Sunday, December 12, 2010


Blizzard? Well, not quite - at least not in the city, but still, cold and windy. The temperature had dropped a degree and it seemed that the wind had died down for a bit. I figured that it was as good a time as any to get some shoveling done. I brought a shovel up from the basement and went to put the coat, hat and gloves on in preparation. I looked out the front door and saw that one of the young men from The Children's Home' facility (Endeavor) next door had almost finished shoveling my driveway! As I went to work, another youth came out and asked if I needed help. I thanked him and said I was fine. A few minutes later, another youth came out and offered to salt the drive. I thanked him and said that I had plenty of salt in that I had stocked up early.

Endeavor, and the many boys who have made their home there, have been my neighbor ever since I bought this house. These may be (or have been) troubled youth, but over-all, they have been great neighbors over the years. Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Blogger Yet?

I can hardly call myself a blogger anymore. I really wish I could. Facebook, groups, forums, twitter, Linkedin have all taken over. I have accounts in "networking" sites that I never even go to. I look around me and see all sorts of issues that I could write about, but I just don't seem to have the motivation. Crime in the streets - plenty of people write about it. East Village TIF proposal - I went to the meeting last night and can see both sides, so I am still arguing with myself on that one. Economy - yeah, it sucks pondwater, but what's new? So one out of 8 Americans are receiving SNAP (new name for Food Stamps), someone will go on a stereotypical rant about "those people". Museums, hotels, etc. - seems I have lost that battle.

Crazy drivers - well maybe that is worth a post now that we have to get retrained for winter driving. I learned to drive under the motto of "watch the fool driving the car behind the idiot in front of you". That has served me well for some 50 years. I can't change other drivers, but I can drive defensively.

I have written about my conflicted feelings in reference to retirement - that's old news. I don't write about work anymore and I don't think family likes me to write about them, so that limits my options.

I have told the saga of the home improvements - down to four glass block windows in be basement and I am done with the house (at least the outside), the yard (new fence) and garage (siding, door & roof). I don't want to belabor that again.

Christmas shopping is done and my wireless mouse is driving me nuts. Are those worth a new post?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Is Eye When You Need Him?

I tend to be careful of when and where I go in the neighborhood. I have never been threatened and other than a window being broken, have not been victimized, but.... This has not been a good week in the East Bluff. Normally, I am one of the first to defend the neighborhood and say that it is not as bad as public perception. I still believe that to be true, but this has not been a good week in the neighborhood. Sexual assault in Glen Oak Park Sunday night, robbery at the local Dunkin' Donut Shop, robbery on North Indiana and murder at the Big K. I know I missed some events, but these are the ones I noted on the PJStar site this evening. It has been relatively quiet in the neighborhood for awhile, so this really makes me mad.

I figured that "Eye In The Sky" would beat me to the news, but he didn't. I thought it only fair that I mention the problems we have had this week. I am not oblivious to the problems in the neighborhood, but I still have hope and I do not plan on leaving!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I am talking personal success. Success at work is defined by others. I'm talking winning a battle in an ongoing personal war. I have lost and gained myself numerous times over my lifetime. There were issues when I was in grade school that had me crawling in a hole and trying to fill the hole in my spirit with food. In 4th grade, I was kinda skinny. By the end of 5th grade, I was one of the heaviest girls in the class. For some reason back then (in the olden days), the teacher weighed the kids at the end of the year. It was the only grade I remember them weighing us in. I remember the number, 128 pounds. Not bad for an adult, not good for a young kid.

I yo-yo'd for many years. I starved myself while going to Weight Watcher's so I would not have a gain any week. Did the same thing in TOPS. No taking off pounds sensibly for me! I couldn't have a weight gain in front of people! I'm too competitive for that.

And I had new holes in my spirit to fill.

Through chemo and radiation, I lost about 30 pounds. I needed to loose them, but, good grief, what a way to do it. With that good head start, I kept on going. Adkins' Diet, South Beach Diet, a combination of the two, the cabbage diet, etc., etc., etc. I dieted back down to 128 and looked like death warmed over. It was a psychological milestone for me. I felt good, but looked gaunt.

