Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Saturday, March 26th
Went out with friends to the St. Clair Broiler at Randolph and St. Clair Avenues in St. Paul. It used to be a neighborhood grill but now it a part of a chain of “diners.” The food was good but the prices were a bit high. I don’t really like corporate restaurants, the menu is generally limited to best sellers and you don’t have any contact with the owner. I like knowing the person(s) who have a direct stake in what they sell. Most corporations only care about profit. Ferengi!

I miss Star Trek on television. I like the Next Generation the best but Deep Space Nine and Voyager are fine. Enterprise didn't get interesting until just before it ended (bad writing). I don't have a DVD player so I can't even procure the discs to watch. The movies range from great to laughable. The most recent film as too much action-action-action and not enough character development. Sci Fi helps us dream of a different place and time.

Sunday, March 27th
Jerabek’s New Bohemian Bakery is wonderful. It is tucked up the hill and behind the Wabasha Street Caves in St. Paul. They use old recipes and bake from scratch every day. Wonderful food and reasonable prices. I met some friends there (different from yesterday) to celebrate a birthday. Yum!

Decided to relax and read a book. “The Stone Gods” by Jeanette Winterston very good first half but the second half is more like two short stories that she blended. They should have stood alone as short stories because they did not match the strength of the first half of the book.

Monday, March 28th
Applied for MN Comprehensive Health Association insurance since my COBRA ran out and I have been declined by both Medica and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota for minor “pre-existing” conditions. The plan costs twice as much and offers less coverage than a regular health plan for individuals. However, I don’t have a choice I must have health insurance. If something catastrophic would occur, I would have to pay for it all and I would lose the house. That is an untenable option. I am glad that Governor Dayton has opened the MCHA for bidding to get the cost down.

Tuesday, March 29th
Ran errands. Sunny weather. Thankfully, the rivers aren’t flooding as badly as they had feared last week since it has been cooler lately. However, a second crest is coming for most rivers and it will be higher than the first. The Red River Valley will get hit hard this year and they are just starting to melt. It will be several months before the water has begun to ebb. Rain is not needed until the ground thaws.

Remember to donate to a local food shelf!
© 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Tuesday, March 22nd
Listened to rain alternating with hail all night long. About two inches of rain fell on the frozen ground. In the morning Tillie wanted to be held and her paws were wet. I had not spilled any liquids on the floor and she hadn’t tipped over the water-bowl (which she does about once per week). The only other option was the basement, where I discovered it seeping in. Ugh.

This old house is nearly 100 years old and seepage has probably always been a problem. The basement remains unfinished and the floor was not pitched in to drain water to the drain-pipes. I pulled off some old moldy drywall a couple months ago and washed the floor so at least the seepage wasn’t dirty. Squeegeed the floor, mopped up what I could, and set three fans on timers to send a breeze over the dampest part of the floor. Turned on the dehumidifier and hoped it would not become a flood.

Drove to the Minneapolis Convention Center for the first day of the Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity. Smaller crowd today since the workshops were focused on a specific topic. At least the rain stopped. Got done about 5pm and went to a meeting about flood preparations. Up to 25,000 people in Minnesota could get displaced by the rising waters. I’m fortunate to only have a puddle in the basement.

Wednesday, March 23rd
Awoke to six inches of snow. I didn’t bother to shovel since snow continued to fall. Drove very slowly to the convention center since buses were getting stuck. Took the back streets so that I could crawl along at 10 miles per hour. I was elated to arrive safely. I fear getting injured or ill since I have not been able to procure health insurance.

About 800 people at the Forum, how wonderful! It is so nice to be with like-minded people. It is refreshing not to have to explain why diversity and inclusion are necessary. Diversity is about anything that may make a person unique, which is actually any demographic. Inclusion is accepting the differences. I neither have the right to judge others nor do they have the right to judge me. Note: illegal behaviors are not an issue of diversity but of violating a cultural norm (such as multiple spouses in the USA). Behavior is not about a demographic but about what has been taught as acceptable by society and personal choice.

