Archive for January, 2010

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

January 31, 2010

I drive a 2005 Toyota Avalon. There, I said it. It has been on my mind a lot lately. I drive one of those 2.3 million cars (in America alone) that have been identified by Toyota, that could have that, you know … spontaneous-uncontrolled-acceleration-of-up-to-100-mph-problem. Except my car hasn’t been recalled because Toyota doesn’t really know what to fix. Great. Toyota Motor Corp. has stopped selling and building eight models, because of this problem, having to admit that it is more than just floor mats getting in the way or even faulty gas pedals, although they have ordered millions of new gas pedals in preparation for …. what? (Since the supplier is shipping new pedals, but says Toyota admits they have caused no serious accidents or deaths.) … To convince themselves it’s not a faulty computer chip embedded in the electronics somewhere? I don’t know. It’s a pretty sad situation.

Well my Avalon has been a great car. Uh, except for a week ago last Wednesday, when I was breaking to bring my car to a stop at a major intersection, only the car didn’t even slow down, it kept plunging ahead at full speed, and to avoid the intersection I sailed over the curb, onto this island, where I took out a fire hydrant and stop sign. My car had to be towed away on account of the sign flew off its post (as did the fire hydrant) and the metal stump that was left standing impaled itself into the exhaust pipe underneath my car.

The damage didn’t look that bad on the outside and I was thinking I’d just get the car lifted off the stump with Godspeed, get out of the way of all the onlookers, and just drive off and live with the damage. Until I learned: A. The car was not driveable and B. The bid to fix it came in at $3200.00. Apparently no piece on the front of that car is replaceable for under $300.00, and several of them were damaged. Anyway, the car is fixed now and I learned a lot about what to do when you have an accident where you damage city property — call the police, your insurance agent, and the city, to come put the stuff on the island back up and calculate the cost for your insurance company (since you hopefully have full liabilily coverage). Oh yeah, and I called my husband first, actually, to tell me what to do and to please come to the scene of the accident, because he is always calm in situations like this, whereas I, on the other hand, tend to unhinge.

So if Toyota has quit selling and building my car on account of this, um, minor problem (?), should I really be driving it? A private firm said it had identified 275 crashes and 18 deaths because of sudden, uncontrollable acceleration in Toyotas since 1999. So what are the odds that mine would have the same problem? I’m no mathematician, but, considering how many millions of Toyotas have been on the road since 1999, with 275 crashes, the odds of mine having the same problem seems minutely miniscule, albeit the odds of my getting into an accident with it are, obviously, infinitely greater.

Nevertheless, I’ve been testing my gas pedal and it bounces back nicely after I press on it. I don’t know. I also intend to throw my car into neutral if it automatically starts accelerating and I notice at the same time it is spiraling out of control that my foot is not actually pressing on the gas pedal. Oh, and now I drive more carefully on snowy, slick roads. I take it real slow and easy on snowy mornings because I don’t want to slide through another intersection dusted with snow over black ice, like I did a week ago Wednesday.

Wolf Moon Weekend

January 30, 2010

I saw it just after dark, yesterday evening. The wolf moon. It was one of the few clear nights we’ve had in January. I was driving in my car, headed east, just a few blocks from our house and there it was, hanging above the rooftops right in front of me, giant and luminous — the largest, brightest moon I have ever seen!! I didn’t think to try and capture a photo of it with my i-phone. But I bet I could have, it was so bright. I was headed to a funeral home for a “Celebration of Life” preceding the funeral today of a special friend.

I thought of that moon when I woke up this morning. I knew it was special. I looked on the internet and discovered that it is the Wolf moon, the name given to the first full moon of the year, by the American Indians, which have named all the full moons. Check out the Wolf moon on this link. This year the Wolf moon is 30% brighter and 14 per cent larger than any other full moon for the rest of this year. That is because the moon will be at its perigee—the nearest it gets to our planet during its egg-shaped orbit—for 2010 – at 4:04 a.m. ET, Saturday, at the same time that it is full. Check out this link from National Geographic News. What made this Wolf moon experience extra special is the appearance of Mars at opposition last night—directly opposite to the sun in the sky—so that as the sun set in the southwest, Mars rose in the northeast to the left of the moon.

