Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Will Return!

A block northeast of Spring Street on Adams Street (1420 N.E. Adams, I think) there is a new restaurant that opened recently. In fact the "First Dollar" on the wall is dated November 9th. Several restaurants have opened in that location over the years. I remember when it was Art's and they had a good "down home" breakfast buffet. Usually, a new place would be closed by the time I decided to stop in. Not so, this time. Mel's Cafe was my breakfast spot today. I must say that I was delighted! Good food, reasonable prices and decent coffee. Coffee was even included in the cost of the meal. That alone is pretty rare anymore.

A very large pancake, 2 eggs (cooked as I requested), two sausage patties and the never empty cup of coffee - $5.45 including tax. Mel's is clean and fresh. Diners have their choice of table, booth or counter dining. The staff is the friendliest that I have come across in a long time and certainly added to the enjoyment. Open from 6 AM to 2 PM seven days a week, Mel's Cafe is a great addition to the Near Northside. It is close enough that I may even have to try it for lunch soon.

If supporting a local business is important to you, then Mel's Cafe deserves a visit if you are in the neighborhood. I know, I will return!

UPDATE: Several friends were going to meet at Mel's Cafe for breakfast, but the snowfall of Dec. 26th & 27th had people snowed in. The streets were in pretty bad shape, but since I live fairly close, I decided to go anyway. Again breakfast was very good. I tried a half order of biscuits & gravy. Probably not the best I have ever had, but it was good. Just like last time, there was a copy of the newspaper available to read over breakfast & coffee. Even though the streets were in bad shape and it was still snowing, there was a steady stream of customers. This is one local business I will continue to support.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Just took a trip down memory lane. Revisiting posts that were made over a year ago. It is interesting how things change, but yet how much they remain the same. I still want to retire, but can't for awhile. The house is still old, but with new siding and windows not as drafty. I am still a Grandma, but now I have two wonderful grandchildren. I still say "Bah Humbug" to this whole season and look forward to January 2, 2010 so things can get back to normal.

Still have the same two dogs from December 2007 and 8 of the 9 cats. I still miss Skyler and Smokey as those cats were a part of my life for so long. The remaining 8 seem healthy and happy. I am still not making any New Year resolutions nor have I gotten back in control to take off the 20 pounds that I have gained over the last several years. Not near where I was at one time, but certainly not where I want to be.

We saved a neighborhood grade school, but lost a high school. The flowers were beautiful this past spring and summer and I hope the black hollyhocks come up next year. We had a National election and the earth still turns on its axis. The economy has gone south over the last two years, but the most recent unemployment numbers are a little better. I am still pretty much a hermit, but really enjoy the forum and blogger friendships that have deepened over the last two years.

I am still looking for the perfect Sunday breakfast. Next stop, Oscar's on Farmington Road!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still Searching....

I took Emerge's suggestion and tried the Silver Dollar this morning. Food was really good and quite reasonable. If I go again I will take my food and move to a table. I guess I am too short to comfortably eat at the bar. I chose the bar since all the tables were empty. It does seem odd to see a fellow diner wash down his biscuits and gravy with beer at 9:30 in the morning. But, hey....who am I to say! If one like the "neighborhood bar" atmosphere, the Silver Dollar serves a darn good breakfast.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Search of.......

Anyone who knows me well, knows I do not like to cook. I really do not like to cook! Lunch and dinner, I can take care of but, breakfast.....that is another matter. I am in search of the perfect place for breakfast. Good food, good selection, reasonable price and a pleasant atmosphere. Is that too much to ask? I have no problem with "greasy spoon" type places and will "dress up" a little if I have to.

I know there are numerous places left to try, but here is the list as it stands today:
  • Bartonville Diner - so far #1 in my book. Stuffed French Toast to die for
  • The Lighthouse in Rome - small, but good buffet. They will be closed for awhile in January. Reasonable price, even though they had raised it $1.00 the last time I was there.
  • LePeep - Good, but kind of middle of the road
  • Home Town Buffet - lowered their price and took the good stuff off the buffet
  • Butcher Block - small, but good buffet. Nice atmosphere. Service was questionable
  • Zim's - the fact that it is closed says it all
  • Childer's (old Ranchero Fiesta building) - based on Childer's on University, it was a real disappointment for the price
  • The Mayflower - standard fare, nothing to go back for
  • Denney's - standard fare, lousy coffee but it is pretty inexpensive
  • Mushrush - buffet was pretty good, but they stopped having it
  • Lee's (old Steak & Shake on N. Adams) - solid home cooking and reasonable
  • Hungry Moose (Farmington Road) - small, busy, good food, reasonable and the coffee was fairly good (I am somewhat of a coffee snob)
  • Eamon Patrick's - fantastic, but closed. Eagerly awaiting the Fahey's opening the Sunday Buffet at the Cornerstone Building facility.
  • Maid Rite - traditional fare, reasonable price. I like the atmosphere and gift shop.
Making a trip to One World and Sterling Family Restaurant are on my list to revisit since I have not been to either for a long time. Other recommendations?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pet Peeve

