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2011 4 of 8

SHARON B. 176 4/29/11

She's talking to her supervisor, and when I ask if I COULD have postponed out session, she said she could have: her 5:30 slot was empty, and she USUALLY stays until about 9PM! So Charles and I could have gotten MORE exhausted in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens! I start with the fact of Shelley's death, and talk about it more than I expected: telling of Marj's and Mildred's and Heather's reactions being so much greater than mine, though I had since my 4/8 news of her 4/6 and 4/7 failed operations and subsequent "induced sleep" to absorb the very real possibility of her dying. Did NOT mention my absurd hope that she left me something in her will. Though I DID mention a will in that I took out MY will and crossed Sherryl (as beneficiary) and Shelley (as second contingent executor) off, causing me to REALLY think more about my OWN death. Then went to the news of John's safety in Syria, mentioning a NUMBER of times in the session that I was just going where my mind took me next, and at the end she said that such FREEDOM in my thinking was good THERAPY for me: I could let my mind go, unchallenged, where it would, and it would all be for the good. I told her a bit about my computer problems, about my upcoming FiOS installation, about Marj's endless calls about her adapter/computer problem, leading me to say that I might feel sorry for SHARON if she had to listen to over-detailed and repetitious clients, and she hastened to assure me that I was not overdetailed or in ANY way boring, and I thanked her, though that wasn't what I was fishing for. Talked about the details in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens today, including Charles's panting following behind me and my fatigue, though I didn't mention my IMPELLING hunger that stopped us at the long line for FOOD for much of our visit. Mentioned my horror at finding I had at LEAST two days of AT LEAST ten hours of Spider, but I did enjoy it, and again mentioned the goodness of Netflix's offerings of free computer-screen movie viewing. [And I go to Netflix to find that four seasons of "Torchwood" are ALSO viewable, and that there's a 2011 season, so it's still going on!] May have talked of other topics, but the session was quickly over, and when I announced the end at 5:15PM, it surprised Sharon, who confessed that she was on the other time schedule. We'd also decided at the start that my next session, seeing as I'm showing slides on Wednesday, would be NEXT Friday at 4:30PM.

SATURDAY, 4/30/11: Find that I didn't read before bed this morning, but played Spider 12:10AM-12:55, good to 51.41075 at 697 up after 4 wins. 5:08AM pee and type DREAMS:4/30/11. Print John's e-mail and go back to bed at 5:15AM. 8:54AM get Times and pee, and at 9:09AM shit to 9:35AM, when I reluctantly decide NOT to return to bed. Play Spider again 9:40-10:30AM, OK to 51.41643 to 700 up, the highest yet, after 3 wins. Start watching "The King's Speech," which is two hours long, and then the good commentary, better with my homemade big-buttered popcorn, and then the VERY good extras, all of which take much of the day, having a good lunch of broiled sausage and the last of the apple sauce and somewhat woody green beans. Out just before 7PM to the Classic Stage Company's "The School for Lies," rhymed from Moliere's "The Misanthrope," in the usual "anything-for-a-rhyme, even-if-it-doesn't-make-sense" style of Whoever Ives, and I resist for a long time, but then the constant canape-flying gets through to me and I start smiling. Meryl Streep's daughter is pretty and has a good presence onstage, but NOT an onstage voice, which needs to be trained for volume. My seat is cramped, my neighbors are noisy, and I'm not that happy until near the end, when I decide it was enough worthwhile to see. Home to another bowl of soup and read the Times and use Pope's dictionary calculator to do the one puzzle, and finish the other puzzle at last. Collapse into bed at 2:25AM.

SUNDAY, 5/1/11: Pee at 6:06AM and type DREAMS:5/1/11, seeing there's no Times yet and no final e-mail from John. 8:38AM pee and get Times, and then up at 10:30, unenergetic. Note another dream of a Thai woman sucking me off. Really WANT to finish my journal for April, but I AGAIN don't feel like it, and read parts of the Times, play Spider 12:30-2PM OK to 51.4177 to 701 up, another highest, after 3 wins, then, not wanting to leave the solace of games, play Taipei 2-3:30PM, and lots of unrecorded Solitaire. Then tune to "30 Rock" for the last three episodes, including the 100th which goes for an hour, for two hours, and then just DON'T want to leave my chair, so I watch episodes 9-13 of "Doctor Who," seeing the transition from Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant, and STILL don't feel like going to bed, so I finish Bear's "Hull Zero Three," barely worth finishing with SOME explanation of the background, but still quite unsatisfying. Bed at 2:45AM, not CARING that I did nothing today!

MONDAY, 5/2/11: 6:21AM: Pee and type DREAMS:5/2/11. Pee again at 6:32AM and up at 10:30AM, determined to do LOTS of good things today. 12:42PM: Crazy day. Up at 10:30, decide to check on Baltics digital photos, and start downloading my Elite 9600+ photos onto my laptop, and then find that Baltics was still physical slides. But the download takes till noon, still leaving 13.1 gigabytes from 64.4 storage, and then I shit and take a look at Homotopia, playing a 6-minute video "This Is War" from Jared Leto in a fantasy with all war materiel ending in a pyramid in the sky. Then GOT to have breakfast, but decide I have to do THIS first! Then load up the slide trays and check the 147 Baltics slides until 2:30, when I get to the gym and get back home to find Spartacus just leaving Bob Lambiase's apartment---with his right arm in a sling! He tells me the story of slipping on the top step in Queens after returning to JFK from his aunt's 101st birthday in Florida. He saw a specialist at HIP who looked at his cracked shoulder and said he had to stay in the cast 2-3 weeks. He might need help and he said he'd call on me. Great. I guess he intends to join everyone on Wednesday. I'd phoned Steve (who saw the slides in 2007, but he probably won't remember), Bill Petersen, Piri (who has physical therapy and can't come), and Carolyn on the phone now at 8:15PM. Finally mailed the Visa check before the gym, and then afterward I had lunch while watching episode 13 of "Doctor Who," and then plucked hairs from my pinnae, put in the tooth-whitener trays (for the maybe 7th- last time), recorded that they killed Osama bin Laden yesterday, told by a happy Mildred who phoned the news to me about 10:30 this morning, which was followed by Marj telling me all the details of her negotiations with Dell and her "pre-existing condition" warranty that lets her off the hook for a full price on her failed motherboard, and I printed two more pages before finishing this at 8:25PM, ready to start on the last COMPCHRO entry, having rebooted this morning and gotten Outlook Express to work OK again, at least for now. Finish COMPCHRO by 8:42PM and treat myself to Spider (reminds me that I didn't record a lot of Taipei and Solitaire the last few days---just wanted to PLAY!) 8:45-10:40PM OK to 51.41909 at 702 up, another highest, after 2 wins. Then "graduate" to Taipei, winning many over half of three or four cycles, until 11:50PM, when I figure I've had enough. Now for a bowl of soup, and maybe another Stephen King novella. Decide to watch another episode of "Doctor Who," and again I marvel at the production excellence, the acting range, and the usual extremely well-done emotional elements. Bed at 1:05AM, writing a note for 1) checking three web "deletes," and 2) sorting table stuff out.

TUESDAY, 5/3/11: 6:42AM: Pee and take valium, then pee again at 6:52AM. Back to a deep sleep, jarred awake by a telephone call that the machine registers at 8:58AM: FiOS: "Can we come early, in twenty minutes?" I say OK and dress and rush to set the house up for the installation: everything piled onto the coffee table in the bedroom, everything else emptied, with the covers up on the bed; kitchen denuded except for the dirty floor, same for bathroom, and the living room is last, but by 9:30 I've put the stuff for the slides tomorrow into their two shopping bags and put all the TV-top stuff onto the sofa, with the TV pulled out to show the probable wall outlet. Start breakfast, and Ron calls from downstairs about 9:45AM, and up comes Baron, who'll be working alone, asking where the outside box is. I don't know. He goes and finds it's in the utility closet on THIS floor. He leaves at 10AM, saying he'll be wiring to my door, and then the rest of his work will be inside the apartment. He looks dubiously at my shelf for the box, saying it's usually mounted. I refer to Spartacus's setup as being on the shelf, supposedly satisfactory, and I ask, maybe simplistically, about possible dangers from this wireless "electrical" box sitting right where I'm sitting to watch TV, and he says, "I've never heard of anything happening by sitting near it." I finish breakfast and come to the computer to write this to 10:13AM, ready to tackle the tasks from my note this morning. Find that the website is as it was long ago: last memo not posted, three "under construction" pages still there. Then go through the stuff on my desk, putting lots of it where it belongs [1) 1937 photo in photo album, 2) computer wire into closet, 3) "30 Rock" cards into Netflix compartment, where I'll probably forget about them, etc]. End up with the two tax statements. I start at 11:53AM and end at 1:23PM, seeming to find that my Schedule M was nullified by my getting a $250 "Economic Recovery Payment" that I trace, maybe, to an 11/29/10 deposit in my HSBC account that, at 2:59PM, they finally tell me will be mailed to me in 7-10 days. So THAT took just over THREE HOURS!!! Meanwhile, Baron is joined by a second person, and they move my VHS tape bookcases away from the wall so they can put the box out of sight behind those bookcases. They ask about my telephone connection for my "wireless" Verizon computer modem, saying that, somehow, ultimately, it doesn't come from the inaccessible phoneline entering behind my small bookcase, but from a thick white cable running from ceiling to floor in my CLOSET, which means that I have to take out all the stuff so they can get to the phone wires visible at the bottom of THAT. I fill this in to 3:15PM, having called Marj to tell her my progress, and decide I'm hungry for lunch. Have to move the cabinets, the bed, the coffee table, and the computer table to get the cable put above everything and down the west side of the bedroom window to the router, which will now sit at the side of my computer table. Take three pictures of the mess they made. They finally check to see that Joshua can call me, though it took two tries to do it. Now at 6:30 I've configured some sort of contract that ALSO gives me, because MINE is already taken. They insist this will cause me no problem: I'll remain EXHAUSTING day! Spent the next few hours recovering, which included moving furniture in the bedroom; putting the rug-pieces, flower pots, plastic bags, unused bags and baggage (shoulder bags, tote bags, backpacks, soft-sided suitcases small and larger), and clothes (coats, suits, OLD suits in protective bags, trousers from Spartacus, Antarctic parka, old multi-colored dinner jacket) back into the closet, leaving lots of junk on the floor that I'll either throw away or put back in a more orderly manner; jamming junk to be thrown away into the kitchen trashbasket; and deciding that I won't even bother to clean the dirty kitchen floor, sweep the plaster dust from the hallway where they'd taken down my Toshogu Shrine poster to ream a hole for the router cable into my bedroom, or put stuff away in the living room (not even thinking yet of shimming the top videotape bookcase into a more stable position): my apartment IS as it WILL be for the guests after the slide program this afternoon; they may be fewer than expected because it's raining outside today. Put on TV and find some message that I have to phone Verizon; phone Spartacus and he can't help, saying that Verizon will help 24 hours; phone Verizon and they're only open business hours; try the DVD and it'll only work on my computer and it's not very helpful at first glance; turn off my VHS and find that I can't even set the blinking clock! VERY depressed that I hadn't reviewed the "Items to Cover During Verizon FiOS Installation" sheet, using the excuse that they were here for NINE HOURS and one of the installers kept telling someone on his cell phone that he'd be home shortly, though they didn't leave until 6:45PM, having arrived at 9:45AM. Thank goodness they didn't start at 1PM! Consoled myself by watching another "Doctor Who" episode while having dinner, and getting to bed, exhausted, at 11:08PM. Had debated taking a Valium or ambien before going to bed, and get up at 11:18 to take a Valium, my mind racing over the events of the day, which I later try to summarize in "FiOS installation trauma" on 5/4/11.