The drive home was a bit better but I felt exhaused. Dragged out the wimpy snow-blower and cleared a path in the back sidewalk, front sidewalk and did about half the driveway. Peter wanted to go out for his birthday so I met him, Mitch, and Taylor at a local restaurant. I was too tired to cook but it was nice to be with friends. I went home, shoved the leftovers in the fridge and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up and didn’t make the cats go into the basement to sleep due to the water and the sound of the fans and dehumidifier.

Thursday, March 24th
Slept well. Faster drive to the Forum. People were happy but tired. Diversity is an emotional subject. No one wants to be called a racist, bigot or be considered prejudicial unless is it a “cause” for them like the skinheads. I grew up in a covert racist community. There was an active Klu Klux Klan until the 1960s and they ran out a family who had adopted two African-American children during the early 1970s. I was appalled because I knew the family and the kids were nice. The Vietnamese families were allowed to move in because they had helped our soldiers and the Mexican-Texas families were around during the summer to help pick crops. Since my grandpa was part Native American, I was extra sensitive. I’ve called some of my family members racist and they didn’t like it at all. I refuse to be silent.

The most interesting session at the Forum was about social media. It is huge with diverse communities as a method to connect. I enjoy visiting Facebook once per week but it doesn’t replace contact with a real human who has a pulse. Tweeter can be informative but the blurbs are too brief. I like blogging but I’m not sure if anyone is reading this. If you are, please become an official “follower” otherwise I just may quit.

Meloncholy that the Forum is over for another year. I hope to maintain communication with others via this blog, Facebook and Twitter. Please connect with me there!!

Friday, March 25th
The basement has stopped leaking due to the drop in temperature. I still have a couple fans blowing and the dehumidifier humming. It always takes several days for everything to dry out. The furnace is aiding in this effort by warming the air and sending exhaust up the chimney. I would have liked to attend the clothing sale at Dress For Success but I didn’t want to expend the energy.

Interview for Position #4 at a company. Met with two people, my potential boss and co-worker. They both were nice. Apparently 80 people applied and they are meeting with 10. I don’t have the direct database experience for the position. I do have the “intangible” skills of personnel management so I hope to get called back for a second interview. I want to work. I just need to earn enough to pay the bills and be in a positive environment. At least they didn’t react badly when I told them that I had been fired from my last job.

I was planning to submit this blog on Friday afternoon but my computer froze. Frightful. I can’t afford to get it fixed. It is a pain in the butt to use the computer for job search at the library when they limit you to one hour and the Workforce Center is always crowded. Much less stress to look for a job from home.

Happy day!
(c) 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011


Saturday, March 19th
Attended another Al-Anon meeting. Thankfully, Mitch has maintained his sobriety but I worry about one of my sisters. I am certain that she is addicted to alcohol and other drugs as a way to self-medicate her mental health issues (bi-polar). I am torn between caring and not giving a crap but realizing that with my family that when I care, they hurt me. I just can’t handle hurt right now. Al-Anon helps me to stay centered. The only person that I can control is myself.

Went to the library and checked out four books. Once I start a book I like to read it through to the end, with a few breaks. It helps me to keep track of the characters. The only problems with library books are some patrons who do not cherish the book and either write in it or cause another type of damage. My friend Ruby who lives in Cincinnati has had to worry about bedbugs in books, ewww.

Went out with friends to listen to music. The band played polka and rock-n-roll music. I prefer polka and danced a few times. I remember attending many wedding dances featuring a polka band and listening to polka groups at the county fair. As a teenager, our 4-H club would hire a polka band for a yearly party over the objection of the modern music kids. Interestingly enough, the kids who objected the most seemed to have the most fun.

Sunday, March 20th
Cleaned the house a bit. Checked the cat’s food, water and cleared out their litter boxes, one for each feline. Tillie enjoys playing with the food so it’s always scattered around the floor of the unfinished basement. I filled the bowl and she promptly rolled over it. Exasperating. Perhaps she will grow out of this annoying habit but probably not. Read the newspaper in-between organizing the kitchen and general cleaning. Yes, I still enjoy the visceral feel of newsprint though I am saddened that the quality and quantity of reporting for the Star Tribune has steadily declined. The Pioneer Press isn’t much better.

