Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Golly, there's always a problem to solve isn't there? I mean you solve one problem and soon enough another pops up requiring your attention. Just as soon as I decided who I'm going to vote for for president the media is full of dire warnings about America going to hell in a hand basket economically and if congress doesn't bail out Wall street, the failing banks and mortgage companies and on and on and so forth and all that, and well everything will be a shambles and, and , and well I hesitate to think how bad it will be.

I guess I should be thankful that only one problem presents itself at a time. Yeah right! If only.

After listening to media pundits, economic experts, congressmen and women and senators and Joe Blow on the street, I'm as confused, if not more than, as when this all came to light just a few days ago. I thought to myself, "self, where can you find advice, to seek answers, to calm yourself down? Tomes of economics? the bible? Where can I find some answers?"

Then I remembered a simple collection of essays I'd read some twenty years ago, combined into a book titled "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten." Written by Robert Fulghum.
I'm sure most of you have read it by now, but if you have not, then I highly recommend that you do. It'll add insight to the solving of many of the situations that arise in your life that you see as a problem. I reread all 196 pages of this book after supper tonight. I'm not a fast reader by any means, so if I can do it anyone can.

Starting on page 6 of my copy:

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everyt

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life - learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned - the biggest
word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about
three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put thing back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are - when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.
Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7.
The bold ones are the ones I think apply to the current economic situation.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008


I’ve made up my mind. I’ve decided who will receive my vote in the 2008 presidential election. Senator John McCain has been my candidate since 2000, but a lot has happened since he lost to President George W. Bush and so I’ve watched the current campaigns unfold looking for reasons to uphold my faith in Sen. McCain or to change allegiance to Sen. Obama, depending on who I think can steer America back to a place of respect and prominence in the world.

I think it’s as important to relay how I came to that decision as it is to merely state it. I’ve given over some part of everyday, to thinking about this decision, some days more time than others.

In 1945 I was born to parents who were life long staunch FDR democrats. My father was a life long member of the Teamsters Union. I came of age in the 1960’s. I was a child of the universe, born in the Age of Aquarius. “Twas a time of change sang Bob Dylan. And so it was; it was a time for peace, and love, for drugs and music and rebellion and war. Times were good. I was ten feet tall and bullet proof, JFK was president of Camelot and MLK had a dream. What could be better? There was one slight problem for me: In school I’d majored in sports, music and girls in that order. We did have a stringent atheletic code that required passing your core academic courses to be eligible to play sports every week. So I did enough to get by and not much more. The cost of that decision for me was that I couldn’t get accepted into college. Even if my parents could have afforded it my grades weren’t good enough. There wasn’t much welfare in those days, at least to my recollection. If you wanted something it was expected that you’d work for it. I’d earned my own money since the age of twelve, starting with a paper route and then at 14 hiring out to do farm labor during the summer months. I did earn a tuppence by singing mass every morning at 6 o’clock mass in my catholic church, and occasionally singing for weddings. During my junior year of high school I joined the local naval reserve unit as a way to earn some additional income.

My parents didn’t overtly prevent me from getting my drivers license but they also didn’t give me any encouragement to do so. The reason for their reluctance was that my father didn’t want me to be a truck driver like him. He encouraged me to get a job where I could use my brain rather than my back. The up shot of all this was that I never got a drivers license ‘til I was 21 and married.

Now I’m a high school graduate, without a drivers license who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life doing minimum wage jobs, who can’t live at home (nor does he want to), And can’t get into college. What to do? Enter the priesthood! I went to the local seminary, picked up an application and took it home. My mother was ecstatic; her French/Irish/ American son was going to be a priest. Two weeks before I was to enter Seminary I’m having a conversation with my local parish priest: (Think George Carlin here) “Father if I become a priest will I have to give up women?”

Two weeks later my best friend and I joined the regular, active duty U.S. Navy.

This is where Camelot, free love, peace, hope and every thing good began to unravel;

You were right Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'

1. Medgar Evers was assassinated.

2. JFK was assassinated

3. This 10 foot tall bullet proof hospital corpsman volunteered (no, begged) to go to Viet Nam.

4. MLK was assassinated

5. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated

6. Kent State.

Well you get the idea; there was plenty of hate coming to the surface in America and all around the world.

