Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Accomplished a "first" today! I removed the extension ladder from the garage, extended it high enough to reach the gutters and cleaned the areas that needed it! Maybe I will stop getting water in the basement when it rains and will not get an ice dam this winter. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is to me. In the past, I have paid (or coerced) people to clean the gutters for me or they didn't get cleaned. I could have done that again, but I have a ladder and cleaning the crap out of the gutter and downspout is not rocket science. Whether I could or could not afford to pay someone is not the issue, I do not like to pay people to do what I can do, even if I have never done it before. There is a real sense of accomplishment in tackling a job like that! I even cleaned up the mess.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Almost Did It

I almost made a post on PeoriaDotCom a bit ago. I almost posted in reference to Halloween Activities. Dream Center Peoria is hosting Fear Factor from 6 to 8:30 PM Wednesday. Food, games, fellowship and prizes. It is being held in the gym at their facility (the old YMCA). Someone posted "notice the civility on the forum now", I wanted to post, "Not civil, boring!" At least to me. Doesn't mean it was to everyone. As I think about it, perhaps "bland" is a better word. I do miss posting and I may again if there is a thread that has any "meat" to it, or if I think I have something useful to add to a topic. I consider myself reasonably intelligent and fairly literate. I have lived long enough to have had a lot of experience - both good and not so good. If I post again, there will most likely be some snide remarks (if a few folks are still around), but that's OK.

I have my own internal conflicts to get past before I can comfortably post again. I am working on it. I wish the forum well. I think it helped a couple of people get some direction on job hunting and to find out what kind of activities were available in the Peoria area. Some of the threads got me thinking about issues - until it seemed to me that there was an impasse and one side started insults toward the other side for their beliefs or opinions. Seems to me that there could have been an agreement to disagree rather than trying to "beat them into submission". I guess politics and religion aren't safe topics. I learned about some interesting blogs and web sites that I didn't know otherwise. Some threads were really fun. I enjoyed the "famous phrases" one. My previous experience with forums have been single issue or work related. Maybe I didn't know what to expect.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm Ready

It is nearly 58 degrees outside and a little more inside the house. I have readied the nest for winter. New jersey knit sheets are on the bed, my favorite blue down comforter rests on top of the sheets. The plastic has been placed on all the windows and the caulking completed in the basement. I just finished reversing the direction on the ceiling fans. I have a $241.66 credit built up at AmerenCILCO (and have not yet paid any this month, but I will). There are a couple more tasks that need to be completed next week. I have new insulation to put around the water pipes and there is a basement window covering that needs to be secured from the outside. If the temperature actually gets to the mid or upper 60's on Tuesday, I may drag out the extension ladder and tackle one area of guttering that tends to back up and has caused ice dams in the past.

Made a trip across the river. Bought a new space heater to take the chill off rather than run the furnace as much. Between electricity and gas prices, you never know which way to go. Also bought new light bulbs for the front porch. The old one still worked, but it was getting dimmer from dirt and dust. I will clean it and use it again later if I need it.

My internal clock was ready for the time change that normally happens the last weekend of October. I didn't fully wake up until about 7:30 this morning. I would have been right on schedule if the clock had "fallen back" as it would have last year. Maybe I will be as ready for the time change next Sunday as I was today!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Today's Ramble

I am reusing the title in an effort not to repeat the whole blog entry of 10/14/07. Peoria.com really fell apart. The Bible thumping, ultra-conservatives have hijacked not just a thread, but the entire forum. The "see how great I am" folks have made asinine comments in the middle of serious discussions. Like several others, I have made my last post. Anything that I might post would be discounted anyway.

Otherwise, I survived the week away from work. That is a strange way to view "vacation". I miss it when I am not there. One more week to go. Birthday has come and gone. I am a year closer to retirement. Not sure how I will handle that. I really think I will end up finding a job somewhere else to fill my time and wallet! Got the word today that Social Security has the lowest COL increase in several years - 2.3% I think it was. Right now, it looks like I could make it with the 20% cut that early retirement would mean. I may just quit after the first of the year and go job hunting. Who knows what will happen in the next few years. As long as I remain healthy, I will most likely work to supplement SS and pension funds. It is either work or volunteer at the animal shelter. The only problem with PAWS is that I would want to bring most of them home - especially all the large, long haired cats. I really do not want to be the neighborhood "crazy cat lady".