Watched an episode of Secret Millionaire on ABC. Nice to profile people striving to help others. It seems a bit contrived, though. The man featured last night told his family that they should stay in cheap hotels and volunteer. His wife didn’t like the hotel idea and the kids did not want to give up their time. Thus far, the people of wealth are all white and help primarily people of color in inner-cities. How stereotypical! There are lots of people of diversity who are self-made “millionaires” and poverty is neither contained to genetic background nor geographic location.

I grew up poor in a small rural community. I have a multicultural background but most people assume that I am entirely Caucasian. Even though we did not have much stuff, my parents always welcomed and fed visitors, we donated stuff, and we were expected to volunteer. This started right away. If you want your kids to be caring adults, you have to teach them to care as small children. I doubt if the Secret Millionaire man’s kids, especially his son, will ever volunteer. They will join the self-absorbed throngs of people who are foolish enough to think that they deserve everything their way and have no connection to the poor kid dying of malaria elsewhere. Fools.

Monday, March 21st
Happy first full day of spring! Met a friend at a coffee shop. She drank coffee and I had tea. Good to get out of the house and chat. I love the smell and flavor of coffee but hate the bitter aftertaste. Bitter is the flavor that I most dislike. Cloudy and chilly outside due to the fog overnight. Difficult to warm myself today. Right now I am under a heating blanket with another blanket on top to stay warm. I let the house cool down to 50 during the daytime and it feels cold today. Someday I’ll have a job and keep the house at 56.

Seeking Sunshine.
© 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011


Wednesday, March 16th 2011
“It is Onaabani Giizis (March) which refers to the month when the snow has formed a solid crust on top. The great significance of this is that after a long winter and depleted resources, the people were able to more easily travel through the forest in search of game or to have access to caches that may have been inaccessible through the deep winter snow. Iskigamizige Giizis (April) the sap boiling moon of course refers to the gathering of the syrup and sugar making,” written by a Red Lake-MN enrollee and a friend of mine. Happy Sugarbush!!!

Attended a Board of Directors meeting for a nonprofit. It was an okay meeting but I’m just not feeling connected to the organization anymore. Perhaps its because I'm not working in this profession and don't have a personal stake anymore. I will fulfill my term this year and then resign.

St. Patrick’s Day
Coordinated a small gathering regarding public policy issues for the nonprofit organization where I am a member of the Board. Disappointed that so few people attended. This is the first time that we have dedicated any effort to politics so I guess it can be considered a foundation year. We have to become active in advocating for our cause because resources are limited and there is a lot of competition.

A gas line exploded in Minneapolis today. I didn’t hear about it until I returned home from my meeting. Fortunately, no one was hurt though several cars were melted. It certainly could have been worse. I know someone who is in Japan on a tour with a group. I was rather surprised that the group departed on Saturday knowing that they were going to a country dealing with a major disaster. I suppose that they can concentrate on the area not directly affected. Disaster starts local but the impact is always larger than the local geographic jurisdiction.

Did not attend any St. Pat’s celebrations. I really like Irish music but don’t enjoy the crowds or drunks. Plus, I can’t afford beer priced twice as expensive since it is dyed green. I’d rather attend the Irish Fest during the summer on Harriet Island in St. Paul, MN.

Friday, March 18th 2011
Feeling blasé today. Melancholy that I wasn’t offered the job from the interview on Monday, even though I didn’t want the position. Rejected by a second health insurance company for coverage, which is irritating and frightening. They said I have a pre-existing condition – what? I’m neither currently ill nor have I even had to see a doctor for quite a while. Bastards! I want to have insurance but I am denied. Still rather sad that yesterday’s event was not well attended. Clouds don't help my mood. Perhaps I'll go out for a walk.

