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Friday, October 28, 2011

You Should Be Grateful......

I have been following some of the reports of Occupy Wall Street. I am going to state right now, I am in support of their movement. Many will disagree with me, and that is their right and their privilege to do so. I do not find it UnAmerican when people disagree with me. I do not find it treasonous when people do not agree with the government. Differences in opinion are our constitutional right and dare I say duty as Americans.

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies;" Thomas Jefferson--The Declaration of Independence

Now, I am not saying we chuck our form of government and replace it with something radical. I am saying that definite abuses need to be addressed and those abusers need to be held accountable. Our government should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Those that have money should not have politicians in their pockets. When that happens then those who have money decide what is right and wrong. Normally, they decide this in their own favor. This is how our tax codes have been written, this is how deregulation of banks and wall street have occurred and brought our economy to a grinding halt. This is how the top 1% have seen their incomes rise by 275% over the last 30 years, while the rest of us have had to work much harder and longer hours and have seen our wages stagnate. 

I was at work a few weeks ago. It had been an awful day. We had recently gone through some major staff reductions and as such were short staffed, although perfectly staffed according to some one who probably hadn't stepped foot in a store in 50 years. I had been running, and I do mean running to try and keep up. Finally lunch came. I went to the break room and saw the company magazine. On the front was a guy in a suit looking all proud and powerful. The camera angle used was such that it really emphasized that he was looking down on those about to read the article about him. He had power, I did not. 

I opened the magazine to the article. I read it. I about puked my guts up. I was exhausted from running and apologizing to people because their prescriptions weren't ready over and over. I had been yelled at, and verbally abused because we couldn't keep up because of the recent cuts. "I am so so sorry," had come out of my mouth more times than I could swallow. These people had every right to be mad, we were way behind. 

I wanted to rip the magazine to shreds! Why? You might ask? The article was about Mr. Suit and his wonderful new approach to office  communication. Apparently, theses "higher ups" spend their time perusing the Internet and business magazines looking for "current event" articles to share with the class, oops I mean the rest of the staff. They get together and read their articles and then discuss them, because apparently they have nothing better to do with THEIR time. I was angry about this the rest of the day. I am still angry about it today. They are playing 6th grade classroom while we are running our asses off! And Mr. Suit thinks he has stumbled upon a great new innovation to increase productivity. If they have the time to do that, maybe they need to cut staff at that level and give the stores the staff to TAKE CARE OF THE CUSTOMERS! You know the ones PAYING THEIR FAT ASS SALARIES!

This is why I support Occupy Wall Street. Our Nation is broken. The ideals and the structure are still good. The Constitution is still excellent. The problem is in the way it has been usurped and abused by those that have the ability and the selfish priorities that have taken it over. The problem is with those that cannot see past their silver spoons to see what is going on beyond it. 

I DO NOT begrudge anyone who has worked hard for their money, earned it honestly and enjoys those benefits. I do not. I begrudge those that have lied, cheated and stolen their money from those that entrusted them with theirs. I begrudge those that think we, in the woking class, should pay more taxes than they do so they can have government bailouts and handouts and then reward themselves with bonuses and perks. I begrudge those that we elect, to protect our rights and our freedoms, being bought out by those same people who lied and cheated and stole from us. And I begrudge those who think we should produce more with less people, get paid less,  and be grateful we have a job at all. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who You Gonna Call?....

 I think I have said before that we live in a very small town with a long history. It was founded in 1859. According to Wikipedia, Rossville and Ross Township were named for Jacob Ross, a settler in the area. However, the location was first named Liggett's Grove in honor of John Liggett who built a lodging house there in 1829. Liggett's cabin was located on the Hubbard Trail, an early trading route established byGurdon Hubbard from Chicago to Danville. In 1833, this became the first state highway (now Illinois Route 1) and in 1914 was made part of the Dixie Highway. In 1838, Alvan Gilbert purchased the Liggett farm, and the next year became postmaster at the newly-established post office. Rossville was incorporated as a village in August 1859. 

And, of course, before that this land was  inhabited by Native Americans of different origins. Now, with that kind of history, if there is such a thing as ghosts, there are bound to be a few around town.

The building across the street from my house seems to be of great interest to those that do believe. It is an old Masonic Temple that was built 105 years ago. The same time my house was built.

It is a beautiful building, sadly run down, but you can imagine it as it once was. The detailing in the architecture, the windows, the red brick, is all stunning. Even the creepy guy above the door is mesmerizing. I'm sure at one time the original Masons that owned the building were very proud of it, and sad to sell it when the time came.

