Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Politicians: right now I'd rather line them up and slap them than vote for any of them.

Economics: The only way I'd support this 'bail out' is if they wrote into the legislation that those found culpable would be publicly flogged, and left penniless. That goes all the way down the greedy chain to some real estate agents I know of that spent the past 10 years or so selling houses to schmucks that couldn't afford them, and bragging on how much commission they would make - even if the home ended up in a default.

Investing: why do we even bother. It seems like opening the statements is one of the most stressful things I do every month.


Monday, September 29, 2008

New Look

After things have settled a bit here's the corner of the main floor living room. Note the evil guardian camouflaged in the bucket chair.

To completely be able to imagine the room, you have to mentally add the footstool that IKEA didn't have, and this triptych - finished - in place of the Pendleton blanket that has hung over the stairs since we built the house. (If you can imagine what the painting will look like finished, you are better than Me at those things..)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The 'Help'

Yesterday was interesting. I threw a party for a friend of mine who had recently finished a long-time-coming kitchen remodel. The kitchen had not been updated since sometime in the 60's or generously the very early 70's and the work on this project started sometime last fall. Bit by bit over the last year her dad, son and various friends tore the whole thing out to the studs and renovated it. At times she would be without a sink, or without a stove, or the 'fridge would be in another room. But, now it's 98% finished, and we're all pretty happy about that.

So, yesterday I cooked, tended to the food, and cleaned up while she hung out and enjoyed the well-wishers. I actually cleaned up, packed up, and went home fairly early once I realised the party had found a life of it's own - and a life that could only be appreciated by a person who had jumped into the deep end of the Margarita Pool.

It's been a long time since I've seen that much food and so little nutrition in one place. Friends, party food, and a new kitchen. We should find a reason to celebrate more often.

Cheers! ~M.E.

Friday, September 26, 2008


How many times have you said to yourself - "If I knew then what I know now, Boy, would I have done things differently!" Consolation is that I will be able to get on with my own journey since the worst is over. I lost a lot, but maybe gained some, too. I've been through worse, and in the long run I'm glad for the insight I've gained. Some people don't change, and some people do. I'll end up on my feet because I have a God who never changes and a family who is vastly different than the one I grew up with.

Life is sweeter than a Chopin Nocturne on a new piano. ~M.E.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's arrived

The Piano is here. Very Cool. ~M.E.

An interesting time waster.


I couldn't get it to print mine, the HTML was messed up. I'm a centerist, social moderate - economic conservative.

Give it shot if you have the time, you might be amused. ~M.E.

They're taking over

If asked, we'll tell you pretty quickly that we don't watch very much TV. I didn't recognize any of the shows that won Emmys a few days back. But we do have our time wasting electronics. They are just as bad as TV or video games in their own insidious ways. We are a home of three people and four computers. When our 4th drops in, she brings another with her - and has a 6th at her apartment. When my Sis and BIL visit, they bring their own, too. There are very few days that ALL of our computers aren't powered up and used on the 'net at one time or another. Two live on desks in the office, a lap top floats around on the main level just in case someone is too lazy to even walk down to the office when they want to goof off, and the new red Dell notebook often sits on the red chair in case someone wants to surf and watch TV at the same time.

This morning my goal was to clean the main living space in advance of the piano being delivered this afternoon. What have I done? Checked out the news on-line, read a couple of blogs, peaked in on Facebook, checked my EMail, written a couple of replies, spent an hour sorting the pictures off my two compact flash cards, uploaded a couple of those and photoshopped a couple of others, and messed with the hand-outs I'm making for Friday just so I could justify the 90 minutes I've been sitting here.

Oh, and wrote a crabby blog entry about time wasting computers. Looks like some adjustments are necessary.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Social Experiment

Hannah was invited to the Tri-City Homecoming Dance this year. She and her girlfriends were all very excited at the prospect of their very first high school dance. This is even more of a quirky interesting thing if you remember that Hannah is homeschooled, and homeschoolers are supposedly horrendously unsociable, and never have the opportunity to have those 'normal' teenage milestones - like high school dances.