WEDNESDAY, 5/4/11: Pee at 6:20AM, noting dream of keys in TWO padlocks to get into my apartment---clearly indicative of SOMETHING! Then do INTENSE Actualism, determined to write about the trauma of yesterday, and up at 7:55AM, HOPEFULLY energized, yet Valium-calm? Pee and wash and dress and take out FIRST bag of garbage to the hall from my storage closet, mostly old bubble-wrap and long-ago-discarded plastic travel bags. Then sit at 8:10AM and start typing, getting to this point at 8:28AM and deciding to start trauma page HERE. Mildred is coming to the show when I tell her it'll be short. Fix up the apartment a bit and am shocked when Susie walks in the door about 11:25AM, asking, "Am I early?" "Yeah, but I'm ready for you." Show her the mess from yesterday, and have soup while she has her lunch. We leave for 55 Pierrepont in a slight drizzle at 12:45, finding that the red-head had started setting up the chairs, but when Steve asked if he could help her, she left him to finish the job. Fred Lasker is sitting on the side, waiting, and Fred McKecknie is there early. Bill Petersen is there, without his minder, too. Set up July 6 for Ukraine and September 7 for the next show. Find that my extention cord doesn't take the three-prong plub from my projector, so I have to borrow a cord from the office in back. Give an intro talk to 1:15 and start the slides, which go VERY fast to 1:50, and everyone's HAPPY with the short show! Fred has to leave, so Susie, John, Charles, Steve, and Mildred join me back at my apartment where I look at the great bag of stamps Steve got from Massachusetts over the weekend and Susie acts as hostess, getting people glasses and napkins and distributing her cashews and crackers into plates around the room. Mildred is amazingly forthcoming about her colostomy in answer to Susie's questions. Steve says he's hungry about 5PM, Mildred says she has to leave, and we five go to Park Plaza where most take half their dinners home: Susie one of her three slabs of meat loaf, Steve half his turkey club sandwich, John half his braized vegetables, and I take Charles's remaining corned beef Reuben; only I finish all my rather mediocre fish in the fish-and-chips dinner, but the refillable lemonade was good. Home to relax, exhausted, trying TV again to find the same thing, and at last settling to watching "Black Swan" on DVD through my Panasonic and Westinghouse, bypassing FiOS, and then spend two to three hours playing sudoku and anagrams on FiOS to 1:45AM. Bed at 2:05AM.


PHYSICALLY exhausting day because I helped the two installers move my furniture around: in the bedroom: cabinets, then bed AWAY from the wall, then AWAY from the computer area, then coffee table, then computer table, having to unhook the monitor cable and put the mouse atop the computer; then the old slides from atop the slide-storage unit, then the old camcorder from atop the shelves, then the wire baskets so he could get to the corner of the ceiling to string the cable to my router, which now sits on the cold radiator top, but will have to be moved to the computer table if the radiator is turned on. Computer table stuff moved to the desk; camera thrown on the bed after I took three or four photos of the chaos in the apartment; storage closet stuff put back with associated urges to try on coats and suits and trousers that I have to just shake my head over and postpone to another time; living room messy, but my guests will just have to live with it. Call Mildred 8:3AM.

THURSDAY, 5/5/11: Pee at 3:57AM and again at 7:45. At 9:14 CVS calls, I pee again, and get up, tired, at 9:35AM. Start a did-list: 1) pee, wash, dress to 9:45; 2) hunt for KEYS to 9:51: on floor near TV chair; 3) mail Netflix, pick up two prescriptions and four sheets of forever stamps at 10:19; 4) phone to find that the Morrisroe exhibit HAS been taken down to 10:23; 5) take out bottles and cans to 10:20; 6) breakfast to 11AM; 7) Marj: me to 1:10, Marj's computer WORKS to 1:32; 8) Mildred: I have your wheelie, to 12:40; 9) Marj: Mildred's wheelie to 12:43; 10) SEVEN straight Taipei wins to 1:33; 11) erase message 2, AND MESSAGE 1 ERASES on phone machine!; 12) Mildred here to 3PM; 13) stamps to 4PM, Steve to 4:30, and phone CUTS OFF!; 14) Taipei to 5:15. By that time all I want to do is soak stamps, so I put on WQXR and listen to music and soak stamps. Bed at 11:17PM.

FRIDAY, 5/6/11: 7:35AM: Note DREAMS:5/6/11 and pee. Up, tired, at 8AM, ready to tackle FiOS. That goes to 4:05, described below, when I wolf down two slices of buttered toast to stave off hunger while seeing Sharon from 4:30-5:15, and then home. I surf channels I find "Ebert" at 7PM and watch that, then find "Flesh," with Wallace Beery from 1932, on TCM and watch that until 8:30, when I watch two time-fillers on UFOs over Arizona and Illinois while I sort the stamps from Steve, continuing through Bill Maher at 10PM, type up Sharon's session from 11-11:20PM, and bed 11:40PM.

SHARON B. 177 5/6/11

Get there before 4:25PM and she's talking to her supervisor. Calls me in and I slouch in saying that I just spent three hours trying to get my FiOS installation working, and had worked to 4:05PM, when I wolfed down two slices of buttered toast, so forgive my burping. Then described the chaos and exhaustion of Tuesday, the shortness of the slide show on Wednesday, followed by a cheerful Mildred at my place afterward, where Steve gave me a large bunch of stamps that I indulged myself in on Thursday, and felt VERY good about it: it was IMPOSSIBLE to feel depressed or sad confronted with stacks of old stamps, lots of work on FiOS still to do, WITH NO TIME TO FEEL SAD, but plenty of time to feel exhausted physically and emotionally: screaming at a Verizon guy who hung up on me on Wednesday, excusing myself for any impatience or anger BEFORE talking for three hours to one woman who tried to help me by finding six viruses and trying five different ways to give me what I wanted, but at least I've got a much-faster Internet, a call-waiting understanding that finally works, and even described the "taking over" of my answering machine, with the loss of Paul Sullivan's message, by Verizon before I could get it changed back---with my e-mail address having been "lost" for three days, but the quantity of e-mails gotten just before I left for Sharon attested that, somehow, they were all saved for me. Talked about Marj's goodness in listening to me, her calm announcement that her computer was finally fixed since mid-November, her advice to me to "praise the seven out of sixty problems solved, and just take the next step next." I even made Sharon laugh when I said Marj was EVEN MORE enouraging than Sharon, and Sharon was always EXTREMELY encouraging. Told of having to rest for the Brooklyn Heights House Tour tomorrow, and the Games Group on Sunday, and the index, my only index of the year, next week. Mentioned the Sunday of 1) John's return from Syria, 2) Osama's death, 3) Spartacus's cracked shoulder, and 4) my mother's 100th birthday. We'll meet next Wednesday, just after I said, "Maybe I'll just take a little nap here before I leave." Said that I ACCEPTED feeling tired as part of getting old, though when I read the annuity contract to Mildred, I said I could very well picture living another 21 years---I'd only be 96! And even mentioned the coincidence of spotting a broken cart that was exactly what Mildred needed (though I didn't mention her family silver), though I DID mention her willingness to write me some checks to tide me over my cash-poor trip-months. Mentioned the dream of needing two locks to my apartment, which we agreed symbolized FiOS taking my TV and e-mail and telephone AWAY from me. We were both pleased by the warm weather out today, which I hope lasts tomorrow. I leave what I think is early, but the clock outside records just past 5:14PM.

SATURDAY, 5/7/11: Up at 5AM, type DREAMS:5/7/11, pee, shit, read, and back to bed at 5:25. Reluctantly up, tired, at 8:32AM. 8:42AM: Managed to type SOMETHING, anyway, for dreams 2 in DREAMS:5/7/11, feeling guilty about not having remembered more. Struggle to type my feelings HERE: 1) GOT to start another special section on FiOS installation to capture its complexity; 2) WANT to look at stamps I stuffed into a US catalog to straighten from curling edges; 3) MUST have breakfast so I can at least have soup before Brooklyn Heights House Tour---and Charles will call me or I will call Charles? 4) Times beckoning; 5) AT LEAST DRV Lady Gaga at 9PM tonight. 6) AND CLEAN UP FROM TUESDAY! 9:54AM: 1) Took my laptop, the FiOS DVD, the adapter, my mouse, and most of the FiOS booklets and the remote diagram out to the living room so I can play the DVD while watching the TV; 2) Looked at the stamps, somewhat flattened, but some at the edges of stacks still curled; 3) Have breakfast while reading about the mid-Atlantic discovery of the plane that went down for still unknown reasons; 4) Ignored the rest of the Times; 5) Charles called me at 9:50AM and I demanded that he be at the ticket pick-up place at 12:30PM. Wrote FiOS INSTALLATION TRAUMA - 2, then called Spartacus, and we talked to 11:20, when I called Marj to get a busy signal. Catch up on dreams and try Marj again at 11:38AM and her line's still busy---guess she's not accepting calls. Now to get ready for an exhausting Brooklyn Heights House Tour. Charles had gotten there early, but didn't bother to check which line to wait on. I get our tickets and we dash to the first house to get in instantly at 12:40, and at 12 Sidney Place it's the best of the lot. Some are interesting, most gardens are fun, and Ronni Potosky is house-sitting, saying she'd done it for years and we'd just not seen each other. Charles and I remark about the cute "rich guy" who followed us through the next-last building. I'm tired, and Charles was so dizzy at first that he had to sit for long periods of time just to rest. But we both recovered with cookies and iced tea and lemonade at Plymouth Church from 4:18-5PM, when I get home to find I forgot to deposit my check and pick up lights from Spartacus for Bob Lambiase, so I do that, and open about six cans for Spartacus and put a tree out on his balcony for the sunlight. Home exhausted, but I do both puzzles in the Times and then watch the end of "Scott Pilgrim" to "Lady Gaga Monster Ball" at 9PM, watch that to 11PM, interrupting to see the Chris Evans section of "Scott Pilgrim" from 10-10:50PM, watch the last hour of "Lady Gaga," while having dinner, to 12:15, and then set up "Scott Pilgrim" to record the LAST HOUR, and get to bed at 12:39AM.