Just sitting here doing not much of anything and realized I have not visited this blog for some time. I don't usually write unless there is something that really gets to me, either in a good or not so good way. This gets to me - GENERALIZATIONS! Generalizations about a group of people, generalizations about a system, generalizations about an organization, even generalizations about a family - as if everyone involved is the same. "They are (fill in the blank); therefore, they must (fill in the blank).

I work in an environment about which many assumptions are made. I live in an area about which many assumptions are made. Is there a grain of truth behind the assumption? Of course there is! But when that grain of truth is applied to everything and everyone in a certain group, without knowing the facts about the individuals it is the smoldering pot of prejudice. Not necessarily racial or ethnic, but just plain old prejudging without knowledge. It is like saying that everyone with the last name of Smith or Jones behaves and thinks the same way. They all (fill in the blank). Especially if your name is Smith or Jones, you know it is not true.

I learned a long time ago, that it does no good whatsoever to try to refute a prejudgment. All I can do is to try as hard as I can not to prejudge, not to make those assumptions and not to generalize and to tell the truth as I know it when the opportunity presents itself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter

I stopped by PAWS today to get a copy of their Wish List. PAWS is located at 2600 NE Perry. Their phone is 494-8911. In addition to having their funding restored, here is their Wish List:
Toilet seat covers/fleece mats for cats to lay on
"Kuranda Dog Beds" check the Kuranda web site
Towels - they give lots of baths
Science Diet Kitten food - canned & dry
Science Diet Cat food - dry
Science Diet Puppy & Dog food - dry
Dog biscuits - not rawhide
Kong toys
Tearless puppy & kitten shampoo
Guinea pig/rabbit/hamster/gerbil/bird food - they get those animals too!
Wild bird seed
Plastic cat toys - Busy Balls
Copy paper - colors & white
Liquid laundry detergent - cheap generic is fine
Dishwashing liquid - again, cheap generic is fine
Paper towels
Aluminum cans - there is a recycle bin at PAWS
Ink jet & laser cartridges & cell phones for recycling
Empty coffee cans with lids

Of course, they accept cash donations (and give receipts). They also look for volunteers. Call 682-9015. I still need to talk to the shelter director concerning possible fund raisers the community could do.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

OK, Peoria

I would ask everyone who reads this (the few that do) to take a look at the Rover or Smokey in your life. Think about how much pleasure the four legged critters in your life give to you. The unconditional love that you get when you walk into your home after having been gone for a bit is irreplaceable.

It concerns me greatly that part of the budget short-fall in the city budget includes a $250,000 cut to PAWS. Whether it is through massive donations of pet food, donation of items to recycle (aluminum, printer cartridges, etc.) the pet owners and animal lovers of Peoria need to step to the plate.

Peoria raises money for all sorts of causes. I remember when the police needed bullet proof vests and the city said the money was not there, citizens raised the money. We can do it again. I am not an organizer. It is pretty chilly for a fund-raising walk, but maybe the park district would have a time when an indoor walk could be done at the RiverPlex....there has to be something that can be done to keep the services of the animal shelter at the level they are now.

Let's all put on our thinking caps. The idea of more strays, fewer spay/neuters, abused or neglected animals, fewer adoptions and fewer services is not what a caring society tolerates.

Again, I ask that you take a look at the "Rover" or "Smokey" in your life. Six of my ten are in the living room with me right now. They are all PAWS adoptions. Only one of the ten is not. That one was a street rescue that didn't have a lay-over at PAWS.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Chicago, here I come! I haven't been to the Windy City for several years, but this Sunday I am headed there. Not just for pleasure as I will spend the daytime in seminars on Monday through noon on Wednesday. It will still seem like a mini-vacation though. Can't wait to visit Bobak's again. Might even be able to convince my traveling companions to stop at IKEA in Bolingbrook. Hey, wait, I am driving!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Get Those Taste Buds Ready!

