Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Mom and Dad
New pilot, Lewis S Ball Army Air Corps
Last  night as we attempted to watch the National Memorial Day concert from DC prior to its being called for bad weather, the story of Brigette Cain, young widow had me sobbing.  Showing the children was too much for me!  It hits too close to  home for so many  like me, my siblings in AWON who lost our fathers in WWII, mine  prior to my birth.  It is a deep wound that has not nor will ever heal--68 years later on life's path.  You can find his stories on this blog.   What inspired me about Brigette Cain is that she vows to keep her husband"s memory alive and is making books for the children.  My Mom never did that; as many of her generation, no one talked about my dad' I have learned it was their way, move on, etc. She remarried and her second husband likely would not allow mention of my father.  I can remember fantasizing to myself, "wait till my dad comes back, then it will all be OK..."  That was because no trace was ever found of his plane and crew, despite the reports of searching according to the official government records.  Memorial Day brings me right back to wishing I could have known more what she could have told me when she was alive, in later years she shared a little more about how there was never anyone like him, his humor and his wit and how I was the spitting image of him.  For Brigette Cain and all the widows of wartimes, I pray for you all and  hope the family of your fallen warrior treats you and your children with respect and love and surely  better than my father's family ever did.  I hope you find the peace of acceptance and can once again enjoy life. Here is a link to the PBS special with a photo of Brigette. 

     http://www.pbs.org/memorialdayconcert/features/losing-my-hero.html   

This recalls thought of how ashamed I am of a niece who lives in Ohio and who made a political ad endorsing a candidate who helped her sort out something about a bill sent to niece's boyfriend who was deployed to Afghanistan.  When I saw that on You Tube I was disgusted, there blabs my niece on  and on about "a love one deployed..." and praising this congressional candidate; further the political ad touts help about her husband..NOT.  So many thoughts shot through my mind along with the initial disdain of "how could you...." but  I know she  is striving for her  five minutes of fame....and to some it doesn't matter whose coat tails they ride.  

This appeared today in our local paper the La Crosse Tribune.....a story that needs to be told across the country.  Somehow here in the Midwest and in the east we are better at remembering. 

I was thinking that we used to call this Decoration Day, the day we went to the cemeteries to decorate the graves in Pennsylvania.  I have found that was right and not until sometime in the 1960"s was it changed to Memorial Day.  Whatever else we do today, let us lift a prayer of remembrance and gratitude.    

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Just a test if this were a real post you would receive further instructions...o




Before I ascend upstairs with the mix and tequila to engage  the margarita blender on this sultry  day, I am testing to see if blogger is still insisting on rotating Van Gough....this is quite a puzzle as all the other photos are posting correctly.  Have not had this experience before...some  Google forums claim it happens when it is a direct camera or phone upload but these are not, they have already been saved to the computer....well this  is mysterious...I switched  to Google chrome to upload and here it still rotates...as I said previously WTH!!!

 Let's try another photo.    Well this of the backyard bird feeder area comes out just fine.  


OK Blogger, whatcha got against garden gnomes?  Call in the trolls, this calls for action!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Been BZ

Bumble  bee on salvia
This is the time of year  that I love, spring has sprung, the first roses are in bloom and offer fat promises of more to come with their buds, the peonies which are my next favorite flower after roses are  just breaking loose (of course we had rain yesterday--needed but it sags the peonies)and all the salvia and cat mint display a waving carpet of purple and lavender next to dusty miller in the rose garden.  The bees love the salvia and we have ever so many again feasting on the purple potion.  They make quite a racket with an incessant mmmmmm and buzz so loudly that it makes me laugh, especially when they want me to get out of their way as I monitor for a weed or unwanted growth around the roses.  I have heard that salvia plants are banned in some places because they are used to make hallucinogenic substances.  I have no idea if this is really true or not but if it is, that might account for my wacky B Z bees.  I used the salvia as fill in the middle of the rose garden and periodically I have to whack it back or it would take over.  Even more invasive is the cat mint.  Last year I dug half of these out to share and this year here they are again.   I really enjoy these perennials and their show. 

