Saturday, April 25, 2009

My new pink look & furniture moving limitations

Just messing with this blog today and decided to trade my dots for spring pink....Not sure how long I'll stick with this pink, but here is my new look. Let me know what you think, I know you will.

This is similar to moving around furniture--something I like to do and something which is now nearly impossible. Our TVs dominate in the downstairs den/theater/bar room and in the upstairs living room because of the cable hook ups, etc.

At least in Newcastle, Ca I could change the living room at times, usually Christmas was my big opportunity. We never had the humongous big screen TV there, but slowly with the satellite dish attachments I found myself prohibited from moving the TV. Still I could rearrange couch and chairs. Neither Jerry nor Steve ever appreciated my efforts at moving furniture. They would each take off for parts unknown to avoid my redecorating. They said they could tell when they would see me standing looking at furniture that I was about to rearrange. Our Siamese cat particularly hated it when I moved things around and would race around the house calling out in a screech, as though alerting I don't know whom "Watch out! Hear ye all!She's at it again!" She would cross her blue eyes and scowl at me for days after I'd rearranged anything.

I used to be able to shove any piece of furniture around a big room. Here, I have met my limitations with some of our humongous furniture that will not move, no way no how. Our dining room set for one is not to be rearranged. Our bedroom is possible but Jerry has repeatedly told me not to even think of it and since I cannot manage that bed and dresser alone, it's off limits. The guest bedroom doesn't appeal to my need to rearrange. Though there too, the queen size bed would be a challenge. Our downstairs TV console takes up an entire wall, accommodates the biggest screen TV, was custom built by Jerry and is going no where. (short shot of this scene above)The huge leather couch downstairs is a bear to move but I have shifted it to an angle at times. The upstairs living room (photo of floral sofa & side chair) decor could be adjusted but there is the trouble of the cable TV. Dang, I never wanted a TV in that room anyway and now it dictates and limits my decorating schemes. I had pictured a formal room where there would only be pleasantries of conversation--I live in a fantasy world sometimes. The reality is we have TVs all over the house; and for someone who hardly ever watched it I find things to turn on in retirement. Well with the hundreds of channels on cable, there's bound to be something.

In the downstairs library/study/computer room I'm limited by the big oak solid heavy computer desk that fit just so into a nook. So it goes nowhere and then again there's the DLS hook up, etc, also through our TV/cable company.

A couple years ago after much looking we bought an immense coffee table with leather top and four mini stools that slide underneath the table for downstairs. Oh it was just the ticket. People could sit on those stools, best of all the stools have room for storing things in them as the lids/seats lift off. I always have things to put in places and those, well afghans, throws, things to wrap oneself up in while vegging out in front of the TV. Well, it was just the perfect table for our big sofa. But somehow during the remodel we shifted that coffee table into the library and there it stays.(see it in action near some of the book cases in the photo)I have made great use of it as my design/cutting table to cut out and lay out sewing projects or other crafty efforts. Three of the mini stools are in the other room with the sofa so folks can put their feet up or use them as end tables, or whatever. Our two leather recliners downstairs are our favorite chairs to retreat to at days end. Mostly both are positioned where we best like them; and since mostly it's us two here we should be where we want to be for seating.

Which brings up another thing--Jerry's corner(photo where the Olympia beer mirror hangs). He has his dedicated corner here just like he did in CA. From that corner nothing is to be touched, not ever, never. Like I said, I know my limitations. But before our company arrived this month I mentioned that if I could move his chair out of his corner we could rearrange the couch, etc. He would not even discuss this intelligently or otherwise. He just gave me that look. End of no discussion. He claims that in 5,000 sq. ft. he only wants one corner. That's not exactly true--he has his own work out room too! Of course it is the only unfinished room in our basement, but what the heck! And he does have that huge house down the hill where the motor home lives and the attached garage--what more does he want!

Now we did rearrange the downstairs bedroom when grand daughter was coming to visit and the upstairs bedrooms were taken by other family. That involved moving the daybed and moving my nordic trac out of that room and tidying up from my projects in progress which can usually happily hide there in any state of disarray, undisturbed until I get the urge or time to work further on them. You can see the floral daybed photo of this room.

