To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For in the last year she had found that her hostesses expected her to take a place at the card-table. It was one of the taxes she had to pay for their prolonged hospitality, and for the dresses and trinkets which occasionally replenished her insufficient wardrobe. And since she had played regularly the passion had grown on her. Once or twice of late she had won a large sum, and instead of keeping it against future losses, had spent it in dress or jewelry; and the desire to atone for this imprudence, combined with the increasing exhilaration of the game, drove her to risk higher stakes at each fresh venture. She tried to excuse herself on the plea that, in the Trenor set, if one played at all one must either play high or be set down as priggish or stingy; but she knew that the gambling passion was upon her, and that in her present surroundings there was small hope of resisting it.

Tonight the luck had been persistently bad, and the little gold purse which hung among her trinkets was almost empty when she returned to her room. She unlocked the wardrobe, and taking out her jewel-case, looked under the tray for the roll of bills from which she had replenished the purse before going down to dinner. Only twenty dollars were left: the discovery was so startling that for a moment she fancied she must have been robbed. Then she took paper and pencil, and seating herself at the writing-table, tried to reckon up what she had spent during the day. Her head was throbbing with fatigue, and she had to go over the figures again and again; but at last it became clear to her that she had lost three hundred dollars at cards. She took out her cheque-book to see if her balance was larger than she remembered, but found she had erred in the other direction. Then she returned to her calculations; but figure as she would, she could not conjure back the vanished three hundred dollars. It was the sum she had set aside to pacify her dress-maker—unless she should decide to use it as a sop to the jeweller. At any rate, she had so many uses for it that its very insufficiency had caused her to play high in the hope of doubling it. But of course she had lost—she who needed every penny, while Bertha Dorset, whose husband showered money on her, must have pocketed at least five hundred, and Judy Trenor, who could have afforded to lose a thousand a night, had left the table clutching such a heap of bills that she had been unable to shake hands with her guests when they bade her good night.

...Don't you hate when that happens?

House of Mirth

Friday, April 23, 2010

What a world, what a world.


So I haven't posted about my job lately because no one would believe the things I would have to say. I've been looking and looking for another job for months, had a couple of interviews, no dice. There are so many good people out there right now, as I learned last year when I put an ad on Craigslist for a tech and was depressed by the response.

I had a call from a recruiter about an opening with a company I used to work for. The opening is in the Midwest. I entertained the prospect, he talked to them, and they apparently are excited about the possibility of my going to work there. They're still in discussion and have not made me an offer - I am not counting my chickens yet - and of course I don't know what kind of offer it will be. But as much as R and I hate the idea of leaving Florida, hate the idea of snow and ice, and HATE the idea of leaving F here, I think if it's any kind of decent offer I'll have to take it.

There's worse things. Right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here's another bit from The Custom of the Country.

Her gloom was not lightened by finding Ralph Marvell's card on the drawing-room table. She thought it unflattering and almost impolite of him to call without making an appointment: it seemed to show that he did not wish to continue their acquaintance. But as she tossed the card aside her mother said: "He was real sorry not to see you. Undine--he sat here nearly an hour."

Undine's attention was roused. "Sat here--all alone? Didn't you tell him I was out?"

"Yes--but he came up all the same. He asked for me."

"Asked for YOU?"

The social order seemed to be falling in ruins at Undine's feet. A visitor who asked for a girl's mother!--she stared at Mrs. Spragg with cold incredulity. "What makes you think he did?"

"Why, they told me so. I telephoned down that you were out, and they said he'd asked for me." Mrs. Spragg let the fact speak for itself--it was too much out of the range of her experience to admit of even a hypothetical explanation.

Undine shrugged her shoulders. "It was a mistake, of course. Why on earth did you let him come up?"

"I thought maybe he had a message for you, Undie."

This plea struck her daughter as not without weight. "Well, did he?" she asked, drawing out her hat-pins and tossing down her hat on the onyx table.

"Why, no--he just conversed. He was lovely to me, but I couldn't make out what he was after," Mrs. Spragg was obliged to own.

Her daughter looked at her with a kind of chill commiseration. "You never CAN," she murmured, turning away.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time to update this thing, I guess.

My back is much better. The doc was right about needing the heavy drugs. I had a minor setback on the Saturday after Good Friday, when it seemed appropriate to add a stomach bug to the back spasms so the drugs had to pause, but got past that, and am now pain-free and walking normally, although still taking care not to twist or wrench or lift anything heavy.

Apart from that, am doing some (light) spring cleaning, at home and at work.

Oh, and we went to Kennedy Space Center last weekend. F wanted to do breakfast with the Apollo 13 astronauts. We didn't get tickets to that, but she did; so R and I wandered around the rocket garden while she was in there, (she had a blast,) then the three of us spent most of the rest of the day looking at the exhibits.

A lot of money and a huge long-term commitment had to be made for the space program to get going. It was known that there would be a lot of false starts, because pen-and-paper physics and engineering will only get you so far. And they were very patient, and just kept plugging and stayed with the vision. I suppose that without the Cold War and the motive of not letting the Soviets get the upper hand, it wouldn't have been possible. Would it be possible now? Don't know. Obama wants to scrap the space program, and put all the money into airplanes and climate research, as if NASA hadn't demonstrated its inability to separate politics from science there, so that it is basically worthless. I don't think there's anything else he has done that's bummed me out quite so much.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Funny post for today on Zooborns.

I broke down and went to the doctor today, because it's day six of this back thing, it's not getting better at all, I'm tired of walking like a turtle and "I haven't got time for the pain" for those of us old enough to remember that commercial. Evidently I have palpable spasms all up and down both sides of my back. X-ray showed no disk problem or anything, so that's all it is. I told her that I've done this before, but it's always started loosening up after two or three days. Well, you know, (she said,) as we age it takes longer to heal.

WHOOPPEEE. Yay for age.

I am reminded of my MIL (who I sometimes am surprised to remember is dead) complaining that she would go to the doctor about anything and he would start out, "Well, at your age..." She got so tired of that. Forget my age. Fix the problem.

So I've got some real strong pain killers, strong enough to put me in a stupor over the long weekend, and maybe this will do it. And then I'll start doing those back-strengthening exercises I know I'm spose to do, and I will do them every. single. day. for. the. entire. rest. of. my. life.

...Here's a little Wharton, since I missed her yesterday.

...[I]t was now openly recognised that, as a member of the Lunch Club, Mrs. Roby was a failure. "It all comes," as Miss Van Vluyck put it, "of accepting a woman on a man's estimation." Mrs. Roby, returning to Hillbridge from a prolonged sojourn in exotic lands—the other ladies no longer took the trouble to remember where—had been heralded by the distinguished biologist, Professor Foreland, as the most agreeable woman he had ever met; and the members of the Lunch Club, impressed by an encomium that carried the weight of a diploma, and rashly assuming that the Professor's social sympathies would follow the line of his professional bent, had seized the chance of annexing a biological member. Their disillusionment was complete. At Miss Van Vluyck's first off-hand mention of the pterodactyl Mrs. Roby had confusedly murmured: "I know so little about metres—" and after that painful betrayal of incompetence she had prudently withdrawn from farther participation in the mental gymnastics of the club.

"I suppose she flattered him," Miss Van Vluyck summed up—"or else it's the way she does her hair."

Funny story. Read it here.