Coming home from Viet Nam with my medals, commendations and purple hearts, like a whipped dog, we, Vietnam Vets all, were not welcomed home with open arms. We were spit on, shunned, called baby killers and were forced to hide our service and try to assimilate back in to an America that didn’t want to acknowledge us in any favorable way. I went to nursing school on the G.I. Bill, got married and had a daughter. A year after my graduation I rejoined the military and they sent me to school to become a nurse anesthetist.

I’ve worked hard to establish the life I have. I didn’t ask for handouts or welfare. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay is my guiding principal. I respected credit and refused to over extend myself and paid my debts on time and in full. I tried to be a good father and a good husband and my wife and I raised three children who are respected successful adult members of society and they live in a manner that shows me they ascribe to the same principles that have guided me. For all intents and purposes we would be called a middle class family. Early on we struggled and as time passed life became more comfortable, but I’ve always thought that gov’t stole too much from its citizens. That is to say; we (collectively) pay too much in taxes.

In my entire life, I don’t think I’ve ever hated another living soul. I came close once, but I’ve worked hard to overcome that most destructive of emotions, and can say that I no longer hold any enmity for that man only sympathy.

Now there are people I dislike for one reason or another; I don’t like rapists or child molesters. Loud and ornery people are vexations to my soul. And rudeness is a quality that I distain. Although I’ve told a lie or two or three in my time, lying is not a quality that I revere. Mean spiritedness and hatred for any reason I find distasteful at the least and destructive in any event at best.

As with most of the voters in the upcoming election I have never met any of the candidates running for president and vice president of the USA. My total knowledge about them has come from the varied media sources. I like all four of these people and I like their families. I think they are, each and everyone, solid, hard working Americans, with good family values and imbued with integrity. I think I would feel comfortable sitting around the kitchen table with any or all of these candidates having coffee and having meaningful conversation and being silly on occasion. The choice for me is difficult, but not impossible. One of the things that have bothered me about this campaign is that both sides have equally stilted the truth and or facts from time to time. The fact that I’ve had to go to SNOPES and FactCheck.org to find the truth has been disconcerting for me.

The two things that were incremental in my decision to support the McCain/Palin ticket were the recent article in the most recent Reader Digest Magazine, and the overt behavior of many Obama supporters.

The article was an interview with Michelle Obama. I was enamored of this woman. I respect her for so many things; her family values, her intelligence, her common sense, her genuine care and concern for her fellow Americans. I would take advice from this woman, I like her that much. I imagine sitting at her kitchen table and sharing with her my dilemma in choosing a candidate to vote for. She would listen attentively, giving me her complete attention, interjecting from time to time to clarify a point or to ask a question. At the conclusion of our discussion she said to me: “rel I respect you feelings and your concerns and I want you to follow your convictions, I want you to vote for John McCain.

Secondly, the vitriolic hatred spewed forth on Gov. Sarah Palin, since her selection as Sen. McCain’s running mate by some Obama supporters tells me I cannot support a candidate who attracts people of that mind set. There is no place for that level of hatred in this country.

Some folks have mistaken my distain for the Bush Administration’s debacle of the last 8 years as indication of my liberal leanings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Why that’s like saying John McCain is like George Bush. George Bush is no John McCain, by a long shot.

America talks the talk about wanting change in Washington. Well as I see it, the only person on either ticket who isn’t a part of the established system is Gov. Sarah Palin.

I support the McCain Palin ticket because:

His strong support of our military and his desire to bring them home with their heads held high.

His less gov’t, less stealing (taxes) from citizens.

His expectation that people take responsibility for their own actions matches mine

His ability to stand up to the members of his own party and demand integrity and fairness in gov’t gives me hope

I don’t believe in abortion. I do believe in limited choice.

I don’t like guns. I do believe in choice.

I think illegal aliens are a problem in this country. What is it about the word illegal that you don’t understand?

I think giving rogue regimes credence shows weakness and invites attack.

I applaud Sen. Obama’s compassion, warmth and intelligence.

I think his desire to be Santa Claus to everyone in America is too expensive.

His lack of personal experience with the military will hamstring his ability to make cogent decisions.

His promises of everything to everybody have spawned a cadre of zealots who will at the least be destructive to building a stronger America.

Lastly I believe in the old system where the majority vote getter becomes president and the second highest vote getter becomes vice president.

