Riba Rambles:
Musings of a Mental Magpie

About the author: Elisabeth in early 2007, photo by Todd Belf
Elisabeth "Lis" Riba is an infovore with an MLS. This is her place to share whatever's on her mind, on topics both personal and political. [more]
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Saturday, August 31, 2002
Posted by Lis Riba at 6:35 PM

My blue period has ended

Yesterday, I went to my hairdresser and had my hair cut. I am no longer blue. It lasted 125 days -- from April 27 thru August 30 -- but now it's over. He managed to cut my hair stylishly without redying it -- cutting it below where my roots had grown out.

For the folks I had dinner with on Friday night (or anyone else who's interested), take a look at Project Flo Control -- an automated cat door that uses image recognition to prevent the cats from bringing "presents" in the house. Be sure to take a look at the Flo Watch for a voyeuristic look at the comings and goings (and lockouts) of their cats.

And for those who I've been talking to about King James's homosexual lovers, I highly recommend reading the book King James and the history of homosexuality by Michael B. Young. Very, very entertaining; Amazon should post my review in a few days. For a few free sources of information on the subject, I provided some links in last Sunday's entry.

Back to Elizabethan history, check out this cool discovery about Queen Elizabeth I that sheds a new light upon her personality. Historians have often commented on how much she encouraged comparisons to her father, and yet avoided any mentions of her mother. Very interesting, therefore, that her ring "concealed a secret compartment with a portrait of her mother Anne Boleyn."

By the way, my jaw dropped upon reading this comment left on my last entry, which says "I saw your picture on a Danish newssite" I'm still astonished by this. I thought it might mean news as in Usenet news, but that doesn't have pictures... I left that person an email asking for more information, but haven't gotten a response yet. If anyone has any clue what my photo is doing "on a Danish newssite" -- particularly if you can provide a URL -- please post a comment or send me an e-mail with more information.


Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Posted by Lis Riba at 2:50 PM

"What am I doing feeling down?" I find myself humming that to the Mike Nesmith tune.

Job hunting is tough. Job hunting is demoralizing. Job hunting advice nowadays recommends a lot of networking and contacting people and informational interviewing. And, well, I'm an introvert. I know that I can do this, but it seems like the tasks needed for a successful job hunt hit upon many of my weak points, which include nebulous assignments with only self-imposed deadlines, and having to unsolicitedly contact people and ask things of them. It's tough. I don't like it. But I have to do it.

At yesterday's WIND meeting, I didn't hear much good news. Some people there have been out of work for far longer than I think I can afford to be jobless. But I'm just not seeing many jobs that match my skills and pay what I think I need to earn in order to meet my expenses.

And, I am getting worried about money. I don't think the situation is dire (although I do give myself scares every now and again), but I don't hold onto fears for very long. It's interesting; generally speaking I don't have a long emotional memory. Maybe I should be more worried; I don't know.

Compounding the problem, this summer we've spent nearly $2000 in car repairs (sorry, but I don't skimp when the brakes have problems; as a car-care book says, other issues may prevent the car from starting, but it's much more serious when the car won't stop). At any rate, last night, it started making other strange noises. It looks like the emergency brake is engaging and sticking somehow. We've already called the garage and they can fit it in tomorrow to look it over. I'm just worried because my first car wound up having a series of expensive problems in different systems before the engine block failed beyond reasonable repair cost. I don't want to throw money at a losing proposition, not that I can really afford a new car at this time. At our last checkup, the garage said that our car should have many more years to it, but after last night I'm having further doubts.

Meanwhile, a very... useful and informative book I own says: "If you are unable to stop a behavior because you are using it to distract yourself from some feeling or need, you may be facing a problem with addiction." Well, I'm using books -- escapist books -- in part to avoid dealing with unpleasant realities. I'm wondering whether my avid reading is a problem behavior. The catch is, books -- particularly library books -- are a cheap form of entertainment; less expensive than movies or going out or any other things we could do. But, they're also very absorbing, and cut into the time and attention I should be giving to other things. I don't know; I probably should cut back, but at least I'll keep an eye on it for now.

I keep being reminded of a recent comment a friend made. He said: "I once remarked to a friend, "Being an adult sucks, huh?" She said, "No, being a responsible adult sucks."" That's how it feels sometimes.

