Sunday, December 25, 2011

This Is The Year That Was

2011 started out just fine. As usual, I was comfortably in the house while the ball dropped in Times Square. When vacation ended, I went back to work, again as usual. Well, not as usual. I didn't want to go back. The handwriting was on the wall for me. I looked forward to every day off and every weekend, frustration was simmering. Had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend in Brown County, Indiana where we celebrated my grandson, Evren's second birthday. The pot boiled over on June 10th when I decided at 8:10 AM that it would be my last day. With four hours of personal time, the day ended at 12 Noon for me. I turned in my keys & phone and retirement began.

Ten days later, my second grandson, Milo, was born. I have made the drive to north of Detroit twice since then. Early in August, we had a family reunion. It was there that I was told that I would be a grandma for the fourth time. I was called aside and shown a picture of a sonogram on my son's cell phone. Tears and congratulations followed.

September came and went. October saw my granddaughter Angie's 6th birthday, my 67th birthday and the second trip to the Detroit area. In November, I became a statistic with the occurrence of a home invasion. I wasn't hurt and things can be replaced. I was more pissed than anything. I have to admit to being somewhat paranoid for a time. Two by fours braced the doors for awhile. Door alarms were purchased and installed.

I have started volunteering at the animal shelter (PAWS) and am thinking about a couple of other volunteer opportunities. Money is tight, but I am not going without anything I need or really want and am grateful that so far I don't have to work. I am enjoying retirement. I have picked up a crochet hook for the first time in years and nearly always have a project going.

It took several months for me to stop waking up early as if I had to get ready for work, but that has passed and now I can easily sleep in!

As Christmas draws to a close, I reflect on just how much I have to be grateful for, and it is a lot. I have settled into a "life of leisure" and look forward to the birth of my fourth grandchild (another girl, by the way). I truly count my blessings as I look forward to 2012. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Did I Wait So Long

There is a little store front not far from home. I have driven past it numerous times but never stopped. It is now on my list of places to check out now and then. Second Time Around Consignment Shop is located just south of the corner of Prospect and McClure. It is cluttered with all sorts of things! I found several items to add to a couple of my collections and saw numerous items of interest that I didn't need. It was a fun visit.

I went home and rounded up a few items from the basement to take back to the shop and try to sell on consignment. I refuse to invest the time to have a garage sale, so this is a viable option.

If you haven't been to Second Time Around, it is certainly worth a visit. They have been in business on that corner for 20 years.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


So, the City of Peoria is considering raising the "garbage fee" to $14.00 a month. It is not a lot of money and I have not complained about the $6.00 fee, even though I do not like paying it, but this is ridiculous! If taxes (I believe the fee is a tax) need to be raised, I would rather see a small increase in property tax than increasing the garbage fee. Raising the garbage fee seems like the coward's way out. "Gee, people won't vote for me if I vote to raise taxes". Well, I for one, won't vote for any councilperson who votes to raise the garbage fee. With a small increase in property tax folks in $200,000 houses and roll out three toters of garbage each week would be paying their fair share.

I don't want to be forced to buy a particular toter either. I have one that is the perfect size for my single-person household. The huge ones from PDC will not fit between my vehicle and the house. Some of us who live in the older neighborhoods have very narrow driveways. I had one of their brown toters to begin with, it did not fit without moving a vehicle. The old green one from Waste Management was shaped a little differently and would barely fit, but it did.

To sum it up, I will be looking at how the votes go on these issues. Those votes (along with the museum and the "wonderful development" will help determine how I vote in the next council elections.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And Life Goes On

It has been almost two months that I have been retired. Although I quit without official notice, I have been telling people for the last couple of years that when the time came, I would toss my keys on someone's desk and be done. That is exactly what I did! There is a real sense of sadness when it comes to my former place of employment. For the most part, I loved my job, but the "social worker" part of me had difficulty finding a balance with the "business" part of me. It was always difficult to hear public perception of my place of employment and not being able to defend it with reality. Truth often has nothing to do with reality as people on the outside see it! Some of the publicity since my retirement has been true, some has been half-truth, some has been conjecture and some has been downright false. But, that's the way it is. I can't change it. All I can say is that I have no regrets in retiring. I spent over nineteen years in their employ and I decided to leave "my way". I am not good at good-bye scenes.

Before I decided to leave, I had frequent thoughts of a woman I used to work with. She retired and came back to work, retired again. Shortly after that, she became very ill and passed away. I did not want to follow those footsteps!

I will be sixty-seven in a couple of months. I am healthy and have things I want to do, places I want to go and people I want to see. This was truly brought home this weekend when I attended a family reunion. This was the first one in probably 25 years. Attendance was small, but that didn't matter. Family was together! Maybe there will be more that will be able to come next year. We looked at family history and old photographs. We talked old times and future time. We laughed! We loved!