Got calls from both of the kids yesterday. Brian is fine other than sore muscles from chopping fire wood. His wife has a sinus infection and the little one is recovering from a cold. Otherwise all is well. Angie has selected a "favorite toy" from those received for her 2nd birthday. You never know what a little one will really like!!

Leah wrote her letter of resignation. The boss was not around much, so she ended up leaving it in his "in-box" and leaving a message on his cell phone. She finds it hard to quit. She enjoyed her co-workers and the work wasn't bad, but the opportunity to work with The Sphinx Organization was just too good to pass up. This will probably be the biggest challenge she has ever faced as far as employment goes, but also the most rewarding in the long run.

The kids are really too old to be called kids, but no matter how old they are (or I am) they will always be "my kids". Great kids at that!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day Four

I am scheduled to be off work next week too! Don't know if I can do it or not. I see to be trying to eat my way through these days off! Don't have this problem at work, but this is terrible. Will try to get back to normal with the food tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day Two

Time off - day two! The car went in for a minor repair this morning. The darn little scoop on the front of the car hits curb stops and drags on my driveway when I make a left turn into it. It was beginning to sag. It is back in place now, but unless I take it really slow, it still drags on the driveway! Right turns only, I guess. From there, it was off to get an oil change and tire rotation. Two more oil changes and then it is time for one of those service appointments that cost big bucks - at least it sounds like big bucks to me.

Back home to watch lesson 13 of the class I have to take for work. There are 16 sessions in all and then the test that has to be taken by 11/28. There are a couple of them I want to watch again before test time.

Then to the yard for a little outside time. Mowed the front yard. Glad I have a mulching mower. It eliminates the need to rake a lot of the leaves - of course there isn't much front yard left since I have planted flowers in most of it. Did gather up enough leaves to fill one landscape waste bag. Had to go out back and cut up a fallen branch from a hated elm tree. Have to go back out with the pruning saw to finish the job where the limb was too big for the pruner. Have to make sure the bundles are tied well, not over five feet long and weigh less than 50 pounds! Don't want to piss Waste Management off!

Watching a little of CNN's coverage of the fires in California! Such devastation. My heart goes out to the people in the way of the fire and those who have lost everything.

Guess I will gather up the scissors, twine and pruning saw so I can finish the task I started earlier. I would rather procrastinate, but I will finish the job I started. This time!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time Off

Tomorrow is the first of 10 days off work. It will seem strange to sleep in on a Monday morning. I think I can manage, though. Have been working on a web based class for work and had not been able to access it from home, but I reset the computer and now I can. I guess I will work on the classes while I am off work. I was afraid I would have to go to the office, shut the door, and watch the classes from there. I am glad I will not have to do that, home is much more comfortable.

Have not taken any time off this year. Have been going in on Saturday mornings since the Dream Center started coming down to Taft Homes for their adopt-a-block program. Those folks are amazing. I have not minded going in to unlock for them at all. It has been a challenging year and the Dream Center has been a highlight of the year.

In its infinite wisdom, congress has instructed HUD to begin operating public housing like a private market business. As hard as we try to make it work, it seems like a lost cause. Not many private businesses can survive with 85% of the income that it takes to run the business! All we can do is the best we can do! I have said from the beginning that this was congress' way of signing the Death Certificate for public housing. I hope it survives the turmoil. The "general public" has no idea how many really good people live in public housing. They get up and go to work...sometimes not the best jobs. They may be working as a CNA in a nursing home, making beds at a hotel, calling you to collect on an overdue bill or serving you your dinner at a restaurant. Not the jobs that most of us want to do, but ones that need to be done. Many residents are students. ICC, Robert Morris College or a G.E.D. program, it doesn't matter. They are trying to make a better life for their families.

