Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Another room painted

We recently tackled re-doing the dining room. Yet again we had to take a very dark room and brighten it up. It took a lot of primer, 36 hours of labor and six days overall working on the room. We also had to change out the dark orange light for something brighter. The white blinds for the windows arrived today, so I'll get those installed this weekend. Then all we'll be waiting on will be the pictures for the walls. They're being framed and matted. I don't know if it's just this house, getting older, or getting burned out, but I am not loving re-doing this house like I did our last last house. I'll be glad when this is all finished.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Where we're going

I'm not sure where this country is heading lately, but we're not going down without a fight.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Looking for a change

Well, I did it, cut and color.  The cut is not a big deal, but the darker color is going to take some getting used to.  I'm a creature of habit so I predict within a year, it'll be blonde and long again.  Oh well, it's fun to try new things on occasion.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Brrr, baby it's cold outside!

We're not getting much snow, but boy is it cold out there! I've never had my eye lashes freeze to my scarf when I blinked before. I think the bitter cold wind chill, combined with the steam off my breath produced just enough moisture. I need to wear a balaclava next time!
Lambeau, of course, is not bothered by the cold in the least. He's actually quite frisky and wanting to run and play.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


The year is winding down.  Our worst fears for the election have come to pass, and the electoral college didn't save us.  I'm not sure we'll be able to hold our nose and bear this for four years like we thought when George W. Bush was elected.  Bush was dumb, but not evil.  Even though he was surrounded by evil, we knew he loved his country.  I don't believe Trump loves anything but himself and money.  Whereas Bush was bumbling dumb, Trump is arrogant, dangerous dumb.  He is filling his cabinet and administration with the worst of the worst.  I worry for the environment, for international relations, for our civil rights, for my children's futures, and our economy.  

I have tried having calm, honest discussions with Trump supporters.  More often than not, when I try to get to the bottom of why these people voted for Trump, or even Republican, when their party has done nothing to improve their lives, I'm usually given reasons that are not based on facts.  When I present facts, I'm told they're a liberal spin.  It's kind of like trying to convince them about global warming.  They refuse to believe the facts.  The thing about facts, is that they're true whether you believe them or not.  What a horrible thing hate media has done to our nation. Not only has it divided us as a nation, but it has fed some of us so much misinformation, that there's no convincing people of the facts.

How will we dig ourselves out of this mess now?  Bush and his cronies crashed our economy, got us in two wars we had no business being in, and allowed the erosion of women's rights, and provided an environment that was hostile to gays.  Trump's gang are in the process of dismantling the very fabric of our democracy.  Trump is appointing people to head agencies that they hate and have wanted to destroy.  How the hell are you supposed to successfully head an agency that you don't believe should exist?  Trump and the Republicans plan to end the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and throw millions of people off their health insurance.  They plan to end and privatize Social Security and Medicaid.  Their rich corporate friends are going to get even richer with our tax dollars, and we will suffer.  Trump is planning to "re-build" our infrastructure by selling it to private companies at a bargain price, and have tax payers give those corporations monetary incentives to rebuild the infrastructure.  In the end, the taxpayers will lose their infrastructure assets and pay the corporations for the privilege to use them, after paying the corporations to fix them.

Here are some examples of how this works.  It's like the taxpayers of a city paying to build a stadium to get a professional sports team for their city.  The public pays for it, but then the team owns it and charges the public when they come to see games played there.  It's like toll roads and toll bridges.  The government "donates" land to a private company to build a road or a bridge.  The government gives the company tax breaks, and/or gives them part of the money to build said road or bridge.  In the end, the company now owns the land where they put the road or bridge.  It was built with taxpayer money, and the company charges the public to use them.  This privatization also ALWAYS costs the taxpayers more than if government handled it because what people don't know, is that there are laws that when government operates a school, a prison, a toll road, a utility, etc., they are not allowed to make a profit doing it.  They can only charge what it actually costs to run and maintain it.  Corporations always aim to make a profit so they will always cost more than government.  Some people argue that corporations will run things better, provide better service, but the research shows that's not true.  This is part of the Republican spin, tell people government doesn't work, do everything you can to prevent government from working right, then say, "see we told you government doesn't work," then privatize the hell out of things the government used to do just fine, so your corporate buddies can get rich, and funnel money back toward their congressional whores.

So I'm feeling particularly pessimistic about what's to come.  I don't know what to do to stop this madness.  I feel like I'm in a sinking boat, with more holes than I've got fingers to plug, while people on one end of the boat are ripping it apart to make money while we're all in the process of sinking.  Just over half this country sees what a disaster this Trump administration is going to be, and the other half just doesn't get it.  They think we're being sore losers, but it's not that.  If only it was something that minor.  It reminds me of group projects in school.  Invariably I would be in a group with the lazy, the cocky, the over-confident, and the fools.  They would screw around the whole time then panic when the due date arrived and want to turn in crap just to get a grade.  Meanwhile, I began the project as soon as it was assigned, did a good job, and had it completed before the deadline.  Now this election is that group project.  I don't want to suffer for their ignorance, but I'm being forced to, and they just don't see what a crap candidate they've foisted on the country.  I don't care if people make crap decisions that only affect them, but it pisses me off when their crap decisions harm me or this country.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Time for recovery

Our dog, Lambeau has been going steadily lame in his hind quarters.  The veterinarians here couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.  So we eventually drove three hours and took him to the vets at Cornell.  They diagnosed a number of things: two blown out knees requiring ACL surgeries, mild hip dysplasia, and arthritis in the lower spin, hips, and knees.

