Sunday, September 30, 2012

play day

Having gotten up way too early today, I’ve been dragging around all day.  The girls went with a girlfriend and her parents to some gigantic Halloween haunts in Indianapolis.  I got up in time to shower and look presentable before the family came to pick my girls up, then started in on some housework.  BY 10 AM, I crashed on the couch for a short nap.  Gracie crashed on the loveseat in the same room.  For the most part, she is my shadow.

 

Someone broke his hand in karate class shortly after we returned from vacation at the end of July.  No, he wasn’t breaking boards or concrete blocks, or some other dumb stunt like that (people always ask).  He blocked a kick with the palm of his hand.  We wear gloves with pads on the tops of our hands, but he blocked in a less than ideal way.  He’s been very unhappy all this time because he hasn’t been able to play golf or tennis.  He played tennis this week, and today we got out to play a round of golf on a beautiful sunny day, though a bit windy.  The course was nearly deserted (the way I like it), probably because most men were glued to the TV watching the Ryder Cup or a football game.  It was a fun round of golf and I hit some really good shots, but my putter was not my friend today. 

My most awesome shot of the day was my drive on the #5 hole.  It’s a short par 4 from the red tees, about 240 yards.  The fairway is narrow and mostly sloping, with woods on the right, big trees on the left, and six nasty rough knolls guarding the green.  If you land in or on one of those suckers, you probably won’t see that ball again.  I’m right handed and like to play a bit of a draw on my drives, but I can’t draw on this hole without hitting trees.  I had wind at my back and considered laying up, but decided to just go for the green.  What luck!  I hit the ball dead straight and it rolled between the knolls and stopped about 5 feet from the green.  I hit a decent chip shot, but still two-putted for par.  Oh well.  It was fun.
Sandy Creek #5 from front of the red tee box - narrow fairway
 
Someone played the front pretty well and then his game went to hell on the back.  Just like a typical man, he pouted and started hitting stupid shots.  I’ve seen it happen to lots of men...it’s how they play the game.  They start swinging harder, throwing their clubs around, trying to make stupid shots – you get the idea.  I played with a man once who stood in a deep, narrow ditch and took at least 7 or 8 strokes trying to hit out - virtually no chance of success.  Finally he layed out (one stroke penalty), but then hit the ball right back in again.  He gave me the match and walked off the course.

I left work one night last week and found my tire was flat.  Dang!  But fortunately, I had nowhere I had to be and one of the guys coming out behind me pulled a pump out of his trunk and re-inflated my tire.  I drove straight over to a garage to get it plugged but they were closed, so I left my van there for them to fix the next day.  The next morning, I drove to work in the car we bought for the girls to drive.  They bought a cheap little plastic solar-powered flower thingy to set on the dashboard.  I had little appreciation for it at first, but it grew on me.  It’s sort of a happy thing to have a cheerful sunflower dancing in your face.  
video
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

drosophila melanogaster versus Sequoiadendron giganteum

Well, I learned something recently that is probably important to share with all you “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – staying up drinking all of Sunday night doesn’t prevent Monday from coming. It only makes you wish it didn’t come, and gee, I can wish that any Monday morning without a hangover to go with it. The only good thing about doing something so stupid is that by the time Tuesday rolls around, Monday is pretty much a complete blur.

Monday really is the most hopeless day of the week. If I were a fruit fly and lived my entire lifespan in 24 hours, the days of the week probably wouldn’t matter much to me. I wonder if fruit flies even know their lives are shorter than other living things around them?

What if I were a sequoia tree and lived to be 2,000 years old? It must be a scary situation to be rooted in one spot for so long. A tree has zero control of its life; death is its only escape, and it probably can't really kill itself...or maybe it can somehow.  It’s unappealing to think about being a tree now, but when I was a young girl I wanted with all my heart to be a tree. It never happened though, obviously – here I am typing a weird post for my blog. Wishes like that just don’t come true no matter how much you want them to.



Playing in the woods among all those beautiful, tall trees was one of my favorite ways to pass time as a kid.  I oftentimes pretended to be an Indian, which of course justified the need to build small fires for survival. Maybe what I liked most about the woods was that the trees and brush provided plenty of cover for me and my contraband, but also hiding in the woods was just good fun.  When one or both of my brothers came looking for me, I liked to see how close I could get to them without being found.  I stalked them while they hunted for me.  It was much easier to hide from one than two boys, and my little brother was much better at finding me.  He still has eyes like an eagle.   


big brother and me playing in the creek bottom


Sunday, September 23, 2012

can we skip Monday?

