Thursday, September 30, 2010

A little "wine"

9-30-10 struggling brain

I probably shouldn’t be blogging today since I am in a funk this week. Greg and I both are still slowly recovering from the flu, and my mood is dull and pessimistic at the moment.

Even worse, I am aware that many people, friends, friends of friends, my friend's families are suffering with their own current hardships. These really makes my situation look like I’m in a bed of roses, and not a bed of cough drops, Kleenex and Vick’s Vapor Rub.

There are big problems out there! Illness, end of life issues, divorce, betrayal, joblessness, loss of home, work stress and family stresses are having to be endured by many.

How can we cope? I’ll take suggestions here!

I know in the past, one thing which has helped me feel better is to return to writing in my gratitude journal. By really forcing myself to come up with 3 to 5 things every night which are “positive“, or made me smile during the day; this does re-focus my attention in the right direction. I can recommend this practice.

So here goes:
1. Memories of the dinner I had with my Allison Peace sisters last week makes me smile. It’s good to have people in your life to share the joys as well as the burdens. Note my special sized glass I get to use when I drink wine with Carolyn and Sue!

2. Friend Ann, sent me FB “get-well” greeting which made me smile!

3. I received a letter in the mail from Mom and Dad with beautiful pictures of autumn in Charles City.

4. I was able to sit outside for 30 minutes today without coughing and enjoyed some sunshine.

5. I’m grateful that Greg and I were together in the same town while we were sick, since it’s the pits being sick and alone. And I'm glad for the company of Clover, our KC cat. She's been by my side all week.

Well, at least I smiled a bit while I wrote this blog today!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hometown visit

9-29-10 absent-minded brain

Life has been so busy, that I forgot to report on my weekend trip to my hometown a few weeks ago. Greg was doing some car thing in KC, and I since had to be in Iowa City giving training Monday thought Wednesday, I decided it would make sense to visit Charles City and go directly to Iowa City from there.

Here are a few pictures from that beautiful September weekend.

I visited the new suspension bridge site on the Cedar River. Construction was almost complete.

I saw some rocks by the river bank which looked like hearts to me.

I went by my friend Jean Ann's house, but no one was home that day. I left my "calling card" at her front door, but I haven't heard from her yet to know if she got my message.

Dad wearing his new Hawk T-shirt bought by Greg's Mom. We watched the game together sitting out on the back porch. The weather was oh so lovely that day!

Saturday night we had dinner out at the Bowling Alley and neighbor Bunny ate with us as usual. All in all, it was just the restful weekend I needed before my hectic training week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My NEW vintage

9-28-10 grateful brain
I’m so excited to have received another fabulous vintage piece of clothing a few weeks ago from my parents neighbor up in my hometown. I love this material! Like the dress I received this summer, this is a handmade skirt sewn by Mrs. Berns, my former 4-H leader.
Thanks to her daughter Jan for rescuing this for me!

I thought I would have to wait until spring to wear this skirt, but since it is a heavy fabric with autumn colors, I believe I can put this brown sweater with it and wear it to next week’s Cancer Workshop in Cedar Rapids. Luckily at this training, I only have to give one presentation which will last only about 30 minutes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend update

9-27-10 resting brain
Dang, the weekend didn’t turn out like we had planned. We were not able to attend the KC Plaza Art Fair this year since first Greg was sick Wed-Friday, and then I started feeling bad on Saturday. I spent most of Sunday in bed in hopes of a fast recovery.

Monday, I do feel a bit better and had to get some work done which is due Tuesday.

My time in bed on Saturday late afternoon, Sunday, and Sunday night from 7:00PM to 7:00AM Monday morning, proved that cats do sleep a lot. Clover, our newly adopted cat spent the entire time with me in bed.

Sometimes on top of the covers....

Sometimes she crawled under the covers!

PS: I never know if I just have the common cold, or if I have the flu. Either way, I am missing the outside world, but still will take it easy for a few more days to assure full recovery. October will be a very busy month for me!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kitty delight

9-25-10 I'm in heaven brain
An animal lover friend on Facebook posted this site, and of course I could hardly control myself when I saw all these cute faces!