This missive is excessively verbose and if you’ve read ‘til the end God bless you!


Thursday, September 25, 2008


"This is B, supervisor at the hospital. Dr. Y has a patient in the ER he wants to bring to the OR to repair a perforated gastric ulcer."



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Let it be--The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness,
she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken-hearted people,
living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the night is cloudy,
here is still a light that shines on me,
shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music,
mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reflections from the shore under the microscope

The week started with the theme of change. Today I'll reflect on a few other changes and jot them down here for posterity.

With the Autumn Equinox comes shorter days and colder nights, and so, it's time to pack up summer, button up the cottage and move back to the main house, ten miles to the west. I'll miss the changing river scenes every morning; the misty fog laden panoramas, the storms with raging waves, the calm, placid paddle inviting surface, the ocean going ships, the cruisers of the wealthy, the fishing boats of the neighbors, the seadoos and sailboats, the friendly faces of the neighbors, their waves, their smiling hellos, the cookouts and bonfires, roasting marshmallows,and swimming with my children and grand daughters. I'll miss the gleeful voices of exclamation from the fresh uncynical cherubs cavorting in and around the neighborhood: Hailey, Crystal, Grace, Makayla, Lily, and Jenna and their cadre of friends. I'll remember why it is that I return here every year!

Sixty three years ago today, this author squeezed through the tiny tunnel to burst forth in all his naked glory to join the human race. The ensuing years have brought many experiences at all points on the joyous~sad spectrum, but on this day in particular I recall my twelveth birthday more than any of the others. On this anniversary of my birth, 23 September, 1957 I received for my birthday a hair cut and a newborn baby sister.

Happy Birthday Jule. You're the bestest birthday present I ever recieved!

Tonight, our last of this season at the cottage, we'll celebrate with friends, enjoying D.s scrumpdeliicious chicken catciatori and perhaps a 6 layer, banana/whipped cream cake.

Next on the agenda: Oct 4th, 2008: the inaugral Morristown Triathelon!
Stay tuned for details....................................................

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The start of a new week,
A new season,
let's try something new to celebrate the change:

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Sunday, September 21, 2008


Today, all the popular topics of conversation seem to revolve around the need for change. That's the case especially here in the USA, who's citizens are contemplating the election of a new president.

Case in point: last night at dinner with friends I asked them who they were going to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. They both replied that they were still undecided. The ensuing discussion did bring about the consensus that the country is disgusted with the debacle that the Bush administration has wrought upon our country and thank God a president can only serve a maximum of two terms. Which of the two current candidates is capable of bringing about that change remained ~undecided.~

This morning, contemplating a post about change, I stumbled across an article written by Geoffrey Nunberg dated 1/14/08, titled "Chump Change."

Some salient, (I think), points from this article bear well on the current claims from the candidates' call for change in our government.
  1. Eisenhower campaigned (after 20 years of democrats in power) on the official slogan: "It's time for change."
  2. 1976: Jimmy Carter is"a leader for change."
  3. 1992: Bill Clinton is "the change we need."
In 2006 the Dems took hold of the congress on the platform of change---
I don't think much has changed in the two years since they wrested control (with our help, i.e. voters) from the republicans..

The bottom line here is that we each vote for the candidate that we hope will enact policies that will make our lives better.
Well, there in lies the rub: I have a great life, a great job that I love. I have a comfortable life that I don't want to change substantially. Now if the change you want betters your circumstances without diminishing mine then I'm all for it. Otherwise I oppose your choice.
It's always about the money, and it's always personal.
If congress wanted change we'd have had it long before now. Congress, like me, likes things just the way they are just fine.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


How to change someones political opinion.

The following is an Un-paid political ad, approved by rel.


The USA's quadrennial presidential election is fast upon us, and as I browse familiar as well as new blogs I find essentially three camps; the Republican camp and the Democratic camp who at this point in the campaign seem to be even in the polls and of course there is the ~ I don't give shit~ camp. There is also a small smattering of independents, (They are the ones who say that they'll decide on who to vote for based on the issues alone.)