Thursday he had his first knee surgery.  Everything went well, now we have 8-12 weeks recovery and physical therapy.  The good news is that he's putting weight on that leg and doesn't act like he's in pain.  The bad news is he won't lie still unless I'm sitting in the room with him.  This is going to be a long winter.  :-(

Monday, November 7, 2016

Scylla and Charybdis

Some people feel like both major party choices for President are evil.  They don't want to vote for either, such is the success of thirty years' effort to tarnish Clinton's reputation, and more than ten years of hate media's propaganda machine.

Currently I'm trying to figure out a white outfit to wear to the polls tomorrow in honor and memory of all the suffragettes who fought and died so that women could vote, and maybe one day become President.

Susan B.Anthony's grave is about an hour and a half drive from here.  People have been placing "I voted" stickers on her grave.  I would like to alter my sticker to read:

For Her...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Painting, painting, painting

I've only been painting since Labor Day weekend on this house, but at least I'm finally seing some results.  The previous homeowners painted the kitchen and hall burnt orange, plus they had dark light fixtures. So I had to brighten things a bit.  In addition to painting everything in sight, I also changed out light fixtures.  What an improvement!  Here are a few before and after shots.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Do the toughest job first and get it out of the way.

We've been in our house for just over a year, and we hadn't done any major home improvements because we were overwhelmed at the size of the house, and what to do about all the honey oak in the house that made it so dark and dated.  Should we paint with colors that would go with it, tone it down, re-stain it to a darker color, tear it all out and start with something new, or paint it all white?  Whatever we would decide to do, it would be a lot of work!  There is so much woodwork in this house!  So we delayed, we avoided making a decision, because we couldn't decide what to do, and weren't looking forward to all that work.

M finally forced us to make a decision.  She decided over Labor Day weekend, that we were just going to commit, rent giant ladders and start painting the biggest room, and get it over with.  So we rented two ladders (14' and 12') and did a three day intense marathon paint.  We painted seventeen foot walls in the main room and front entry, tricky angles over the stairs and an art wall, plus a seventeen foot wall of doors and windows.  Even then, we didn't finish painting.  We got all the really high walls done, then I spent most of my free time for the next couple weeks finishing the lower parts and all the white trim.

We decided to paint the walls a light gray to lighten up the room, and began painting most of the woodwork white.  So all the trim around the windows and doors, and the baseboards, went white. We're waiting to hear back from professional wood refinishers about staining the stairs, spindles, and bannisters, because we know that job is beyond our skill set. We're hoping to match the stairs to the cherry floors elsewhere in the house.

Eventually we plan to rip out the rug in this big main room and put down wood floors to match the other floors in the house.

So we're getting there, and next I will begin working on all the other downstairs rooms to update the paint colors and update other features of the house, now that the worst job is out of the way.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Juggling, juggling

School started back on Monday, in both New York and Maryland.  I am teaching two on-line classes in Maryland, one on-line class in New York, and an in-person class in New York.  I have about 140 students, more or less.  It's been interesting answering student questions about two different campuses with different procedures for adding and dropping classes, and different books for the classes.  I imagine grading is going to be hysterical.  Oh, and I am teaching one more class than I did when I worked full-time in Maryland, for less than half of what I now earn being part-time in both places.  That's the part-time adjunct scandal, pay them crap wages instead of higher pay for anyone full-time or full-time with a Ph.D. 

Well, it was my choice to move, and I knew I might have to find a different job and that I might not be able to teach, so I've only myself to blame.  Still, we're managing, in spite of life's latest pitfalls.

It seems we live on clay soil.  We've also been in a drought.  When clay soil doesn't get regular moisture, it contracts, sometimes tremendously.  A week ago we had a scare because our gas line broke when the soil contracted 3 inches and pulled the pipes apart.  We had the Fire Department out around 11:00 p.m., giving all the neighbors a little excitement, but no explosions, so thankful for that.  In addition to our gas line snapping, our concrete deck around our swimming pool has pulled apart and torn the liner.  It cannot be repaired because the concrete slabs have pulled too far apart and moved too much.  The whole thing has to be torn apart, we're talking $10,000 to $17,000 likely to rip out the concrete and fix that.  It might cost around $10,000 to remove the pool entirely because state law says all the concrete and materials must be removed and clean fill put back.  Of course it does.  We're waiting on a couple estimates, oh and did I mention, homeowners' insurance won't cover any of it because they don't cover earth movement, sink holes, or earthquakes.  You need a special policy for that, a policy that our insurance agent never mentioned we might need. 

But wait, just like those late night infomercials, there's more!  We first noticed our dog, Lambeau, was having trouble jumping up in the back of our SUV shortly after we moved here last year.  He seemed to be having weakness in his hips.  German Shepherds are known to have hip dysplasia, but he seemed kind of young for that.  We've been keeping an eye on him and taking him to the vet regularly.  Now the hip weakness has gotten so bad that he struggles to get up from lying down, he struggles to go up or down stairs, when he runs, his back left foot swings behind his right one.  We've had tests run.  His bloodwork says he's in perfect health.  He's not in any pain.  Drugs haven't helped (just in case there was some inflammation somewhere).  We had him genetically tested for Degenerative Myelopathy, because his symptoms fit perfectly with that disease and German Shepherds are prone to it.  His tests came back that he is a carrier for that disease.  It's basically Lou Gehrig Disease (ALS) for dogs.  Our vet is now recommending we take him a couple hours away to a neurologist for more tests (MRI and spinal tap).  We're currently trying one last ditch effort with a drug cocktail to see if we can get his symptoms to improve before going to the neurologist.  Life has many twists and turns.

'Tis the season

My grading stress is currently somewhere between these two places.