Heard by way of the "Grapevine" that good food is on it's way again. The grapevine says that Mary Ann Fahey (of local fame, most recently Eamon Patrick's) will be opening Cornerstone Catering and The Underground in the beautiful Cornerstone Building. All the delicious soups, salads and sandwiches will be served at The Underground and the MARVELOUS Sunday Brunch will be served on the first Sunday of the month. Grand opening is scheduled for early Fall. I sure hope that Peoria supports this local business and the wonderful old building it will be housed in.

I read so much concerning the disdain of "one more chain restaurant". I hope that words turn into action and that this courageous venture is a great success.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Won't Be Back

First of all, I have to make a couple of admissions. I am not a particularly good cook, nor am I a food critic. But, I do have a fondness for Sunday Buffet Brunches and Sunday morning breakfast in general. Since learning that Childer's had opened a new (well, since around Mother's Day) Sunday Brunch at the old Ranchero Fiesta next to Landmark, I planned to check it out. Today was the day and I won't be going back.

The atmosphere was fine, the staff pleasant but, the food was lacking and quite overpriced. Brunch was $15.39 including tax; no Senior Discount available. The usual items were available along with items more associated with lunch. Even with salt and pepper, the sausage gravy lacked flavor. The bacon ranked an O.K. rating. Sausage links were a failure. I didn't try the scrambled eggs as they looked "slimy". I don't know if it was too much butter or if they were undercooked, but they sure weren't pretty. I tried the waffle. It was fair, although it could have stood another 10 seconds in the waffle maker. They also have an omelet station that I did not try. One saving grace was a hash brown mixture that seemed to include egg, cream and sausage. It was good.

Small salad bar, pasta salad, some veggies, stuffed tomato (looked like tuna salad stuffing) and pastries rounded out the menu.

The cashier did not question my response when after she asked, "How was everything?", I simply said, "O.K.". I am glad that she didn't.

I am not sure what I expected, but with the Childer's name on it, the quality and price of this brunch, certainly was not it.

I still have to try Sunday Brunch at the Par-A-Dice. Any other suggestions?

Or do I just stick with the Bartonville Diner and The Lighthouse in Rome?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Do Have a Soul

I now believe in love at first sight! I have found my "Soul" mate! I made the mistake of looking at one of these babies while getting an oil change and tire rotation. I really did make an honest effort to resist the allure, but to no avail. There was a couple of days wait for the color I wanted to arrive by truck. My Soul arrived and any buyer's remorse that I might have felt dissipated immediately.

I drove it for the next couple of days and now it is parked in the driveway patiently waiting for summer to be over. It may get a little exercise if there is a trip out of town, but otherwise the "little red truck" gets the miles. There is something about driving a 5-speed pick-up truck that stirs a "country girl's heart". Unfortunately, the fishtailing on slick streets does not, therefore bad weather means the truck sits.

Yes, now it can truly be said that I have a "Soul", at least this one!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Brunch With a View

The last time I went to The Lighthouse in Rome (Illinois, not Italy) a couple of my companions were not impressed. I thought it deserved another look. This was a beautiful Sunday morning, perfect for the short drive up Route 29. Despite the road construction, it was a pleasant trip. I turned off on River Beach Road in order to keep the view of the Illinois River in sight.

Just after entering Rome, off to the left you see The Lighthouse. I don't know if it will continue into fall, but during the summer months they serve a delightful Sunday brunch buffet. This morning was a perfect day to have breakfast on the deck. The sun would peek through the clouds now and then. Overall, the weather was perfect. Temperature in the upper 60's and no wind.

The buffet is a bargain. $7.50 including tax! Your drink is not included however. The buffet includes fresh fruit. This week they had an Ameretto (not sure I spelled that right) dip for the fruit. There are several types of bread and bagels with butter, jelly and your choice of cream cheese spreads. The buffet also sports a selection of pastries. With the "real food", there are several choices. Scrambled eggs (with or without sausage and cheese - neither were runny or watery), fried hash, several choices of potato (crisp hash browns are good), bacon, sausage (not fond of the type of link they use, but there are plenty of other choices), a thick baked pancake with sausage and cheese that is quite different but also quite good with a little syrup on it, chicken tenders, biscuits and gravy (fantastic sausage gravy), French toast that is "to die for" and a few other choices. Not huge, but at $7.50, a real value! The amount of food that is out at any one time is relatively small. This allows for fresh food to be set out almost all the time. Service is friendly and prompt.

