Monday, November 19, 2007

Your mission, if you choose to accept it.

Years ago, my aunt brought my sister back a present from Paris. My sister teaches French. My aunt is a retired teacher. She knows about kids and what interests them. She knows that teachers often have to come up with creative bulletin boards in their rooms. Her present to my sister was toilet paper from the bathroom in the Eiffel Tower. (My present was a bottle of overproofed rum from Jamaica).

My sister used that toilet paper on a bulletin board with great success. It turns out that middle school age kids *are* interested in exotic Eiffel Tower, Parisian toilet paper.

Anyways, over the summer, I told this toilet paper story to my friends who have since moved to France. I told the elder daughter that I think my sister could use some NEW Eiffel Tower toilet paper. I told her that if she happened to find herself in Paris, she should go to the Eiffel Tower, find the highest bathroom, and get me some more toilet paper.

My friends called me yesterday. They are going to Paris. That nine year old girl seems to be taking her mission very seriously. I think someone I know might get toilet paper again for Christmas. haha

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007


While I was out walking the dogs this evening, I noticed a whole mess of fire trucks on Prospect. There is this one house there that I walk by all the time. Every time I walk by it, I always think that it has a fabulous porch and sometimes I wonder if I could build up a little wall around my porch too but then I remember that I dont have enough money to do it and the historic district people would probably be against it anyways.

I think I walked by at the tail end of whatever excitement there was. I didnt see any fire, just a bunch of fireman crawling around the house. They had a ladder too and looked like they were paying close attention to the chimney. I am guessing that the people who lived at that house probably got lucky.

It is shame that we have to cut back on our fire protection. I really hope that something changes and cities like Ypsilanti can have money for such niceties again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Sometimes I cant even keep promises to myself. I skipped blogging yesterday but I dont feel bad about it. Well...not too bad. I wasnt feeling well. I had a headache and pretty much spent the entire day in a dark room sleeping because anything that had to do with light hurt my eyes. I think it was either a brain tumor (very unlikely), a migraine (still pretty unikely) or else my vision is going bad and I might need glasses (much more likely). This headache came on after I worked all day on a computer and then came home and read for 6 hours or so.

Of course, I dont have a vision plan so if I do need glasses, I'll have to pay for them myself. I am going to wait and see if I get any more headaches though before I decide to spend any money. The funny thing is that I dont know how much of that is because I dont want to spend money and how much of that is because I dont want to admit that my eyes, or any other part of me, might be aging.

I am not entirely sure why I dislike seeing the signs of aging in myself. It isnt so much that I am worried about losing my looks because I never had conventional beauty in the first place and in the second place, I kind of think that older women *are* beautiful in their own way anyways. No...I think what bugs me is that aging is a reminder that life is finite and I figure that around half of my life is over. I just feel like I want MORE time. Half over already? It can't be!

Oh well. I hear that when people get really old, they sometimes feel done. I guess that is my wish: That no matter when or where I die, I'll feel done living.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Something's going on...

So, I went down to Riverside park today for a walk. It was difficult because the park has very little lighting these days which is kind of sad. I mean, it was only around 10 years ago when I first got Brooke that I would go there and find almost all of the lights lit. Over the years, they have been knocked down one by one with fewer lights until this year, they just havent turned them on at all.

But. There were some people from a construction company and it looks like some round cement things that seem likely to be foundations for new lights are being put in. Has the city found money for park lights after all? It would be awesome if they did.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Exchange Rates

I cannot remember a time when the Canadian dollar was worth more than a US dollar. But today, I was curious about the rate and was shocked to learn that the rate is $1.07 USD to $1 CAD. Wow. What will this mean?

My first thought was that I might need to learn to appreciate American beer since my favorite beer, Labatt Blue, is made in Canada. My second thought was that now probably isnt a good time to visit Toronto. My third thought was that this is probably good for Michigan and the rest of the country too.

You see, a weak dollar means a lot of things. Foreign vacations get more expensive. Flying in water from France gets even more decadent. Basically, imported things become more expensive relative to domestic versions. That will mean higher prices for anything imported. It also means that moving jobs offshore becomes more expensive which means jobs that would have otherwise been lost to foreign competition will remain the US.

Michigan, in particular, probably needs jobs more than it needs cheap crap from China or expensive French cheeses or nights out at the Windsor Ballet.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Love Weekends

Yeah yeah, I know. who doesnt enjoy weekends? Seriously though, I have been having a relaxing one. I got Harry Potter from the library and have been sitting around, eating toast, drinking tea, and reading.

Friday, November 09, 2007

If Only There Were a Place Like That

At my old job, I used to get free books. Lots and lots of free books and the books that I didnt get for free, I got a deep discount. It was great at first but eventually I realized that I had a problem. I had a hard time throwing away books. I also found that I had hard time giving them away (I eventually settled on wrapping them up and passing them out as White Elephants at the family Xmas party). It was a LOT of effort.