Sunday is almost over.  If I go to bed, when I wake up it’ll be Monday.  I hate Mondays.  I'm not going to bed.   

Instead, I’m drinking bourbon and pretending it’s only Sunday night.  But not without purpose – I’ve got laundry going and I even cleared out the ice-maker.  Now we can get ice cubes from the dispenser on the fridge door without having to scoop it out of the bin with unclean hands (which is typically what happens).  We really are nasty, piggy people here in this house.

Someone and I went to Greenbo Lake this afternoon.  I tried to get the girls to go with us, but they were engrossed in a horror movie on TV and wanted to be couch sloths all day.  We took Gracie instead, and she thoroughly enjoyed the outing.  We walked a trail and hiked up through the hills around the lake.  Seeing the beautiful lake made me want (more than ever) to buy a kayak.  I drive a minivan (aka mom-van) with a rack on the roof.  It’s perfect to strap a kayak on!  I should just go buy one.  Someone is afraid of drowning and says it would not be a wise investment.   They don’t cost that much...I can afford it, and I’m not afraid to drown. 
beautiful Greenbo Lake
the water told me to buy a kayak
Saturday was the homecoming dance at my girls’ high school.  Emily found a date, even though it was just days before the dance.  Nevertheless, a boy asked her to go and that's an important milestone for any teenage girl.  She said the dance was lame because not many kids went.  Still, she was asked and got to go. 

Erin was extremely disappointed that nobody asked her.  She insists boys don’t like her because she’s fat, ugly, and weird.  I assure her that the reason boys don’t ask her is because they are intimidated by her.  I tell her she needs to learn the art of flirting and use it.  Emily says she needs to do like she and her girlfriends do – act dumb, helpless, and if that fails, act slutty.  I don't like that advice at all!      

wysiwyg - no games, and no date :(
       

Friday, September 21, 2012

got flies?


What a week!  Friday night is here and all the shit I wanted to happen didn’t happen this week.  I resubmitted my change request Wednesday with the liaison’s promise that it would once again be expedited.  Nobody has provided a definition of what that means exactly, but two full business days have come and gone and no news.  I don’t want to think about it anymore, it always puts me in a bad mood.   

Last night, I attended another meeting of the professional organization whose members are supposed to be participating in my study.  I did manage to talk to two people who promised they would take my survey.   A bunch more people were at this meeting than were at the last one, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the place (i.e. got lost, spending 45 minutes driving all over town) so I walked into the meeting too late to mingle before the presentation.  One of the speakers went way overtime, then after the tour, it was late at night.  People left in a hurry.    

The presentation was awesome – it was about the forensic science program at Marshall University, West Virginia.  Not only do they have the only accredited master degree program in forensic science in the country, they have certified analysts working on real law enforcement cases there on site.  We toured some of the student labs where they learn chemical and DNA forensics, but we got to walk into the real working digital forensic lab.  It was just like The Bat Cave.  They recover data off cell phones, computers, xBox’s, and any other digital device associated with crimes, and they monitor Internet activity.  Very cool.   
 
Anyway, as much as I want to be a social butterfly and wow people with all my charismatic charm, I just can’t be one of those types.  I should be introducing myself to everyone there, pretending to be exceedingly brilliant, and playing the part of a pushy salesman so that people will take my survey.  But no, I’d be more comfortable just throwing myself at their feet and begging them to please take my survey.  But no, I can’t even do that because it’s unprofessional to act desperate.  It’s hard being me.    


what I should be versus...
what i am


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

critical mass reached

You'll never say hello to you
Until you get it on the red line overload
You'll never know what you can do
Until you get it up as high as you can go
Out along the edges
Always where I burn to be
The further on the edge
The hotter the intensity

Highway to the Danger Zone
Gonna take you
Right into the Danger Zone
Highway to the Danger Zone

(lyrics by Kenny Loggins)


Things have reached critical mass. My faith is shaken – faith in myself, faith in my decision to pursue a doctoral degree, faith in the university as a legitimate institution, faith in my resolve to continue.  I am broken in so many ways.