What is truly priceless about brunch at The Lighthouse is the view!

The view from the deck is a wide expanse of the Illinois River. Did not see any ducks this time. There were a few gulls and small birds. A small fishing boat pulled up so the family could come in for brunch. As they were approaching, the people on the deck watched as the Asian carp jumped in the air and tried to get in the boat. What a great way to spend part of Sunday morning.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Next Generation

You raise your kids and are so glad that they actually turned out pretty darn good, despite all the mistakes that you, as a parent, made along the way. Now, those kids I raised with the help of my family, extended family and friends that stepped in when needed, are the next generation of parents raising the next generation of children.

Was I strict enough that they will instill discipline? Was I patient enough for them to have tolerance? Did I instill good values that will be passed on? No, wait! I didn't learn those from my parents, I tried to do better. I think they will too. They seem to be adapting to parenthood.

My son has a daughter and my daughter has a son. I guess that is fair. They and their spouses have given me two beautiful grandchildren - Angie and Evren. Angie will be 4 on October 10th and Evren will be two months on July 28th.

So, with Grandma Bragging Rights intact, here they are!

Angie and her Daddy.

Evren and his Mommy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More Bloomers

It is not what you might be thinking. It is my belief that flowers are the decorations on the tree of life. Mother Nature's way of smiling. Weeds are simply flowers growing where you do not want them. The white mass among the Black Eyed Susan's is Queen Anne's Lace, considered a weed, but it is truly beautiful. This is one single flower head! I pull a lot of it, but try to let a few plants flower for their delicate beauty. They will take over a garden if you are not careful.

Domesticated thistle is a cousin of the large thistle that is seen growing along the highway. The blooms are a beautiful shade of blue. I am quite sure there are people who consider all thistles weeds, but I look forward to these blooming every year.

Purple coneflowers are the most common, but there are other
colors. The garden has a few white ones. There used to be yellow ones too, but they may have been damaged while the house was being worked on. In the last couple of years, some new colors have been introduced. They are pretty expensive right now and I am waiting for them to come down in price. I have seen the new orange ones and the green ones. Both are wonderful and will likely make their way into the garden by next year!

There are so many types of Lillies and I have never found one that I did not like! But, then I have never found a flower that I didn't like!

Another weed. Wild phlox. Darn stuff comes up every year. It isn't as pretty as the cultivated variety, but a nice addition anyway.

Columbine is one of the favorite
blooms in the garden.

Mother Nature is smiling!

Monday, June 29, 2009


I have never done an "Update" post, so I think I will try one now.

As far as turning everything off that can be turned off, it looks like I have cut about $10.00 from the electric bill. Not a lot, but it all adds up.

Heard back from Shawn at Peoria Cares. My issues were forwarded to Code Enforcement. Maybe these two will be added to the "couple of other open cases" in the vicinity.

Still on the hunt for a good Sunday brunch. Eamon Patrick's closed. Don't think they can be topped, but sure enjoyed breakfast at the Bartonville Diner on Sunday. Will have to try The Lighthouse in Chillicothe again. The last time I was there it was a miss, but a friend went this past Sunday and raved about it. It is worth another look.

The outside of the house is done. Trimming the inside of the windows now. Can't wait to put new blinds up and rehang the curtains. I am on the look-out for fabric as I am getting the urge to make new window coverings for several of the rooms. Have been checking the clearance racks, but have not found anything that I want - at least not yet.

Still need to paint the porch floor and finish painting the porch ceiling, so not totally done!

And, best of all I have a new grandbaby!
Daughter and hubby had a baby boy on 5/28/09.

That makes grandbaby #2. My son's little girl will be 4 in October.

Life is GOOD!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Landlords.....or who owns these eyesores?

I know who owns one of the properties shown in this blog, but I won't go into the name here. When I send the pictures to Shawn at Peoria Cares, I will not be so kind. This once beautiful old home has been cut into four apartments. The last couple of years the renters have been pretty good neighbors and the mowers show up on time to keep the yard looking decent. For those two facts, I am quite grateful. But the owner is allowing the exterior to deteriorate. Siding is falling off and windows are covered with new vinyl siding. Downspouts are missing and the fence line is totally overgrown. Although traffic has slowed down since the closure of the Public Walkway (locally know as the Ho Chi Minh Trail), the fact that boards are broken in the fence at the back of the property, have the trespassers continuing on their journey through the neighborhood. Please note the variety of siding types and colors on this house. Also you can see where siding has fallen off and just laid out of the way of the mowers. For your viewing displeasure, I give you the house next to mine. Note that the siding that fell is just laying there.