The girls were all very, very excited. The outfit planning and date hunting started back in August. The dresses, as you can see all turned out well - but only one of the girls ended up with a male 'date' and then it took massive amounts of coercion from the lad's youth ministers, which was totally unfair to him. The pre-party was fun. The girls got together to eat, dress, do hair and make-up and get pictures taken.

The reports I got from the dance were less than enthusiastic. The music turned out to be a mix of country and gangsta rap - and way too loud and profane. The general upperclass ( and I use that term very loosely)female population of the school seemed to turn out in sleezy dresses in which they spent the evening grinding up against each other and their leering, farmboy dates. They took their dancing lessons from MTV, along with their wardrobe selection.

Hannah was unimpressed, as I had a feeling she would be. You see, Meredith went to a high school dance herself about 5 or 6 years ago, and found the same thing. At least she won't have to wonder anymore. So, next year it'll be easy to talk her out of wanting to go, we'll just find something better to do - like throw our own party.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Blessing

A good thing about not watching TV and living in Illinois is that I am not continually subjected to political ads. When I have a curiosity or a need for information, I seek it out. I can find the bits I want to study from more-or-less neutral sources (ie: not paid political announcements)and not have to listen to the carefully crafted sound bites and smooth talking announcers for my 'information'. As an added bonus, neither campaign is spending much jack in Illinois, because they already know that all the dead people in Chicago will swing this state for Obama anyhow.

Which of these two proposed administrations will hurt us less in the next four years? That has become my criteria. No one - or no group will be able to "save" us or "Change" us in that length of time. The country is so far in debt - both personal and national - that even our great grand kids are screwed.

Biden said that it would be a patriotic thing to be willing to pay more taxes to put America back on track. What *is* he thinking?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The relatives are gone back to the south-lands to discover what joy, named Ike, has visited their habitation in their absence.
I wish I had a silent vacuum cleaner so I could make better use of the time I spend awake at night by doing chores that vex me during the day.
I should start a quiet project for when sleep eludes me.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

About That Piano...

I think that in a round-about kind of way, my mother bought Hannah’s piano. While she was living she would never, ever would have considered such a purchase. There was nothing in it for her. She simply would have thought it unnecessarily extravagant, much too expensive, and totally out of the question. She rarely in her life put aside her own wants and frivolities for the sake of something that would enrich the lives of her kids. Then there was the cost. Mom thought in little dollar signs. Most of her life she was pretty darned poor because neither of my parents handled money well and every dime that came their way was spent as quickly as it appeared. When they were older, and Dad made more money they were poster children for instant gratification. In mom’s later years she had some money in the bank, and often spoke of what she wanted to buy. I encouraged her to go out and blow it – but by that time she had become inert; too lazy to even spend her own income.
If I imagine the conversation while she was alive, it goes something like this: Me-“Mom, Hannah needs a piano, it’s going to cost X thousand dollars. How about buying it for her?” Her- “why would I do that?”
But, now she’s dead. If we do truly gain the perfect understanding of everything when we are taken into God's arms, and if Mom was sincere in her beliefs, and if God allows people to be aware of what is going on in the mortal world after passing, I think the conversation would go more like this: Her- “please, please, give my granddaughter at least one wonderful thing that I was too blind to give to my own kids, I wish I had understood, and done it while I lived.” Me- “Hey, I know, I’ll spend this inherited money on a really smashing piano for Hannah (...and Meredith) to play, this will spur them on to a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”
I had a dream last night. It was the new piano, but it was not new anymore (although it was still in my livingroom for some reason) A little boy was playing it. He sounded like Neil, although he seemed about 10. He was talking to someone I couldn’t see. He told them how much he loved ‘Grandma’s old piano’. I think the grandma he was talking about would have been Hannah, not Ruth. Dreams are funny things.
Thanks for the Piano, Mom. ~M.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Co-op starts today. Shakespeare at 9:00 am and Critical Thinking at 9:55. I'm ready, but I'm not really, really ready. Critical thinking looks harder to do than I thought. What if I get a whole class of kids that aren't willing to talk?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Black Beauty

The trip to Chicago yesterday was successful, if you count getting what you went for as success. The monetary total was a bit alarming, but in the end, settling for less was not an option. I've rather inadvertently taught my girls not to settle for less in most cases, and when one falls in love, it is best to choose a quality beau.