Kitty delight HERE
If you love cats and kittens, you must visit here!

This is just one example you will see at "The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee" website. (I know Renee is sneezing by now)

I must add this to my favorites list and view every day!

PS: Sorry to be a Debbie Downer... but did you note only 3 more months until Christmas? :(

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend report: Eat, Walk, Sleep

9-24-10 wet but happy brain
The Presbyterian Church where I am a member (Westminster), about ten years ago decided to become a more “welcoming” church. This was a long process of study, committees and prayer. Nothing is spontaneous with Presbyterians.

Our welcoming statement is often placed on the front or back of any of our publications reads:

We welcome all persons as participants in out congregation, regardless of age, race, gender, marital status, physical condition, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic background, economic status, or any other human condition.
With this in mind, I guess it was only natural for our Church’s parade theme this year to be “celebrating diversity”. I’m speaking about our Beaverdale neighborhood Fall Festival which was this last weekend.

Friday evening was wonderful! Big crowds down in the Beaverdale shops area; live music, food, carnival, and nice fireworks even. We met up with Ann and Roy by accident, and also got to visit with a few other friends.

Saturday’s events, unfortunately, were a little different. At 4:00 AM the rain started, I woke to thunder and I cramp in my right calf muscle… gee how was I going to walk in the parade scheduled at 10:00AM? I went back to bed for a few more hours.

Well the rain let up to a light drizzle/mist, so the parade was still on. I dressed in four layers to keep warm. It was only in the 50’s, and a bit breezy as well.
My “diversity” costume was put together with the help of neighbor, church, peace-sister friend Carolyn. She works with International students and thus has many interesting pieces of clothing in her closet.

I’m representing the country of India.

Greg captured a picture, which you can see many umbrellas were part of most people’s wardrobe that day.

It rained heavy most of Saturday afternoon, so Greg and I spent hours in bed napping, which actually is just what I needed.

PS: I should also note that all the politicians came out to be in the parade as usual in an election year, Senator Grassley, Gov Culver, Branstad, House Rep Boswell... I half expected to see Sarah Palin since she was in town Friday night. If she decides to run for President, a showing in an Iowa parade is a must and Beaverdale has the biggest and best parade in Des Moines!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Would you tattoo?

9-23-10 inked brain

Back in the day when I had cable TV and would find myself channel surfing, I would land on Miami Ink, a TV show about tattoo artists. I began to appreciate the artistic side of tattoos, and the creativity and talent behind them…. but I still did not think I could choose something to have on my body permanently. Yet I was intrigued by the thought of it.

Well, I found a fun alternative, thanks to my teen-age neighbor Paige. She discovered the joys of Henna temporary tattoos.

Paige created a Henna tattoo for me to go with my costume for the Beaverdale parade which was this weekend. She did this all by hand. I was very happy with her work.

This is to last about 7 to 10 days…. When it’s gone, I wonder if I will miss it? or maybe I will be ready for a new and different one?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More pondering

9-22-10 still thinking brain
My confusion on business, the economy and taxes may be resolving a bit. It happened Sunday in church. The Scripture lesson was Luke 16:1-13, the story of the dishonest steward/manager” (oh good I thought, I have never understood this story), then our minister also admitted that he has never fully understood this either (darn, I was disappointed that I would not get some new brilliant insight from him).... maybe my friend Lori can shed some light on this?

The most well-known part of this passage comes at the end, Luke 16: 13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon”. Also I’ve heard this translated, “You cannot serve God and “wealth” or You cannot serve God and worldly things”…. OK that seems straight forward enough…. But as I pondered more and more the rest of the story….. why was the dishonest steward/manager “commended/praised” by the master ?… after all the steward was “wasting his goods”.

When the dishonest steward/manager got in trouble, he did some wheeling and dealing with the master’s debtors, trying to keep himself in the good graces with these other business people, so once he was fired by his master, he still might have other options opened to him. But then why wasn’t his master really mad at him? Why was he commended by this master?

So that got me thinking, maybe I have been trying to project my own integrity and to put an ethical personification on the business world, where-as really the whole point of business is not about kindness, fairness, love and helping others…. It is about profits and looking out for number one, yourself.