My son, my daughter, their spouses and their kids - does life get any better. It very well may, but for now, I am content. No regrets and the future looks bright. I am one happy Grandma!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Deed Is Done

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog, knows that I either think about a decision for a long time or I make one in the blink of an eye. In this case, I did both! I have been mulling it over for several years. Yesterday, I decided to move forward. This morning I checked to see if I had any personal days left. I had 8 hours of personal time left. At that point, the decision was complete. I took 4 hours of personal time and entered the world of a retiree at 12:01 P.M. I turned in my cell phone, my fob for the doors, left my keys behind and said my farewells to a few people. No potluck or plaque on a clock for me.

Had more than enough available in the Home Equity loan to pay off the car and have a very manageable payment. So now, my Soul is paid for! Will have to take a couple of months to see how I do - living on Social Security. I don't have expensive tastes, but I am used to getting something if I really want it. May need to think about a "stress-free" part-time job for the "I want, but don't need" things. That would be OK.

I have lots of projects to keep me busy and new things to learn! Excited to begin this next phase of this adventure called life. Yippee!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Say Something Good

There are plenty of people who complain and fire nasty comments back and forth. Some cannot seem to find one good thing to say about some people and have difficulty finding something good to say about Peoria. I am also guilty of falling into "bitch, moan & complain" mode. Wonder what would happen if we all became solution focused? What would happen if we welcomed newcomers to the neighborhood, regardless of their economic status and how their rent is being paid? What would happen if we all picked up the litter around our homes? How would it look if we all got involved in the Great American Cleanup this year? (By the way, that is on April 16th this year.) How full would the room be if we all attended our local neighborhood association meeting? What would the world be like if we looked at every individual, rather than at their disability, skin color, nationality or religion? What would the life be like if we stopped looking for excuses and started looking for solutions. Unless I can identify how I am part of the problem, I can never be part of the solution. I need to work on that!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Because they can!

I am glad that the link to retrieve my forgotten password at PJ Star does not work. I would probably regret any comment I might make today. I know that most intelligent people do not give much credibility to some of the consistently negative commenters, but that is beside the point. At least two of the comments on the story concerning the City Council voting against the low-income, elderly development proposed for the corner of Sheridan and War Memorial Drive contained misleading inuendos.

Some how the PHA Board was put in the mix in one of the comments. The PHA had nothing to do with this proposed development. It is not their development. Peoria Opportunities Foundation was working with the developer, not the Peoria Housing Authority. Seems like numerous locals think every low to moderate income development in the city is under the PHA. Not true folks!

Another commenter showed real lack of knowledge concerning a Internal Revenue program that encourages banks and large corporations to make investment in low income housing in exchange for a credit toward their corporate taxes. Tax Credits are issued to the states by the Internal Revenue Service and development projects enter into a very difficult competitive process to be granted these tax credits. Once granted, they are sold to various corporations or syndicators that represent corporations that get the credit over a period of years (normally 10 years). Without the Tax Credit Program, corporations would be paying much higher taxes than they are (which could lead to moving companies off-shore) or they would find less worthy loopholes to avoid the taxes. The program is not the direct flow of Joe Citizen's tax dollars into low income housing.

Rant over!

Friday, February 25, 2011

They Did It Again
Bigelow is not in the East Bluff.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Where To Go From Here

Although I said I would not blog about retirement, I must admit that I have changed my mind. A woman's prerogative, you know. I have reached the age where I can retire. I wouldn't mind retiring, but I would mind not working. I seem to need somewhere to be at 8:00 AM. I just want to do something different. Never was someone who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I still don't. I worked a couple of jobs for 10+ years, a few for much less and have been where I am for 19 years. As a youngster I was taught to never leave a job unless you have a job. I guess I learned it too well! Between Social Security and annuity payment, finance isn't the issue. My sanity is the issue.

Will work for minimum wage (although I would prefer not to) at a low stress job that I could walk away from at the end of the day and not be concerned about until the next day. Does such a job exist?

In the meantime, I know where I will be at 8:00 A.M. on Monday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Age Is Showing

I remember listening to the words that were so inspiring and I remember exactly where I was when I heard the sad news just two short years later. But the words have never left me and have had an impact throughout my life. It is not often that a few words have had the impact that those few words had. The message is as valid now as it was then. Maybe even more so if you consider not only the conflict within the world, but also internally within the U.S.A. Maybe we should revisit these words from 50 years ago.

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You speech
Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy - January 20th 1961

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom - symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning - signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage - and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge - and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do - for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom - and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required - not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge - to convert our good words into good deeds - in a new alliance for progress - to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbours know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support - to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective - to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak - and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course - both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.

So let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms - and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah - to "undo the heavy burdens -. and to let the oppressed go free."

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavour, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again - not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are - but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" - a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shank from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.