Not everything is rosie. There are problems, but the number of "problem residents" is much lower than the community thinks! Most of the problems come from the "outside" rather than from the "inside".

I have worked in public housing for nearly 16 years. There used to be grants for programs and modernization. Those funds have gone away. Taft Homes was modernized in the early 90's. Our furnaces are obsolete and need to be replaced. We can no longer get thermocouples for the majority of the water heaters, also obsolete. Funding cuts have led to massive lay-offs. We have two maintenance people. We share a carpenter, painter and plumber.

I will miss being at work. It will not be far from my thoughts!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, Monday

Thanks to Kevin for teaching me to delete the comment I was concerned about and for adding Ramble On to his blog roll. Being a relative "Newbie" it is reassuring to find out that the blog is beginning to be read a little.

This was almost a do-nothing day. I am usually very motivated at work, but today was such a beautiful day that I wanted to be home. It was perfect weather to be in the yard (and it needs work). Plastic is on the windows in the living room. The dining room is next and then on to the upstairs.

It must have been a rough day in Doggie Land today. Mikki and Minni are both asleep on the couch and snoring loudly. It is a fun sound and makes me smile! Rush, one of the cats, is in my lap purring very loudly. He earned his name on the way home from PAWS - loud, demanding and obnoxious - Rush for Rush Limbaugh, of course!

Leah had an interview with the Sphinx Organization today. I hope it went well for her. They did call her and ask for her references. Thursday, she has an interview with the Detroit Symphony. Both jobs involve education and outreach into the urban schools. If neither comes through, she will be stuck with being the Administrative Assistant at Wold Architects until the "Dream Job" comes along.

Busy week this week. Tomorrow evening is East Bluff Housing Services Board Meeting, Wednesday is East Bluff United Neighborhood Association and Thursday is the last of the Public School Forums. I really hope that Glen Oak parents show up for the forum. Too many of these forums have been the neighborhood loud-mouths (like me) showing up and not enough of the parents who's children will be impacted by whatever decision the board makes (or has already made).

Good day for aluminum cans at work today. Ended up with five garbage bags of cans to crush. I will be ready to take cans to Miller's before the week is out. The residents are really getting into the "Can Kitty". It is great to see them come together with this effort. We have been able to make 10 micro-loans so far. All but four have been paid back and they are not due yet!! When you have nothing, $10.00 can help out a great deal. The "general public" has no idea how many good things take place at Taft. It was a little disappointing that Clyde Gulley did not show up at the last resident meeting. He was to have been our guest. No show, no call. Does that mean that his constituents at Taft do not matter. I sure hope not! Chief Settinsgaard is to be our guest at the November meeting - that should be interesting. I am glad he accepted the invitation.

I am looking forward to some time off from work. Have not missed a day all year and am taking two weeks off. Not planning on doing much except make a long weekend trip to Detroit and relax around home. Actually, it will probably drive me nuts to be away from work and will probably end up going in several times to make sure everything is going OK. I am sure it will, but delegating has never been one of my best attributes! Have to learn to let go!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Unwelcome Comment

I have no idea if I can delete just a comment, but I am not happy to have what appears to be an X-rated comment on my last post. If this is what I get, I may have to stop posting on this site. I would not like to have to do this, but......

Today's Ramble

I have been reading (and making a few posts on) Peoria.com. I am amazed at the animosity that develops. It is one thing to disagree with someone - I often do, but to resort to the level of anger that is apparent is something I do not understand. An intelligent debate, I can appreciate, but when it disintegrates into questioning intelligence and name calling, I get very frustrated. It seems that some members of the "community" post just to see their name in print. My opinion - no more, no less. Perhaps there are histories and relationships there that I don't know about and that could explain some of the interaction. I do know it is the last place I would go to ask for information. I will likely stop making posts and eventually, stop reading Peoria.com. It really does not make a good impression of the attitudes in the community.