Salvia next to cat mint at sunset approaching
I really miss blogging but outside work beckons, well demands my attention and so there I spend my time.  Michelle asked me to post some blooms on Facebook which I did happily.  But as ever, once I get that camera going, I cannot just limit photos and find I have way too many to download and deal with.  So in the midst of effort I will post some of these lovely sights here to the blog.  The rose garden is a sight to watch  from our living room window, but I find myself called there from morning to evening and it is never just a minute or two.  The red knock out roses are in glory already--I had some concern as all put out red mahogany growth and then we had a frost.  Well, we were leaving for our trip and I had only time to snip them back with a solid lecture (yes I talk to my plants), "OK wise guys and gals, you know you are spurting growth too early for Minnesota.  But if you insist you will just have to toughen up because I cannot spend  time with you fixing your frost bitten tips.  So if you think you are big enough to bloom so early, you can just figure it out."  Several locals rushed to cover their roses when the frost came but I did not.  And it appears they took heed and have not complained.  The knock out roses have earned their keep because they winter without any special treatment.  That is another secret to my Minnesota roses, I refuse to baby them and bury them over winter.  They get a  heaping of mulch and clippings and they survive the snows.    


Red Knock Out roses,  by Bill Adler, WI hybridizer
Another champion Apple Jack rose, an Iowa Buck rose with Bon Chance
below it..Apple Jack adds to the feast of bees and the smell is
noticeable the minute we open the door
Close up of an opened nearly spent Apple Jack bloom with
many more buds to open yet

Front of the house from beyond rose garden  taken  as  sunset
approaches....notice the two dots from reflection on the camera lens.  I am intrigued
with this photo.  See the red knock outs at one end and the big
Apple Jack  anchoring the right
Red Knock Outs   Blue globe,  dragon fly with
vigilant smiling lady bug stick

First pink peo

Front rose garden looking down the cul de sac


The dreamy creamy peonies are the first to bloom out
along the back garden fence 
Even the tiny hens and chicks are running wild this year

First pink peony just yesterday.  I love these peonies even
with the black ants swarming them to open their petals.


Even as  a child I adored the  big peony  bushes off our front porch.  And I thought Mom a big grouch because she refused to allow me to  bring a bouquet inside admonishing me about their resident ants.  I learned soon after moving to Minnesota that she knew where of she spoke as I  brought a huge pail of peonies inside.  I could barely set them on the table before the ants came out and about.....oh me!  Mom was right.  I have heard that they can be sprayed to rid the ants but I am a natural gardener and do not use chemicals because we have so many beneficial insects and birds that I fore go anything harmful.  If it is bad for  a living creature it is probably bad for me too.  Now if and when those nasty demonic Japanese beetles arrive as they are bound to do here, I become quite violent.  I pluck them early morning and down into the death jar they go where they swarm and try to swim atop each other in a jar of detergent.  You see I do have a mean streak protecting my roses.  But it's all natural.   

Let me close today by introducing you to Van Gough, one of my cherished garden gnomes.  He was given to me by an elderly lady in CA who made him for my rose gardens there.  She was almost 989 and still doing ceramics; each year I bought something from her at a craft show in April or so at the Auburn Fair grounds.  Well, Van Gough is so named because he lost an ear, long ago who knows by what critter.  It was in pieces and could not be restored, but he still keeps his pleasant demeanor and annually he gets to set with the newest of our front Alberta spruce trees.    Blogger wants to post him sideways so I have removed the tree and try to show  Van Gough alone here so you can see the detail of her work and perhaps his missing ear which he does not seem to mind at all......he has adjusted, as we all must do when life gives us what we do not expect.


My apologies but I cannot get this photo rotated...Tilt
WTH Blogger?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May Travels Gettysburg 4 of ??

