Friday, January 30, 2009

Second Verse of Point 2

I got the first estimate for a land survey today. This company wanted $2200. So I'm working on getting estimates from 4 other places.

And the situation got a bit more complicated today, too. I wondered what was going on with my paychecks going backward by about $350/10 days. Today I found out somehow the "computer" thinks I'm working 75% time since January 1! So I have to wait now for back pay. Not the best situation when one is trying to deal with some extra expenses!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Step of Adventure -- Point 2

The news is that for 30 years I thought I owned a not-developed lot, but the city says it is one piece. Now I have to do the work with the city to turn it into 2 lots. My next step is to find a someone to survey it and create a engineers scale. I have questions out about how to find someone like this!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Step to an Adventure

Today my real estate agent came for the first time, so I've made the first step to selling my house and property. A big question up in the air is do I have one lot or two? I've always thought I've had two, but she thinks one. So that is the first thing to get settled. I got this agent through my credit union. The advantage of this is I know I have someone who is reputable, and I get a rebate of 20% of her commission! Look for more news on other days on this issue.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Adventures in Stupidity

Today was simply a day of adventures in stupidity. I've been doing deep-cleaning in the kitchen -- the kind when one moves the stove and refrigerator, washed the cupboards, the whole deal. I am using The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 3rd season, on DVD for company during these tasks.

Stupid thing #1 -- I sat down for a coffee break and grabbed the remote control for the DVD. Somehow I hit something on the remote and messed up the DVD player. Now it would show the TV, but not show any DVD video. Well, there are other things to do. About a hour later it occured to me to sit down in front of the DVD player and take a look. Using manual controls I changed it from video player back to DVD. One problem solved.

Meanwhile with moving the stove and refrigerator, the debris was piling up in the kitchen. I went to the basement where the dustpan was, and it wasn't there. I looked all over the house, and couldn't find it, so I gave up. I went to Target and bought a new one. Second problem solved.

Then I thought about trying to call my daughter who is out of town. Where is the cell phone? Not in my purse, not in coat pocket, not any place I put it in the house. Oh sugar, what did I do with the phone? Meanwhile I got an e-mail from a friend entitled "Worried and Concerned" about another topic, but ironic that it arrived just then. I thought perhaps the phone was in the car. Since it's below zero that trip required a coat and gloves! No phone. I did a few more tasks, and thought about where the phone might be. One idea was a neighborhood restaurant. I decided to drive there and inquire. Yes, that's where the phone was. Third problem solved.

This is indeed a recitation of stupid adventures. But no I never found the old dust pan!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguaration Adventures

Today all were able to do so gathered in our university auditorium at 10:00. The University president said we had many things to celebrate, but perhaps the greatest is the peaceful transition of power which happens in the United States. That made me think of my grandson on the day after election who told me, "There is one girl in my class who likes John McCain, but we played with her at recess anyway."

Then we had an address by an assistant to the system Chancellor. He showed a picture of he and his brothers taken in St. Paul when they were all less than 8 years old. He described what it was like to grow up African American in St. Paul. It was hard to concentrate on this speech, I think due to anticipation, but we all came alive when he reported that his sister, an African-American woman who had been denied college education when she was a young woman, is now a student at our University. Work can be plenty frustrating some days, but that our University gives a chance to those overlooked by many others, is probably the reason most of us come to work everyday.

Then we got back to the CNN video. There were cheers all around for everything. I am struck that this inauguaration became such a community event. Watching it alone wouldn't have been any fun.

The pundits tonight are saying the Obama speech is not memorable. But I'm not so hung up on the words or phrases being memorable as the overwhelming feeling that I got my country back. This speech was such a contrast to what happened after 9/11. The American people were willing to do anything then, and what was suggested: Good shopping.

After the morning events we went to the Great Hall for a nice lunch. There was a wonderful keyboard musician who played things like America with such a good beat that one simply had to dance.

We could stay in the auditorium for the parade, but the desk called. I tried to watch some of the CNN video while doing other tasks. It seemed, however, as if it took a very long time to get the parade going.

Seeing the joy around the country is another great part of this day. I've never had a day like this before in my life. Hope to have another one in 4 years!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Adventures in Grandparenting

This is coming yet another time. My younger daughter will be having her third child in June. Today I went with her for an ultrasound. We had the experience of working with a very skilled ultrasound technician. We saw everything, from the kidneys of the baby to the tiny little fingers almost looking as if they were waving at us. I could see all that easily and am glad the technican was skilled, because I couldn't make the distinction on what is expected. The technician was confident that it is a girl. We are all pleased with this news.

I asked on the drive back if there was any idea about a name. I made a pitch for a name that didn't have an odd e in it. Both my other grandchildren have a name that includes an e that is sounded like an a. Guess I won't get that wish because the name I heard has that kind of e again, plus a middle name with a double ll that will be pronounced in the Spanish way.

