my knee was about to give out, that I might die that night, that some terrible accident might happen. And I again went into my Messianic view: reading books that I didn't understand because they were somehow transmitted to a higher being who DID understand it; that I was CHOSEN for some great and higher purpose, but that if I depended on that TOO much, or was TOO hubristic, or chutzpah-ish, I'd fall off the knife-edge of success either into madness or into total catastrophe. Again the punishment if I enjoy too much too much. The plane will crash, the knee will give, I'll get a Giardia infection, I'll fall and break a leg. I said a lot was repeating, though talked about my "being supported" by Doug against Mildred at lunch today when she had too much to drink and was being offensive, and he was on MY side. Though I didn't mention how surprised he was when I said I was 72, because he's only 62. I asked for water and she offered me tea, which led to ALEX offering to bring tea, and she kept saying that I did the work that enabled me to enjoy my vacations, that I was NICE to people, so they were nice back to me. How I have to see a foot doctor, but don't want to see Dr. Li next door because Odinsky is so cute! How I treasure Chin as my family doctor, AGAIN a wonderful piece of luck. Didn't mention Bill's triple bypass or Bob's hospital stay as contrasts to my good luck health-wise. (Return to end of SHARON70). (Go to NOTEBOOK:SHARON72).

SATURDAY, 7/26/08: Notes on the Saint Petersburg trip taken between my return at 1AM on Wednesday, 7/23/08, and my transferring my DREAMS file from Neo to WP51 this morning about 8:30AM, are considered part of the Saint Petersburg trip. As for the rest of today, I finished breakfast at 9:40AM, played Spider 10-11:05, left word with Carolyn, and talked with Sherryl 11:07-11:40, at which point she thought she was spending the day with Joe. Left word #2 with Charles. Talk with Marj 11:40AM-12:55PM. Sherryl calls to say that she's NOT spending the day with Joe, could we do the Shark boat ride? I buy a toilet-paper-roll spindle on Fulton Street, and we get tickets for the 3PM Shark, not the most exciting trip, and Sherryl bitches about the guy with a water hose who squirts those who seem to want to be wetter from the trip. We pass the four waterfalls, not that impressive, and the Statue of Liberty. Then to the free shuttle crosstown to wander Teardrop Park, and then to her place for wonderful raspberry cake, chocolate cake, and perfectly sweetened iced tea until 6:30, getting home at 7:10. Leave word with Mildred. Watch Twilight of the Golds. Bed 11:59PM.

SUNDAY, 7/27/08: 3:05AM start new Neo DREAMS file and pee. 5:20AM have an UGLY dream [DREAMS:7/27/08] that I transcribe to 5:43, to a CRASH of lightning and thunder. Do a good Actualism session and get up at 8:14AM. Read Times, have lunch, water John before joining Spartacus in the seats for Damn Yankees, better than the mediocre reviews, then to Ken's to listen to Song of the Forests, which he says he'll put on tape if I give him the tape [which I put out to do on 8/2], and exchange tapes before going to a mediocre Szechuan Gourmet dinner. Back to watch The Dish and Man of the West, talk to Carolyn 9-9:30PM, and get to bed at 10:20PM, tired.

MONDAY, 7/28/08: 1:56AM wake from dream [DREAMS:7/28/08], pee, and take a half-gram of melatonin. Up at 6:15AM, taking another half-gram of melatonin, as instructed. Go to gym to be clean. Go in to get my Holter Monitor at 10:30AM, checking Chin for my foot while waiting, and he says I should check with Odinsky, as it's probably a problem with my ligaments, which a prescribed orthotic could heal! Get monitor at 10:55AM, back to leave word for Mildred at 11:30, and talk to Rita 11:35AM-12:30PM on her nickel. Go to Le Cirque with Spartacus and two of his female friends, not a bad lunch. Talk to Mildred 4-4:35PM. Play Spider 4:50-5:30 to a new high of 50.0974 (30 up [30 more wins than losses]). Bed wearing a T-shirt and a belt with the monitor attached. No trouble falling asleep.

TUESDAY, 7/29/08: Up to jerk off to see what it does to my heart, have breakfast, and return to get the monitor removed. Talk to Tris 12-12:20PM, he saying that he'll need more stuff to work on in two weeks. Talk to Marj 12:20-1:20. Just don't feel like doing the four items left on my Tuesday do-list, so I watch Ken's videos: Mephisto, Gay Parisien, which I put aside to copy onto my Ballet tape, Wish You Were Here, and Gay Sex in the 70s. Carolyn calls to invite me to dinner this evening! I play Spider 4:55-5:55 to a new high of 50.10061 (31 up). I get to Carolyn's at 6:30, having bought her a cold bottle of Prosecco, but she has a 1.5-liter bottle of Merlot that I open and drink while I nibble on her humus and herbed cheese and wheat biscuits; then a wonderful watermelon, feta cheese, and fresh basil salad; followed by very tasty Cajun catfish with another lettuce-based salad; and for dessert she whips up a low-calorie chocolate pudding that she tops with blueberries and Cool Whip that we carry up to the roof to enjoy. As I finish and put on my shoes, I say, "Too bad we couldn't have had fireworks, too," and thirty seconds later a fifteen-minute full-fledged fireworks display begins!!! We're both floored, and astound the woman who joins us on the roof to watch, who believes our story! We can't think of WHY they'd be doing fireworks on a Tuesday night! Walk home in the drippy humidity and get exhausted to bed at 10:50PM.