Well suffice it that I can't do much furniture rearranging so my creative streak has to come out other ways--like on this blog...that's why we are now in the pink! But looking at the way these photos played on on my blog, I need to do some rearranging...but not right now. Bye.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Reading Update

Continuing with my commitment to include my books read here for my own later use and your entertainment---

"Partners in Power The Clintons and Their America" by Roger Morris. I picked this up at a library book sale somewhere on our travels last year and just got around to it. Published in 1996 I don't know how I overlooked this for so many years. A great read! Just the kind of reading I enjoy--politics, history and true life stories. Lots of information, mostly known now about Bill & Hillary Clinton and their rise to power from early times in Arkansas. Talk about some shenanigans! They pulled it all off! Bill's philanderings are almost described as acceptable and surely expected because of the very broken family life he had. Although Bill Clinton avoids alcoholic beverages fearing alcoholism as his father and step father suffered, there is speculation if his indulgence with cocaine. Interesting that Bill Clinton's rise was absolutely with the backing and support of Hillary. The book has chapters on each of their lives and families preceding their move to higher education. I laughed out loud at Hillary's punching a neighbor boy, bloodying his nose and winning the fight growing up. She is a ruthless woman! Bill Clinton's Rhodes scholarship was a breezy sleaze and reading this removed my respect for the mystique of a Rhodes scholar. Bill's easy ability to lie is well documented and why we can remember him as Slick Willy. Hillary's snobbish sense of entitlement is well known now too but reading Morris' description of her career as an attorney, the entwinement with the McDougals, her striking it rich on marginal investment and her makeovers is intriguing. This book covers in depth, their rise to power, which again makes me contemplate how in the world do we elect people in this country? It also has a fascinating history of political changes, turmoil and background including the growth and overtaking of Congress and DC by lobbyists. I have not read any other of Roger Morris work, but would in a minute. I don't believe he has written after this book at least I've not found later works on Google. This is a keeper in my library, political and history.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I read this book in two nights. Written about her journey in life processing grief the year following the death of her husband and the near death of her daughter, Joan has written with translucent honesty. I could so relate to may of her feelings. It was a timely read for me. It was a book I'd wondered about before and likely dismissed as too morose or too down, but with Steve's death I wanted to read this. "People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces.......These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible.. " That sure struck with me. Lots of truth in here and not answers but just one remarkable story of moving through grief and moving on in life. "Time is the school in which we learn." attributed to Delmore Schwartz leads into the discussion of cognitive deficits which can be associated with grief as well as stress. Fascinating. "I know why we try to keep the dead alive. We keep them alive in order to keep them with us." Yes, I know that, but further she writes, "..we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead....Knowing this does not make it any easier."

I am now reading "The Shack" and will tell about it when I'm done which should be very soon. I would almost give up working outside to finishing this book about a man's journey to/with/near/around God and his coping with his Great Sadness after his daughter is abducted. I did not know this was such a heart rending religious book when I picked it up. More to come on it--it will be a keeper.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our tea parties

Our Tea Parties
Here in our city of La Crescent, population of 5,000 we had two tea parties. The first on Monday, April 13 inside at the Community Center where about 60 people attended. We collected canned foods for our local food panry at this event to keep with the MN tradition of food for all!

I described this first one in my blog/post to the Tom Sullivan Show where I am an avid part of his Listener's Club. We followed Tom in CA and really missed him in MN. Used to catch him on the computer live stream now and then. But over a year ago while in OK, we picked him up on Fox Talk on the satellite radio. That happened to be his first day on the air; he's moved to New York and hosts on Fox Talk daily from 2:00--5:00PM, our central standard time. That day, I called and was his last caller of the day. We enjoy satellite radio in the motor home and in my GMC Envoy. But with the ability to hear Tom daily, Jerry bought a home adapter to keep up with Tom.