No matter which side I'm exposed to; main stream media, blatant partisan media, bloggers, and face to face, there is a propensity of vitriolic comments, and a paucity of intelligent weighing of issues. Now if you're reading or listening to the view point to which you yourself ascribe then everything sounds reasonable, fair, and logical. On the other hand if you've chosen the opposing camp then what ever you see and hear is lies, mis-statements, same old political posturing and pandering. The real deal seems to be lost in the twisting, tweaking and shadowing the truth. The worst of it all is that at the end of their eloquently stated position the always say: Wake up America or we're doomed!

The political activists, politicians and the various media have succeeded in polarizing the 50-60% of the voting public who actually turn out to cast a ballot. It's like they want the campaign to resemble reality TV programing such as Survivor, or American Idol. Is it any wonder that half the eligible voters in this country disdain the process and shun the voting booth?

Each faction uses the same tactics; personal vilification of the other side's candidates and supporters, to convince you to vote for their side.

Your wasting your breath and your ink if you think that approach will get me to change my mind and I suspect that I'm not alone in that feeling.


If you want to influence my vote, leave the Tarot cards and whatever psychic abilities you may possess outside the discussion. With the limited information you have first hand knowledge of explain to me why you support your candidate and how you think their election will benefit you and make America a better place for you. Please don't make shit up or shade the truth because I will find out. Don't gossip or embellish facts to try to sway my opinion. I will find out and when I do, your entire argument, even the real truths, falls out the window and I'm less convinced to follow your advice than ever before. And don't try the tear down a candidate's character because of their beliefs for it only diminishes you in my eyes.

Since I've been unable to find an unbiased source of information, I was encouraged when I stumbled across this web-site (http://www.speakout.com/index.html). Therein is provided a quiz that you take to see how your beliefs, wants, and desires match up with all the candidates running for President of the United States. The questions are rated on a scale of; strongly agree to strongly disagree. If for no other reason, taking this quiz forced me to determine where I, personally, stand on the issues. Sorry, there are no question on how you feel about women or persons of color.

After my answers were graded I was presented with a percentage score of how my stand on issues matched up with the various candidates. As some of you know, I've decided, so far, to support the McCain/Palin ticket. So, of course I was anxious to see how my responses paired up with Sen. McCain's Positions. A 38% match it said. It went on to say that perhaps I should change my allegiance based on this score. On no thought I, that can't be. Oh well let's see how I matched up with Sen. Obama: 38%, you may want to change your allegiance!
Isn't that a fine how-do-you-do?

I've been a registered republican all of my voting life, but have always been an independent voter in the booth. Never have I voted the party line . Neither main stream party has ever completely garnered my support. So here's your chance

If you want to convince me to vote for your candidate, tell me where you stand on the issues, how you think your candidate will accomplish their stated goals. Explain to me how you think they will be able to unite the congress, if not the populace, to bring about the kind of government and America that you want. Tell me what makes your candidate most qualified, and please don't make your candidate look good by denigrating the others, because then you're really telling me that you're a divider not a uniter.

Please don't tell me to wake-up! I need my sleep to make informed choices.
I think it's OK to have differing opinions. We can like and enjoy each other as much for our differences as our similarities.
Vote for someone who embodies your beliefs.
Vote for a black man
Vote for a woman
Vote for an ageing warrior
Vote for a write-in
Vote against the system by voting
Be the lone star in the flag on the poster atop this post

Or don't:
It's a FREE country, right?

If you make a joke out of the election you make a joke about the country you've chosen to live in.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cinnamon stopped living today.
August 1990 - September 14th, 2008

We said our goodbyes Friday before I left for NJ. We looked into each others eyes and we each knew that this was good bye. Bonnie and Dick said they'd keep an eye on him while we were gone and they did indeed. In fact Bonnie called us in the morning to tell us that he'd died because Dick had found him collapsed in the litter box. But when Dick picked him up Cinnamon moved, so Bonnie called us right back to say he was still alive.. Dick put him in his chair and when we arrived this afternoon he was dead. I believe he waited to die until just before we got home so that we could take care of the final act by doing the burying ourselves.

We buried him at home under the apple trees. He used to stare out the window at the birds and other critters that would frequent the bird bath, and feeders there.

One of Cinnamon's favorite sayings was a quote of Kurt Vonnegut:
"So it goes."

One of the things I learned from this feisty cat was that you live 'til you're dead. Then you can get old.