For that reason alone, the constitution should not give corporations the same status as it gives the people- human beings who have consciences and feelings, but that is a whole other topic.

So maybe the master was impressed that the dishonest steward had been making these deals to keep his business connections after he would be fired by his master. This action showed clearly that the dishonest steward/manger had chosen to serve mammon/wealth, just like his master…. And it showed he was not a total looser in the business world.

So I guess in my mind, you either look towards “business” to give you salvation and hope, to be the light in the world, and to give you comfort and be your “provider”…. Or you choose God to do supply those things.

This point might just help me clarify all my other pandering of late!
OK tomorrow... onto a new topic.... I promise!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Feeling bamboozled

9-21-10 pondering brain
Sorry I am boring you all with boring business and politics here in my blog….. once the temperatures shift to autumn weather, for some reason I feel in the mood to start listening to talk radio again, mostly to NPR, but I also throw in a little Fox/Rush to get me stirred up.

And for this reason, my mind has been really working away on trying to make sense of what is currently happening in our country and the strange discourse. Why do two people (like a Beaver and a Chicken) look at the same problem and see two completely different solutions?

Beaverdale Festival Friday Night:

Iowa City last week (Renee's picture of me)

Maybe I'm hanging out with the wrong type of animals lately?? Where is that wise old Owl when you need him?

Which brings me to a quote by Richard Doak, retired newspaper editor, who wrote an article in the Des Moines Register paper Sunday.

We’ve all been bamboozled. Doing what’s good for business is not always the same as doing what’s good for the economy, although almost every politician in the country believes it is. To see how the interest of the business and health of the economy can diverge, consider wages.

For a business, low wages produce the ideal environment. For an economy, low wages are slow poison. Underpaid employees can’t buy enough goods and services to keep the economy humming, and can’t save for the kids’ college and make the other investment that make the economy grow in the long run. ….

For at least four decades, American economic policy has been run on the advice of the business community, with emphasis on deregulation, hostility to organized labor and tax cuts for business and the wealthy….”

OK, maybe that tells me how our country got to this point we are in. That might be enough clarity for one day..... my brain hurts now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

We knew her when....

9-20-10 not surprised brain
This is so cool. Some of you might remember Heather McGhee who stayed with us in December 2007, while she worked for the Edwards campaign here in Iowa.

Now she is all grown up and on TV!
HERE (forward to 2:20 minutes if you don't want to watch the whole segment)

Heather works for DEMOS which according to their website they are a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization founded in 2000. Headquartered in New York City, Demos works with advocates and policymakers around the country in pursuit of four overarching goals:
a more equitable economy with widely shared prosperity and opportunity;
•a vibrant and inclusive democracy with high levels of voting and civic engagement;
•an empowered public sector that works for the common good;
•and responsible U.S. engagement in an interdependent world.

What jumped out at me in this TV interview was the fact that WORK is taxed at %25 rate, and WEALTH is taxed at %15 rate. We give lip service to how important the American Work Ethic is, so why do we "punish" those who work with making them pay higher taxes?.... I guess that shouldn't surprise me considering who's in power and who makes the laws.

Thanks to Facebook, we can keep up with Heather. She was one smart gal and I am not surprised that she ended up on TV. Someday, maybe she will run for some public office. What a blessing it was to get to know her and have her as a guest in our home for 6 weeks.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend activities

9-18-10 autumn business
There is so much to do in Des Moines this weekend. We have the 3 day fall festival in my Beaverdale neighborhood and I will be participating in the Saturday morning parade as usual. Then there is a "wine thing" down in East Village, the annual Fall Art Show at Westminster (which I am entered into), the Sherman Hill Home tour of old homes, of course football, and the Ronald Reagan Republican Dinner (with special guess speaker.. see below). It is to be on C-span if you are interested.

I am not saying I will be attending all of these... only a few.

Friday mornings paper:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Standing up for the Middle Class!

9-17-10 pondering brain

Warning! I'm at it again. Some of you may not what to read this.

No, not the Palin thing, but the TAX thing again.
I've been studying up a bit, thanks to fellow blogger California Gal who sent me to an expert, Robert Reich. HERE is the full article which is making sense to me. You can also verify his credentials there also.