As it happens, my mother had a similar problem because I kept giving her so many books. We were sitting in the kitchen one day bemoaning having so many books in our possession. "Why is getting rid of books so hard? Why cant I just throw them away? If only there was a place where one could go where one could rent or borrow books to read so that when one is done, one doesnt have to keep the book!"

My Dad just shouted in from the other room, "you mean like a LIBRARY?"

Hahaha. I thought of that because I have finally gone to the library after not going for several years. I went because I dont have the job with the free books anymore. I got *two* books.I am rather glad, now that I think about it, that when I am done reading these books, I can take them back to the library. They wont clutter up my house more than it already is.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Dogs

Sometimes I wonder about why I find it so necessary to keep dogs. Part of it is that they are a deterrent against would be home invaders or at least they are a deterrent against the sane ones...owning dogs didnt keep that crazy naked man from running through my house for instance. But part of it is that there is just something about a dog that warms my heart.

I had one of those moments today when I took the girls for a walk to Riverside Park. We were walking and Tasha, the new dog, spotted some people with dogs on the other side of the park. She just got all excited about it and well...full of JOY. When we got close enough, I let her go over to meet them and as soon I said "OK" she just tore over to them all wiggles and happiness. Then, when I whistled for her, she came running back to me with the same enthusiasm. She expresses her joy with her WHOLE body too.

For Brooke, of course, going to the park is old hat but she still loves it and she too just pranced and ran and generally had a good time. Now we're all cozy in our little house and everyone is happy.

In short, the dogs remind me to have joy. And sometimes, like in the winter when it is dark all the time, I need that.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hybrid Buses

Since Daylight Saving time ended, I've been getting up earlier which is saving me money again. I get a free bus pass from work so every day that I can get up in time, I save the cost of parking downtown and the cost of gasoline to drive downtown and the wear and tear on my car. It is an amount that I figure to be around $50/week.

I took the bus this morning and had the good fortune to ride one of those new hybrid buses. They are especially ugly buses but much nicer for riding in. They are quiet and less stinky. Well less stinky as in there seem to be less engine fumes but never fear, they may sport the odor of alcholic - cigarette addicted - non bathers. I sometimes wish we could go the way of SF and have all electric buses or even streetcars! Oh well, the hybrid buses are a move in the right direction and are a pleasure to ride. Ok, maybe not *pleasure* to ride but definitely an improvement.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I cant think of any brilliant posts to write so I am just going to talk about my day...

I woke up and was glad that the sky was beginning to get light. I am NOT in favor of ending Daylight Saving time a week later. Seriously, I need to be up by 7:15am if I want to pack a lunch and take the bus to work from Ypsilanti. Last week, I kept waking up after 8am which meant that I had to drive to work and pay to park and even then, I was 10 minutes late a couple of times. Besides, having darkness in the mornings doesnt make me save energy because I turn on lights and then forget to turn them off when I leave. It is much much better for me to just wake up when it is light.

My work is going well. I enjoy it. I get to go swimming on my lunch hours. And today there was an announcement that we might be getting a pool table! It will mean getting rid of the ping pong table but everyone agreed that a pool table would be better for formulating and discussing ideas. I still dont get tired looking out of the windows but unfortunately now that the sun is to the south, there are certain times of day when it shines right into my eyes and then I have to shut the blinds. Still, sun in my eyes is better than no sun.

I went to Costco after work. How boring. The sad thing is that I pretty much only had enough money to pay for dog/cat food and treats for the dogs. Or maybe that is a good thing because Costco is an easy place to blow a lot of money.

Then I had dinner at my parents and picked up my dogs who were on vacation at the lake. Now I am home and I am going to watch a DVD and then I am going to see if I can find some election results before going to bed.

The thing is...I know that my life is somewhat boring now and I am kind of happy about it. It's all good boring. Which is way better than bad interesting, if you know what I mean.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sherman Alexie is Awesome

So I met up with a couple of my lovely neighbors and went to see that Sherman Alexie lecture thing at EMU. It was great! He is not only good at telling a story in print, he is good at telling a story in real life too. If there is one thing I love, it is a person who can tell a good story. I probably got that from living with my Dad who has a particular talent for oral story telling. Actually now that I think about it, a lot of folks in my family have that talent. It makes family events that much more interesting. I have noticed too that I am drawn to people with this particular talent. I have a lot of friends who really can spin a mean yarn when they need to. Sometimes their stories are so good, I repeat them. I know this is a trait a lot of others have too and that always makes me laugh.

It is funny though how sometimes a great story when told orally can become lifeless in a written form. Writing a story down takes away so much. You cant gesture or give people funny voices or anything when writing. I think that is why I am always so impressed with people who can take a story and give it life in print.

So what can I say about Alexie. Well, I'm impressed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Road Not Taken

This morning, I heard a story on the radio about Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. They are in real danger of closing and are at the moment only staying open because the alumni have managed to raise enough money to keep them open.