We purchased a new piano, which was a surprise. We purchased a hand-made European piano, which was another surprise. We purchased one of the smaller cased pianos she tried, which was still another surprise.

What will be delivered next week sometime is a 45" tall, gloss black studio sized piano made by Bohemia. It is a company in the Czech Republic, who really specialize in much larger pianos, but up until this last year also made a few of these smaller models. Bohemia pianos are much more in demand in Europe than they are in North America - they are also relatively unknown here because there is only one distributor and they import less than 300 pianos a year.

Hannah loved the touch of this piano. Even being 'a little out of tune, and not yet voiced' it has a lovely, rich, big sound - that is also very capable of whispering. It's mate on the floor had already been worked over by the loving hands of the Cordogan technicians, and the voicing was amazing for what is considered a smaller vertical piano.

PS to Neil. If you don't like this piano. I don't want to know.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Buying a piano.

I'm buying a piano. Really, I'm obsessively researching buying a piano. It's all about getting the thing that will not cause me to regret the purchase in a few months, and hanging onto the cash until I'm sure I'm sure about what I'm trading it for. It's about figuring out where the sweet spot of price and quality, and the needs of the musician, come into focus.

I get a little nuts what I do this. Last time I tried to buy myself a car, I spent so long researching that I didn't get the car at all, and I'm still - years later - driving the Stealth Van.

Last time I helped Meredith buy a musical instrument, we drove one dealer to exclaim that if we wouldn't commit to purchasing one of the very next lot of instruments she shipped for trial, she would ship no more to us. We ended up buying from someone else - someone more patient with my obsession to find the 'one'. Meredith now owns a rocking oboe without regrets.

We're driving to Chicago on Wednesday to a reputable piano dealer's warehouse. Locally, I have found only nice new pianos that I can't afford, new pianos I wouldn't own, and used pianos of dubious quality. One place here in town has a couple of dozen sad specimens that have been stored so poorly that I'm not taking a chance that even the new ones would shape up to being good instruments. It doesn't take many variations of too hot and wet followed by too cold and dry to permanently make a piano permanently unable to stay in tune. Another place stored their pianos in a garage that smelled of mildew. Wood mildews. Pianos are wood. Hannah is allergic. No dice there.

I'm sure my DH would be plenty happy if my purchasing process went more like this: I have $ XXXX.XX in my budget. Here is the first piano I see that fits that budget. Oh, Salesman, please deliver that piano. Look, we have a new piano.

That ain't happening. I'll let you know what does.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

pad da tissues

I'b god a cold. ~M

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not One Picture.

I had my camera with me all weekend, and didn't take one picture. At times I even had it stashed in my bag. I suppose it is because we had no new stuff to document, and I didn't see anything flash-bang on anyone else.

I did come home with a rather extensive repair and 'to do' list, so I'm sure to get some pictures next time.

Attendance was down a little. I suppose because of gas prices and the economic impact on everything. there were only about 175 dancers - I've been to Labor Day Pow wows that have had well over 200 each night. There seems to be a big group of new mostly white hobbiest people. That's not always a good thing. This group seems to be of the variety that pins a shawl on lil' sissy and puts some leg bells on Bubba and just cuts them loose. We end up with a lot of trashy outfits and poor dancing in the arena. Particularly annoying to me was a group of girls in vaguely traditional outfits that decided to 'flash up' their dancing and boy, did they look bad. It's pretty easy, really; if a girls wants to fancy dance and doesn't have the whole outfit it is acceptable to put a shawl over modest street clothing (long pants or long skirt, full coverage blouse, substantial shoes that won't fly off.) and have a ball. Women of any age in traditional clothing of any sort should be graceful, regal, and reserved. Those aren't my rules, but the rules of the elders of the culture from long time back.

You interested in seeing what bad dancing by white folks looks like through Indian eyes? YouTube has a set of videos labeled something like " pow wow white people ( guy couple chick) dancing badly" some videos are not very complimentary, especially in the comments