I’m checking out the waning Wolf moon again tonight. And see if I can find Mars. And thinking about the serendipity of my dear friend’s death. Maybe she didn’t want me to miss experiencing the Wolf moon at its perigree enhanced by the glow of Mars in its opposition to the sun, viewed at its best last night, an hour after sunset. Because if she hadn’t died, then I likely wouldn’t have seen it. And if I am going to continue ‘living’ I should pay more attention to the waxing and waning of the moon. And just gaze more a the sky. Next month I plan to check out the Snow Moon, in its full glory, on February 28. I wonder if the skies will be as clear as they were last night on this Wolf Moon weekend.

Writer’s Bock

January 25, 2010

Blame it on the … New Year? I just can’t get myself back into gear. I did finally log-on to start another blog post and began with a working title: “New Bog II.” Huh? Freudian slip there? Bogged down with my writing, am I? Geez, I let two months lapse since writing my last blog and now I can’t even spell it? BLOG. There. Call that a new start for an already ‘old-already’ New Year.

Where have I been all year? I recall the frenetic marching of the Christmas Holidays into the New Year. I recall on about January 5th backpedaling five days in my mind to come up with legitimate ‘New Year’s’ resolutions. I was in my car, idling at an interminably long red light, restraining the dog, who was barking furiously, even baring his teeth, at the expressionless lady in the car beside us, when my mind wandered to ponder the state-of-my-life, so far. New Year’s Resolutions? ….. Hmmmm…..How about … “Ditto!” … Done! Green light! I cruised on down the road with steadfast resolve to keep on keepin’ on whatever I was doing, uh, at the beginning of November, was it? Whatever it was I was doing before the Holidays hit, was working for me, at least retrospectively, from the ‘flipped-over-Christmas’ side.

By mid-January I began to suspect that ‘Ditto’ as my New Year Resolutions was not fulfilling it’s purpose in getting me back on line with my life. Where did the first two weeks of January fly to? Beyond frantically ripping down the Christmas decor after our sons left and shoving it all into the basement crevices, and then sucking about 10,000 tree needles out of the carpet into the vacuum, and then successfully unclogging the vacuum, what have I accomplished this year? Hmmm. This exercise is tough on brain cells … A lot of puttering, I guess. I wasn’t so worried about anything until recently, when I glanced in the bathroom mirror and said to myself, looking back at me, “What’s up, Lardass?” Huh? Say what?

Have you ever tried kicking yourself in the butt? It’s physically impossible. Maybe set yourself up in front of a giant, ancient, warfare-sized catapult with a young, strapping catapult operator to crank it (and subsequently you) into action. See if you can be catapulted, preferably out of your skin if you are lazy, and into the skin of a super bright, super achiever. Now, if, at this juncture, you, the reader, are still in need of jump starting yourself into the now-old New Year, but you don’t want to commission the ancient, giant catapult as your medium for advancement, then you might consider plan B: checking out some self-help books at the library.

Which is sort of where I’m at. I found ‘GABB’: The Great American Bathroom Book – Vol. I – a 606-page volume of single-sitting summaries of all-time great books, comprising nine libraries of the classics. Library #2 in this volume contains two-page summaries of about every classic written on ‘Personal Effectiveness.’ I sat and read all the summaries, while watching a football game on T.V. (multitasking!). I had read several of the books. (Like, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, eons ago.) Learn about “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” (by S.R. Covey) and “How To Get Control Of Your Time and Your Life” (by Alen Lakein) or “How to Put More Time in Your Life.” (by Dru Scott, PhD.)

Read all those summaries, like I did, and you’ll likely still be as organized or disorganized as ever. But you might feel more knowledgeable about how to get more organized, or feel comforted just looking at the book, knowing that you could become more knowledgeable about getting organized or improving yourself really speedily if you wanted to. Or not. You might find one tip and run with it. For me the tip came from ‘How to Put More Time in Your Life.’ : “Create a list of what you want more of, and less of, in your life.” Right off the bat I can say that I want more closet space in my bedroom and less dog barf deposited on the carpets, without having to kill the dog.

Honestly, I want to write more than one blog entry every two months. With less narcissism. I really don’t want to be catapulted out of my skin. Because I’ll still be stuck with my insides. And if I’m going to decide on more resolutions in the future they’d better be more specific than “Ditto.” That is, if I ever hope to improve myself.