RV Ladybug
It was goodbye to Mt. Top and onward eastward, smiling along with my newest lady bug gadget, photo to the left courtesy of Carlie.  This cutie bug really waves her wings from sunshine she gets from the window on the ledge by the table, I think she likes the road. We are in our self declared ladybug year and so we are always on the lookout for our buggy gals to exchange.  
If April showers bring May flowers the roof high fully blooming azaleas and rhododendrons in PA validate that proverb.  I missed the flowering dogwoods which were very early this year, because March was so warm however, here and there were many gorgeous bushes to behold.  Like these twin beauties off Millerstown Rd near Mt. Top RV our home while back home.  You will notice the hillside, I come from a land of hills which makes it look as though one house is on top of the other but it is not.  Just look at the house  closest to the twin bushes, that  is the a rooftop of the house and yes the flowering shrubs grow that big.  We have seen some that were bigger than the home to which they belonged.  Absolutely gorgeous. 
Millersburg Rd, Tarentum, blooming beauties
 Today was mostly good fair travel weather, only a few sprinkles of rain and we logged a mere 202 miles in 4 hours and 35 minutes total time, less a 10 minute stop for  4 hours  25 minutes drive time.  Because Jerry had read something about the Lincoln Highway in some RV article and because Godfrey recommended it, we departed the turnpike (I 76, all good road) at exit 161, Breezeway to PA Highway 30.  Oh wow! 

Such a twisty, turny, curvy one lane primarily road through the Allegheny mountains with some spectacular views,  wildflowers through the trees and even a few dogwoods still in bloom this way.  BUT, I know there's always a but.....well, it was a road to travel one time.  For our RV and towing a car, it was tedious as Jerry adhered to the truck caution signs and drove in low gear at no more than 30 mph on over half the way and being a courteous driver he pulled over frequently to allow vehicles and motor cyclists to pass on the one lane.  There were plenty of motorcyclists on the hills and curves enjoying themselves.  The road made us deeply appreciate those hearty stalwart early colonial settlers of Penn's Woods back in the early days of 1700"s and later.  That anyone ventured and successfully arrived at Ft. Pitt (today's Pittsburgh) on the western side of the state through the mountains, the weather and the Indians at that time,explains a lot about the attitude of western Pennsylvanians.  The eastern elite (Philadelphians) considered the westerners riff raff, not as polished, not as distinguished as the ones who remained on the eastern side.  There is some truth because many of the early settlers were thieves, criminal element, etc.  It was their ticket to freedom to settle the country and they took it.  That roughness helped them persevere over trials on trails.  All these years down through history some of that attitude  prevails between the eastern and western state residents.  We westerners are more the rowdies, they say. 

We are signed up for a Battlefield guided tour tomorrow via climate controlled bus.  We have some light showers this evening and more predicted for tomorrow, so I selected the  enclosed air conditioned bus instead of the open double decker with audio phones.  I will be able to question the park ranger who will guide our tour instead of just having to listen to audio.  We find that it is a good practice to take these tours when available for a first time overview of the entire place.  Looking forward to tomorrow's morning departure. The tour will pick us up by van here at the RV park tomorrow and take us into Gettysburg to catch the bus.  We have two hours around the battleground and then are transported back here although the desk staff said, the tour company will allow us time in town if we wish and return us later.  That may be very handy if we get more liquid sunshine.
Artillery Ridge RV Campground Entrance
We are staying at Artillery Ridge Campground and RV which is also the home of the National Stables.  They offer battlefield tours on horseback.  Jerry thought that would be a good idea, I did not.  It has been far too many years since I have been on a horse and I am no longer featuring an Annie Oakley venture.  This RV park has a mixture of sites ranging from tents, to fifth wheels, to cabins to big rigs. On a short walk around the park I spotted the colony of tenters and there asleep in the front seat of one car that belonged to them was a young woman who apparently opted for the front seat of the vehicle in lieu of the ground.    And of course they have stables for horses and room for horse trailers for those who tow their own.  As soon as we arrived I could smell the horses; a horseman statue on top the roof welcomes arrivals.  

These are a few of the rental cabins offered by Artillery Ridge
 We are anxious to compare this to Vicksburg, MS where we visited in February.  The Gettysburg Battlefield is bigger, I believe.  The history that surrounds us and the town is amazing and gives us a sense of wonder just to be here years down the road honoring what held our country together.   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May Travels Memories 3 0f ?