Quoting Reich:

"So-called supply-side economists don’t like raising taxes on anyone, of course, and argue that raising them on the well-off will slow economic growth. They say people at the top will have less incentive to work hard, invest, and invent.

Unfortunately for supply-siders, history has proven them wrong again and again. During almost three decades spanning 1951 to 1980, when America’s top marginal tax rate was between 70 and 92 percent, the nation’s average annual growth was 3.7 percent. But between 1983 and start of the Great Recession, when the top rate was far lower – ranging between 35 and 39 percent – the economy grew an average of just 3 percent per year. Supply-siders are fond of claiming that Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cuts caused the 1980s economic boom. In fact, that boom followed Reagan’s 1982 tax increase. The 1990s boom likewise was not the result of a tax cut; it came in the wake of Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.

A final reason for allowing the Bush tax cut to expire for people at the top is the most basic of all. Although Wall Street’s excesses were the proximate cause of the Great Recession, its fundamental cause lay in the nation’s widening inequality. For many years, most of the gains of economic growth in America have been going to the top – leaving the nation’s vast middle class with a shrinking portion of total income. (In the 1970s, the top 1 percent received 8 to 9 percent of total income, but thereafter income concentrated so rapidly that by 2007 the top received 23.5 percent of the total.)......

George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut was a huge windfall for the wealthy. About 40 percent of its benefits went to the tiny sliver of Americans earning over $500,000. So rather than debate whether to end the Bush tax cuts for the top and restore the top marginal tax rates to where they were under Bill Clinton, we should be debating whether to raise the highest marginal tax rate higher than it was under Bill Clinton and use the proceeds to give the middle class a permanent tax cut.

I’m not suggesting this, mind you, but just to get the debate started: How about restoring the top rate to where it was under John F. Kennedy (76 percent), or under Dwight Eisenhower (91 percent)?"


I must say this last part really blew my mind. I had no idea what the tax percentages were back then.

As one columnist said in an article last week, Eugene Robinson,... "The richest American need to pay higher taxes, not because they're bad people who deserve to be punished, but because they earn a much bigger share of the nation's income and hold a bigger share of its overall wealth."

Also I was thinking about the "logic" people use that a tax increase on the wealthy hurts small businesses and then they would have to passing on the cost to us consumers.... well if that logic holds, then we should have seen a drop in costs and more hiring when they first received that big fast tax break in 2001. To my knowledge THIS never happened.

Another thought phoned into the Des Moines Register Newspaper "2 Cent Worth" line stated: "Do the Republicans have a way to pay for the $3 trillion over the next 10 years that it would take to keep in place the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy? I think the answer is no."

So I guess my current passion is standing up for the MIDDLE CLASS. Let's NOT go backward to the days when we had only two income classes; the very wealthly and the working poor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Voice of reason?

9-16-10 hopeful brain
I think I found a new voice of reason, thanks to an NPR report on David Platt, an Evangelical pastor.

Platt warns that we are following the values of culture, rather than the values of the Bible and values taught by Jesus. Our self-center interests and materialism are out of control and needs to be refocused back to sacrifice and service to others.

I personally believe many people have rejected religion and church-going in the last few decades because they can see the hypocrisy and two-facedness of many churches and self proclaimed Christians who can speak the words and quote some scripture, but who don’t act or live much by the principles of Jesus.

I’m going to go out and get myself a copy of this book. I’ll report back later.

This video can give you a sneak peek and you might decide that you are interested too in learning more.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oooops, not so fast

9-15-10 scattered brain

Just when I had a moment of feeling positive about Sarah Palin, reading that same newspaper later that day last week….I read a Letter to the Editor by Des Moines resident Deb McMahon, which brought me back to reality.

Sarah Palin, the lipstick wearing pit bull, Mama Grizzly is coming to town, bringing along her entourage of fear mongers, tea party members and Fox News fans. I can only imagine the love fest that will take place when she spews forth her vitriolic Barack Obama bashing.