Actually, my view is of the better side. I get the vinyled up windows. I give the neighbors credit though. They do use the trash toters.

A little further up the street is another neighborhood treasure.
Let's all hope that the window upstairs doesn't fall the rest of the way out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And Bloom They Do

I have flower gardens. Everywhere I can think to put a small, medium or large flower garden....a flower grows. The scaffolding has been hard on some of the gardens near the house, but I have flowers and thought I would share a couple of my favorites. Here they are......
The Asiatic or Stargazer Lillies. So many beautiful colors to choose from. The white ones seem the most fragrant.

Purple cone flowers are one of my favorite. Right up there with the Black Eyed Susans. Both are native flowers that are often found along the highway and add to the enjoyment of any drive through the country side.

Just a little more and I will not have to worry about mowing the front yard! I keep thinking mulch or pavers would be nice.
Keep blooming!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I look out into the front yard and see something new in bloom almost every day. A different color Asiatic Lily, a new hollyhock, an orange poppy and the little tree I planted several years that is bloom for the first time this year. My flowers bloom where they are planted.

Between the flowers and the work that is going on at my house, it got me thinking. Despite what you might see, read or hear; the East Bluff is a pretty good place to be planted and I am glad to be planted here.

As much as I laughed at "It's Better Here!" and was among the first to say, "Yeah, right", I have to admit that as a long time East Bluffer, it is better here. Parts of the neighborhood are coming back to life. Our Neighborhood Association may not be large, but there is a dedicated core group that really cares about the East Bluff and the City of Peoria. We came together and despite the odds, saved the neighborhood school and kept it in the center of the neighborhood. We watch in delight as the construction goes forward and the drilling for the geothermal heating goes deeper.

Kids are playing in their yards now. This is something we didn't see just a few short years ago. Neighbors are actually talking to each other again. Our yards are mowed and the litter is picked up. I can sit in my yard and hear the concerts in Glen Oak Park Friends are sitting outside the local neighborhood tap having a good time. I even feel more comfortable going to the grocery store after dark. A couple of years ago, I wouldn't do that, at least not here.

Some former duplex houses are being purchased and turned back into single family homes. Neighborhood clean-up days are a big success. We worked together to develop and maintain a little neighborhood park. Some of my neighbors actually walk to work. I am close enough to, but trekking up Wayne Street Hill at the end of the day is not what I consider a casual stroll.

There are some beautiful old homes in the neighborhood. Some real bargains if you are in the market. The East Bluff still has a long way to go, but there are pockets of progress. Sometimes we get so busy complaining that we forget to take a look at the good things that are happening.

Yes, it is better in the East Bluff

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Darn, Darn and Double Darn

Four of us were headed to Eamon Patrick's for their wonderful brunch this morning. We arrived at about 10:15 and found them still closed. After some discussion about where to go, we headed for Zim's in Campustown.

After brunch, I went back downtown and spoke briefly with the owners of Eamon Patrick's. They no longer serve Sunday brunch. They tried for three months but were never able to build up the patronage and it was costing them too much. Very sad that the word didn't get out fast enough. The food was wonderful.

Now Zim's. In a word, crap! Full house, one server. Very slow service and getting the food was even slower. Eggs and sausage patties were O.K., Taters were so-so and the pancakes were "crispy". Thick pancakes and like lead. Couldn't cut them with a fork, even after soaking them with butter and syrup. Even a knife didn't go through them easily. I am usually a pretty fair tipper. This time I left the change from a $7.69 bill after handing over $8.00. I didn't even feel guilty.

I will miss brunch at Eamon Patrick's, but will not be back to Zim's.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh, My Goodness!

Just left Eamon Patrick's Sunday brunch buffet. Now, I like a good buffet and I like a good breakfast, but I have to say, this was absolutely the best Sunday brunch I have been to. Cheese eggs were not runny and there was lots of cheese. Shepard's Pie was to die for! Biscuits and gravy were probably the best I have had. Omelet bar, Belgium waffles, fruit, salads, and other items too numerous to mention. And the desserts! Creme puffs, cheesecake, tarts, turnovers, pie and chocolate cake - enough to please any palate.