Since that time, the building has been a few different things. The last being an antique store. When Willie and I moved here last year, it was closed and for sale. We have spent many evenings on our front porch looking at the building and wondering what we could do with it if we had the money. We looked it up on line, the cost was meager, $15,000, less than a car. The repairs the building that would need to be done, would probably be several $100,000. Way beyond our means.

This last week or so the for sale sign has come down. This truck has been in front of the building several times since then. It you look closely it says, Indiana Ghost Trackers on it. I haven't decided if I find it hilarious or completely fascinating. A friend of mine that has lived in the area for her whole life says the building has been investigated for ghosts before.

I have joked around about having ghosts living in my houses before. To the point where I even named our ghost Ferdinand. We had a TV at one time, that would turn on and off, all by itself, for no reason. We would be sound asleep, and the TV would turn on. At first we thought we rolled on the remote, or for a long time we thought maybe the neighbor's remote might be on the same frequency and our TV was reacting to his remote. We convinced ourselves that was the case for a long time. We lived in a trailer park and our houses were very close, it made sense, a little anyway. Then a light in our front room started doing the same thing. Ferdinand had expanded his enterprise.

We moved from the trailer, which lets face it, it could have been the wiring that caused such things. We moved into a house in Danville, Il. It was older, built in the 1930's if I remember right. We left the possessed TV behind. Ferdinand still came with us. The light kept turning on and off, and he also took up residence in something else, but I can't remember what for sure.

When we moved back to Iowa and it seemed we had left Ferdinand behind. Maybe he liked the old house better, maybe it was wiring again. Maybe, he invaded my car. I have always had quirky cars. It may start out as a normal car, if I drive it too long, like a month or two, quirks always develop.  I had a car who every time we opened the back door, the dinger would go off, you know the one that goes off when you leave the keys in the car. The one that is supposed to go off when you open the front door. That was just one of its quirks.

I also drove a van for Van Meter School district, to take a child to Winterset a couple of times a week. It was fine when I started driving it. After a few months, its dinger started going off every time I hit the brakes to slow down. Yeah, that got very annoying very fast. I wonder if it still does it?

My van now, when I turn on the heater fan, the back windshield wiper comes on. Wiring on my cars always seems to get criss-crossed or something. It is never anything dangerous, just strange and obnoxious. Like someone or something is always playing jokes on me.

My cars always have quirks.  I mean, why does every single car I drive end up with strange quirks. Are they really quirks? Or do I have permanent visitors that travel with me. Does Ferdinand follow me every where I go? He has always had a thing for electrical items, and when quirks come up it always seem to be in wiring.

When I saw the truck across the street the first time I laughed and thought, what a racket, and wondered how I could get a job doing that? Then I looked up their website, wondering how much they make off of others' fears, and found that they don't charge a thing. It is a group of people who really believe in what they are doing. Not like the old movie "Ghost Busters." I would actually love to know what they "find."

What the truck has done, has made me think about, do I believe in ghosts? As I have aged, I have found myself believing things I never thought I would. Like, yes, I most definitely, not just believe, but KNOW that the full moon makes people act a little loony. Sometimes, a LOT loony. Thirty years ago, I'd have laughed in my own face if I'd have said that, but much experience has changed my mind.

So, I guess, I am much more open minded about the idea of ghosts than I used to be.  If I do have ghosts following me around, they seem to be more goofish than ghoulish. They seem to have a sense of humor and just like to play jokes on me. As long as that is all they do, I'm more than happy to share my space with them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Franklin D. Roosevelt ~~~~ 1933

Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money.

Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored conditions. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers.

They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.

The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow-men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be values only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit, and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bucket List

December of 2012 will mark my 50th birthday. A half a century of life. Many feel old hitting such a milestone. Maybe as it gets closer I will have that reaction, too. Right now though, It doesn't seem to bother me. My age has only bothered me once. My 25th birthday, for some reason, that I still today cannot explain, was a tough one for me. I think that was the only birthday that I had that, "I am so old," feeling. Why then, and not say, 30 or 40? Heck if I know.

The only thing I feel about turning 50 next year is the urge to do and see things I have never done before. I have a bucket list in my iPhone. I started on it last year sometime and add to it now and then. Most of the things, honestly, I know I will probably never do. Most of the things involve travel. I would love to travel. I've stated that before on here. I have never had the chance to travel much. Most of my travels were with my Girl Scout troops in junior and senior high school. That was an awful long time ago. I want to do more, yes I am the greedy type.

