Following the Rules–Or not?

I am one of those boring folks who nearly always follow the rules. This is true despite having been stopped twice by troopers on Route 481 between Oswego and Fulton. ( I didn’t get a speeding ticket either time, but I don’t speed on that road any more.) I (generally) don’t talk on my phone while driving. I stop at stop signs and stoplights even in the middle of the night when no one is watching. I pay my taxes on time. I don’t get late fees for overdue library books. I vote in every election (well, not school board elections because I think they’re useless). If the instructions say “use No. 2 pencil” or “print in block capitals,” that’s what I do. And so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

So, does following the rules make me a better person? (Probably not.) Do I have a better and richer life? (I doubt it.) Would it be more fun to break the rules? (Maybe. I don’t know.) I suppose I might be one of those rationally self-interested people who are actually deterred by the threatened punishment for breaking the rules. Or maybe I have too much to lose by by breaking the rules. Or maybe I am too lazy or non-creative or unspontaneous to be a rule breaker. Of course, if the instructions say “think beyond the box,” I dutifully attempt to do it.

You know, maybe the problem is that I don’t have enough opportunity to break the rules. Maybe that’s it. I don’t know. What do you think?


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Chronicles, chronicles

Last night I finished The Small House at Allington, the fifth novel in Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire Chronicles. When I finish the final novel, I will feel that I have accomplished something–I think. You can blame the Amazon Kindle for getting me into the Trollope reading project. Kindle offers the classics for free, or for next to nothing. Nine books for $0.99? Who can resist that? But sometimes problems present themselves. I love John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga and have read and reread it over time. But I never read the last 3 novels, collectively known as The End of the Chapter. Imagine my horror when I realized that I would have to scroll through the first six novels in order to get to the three I wanted to read. If there is a way to avoid that, I haven’t found it. I suppose the next time I feel like reading the Forsyte Saga–next year, maybe?– I’ll finally get to The End of the Chapter.

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Guitar Practice

After almost two weeks of not being able to play, I got in three days of practice this past week and had a fairly disastrous lesson on Friday. Thank God Rick is a patient man! The reason I wasn’t practicing is because I had what is called “trigger finger,” an inflamed tendon in the little finger of my left hand. The swollen tendon won’t pass smoothly through the sheath to allow the finger to bend and straighten. After struggling with it for a few weeks I went to the orthopedist and got a cortizone shot to reduce the inflammation, but it took a full two weeks for the triggering to stop. Until then, I couldn’t stretch my left little finger to fret the notes on the guitar because it irritated the tendon.

However! That seems to be over now, and I’m starting a new set of arpeggios for daily practice. I also am using Carulli’s “Waltz” as a warm-up piece. The new piece I am learning is an exercise based on a theme by Vivaldi that is very pretty if played correctly. Unfortunately, it’s really hard for me because I have small hands and the stretch to finger some of the chords is really difficult. Nevertheless, I will soldier on with it because I like the music. I hope that by next week it doesn’t sound as much like the dog’s dinner as it did at my last lesson. We’ll see.

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First step completed

I went to HR today and got the retirement process started. I then sent my retirement letter to my chair and the HR director.  Next stop, Social Security office.

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The downhill slide

Monday, January 23, 2012 is the official beginning of my last semester of employment at SUNY Oswego. This week I’ll go to HR to initiate the paperwork for my retirement, and after that I’ll visit the Social Security office and get the process going there. It’s a great but scary feeling to be leaving regular employment behind, but I think I can handle it. Question is, can I handle this semester when I keep wanting to holler “school’s out!” and go home?

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Have I answered your question?

I’m having problems with PayPal today. I bought a small carved jade fish on ebay, and when I went to pay for it, PayPal said my account wasn’t accessible. After going through three agents at PayPal the very nice woman asked: “What was the price of the item?” “Twelve dollars with shipping,” I replied. “Twelve dollars?”  She repeated incredulously. I confirmed it. She was clearly taken aback. She allowed as how she couldn’t find any reason why PayPal was not responding appropriately and suggested that I either contact the seller and ask for an invoice or shut down my browser and try again using a different browser. I didn’t understand that last suggestion at all, so I contacted the seller and asked for an invoice. Stay tuned for Act Two.



Okay, it’s here. But how much? 1-3 inches? 3-6 inches? 6+ inches? Blowing and drifting? Weather advisory until 7pm. Do I drive? Tennis lesson at noon at Drumlins. Do I cancel early or wait? I hate snow, but I hate the uncertainty much more!

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