Started a recording sheet on Friday morning:
TUESDAY: Find a note later that records that the SECOND guy entered at 1:25PM. Must accept for acceptance purposes, but they assure me I'll still have and this will cause me no problems. A bright screen-filling picture was on the TV as they worked, which I shut off when they were leaving before I asked them ANY questions about operating the system. Also found that I had somehow signed up for "Security and Backup Bundle 50gB" free for the first three months but $10/month after, which they said I could cancel. Spartacus tell me to remind them that my phone service shouldn't include any long distance charges. Put TV on later to get the "phone 1-866-962-1946" message but when I phoned them at 7PM the message said it was "business hours only."
WEDNESDAY: Back from the Baltics slides to an answering-machine message from, I think, Paul, asking him to e-mail him on some particular matter. Did nothing more on FiOS after the early dinner at Park Plaza except find that I COULD play the DVD of "Black Swan" from the Panasonic to the Westinghouse screen without using anything of FiOS. Noticed that "12:00" was blinking on the Panasonic, but couldn't get to Direct Navigator to set the time: when I switched from DVD to VHS on the remote, then hit Direct Navigator, the remote switched from VHS back to DVD. Flick through the remote choices and find "Games" and play a sudoku and many anagrams with much challenge to 1:45AM.
THURSDAY: 1:30PM: Want to erase message 2 on my answering machine, which gave a very strange "press 1 to rehear message, press 2 to save, press 3 to delete" message---Verizon had taken it over!---and when I press to delete message 2, it deletes message 1 and I hadn't taken down "Paul Sullivan's" e-mail address, or the reason he wanted an e-mail. AWFUL! Get interruptions that sound like they might be call-waiting signals a few times while talking on the phone. Maybe it was today that I tried looking at Verizon In-Home Agent for telephone, and found how to retrieve voicemail messages: dial a particular number, enter my code, which I establish as 2620, and get the VERY SAME MESSAGE I got on my answering machine, which verifies that it DID take over my answering machine. Mildred came over to pick up my broken carry-on bag, and then I spent the evening indulging in soaking Steve's stamps.
FRIDAY: Checked e-mail at 8:15AM and tried to recover by sending an e-mail to and got a message saying that "server rejected they LIED when they said I'd have no trouble with that! So I start taking notes on an index card: called Tech Support at 1-888-553-1555 at 8:16AM with four questions listed: 1) no e-mail, 2) TV, 3) account, 4) Paul Sullivan phone-message delete. At 8:20 I get someone to tell me that "This isn't billing or accounting, transfer to Web Support at 1-888-669-9901, where I get the message "High call-volume, but Denise answers at 8:32 and we try Go To Assist at 8:38, but I put in the code and there's a problem starting: the "installing" bar goes on and on and on. Try a NEW code at 8:46, and I cause problems by multi-clicking on sites and getting 4-5 Internet Explorers trying to run at the same time. She tells me to reboot at at 9:10 we start again, but have the same problem, so she tries a couple of different addresses for me to go to and at 9:40 we start AGAIN. She calls in a supervisor and while she's away I reboot AGAIN at 10:02. She does a speed optimizer at 10:17, and at 10:23 I find that I have a download speed of 20.5 mbps and an upload speed of 5.9 mbps, both faster than the 15/5 that I'd "contracted for." She establishes that when I get a call I don't pick up, it'll go to my answering machine; if I get a call WHILE I'M ON THE PHONE, only THEN will it go to my voicemail. At 10:28 she calls me twice to show how my answering machine works, and I delete message 2 WITHOUT deleting message 1. At 10:45 I think I get two call-waiting signals, but at 10:52 there's nothing in my voicemail. At 10:36 she tells me that they'll call ME when my e-mail address is "repointed." at 10:48AM I learn that, if I want to accept call waiting while I'm talking, I HANG UP, talk to the call that's waiting, and then HANG UP AGAIN to get back to my interrupted initial caller. I should get my voicemail activated by 7PM. She also did a Malware quick scan and found six viruses: three Trojans and three Poms(?), saying that the Trojans in Documents aren't dangerous, but (I didn't see where Poms were) if they're in control programs they could bring the computer down. She told me that I now have a Malware icon, and some night I should start a very time-consuming FULL scan. She also said that I should go to Outlook Express, hit Tools, then Accounts, highlight Verizon, hit Properties, then Advanced, and at Outgoing Something, make 587, not 56 or 65 or whatever it IS. Then hit OK. At 10:53 call Spartacus and find he did NOT call. Breakfast to 11:30, talk to Spartacus to 12:10, then go to the gym and get back to call Time-Warner at 2:28 to cancel, and at 2:32 it's established that I'll be billed to the time they pick up the box 11AM-2PM on Tuesday, 5/10, offering me $10/month less, getting my list of complaints: 1) box shutting off every 2AM, 2) box off OTHER times at random, 3) no recording over channel 100, even though my HBO IS over 100, 4) many more "copy-protected" prohibitions, 5) many pixillations and breakups. She said she was sorry. Yeah, so am I.
SATURDAY: Started typing at 9:54AM after I took stuff for my laptop to look at my FiOS DVD in front of the set. Finally caught up with this FiOS Installation Trauma - 2 at 10:43AM, leaving word with Spartacus to call me after he gets off the phone, and I'll go back to catching up with my journal now at 10:44. Asked Spartacus if I could DVR one program while watching another, and he didn't know. Later that night, I was watching, and recording, "Lady Gaga," and decided I wanted to watch Chris Evans in "Scott Pilgrim," so I changed channels and hit "record" for "Scott Pilgrim." AND I FOUND THAT IT RECORDED BOTH, AT THE SAME TIME! Phoned Spartacus at 10PM to tell him about it, but he didn't answer, so I just recorded my triumph.
SUNDAY: Checked to see that IN FACT I had recorded all of "Lady Gaga," which I had watched last night, AND had recorded to the end of "Scott Pilgrim," which I finished watching this morning. And then deleted both of them, as well as something that I'd inadvertently recorded AFTER "Scott Pilgrim." Then tried turning OFF FiOS to set the time on my Panasonic, but that didn't work, but when I hit FUNCTION, rather than DIRECT NAVIGATOR, I GOT the screen, set the time (and reset the time when I left it at 9:35PM rather than 9:35M) and then phoned Mildred in TRIUMPH to say that "Progress WORKS." Feel GREAT about FiOS!

SUNDAY, 5/8/11: 6:59AM: Type DREAMS:5/8/11 and pee, and read much of The Week in Review in the Times while sitting on the john after peeing and not shitting, and back to bed at 7:43. Try to do Actualism, but I'm taken with the idea of SHUTTING OFF FiOS to set the time on my Panasonic, so I'm up without Actualism at 8:06 and have breakfast through the end of "Scott Pilgrim," more like a pin-ball game than anything else, and rather charming into the bargain. Chris Evans was really used as a hunk without really giving him credit. Delete both programs from my DVR, content I know BASICALLY how to use it, and then DO set the time on my Panasonic by hitting FUNCTIONS and getting the set-up screen. Phone Mildred to celebrate my triumph, and catch up with this by 10:12AM, trying to get SOMETHING done before leaving for the Games Group before 1PM. Have a bowl of soup so I won't overdose on junk food at Piri's and leave at 12:55 to arrive almost on the dot of 2PM, Barbara already there, and quickly Alexandra, Diane, Kay, and Caesar arrive, followed shortly by Mark, making us eight. We play "Word on the Road," or whatever, the other team winning two out of three, and then we do Charades, the other team winning by a little margin, and we end with Scattergories, a delightful afternoon ending at 5:30 when Mark is starving for lunch. I'm uncomfortable, as usual, walking to the bus, waiting for it, riding it, transferring to the subway, waiting for it, and getting home, and then have a late dinner while reading the penultimate story in Stephen King's book which is due back at the library Wednesday. Bed 12:40AM.


I have two phases in which I live my life:
LIFE: In this phase, it's AS IF I'm going to live forever. I don't have to finish the website, or reorganize my apartment, or complete ANYTHING, since I'm going to live forever and will ALWAYS have time to do it all LATER.
DEATH: In this phase, it's AS IF I'm going to die VERY SOON. If I DON'T finish the website soon, it'll NEVER be done; if I don't do things NOW, I'll NEVER do them, because I'll not have the TIME to do them.
In my LIFE phase, I can play Spider and Taipei and Solitaire as much as I want, since I'll always have time to do the things I'm not doing while I'm playing games. It's also true, however, that I have to keep up maintenance---like going to the gym, getting a haircut, buying groceries, keeping my journals---since I have to maintain strength and energy and SUPPLIES because I AM going to live forever---and that's a PAIN, but it's part of the price I have to pay because "I'm going to live forever."
In my DEATH phase, I'm urged to GET THINGS DONE, because I'm NOT going to be around as long as I really WANT to be around, so I'd better do them NOW or they have the very FELT chance that I won't be able to do them at ALL. I don't have time to WASTE, so I'd better use ALL my time as BEST I can, since there's not much of it LEFT. Astoundingly simple!


Decide to TRANSCRIBE how New York Life MAKES MONEY on my annuity, to check with Mildred and Spartacus, who kept saying that they couldn't DO it, so I shouldn't LET them do it with my money.
I give New York Life (NYL) $100,000. They can make AT LEAST 2% on all funds. Let's look at the end of year 1: they've GIVEN me 8%, or $8,000. At the WORST, let's say it "costs" them $2,000 a year to make money with my money. So they're left with $90,000 at the end of year 1. But they've made 2% on the decreasing amount between $100,000 and $90,000 through that year, so they've made, AT WORST, 2% of $90,000, or $1,800, but let's call it $2,000 for calculation ease. So they start year 2 with $92,000, and end year 2 with $82,000, on which they earn $1,640, leaving them to start year 3 with $83,640. [True, if I die at the start of year 3, they have to return $100,000 minus $16,000 (what they gave me) already, or $84,000, but they'll STILL have made money on me!] Year 3 takes out the same $10,000, leaving $73,640, on which 2% earns $1,470, roughly, putting them back up to $75,000, roughly. Year 4 ends with $65,000, plus $1,300, or $66,300. Year 5 ends with $55,300, plus $1,100, or $56,400. Year 6 ends with $44,300, plus $886, or $45,200. Year 7 ends with $35,200, plus $700, or $35,900. Year 8 ends with $25,900, plus $518, or $26,400. Year 9 ends with $16,400, plus $320, or $16,700. Year 10 ends with $6,700, plus $134, or $6,800. But the annuity tables says I'll have PROBABLY died even BEFORE that, so they lose money on ME if I continue to live, but they'll make it up from OTHERS! When I call Mildred about this, she said she'd ALREADY realized how NYL profits from it.

MONDAY, 5/9/11: Pee at 3:03AM and at 7:37 type DREAMS:5/9/11 and pee, drink water, check stamps, and back to bed at 7:49. Obsess on annuity, and up at 8:36AM to start a did-list: 1) dress to 8:45, 2) Life/Death written to 8:57, 3) annuity finances written to 9:15, and 4) talk to Mildred about both of them to 9:32, when I catch up with this to 9:42, hungry for breakfast. 5) Breakfast to 10:20, 6) tooth whitener in 10:25, 7) Met lottery to 10:30, 8) e-mail to 10:45, 9) Marj 11AM-12:10PM, 10) Spartacus to 12:15, 11) Taipei to 12:30, 12) stamps to 1:30, 13) see apartment 29K to 1:40 (a mess, with no significant view changes, except that I can see the Queens Citibank tower above the new taller East River-side apartment building, and can see the oval grounds of Brooklyn Bridge Park, not just the trees along its eastern margin) with Spartacus, 14) Spartacus to 3:10. Play Spider 3:10-4:10PM OK to 51.42291 to 704 up, high, after 2 wins. Watch "The Tourist" with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, totally unbelievable and quite entertaining, and then "Tron:Legacy" from Netflix, and accept Spartacus's offer of "ArtCamp SexyTime Football" at Interart, which turns out to be absolutely awful, even the two small "snatches" of male nudity. Have a bacon cheeseburger and a delicious Doctor Pepper at Lucky's. Bed 1:30AM.

TUESDAY, 5/10/11: 6:50AM pee and note DREAMS:5/10/11. Lotion itchy scrotum and get up at 9:37AM. Time-Warner guy picks up the box FREE at 1:09, and I don't even tip him. Watch "The Bonesetter's Daughter" in the opera rehearsal, and then "Salt" with a convincing Angelina Jolie. Play Spider 3-3:30PM OK to 51.42476 to 705 up, high, after 2 wins. One of these days I totally indulged in putting the stamps into the albums or into the duplicate envelopes. Finish reading Stephen King's last story in "Full Dark, No Stars," which I have to return tomorrow. Bed 11:23AM.

WEDNESDAY, 5/11/11: Pee at 5:55AM, type DREAMS:5/11/11, and up to jerk off while trying to record my porn on DVR and it didn't work. Cum most trivially, record NL and DH, and return to bed at 7:14AM. Up at 9:31AM. Note that I finished reading Stephen King's "Full Dark, No Stars" today, though it did it last night. Make a note that I have to take the library books back, go to the gym, and meet Spartacus at the 8th Avenue subway at 12:45 for "That Championship Season." Have breakfast, call HIP at 10:18AM to find that Mallett is in at 12, and tell her to leave word with Chin about my Valium prescription and my want of a lab slip for my cloudy urine. Leave word with Robert Workoff at 10:28 and slip the library books into the slot before the gym, and then am rather disappointed in the play: it's very dated, racist, and Jason Patric isn't nearly as good-looking as the ad would have it. Spartacus doesn't join me at Shake Shack, but I love the cheeseburger and the caramel shake. Watch the end of "Red Planet," very low budget with the woman from the "Matrix" series and Val Kilmer, who of course solve all their problems and fall in love and return to earth, then catch the end of "Knowing," which I think I saw the start of before, and watch bits of the two-hour Bio of Jack Nicholson, recording the following 2-hour Bio of Johnny Depp to watch tomorrow. Bed 12:20AM.