Eamon Patrick's Sunday brunch buffet is definitely on my "at least once a month" list! $12.95 + drink and tax and worth every penny.

By the way, there was a great looking Bloody Mary bar, too! Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time Will Tell

A little experiment is being run at my house. I want to see what happens to the electric usage when all those little lights are not on. I unplug the microwave and only plug it in when I want to use it. I have to turn the Bunn Coffee maker on in the morning to heat the water since I turn off the surge protector that it is plugged in to. Surge protectors also get turned off at the T.V. and stereo equipment. Even the little T.V. upstairs. The phone with the light is unplugged unless I am downstairs where I might need it. All the lights in the house have CFL light bulbs in them. Chargers are unplugged when not in use. Even the computer's surge protector is turned off when the computer is not in use. No more little lights blinking on the modem or anywhere for that matter. Except for the alarm clock. Guess I am too lazy to re-set it every night. Should go get a wind up one. Naw, I would forget to wind it.

Will it make much of a difference. I don't know yet. Time will tell.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And On It Goes

The porch and new front door, that is! The window is back in its' rightful spot, but still needs to be dressed out.

With some good weather, quite a bit should get done next week. It is hard to make rapid progress when the work is done evenings and Saturdays. But I am patient. I said that the longer the job takes, the more opportunity I have to pay down the home equity loan to do more!

I bought a new porch light today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Watch That First Step

I should feel guilty (I don't), but I titled this photo "Keeps the Jehovah's Witnesses Away". The porch floor has been removed and there are several of the cross supports that need to be replaced. Looks like the decision to do the porch was made just in time. I knew it was not in good shape, but I did not think it was this bad.

"Watch that first step" when you open the front door is all I can say. The porch floor has to be done before the siding can be started on the front of the house. I was told that the beveled glass window will be ready next week. This morning I decided to stimulate the economy again. With new doors for the side and front, new storm doors seemed to be required for the back and side doors. They are still in the box, but will look good when they go up. The drive way side of the house is beginning to take shape.

Is this really my "This Old House"? The wood seen above the siding will be wrapped in white. I am really looking forward to that part of the project.

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Up It Goes

The siding is going up! The bottom part of the back and all of the back porch are done. It will definitely look like a different house when the job is complete.

Bought a new door for the front and for the driveway-side entrance. I have been watching closely and asking questions. And, no, the guys have not killed me yet for bothering them. They know I want to learn how to do things myself. I have decided to try to do the siding on the garage. I think I can do it. May have to ask more questions though and get a new tool or two (I don't have a good pair of snips), but I really want to do it! The other DIY project I want to do is glass block the basement windows. I have been told that the new systems are easy to work with, but we shall see.

Hope the weather holds!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Siding has been delivered! It is a nice "sand" color. Very light and not yellow, so I am happy and can't wait for it to start to go up. Basically I asked the installer to get a sand or off-white (cream) - as long as it didn't cost more than white. I had not seen the color until today. I said, "I trust your judgment" and he didn't let me down. Also on the trailer are the boards for the new front porch floor. Looking forward that going into place also.

Then it will be time to do the finish work inside as the windows get trimmed out. For the first time, I am able to open every window in the house. There were several that were painted shut and had not been opened for as long as I have lived here and who knows how much longer. Only one snag so far. The solder in the beveled glass window in front has been sun/heat damaged over the years and needs to be repaired before it is placed back in its position.

The glass is warped and several of the little "panes" are loose. I will call around and see if I can find a glass shop that can repair it. Otherwise it is off to the Habitat Re-Store to see what they have or try to find reasonable (ha-ha) stained glass.

I took a good look at the garage roof today. It really needs new shingles. I guess it will have to be added to the ever-growing list of things I want done in time to get it paid for before retirement. If I keep going, I may never get to retire!

Friday, April 17, 2009

This Old House

As work progresses, I have decided it was a darn shame previous owners did not take care of the "bones". Under the crappy steel siding (yes, steel - magnets clung to it) was an exterior that was most likely quite lovely once upon a time. Good thing I am not in a "historic area" since I am covering those old bones with vinyl.

The top of the house had white shake siding and the bottom boards were a nice shade of green. Had they been taken care of and painted rather than been poorly covered, the deterioration would not have been nearly so bad.