After all, this is America where you can wrap yourself in the flag while you denigrate our commander in chief. This is America where you can espouse Christian values while questioning the falsely accusing our president’s faith. This is America, where a half-term former governor can rake in millions while saying she’s just like you. Wink, wink.

Wake up America, and smell the malicious moose chili flavored with spicy sacrilege. It is time to elect thoughtful, well-read, issue-driven candidates. And time to say farewell to the commercialized version who truly are without substance.

OK, enough on my part! I will strive NOT to write any more about Palin, unless she throws her hat into the presidential ring. I don't want to get caught up into this political circus!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

U.S. Freedoms

9-14-10 surprised brain
Last week I nearly fell out of my chair and spilled my morning cup of soy chi tea when I read a quote in the newspaper from Sarah Palin.

This was all concerning the minister in Florida who was planning a book burning of the Quran to mark the 9-11 attacks.

After I first scratched my head, wondering why the press seems to insist on getting Sarah Palin’s opinion of every issue…. I read on into the article.

Palin had put out a statement on her Facebook:

…“ though people have the constitutional right to burn the Quran if they choose, doing so would be an insensitive and an unnecessary provocation- much like building a mosque at ground zero. ….. I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance.”

Wow… a statement from Ms. Palin that sounded reasonable and one I could agree with.

In America, we do have RIGHTS and Freedoms…. But along with those rights comes responsibility, and it seems now a days, many people forget the “responsibility” part of our Freedom to choose. Often, us Americans act like spoil brats and insist on “our own personal rights”, but forget the next person also has his own personal rights to do something different.

The “right” to do something also needs to be balanced with wisdom. I believe we need to keep asking the question….. I have the right to do “this”…. But is it the WISE thing to do?

PS: I’m wondering if Ms. Palin feels the same about burning the U.S. flag?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music makes the world go round

9-13-10 GLEE- full brain
Boy I’m really in a musical mood these days, probably because of my recent trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame out in Cleveland…

Or maybe it’s seeing myself on the cover of the “Rolling Stone”! (ha ha ha)

Or maybe cause I am watching reruns of GLEE as I prepare for the new TV season.

I do love singing, and I sing often when I am alone….I just wish that I could sing…. But unfortunately it’s not one of my talents in this life.

Songwriters amaze me. How do they come up with a nice tune and then have the lyrics to go with the music. I can see being good at one or the other… but to come up with something so totally different from all the songs that have already been written just blows my mind. I guess songs are like snowflakes.... similar but all different in their own unique way.

Visit this blog HERE and you will see a talented gal Kerri Arista and her attempt to write 50 songs in 90 days. I really like this song which is #25 on her way to 50. It's called “This is the Life”.

Boy, this world of blogging also fascinates me. You can find blogs, out there on the Internet, on any topic you can think of! I really am starting to understand the power of the Internet. Could we ever go back and live without it!? Well, I suppose I could.... something to ponder.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Empty Sky"

9-10-10 reflective brain

I've still been into listening to Bruce Springsteen music most of this week. I guess September will be my month for Bruce, since he was born in September on the 23rd, 1949.

I know I really love the 70's Springsteen music. I love rocking out to "Born to Run" (1975), "Darkness on the Edge of Town" (1978) and "The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle" (1973).... but lately I have been listening to his album/CD called "The Rising" released in 2002, which has Springsteen's reflections after 9-11. (Tomorrow will be 9 years past)

According to Wikipedia, "The Rising" was not only a commercial success for Springsteen after a seven year stretch without releasing a studio album/CD, but this album/CD also had critical acclaim. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart with the first week sales of over 520,000 copies. This fact made Springsteen the oldest person to achieve a first-week sales of over a half a million copies in the US.

In 2002 this album was one out of only two albums to be given a FIVE STAR rating by Rolling Stone Magazine. This album also won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in 2003.

Here is video of acoustic version of "Empty Sky".... If you find yourself in a reflective mood this weekend.

PS: The whole album "The Rising" is not filled with slow or depressing songs, there are many upbeat songs as well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bridging the gap

9-9-10 replacement brain
The spring flood of 2008 in Iowa was devastating for my hometown of Charles City, since it caused our historic suspension bridge to be swept away! This bridge was over 100 years old. It was incredible. I could hardly believe my eyes when I went home that summer over the 4th of July and saw want was left of the once graceful bridge. The concrete bases which at that time had recently been updated/redone, were about the only part which remained.