THURSDAY, 5/12/11: Up at 7:16AM to shit and read to 7:42, when I go back to bed. Up at 9:10AM to type DREAMS:5/12/11, feeling really OUT of it, but determined to clip toenails, at least. Annoyed YET AGAIN by this insidious tapping, rapping, hammering from upstairs that's occurred AT LEAST a half-dozen times in the past week. Can't resist Spider 10-11:20AM, OK at 51.42637 at 706 up, continuing my string of highs after 4 wins, and then Chin calls and says my Valium prescription is with his secretary. I decide to take the tamsulosin prescription that Mallett won't call in, and wait almost an hour for Chin to say he's e-mailed a prescription for that to CVS. Out about 12:30, starved, so I stop at Grand Canyon for an excellent bacon cheeseburger with a refilled-free glass of lemonade for a total bill of $10, very satisfying, and I enjoy watching passersby on the street in the ideal 68 weather. Home with lots of mail, but quickly get a call that Chin didn't SIGN his prescription, so I'm back to CVS, pick up the prescription, asking them please to have the Valium AND the tamsulosin waiting for me when I get back, and DO get them both after a slight wait. Home to get mail, and can't resist going back to Spider 1:30-3 for another OK session to 51.42984 at 708 up after 3 wins. Then get e-mail, going to Verizon to make 99 messages deletes or spams, and do a few e-rewards, and reply to Eugenio that his friend can stay here if he's after June 23, otherwise I really DON'T know cheap accommodations in town. Then do a series of Taipeis that I don't even record, do the TV Guide sudoku, and back to Solitaire to 7:10PM, not having wanted to only watch movies, but I only phone Virgin and report to Ken that my cell-phone can't handle France, and catch up with this by 7:15 and WILL watch movies: clearly I don't feel like doing ANYTHING useful in the line of cleaning up! Watch the Netflix "Skyline," which has TWO commentary tracks listed for this mediocre movie, but when I go to PLAY them, they announce "This is only a rental DVD and has none of the extras; get a Blu-Ray DVD if you want the extras." Well, it saves me the watching time. Then find that I'd DVR'd "Secrets of the Dead" for the Terra Cotta Warriors, and watch that, to get off at 10PM to find "Secrets of the Dead" for Atlantis Sinking, about the Minoans on Santorini, and watch that till just before 11, when I watch the Johnny Depp Biography which I'd recorded before, getting to bed at 12:50AM, then get up to find that my maintenance is $681, below the 29th floor 20K of $741, which Spartacus insisted must be higher, and get back to bed at 1:02AM.

FRIDAY, 5/13/11: Pee at 7:24AM, noting DREAMS:5/13/11. Then try Actualism, but get up at 8:15AM to shit and read about the "Pioneer Woman" blog---and envy it---and get back to bed at 8:40AM to do a complete Actualism, and wake with a jolt, feeling really rested, at 9:59AM! To the sound of the TAPPING from above, again. Dress quickly and put the Netflix in the mail at 10:05AM, hoping the 10AM pickup hasn't happened yet. Up for breakfast, then decide to FINALLY start on the clean-up from last Tuesday's FiOS installation, "just" ten days ago. Think to convert the Time-Warner remote to a VHS remote, and it takes the code for my Panasonic and shuts it off, but when I try to turn it back on, the remote doesn't work at all. Spartacus calls at that precise moment, and tries to help me with the remote, but when it really doesn't work, he tells me to remove the batteries and throw it out. I start by throwing out TWO GO.VIDEO units and THREE remotes, checking to make sure, as Spartacus suggests, that there are no tapes or disks in them, and then sort through DVDs and VHS tapes, putting all the tapes on shelves, since I don't use them anymore, and think to try the remote one last time on Porn 2, looking at the last entry INTO the material, finding exciting stuff, so I decide to jerk off at 11:30, cuming finally at 12:30 with VERY little feeling an NO emission, so I try AGAIN to record my Panasonic DVD onto my DVR, but it just doesn't work, and at 1PM I note the two or three drops of cum that finally ooze out of my penis, and pee and wash out the ashtray, and decide to test all the batteries, throwing out two 3-volt that I no longer have use for, and one solitary dead AA battery, the three of which I put into a bag for separate disposal in the trash. That goes to 1:15, and I decide to catch up with this to 1:30, at last getting into the day "proper." Which of course starts with Spider, which unfortunately goes to 4PM without getting any better than 51.42695 at 707 up after 2 wins, the first NON-high since---the end of APRIL! NOW for LUNCH! Have lunch and clear off the TV table-top for the first time in ages, finding it difficult to make it really clean with a dirty sponge and cleanser, but I store everything on the shelves, including a new one made by pushing the folders to the rear and putting DVDs in front. Essentially pile everything on my desk and leave for Sharon at 5:15PM. Sat with my note about Spartacus's play tonight in my pocket as I transcribed the session in great detail until 6:45PM, resolving to sift down through the pile to see what IRS had to say about my Schedule M! But the Spartacus says it would NOT contain anything about Schedule M, because at this early date they only check for addition or multiplication mistakes, and only look at the CONTENTS of the forms after about a year. Meet him at 7:50PM after I wait in a long, confused line for the tickets at Pace, some guy handing out the "discount" envelopes. "Carousel" is amazingly good for the Village Light Opera Company, with a cast of 65, good singers, a sexy-enough Billy Bigelow, falling down only in the dancing, certainly not up to, even, OFF-Broadway. It was over at 10:45, and I got home in time to watch most of Bill Maher to 12, record it for later, and get to bed at 12:15AM.

SHARON B. 178 5/13/11

Sit and read, debating saying, "If I don't get donuts, why do I bother to come?" But don't. Amble in saying, "Pretty much the same thing." Lots to do, lots of time spent playing Spider, 2.5 hours today from 1:30-4PM alone, and lots of time spent "playing with"---that's the only way to put it---stamps, and she asked how I started, and I reviewed Edward again, as the only survivor of that generation, only about 6 years older than me, and one of two who didn't want to hear that I was gay, along with a couple coming to stay with me after my trip, followed by ANOTHER couple staying for a few days. Said that I was slowly preparing for the trip---yesterday left only ONE Thursday left in NYC before leaving for the trip---thinking of the rechargeable batteries, and mentioned Chin's not signing my Valium request. Told her about my "Life" and "Death" modes, hoping to FORCE myself into handling my website and apartment, and not really succeeding, because I so enjoyed finding the stamps that fill the empty spaces in my albums, and ones that were valuable. Then remarked about the "solving problems that just come back," like figuring the $250 check in November was the "donut-hole" payment that the government sent me which was noted on my form that would have made my Schedule M redundant---but that I really DIDN'T want to CONTINUE the search for the $250, certainly sent by check, for which I'd ALREADY spent over half an hour searching, but maybe they DUD make a mistake. "What would lead you to make the decision," she asked, after I said that I was essentially "deciding" to check it out, which meant more time spent searching for it, but not WANTING to do it just PROLONGED the frustration of not having it done, rather than deciding to just "Forget about it!" I even said, "It's as if I'm waiting for some sort of SIGN, some INNER MESSAGE, to tell me what to do---" and then as I talked about it it DAWNED on me that my FEDERAL return was questioned---did THEY ALSO disallow my Schedule M?? If the DID, that would show, more likely, that it was TRUE, but if they DIDN'T question that, it would REALLY cause me to look at it. I expressed amazement that I hadn't thought of that before: the IRS return was buried at the bottom of the pile on my desk, and I just didn't THINK BEFORE of checking it for Schedule M "goodness" or not. She smiled and said that OFTEN it helped to talk things out, which would bring such good insights to mind. I wasn't used to such things: I was still "getting into the habit" of putting in my BRIDGE every morening before being reminded that I DIDN'T have it when I took my first mouthful of BREAKFAST. I SHOULD have acquired the habit of putting it in BY NOW, though I DID mention the unusual circumstance, this morning of waking after an Actualism session at 9:59AM, and then having to dress quickly to get my Netflix movie into the mailbox before the scheduled 10AM pickup. Out of the blue, thinking of the plays Spartacus and I have been sharing, it comes to me that I have to meet him at Pace for "Carousel" TONIGHT, which I hadn't thought of AT ALL during this day---I even make a note about it which I stick into my shirt pocket. Mentioned watching lots of FiOS movies, though I haven't cleaned up from the mess yet, though I did clean the TV table-top. At the end came up with the "dirt hole" as a balloon-basket going out over the ocean, and of course mentioned that it had me in a GRAVE, though I had to repeat "Well, in 21 years, getting $125,000 from my annuity, I'd ONLY have to live to 96, which isn't TOTALLY unthinkable." She made many notes about the balloon-grave right at the end, saying that I was certainly thinking a lot about death---I mentioned Shelley again---and it was affecting my way of thinking and dreaming. Talked rapidly at the end, and then agreed we had two more Wednesdays to go before the trip, which wouldn't involv much walking, just driving and eating, but I DID refuse Spartacus's offer to buy me licorice, because I HAD to lose some weight before the trip would add even MORE. Left on the dot of 6:15.

SATURDAY, 5/14/11: Pee at 5:48AM, and note DREAMS:5/14/11 at 8:20AM. TIRED! Back to stamps, turning on WQXR at 12:15PM to hear the delayed start of "Die Walkuere" at 12:35PM, and during intermission I can't resist Spider 2-3:15PM, OK to 51.43468 at 711 up, high, after 5 wins, then back to stamps and the end of the opera at 6PM, and Spider again 6-6:35PM OK to 51.43652 to 712 up, high, after 2 wins. Then, TOTALLY lazy, play Solitaire 6:35-9:35PM before watching my recordings of Ebert, the start of Bill Maher, and then "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," which I think I'd seen before. Bed at 12:45AM.

SUNDAY, 5/15/11: At 5:10AM note EXCITING DREAMS:5/15/11, thinking that something like this is what I CRAVE. Pee, and at 6:13 start Trip-Do note with 1) buy shoes, 2) CVS: part prescription? 3) HH: deliver Friday, 4) Stop Netflix, 5) tuna for Spartacus, 6) last "30 Rock" on NBC, 7) "Senso" on Netflix, 8) add "Wrong Man" to Netflix list, and 9) haircut. Pee. Finish Actualism at 7:25 and up to shave, have an early breakfast while reading the Sunday Times, make a list of TV channels to watch, which forms the basis for my "Favorites" list, and phone Spartacus at 10:50AM to have him say he wants LUNCH of tuna, so I say he can come over at 12:30PM. Order the HH meals. Add "Wrong Man" to Netflix. Watch the 22nd fifth-season "30 Rock," with the voices sometimes off even with RAPID Internet, and then put the tuna casserole in the oven at 11:47AM after setting the table for the two of us. Catch up with this to noon, and start clearing off my desk. Type from notes and Spider listings, and check the tuna at 12:30PM, JUST bubbling to the top of the casserole, Spartacus not here yet, of course. I'd called him to bring "Downton Abbey" (for which he missed the fourth episode) and "Upstairs Downstairs." Actually think I've caught up, except for printing many pages, now at 12:40PM, Spartacus STILL not here! Phone for the Verizon $5/month discount and she ends up saying I'll be getting $40/month off for 12 months, starting with the second bill. I'll believe it when I see it. At 12:50 pick up the phone for Spartacus and get the message-buzz interruption, and Spartacus called at 12:42 to say he'd been delayed by a phone call from his sister. He gets here, we have tuna, we talk of FiOS, I show him my Favorites, and he leaves about 2PM. I read the first hundred pages of the Koontz book, eating more of the tuna about 3PM because, well, I'm hungry! Then play 3:15 of Spider GOOD from 3:35-6:50PM to 51.43732 to 713 up, highest again, after 6 wins, having been as low as five consecutive losses. Then just want to watch "Senso," with Alida Valli being conned by a wicked Farley Granger, who's executed in the end. Then watch an episode of "Doctor Who" that turns into a two-episode story, finishing with that about 11:15PM, when I take my pill, catch up with this, and get ready for bed at 11:40PM, after calculating that Mildred should send me $2500.