This will be our last full day in da burgh' area because we depart for Gettysburg tomorrow, some <200 miles from here on the PA turnpike, aka toll road where as you know we will be consigned to cash lines at the booths along the way.  We are both anxious to see the battlefield and compare it to our Vicksburg experience.  I awoke this morning and recited Lincoln's Gettysburg address which I memorized long ago in school but which is retrieved readily today--"Fourscore and seven years ago Our forefathers brought forth ...." well you can look it up, but it will remain with me forever.  Somewhere along the way the brilliant academicians determined that memorization was no longer a useful skill and today the same brilliance in education and lack there of  brings us a nation of graduates who cannot think, make change, nor do much of anything without their pods, pads, earbugs. Judging from what I get in writing or online from our own family university  graduates (i.e. recently, "the adventure has began.," to which I shudder) but the downward spiral of education  continues.   I suspect soon we will be a nation of lowest level nincompoops who merely graze finger tips over screens, know-naughts, who once would have been considered "slow" will have taken over, oh what happens  once those signals to the screens are dimmed, 1984 we are beyond you now....but I digress.

Yesterday was lunch with Dayna at the new Loafin' Bakery and Cafe right on Leechburg Rd in Lower Burrell, walking distance within uncle's house.  Two local women have fixed up a house and there make home made cookies, scones, brownies, quiche and salads--it is just the kind of place the area needs and I sure do hope they make it.  We were the only ones in there yesterday until a man came in and had a pastry and coffee.  That is not going to pay the cost of staying open, so c'mon locals, support these hometown gals! 

Yesterday was also cemetery day when I decorate and  fix up the graves and although I intended to photo the hillsides, I did not.  Somehow I neglect to take camera along, I suppose because I know there will be another time.  All grass is trimmed from the family markers  on the plots and flowers are in the urns.  Greenwood Cemetery  has no head stones, all the graves are flat bronze markers, for ease of mowing, but when I visit I brush all grass that blows across the markers off; yesterday's wind meant I could hardly keep it off, but at least for a moment all was clear and glistening.   Soon the veterans flags will all be displayed and there are  many here, nearly every male was a veteran.  My sandals were bugging me as I knelt and clipped so I took them off and proceeded along the grass barefooted which rapidly brought memories of my grandma's voice  "Patty, you put your shoes on you're gonna get hookworm!"   Some things stay with us forever....some things we recall when we are back where it all began.  

Today is a grocery store stop and I just might get to Mazzioti's bakery again to load up on great biscotti for the trip. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May Travels food, and WTH Post 2 of ????