So back to the tea part I posted to Tom who had posed the question, "What is happening to our country?" "...We've been talking about this very subject . I grew up without a father who was killed in WWII months before my birth; I don't think his life was given to have our liberties taken away by this regime. My hubby was 10 years in the Air force--he says "I did not serve my country to see it come to this!" We had a pre- -Tea Party here in la Crescent, MN organized by a friend who's a candidate for State Senate seat next year...About 60 attended for the 2 hours, not bad for a hamlet of 5,000. We served Free Tea. And here's the brilliance--Gave out free booklets of the Constitution--people scooped those up like candy. We advised they begin to read the Constitution and see just how bad things are. I talked to one man whom I'd met earlier in the year at a caucus--he said he could no longer just sit back. Now he knows he must get involved. I told him, "see what happens when we don't pay attention..."He agreed but said he never expected this." Thought he was insulated here in the Midwest.

By the way, when do you think the last time was most folks read the Constitution?"

To my delight Tom picked up my writings and read it all on the air just as soon as I finished posting, cool! So we had national coverage of our first La Crescent tea party! Tom endorsed the idea of giving out copies of the Constitution--most people don't know how simple and straightforward it is. Read up all!

Yesterday April 15 there was another at the Veterans park. This was fitting because yesterday Homeland Security made news by targeting our veterans returning from foreign lands of being potential right wing extremists and to be watched like terrorists. Disgusting beyond belief!

Mary & Frank Ludwig (He's a professor at Viterbo college in La Crosse) made up lots of games for the kids and carried a colonial, Revolutionary War theme. Mary had a Joe the Plumber game with a plunger and toilet ball--that was quite popular. Joe the Plumber is a hero here. Mary & some of her kids read many patriotic quotes; they did the same reading Monday night at our indoor tea party. I have asked her to present it at a Legion meeting and she has agreed. Their children are getting a real sense of history. It was interesting to watch the local kids get interested in the historic theme. Yesterday we had many young families on a gorgeous spring day in the park, on their way home from work. When the local newspaper took a photo of the children with the home made kites, Jerry suggested thy title it, "Here are the tax payers of the future ...already laden with the Messiah's debt" Doubt they will use that caption though...

Frank, who is seated in the one photo told everyone yesterday that we are all now subversives for attending the tea parties! Their oldest son in the revolutionary tri-corner hat worked the younger boys through drills using sticks as rifles....perhaps preparing them for the world ahead.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Walter Williams paragraph and a Saharan quote

I don't usually cut and paste these things, but today on our way to our local Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party I checked my emails. This came through on the Patriot Post to which I subscribe. Worth reading.

"Most of our nation's great problems, including our economic problems, have as their root decaying moral values. Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral people left with little more than the pretense of morality. ... Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to being so used, do you believe that there should be the initiation of some kind of force against him? Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no. For me the answer is no to both questions but I bet that your average college professor, politician or minister would not give a simple yes or no response. They would be evasive and probably say that it all depends. ...[That] is because they are sly enough to know that either answer would be troublesome for their agenda. A yes answer would put them firmly in the position of supporting some of mankind's most horrible injustices such as slavery. After all, what is slavery but the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another? A no answer would put them on the spot as well because that would mean they would have to come out against taking the earnings of one American to give to another in the forms of farm and business handouts, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and thousands of similar programs that account for more than two-thirds of the federal budget. There is neither moral justification nor constitutional authority for what amounts to legalized theft. This is not an argument against paying taxes. We all have a moral obligation to pay our share of the constitutionally mandated and enumerated functions of the federal government. ...[But] now that the U.S. Congress has established the principle that one American has a right to live at the expense of another American, it no longer pays to be moral." --George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams

And to close it,,,,,here is exactly the way I think of government...whatever it gets it will screw up....."If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand." --Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Consider the lowly phone booth

Think about it, living in our world of cell phones, texting, tele-communications, Twitter and Facebook, when was the last time you saw a phone booth? Well we have one right in downtown La Crescent, right across from the post office and outside our local phone company office. I've never noticed it, but while CA grand daughter Janine was visiting this past week, it caught her attention. "Grandma, what's that little building on the sidewalk?" To which, I could reply, "Huh", really unaware of what she was talking about.