I started eating again, sensibly at first. Gained a little and stabilized for a couple of years until I gave in to the carbohydrate addiction that I have struggled with for most of my life. One won't hurt, will it? If I could have stuck with "one", I might have been O.K., but that is not how addiction works.

I had donated most of my larger size clothes, and I am talking plus size here. I was a regular at Lane Bryant, Catherine's and plus size departments everywhere. It was such a thrill to be able to shop in the "regular" size department. When I fit into a pair of size 2 slacks from the Gap, it approached an orgasmic experience. Never in my adult life had I done that.

Time passed and finally it was time to donate the "skinny" clothes that I could no longer wear. Figured I would never be "that size" again. I saved a few items that have been hanging in the back of the closet for a couple of years.

I didn't panic until I stepped on the scale and the needle stopped on a number that I had never wanted to see again. Then I went into a tailspin. I have dealt with most of the holes in my spirit, that wasn't it. That damned sugar addiction was winning again. Time to get real with myself and get back in charge.

I had been going out to eat Sunday Breakfast almost every Sunday. That had to stop. I pretty much stopped going out to dinner too. That had become a Friday night event. An occasional candy bar, a couple of donuts....what the heck! Well, the heck was reaching that number I never wanted to see again.

I have gone back to what I know works for me. Breakfast in the morning (cereal with fresh fruit, some juice), lunch (usually a salad with maybe a slice of melon) and dinner (grilled meat - heavy on the fish & chicken or fixed in the slow cooker and green veggies) and snacks (fresh fruit, pork rinds and mini rice cakes).

I reached my goal! I have pulled the clothes from the back of the closet and they fit. There is a weigh range I want to stay in and a BMI that I want to maintain (a few 10ths one way or the other). I have no clothes that need to be donated because "I will never be that size again".

I don't know if this will be my last battle with the sugar addiction or not. I know I have lowered the "number I never want to see again".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eating Good In The Neighborhood

I took the day off for a Dentist appointment and had the opportunity to meet some friends for lunch. Opening day at the Hick'ry Stick was the chosen destination. There was a steady stream of customers during the hour that we were there. I hope the business is a great success. I have lived in the East Bluff long enough to remember when the brick building at the corner of McClure and Atlantic was the local coin laundry!

The food at the Hick'ry Stick was really good. No one complained about the food or the prices and we all went away stuffed. I really must go back for the peach cobbler - it looked yummy! This business can serve as an invitation to come to the East Bluff for people who talk about the area but rarely visit. The Hick'ry Stick certainly is a locally owned business worth supporting!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

East Bluff Good News

For all that is said in the media, I still love the East Bluff! My house is taking shape, my yard is taking shape, the garage is next on the list and I have new neighbors behind me. I met them yesterday as they were out cleaning up their back yard and getting the weed trees out of the fence line.

They trimmed and they piled and they swept up the mess that they had trimmed along the last remaining vestige of sidewalk that once was the "Public Walkway". They even reattached a portion of fence that now has the trespassers seeking a slightly different route. For all the naysayers concerning rental property, I may very well have gotten some of the best neighbors I have had in a long time and to top it off, they are Section 8 Voucher holders. There is no broad brush that paints everyone alike

It was such fun to watch people approach their usual path, only to turn around. Yesterday, a young male walked up to it, looked intently then retraced his steps. He then walked three houses back up Republic and cut through there. This means that he still walked along my property, but a little further away from my fence-line.

Message to the East Bluff: Keep your spirits up and don't give up! Keep the lights on, I'm staying!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Old Houses

For quite some time, the water pressure in the bathroom has not been what it should be. I decided to get it repaired. My "handyperson" thought it would be a fairly simple fix. Replace the old galvanized horizontal pipes with some nice shiny copper ones. Not so fast here! Those were replaced with little improvement - in fact no improvement. It got worse! So now, it is time to try to replace the vertical water lines that run up to the second floor. Part of a wall in the basement stairway has been removed along with some pipes. Part of the kitchen ceiling will most likely have to be removed to make the necessary turns and fittings. As it stands right now, I have no water in the bathroom!