After I departed to California from Pennsylvania in the 60"s as a young gal,  with stars in my eyes, on the wrong path impulsive first marriage that would come to naught,  I still knew for sure that  I would never again live in my home state.  That's become a complicated term to me, "home state"  where is my home state?  For example when folks ask where I'm from and tell me that I  have an accent  as happens at times in Minnesota where we reside and where they do have accents, I launch with a sigh into my history, "I'm from California and grew up in Pennsylvania.but now we live in Minnesota."   Being Minnesotans who never ventured  farther than Wisconsin, they silently roll their eyes and confirm, "oh a Californian."  Truthfully I  lived in California far longer (40+ years) than I did in Pennsylvania and now we reside in Minnesota, Jerry's home state, adding to the number of years I have been gone from home.  Because no matter that my primary relatives all now reside securely in cemeteries, Pennsylvania is still home. But I know I will never live here. 
 Home is always home and as Robert Frost told us, it's the place where when we go there they have to take us in.  Hmm,  maybe not so, except  that yes, my childhood friends in Pennsylvania still do take me in and welcome both of us.  And that makes coming home, home after all. 
Like my estate attorney and old school pal who just educated me in the appropriate purchase of Chianti wine.  I  gave up Chianti years back because I did not like the taste, but Richard patiently explained  to me that there has been a bastardization of true Italian Chianti and to get it right I must limit my purchase to  Chianti Classico.  The Italian government,  fed up with the inferior  variations, and semblances of Chianti established standards and so today real imported Chianti is the Classico.  And you know what, Richard was right and  so we have enjoyed excellent Chianti with the traditional , real Italian food I get only when I come home to Pennsylvania--Chianti, is the wine to accompany pasta's, the Italian sauces, provolone, Wedding Soup; it's the wine one almost eats not drinks.  Shades of  old Mr. Luigi DeSanto,  across the street who made his own wine---red, aka Dago Red.  And as always coming homes means getting authentic food--Polish, Italian, bakeries of pastries and breads galore, real provolone, real salami, real pepperoni,,,,,and even great steak houses.  Good food, and extra  work outs mandatory. People here like to eat and all restaurants are filled every day and night, every day not just weekends.  I don't think anyone cooks around here, families, etc. everyone is eating out--and yet they will complain about the economy--go figure.  My friends and I cannot understand this but we are the older generation now you know.
But enough of the food, we had an experience that confirms why I will never live in the rip off-aholic state of Pennsylvania, although it is not near the level of California, it has some annoying practices instituted to part the fool and his money  or to absolutely affirm, buyer beware.  Pennsylvania has toll roads as do many eastern states, not such a bad thing  because the users of the roads pay the  price, however many who live here assert they have more than paid for the highways, over all these years of toll collections.  To this lament, I think, wise up and "kwitcher bitchin" know that once a fee aka tax is enacted it never  goes away--just like government programs it takes on a life of its own, it is perpetual.  Well, there is something known as an I-Pass in Illinois and in  Pennsylvania, an E-ZPass and I don't know what the term is in other states.  We often have considered  buying one which  means placing money in an account, on deposit, which is withdrawn electronically to get through the toll booths more quickly without having to wait in cash lines and face the  toll takers. The device and account can be used on toll roads in 14 states.   Well, we think about it when we are on toll roads and then once home forget about it until the next trip. There is a way to prepay  this online, but we are ready to   depart it is too late because one needs the gadget to display on the windshield  for electronic  scanning,  But  not to worry, we are in my home state where they are ever anxious to part the contents of purse ($) from the person and in my home state they sell these EZ Passes at certain super stores like Giant Eagle, here in New Kensington. So yesterday, Jerry stopped at Giant Eagle, gave them $43.99 and triumphantly became the owner of an EZPass Device.  This will enable us to whiz along the toll road on our next leg of this journey to Gettysburg.

 Here is a lin http://www.paturnpike.com/ezpass/ezpassINTRO.htm

All smug until later, we read the tiny small print which stipulates the EZPass is only for vehicles up to 7000 pounds.  Wait a minute!  We  drive a 41 foot  motor home and tow a vehicle; we exceed that weight limit  more than thrice!  So we call the Pennsylvania Department of Turnpike and in no time do reach a real live person in Harrisburg, not some East Indian in Mumbai!  Aha, Pennsylvania employment at work.  Jerry reports our dilemma to which the  response is "well they should have told you that when they sold it to you.  You need a commerical EZPass."  Jerry explains we are not commercial.  but alas that is no one's problem but our own. So what can be done, not so fast, there Bunky. The device must be activated before it can be used.  Jerry explains we cannot use it because we are driving a motor home and exceed the weight limit.  "Oh right, then you need a commercial EZ Pass" comments the rep who goes on to explain we must activate it regardless, on line and then we can mail it back and get some of our $$ refunded. That's right, some of the $$.    By this time, generally patient calm Jerry has  lost all patience and  hung up feeling he has encountered Abbott and Costello's rendition of "Who's on First?"  But I remind him it's my home state--it's Groundhog Day for sure.  Well not to worry, I figure we have not even opened the sealed plastic container so we will just take this thing right back to Giant Eagle tomorrow, which is today now.  We have not used it and surely they can just refund the $43.99.   Wrong, they cannot do that and tell Jerry they will call the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for him---now he knows it's Groundhog Day stuck on the record and reel.  Same story, different day, and no way is Giant Eagle taking this EZ Pass back.  So we are stuck with sending it to Harrisburg, which we will pass on our way to Gettysburg; furthermore we are advised to send it registered mail at a higher cost to ourselves for proof of mailing and my home state will sometime when it is convenient for them or when the Groundhog sees his shadow refund a portion of the $43.99, etc. Yes that is right, this is Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth where I know for sure I will never be living.  Big rip off and another way to part the contents of the purse from the person.   Why don"t they publicize this EZ Pass is not for motor homes who must roll with the big rigs and purchase commercial EZ's. Likely they think we are out here earning big bucks in our rigs? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