Goodbye friend.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

After work today we'll be gallivanting down to Morristown, NJ to attend the wedding of my paddling partners' son. We'll return Sunday night.

The fall schedule is really filling up! But I think I'll fill you in on what's coming up as the events come along.

Speaking of filling you in; Scarlett asked about the little old ladies of the canoe race story. Actually it's an anticlimactic ending. It really was a much more humorous story when they beat the pants off us. They did finish 7 minutes ahead of us the first day (Probably had something to do with us falling out of our canoe into the river.). The second day we finished 1/2 hour ahead of them, and on the third day we finished an hour ahead of them.

There are some other humorous stories from the weekend but nothing to match the lime green ladies from Inlet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adirondack Canoe Classic
The 90 Miler
preformed by glh & rel in Jensen canoe # 40
photos by DAL the KoffeeBean

not in chronological order

Leaving home, headed for Old Forge and Clark's Beach Motel
End of day one; chocolate milk recovery: Byrne's Dairy
End of day one, Blue Mountain Lake
Race start 5 Sept. 2008; Fri. morn. ~ 0830
Putting in to start day one
rel and glh waiting to put in day one
Finish of race; day 3. Photo from Wikipedia We, boat no. 40 are dead center of photo
Quick put in for paddle wave, day three.
Dinener and refreshments at "The Cellar" in Long Lake... Superb!
Finish day two at the "Crusher" just east of Tupper Lake.
Day two start; rained all day.

About half way through, while paddling the rackette river I looked skyward through the drizzle and said mockingly, "is that all you've got?" The sky opened up and the rain came down more intensely. I looked up and said, "that's it, that's all ya got?" Then the deluge came and Leigh said, "will you be quiet, the canoe is filling up with rain water."

40 Leigh Heiss/ Bob LaRock Ogdensburg/ Morristown 8:15:16 6:35:05 4:16:40 19:07:01

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Monday, September 08, 2008

We are back,
from the edge;
The edge of failure.
Brushing against
the limits of our abilities,
reaching down and pulling
one last sprint,
one more paddle pull.
smacking a canoe with one's
Sticking a handle in your eye.
Taking a swim in
the Marion.
Finishing in a personal record
Sore, extremely sore.
blistered, duct taped
physically exhausted.
It is such a wonderful

Off to the dollar generator for rest and recuperation. More later, with photos not yet down loaded.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Well it's that time of year again. This weekend will be the fourth time my friend Leigh and I will participate in the Adirondack Canoe Classic. Each fall for the past 26 years, on the weekend following Labor day "The 90-Miler" takes place.

Unable to get officially registered the first two years that we applied (the registration is limited to 250 boats), we did the 3 day, ninety mile race/excursion as bandits. Bandits is the term used to refer to people who do the 90 miler with the sanctioned racers but are not recognized and the race organizers are not responsible for keeping track of you and you don't get to participate in the ancillary activities of the weekend.

With diligent persistence we were able to "get in" last year and it seems that once you're in, your in every year 'til you get out. So, we are back again this year to revel in the arduous 3 day paddle. As exhausting as it is we relish every ache and pain and start each subsequent day with exuberance.

The first two years as bandits we used our sea kayaks, mistakenly believing that one person in a kayak would be faster than 2 in a canoe. After being passed by two ladies looking old enough to be our dear mothers, we decided that we should use a canoe last year and this. Last year we're moving along quite briskly when we hear from our right rear, "coming on your right." We curteously moved to our left. Who do you suppose passed us on the right? Yup, the little ol' ladies from Pasadena. Only this time they had recruited two of their friends and were now four in a four man canoe. On days one and two they scootched by us around noon each day. Always a bright smile and kind words did they offer as they slide past us. I recall the first year that as they slide by the "leader of the pack" offered us a sandwhich for our lunch. Last year on the third day we beat them by a good ten minutes. Yesssss!!!!!! In fact I said to Leigh, "did we take a short cut?" It's all in good fun and we look forward to seeing Sherry and her crew again this year. Her name wasn't on the entrants list but there is a four woman canoe entered with paddlers TBA later. We are so hoping that she races again this year.

We'll leave later today for Old Forge, NY (where the race starts) and spend the night. The race will commence at 0700 Friday morning. First day; 34 miles, 4 carries...total carry distance 3.5 miles, one greater than a mile.