MONDAY, 5/16/11: 2:46AM: Note first of two DREAMS:5/16/11 and pee. Pee again at 6:54AM. 8:25AM: Note second dream. Shit. Note: only TEN more "get out of beds" in US before Paris! Tired. WEARY! 9:02AM: Look out at PELTING rain outside for a few seconds before pouring out my feelings at this moment: finally moving from "nothing important soon; I can do anything I feel like doing, including nothing, which usually includes Spider or Taipei or Solitaire" to "something's coming, I'd better start DOING things," like getting ready for the ASME index, clearing up stuff on my desk, getting ready for the FRANFOOD trip, calling Mildred about her check to me. So, now at 9:08AM, I DO call Mildred. Busy signal. Ignore, for now, all the notes on my desk that I found AFTER I thought I'd caught up with the journal at last. GET her at 9:10AM and talk to 9:25. Finish breakfast at 9:55, wash dishes and clean the refrigerator apple-juice shelf to 10:17 with DISTURBINGLY INTENSE orthostatic hypotension symptoms. Complain to Mildred, interrupted by Spartacus saying that "Downton Abbey" is on Netflix, perversely in SEVEN episodes which I hope will correspond in SOME way to the three he has recorded and the fourth he missed, to 10:37. Catching up with the journal at 10:45AM, AGAIN comes that damnably persistant upstairs TAPPING with a hammer. Call Marj 11:04-11:37 and back to journal. Print out four journal pages by noon, and set up to print two more---SO far behind, the last printed page starts on 5/3! Look at GREAT fog outside, humid inside, and print out the 7th and 8th pages. Write check for Tuesday Evening Hour dinner and print 9th and 10th pages to 12:13PM. Check Visa statement to 12:25. Robert Workoff phones to say index will be FedExed tomorrow. Look at IRS material again to 1:25, finding a 2/16/11 deposit of $250 that AGAIN takes an age to get a copy to me. Lunch to 2:05. Put IRS stuff back on shelf to 2:15, assuming I GOT the "donut hole" payment and thus my Schedule M WAS allowably disallowed. Start proofing ASME from 2010, printing on the HP VERY neat and fast. Stop at 3 to get to the gym, reading about "updating website" in the john while shitting, and getting back home at 4:55PM. Read Koontz to 6:30, finding a SECOND bug crawling across my shirt while reading the book, and GET it and put it into a glassine envelope to show to management, after looking up "bedbugs" on Google tomorrow! Start card #60 for a Spider from 6:30-7:40 OK to 51.43893 at 714 up, a new high, after 2 wins. Continue with Taipei 7:40-9:20, winning quite a few over half of about three cycles, and indulge in Solitaire 9:20-10:30. Decide to finish Koontz's "What the Night Knows," ending not as good as the buildup to it, to 1:54AM. Brush my teeth, look at the fog outside, get to bed at 2:05AM.

TUESDAY, 5/17/11: Pee at 6:20AM, and up, tired, at 10AM---tapping heard THROUGH earplugs---as I hear it NOW while typing at 11:54AM, coming from 20H, DAMN that household! Shit, and hear the phone message from Ron at 10:06AM that my FedEx has arrived. Get it, and look up "bedbugs" on Google to find "many small bites" and "blood spots on sheets," none of which I have. Google "life expectancy in 1936, and find Yahoo saying it was 61 in 1936, while WikiAnswers/ says 65. Another chart says that by 1998, males had grown to 73.8. Social Security noted "better measure is life expectancy after attainment of adulthood," whenever THAT is. I do the test at RealAge and find that my "real age" is 71.8. Call Marj at 11:02AM and talk about that and bedbugs to 11:23. Down to Shirley, the manager, and find that 20H is doing EXTENSIVE work, and someone on 29 is doing something, and Julio comes in to look at my bug and express dismay: "We've got to look at this TODAY." I go back up at 11:40 to make sure my apartment looks presentable, and phone Spartacus at 12 just before Julio and Paul knock to tear sheets off my bed and the covers off my sofabeds, and say that an exterminating inspector will return to check more thoroughly after 3PM. Call Spartacus back at 12:10PM to find that the doctor said he could take off his sling and he could begin to use his arm normally, but Spartacus was sorry when there was discomfort and pain with his first effots. We commend our buildings for being worried about bedbugs, but everyone NOW seems to think it was something that fell out of the book, since BPL HAD had problems in the past! Then have lunch while finishing last week's New Yorker articles about bin Laden (checking New Yorker for proper spelling and capitalization) to 1:35 and calling OAT 1:40-1:50 to find that, for their purposes, they ARE going to Syria in August, so I WILL (as of today, but of course I'll check back when I get back from France) pay the $290 for the Turkish multiple-entry visa and the $171 for the Syria, even though it might go unused. Catch up with this by 2:15, ready to resume proofing ASME. Finish proofing at 2:50 and get into preliminary marking to 3:45 when Ron calls that my food has arrived. Tell him about my not getting Netflix for TWO days now, and he says there's a replacement mailman and I'll probably get it Wednesday. Get the food and the mail and put the food away and start in on the New York Magazine puzzle when the inspector comes in at 4PM with Julio, looks at MUCH LESS than Julio and Paul had looked at earlier, and says I'll need the full treatment. I resist, and he suggests we three meet with Shirley downstairs. Shirley suggests I sit in a vinyl-covered seat in the middle of the Conference Room, and only halfway through the session do I realize WHY they don't want me sitting on their fabric-covered SOFA! They keep insisting I MUST do the process, handing me a sheet that looks just AWFUL to do, but they say some company can hire college kids to pack things away FOR me. I resist and resist, but Shirley say essentially it's the rules of the building, and she and Julio tell me harrowing tales of the six or so apartments that were infested at 10 Clinton in 2006: it was awful, but they all lived through it. Shirley goes back to her office to, supposedly, call Jason, saying she'll call me back, and Toba stops by with his dog to shake hands with me and say, also, that I'll get through it. That goes to 4:55 and I go back upstairs, stunned. In my stunnedness, call Marj 4:55-5PM and Spartacus to 5:07, since we're meeting at 6PM anyway, and Mildred to 5:15, who inspires me to call Ehrlich to 5:27, and get the message from Shirley to call Jason, which I do at 5:30, getting only his message. Have a HH salad lunch to 5:55 and get out to Clark Street for a late Spartacus at 6:05, telling him my troubles, and getting to 86th Street at 6:35 and waiting in a line to get the tickets to 6:45, and then in an even LONGER line, delayed by "wiring difficulties" until we're allowed into the hall at 7:15 and it starts at 7:30 with THREE people making unnecessary introductions, and then a TERRIBLE showing of "Ishtar," maybe even worse than I remember it on its initial screening in 1987, from 7:30-9:15, and the she has a TERRIBLE interview with Stephen Schwartz, who's so bad at interviewing that finally SHE asks HIM what he does! I suffer through the end to 9:45, and we go down Lexington to try to find a place to eat, but can't do it, and at last give up and subway home by 10:59PM, when I have another canned-ham sandwich and some of the Fre wine and my pills and read my magazine. Take 3g melitonin to relieve anxiety and get to bed at 11:59PM.

WEDNESDAY, 5/18/11: But I can't get to sleep, so I'm up at 12:10AM to take a valium AND an ambien, really hoping to knock myself out, and then feel a slight tickle on a leg and decide to throw aside the sheets and see if there's any indication of bedbug activity. Find small black flecks which MAY be feces, but are MORE probably just bits that my feet have brought in from the FiOS-still-dirty floors. Then BACK to the bedbugs websites on Google to look at more photos of MANY types of bites, and back to bed at 1:18AM. Wake at 8AM, tingly and edgy, and pee. My left earplug had dropped out, I find, but only AFTER I had probed with my short fingernail and my tweezers and not being able to find the known-to-be-too-small bit of Quies. Up at 8:40, having waited for a call from the Ehrlich office, and repeat my request for a bug-sniffing dog. They say it will be $350 and they'll phone when they can make an appointment. At 8:52AM I phone IRS about my pin number, get told at 8:55 that I'll have to wait 10-15 minutes, get a person who says she can't handle it but will have to transfer me back to some automated system to remove the pin number, and then at 9:18AM I seem to get a call-waiting which I don't take, and I'm then cut off with a loud blatting sound. Somewhat later in the morning (at 10AM) Ehrlich phones to say it would have to be next week, and I say that's too far away, and they say they'll try to make it later this week and call me back later. I have breakfast and finish a New Yorker magazine and at 9:35 call Shirley to leave a message for her to call me. I put a message on my machine at 10:15 saying I'll be back from my doctor's appointment around noon: just leave a message and I'll call back. Then call Shirley back and leave a message that I want to get a bug-sniffing dog, since the human inspector found NO evidence of my apartment being infested. Out at 10:20AM and check in at 10:34AM, first for my 11AM appointment, and then about 11:15 they give me that same shit about not having a REFERRAL: I bang my fist on their desk three times while emphasizing that this has happened before: WHY can't my DOCTOR'S writing me an appointment QUALIFY me for coming back for an appointment? One nurse patiently explains to me that the system has changed; they can't do anything about it; they can't accept an appointment without the proper referral. Dr. Chin gave me two referrals, so he has to give me one for THIS apppointment. Then at 11:35AM they have the nerve to say that it'll take AN HOUR! I sit down, fume, and go back to the desk at 11:37 to say "I'm going home: I have lots of things I have to be doing in my apartment!" They say, "No, stay, Chin is giving THREE referrals NOW; you'll need to contact him for your NEXT referrals, but you'll be seen soon now; don't go home." At 10:40 I'm shown into the consulting room, where I read, finishing a New York Magazine, until Dr. Freilich comes in at 11:57, looks at my charts, asks how I'm doing, says that the itching on my back will diminish with time, and that the scar is from his treatment. Then I ask if he can tell the difference between a mosquito bite and a bedbug bite, and he says that no one can. I briefly tell him my situation and he tersely says, "Don't let them tear up your apartment." He looks over my body and says I have no other bites. We finish at 12:07PM and he tells me to make an appointment in 2 months, which I note has to be between my French-trip end on June 16 and my Turkey-trip start on July 26, and I wait at 12:09 at the desk to get a July 13 appointment at 11AM, and leave at 12:12, apologizing thrice to the secretaries for blowing off steam at the non-working system. Drop by the office and Shirley comes out to ask if I've heard my phone messages. No. She's scheduled Mark with a bug-sniffing dog TODAY BETWEEN 2-4PM! I say that's great, how much will it cost? And she says the building will pay for it! I thank her greatly, and refrain from getting into what might happen if the bug-sniffing dog CLEARS my apartment! My machine tells me that Jason phoned at 11:15AM; I'll call him after the bug-sniffing dog gets his results. At 12:26PM I call Ehrlich to tell them I have a bug-sniffing dog TODAY, so please cancel my request with them; they say they will. At 12:28 I call Marj, who instantly gets a signal that her food has arrived, so she'll call me back, and I phone Spartacus to fill him in on everything, and he again reminds me to check my apartment insurance in case fumigation might be covered, and Marj interrupts with call waiting, which of course delights her. Call her back and she talks ENDLESSLY about how I've done the right thing, and shouldn't be bullied into getting my apartment fumigated, which should NOT, she says, require that I take everything out of the closets and drawers, since fumigation gets into EVERYTHING, "even the holes in the walls," when I make the point about the mirrored cabinets not being able to be taken from the walls. This goes to 1:35PM, amazingly, and it takes me to 2:03PM to catch up with THIS---the journals never end! Then back to catch up with YESTERDAY by 2:20PM, dog-sniffer still not arrived, sky darkening to rain and now lightening to almost-sun in just minutes. Call Dale back about her call this morning about "what happened at Shelley's brother's apartment," which neither she nor I got to, but her phone just rings and no one answers. At 2:25 I start lunch, to 3. Start ASME work. 3:07PM Mildred calls to check; I say I'll call her back. At 3:15 there's a knock on the door, and to the left is Julio, and to the right is shaved-head, hunky Rich, who smilingly introduces his companion in a carrier: Norma, of a breed like a terrier mixed with a beagle---so I go Google "dog" and it IS a beagle, without doubt. Rich asks if Norma can jump onto my sofas, chairs, and beds, and I say yes. I've put the book out and taken the phone-wire off the floor, and later all the Verizon material too, so as not to "spook" Norma. It's not his, but the company's, but they work well together, even to saying "Vanity" when Norma looks in the mirror longer than a second, and "She likes views" when she stares for more than a moment out my balcony door. She hops on the bed, pokes around the floor, Rich leading her into corners and past things again and again, and then admonishing me not to ask questions for RICH can concentrate. They finish the living room, go around the hall, ignore the kitchen and bathroom, and go into the bedroom where Norma looks at me with caution before heeding Rich's urgings "UP, up" onto the bed. She looks and looks; Rich asks me to move my desk chair to the hall so they can get into that corner, and it goes and goes until he declares my place is free. "Norma has 95% accuracy; people are lucky for anything near that; if she found something, she'd paw the ground, as if digging." We go down to talk with Shirley, who won't admit that I'm clear, but will "e-mail the board with the results," having been convinced that there's not a single living bedbug or even an egg in my entire apartment. WHAT A RELIEF. Relay the news to Marj 4-4:15, Spartacus 4:15-4:21, and leave word with Mildred at 4:23. Get out to Sharon, and back at 5:40 to finally get in touch with Norm and Dale, who are sorry they didn't get invited to "the affair" at David's apartment, seemingly only for close family, but I should call them when I get back from my trip: we may want to plan something ourselves. Try IRS again, but hang up at 5:50 when they say it'll be over a fifteen-minute wait. Catch up with the journal to 6:11, and now go to transcribe Sharon's session to 6:17PM, ready to return to the ASME index. Worl 6:30-7:30, when I get to a question so complicated that I just stop for the day and have dinner while watching "Rabbit Hole" twice, with a rather interesting commentary by the self-confessing John Cameron Mitchell who talks of his sexual encounter with a WOMAN, seduced by an Al Green song. Feel somewhat disconnected with the bedbug danger gone and the trip's nearness causing some anxiety. Bed at 12:25AM.