Good thing I have plenty of buckets. Water to flush the stool sits in buckets close by. I will have to carry hot water from the kitchen sink for a bath. No such thing as a shower tonight or in the morning. I do not like washing my hair in the kitchen sink, but I will make an exception until I have running water in the bathroom.

The handyperson and the assistant handyperson will be here tomorrow after work. Hopefully they make good progress.
Demolition is underway!

Just never know what you will find when you try to make repairs to an old house.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Random Ramblings

Peoria Public Schools - District #150: Please re-open Woodruff High School as Would Be Rough Alternative School. Select the most difficult students from the remaining high school and the upper middle school grades, about 150 to 200 from each school. Staff Would Be Rough appropriately with qualified Behavioral Disorder and other special education teachers. Design a highly structured, well supervised, secure in-school suspension room so that suspension or expulsion is no longer a treat. The remaining students at the "Home Schools" would actually have an opportunity to learn without threat and the students at Would Be Rough might actually modify some destructive behavior and be educated in spite of themselves.

Peoria Landlords - Please treat every property you own as an important business in the neighborhood in which it is located. Everything you do, from selecting your tenants to improving your property increases the value (or decrease its' value) of that business. If the neighborhood improves because of your property, the value of your business also goes up. There is more to consider than move 'em in - move 'em out - get the check - keep the deposit! There are good landlords, don't get me wrong, but the others..... If your business is the worst house on the block, you should be ashamed and be put out of business.

Respect - Treat others the same as you want to be treated. If you do not want to hear my classical music or country music at full blast, please don't play your Hip Hop so loud that it rattles my windows. Do not walk through my yard if you would not want me walking through yours. Do not damage my property if you don't want me damaging yours - even if it is just breaking off my flowers or littering my yard.

Parenting - There is more to being a parent than producing offspring. The inner city is victimized by Urban Terrorists - unsupervised youth of various ages that think nothing of threatening adults, carrying weapons, robbing individuals / businesses or bullying other youths. As much as I want to blame the youth, it is their parents who are really at fault. Not that every little Urban Terrorist is the result of bad parenting, but many are. Parents should know what their kids are doing, supervise their activities, be involved in their education, know who their friends are and enforce discipline. Be a parent not just a hatchery.

Look for the positives - As difficult as it is sometimes, look for what is positive and try to make it even better. There are good parents, there are good kids, there are good landlords and there are good schools. I try to recognize these facts and not get so caught up in the negatives that I fail to see the good things. It is just hard sometimes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Fence

The "Public Walkway" between Frye Avenue and Republic Street was closed in June of 2007. In that process, the City of Peoria "gave" me an additional eight feet of ground at the back of my lot. People of all ages that walk in the East Bluff seem to think that nothing has changed except there was no concrete sidewalk anymore. They continued to walk just as before, until now. I have never been a fan of chain link fence, but this five footer doesn't look too bad. The old lot line was at the back of the two trees shown here. I have slowed the traffic down, but have not been able to stop it - yet.You see, the owners of the rental property beside and behind me show no concern for the safety of their tenants or the neighborhood. If they did, they would fix or replace the fences that are on their properties. The picket fence behind the house next door has many missing boards and therefore allows people to trespass through the yard and the yards of the houses facing Republic. As you
can see, there are several gaping holes in the fence. Pedestrians, bicycle riders,
and even a jerk with a noisy
gas powered mini-cycle trespasses back and forth -
through the fence and the yards (private property) on either side.

Part of receiving the eight feet of ground was that property owners maintain it. Yeah, right. The owner in the picture does take care of the land he received
back, but the property behind me is a totally different situation. Weeds, scrap
trees, downed branches, split tree that will fall from gravity or a strong wind.When it does, it will land on the roof of the homeowner next door. No one cares except for that homeowners. Below is part of the view in back of my
fence. Maybe the fact that I sent these photos and a few other to may help rectify the situation. After all, Peoria spent a fair amount of money to take up the old sidewalk and put down sod.

I like my extra eight feet of ground and I love my five foot chain link fence!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Matter of Time

The East Bluff neighborhood of Peoria is an area struggling to survive. Many of us love the diversity of the neighborhood and have made investments in our homes. We plan to stay. Unfortunately, the actions of a few keep the neighborhood in the news and gives the city a perception of the neighborhood that is far worse than reality.