Without going into all the gory details, the board declined my proposal change request due to “a problem” that necessitated a flurry of emails to clarify. What it boiled down to was that the board refused to review my request because I submitted it as two documents (change form and application); they wanted these attached to each other (i.e. one document).

My argument is that the instructions (all of two sentences) printed on the form do not imply these documents were to be combined. The instructions say to submit the form, application, and any other pertinent documents. Along with my argument, I emailed a list of like 25 questions that I want answered before submitting again. I’m done with guessing games. Nobody is accountable. I am shouldering the burden of all their errors and incompetence. It’s a for-profit institution, a business, and this customer is not satisfied! They are just milking me for more money – thousands of dollars.

I got that email yesterday and blew a gasket. If somebody had seen me having my private rant (I hid in the supply closet), they would have grabbed a rifle with a scope and a box of tranquilizer darts. I would have gladly torn somebody’s arms and legs off in that state of mind. No, I’m not a violent person. It’s a scary place when things don’t go my way. In comparison, the violence in my imagination when a rage sets in makes an al qaeda Jihad look like a Cub Scout jamboree.



So now, I’m at the start of a new limbo until my questions are answered. Advisor told chairman to forward my questions and complaint to a specific board member. I emailed chairman asking him to tell me when he forwarded the questions because I’m tracking things very closely now from this point forward.  He didn’t reply, I texted several more times and he finally came back with this. He has a different plan.



It almost seems like he cares….which for some strange reason makes me feel incredibly happy. At least in my imagination, he is sincere. I’m watching the clock today….and hoping my chairman brings me some good news.  If not, maybe it's time to....nothing good to fill in that blank. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

visiting indiana - part 2


Erin and I visited my dad and his wife this past weekend.  I don’t visit my dad often...actually haven’t driven up to see him in (I think it’s been) four years.  I don’t know him well because we’ve always lived far apart (he kind of left when I was two years old).  His parents raised me and my brothers.  We stayed in touch over the years...at least until I became a teenager.  I dumped all the adults in my life then...pretty much. 
Anyway, this weekend was great fun.  We visited Shipshewana, a town in northern Indiana.  Dad had said a few times that he thought I’d like to visit Amish country.  I’ve driven through places where Amish live and I didn’t see why visiting Amish country would be of any interest.  Well Shipshewana is a mecca of Amish people.  There were almost as many Amish as English (what the Amish call people who are not Amish people).  Shipshewana is a shopping free-for-all – all sorts of hand-crafted beautiful, very well made furniture, pottery, quilts, baskets, candles, and anything hand-crafted you can imagine.  The bakeries and restaurants smelled wonderful.  The prices are very fair, and there are many streets of lovely shops.  My dad drove us there in his car.  If I had driven my minivan up there, I might have bought a table and some chairs and a beautifully carved wooden trellis.

Anyway, the Amish don’t live like most of us do.  They don’t drive cars, but instead have horses and buggies.  My dad’s wife stated she has seen them pull their buggies into automated car washes and they wash the mud off them while the horses stand patiently.  we saw lots of closed buggies.  Before we got to town, while driving through the country, we saw men mowing hay with teams of four to six horses - it's neat to see!  I also saw a man mowing grass with a horse pulling an old-fashioned lawn mower. 


We stopped into an Amish grocery store and bought their apples, honey, nuts, and  jam.  I thought it was neat to see the buggies lined up.

parking lot - horses stand mainly in the shade

The whole downtown was just lovely.  Flowers blooming everywhere – every street corner had planters and baskets of flowers hanging from every lamppost.  Even fountains with coy and goldfish running beside the sidewalks were delightful, and fences lined with flowers.  We only stayed a few hours but a person could spend a whole day and not see it all.

Shipshewana street corner planter
baskets hanging from every lamp post
Dad and Erin entering boardwalk


little stream with goldfish


I had a lot of fun this weekend and it was nice to visit my dad and his wife.  I hope we will do it again, perhaps next summer.  Maybe we'll stay a bit longer.  Part of one day was just not enough.  My dad is actually a nice man and fun to be with.  I should get to know him better. 

visiting Indiana - part 1

It was a fun weekend shadowed by unhappy news for me.  Like it or not, I’m going to 4th year residency.  After many unanswered phone calls and emails, my academic advisor finally returned my call Friday afternoon.  The good news is that she agreed that I’ve been waiting way too long for a decision from IRB regarding my proposal change request (it's been since July 5th)!  She sent an email to the IRB liaison and he responded late Friday that he will expedite the matter.  We’ll see if that happens.  The bad news is that because I can’t get chapters 4 and 5 written and approved by October 3rd, I have to go to residency.