May Travels 1 of ?? posts


Rainbow at Mt Top RV
Tarentum, PA
Just for fun I'm posting our trip looking back over the road miles so far while starting out with the rainbow here this evening in Pennsylvania after the short heavy cloudburst.  It absolutely would not be my home here if we did not have a shower or two duriong our stay, good PA rain just as I remember it from childhood when I  always tried to sneak off the porch or out the door  to run through the thunder storms, attracted to the downpours and distressing my grandmother or mom, both of whom sought to keep me dry while explaining to me the dangers of thunder and lightning.  My fascination continues today with living in the Midwest, although I do know not to get involved with lightning, I did outgrow that attraction, still I do enjoy watching a good downpour which I fancy as earth cleansing.


Jerry at Longhorn's door
We celebrated Jerry's birthday this evening at a favorite chain Longhorn Steakhouse,  and Jerry being a steak guy was quite pleased to return there.  Sure wish we had such a quality restaurant and steakhouse back home in MN.  We were early this evening but business was booming which indicates the economy is just not that bad in this neck of the woods.  Longhorn is at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall which hosts the gamut of restaurants Smokey Bones, Olive Garden, Red Robin, and ever so many more and every single one was busy--imagine that in Tarentum, PA on a Monday night, every one is eating out.   To the right is the birthday boy himself ready to enter although it sure looks as if he is questioning whether this is the place, whether this is what he wants to do, or maybe whether Longhorn is ready to provide the meal and service he expects.  We did and they did and all was great, goodtime had by all.

We are here 886 miles more logged onto the motor home this trip, 16.5 hours drive time, 132.9 gallons of diesel including a full tank now, $527 poorer with diesel fill ups, and the end of our  5th day of this venture but only $225 for lodging and that is paid up through next Sunday.  We have been blessed with good travels so far and today checked on Uncle's house (it will always be Uncle's house to me although he is gone  and I have the estate to  administer).  All is in order and other than a couple burned out light bulbs where evidently the realtors who have been inside neglected to turn lights off after leaving. all is OK.  The lawn needs a good mowing, so that meant a follow up nag to my nephew who runs a lawn and landscape service and assures me he is taking care of it all.  If that is really so, and I have to trust that it is, why when we showup  isn't the lawn freshly mowed?    We used all the roundup that we had left behind last year  on the bumper crops of weeds and giant thistles in the flower beds which no longer sport the flowers that Aunt Marge used to cultivate.   Because I worry about getting this home sold so that we can close out and settle the estate, I am grateful that all seems as in order as can be expected.  We will be meeting with the  realtor this week as well as the estate attorney and accountant.  Sigh......

Our first night of travel  we stopped for an over night  at  Caboose Lake Campground RV in Remington, Indiana.  This is a lovely RV site used by many local families in the area as a destination for weekends. Downside is that it is right along interstate 65 and the constant traffic from that highway makes sleeping difficult.  Jerry can sleep anytime anywhere, but I didn't get much rest despite using ear plugs.  There are many amenities here including a trout stocked lake and  easy access off Highway 24 which we drive across Indiana, wide pull through level sites, but I wonder why they don"t  plant trees  as a sound barrier to the interstate.  

Our first destination on the way though was  Decatur, IN to visit  friends Barb and Paul, who live on the outskirts of Monroe, IN and to  see their new home; they sold the farm house and barn to one of the sons and built a beautiful spacious home on the property.  I did not take a picture of their spacious 2000 sq ft. open floor plan with the same square footage downstairs in the finished basement complete with another kitchen.  Barb joked that not only could  they wheel around if they ever end up in wheel chairs but if they  need live in care takers, they can live on one floor and the caregivers on the other.  Barb has retired from her catering and cake decorating business but with 7 grand daughters from ages 3 to 23 and 2 sons and families all living near along  with cousins and long time friends she is always cooking and baking. She has a small chest freezer  filled with cookies alone that she bakes continuously for everyone to enjoy.  She had a pie ready for us, something called Indiana Cream which is delicious and which Jerry, the pie eater in chief has been eating nightly.  Barb has been using the kitchen downstairs and said since moving in Thanksgiving she still has not cooked a meal in the upstairs kitchen. 