We intend to have a fine old time, rain or shine!
See ya later.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What is the easiest part of remodeling?

March, 1975: we bought an "old" house. Old being a relative term, the house was constructed in 1896. The house had been modified by additions and at least one remodeling between then and when we purchased it.

This once stylish home was in need of some serious renovations.
All the walls were of plaster and lath construction and a few still had shards of wallpaper clinging to them. Except for the dining room all the other rooms' plaster were severely cracked with large chunks missing and usually found in a crumbled mess along the hardwood baseboards.

Seventy-five percent of the electrical wiring , or more, was of the knob and spool variety. All the minimal plumbing was cast iron, and galvanized piping. While there were a few inches of time packed cotton batten insulation between the attic floor joists, the rest of the house had zero insulation. All the single thickness glass windows had storms, but they were in sad shape, needing either complete replacement due to wood rot or extensive re-puttying. The floors, some pine planks and a hardwood floor in the kitchen were covered with cracked and crumbling linoleum or rag-rugs. Some portions of the floors were painted with a shit-brindle enamel. The house was completely furnished with furniture from four or five different decades. The closets were full of 1930-40's vintage clothing. the root cellar was full of antique canned goods. The coal bin was full. The freezer was full of very old food. The bathroom had been fitted into a previous pantry and was barely five foot square. Literally, I could sit on the commode, soak my feet in the oak rimmed zinc tub, while washing my hands in the sink, and not reach or strain a single muscle.

I think you get my point.

My father although a laborer/truck driver was not a handyman. Thusly my experience with home repairs and remodeling was limited, at best. Being an avaricious reader and intellectual type, my father imparted many words of advice to me all my years growing up. One of the things he said was: "rel, learn to read and learn to read well, for if you can read you can do anything."

A young family, two small children and limited income said: you can't afford to hire someone to redo this place so this will be a self taught do-it-yourself project.

Now that it's pretty well complete, it's time to start over. Especially the bathroom is now in need of updating. But now I can afford to hire an expert to do the job.

The easiest part of remodeling is tearing things down!

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I hope you all had a fine holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. We here in rural upstate New York had the most superlative of weekends; Exceptionally fine weather enjoyed with our daughter, who motored up from Albany, and our good friends and neighbors. A festive weekend it was, consisting of hours of canoeing the calm to rough St. Lawrence, imbibing delicious libations, feasting on gourmet food preparations as well as dining out, and reading; novel, blogs, and newspapers. I would have to say that weather-wise it was the best weekend of the summer, just for the fact that it linked four beautiful days in succession.

The fact that our neighbors entertained friends from away added to the holiday's entertainment. Although we missed the best events, hearing the tales and viewing Shannon's photos gave us a good feel for what went on.


The USA's presidential race heated up with Sen. John McCain's selection of the Gov. of Alaska to be his VP running mate.
The hyperbole and proselytizing from both sides via the media, pundants and bloggers is reaching fever pitch and everyone, including the candidates families have become fair game.

Having run for elected office 4 times (all-be-it, in small-town America) and having been elected all four times I'd like to share my perspective on a couple of points that I believe can be equally pertinent in a grander election such as the presidencing (neologism?) of a country.

All four people in this president/vice-president race have been elected by their constituents before. Two have been elected and re-elected many times, IE 25-30 years worth, and two have been elected fewer times, but still elected. The point here is that the majority of their constituents chose them. They are all, each and everyone well enough liked to be chosen to represent the majority of their voters. We, the voters interested enough to vote, probably vote for the person whose values most mimic our own. That doesn't mean that the candidates and their supporters who hold different or opposing views to mine and my chosen candidate are bad people. No, they're just people who have different likes, dislikes and opinions than I do. (I'm a Yankee fan. I don't hate or despise the players on the Red Sox team nor their fans.) That's what's so grand about this country: We are allowed to express our opinions. I don't think that gives us the right to denigrate people of differing opinions in an effort to make our opinion grander or more forceful.
Lastly, if we are going to quote media sources, bloggers and so on without having first hand knowledge of that which we speak, we are merely engaging in gossip.

If a candidate represents your views, vote for them. Don't cheapen the process by trying to make one of differing opinions seem like less of a person. Always keep the golden rule in the forefront of your mind before dissing someone.

Just saying..................................................
:-) rel