So, here is my list. It is kind of a long one, which is why I probably wont get to do it all. It isn't in any type of an order. I'll be happy getting to do whatever whenever.

I have never ever been on an airplane. Not because I have any phobia, just have never had the opportunity. I would love to go on one. It would make it a lot easier to go to some of the places I'd like to go, but big boats are good too, I'd do that. Flying first class of course would be the most enjoyable, relaxing and watching out the window without someone almost on top of me is the dream. I'd be just as satisfied to go couch, just to be able to say I had been on an airplane.

A few of the things I would like to do could all be taken care of in one trip. For instance, I would like to fly over the Atlantic ocean. I would like to go to Europe. I would like to walk in the footsteps of the Beatles. All could be done on the same trip. That and going to Ireland, Scotland, and seeing the French countryside. It would be a long trip true, but what an awesome trip. Maybe go to Sweden, and see Stockholm too.

Another place in Europe I'd like to spend a lot of time, Germany. My father's family is from Germany. It would be interesting to see where the family is from. Look in a phonebook and see how many Siepmanns I would find. Maybe find a headstone of an ancestor. Walk the streets they walked on. See the places they saw. Breathe the air they lived in.

As much as I would like to do all of that, what I would really like to do is spend time traveling my own home country. I read an article once about a trail you can walk on the east coast. It goes from Maine to Florida. At the right time, you can start at one end and walk and see the seasons change. It would take weeks, but wouldn't it be the most aw inspiring thing to do? I would love it. Absolutely, love it. I would definitely want a good camera for that. I'd love to spend that time with Willie, like a second honeymoon.

There are other things I'd really like to do specifically with my husband. He was born in Hawaii, I would love to go there with him. One thing I know I would really like to do while we are there, eat gourmet Spam. That's right, gourmet Spam. I hear it is a huge thing in Hawaii. Therefore, I see it as a must do.  Plus, going to Hawaii would make two more goals possible, flying over the Pacific and seeing a volcano.

I would love to spend a summer in Alaska. Just get in a car and drive where ever I can drive to. I would love to lie down outside, with Willie and watch the northern lights. We could travel the state enjoying nature where it is still truly nature. A new camera would be in order.

Then there are the places I would love to take Kahlen, and any new grandchildren that will come along. Disney World or Disneyland scream to mind. I have never been there, my kids have never been there, what a wonderful big old family trip that would be. Maybe it could be on the way to another dream family trip, a Christmas cruise to the Bahamas.

Other Christmas trips I'd love to take, one would be to New York City. Ice fall in in Central Park. Yes, I said ice fall, I'm sure whatever I would be doing could not be called ice skating. I want to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. I want to take Kahlen to see Santa Claus at Macy's in NYC. I know, I know, very touristy, but I've never been there. Oh, and we could go see The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast or what ever is playing while we were there.

I also want to take Kahlen to see the National Christmas tree in Washington DC. I like Christmas trees. I like Christmas. I would enjoy sharing Christmas with my family in new places. Seeing how Christmas is celebrated in different cities and towns. The decorations and traditions, how they are different, how they are the same.

I love camping, I love camping with my family. I would love taking a camping trip with the whole family to the Rocky Mountains. Camp at Yellowstone, I've been there before, with Girl Scouts, but never with my family.

Go to the Grand Canyon, camp, ride donkeys, take the gondola ride across the canyon. Go on a helicopter tour. Watch the kids' faces as they see it all for the first time too.

There is so much more. Constitution Hall, The Liberty Bell, The Lincoln Memorial, Gettysburg, so much history, our country's roots. The places they decided that birthing this nation at the risk of their own lives was important and necessary. The places that great decisions were made. The places where people gave all to keep our nation whole. It is overwhelming to think about.

So, there is the bulk of my bucket list. I'm sure there is more, but these are the most important to me. Maybe someday...... probably not.

So Many Leaves!

It is so yucky outside today. The Great Lakes Cyclone's fingers found their way clear down here. We have had strong winds and rain the past day or two. It is cold and windy and still spitting rain even today.

Of course the major side effect of strong winds, in the fall, when you have 37 trees in your yard..... Leaves, lots and lots of leaves. Our backyard is becoming carpeted with leaves. Brown is the new green. It seems as though we just got through cleaning up leaves from last spring and now they are back.

The good news, at least for now is that the vomit tree seems to not have much fruit on it this year. I have been studying it, looking for fruit, and just don't see a lot. So, far no big stink yet this year either. 
 The bad news, there are still many, many, many leaves still to come. Some haven't even changed color yet. Oh, the work ahead of us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Photo by Dawn Blackburn Fat Dog Creative
My favorite dancing girl.