Well it's going to be an interesting time until early June for many reasons.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hot Money in my Pocket

Last fall I explored for the first time and was immediately hooked. I made my first loan of $25.00 to a group of women in Uganda who run a beauty salon. When a bit of payment was returned, I added a second loan to a woman in Ghana who sells food on the street as the source of income for her family. For about the last week I've had a credit of +$7.00 and wanted to get that money working again. However, ever time I tried to do a loan, the loan was already funded.

In the past two months Kiva has become an overwhelming success. People around the world are finding this and making loans. Many of us go in and find everything funded and the Kiva staff have to keep putting up messages asking us not to be frustrated and keep coming back.

Today I had good luck. I went to the web site and used my credit plus a bit more towards a loan needed by a woman in the Ukraine who sells shoes in the market.

Every time I read the stories of these women, I'm humbled by their courage and hard work. If you've never looked at Kiva, please do so.

Addendum: When I made my part of the loan about 30 minutes ago, it was about 50% funded towards a goal of $1075. In that period of time it became fully funded. The loans came from many places in the United States, many places in Europe, and one from the United Arab Emerites. Kiva is really a way for the world to help others in the world.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

An Adventure with History

Yesterday I again had the opportunity to spend time learning from Charles (Chuck) McDew, who was the first chair of SNCC. This is not the first time I’ve heard him speak, but each time is a treasured experience. He related, for my first hearing, that much of the planning for SNCC had been done in Minnesota because this state did not have laws against white people and black people being in the same room together. When Mr. McDew retired from Metropolitan State University, he spoke at that graduation ceremony. He related that when all from SNCC were in a county jail one night in Mississippi, they promised each other that whoever survived that night would teach and write about what they were trying to do and did accomplish in extending voters’ rights for African-American people in Mississippi. It is stunning to note that when the SNCC decided to do take on voters’ rights, most of them were between 16-19 years old! Mr. McDew showed film taken at the time and I was equally struck with the courage of the people who attempted to register. One was a widower with 9 daughters. Someone like that had so much to lose while trying to gain something.

P.S. Well I have a bit to learn yet about creating postings. I wrote the above in Word so that I could add hyperlinks. That didn't work.
To learn more about SNCC, please see:
For information about Mr. McDew please see:

I feel so very fortunate to again have had the opportunity to touch a moment in history.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Educator Adventures

Many people think educators have it so easy. Well, today I was in the office about 7:30 AM, did three meetings plus some other administrative activities. Then I went to a conference needed for teaching Health Policy this semester and go home at 9 PM. Now I have to get the lecture together for tomorrow morning. It's usually a 60 hour week while school is in session.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Survival Adventures

Our annual trip through temperatures around -15 Farenheit are in the forecast. I did my best to get ready for that. My washing machine doesn't work so that means a trip to the laundromat and today when it's +20 is better than later this week when the temperture is well below zero. I made a trip through the grocery store and have everthing to live very well for the coming week. I stopped on the way home from church and topped up the gas tank so there will be no need to stand out in the cold this coming week to pump gas. Last task -- get the trash out so no need for a trip later this week to the curb. Tomorrow is recyling day and that should happen before the worst of the cold arrives.

The last survival activity takes place daily -- my bathtub sits along an exterior wall. When the temperature falls this low, it's necessary to run the shower a bit before getting in to warm the porcelein! And a trick Minnesota women know -- stop wearing pierced ear rings. Temperatures this low cool the post and gives one a very strange feeling as the cold rockets through an ear lobe.

And with gratitude -- our university library shares a building with a public library branch. So after I get myself to work, I can get to the library for new books or DVDs by a combination of walking through tunnels and then over the skyway -- no need to go outdoors!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

DVD Adventures

I really enjoy bringing home DVDs from the public library and also having them shipped from my Netflix account. I've been having fun particularly in the public library finding DVDs of movies made about the time I was born! One I viewed last night is a great example. It is The Miracle of Morgan Creek, starring Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken. I've never before seen either of these actors. Not to give away too much of the plot, Hutton plays a young woman who becomes pregnant on the night of a "joke marriage." She can't remember who she married because, while dancing earlier in the evening of this event, she was lifted up and hit her head on a chandelier.

A bit strange? Well, the movie on its face was both funny and interesting, but the special features revealed a lot. One special feature on this DVD concerned the censorship in place at the time this movie was made. This entire movie is a spoof to the censors. But the character Hutton plays had to have a marriage because at that time sex among unmarried characteris couldn't even be hinted, and she had to hit her head on a chandelier to explain her memory loss, because drinking alcohol and being drunk couldn't be shown.