That being said, I arrived home last evening to the sound of sirens. That is not an unusual sound. I thought about going out to the street to see if I could tell where the sirens were headed, but didn't. It was later that I learned of the shooting down the street that took the life of the clerk at the Peoria Food Stop on the corner. Sad, but not surprising.

Those of us who live near the store have complained since "Day One". We celebrated when the store closed while the owner was out of the country and were saddened when it re-opened. It became a magnet for those who like to loiter and "hang out". The patrons of the store increased the amount of litter in the area. The owner of the store tried to control the loitering and keep the area close to the store clean. He painted over the graffiti that was placed on his building. Personally, I was in the store one time - and that was to complain about the negative impact the store was having on the neighborhood.

At this point, I do not know if the owner was clerking last night. He was often there. It is always sad when a life is taken, but those of us in the neighborhood knew "it was only a matter of time".

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Still Kicking

Fifth Tuesday of the month was alive and well at The Fieldhouse tonight! Glad to see that the blogging community has not faded into the sunset as many of the blogs I used to read have faded. Seems everyone is on Facebook. I know I spend too much time there and playing games. There are things I think about and care about, but I have not been motivated to write about them.

It was nice to talk to people about city council, county board, restaurants past & present, the demise of Peoria Times and challenge of the paper in Woodford County. We talked old jobs, new jobs and present jobs. And we laughed. Maybe, just maybe, the Blogger Bash has motivated me to write more.

Most of all, the evening was just plain fun and enjoyable!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wherefore art thou?

Spring, oh spring, wherefore art thou? I know you are a month away, at least according to the calendar. In my psyche, you are long overdue. Winter has given us just a few really cold days, but this snow is beginning to get on my last nerve. We "dodged the bullet" on a couple of predictions of really heavy snow, but it just keeps coming and does not seem to want to go away. I am really tired of looking at white ground cover!

Hurry Spring! You are greatly missed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

About A Month

It has been a little over a month since I posted. The time has flown by. There has been snow on the ground almost the whole time. Other than a couple of days, it has been colder than I like. The stock market has been all over the place. I did my taxes and filed them electronically, all by myself. Both of my kids have had their birthdays and I made a trip to the Social Security office. Actually, I made two trips. The first to make an appointment and the second to have the appointment to ask questions. This Social Security thing is new to me. I am old enough for the Medicare Card (damn, I'm old), but not old enough for full benefits.

Still not sure what I am going to do when "retirement age" comes around. Work has become just Until I draw my own SS, I can collect some from my second ex-spouse. That was a pleasant surprise. The idea of working and drawing SS is appealing. The extra money would make it easier to pay off the home equity loan (windows & siding). The sooner it is paid off, the less interest I pay. I like that idea!

I can't see myself sitting at home. I have never been the "Suzy Homemaker" type and I am not about to start now. 8:00 A.M. means that I should be somewhere. I guess I will do what I usually do. After all the "I don't knows" have been thought through, I will make a snap decision and deal with the consequences! One door closes and another one opens. Just don't know what door will close and which will open.....or when.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


After the attempted bombing of the inbound airplane at Detroit on Christmas Day, I wondered about how it would be flying into Detroit on 12/29. Even more, I wondered how it would be flying out of Detroit on 1/1/10! There was very little change leaving Peoria at 6:25 AM. Perhaps an extra security person or two, but otherwise the only change was the need to show the boarding pass as I walked through the scanner and again to the crew when I boarded the plane.

I don't know how screening went for international travel, but leaving Detroit was a breeze. There were several more security personnel than usual, but they were just standing around (observing, I am sure). There was no need to be at the airport two hours before flight time. The almost non-existent line at security moved quickly. The only difference was the request to place the shoes on the conveyor belt rather than in the plastic tub. Again, the flight crew checked the boarding pass. They did count passengers and compare passengers to their flight list.

I did not notice any hesitation on the part of fellow travelers on either flight. I still love to fly and will take advantage of any opportunity to hop a plane!