SHARON B. 179 5/18/11

I go in saying "What a two days THIS has been," and essentially tell her the whole story from my first discovery of the first bug, later filling in my wonder about my five weeks of PREVIOUS bites. Then move to my anger when they had to get me another referral from Dr. Chin for my dermatologist, but was happy that my scar was healing and the other spots he did on my face weren't even visible now. Then continued the story of the day, talking with Marj and Mildred and Spartacus, even mention the hunkiness of Rich and not knowing whether Norma was---anything other than the beagle I now know her to be. Mention my going through the RealAge program and coming up with 71.3, which she congratulated me for, and I even said I could fantasize, by 78, going back to taking off an even ten years of my life to amaze others. She said I could certainly do it. Reminded her of my story about biting my toenails and assuming I could ALWAYS do it, but that's long in the past. No dreams worth noting, and don't have a lot of things to do before the trip. Do laugh about my misremembering the day of the trip, but unless she hears from me beforehand, I WILL be back the afternoon of my flight to France. Keep pushing down statements about the triviality of all this, and at the end even SHE admits that the session was "light," but that it's all good anyway. Leave at 5:30, happy that it's not raining anymore.

THURSDAY, 5/19/11: Pee at 6:36AM, have elaborate DREAMS:5/19/11, and get up at 8:51AM, catching up with the journal to 9:10, and figuring all the things I have to do today: first to call Workoff about the ASME questions, phone Charles about the possibility of seeing "Mithradate" tonight, and soon I've GOT to get groceries, get a haircut, and start preparing for the trip in earnest. Print out four pages in all. Finally contact and finish up IRS by blocking my account to PINs at 9:45, and sign the Schwab consents (for $15?) by 9:55, and then, desperate to pass the time before Workoff calls, watch a dreadful gay "Role/Play" on Netflix to noon, and then play Spider OK 12:05-1:15PM to 51.44054 at 715 up, another high, after 3 wins, and catch up with this by 1:17PM, not knowing really what to do! Decide to go OUT, since it's not raining, at last, for haircut and groceries! I'm next for a quick, short haircut, and then LOAD up with 49 pounds of groceries that SO tire me on the way back home that I actually SIT three times to rest, and then amused to find, when I get home at 2:38, that the total of $81.XX and $19.XX in savings adds to &101.21, which, with the back-edit of the 0 two spaces, duplicates my zip code 11201. Phone Marj about that at 3:17, which gets her into a HUGE project to compare my Key Food prices to her Associated prices. Have lunch to 4:10, talk to Charles to 4:32, and then Marj calls, MANIC about her Associated prices to 5:22PM! She calls back AGAIN to 5:45, though which I play Taipei to 6:30, then Solitaire to 7:10, when I think to put groceries away. Finish getting all the questions for Workoff from the ASME pages 7:30-9:45, feeling good about my progress, and then watch "Araya" on Netflix, grimly effective, and have dinner to 11:25, getting to bed at 11:35PM, hoping to give myself eight hours' sleep before getting to the OAT brunch at the Hyatt at 8:30AM. Then start worrying about when the Form 5500 is due, and get up at 11:50 to look at the IRS website to find they STILL only have the 2009 forms, but find that the deadline is 7/31/11, so I have time after my FRANFOOD trip. Back to bed at 12:06AM.

FRIDAY, 5/20/11: 5:09AM: Type DREAMS:5/20/11 and pee, trying to do Actualism to get to sleep for a few hours, but at 6:13AM I'm still awake and set my alarm for 7:50AM, but then at 6:30 I'm too anxious, so I just get up and do the ASME Conference index 6:40-7:45AM. Dress neatly, take a $600 Ridgewood check to HSBC and withdraw $300 cash, and get the Lexington subway to Grand Central after sitting in the tunnel about ten minutes waiting for a "police action" at Bowling Green to be resolved. Follow a guy who got "Ballroom 2" from the Concierge at the Hyatt at 8:40, and up to a VERY long line at the registration desk, so I take a plate of fruit and rolls to a table that fills up with Russians, then out to check the even-longer line and get more fruit and rolls and butter and back to a table with Ellie and her husband who have ALSO taken 13 trips. They chat and I'm out for a large muffin while waiting on the shorter registration line, get my lottery ticket and many books, and back to sit at 9:50 for an early start to the presentation to the 500 attendees. I'm quite full with my final fruit and a cup of Taxos purple Passion tea. They increase the payment for new customers and lower the number of people (to 8 others) to give you a free trip with them, and finally ask for those who had more than three trips to stand: most do. Then for five, about half sit down. The next step is eight, leaving maybe 80 standing, and then ten, reducing us to about 25, each of whom is given a lovely bouquet of six yellow roses wrapped with greenery! Back just before noon, put roses in my vase, leave word with Workoff, call Spartacus, talk to Marj to 12:25PM, when Workoff returns my call and answers my questions to 1PM, when he can go to lunch on time. Paul calls, but I disconnect him when I get a call-waiting from Spartacus, then call Spartacus back when PAUL doesn't call back, which he does, talking to 1:30, then back to Spartacus to 2PM. Watch "Upstairs, Downstairs" for three hours, interrupted by Marj 4:15-4:40, and phone Mildred about the roses and the dog-sniffer company, and then play a DISASTROUS Spider 8;05-10:10PM, to 51.42339 at 707 up after 1 win, when I'm just DISGUSTED with losing, having many descents to four consecutive losses. Bed at 10:25PM.

SATURDAY, 5/21/11: Pee at 12:11AM, then again at 12:14AM for 27 seconds! Pee again at 4:50, note first of DREAMS:5/21/11, and then up at 7:51AM, noting second dream. Take valium. Read Times to 10:15, with breakfast, and then have ANOTHER too-long Spider session 10:15AM-1:25PM to 51.42029 to 706 up after 3 wins, UGH! Type the following at 1:30PM: HOW can my life be so MISERABLE?! Not that I'm "absolutely miserable," but I sit at my desk, having played 3:10 of Spider to end up one less ahead than I was before, and DON'T feel like working on my ASME index, DON'T feel like just watching TV, feeling that I MUST do something constructive with my few hours left before my trip to France, but, overall, just feel TIRED and WASHED OUT---not even what I'd have expected from having taken a valium at 7:51AM. Of course, at some level, it's anxiety about the trip: will it be enjoyable? (of COURSE it will be!); will I be sick or injured on it? (maybe, but I'll just HANDLE it!); will I have moments of depression on it? (well, I hope as few as possible!). NOT looking forward to MAN this afternoon, feeling slightly as if I've "cheated myself" by not doing the Times puzzles today, saving them for airport waits and flights. Oh, come ON: at least work on the INDEX!!! Can't find the index-name to start Cindex properly, and actually edit the Word document for the Conference index from 1:35-2:30, then get out in the warm afternoon to the L train to Sugarland in Williamsburg for MAN at 3:40, waiting until almost 5PM for the food, which is rather poor---good thing I'd filled up on cheese and crackers and fruit at the start. Small crowd of 53, Steve chats with me only briefly, I talk with two or three others but STILL decide this will be my last year with them. Back about 6:30 to watch bin Laden's death, Bill Maher, and Ebert on my DVR, and I'm still not hungry, so I take my pills and a melitonin and get to bed at 9:08PM, but I'm OBSESSED with the ASME work, so I'm up and find I CAN access the indexes with Cindex by MINIMIZING Cindex on the toolbar and CLICKING on the index-icon to get it ready! Back to bed at 10:05PM.

SUNDAY, 5/22/11: Pee at 12:48AM, 4:28AM, noting first of DREAMS:5/22/11, and up at 6:54AM (to pee yet again), and note second dream. Breakfast and Times to 8:45, then, before having what I hope to be a productive day, sit down for what I hope is a brief Spider and it turns into another turnaround, from 8:45-10:45, GREAT to 51.42983 at 711 up (recouping MORE THAN HALF Friday's disastrous 8-up drop) after 7 wins, finally awake. Talk to Marj 11-11:53AM. Then I decide I MUST start catching up on the journal, isolating notes, putting index pages in order, and finishing the journal at 12:51PM, ready to start on the dreams. Finish that at 1:03PM, and have decided that, now that I can access my indexes, I have to RE-DO the editing on the Convention index IN the index itself, and print it out in preparation for the work NEXT year. Work on the index from 1:05-2:40PM, when I leave for the opera, getting there just after 3:30 to hear singing, and find that I'd forgotten it started at 3PM. But he offers to find me a seat at the far end of the balcony, and the singing is just GREAT: two wonderful sopranos, two entirely competent countertenors, and only the lead, Mithradate, is mediocre, but the excellence of the subtitles, the fact that he charges me only $20, and even offers another $5 which I refuse, and moves me to an orchestra seat (between, unfortunately, two extreme fuss-budgets who move, change positions, drink water, and chat!), and it's quite wonderful to 6PM, so I saw by far the most of it, and even got home to find out what ELSE LOTNY may be doing, and it's nothing but a pop concert in Socrates Park in September, but I'll try to remember to keep track of them. Back to find ANOTHER "devil" message from Marj, and a message from Mildred that I return after phoning Charles to say he missed an excellent opera. Play Taipei talking to Mildred, and actually get a run of WINNING an entire cycle of games, and then get off at 7:40 to catch up with this by 7:45 and prepare for dinner while watching the first part of "Downton Abbey." Take night pill, ambien, and melitonin at 9:25 and go to bed at 9:33PM.

