Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all. This fair belle comes from a scarecrow competition at the Minnesota Arboretum. My plans are not to dress up. I'm going to duck the trick or treater by going to a cafe with free Wi-FI and continue to read the 40+ papers I have to get through during the next few days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adventures in Indianapolis

Yes, there is a there, there. The conference I went to was very good. What I will remember is being cold. The hotel room was cold, no matter what I did with trying to change it. The conference rooms were cold. Now I'm from Minnesota and I was wearing clothes I would wear to work in the winter. It was cold!

The best thing I did was go to a museum of Western Art and Native Americans Art. This is so good that one go to Indianapolis just for this.

I was very glad to get home to my blankets!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Traveling Adventures

I'm off to Indianapolis for the next few days for a work conference. I've not been there since there is a there - there. Once in my career I had to go there four times in one year and was deeply impressed with how rural and underdeveloped the place was. I hear now there is a town there. More later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adventures at the Credit Union

I paid off my home mortgage early this summer, but had a small home equity loan still in place. A month later I got a letter from the credit union specifying my new payment. Well, I began to worry. Good thing. I went there today and learn after the primary mortgage is paid no longer is there an escrow fund for taxes and insurance. Thus even though I had been paying a large payment, none of it was going to escrow.

We looked up on the web and found out that I was 6 days behind on my property taxes. Due to the theft of my purse, I didn't have any checks to use for the payment. (Getting new checks at a high enough number that they will be honored was another task completed today.) I paid the taxes online, but through a private bank that the county uses for this service which, of course, charges a convenience fee. The troubles compounded upon themselves resulted in a penalty payment of $30 some dollars as well as a "convenience fee" of $30 some dollars. I guess any day one gets out of trouble with only $60, that's not a bad day.

I also arranged to start participating in the preferred Realtor plan through the credit union, to start getting the show on the road for selling the house and getting somewhere else. All in all not how I like to spend my time, but adventures in banking were a real lesson today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Like It!

I'm posting this picture of a tram in Torun, Poland, for no other reason than I just like it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Traveling Adventures

One of the joys of traveling for me is finding unexpected signs indicating destinations. I always feel like I'm far from home for example when I see a train schedule that include Moscow as a destination.

While working for the Minnesota Department of Health I occasionally had to travel to the very northwest corner of Minnesota. Up there it is common to see the road signs indicating it is 75 miles to Winnipeg. It always seemed strange to be working for the state of Minnesota but much closer to a major city in Canada than anything in our state.

I've attached a picture taken in Torun this summer. I found this at the end of a park. Part of the reason for this sign is that this Sweden city is a sister city of Torun. But seeing it made me feel like I wasn't in Kansas -- or even Minnesota -- anymore.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Speaking Adventure

Today I did a Global Volunteers presentation at Pilgram House, a Unitarian-Universalist fellowship. Since my Global Volunteer experience is basically about Poland, I spoke most about Poland. I believe all learned more about "new" Poland, both through my presentation and then informal conversation afterwards. People are funny. One man sat down beside me and said, "I'm here to give you a bad time. You said there was a program in West virginia. You go there to teach English?" I explained the program there was home renovation with high school students and also some tutoring of GED students. He laughed and said his whole point was to give me a "bad time." This was a lovely way to spend a rainy Sunday morning.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cultural Brokering Adventure

I was hurrying out of my office on Wednesday to drive very far north in Minnesota for a conference. The warning sirens were blowing, and I realized it was 1 PM on the first Wednesday of the month. To leave the parking lot, I swipe a card. However, the cashier opened her window. She was obviously an African-born young woman. She asked me what was going on. I explained that the warning sirens were tested every first Wednesday at 1 PM. She was much relieved with my explanation, for she was puzzled by way the wiring sirens were blowing on a beautiful day. Things we forget to tell to new people!