Now a new bridge is being constructed. It could never be like the historic bridge, but I’m glad to see this being replaced, since many people use this walking bridge to get across the river to the park and swimming pool. My parents sent me this picture of the progress being made on the new bridge this month. They have been working on it all summer long.

AND thanks to google I found this link with pictures of the old bridge, many taken in 2005. Click the link to view pictures.

I am also grateful for many local painters and photographers who have over the years captured the imagine of our beloved suspension bridge. Joy Frank is one of those photographers who sell calendars of the bridge with wonderful pictures throughout the different seasons. My current wall calendar of her work has this picture for the month of September.

Back in the summer of 2000, Greg and I had our picture taken by the old bridge and we used this for our Christmas card that year. Boy we look younger then, but that was 10 years ago, and Greg didn’t have as much grey hair was he does now!

I guess nothing in this physical world can last forever. We all age and pass on, including bridges eventually.... but love does last forever, and I will forever love that old suspension bridge and hold my memories of it close to my heart.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Road trip part II

9-8-10 family brain

The last part of our trip was visiting Greg’s side of the family. This meant I got to spend time with our 4.5 year old nephew Brennan.

Let me tell you, Bren is quite a character at this age. I can’t even imagine what he will turn out be like. His vocabulary is extensive and he wants to be a “vet doctor”. Bren loves animals, bugs, and anything in nature.

His parents are doing a great job with him, although I know it is not an easy job keeping up with his energy.

The last time I saw Bren was last summer, and his favorite saying was “what’s diss” (what’s this)… this year his favorite saying is “guess what”…… He says this every time he starts telling me something. I quickly learned that I really didn’t have to try to guess each time, it was more of a rhetorical question on his part.

I felt honored that Bren wanted to hang out with me and we played a lot together. He even requested I ride next to him in the van. On the second day, when it was time for Greg and I to head back west for home, Bren acted up... and wouldn't stand for his picture with Tim and Heather. Heather said it was his way of coping... he was mad that we were leaving. Bren didn't even let me give him a hug. Bren maybe advanced for his age in many ways, but he still has plenty of maturing to do... but hey, he is only 4.5 years old!

Greg’s mom, the only person who hates getting their picture taken more than my sister! It was like pulling teeth to get her to look at the camera.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September road trip

9-7-10 traveling brain

Our five day trip out to Ohio came to pass due to the fact that Greg got some free tickets to a Cleveland Browns pre-season game from a friend. Greg is a Browns fan since it is his way of staying connected to his native state.

I agreed to attend with him, since this would be a way for me to visit some friends who have moved to Columbus Ohio a few years ago, and we also decided to spend a few days with Greg’s family while we were in the area.

Wednesday evening was spent with Amy and Julie and of course I had planned for an art project that all could do together.

Amy and Julie send their love back to all their Des Moines friends.

The following evening, Thursday, was the Browns game we attended in Cleveland. This turned out to be perfect night weather wise, and our seats were awesome on the mid level at the 50 yard line. Luck was with us on our arrival as Greg went to register at the Browns Backer’s window; we were given pre-game passes onto the field.

Greg was happy and even happier that the Browns won. I enjoyed people watching and we were treated to great fireworks display after the game.

To be continued….

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

9-6-10 laboring brain

Today I am enjoying Labor Day, resting some, but also working out in the yard in Des Moines trimming bushes. Last night we arrived back home from a 5 day traveling trip out to the Ohio area. Five nights out, each in a different hotel, so I really enjoyed my own bed last night when we arrived home 11:06 PM, just before it starting raining.

We would have been home earlier on Sunday, but we HAD to make a special loop back through Cleveland, after we saw that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had a special Bruce Springsteen exhibit.

I know my resume might look like I am one of those "educated elitists" Rush Limbaugh seems to turn his nose down on.... but my heart really belongs to the Working Class heroes. I believe that is why Bruce Sringsteen has been one of my top music favorites since 1975. I LOVE his music and somehow related to the themes he sings about.