MONDAY, 5/23/11: 3:20AM: Note first of DREAMS:5/23/11. 4:19AM: Can't sleep, take a valium and pee, and up at 7:43AM noting a second dream. Feel sleepy, but have breakfast and get to a DISASTROUS indexing session 8:45AM-2PM, when I can't find ANYTHING good on Cindex, and finally do ALL the corrections "by hand" on the WordPerfect document, then printing it out and proofing to find a DOZEN errors, which is VERY depressing, and then find two more errors later. E-mail both to Robert, saying he should call if anything's wrong before I send the bill, and when I'm clearing things away suddenly the HP printer coughs up a print! HOW could it have waited so LONG? Watch a chapter of "Downton Abbey" with lunch to 3:45, then call CVS to get partial prescriptions which they say I can pick up tomorrow, then phone John to water plants, and Bill Petersen to pick up my Times, and leave word with Spartacus at 4:15. Call Verizon about my $331 bill 4:15-4:50, getting two call waitings while I'm on hold, which I don't pick up because I think they break the hold, and then I get NO voice-mail messages. Call Spartacus but he's still not home, and call Marj, who DID call and got only constant ringing for some reason, and she CONTINUES to talk to 5:18. Then I try to change my Air France seat, but can't find anything on the Internet, and their 212-830-4000, doesn't help. Watch "The Illusionist," rather disappointing, and take valium, melitonin, night pill, and evening pills at 11:10PM and get to bed at 11:14PM, making notes at 11:22PM: 1) check HH cancels, 2) mail Schwab Visa check, 3) pick up CVS, 4) gym, 5) pack, 6) empty camera disks, 7) get cash, and 8) tell Ron to return any HH boxes.

TUESDAY, 5/24/11: Up at 6:29AM tired and headachy. 8:40AM: "Best laid plans!" Watched the last "Downton Abbey" on Spartacus's DVD, and then get the last part missing. So I go to Netflix and try to watch the last, but forgot that I'd discontinued my service last night. AND I get a message that they'll send me another DVD. So I phone them, and they say they won't send another DVD until my "Illusionist" is returned---which won't happen soon, since I gave it to Spartacus to watch. But going back to Netflix, I find I STILL can't watch because of "trouble with your account." So I phone AGAIN, and find it takes 30-60 minutes for an account hold to be withdrawn. So I'm stuck with time without being able to, first, find out where I can START watching the series, and second, watch the series. Literaly put it off less than 10 minutes ago, but I'll now go back to see if it works at 8:43. Yes, it did, and I finished the final two hours by 10:43, and then looked up Highclere Castle, Berkshire, where it was filmed---and where a sequel will be available in Autumn, 2011---and then information about a British Castle Pass that gives great discounts on dozens of great castles. Very informative, and my mind was TOTALLY occupied by the story, thinking NOTHING about the trip---TOMORROW! Talk to Marj 11-11:45AM. 2:13PM: The day is just GOING! Went out to the bank at 11:45AM by way of Monroe Place, which I rarely do, and there was Sharon, Shelley's sister, walking toward me on Pierrepont! We chatted, she talked about my taking books from the apartment, and I deposited Mildred's check, picked up my two COMPLETE prescriptions (clerk said that Doctor Chin authorized my getting the FULL prescription!), and having the doorman let me into the front door of the apartment, which I'd never used and I guess Sharon didn't hear the phone ring for. She showed off the 120+ rolls of toilet paper, the multi-bushel plastic bag of socks, the boxes of black panties, the heaps of black shirts. ("I thought she always wore the same clothes, but it turns out she changed all the time.") I found that "The Sea," the book I'd admired on her desk, had been claimed by Sharon for her son, but if he didn't want it, I was next in line. Did see a volume of Magritte that I lifted, and then searched for two airport time-waster books in the library, and ended adding a roll of paper towels, which I DID need. Back to get a message from Mildred, had lunch, and then called Mildred to be interrupted by a call from Paul, whom I rather ungraciously told to phone back in ten minutes. Feel tired, getting lots done but still lots to do, and since he hasn't called back by 2:18PM, I guess I'll start clearing off my desk. He calls, we talk, I go to the gym at 3:15 and get back 4:55, then get right out to dinner, arriving after 5:30, mediocre slides on Vietnam and Bangkok, and home at 7:30 to phone Ken for the start of a madness with Air France check-in, even though I have an e-ticket number 0577966580644 and a reservation reference 5ETF2M, they won't let me do anything about my seat 22K as opposed to Ken's seat 21A. He says he'll check, but by 9:40PM he hasn't called me back. In the meantime, I downloaded all my shots on both Olympus disks, one from 10/10, one from 5/11, and started loading dining table with stuff to be packed. Ken calls at 9:50PM with my NEW e-ticket number 0577966580644 and I manage (maybe for 50 euros extra, but it's not MARKED like that) to get window seat 60L on the Upper Deck! Let's hope it's as good as it looks! Now at 10:05PM I'm physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted, so I'm just going to go to BED! 10:15PM: Take melitonin 1/2, night pill, evening pills. Weigh 200# stripped. Bed at 10:40PM.

WEDNESDAY, 5/25/11: Pee 4:24AM. 4:32AM: Decide to get up and start day, feeling actually better than I felt the past two mornings. 4:37: Take valium. Breakfast to 5:10AM, fill pill boxes to 6AM, set up TV to 6:30, move FiOS stuff atop laptop in bedroom, sent $1900 bill to Workoff, check e-mail to 6:52AM. Day going well, but lots still to do. Clean ASME off desk to 7:20, clean the floors in the kitchen and bath to 7:20, vacuum to 8, bottles and cans out at 8:10, clear up old piles to 8:20, pee, start packing 8:40AM. Spartacus calls 9:45, needing Bill Petersen to open my apartment 6/11, so I call Bill and manager and it's all OK at 10AM. Look for maps and guides to 11:10, deciding to take nothing but old Guimet and St. Germain-en-Laye brochures: I assume I can get good maps and subway maps there, not to mention what Ken will have. Lunch to 11:55 of pork salad, Marj calls at 12:45 briefly, and I finish packing and take food and CD and eyemasks to Spartacus 1:20-1:50. He suggests I take e-mail addresses, a good idea. So now at 2:02PM I catch up with this and go look for them. Get a list of five or six to 2:10, then eat a pear and talk to Ken and fuss to 2:45, when I play Spider to 4:35, leaving it to go to Sharon on the dot of 4:45, and she takes me immediately. Back at 5:45, having gotten the Channel 13 guide for June which I complained to Spartacus this afternoon that I HADN'T gotten it yet to program ahead: and here it is! Also get the new New Yorker to add to my reading stack, and even my HSBC bill to square THAT before I leave on my trip. Finish the Spider session at 6PM, content to tie for the highest at 51.4366 at 715 up after 3 wins, and then type Sharon's session to 6:15PM, ready to square my HSBC account, check Channel 13 programs, and glance through New Yorker while having the rest of my steak from last night.

SHARON B. 180 5/25/11

I start by saying how tired I am, and how I hope to sleep on the plane tonight, but say that I felt better at 5AM THIS morning than I did for the previous two mornings, so maybe I AM acclimating to French time. Went through all the negatives: the ASME Cindex disaster, doing it (maybe even quicker) by simple editing, then kicking myself because I found so many proofreading errors. Then told of the endless wrong numbers and misleading websites before I FINALLY got upgraded to seat 60L on the "Upper Deck," whatever that is, for which I hope I don't have to pay extra, but was happy to have gotten it. Segued into the luck of meeting Shelley's sister Sharon on the street that I usually don't go to (after having told my therapist Sharon of my kick on finding Mildred's "Enjoy" inside her check enclosure, and her pleasure in my thanking her for it, and how people call and meet me and say what a GREAT time I'm going to have, and I resist saying, "Yeah, but I feel like shit!" She laughs and asks how I REALLY feel: I have to admit there's less anxiety about the trip ITSELF because there are so many OTHER points at which I can feel anxious, having taken maybe three valiums so far this week, which help. I'm tempted to say I HAVE improved, recognizing that I'm more in danger of injury or problems BECAUSE I'm older, but I've ACCEPTED that, and figure I can get through it ANYWAY, as I got through the ASME problems, which were finally solved by just DOING it. Mentioned my dream about the Concorde without ANY feeling of dread or omen, simply left my camera under a seat that I couldn't find. Told her of the luxury of having so much time to clean the apartment, talk to people, pack in a neat way, and listen to Ken praise himself for carrying so many books and maps because of the detailed plans he's made for the trip, for which I'm eternally grateful, but even go into the "sartorial" end of it, when I hadn't recognized that he ALWAYS dresses in brown---and looks like shit, I gratuitously add, and can't figure how others can BEAR to find him the SLIGHTEST bit attractive. But he plans VERY well, and I'm always happy to express my gratitude for that. Say that I wished I could ECHO people's assurance that I was going to have a great trip, not that I WON'T, but, as Sharon keeps repeating, "I'm in the moment of PREPARING for the trip, I'm not ON the trip yet, which will probably go well in ways I can't even predict, and things MAY go wrong but I'll handle them, and THEY think I'm THERE, ENJOYING it already." Keep on going, calling it another "therapy light," but then DO admit to feeling somewhat lighter with all the SHIT piled on the floor---and she indicates a stack rather higher than I would have suggested. Agree that my next session will be June 22, but that, when I get back on Thursday devastated by something, I can always call for an emergency session on Friday if I need to. I leave on the dot of 5:30 as she wishes me a good trip.

TRAVEL:FRANFOOD, May 25 - June 16, 2011 (23 days)

FRIDAY, 6/17/11: Try to pee at 3:48AM, but, oddly, can't. Then I pee at 4:03AM and get up to j/o and cum at 5:07AM. Then at 5:30 I have a satisfactory shit, so the effect of the Imodium has ended. Pass 6:04-6:38 with the most sketchy Actualism session, get up at 6:40, have oatmeal for breakfast 6:47-7:20, with apple juice since the milk hasn't thawed yet, and sort through the mail to 9AM, Spartacus calling 8:20-8:45 since he knew I'd be awake. Do two New York Magazine puzzles to 10AM, then get a blessed call from Pam Hatley at Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo for two INDEXES!! REMARKABLE!! Talk with her to 10:30, then phone Bill Petersen and go down there 10:40-11:05 to pick up the Times. Call Marj 11:05-11:25, as short as possible; leave word with Sharon asking for a possible session this evening; get Sharon Montoya's phone number from Dale Kahn and talk to THAT Sharon 11:28-11:44, e-mail the O'Sheas, and look at the index pages to get over ten questions between 12:40 and 12:50 and decide to leave the rest to start Monday. Have lunch of kielbasa, apple sauce, and green beans from 12-1 while distributing fifteen-and-a-half days of pills. Do more mail and magazines and the first Times, go down to pick up my HH delivery and talk to Shirley Smoot, who shakes my hand and congratulates me on being bug-free, even telling me that the blurb about bedbugs at the Board meeting was caused by an actual INFESTATION at 10 Clinton just after my scare here. Do all the TV Guide sudokus and more mail handling to dinner 7-7:45, and then get out to Sharon 8:15-9PM, as she set up, then finish the first week's Times and puzzles, brush teeth, take melitonin, and get to bed at 10:55PM, very tired, but pleased to be catching up so quickly with my jet lag.

SHARON B. 181 6/17/11

Sharon has someone who stays in a bit longer than 8:15, but immediately the woman leaves, Sharon calls me in. I say that it was a good trip, but that KEN caused a lot of problems, and the entire session ended up being about HIM, rather to my surprise. I said that his planning was wonderful, I felt sorry for him when he dropped his watch, had his wallet stolen, and made the mistake of thinking the return to Paris was on Tuesday rather than on Monday, and I was still debating how much, if any, of the money I should pay for HIS mistake. I gave her some examples of his anger: hollering at me when I went around a circle so that he could be sure of his bearings; making fun of my "fashion sense" when it was HIS, with his yellow handkerchief hanging out of his back pocket, his wrinkled, shapeless, baggy brown jeans with the strange leather cuffs, his ugly brown-and-brown jacket and trouser combinations that were supposed to look good because THEY COST A LOT OF MONEY. His insisting I was walking too fast when I was ahead of him, but when he was ahead of me we always had to be in a hurry, so he HAD to walk faster. "What would you say to him" Sharon inquired. "Respect me at LEAST as much as I respect you!" I shouted back. He kept trying to belittle me in front of Paul, too, which made me feel awful, but I felt that I couldn't get back at him, except to compare him, ironically, to his "brother who HAD to get his way, who was NOTHING like Ken was." SURE!! I kept AT it and AT it, surprised that I had so much to get out about him, and she kept sympathizing with me, and I was quite surprised that the session was over so fast. Didn't have a chance to get into anything else, except that I was feeling pressed about the couple from Atlanta who were coming to stay with me three nights starting Monday.