 My advisor said to discuss residency with my chairman – let him help me decide when is the best time to go (one is held every month and they are in various parts of the country – the closest location being an 8 hour drive for me).  I emailed Dr. Chairman and asked him if I can phone him to discuss it.  He replied that he knows nothing about 4th year residency, and to go at my convenience.  Helpful guy.     

This weekend, Erin and I went to Lake Tippicanoe where my dad and his wife have a small summer home on the shore of the lake, boats, and jetskis.  Tippi is a large private lake surrounded by homes and camps.  Emily had committed to a pet-sitting job here in town and Someone preferred to stay home.  That worked out best for  me because I didn’t have to find a pet sitter for Gracie and cats.  The lake is a fun place to go, but the nights are cold in Northern Indiana now, so we didn’t get in the water for skiing, tubing, or swimming.  We did go for a boat ride late late Saturday afternoon and that was wonderful.  The lake is actually two lakes connected by a channel.  There are some  multi-million dollar houses built around the lakefront and my dad’s wife knows all the gossip about people who live in them.  Interesting tales.   
 
Dad's lake house (yellow one)
some drug company CEO's 7.5 million dollar house
 
I used to have a boat when I was married to my first husband.  We had a lot of fun with it – skiing and taking friends out with us occasionally.  It was our party boat for sure -  we had some crazy fun on that boat, lots of booze and "whatnot" back in the coves of Grayson Lake.  After we divorced, I sold it to him real cheap.  As much as I loved it and wanted to keep it (the boat, not the  husband), I had no expertise with engine work and it needed work all the time.  Not only was it too much trouble for me, I had a baby to take care of and no time for boating.  I convinced him that having a boat would help him attract women :)   (I'm smiling as I type that). 

Miss Erin watching birds



beautiful swans on the lake (but they can be mean)
sunset over Lake Tippicanoe, view from my dad's yard
        

Thursday, September 13, 2012

woman's best friend

It was a beautifully clear night here last night, a million stars out, and just a bit cool but no need for a jacket yet. I pushed away from my desk after an evening of stewing about my just-not-happening data collection and the still-ignoring-me board who is causing me great delay and frustration. A walk was just what I needed to clear the cobwebs from my head. Gracie, of course, became ecstatic when I announced we were going for a walk. I ran upstairs for shoes and socks and she about knocked me over to get ahead of me on the stairs (it’s true, we Kentuckians rarely wear shoes unless we just have to). She whined, barked, jumped on and off the bed repeatedly, and chewed at my hands as I tried to put on shoes.


I didn’t buy a head halter, but I’m using a training lead which works like a choke chain. I’m using that and also putting her regular collar and leash on when we go for walks. When she gets too rambunctious, I hold a leash in each hand (like reins) and give her more choke. Last night, I only choked her at the very beginning and then once when she wanted to chase a motorcycle. The rest of the time, she was very civilized and we had a nice 40-minute walk. She is learning and perhaps we will soon be able to walk with just a normal good-dog leash.

Gracie


No matter how rotten my day has been, it’s wonderful to come home to a dog. She runs out to greet me (no matter the weather) and seems truly happy to see me come home. Nobody else gets even 1% as excited as Gracie when I pull into the driveway. The kids and husband seldom even look away from their cell phones or TV screens when I walk in, unless they’ve been waiting on me to come home to do something for them or with them. Sometimes a cat will greet me with a meow of aloof acknowledgement, but usually the motive is that he or she just wants to be fed.

My office plants are splendid. Plants don’t grow like this for me at home. It must be the large windows and morning sun they love so much. The only thing I like about working where I work is the great view of the woods out my windows, the walking trail around the small lake behind the building, and my plants. OK…some of the people are OK too. I’m not totally antisocial.


cubicle plants today

ever-blooming African Violet


Monday, September 10, 2012

crazy cat lady

Monday hell is over.  Well, not really.  Now that Erin is able to drive and has use of a car, she and Emily find things to do after school.  Today, they met friends at the city park after school.  Keep in mind, our “city” is all of about 10,000 people, so our park is pretty small.  There's not much there at that park, and not someplace they would go unless they were just looking for someplace to go.  At the park, they found a box with two abandoned adorable little yellow and white kittens, and brought them home.  I am  insisting we can’t keep them. 