At least Ian's doing better. He's been observing how food and affects his mental state, and making some interesting observations. As an experiment, he's eating nothing but Balance bars at regularly spaced intervals for a couple days; he's found that he's been much less hungry and has otherwise been feeling better than normal. In a real triumph, this morning he was feeling somewhat woozy after waking up, and instead of thinking something was wrong with him, he recognized that something was wrong with his circumstances and tried to figure out why and what he could do to recover. (Reread this entry to see why this thought pattern is so good!)

So, that's my life in a nutshell. I wish it were easier, but I don't think Gd gives us more than we can bear. I just have to learn to live up to it. Comments, advice and well-wishing gratefully appreciated. [Hey, I see the server logs, I know you guys are reading this! Just say "hi" and let me know who you all are. It gets a little lonely on this side of the computer, you know?]

Monday, August 26, 2002
Posted by Lis Riba at 10:35 AM

I'm feeling rather down this morning.

Last night went well; I helped some friends pack up their apartment. [I'm not much good at the heavy-lifting side of moving, but I pack well.]

This morning, I updated my finances Quicken (I track all income and expenses down to the penny, and have for many years), which got me feeling worried and stressed about money.

Today's also my day of the week for going through the job postings in the Sunday classifrieds and online listing sites I've bookmarked, to write letters and send out resumes. And I'm just not finding much.

So, I'm worried about money and not finding many positions I qualify for that will pay well enough to meet those needs.

Not a good start for the week...

Sunday, August 25, 2002
Posted by Lis Riba at 1:40 PM

Oh, whimper...

Next week, we're flying down to Florida to spend Rosh Hashanah with my parents and grandparents. Since this will be my first airlines trip since September 11th, I told asked my father (who does a lot of business travel) for advice. He mentioned that he really likes the travel site, Joe Sent Me, so I poked around a bit, and it seems like a good site.

So, why the whimper? I just noticed that Virgin Atlantic is offering "6-night London packages for as little as $399 a person. The bundle includes: roundtrip flights; six nights of lodging; round-trip London airport transfers; daily breakfast; hotel taxes; and dining and wine-tasting coupons" From Boston, the package is only $20 more per person.

I wish... I so wish...

Posted by Lis Riba at 1:15 PM

Okay, this site had me laughing out loud. Are you ready to see Live Nude Cats!? [Note: you must be 18 months or older to enter this site]

Posted by Lis Riba at 12:10 PM

As you may have seen in Ian's journal, he recently discovered that glucose spikes from eating too much starch and not enough proteins have been causing the mental fogginess he's been complaining of for a while. So, on doctor's orders, he's begun keeping a food diary tracking what he eats and how he feels. A nutritionist lent him a copy of Barry Sears' Enter the zone, which he's begun following. I haven't really made any dietary changes myself, other than sharing in the more balanced meals that Ian's been cooking lately. I'm being supportive, but am still eating junk food. Maybe I'll start keeping a food diary myself...

Meanwhile, as Ian's been adding more protein in our diet, that's meant eating more fleishig (meat). Which is making our poor cat really envious at mealtimes.

So, what else is going on...

Last night, while browsing, I discovered that Julia Child's kitchen from her Cambridge house is an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. The reason this is so cool is because my father-in-law worked on the kitchen, so that's partly his work on display.

I suppose this should go on my (somewhat moribund) Shakespeare page, but I found this story in the New York Times to be really cool. A major executive was a Shakespeare buff, so decided to put on his own off-off-Broadway production of Hamlet, with himself in the title role. Not bad if you can do it.

Meanwhile I've been rereading Michael B. Young's excellent book, King James and the history of homosexuality. Now, I don't think I'm homophobic, but I can't help but laugh when I read an account that the Spanish Ambassador to England from 16I3 to 1621 referred to as "'the Butte-slave' of Christendom." Is that bad of me? Maybe it's because the speaker and subject have been dead for 350 years, maybe it's the archaic spelling, maybe it's because I don't think the target of these accusations was gay... It just amuses me.

Frankly, I find the story of King James and his male lovers to be fascinating, both in a historical and personal sense. Given how often the King James Bible is used to justify anti-gay prejudice, I find it poetically just to learn how queer James really was. You can read more about him here and here, if you're interested. I just enjoy reading four-hundred-year-old gossip in this book and in Alison Weir's Tudor histories. It's got all the tawdry thrill of tabloids, but since it's history, it's actually educational...

Posted by Lis Riba at 8:40 AM

While it's quiet for a few minutes, I thought I'd share my standard morning computer routine, listing the sites that I check on a daily basis, in case anyone wants to copy any links or see what I'm filling my head with. The list is rather long, so I've posted them here instead.



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