And if you want to spend a fine time with a fairly new production that bridges the time from the 1940s to the present, get The Last of the Blonde Bombshells starring Judi Dench.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas is Over!

My disabled daughter was not able to give her Christmas gifts to her niece and nephew, so this evening we all went out to dinner. So that my daughter didn't feel left out, we gave her a bit of an early birthday gift. My grandchildren are now almost 10 and 13. They are growing up quickly. My other daughter's birthday is January 1 and she wants massages for her birthday. I've yet to gather up a gift certificate for that. My first choice for this -- the person I wanted is out of the country for six months. So soon I'll have to get to plan B. Glad to get this much of the holidays and birthdays under my belt! Back to seeing if one of my websites for class is all up to date. School is underway again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Working in a New Place

I'm writing from my new work office. It's on the third floor of an office building and my windows overlook an empty lot, which is right now beautiful with untouched snow. It faces south so was bright with sunlight when I arrived this morning, and almost too warm due to the sunshine. Now that the sun has moved on its path today, I can really tell the difference in the office temperature. I think it will be fine in the summer, too, for by then the sun will be much higher in the sky and not shine in the windows. Once I get settled, this is going to be a lovely office.

P.S. For the first time in a very long time, it was hard to go home. It just seemed so nice at work. The only problem is that I can't get a chair to fit right. Well, in a couple of days I'll ask for an ergonomic consult. Just about have all the pictures hung and it will seem like home soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Only in Minnesota Adventure

Well, maybe Alaska too! Today the temperature at mid day was + 4 with a notice of "feels like -9." I walked up about four blocks to a nearby restaurant to meet another to brainstorm about a session for the Global Volunteers 25th anniversary celebration. Then later in the afternoon I headed out the door again to attend 4:30 PM church. It was -1, real temperature, when I got back into the car.

All this made me remember a grad school classmate. He came to Minnesota from Los Angeles having never lived anywhere else than LA. Our circle of friends were other midwesterners, used to winter. One day at lunch he asked, "When it gets below 32 you don't go outdoors, do you?" The obvious answer is yes, we do. If was one of those winters when we had the actual temperature of -35. I had a Saturday morning class, and was ever so grateful to a classmate who called and asked if I would like a ride to class. It's surely is no fun walking outdoors actually when "it feels like -9" and even less fun when the actual temperature is -35. By the way I've seen -35 only one other time since then.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Whew! No Adventure

Sometimes no adventure is the best kind. In October I went to the credit union and learned to my surprise that there no longer was an escrow account with my mortgage. I was two days overdue for paying property tax and had to pay a penalty. Now the question of insurance has been nagging me.

Today I finally called -- best intentions every day for weeks gets nothing done! I found to my great amazement and delight that my homeowner's insurance is paid through April! A new account will be set up that will allow me to pay monthly, so if I sell the house, I'm not paid too very far ahead. Glad to have a problem solved so easily.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope this year is kind to everyone. It is indeed good to see the backside of 2008!

I excited to have a new President and hopefully new ideas moving into the White House. I've just been looking at You-Tube and was surprised and not surprised at the same time to see how many there are for Barak in Saint Paul. I absolutely loved it when he secured the nomination and came to Saint Paul to the Excel Center, where the RNC was scheduled for their convention, saying, "I'm going to Saint Paul first." In looking back on the Minnesota Public Radio site I was reminded the line for admission for Obama's appearance was 1.5 miles long. On January 20 the University President has invited all of us to the Auditorium to see the inauguaration ceremony and then the parade. In between the two events we'll have lunch together as a university community. In all my years of working, I've never seen the Inaugauration regarded in this manner.

I'm already looking forward to my seven weeks in Poland during the summer. The plane ticket is purchased. Now to pay the fees for this volunteer experience. I'll be teaching in Zakopane and Reymonotowka (outside of Siedlce). During my free time I plan to visit Wroclaw and Poznan. Who knows what other adventures may happen? I've just noticed candles on a table setting on a TV program and that reminded me of the night I was in a basement cafe in Torun and the electricity went off. We really did have dinner by candlelight, and wonderful that the candles were lit before the electricity went off! Otherwise it would have been very dark in that basement!

But before going to Poland, I'm also scheduled to be a grandmother for the third time. We still don't know if this little one is a boy or a girl. The daddy wants a boy very much, I'm cheering for a girl. My daughter is just worried about everyone being healthy.

I'll be finishing my last semester as the chair of the Nurisng Department at Metropolitan State. In the best political jargon, this is neither an office I sought or want. On Monday when I return to work, I'll also be unpacking in a new office in a different building. This one will give me a view to the south, but having not spent much time in the office, I don't know if I'll be seeing buildings across the street or that the view will also include the Mississippi River.

This all is surely enough adventure for the first six months.