Someone was furious with me for having these kittens at the house....as if I had given permission.  The kittens had been brought here and fed before responsible parties (perhaps I should call them the irresponsible parties) even called and told me what they had done.  Actually, they didn’t even call.  They texted.  The point is, they knew I would say they couldn’t keep them.  Maybe they thought it would be too much trouble for me to text back NO NO NO NO!!!!  (which I did)....more than once.    

Someone offered to take them to the pound tonight.  I told him to give me until the end of the week to see if we can find homes for them.  They’ll have 14 days to live at the pound before they are euthanized.  I hate to be responsible for that.  Gracie only had a few days left when we brought her home – dogs get more time than cats.  Honestly, I would just keep them because I love kittens and they are already here...but Someone would have a cow.  Someone would have two cows – one for each poor little, sweet ball of fluff.
kitten 1
 
kitten 2
 
If my life were really mine, I’d move to the back of a hollow, live by myself, and have a dozen dogs and cats.  I’d become a college instructor teaching online courses, and never have to leave my little hollow except for when I wanted to go somewhere.  No noises, no neighbors, no nothing I don’t want to put up with.  I’ll just become a crazy cat lady, only well, maybe not as crazy as the cat lady who used to live in our town.  The city condemned her house and took all but two of her cats.  A church found her another place to live.  They captured more than 30 cats on her property.  I’d see her walking to the grocery store (to buy lots of catfood, no doubt).  She wore a heavy wool coat even in the summer.  I guess crazy cat ladies don’t pay attention to the seasons.  I don’t expect to ever be that crazy...at least not so crazy that people would notice.


future crazy cat ladies

Friday, September 7, 2012

war

Friday is drawing to a close.  It’s been a killer work week, for sure.  There’s just way too much stuff going on at work lately, with all sorts of special projects in addition to all the ongoing maintenance sort of stuff.  I’m damn lucky to have a job, but the place is sucking the life right out of me.  Priorities are constantly being changed for me – managers negotiating to get more of my time.  It seems like a lot of people spend too much time jerking me around.  It’s just not an efficient way to work either – drop this, pick up that, take a look at this, we need you on that, when are you starting this....UGH!  And everyone wants status updates, but when I have 30 things going on, status updates take at least 20% of my time every week.  
  
I took Molly and Gracie to the vet yesterday for annual shots and parasite testing.  They are relatively easy to take places.  Molly is not the brightest crayon in the box.  She is easy to lure into a cage with a bit of chicken or bite of cheese.  Jack is another story, and that's why I scheduled to take him tonight by himself.  After several failed attempts and lots of blood-letting, the girls helped me trap him in the laundry room.  Erin held the cage upright with the door open, Emily stood by with oven mitts on over a thick long-sleeved jacket, and I finally caught him and wrapped him tightly in a towel.  Quickly, I shoved him hard head-first into the cage while Emily guided his back legs in through the cage door opening.  All the while he was yowling like a rabid lion.  He was not happy and complained loudly all the way to the vet’s office and while we waited. 
unhappy Jack
The vet called us back and prepared for a battle after all the commotion in the waiting room, but poor Jack was so tired he didn’t put up a fuss at all.  He stepped out of the cage as soon as I opened the door.  They checked him out, gave him shots, cleaned out his ears, and clipped his nails.  He hardly moved through any of it.  As soon as they were done, I opened the cage door and he walked in like it was no big deal.  The vet saw the scratches on my hands and offered to come to our house next time rather than have me bring them all in.  I might take her up on it.  I’m happy to say all our animals are healthy – thank heavens.  It’s expensive enough going when they’re well. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"you can't always get what you want" - Rolling Stones

Please forgive my dreadful, previous post. I was in such a vile mood, and who should know better than me than to sit in front of a keyboard in such a hopeless rage? No F words at least, but it was shameful to read myself rant about the sorry state of my affairs. No matter, many in this world have much worse things to deal with. I’m just a self-centered selfish bitch to want things to work out my way all the time. I’ll remind myself of that the next time I disintegrate into a pity party of such epic proportions.