Photo by Katharyne Dunn
The perfect flower girl.
I plan on writing a happy blog about Alyssa and Shane's reception. However, since I didn't take many pictures myself I am waiting for pictures from a friend to use for my blog. I was busy enjoying the moments that come once in a lifetime and left the picture taking to others. I can't wait to share them with you. Some that I have seen so far are wonderful! Both from my friend Dawn Blackburn of Fat Dog Creative in St. Charles, Mo, and the wedding photographer, Katharyne Dunn, of Katharyne Dunn Photography in Altoona, Iowa. As you can see by the two sneak peaks the wait will be so worth it!

Until then I will share some of my pictures from a beautiful fall day out and about with Bazinga.
 We went to my favorite Indiana State park again, Shades. Some of you have seen photos from there before. I found a trail that I had never been on before, which actually took me over to a wildlife preserve adjacent to the park. I didn't see any wildlife, we heard some scuffling here and there, which peaked Bazinga's interest.
 Mostly though we saw beautiful fall leaves all around. It was just breezy enough that now and then we found ourselves in the middle of a magical whirlwind of leaves. I tried desperately to take pictures of the wind blown fantasy, but with no avail.
 My simple little camera was not able to catch the dancing leaves. It focused on the wrong things and I couldn't convince it to focus on anything else. Finally, I just pointed the camera up and hit the shutter over and over. Sadly, replicating our experience was not to be.
 Hopefully, one day soon, a camera with great resolution and more creative control will come my way. I have my eye on a Nikon, but it will take many months of money saving to get it. When I do, I will celebrate with a photo taking spree like no other. I can't wait!
 The photo below is a tree root that fascinated me. I couldn't, no matter how I tried, get my camera to focus on it properly. It made me very sad.
The root reminded me of a wood nymph or some other woodland fairy creature. The big eye, the hat and hair that drapes over the other eye. The little pouty mouth, that is so sad about how our world is changing, and not for the better. Perhaps the little wood nymph has a way to make things better. Can you see my little wood nymph, or am I just as crazy as others have tried to convince me I am.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alyssa's Wedding

Photo by Katharyne Dunn Photography
On September 24, 2011 at five in the evening my youngest daughter became a married woman! The days leading up to the wedding were stressful, but in the best way stress can be. There were times I was ready to strangle my beloved daughter, but tried to keep an understanding heart.

The rehearsal dinner was simple and fun. Casual and laid back, just what was needed for both bride and groom, and parents alike. Pizza was delivered and enjoyed by all. A stressed out groom found time to tell his frenzied bride how much he loved her. A very stressed out bride had time to sit for a minute to breathe.

After the rehearsal dinner, a stressed out mother and father of the bride found time to visit friends and have a much needed glass of wine. That may surprise one or two of you, but don't be too surprised, it was just me partaking, Willie just relaxed and enjoyed laughing and talking. 

The night went by quickly and a little sleeplessly. The morning was absolutely lovely and a perfect early fall day. A perfect day for pictures. Calm breezes and warm temperatures made it comfortable for bride and wedding party.

Photo by Dawn Blackburn

Photo by Dawn Blackburn

Kahlen happily watched as preparations continued. She was one of the flower girls. She felt like a princess in her pretty dress. She looked like an angel from Heaven. She had fun showing off her pretty shoes and was fascinated by her pearl neckless. 

Photo by Anita Luvaas
The bride was gorgeously stunning and the groom handsome. Both looked happy if not terrified. The realness setting in, the foreverness both exciting and overwhelming. They both had the glazed over look of soon to be newlyweds.

Preparations all went as planned, the only thing that didn't go the way the bride wanted was having to stand on a balcony for pictures. Alyssa takes after her father and is a little fearful of heights. It took much convincing to get her out their.

The ceremony was simple and perfect. The bride and groom looked happily frightened and completely in love. Kahlen walked with her flower girl partner, and did everything exactly as practiced. She stood with the bridal party for part of the ceremony and on my lap for part. She just knew she belonged up their with her mommy and daddy.

Willie walked Alyssa down the isle bursting with pride. His smile beamed for all to see. He was dashing in his tuxedo, and watching them both was like a surreal dream. A surreal dream of the best kind. The kind where you are so focused on one thing that everything around you blurs and drifts away into a soft swirling fog. We each hugged our littlest and watched her walk to her groom. It was a vision like none I have ever seen before. It was my little girl, all grown up, marrying the love of her life.