WEDNESDAY, 7/30/08: Record a 5AM dream [DREAMS:7/30/08] and get up at 7:51, rested. Have an early breakfast, watch The House of Yes, and call Mildred to ask if it would be OK to ask Charles to join us at Telepan at 12:30, unlikely since it's already 11AM. She reluctantly agrees, and, to my surprise, Charles agrees, too! Sell both my ING CD and my Scudder IRA, and then make a dental appointment for next Wednesday. Lunch has some rough edges with Mildred being nasty to BOTH of us, Charles actually getting angry with her afterwards as we walk down to the bus that takes us crosstown to the Whitney, where we see disappointing Mapplethorpe Polaroids, Charles leaves because of severe groin pain, and I continue with a mediocre Buckminster Fuller exhibit (why do groups of people have to talk RIGHT where he's talking on a recording?) and an even worse Rotating Art exhibit. Leave in the humidity in time to relax in Sharon's office from 5:15, shut the door again at 5:30, but she doesn't hear either, just comes out to welcome me in. For one thing, I complain about not getting ANY work, and get home to get a 250-page index from Tara S. of ASME! So happy that I phone Sharon, delightedly happy, a SECOND time I controlled the universe! She even calls back to say how pleased SHE is. Play Spider 7:15-8:10 to new high of 50.11031 (34 up). Watch Camera Buff by Kieslavsky with dinner. Bed 12:10AM.

SHARON B. 72                                                  7/30/08

Get there early at 5:15, tired from the Whitney, and slam the door AGAIN at 5:31, thinking she might not have heard me come in, and three seconds later she comes to the hall and says to come in, saying she heard NEITHER door. I apologized about not bringing in the dream AGAIN because I hadn't gone home, and at the end she simply said, "It wasn't the day for the dream." I told her about "wasting time" with friends and Spider and restaurants, but with the ulterior motive of being able to say to Paul, when he arrives for a week on Friday, "Look how many things I have to do, how busy I am, how much I have to catch up on," so that he won't bug me to do things WITH him. AND, in the discussion, really decide that sex is NOT on the itinerary, since it's easier just not to have it "come up" again. Also mentioned my ease in St. Petersburg by letting things happen when they happened, letting days fill in day-by-day, rather than planning THAT far ahead. I also let her know that I DID contact two tours, neither of which would allow me to replace their CORE trip (which I've done) with my OWN itinerary and just use their "outliers" for my trip, so I DO still "work" for my pleasure, but I'm willing to "let things be," so that, in Barcelona, if a trip to somewhere I'd like to go just APPEARS, since we'll be staying in a HOTEL, not in an unmanned apartment as I had in St. Petersburg, I WILL go with enthusiasm, but I'm more willing to just SIT and RELAX if things don't come my way. Talked about the fireworks last night, which amused her, and then COULDN'T resist calling her back: I'd complained that I REALLY WANTED more indexing work, and got back to find a call from Tara from ASME for a 250-page book to be done quickly! And Sharon called BACK to say that it WAS a kick that it happened. AND a call from Mildred, sounding kindly, when I told Sharon about the ugly meal when Mildred got REALLY mad at me for something, but it cleared away as it usually does, though she STILL insists I said she "didn't know mathematics," which I can't IMAGINE I really said at lunch with Doug. Told Sharon I had to BALANCE "resting" with "demanding to do more," and was more willing to just be TIRED and let things go. Started by saying I was questioning things on a kind of EXISTENTIAL level: IS the website worth it, IS travel worth it, essentially is LIFE worth it, and then talked about the good things and knowing that it WAS, and also happy that Bill could have his triple bypass, Bob could be in a nursing home with his sore legs (and then Charles has his groin pain), and so THEY got it, which takes away the chances that something like that will happen to ME! Told her about the shoe orthotics, and deciding to wait for the doctor's advice rather than taking Spartacus's and getting the orthotics before being PRESCRIBED them. Kept looking at the clock and finally at 6:15 decided that the session was over. (Return to end of SHARON71). (Go to NOTEBOOK:SHARON73)

THURSDAY, 7/31/08: 6:11AM pee. 7:04 up. Make a do-list: 1) When does gym close? (Friday-Sunday August 8-10), 2) PNR bank? (Turns out to be Schwab bank, but I don't have a CUSTOMER account, I have a BROKERAGE account), 3) Transfer Olympus shots to Dell, which takes ages, and then I invert them, and then edit 1008 shots to 768, reduced by almost 1/4, finding that I have only 17GB free from 37GB total!, finding they keep the same numbers, 4) Picture to Eugenia, 5) Papers to SCRIE, 6) Print St. Pete, 7) Photo list St. Pete, 8) Summary St. Pete, 9) Barcelona guidebook from Internet?, 10) Call Danielle at IAT: "I'm still in the loop." Watch Shadow of the Vampire, though I saw it in 2000. Play Spider 8:45-9:45PM to new high of 50.11352 (35 up). Watch Brother's Keeper and bed.