Sad to say, but through a little research, I have learned that the windows do not quite meet the requirements for the energy tax credit. The two important numbers would have to be < or = .30. One of my numbers is .31 and the other is .32. It's o.k. though. They have to be better than what was there.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Times have been strange lately. Liberal, Conservative, Populist, Centrist, Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Right Wing, Left Wing - gee, I thought we were all Americans. Economy resembles the little balls in the lottery machine as it bounces all over the place. Some people screw up and get paid millions to do it, while some people work hard every day and get laid off. I am being taxed for a museum and the extra eight feet of ground that I gained at the back of my lot. But, at the same time, I have a little more money in my pay check because the Federal government is withholding less. From one hand to the other and gone! What to do? I wish I knew.

I figured I would do my part to stimulate the economy and show people driving through the East Bluff that at least one person is staying! This old house is getting new windows, siding and porch floor. If I can stretch the money a little, the garage will get siding and maybe the yard will get a new fence. The motivation of the energy tax credit doesn't hurt, but the face lift and improvements were needed and would have to have been done sooner or later. I like my house and my neighborhood and think that they are both worth investing in.

There is something strange about not having anything to complain about. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Government Spending

People who know me fairly well, know that I am a news and "human interest story" junkie, but not nearly as knowledgeable as I would like to be. That being said, one of my favorite "must see" television shows is Charlie Rose on PBS. I fell asleep last night and missed it, but caught the 5:00 AM rebroadcast this morning.

There was a very interesting interview with Felix G. Rohatyn concerning government spending and its importance. A little review of some government spending that was at times seen as foolish and wasteful have been anything but. Some of the government spending discussed included Thomas Jefferson pushing for the Louisiana Purchase that allowed for westward migration and the creation of markets for eastern goods. The transcontinental railroad would not have been built without the expenditure of Federal monies, nor would the Panama or Erie Canals.

More recently, President Eisenhower pushed for the Interstate Highway System. How many of us and our cities depend on I74, I55, I155, I80 and all the other local and national interstates?

Seward's Folly - the purchase of Alaska? Deemed totally unnecessary at the time. And no, I will not mention a former candidate for Vice President at this point!

Other government spending? How about the G.I. Bill? Homesteading? Land Grant Colleges? PBS & NPR?

Just this morning on the news, I heard about how our Junior Congressman from the 18th District had secured funds for more than one local fire department. Someone in Kansas might call that an "earmark", but to those community fire departments, its an "atta Boy!"

Banks and businesses have been "nationalized" in the past and then after time, been "privatized" again.

Someone smarter than me should make the case for government investment in infrastructure and causes for the greater good. Oh, wait. Some of those smarter people are. For myself, I have no need of a $600 screwdriver, but I sure could use streets without potholes, bridges that do not collapse and sewer systems that do not overflow.

Note to my government: Invest in the U.S., but do it wisely. Please.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Title get your attention? Its not what you think, or maybe it is. Either way, it needs to be a poster on the wall to remind us of what is right with the world. There is a lot wrong, but as long as you can answer the question "How are you?" , with....


all is not lost and there is hope!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Shocked and Saddened

I made a trip down to PAWS today. I wanted to extend my thanks to the Animal Control officer that came out on a Sunday to capture the two Dobermans that were running loose in the neighborhood and wouldn't even let me stand on my front porch. I also had a small collection of coffee cans to donate. They keep pet food in them, as do I here at home.

I can't go to PAWS without at least going through the rooms and hoping that every critter finds a good home. There were quite a few blue dots on the cage markers, so I guess those are the lucky ones so far.

As I was leaving, a man and a young teen walked in, father and son I assumed. The teen was carrying a very little dog. They walked to the counter to surrender the ball of fluff. When asked why they were surrendering, the adult said, "We don't need him anymore." The staff member behind the counter was as shocked as I and repeated his statement. He said, "Yes, we don't need him anymore, we do a lot of traveling....." How much traveling do you do when you have a school aged child?

This adorable little ball of fluff is a 6-month old, tea cup maltese. I wanted to cry, but then thought, lucky dog. Someone will fall in love with this little darling and pamper him the way he should be. I don't know if the father was trying to punish the teen or what the real reasons for surrendering the puppy were.

Best of luck little ball of fluff. I hope your "forever home" treats you well.