SATURDAY, 6/18/11: Pee at 4:20AM. Phantom phone-ring at 6:46AM. Pee. Actualism to 7:42. Breakfast 7:50-8:30. Finish doulecrostic to 9:30, and the regular puzzle to 10. At 10:05AM I talk to Billy Adamson from OAT who says officially there's no post-trip to Syria, that they'll refund me $1595 in 7-10 days, and then on Monday Suzanne calls me to confirm my return flights, with window seats, on August 14, making it a 20-day trip, which feels good to me. Also, most will get their visas at the border, so there's no need for me to send off my passport at all! GREAT! Leave a message with John at 10:22AM, work on Fred's e-mail till 10:47, talk to Marj 11:02-11:19, not much to say. Talk to Carolyn on her new $600 bike outside from 11:20-11:25, and then Charles's phone just rings and rings and rings! Talk to Rita to 11:31, when she has to go somewhere, and then Fred calls, and I free up 3 gigabytes by removing St. Petersburg photos by 11:53AM. Phoned Robert Workoff on Friday, but he's out to 6/27. Have lunch from 12:15 to 1, then subway to 13th Street for "Unnatural Acts," sitting in a good seat for the cute-guy nudity, and surprised at the end by the way many of the people ended up. Got out just after 4PM, and got home to finish the third-last Times from 5:05-6:50. Since I've done the puzzles, I continue and finish the next-last Times at 7:50. Then watch TV to 10:05PM, two episodes of Bill Maher and three of Roger Ebert, finish the last puzzles to 11:13PM, getting VERY tired. Take melitonin and get to bed at 11:25PM.

SUNDAY, 6/19/11: Pee at 3:50AM and type dream. 6:44: shit, and read Times to 7:25. Do Actualism 8-8:30 and jerk off to 9:50. Breakfast to 10:20, and finish the LAST Sunday Times at 1PM, puzzles and all. Start going through the list I made for today: 1) wrote a letter to Paul asking for his phone number by 1:15, 2) shaved by 1:30, 3) talked to Mildred about two banks refusing any more reverse mortgages to 1:37, 4) talked to Marj 1:38-2:15, getting her to talk about herself, but not anything about our project. Started lunch at 2:25, did a bit of unpacking, gathered laundry (and decided not to dry clean my suit just yet) until 4PM, then transferred Neo files 1 and 2 from 4:15-5:30, and went to the gym 5:30-7:07, starting off very easily, but felt good getting it done. Started tranferring file 3 and watched "Too Big to Fail," again confused, as I was at "Unnatural Acts," by identifying exactly who was who in the group of a dozen men. That ends at 9PM, when I start catching up with the journal until 10:04, but I'm getting tired, start transferring file 6, and I decided have to eat SOMETHING for dinner, so I make curried tuna with VERY old mayonnaise, reading more of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves," until 10:55, and get to bed at 11:15PM.

MONDAY, 6/20/11: 4:27AM: Pee and lotion feet. Pee at 5:25 and up at 8:08 after another sketchy Actualism. Try phoning Chin for an appointment from 8:10-8:15, but they say he has to call me back when he gets in at 9:30AM. Have breakfast of an ENORMOUS sausage omelet from 8:20-9:20, finish Truss: "Eats, Shoots and Leaves," not all that great, though there are some funny parts. Phone Pam and work on the index 9:25-10, telling her I won't be doing much this week because I have house guests. Put all the SOLID stuff from packing back into the expanding bags at the top of the closet, put some items onto the display shelves, and simply pile all the paper onto the shelf near the TV by 10:30. Feeling nervous, so I take a valium, hoping to make my day easier. Take out the laundry and deposit my $1900 check by 11:15, making a note that I should have stopped by Spartacus to pick up spare keys for the O'Sheas. Phone him but he's still sleeping, so he'll phone me back, when I forget to ask him about the keys. Suddenly remember that I hadn't watered my plants on Sunday! Move the beds with a great deal of effort, and then go through the linen closet trying to make new sense of it: separating out all the towels and foreign fabrics, sorting the sheets into four stacks: single top, single bottom, double top, double fitted-bottom, and the pillowcases into long and short. Then stuff them all back into the closet after getting the proper sheets, pillows, and cover sheets onto the two beds. Don phones at 1:14PM from LGA, I finish what I can, dressing and cleaning the bathroom, and they arrive at 1:50, look from the balcony, can't decide what to do with their afternoon, and I suggest Dubai and Ethiopia, which they watch from 2:20-3:30, when Don says he wants a nap. So I go into the bedroom and finish this to date at 4:30, when he comes in to show me the SECOND neat gizmo he has, and I have to ask him for an intro to all this stuff. Now at 4:33 to get dressed for La Boite en Bois and "Coppelia." We leave at 4:45 and get into the elevator at Clark Street when Don realizes that the ballet tickets are still in my apartment! He takes my keys and leaves, returning quickly, and we get out at 66th Street and I think La Boite is on 67th, but when it isn't, Don uses his iPod and finds it's on 68th. For the first time I've been there, it's not crowded. Good sausage and lentils to start, they both like their salads and their bottle of wine. Don and I have the special of the day: rack of lamb with a bit of filet mignon, the latter much tenderer, better, and less fatty-gristly than the former. The mashed potatoes are wonderful in the meaty broth, and even the zucchini is good in the slivered vegetable portion. My fruit is good, Don likes his creme brulee, and Helen gets the best of all: the last portion of a "tasting of desserts" that includes a bit of everything. Get to the Met at 7:14, enough time for Helen to wait out the long line for the ladies' room, and the seats are wonderful---on a line with the chandeliers even before they've gone up! Sadly, they forgot to pack their binoculars! Osipova is brightly young and a great leaper, and Daniil Simkin turns out to be the guy I Googled a few years back as a phenomenal new young dancer; I just hadn't realized he'd joined ABT in 2008. They make a great pair; unfortunately, there's not that much opportunity for bravura dancing, though the audience is quick to applaud each segment of above-average performance. Helen and Don are tired when we get home about 10:15, but I know this is the time to phone Spartacus and pick up a set of keys for them, so I go over and he presents me with a DVD of the HBO Special Movie on Don Liebrandt. Back to find them readying for bed, so I take a bottle of water and my evening pills into my room and get to bed at 11:10PM.

TUESDAY, 6/21/11: Wake at 7:20AM with a great urge to urinate, but find the light on in the bathroom and the door closed. Wait a few minutes and it's still closed, so I urinate into the water bottle (forgetting that I HAVE a urinal somewhere in my room), leaking a bit on the carpet by the bed, so I move to the vinyl mat on which my desk chair rolls, and manage to get at least a few tablespoons of urine on the vinyl! Mop it up with a used handkerchief, and the bathroom is STILL seemingly in use. Maybe they left and left the door closed? I creep toward the living room until I get a glimpse of Helen gazing out my window: so Don's still in the bathroom, though I hear nothing from within. Get up again to look out, and see a shadow and Helen goes to the closet and I leave the door partly ajar so no sound or motion will attract her attention. Of course, she may have noticed me BOTH times and just had the courtesy to pretend she hadn't. Lay until about 7:35, when the bathroom's finally empty, so I can empty the water bottle, rinse out and soap up the handkerchief, and put them back before going into the living room to ask how they enjoyed the sunrise, on this most-northern sunrise of the year. "The colors on the clouds were wonderful; we really enjoyed it; then we just rolled over and went back to sleep." Great! They go down for breakfast at Park Plaza, so I put on oatmeal and start watching the Liebrandt movie. Wonderful to follow him from Atlas to Papillon to Gilt---and many small jobs between; he says he has LOUSY luck, with an EVIL God causing him endless problems, though his girl friend helps him quite a bit---to Corton. Don and Helen are watching part of it as they get ready for the day, Don offering me the chance to play with his big iPod just to see what it can do, and I ask if they'd like me to see if I can make reservations at Corton for Wednesday at 6PM. They agree, and I DO! Tell them to take my binoculars with them on their day, in CASE something comes up and I don't meet them at Telepan, though my plan is still to dine with them (hoping they don't insist on paying for that TOO), and try my luck picking up a, say, $20 or less ticket for "Cinderella" in the plaza. Call Mildred "in loco Sharon" to tell her about my urine episode, which she enjoys, AGAIN saying how happy she is that I've returned from my trip. Call Spartacus 10:40-11:05, who later calls back and leaves a message from a call-waiting beep that I never heard, who then says he's made an appointment with Dr. Chin on 7/5, so I could try to get an earlier one than 7/8, but I say it's not worth the trouble. Talk to Marj 11:05-11:40, she insisting that I should "write up the hilarious urine anecdote," which, anyway, will be in my journal. Also enjoyed the freedom of playing Spider 10:30-11:05 to a new high of 51.43844, but didn't get the "number up," which gives me the excuse, now that I've caught up with my journal by 12:16PM, for the luxury of ANOTHER Spider excursion! Play 12:17-1:07PM to a new high of 51.44016 at 717 up after 2 wins. Then Marj calls AGAIN for some note on "30 Rock" and Paul Liebrandt, and I play Solitaire while speaking with her, finishing at 1:26PM, finishing this, and hungry for lunch. Have another cold HH summer salad with chicken and cheese while watching "Zarkana," which gets rather boring when not showing the actual acts of what should be a truly spectacular show in Radio City Music Hall. Then decide to tackle the finances of the trip, separating the pile of paper from the trip into souvenirs, menus, small credit-card receipts, large hotel/restaurant bills, and a small pile of other things to be filed elsewhere. Then circle the dates on all the credit-card receipts and put them in order, and then do the same for the larger bills, and start going through, figuring from my Visa bill what the changing conversion rates are: varying from 1.428 to 1.469 between 5/28 and 6/08. Start making a list of the twelve three-star (and single one-star of Hotel Lancaster) restaurants with figures for MY bill, divided into the fixed-price dinner; my traditional Kir just for comparison, already ranging from 17 to 26E in the first four Paris restaurants; water, and total; and then the total bill itself. But I'm crushed when I can't find the bill for Cote St-Jacques in Joigny: how can I figure how much MORE Ken's bill is than mine if I don't know how much his extra glasses of WINE were? I figure to search the souvenir papers in the hope that it's hidden away, OR I wait until the final tally and do an AVERAGE to get a most-reasonable breakdown. By that time I've got to dress and subway to Telepan, getting there at exactly 5:30 to find them already at the table, having had to "cool their heels" for a half hour waiting for Kathy to show up, and we order different things for the tastes. They agree this is better than yesterday's meal, and look forward to Corton tomorrow. The sweet-pea pods in a Ranch dressing are dynamite, my "pea pancake" is interesting, but the pork is strangely tasteless, though a bit of salt improves it a bit. Rather anxious toward the end, time-wise, but get out by 7:17 and get them to the ballet in time, while I search for someone giving away tickets---of which there isn't a single one! Watch the fountain orgasming until 7:40, when I decide it's useless to wait longer and get the subway home. Glance through the new New York Magazine, but just feel TIRED, so I get into bed at 10:39PM, but then feel I want to welcome them home from the ballet, so I'm up at 10:42 to type; they arrive just after 11, saying the choreography was just TERRIBLE for the "Cinderella," and when I see it's by Kudelka, who can barely dance, let alone choreograph, I feel sorry for them---but then they insist they don't blame me, they'll just ask me for more information when choosing their next duo. They're clearly tired, and I get to bed at 11:47 after proofing my trip to 6/1 on page 5.