I never was a student at Antioch but there was a time when I really wanted to be. I even visited their campus. I loved the place. It was exactly the sort of hippy dippy free thinking kind of place that I know I would have both loved and would have suited me best academically. When I first heard about Antioch and told my Dad about what a cool place it seemed, he just started laughing and said that every weirdo in our family has always wanted to go to Antioch so Why Not? My uncle and one of his cousins went there.

But I ended up deciding not to go. I got a scholarship to the local community college. I had a new boyfriend and I was all in love with him. The tuition at Antioch was way more than my parents could have afforded. EtC ETC. I took a different road.

It hasnt been bad. My life, in many ways, is really darn good. But every so often, I wonder how my life might have turned out differently if I had just gone to that school. Who would I have met? What would I have learned? It is during those moments when I think of a certain famous poem by Robert Frost. And then I laugh

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Stop City Income Tax - Vote On Tuesday, November 6

The town I live in, Ypsilanti, has an income tax issue on the ballot this Tuesday. It is for a proposed temporary income tax of 1% for city residents and 0.5% for non-residents who work in the city. There is some property tax roll back in the scheme which gives a break to people like me who own property in the city.

Oddly, I find myself in opposition of this tax. Most people who know me know that is not the usual position I take on these sorts of issues. I usually am very much in favor of tax increases especially when I think that the tax money will be spend wisely. I know that the last time I can remember any kind of tax increase in Ypsilanti being voted on (the road one around six or seven years ago), I voted yes for it. I just cannot, in good conscience vote for this income tax.

Firstly, I dont like it because I think that with the property tax roll back, it places more burden on renters than on homeowners. Since renters tend to be poorer, it puts too much burden on hard working lower income people who are the very group of people I believe should have tax burden lifted from them.

This poorer group is also represented by people who work in our city. Yeah, ok, the people over at EMU probably have pretty decent jobs at decent pay (especially the professors), but over on my street there is a factory. A factory which, judging by the cars its workers drive and by how many dont seem to have cars at all, clearly is not paying too much. And there are lots of other low-wage jobs in this city and those people probably cant afford the tax either. I mean, even if their tax burden is only a hundred dollars a year, it is important to remember that for a poor family, a hundred dollars is a LOT of money. It is a utility bill. It is a winter coat. It is a whole wardrobe from Value World. A week's groceries. Whatever. I just know when I see the workers at that factory that they can ill afford such a tax.

Another reason I am against this tax is that I think the main reason the City of Ypsilanti needs this tax is because the tax structure in our state is broken. I believe that this tax will not fix that but instead may hide some of the symptoms of it which will mean that things are less likely to change. Maybe the state needs to see cities like Ypsilanti struggling? Something has to change though. It sucks that I have to pay so much more tax than my neighbors in Ypsilanti Township. It sucks that I have to pay so much more tax than my parents, who live in Green Oak Twp in a house easily worth four times as much as mine. I dont mean that I have a higher rate either, I mean that I pay more tax...more than a thousand dollars more!

This income tax is also something that is very visible and something that will have an effect on the housing market here and not a positive one. I know that reduced fire and police protection and all of the other cuts that will happen without the income tax will also have a negative effect on house and rental prices but I think that because an income tax is so in-your-face visible and reduced fire and police are not things that one notices every day, the tax will have the more negative effect.

So, please vote NO on the City Income Tax.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Tonight, what I would be doing instead of blogging and what I will be doing as soon as I am done blogging, is to engage in some guilty pleasures of mine.

  1. Naturally, no guilty pleasure list would be complete without food. And tonight for dinner, I am having a great big giant "everything" bagel. It will be toasted and will have lots of cream cheese on it. YUM!
  2. I am going to watch Meerkat Manor. A show that I stumbled on over the summer while hanging out at my parents house. They have cable. I dont. But I have Netflix and Netflix has Meerkat Manor. So I have two DVD's of the cute little buggers to watch.
  3. Booze. Let's just say that I have a bottle of wine and I dont need to drive anywhere tonight.
  4. Pajamas. I LOVE pajamas.

Well, now that I think about it, that is a pretty lame list. In my younger days, I would have been dropping acid and staying up all night with my friends causing trouble. Although I sometimes miss those days too, there is something to be said for the life of a boring middle class middle aged lady too.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


November is National Novel Writing Month. Every since I first heard about NaNoWriMo, I've considered participating. I mean, writing a novel seems like a good goal for a person to have in life. And it is one that pretty much any literate person can achieve. I mean, the goal is just to write a novel. It isnt to write a good novel although that would be pretty cool. It isnt to get published. It is just about the act of creating. Also on my agenda for Someday is to create some kind of painting/fresco hybrid thingie. I think I have that one scheduled for the Tuesday after I win the lotto.

Anyways, as usual I am wimping out of NaNoWriMo. But, I am going to participate in the less ambitious NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month! I am going to write a post every day in November. It is a good way to keep the ole noggin working and November is a month where I kind of need that. So...expect to hear a lot from me. I cant promise it will be any good, of course. But that goes without saying.