Monday, February 9, 2009

OK, I'm Impressed

My flight to Detroit (via Northwest Airlines)was approximately three hours late leaving Peoria. The incoming flight had mechanical problems and had to return to the Detroit Airport and was delayed while they brought in a different airplane. With all the delays experienced with airlines, I just hoped that a plane would arrive from Detroit and thus make a return flight with me aboard.

The plane arrive, had a quick servicing and we were off for the short flight. All is well.

Today, I received a letter of apology from the General Manager of Customer Care for Northwest Airlines. Not only was there what sounded like a sincere apology, but also the addition of 1000 bonus miles to my WorldPerks account!

Two thumbs up for Northwest Airlines!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sad Morning

As much as I knew it would happen, I did not expect it this morning. Smokey died this morning. I fixed his food (canned food and water blended together). He lapped up every bit of it and came in from the back porch. He walked around a bit and I sat back down to the computer. I heard an unusual "cough" sound and looked to see which animal it was. Smokey was lying on his side next my chair. He was not in his usual "I am resting" pose. I touched him and he moved slightly, one last heave of his chest and he was gone.

He had shown no signs of illness, had eaten a good breakfast and slipped away in what appeared to be a peaceful manner. I shall miss him greatly.

The vet will preserve his body until I can make arrangements to bury him. They are making a paw print for me. I will treasure that paw print and the many memories of my feline friend.

Rest in peace, Smokey. Rest in peace.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Brain Dead

In the last month or so, I have started at least three posts and quickly deleted them all. Nothing seems witty, crucial or worth exercising the keyboard to write. The economy sucks pond water, the animals are healthy, I go to work and come home. I have no kids in school, so as disturbed as I am about District 150, I question my right or ability to rant. Most news is depressing and I try to stay positive and not dwell on the negativity. In an effort to ramp up my attitude and create an "attitude of gratitude", I offer up the following:

I am grateful for:
1. a roof over my head
2. a furnace that works
3. having a job to go to
4. having reliable transportation to get me to that job
5. having food in the freezer
6. having friends who care
7. my two kids
8. my Grand-daughter
9. my Grand-son that is "in the hopper"
10. my daughter-in-law
ll. my "soon to be" son-in-law
12. having a warm bed to sleep in
13. reliable Wednesday garbage pick-up
14. clearance sales
15. the co-workers who gifted me with deer salami and deer sticks
16. PBS
17. used appliances that have been reliable for the last 15 years
18. the plastic on the windows of "this old house"
19. getting the "cool" round metal trash can that I asked for at Christmas
20. having been a "guest" at my daughter's home last weekend
21. a direct flight to Detroit that only takes a little over an hour
22. the little aches and pains that let me know I am alive
23. Dr. Fishkin
25. snack size caramel rice cakes
26. my vet that gives me a 10% discount because of all my animals
27. "do nothing" evenings or week-ends
28. 50 degree days in the middle of winter
29. the comfortable old rocking chair
30. my independence

I should do this more often. Maybe that way, I can hold on to this "attitude of gratitude. Feels pretty good!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Tried

I tried, I really did. I just couldn't do it. I spend a lot of time at the computer, both with home and work. Chat, games, e-mail, an occasional blog or post and sometimes some real work gets done. I haven't watched a lot of TV for quite a while. Don't get me wrong, the TV is on, I was just listening, not watching.

In an ongoing effort to simplify, I gave the 40 inch rear projection (HDTV, but not digital) TV to my son and his family and replaced it with a new 26" LCD, digital tuner TV. I figured that it would be fine since I normally did little more than do a side glance if something sounded interesting. What I encountered was one big FAIL! Even the occasional side glances were disappointing. The more I looked, the less I liked it.

I am not an extravagant person, but I do tend to get the things I need and a lot of the things I want. I wanted a different television so I went shopping. I checked several stores and the price tags were more than I was willing to pay. I was on what must have been at least my third trip through the stores when I happened to see a TV that had just been moved to the "open box" area. It wasn't even priced yet. A salesperson looked up the new price and I asked if he would connect the TV so I could see the picture.

Needless to say, that 37" set came home with me. I had originally been wanting a 1080i set, but this 720p looks just fine. Of course, it did not fit on the new TV stand I had put together for the 26", so it was time for another shopping trip.

I have actually found myself spending less time at the computer for the last couple of days and the index finger on my right hand feels almost normal due to the decrease in game playing. I may actually begin to enjoy television again!

FOR SALE: 26" LCD television (720p) with stand. Reasonable. SOLD!
Any takers?
Wow! A quick reader has taken both!