On a happy note, I see that Ramble On is listed on The Peoria AntiPundit's site. Thank you! Emtronics opinion and blog are appreciated. One of the few voices of reason on the local blog scene. Again, my opinion! Peoria Pundit, Peoria AntiPundit and Peoria Chronicle are the three major reads for me. Chef Kevin, Ahl Things Considered and Merle Widmer's Peoria Watch are also checked fairly frequently. Beyond those six, any others pretty much mean I am bored. I like getting perspectives of what is going on in Peoria.

Where I live (East Bluff), where I work (PHA) and my age (almost 63) certainly influence my interests and activities. I have a house full of animals (8 cats and 2 dogs), shop at WalMart, love the dollar stores (Dollar Tree & Deals), eat out at affordable places and look for bargains everywhere I shop. My kids are grown and pretty much lead their own lives. I try not to intrude into their private matters but will give my opinion if asked.

It is a beautiful fall day. And since I live in an old house (with its original windows) it is a good day to start putting the plastic on the windows. Have caulked around a couple of basement windows and put new "V" strip on the front and back doors. Kitchen windows are done! Will try to get the pantry and living room done before the day is out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

On A Happy Note

My daughter,Leah, and her "significant other", John, got here last night. Actually arrived at about 12:30 this morning. They had driven straight through from the Detroit area after they got off work. I had gone to sleep on the couch so I could be sure to hear them. So good to see them.

Leah and I went shopping for a bit this morning while John assembled the Roadmaster (Little Red Wagon) that is to be a birthday gift for my Granddaughter. Angie turns two on 10/10/07 but the celebration is tomorrow (Sunday). Near record high temperatures predicted for tomorrow, but at least the rain is out of the forecast. The birthday celebration is in Oreana, where my son, Brian, and his wife, Sherri, live. Leah and John will be driving back to Detroit from there. Coming back to Peoria is totally out of the way.

Went to lunch today at Haddad's. The "young ones" had a taste for Middle Eastern food. I am glad they did, it really hit the spot. You know the children have hit adulthood when they finally start buying the parent's lunch! :) They are out visiting friends now and I am here making sure I remember their visit!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A School, A School

My neighborhood for a school? District #150 has managed to get the Illinois State Board of Education to say that they MUST close four schools - four neighborhood schools that are important to their neighborhoods. Harrison School is to be built across the street from its current location, thus adding a tremendous amenity to a depressed neighborhood. Irving School serves the Near Northside and is in the heart of the Hispanic neighborhood. Many parents walk their children to school and there is a dedicated staff and volunteer network. Neighborhood needs the school. Kingman School in the heart of a fairly stable Northside/Averyville Neighborhood. Concerned neighborhood, dedicated teachers and a vital part of the area. Neighborhood needs the school. Glen Oak School serves the East Bluff and is in the heart of a struggling neighborhood . There is a concerned neighborhood, dedicated teachers and a committed volunteer network. Neighborhood needs the school.

According to District #150, there is money for only one school. Should one neighborhood be stabilized and two neighborhoods decimated? Should it be built as part of a "campus" with Woodruff and Lincoln School and decimate all three neighborhoods? The phrase "mega school" came up at the neighborhood forum tonight. Scary thought. Mega school brings up an image of depersonalization.

The school board insists that no decision has been made at this point. Sounds good, but very hard to believe. Yes, they are getting input from the neighborhoods, but how much attention will be paid to that input? Does it make any difference? Looks good on paper. "We met with the neighbors." "The all wanted the same thing." "We had to go to a location between them. that is the only way to treat the neighborhoods equally". Decimate them all! Build a mega school campus. Watch and see! I will be surprised if the mid-December decision by the board says, "The school will be built in the Lincoln Middle School/Woodruff High School campus." Good bye to three neighborhood schools. Hopefully it will not be good bye to three neighborhoods.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Deja Vu, Again

Another murder and probably another silent community. Two people shot in the 1200 block of East Kansas, one is dead and one is in the hospital. Not much on the news yet, but I am sure the rants and raves that blame the victims will again be profuse. No one deserves this kind of street justice. My sympathies go out to the families.