Growing up, my hometown had two large factories, one a tractor company and the other a veterinary medicine company. Both of these factories provided good jobs to raise a family on, many jobs did not need a collage education. Our town was thriving back then in the 1960's. I can appreciate that unions have played a vital role in improving working conditions in the US, acknowledging also, that there is a fine balance that needs to in place between management and labor. "Win-Win" mentality can and should be the goal, but has not always been the case.

We enjoyed the Rock and Roll exhibit on Bruce Springsteen, immersing ourselves for about 2 hours, then listened to Bruce on the iPod all the way back to Des Moines for 11 hours. This was a good way to get in the Labor Day mood.

This video is an example of his early music from "Darkness on the Edge of Town" from 1987 called "Factory". This video from concert last year, just one month before we were to see him in concert in KC. Unfortunately, that concert was cancelled due to death of one of his road staff in a KC hotel.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I'm taking a blog break, cause I just don't feel like writing.
I hope my batteries will get recharged over the long Labor Day weekend.

One last summer retreat before the crazy September schedule begins.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trying to make sense of it all

9-2-10 clueless brain
I'm still trying to make sense of it all..... business, taxes, the economy and the free market system. I'll admit I only took two business type classes in my 8 years of college, and one was a marketing class. My experience was in science and math, so I know I probably don't have any "business" trying to even write about such topics. But I guess I do write about them, as a way of trying to wrap my brain around it all.

I don't know who to believe, I hear several sides to the tax cut debate and just get more confused. MY own logic tells me that if I had a business, I would only be able to expand and hire more people if the product or service I was providing/selling was in high demand. If more people (the mass of middle class people) had more money in their pockets, they could buy from me, increasing demand would mean I would and could expand.

I recently heard on a NPR show that Starbucks is still doing OK, but Walmart sales are down.... to me this indicates who has money to spend and who does not.

Keeping all the money at the top 2% of wealthiest people, only seems to keep the money circulating at the top. I just don't see it tricking down much.

My Godchild, bless her heart, who is a business major, has even been trying to educate me... and I am trying to listen and learn from her.... at the same time this week I see this Letter to the Editor in the KC Star Newspaper.... one more opinion to think about, and I'll admit.... I'm even more confused.

Bush Tax Cut for Rich by David Troup
"I grow increasingly frustrated hearing the Republican legislators and pundits whine that if the (Bush) tax cuts are allowed to expire for the wealthy- defined as joint filers with taxable income of over $250,000- then thousands of jobs will be lost. The mantra is that unemployment will increase because the increase hits small businesses, which create jobs.

This claim is both unprovable and illogical. Keep in mind that taxable income is adjusted gross minus your exemptions and deductions, so $250,000 may be $300,000 in adjusted gross income. At that level of income, the effect would be an additional $30 in federal income tax for every $1,000 of additional income-- an amount that is not likely to affect anybody's purchasing decisions.

But most importantly, an employer does not pay taxes on the money spent on employee salaries and benefits, so the tax rate you pay on what's left is irrelevant to a decision whether to hire someone.

Any businessman who would decide not to hire someone because he would have to pay an extra 3 percent to 3.6 percent on his taxable income isn't smart enough to be successful anyway."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to school

9-1-10 amazed brain
WOW... it is September already. I'm not sure what happened to August. I guess I was stuck inside the house with the AC on, since August was a hot and humid month this year, often with Heat Index over 100 degrees.

September is the return of school for many, and my nephew Christopher is one of them. Chris received his undergraduate degree two years ago and has since been working to save up for graduate school.

Jan and Sarah helped him move down to Alabama where he will study history and work towards his Masters and maybe even is Doctorate I believe.

Hand-me-down furniture has been collected for his first apartment and loaded on U-haul.

Here is picture of his text books for the semester!

I need to go visit him, since I have never been to Alabama before and know nothing of the schools down there. I think he is in Tuscaloosa... and maybe the sports team is referred to as the Crimson Tide? Yes, a visit in 2011 will be in order for Greg and I to check this out and to see how Christopher is making his mark in the world of history academia. Of course he is taking after me... I won two history awards in high school :)