Berne, IN Clcoktower  
Saturday May 5 was Kentucky Derby Day but we were both so full from dinner the night before with Barb and Paul and constant food from breakfast to midday, we  watched without snacking.  However before the race, I journeyed into Berne to see the local attraction--the Swiss clock tower park.  This area is replete with Amish but many of the others are descendants of Swiss settlers.  For several years the tiny town of Berne hosts Swiss Days right around the July 4th holidays; and for a few years there has been work to build  a clock tower park in the midst of the town.  There are local jokes about the cost of this, but it is a beautiful center and certainly a place depicting their heritage.  The massive clock tower still needs work and friends said the hands of the clock fell off shortly after they were attached calling for more craftsmanship. 

I think they can be rightly proud of their park, completed now at a time when so many municipalities are barely able to make a go of it, the hardworking diligent citizens of Berne with strong work ethic have built a monument to their heritage and the wisdom of remaining true to their values is center visible to anyone who drives by.


Swiss banners in the Clocktower Park 
Berne, Indiana

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shopping nonsense

I used to enjoy shopping a lot more than I do today.  I don't know if it is because I seldom find anything to get excited about, there is little I need, things seem too expensive,  and or shopping like so many other activities just ain't as much fun as  it used to be.  It seems there is an avalanche of junk all made in China sitting around the stores, awaiting the reach of the  shopper.  Really, things used to be much more interesting, at least that's how I remember it.  Like this  photo of an ornate wire type bottle with a little grill plate on which one can write a note, and into which one can put  corks from the wine bottles.  Really.  But to carry this absurdity farther, this cork holder is $29, which you can see in the description in the upper left corner.  Seriously, who would spend $30 on that?  Obviously someone because it is a featured item at a little local gift boutique where I browse from time to time. 

Wine is my preferred beverage; it's my go to alcoholic drink, so I accumulate wine bottle corks.  I have always saved these corks and from time to time there is a decorative need for them; once in CA I lined a  wooden tray with them and  made a  cork board which was handy near the computer for sticking notes and articles on.  Several years ago a neighbor' daughter had a way to use wine corks for place card holders at her wedding reception and I was able to supply all she needed from my accumulation.  I don't know why but it started long ago--once I had a huge glass fishbowl on our coffee table and  filled it with corks.  Today I store corks in a couple of different places, but the thought of spending $30 for a place  in which to dump my corks, is beyond my comprehension.  
 
Pounded aluminum pitcher of corks
Our 4 season room houses one of my Longaberger baskets and an older  aluminum pitcher collect my corks.  You could use almost anything if you save corks as I do.  Maybe it's time to stop saving them, but then.......again, what harm in keeping corks?  I use that line a lot in justification, what harm, or better yet, I could be doing worse things. 

 I still love a bargain, but with a house  filled with stuff, determining the need to acquire bargains once spotted is more difficult.  I have no transition children nearby trying to furnish a home, so there is no need for me to accumulate on behalf on anyone else.  Anna Quindlen's recent column in the Sunday Parade magazine made me laugh out loud, I so related.  If you missed it, here is a link--it's short and sweet and so very spot on.  http://www.parade.com/news/2012/04/22-is-your-stuff-weighing-you-down.html  in part--
"I didn’t have all this stuff when I was young and single. None of us did. It was a big deal to have blinds and coffee mugs.........At some point desire and need became untethered in our lives, and shopping became a competitive sport"   Well, you gotta follow the link. 

I do not like clutter and so at least with this big house, I can confine my  miscellany to areas unseen if someone just stops in, like the downstairs study/computer/project room where works in progress reside.  And so with being full up, comes a reluctance to look for more which has heavily curtailed my former shopping expeditions.  Now I will search for unique items for gifts or for  antiques, collectibles to add to any of my collections of angels, glassware, etc. but to just shop and buy China made merchandise, I have less interest all the time.  And because we are filled to the brim, well that's a good thing .