So we drove by the post office on our way to one of our shopping expeditions. "Oh, that's a Phone booth!" She said, "A what?" I began to explain pay phones and phone booths. She was so fascinated at her young age of 18, that we had to visit it and take her picture to post on her i-phone or whatever that magic device she carries.

Really here is a young lady, in her first year of college who knows nothing of pay phones and certainly not of phone booths. How will she ever understand the comedy of Maxwell Smart? How will she ever get the jokes about Superman changing in the phone booth? We have now an upcoming generation deprived of such experience. While we progress in technology and other rapid changes in our society consider the lowly phone booth. No more college pranks stuffing it full of as many of us as we could.

We returned home to explain this phenomena to our other family guests including a 10 year old niece from CA, Sophia who is quite advanced and well read. Certainly she had heard of phone booths. And where? In Harry Potter! But her parents took her by the same phone booth from which she called our house just to be able to say she used a pay phone booth--another part of disappearing America.

When we visit Decatur, Indiana we go to Arnolds's, a local diner 50's style, which has survived from the 50's and still serves the greasy burger, real Cherry cokes and thick malts. We remember those times and can experience them in places like that. Not a faux flip to the 50's but a real survivor of the ages.

So many things are changing and so much we roll along with taking no notice until we engage with the younger up and coming generation and find ourselves explaining what's become obsolete in society. They can no more imagine pay phones and life without i-pods, cells, texting than they could imagine life without TV. While we grew up in the midst of phenomenal changes, we studied history and knew of such things as horse and carriage pre-automobile. Today without the study of history only by visiting Grandpa & Grandma in the Heartland will they know some of what they might otherwise miss.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Today my monthly retirement remittance advice seems I've been stimulated courtesy of Ob(s)ama & Co. Jerry had checked our direct deposit the other day and said, "I think you got a raise." I thought that curious because I know I get no cost of living raise until May. But I went on my merry way paying not other attention. Until today when the remittance copy came in the mail.

I'd wondered how us retirees were going to receive our stimulus. I believed we would get good old fashioned Polish "Huvno" (sp?) Actually I've been using the term, Polish Huvno, a lot ever since the inauguration of the socialist Muslim who now is in the White house. But, lo there it is, nearly an $70 monthly increase with a decreased amount in federal income tax withholding.

Our accountant told us that "they" would adjust the federal withholding amounts for wage earners to give the tantamount stimuli we have all read about. Ob(s)ama's further attempt to run our country into socialism is alive and well. I've read all about the $8-$13 per week folks were to benefit by. So since I have a substantial amount withheld from my retirement check to cover the heinous federal income taxes that we owe each year, I wondered if I would benefit the same way. It seems I have. My monthly net increase is about $68.

What bothers me is, while they stimulate those of us who must always pay federal income taxes, what happens at the end of the year? I mean when we calculate the amount we owe the government will the tax tables be reduced by the amount of these stimuli? Will we owe the feds more at the end of the year by this artificial stimuli through the year, making us think we have additional $ to spend when we do not? There has been no mention of a tax cut for us poor jerks.

Then again maybe this is a good thing--after all if most of us taxpaying Americans are behind on federal income taxes in 2010 for 2009, courtesy of the Ob(s)ama stimuli, will that qualify us for appointments as Secretary of Treasury? I feel that after my career I'd certainly qualify for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Ob(s)ama appointees seem to have one unifying thread, none of them pay their income taxes on time or "appropriately."

Perhaps in addition to this faux-stimulation this is now an employment recruitment effort. Think of it, what better way to change DC than to get the likes of you and me to be the new appointees. I dare say we could do as good or better than Tiny Tim of the Treasury or Kathleen Sibelius of Health and Human Services. Maybe this is the other side of the coin, give them money to spend with a false assurance that it is theirs and then months later when they don't even recall how they've spent their $$, whack them with a tax bill. When they can't pay those income tax levies, seize them and transport them to DC to work as bureaucrats for the likes of the teleprompters.

Aaahh who said Ayn Rand or George Orwell wrote fiction? It may have been predictive. We are living in Gault's world indeed!