So, another day at Ye Olde Salt Mine (aka the office…really the cubicle) and all that rage has given way to hopelessness. There’s really nothing I can do to hurry things along. I hate not having any control of things with what the Board does or decides.  Perhaps I’m really a control freak at heart, but at least I’m a rational one. It seems like my way always makes the most sense, to me anyway :)  Someone would heartily disagree, but who cares about his opinion? This is my blog.

What would really make me happy is for the board to send me an email right now and tell me to do whatever I want.

Is that too much to ask? Apparently so. I’m just going to go sulk for awhile now.

(photo by Terry Spears)




Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Furious George


The workday dragged on forever today.  A day at the office after a three-day holiday is such a bitch slap. 

Still no word from the board about whether or not they will approve my change request.  Hell, I have no way of knowing if they even have my change request in their queue.  Meanwhile, the days are rolling by and nothing is happening.  IT’S SO FRUSTRATING!!!  I will blame my shitty mood on them today.  Maybe I’ll just be glum and desolate until they tell me something.  If they decide against my request or tell me to resubmit because of some stupid lame-ass reason, I’m going to blow a gasket.  The board is testing my limit.      

I came in from work late this evening and Erin told me her dad was a goofus because he wouldn’t take her to the store when she asked.  I immediately thought of Goofus and Gallant – cartoon kids that used to appear in Highlights magazines when I was a kid.  We didn’t subscribe to Highlights, but I remember reading Highlights in the dentist’s waiting room.  Goofus always had bad manners, did things wrong, and had poor hygiene.  Gallant always set the positive example.  As much as I agree with Erin that Someone is Goofus at times, I am no Gallant.   I am probably usually somewhere in the mid-range of the Goofus to Gallant continuum. 
 
 

Monday, September 3, 2012

holiday adventure

The three-day weekend is about over, I guess it’s for the best to get back into the rut, but I sure as hell am not looking forward to climbing back into it.  My kids, Someone, and I took a cottage at Hocking Hills State Park for the weekend.   Someone debated about driving separately because we both know he gets very bored without ESPN and a plethora of movie channels to watch on TV.   Cottages at the park have TV with only four channels to watch.  With thunderstorms predicted for the entire weekend, it really wasn’t likely he would be happy for long.  To his credit, we arrived Friday evening and he survived until Sunday morning. 

We had planned to go kayaking or canoeing with some friends Sunday but because of the rain and thunder rumbling, we decided not risk getting caught out on the river in a lightning storm.  Someone reached his boredom limit so I drove him home, not too far – just a little less than two hours drive.  He was grateful to be home sweet home and I was grateful to not have to concern myself with his boredom.  It’s a beautiful drive through small towns and countryside.  On the way back to the park, I got to select all the music - no oldies (Someone’s favorite), no Justin Bieber (Emily’s choice), and no rappy/hate stuff (Erin’s picks). 

The sun did shine a few moments a few times this weekend.  Most of the time it was cloudy with sprinkles of rain.  We went for several hikes – it’s a beautiful park with huge cedar and ash trees, and some amazing cliffs and caves.  The park is very old and back in the 1940s, the PWA cut steps into the stone cliffs to make it easier for park visitors to explore. 

very long way down over this cliff :)
One of the hiking trails we took is a 9-mile loop.  It’s a lot of up and down hill but the trail is wide and the scenery is worth it.  The kids wanted no part of it and stayed in the cottage area to hang with their friends, listen to music, and graze.  We saw a few people on the trail but mostly Someone and I had it to ourselves.  At the tops of the steep climbs, we stopped to catch our breath and I enjoyed my favorite thing about the wilderness....silence.   No noises from cars, planes, machinery, or people.  The only sounds we heard were birds, squirrels dropping things out if the trees, and sometimes raindrops on the leaves overhead. 
One of the large caves in the park is called Old Man’s Cave.  I can imagine me living in the woods by myself in a cave.  Actually, I’d prefer to live in the middle of the woods in a nice, cozy cottage with modern conveniences and some dogs and cats.  I hate being cold, and I don’t want to worry about being stalked by hungry bears or bobcats. 
click photo to enlarge and read about the old man
So I wonder, are people already crazy when they go off into the woods to live alone?  Or, is it a matter of somebody getting fed up with people, so they go off to get away from the world and become crazy?  Maybe we only assume anyone who lives by himself in a cave is crazy.  That's probably a hypothesis we'll never be able to test with any degree of reliability.