Its almost spring for the northern hemisphere.
(c) 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Beware the Ides of March, famous line from Shakespeare’s play about Julius Caesar. Probably not based in fact but it is a compelling piece of drama. Tuesday, March 15th 2011 I sure hope that the nuclear reactors in Japan can be stabilized and avoid meltdown. I know that there are more safety measures than 20 years ago but nothing is guaranteed. It has become a triple whammy of earthquake-tsunami-radiation release. Radiation would make the area uninhabitable and cause problems for many years. Having it release over the ocean will just poison the sea and spread it around the world.

Watched my neighbor get his 40+-year-old tree cut down. A crew of eight dismantled decades of growth in two hours. It had lost some large branches during the past couple years and was dying. I was concerned for the safety of the crew because no one wore a hard hat. The two guys wielding chainsaws neither wore neither eye goggles nor ear headsets to protect their hearing. I have a linden tree in my boulevard space, which is slowly splitting in two. Technically, it belongs to the city so they will have to take it down. I just have to coordinate with them the removal of the roots because digging will disrupt the plants growing there. I have always had an affinity towards trees, it is sad when they have to be chopped down. I reuse and then recycle all the paper products in my home. The exception of course is toilet paper; I do let that flush away.

I’m busy with meetings the next couple days and not sure about Friday. Due to the melting of snow causing flooding throughout the area I will probably volunteer. I don’t know in what capacity, yet. I am a trained volunteer with a couple VOAD groups (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). For a list in your area consult the national website at www.nvoad.org

Enjoy the Ides!
© 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011


I thought that I'd do something different and blog a bit every time that I am on line. I'm not on the internet every day but I will write a daily journal when I have the opportunity.

Friday, March 11th: Horrifying to watch the images of the tsunami in Japan. The people didn't have much time to get out of the way and those who were not able to move did not stand a chance against the water and debris. Stuff can be replaced, it is so profoundly tragic for all the people who died and the people who cared about them. Prepare yourself, others and pets as best that you can by gathering items listed at www.ready.gov or www.redcross.org You have a responsiblity to be as prepared as possible.

Saturday: Rain and snow overnight turned into ice. I had to drive to a meeting and it was not fun. Ten other people made it and the roads were much better for the trip home. Filled car with gas $3.54 = disgusting. The big oil companies and speculators are taking advantage of the situation to increase their profits. Greedy bastards!

Sunday: Daylight savings time is a pain in the butt. I have to go around and adjust every clock that I own. At least the cell phone resets itself. Losing or gaining an hour each spring and fall seems silly. I know it is to reduce energy expenditures but I wonder if it really does make an impact.

Monday: Attended an interview for a position that I really would not enjoy. I want to work but it would be nice to actually be interested in the tasks. Good practice to interview. I have sent out about 175 resumes during the past eight months and this is only the third position where I have been interviewed in person. I don't know what I would say if I was offered the job. I need to work but...

To be continued...
(c) 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Digital TV is a disaster. Usually one or two channels aren’t coming in – even though the antenna has not been moved. Cars driving by interrupt the signal and create a pixilated image. I don’t know if it is because the digital image is so fragile or because of the weak electro-magnetic field that autos create when they move. Trucks can completely wipe out the image and I get a blank screen. I know that it is worse during the winter with snow on the ground. I’ve had snow since November so it’s been many months of horrid reception. A fast moving train on a track a couple blocks from my house causes disruption, too.

There are usually white stripes throughout the image, regardless of the location of the antenna. I paid $25 for the converter box (with the coupon) and another $30 for a new antenna. It is nice to have a couple more channels but frustrating when there is no reception or interference makes it impossible to see or hear the image. Oftentimes the voice does not synchronize with the picture. I have learned to turn the box off and on again to “reboot” the signal. Otherwise, I will turn the closed caption "On" to improve reception. If it still doesn’t create a good image or there is no sound, I just turn off the tv and walk away. I don’t understand why network tv conglomerates like ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, or NBC don’t try to correct these problems because it hurts viewer-ship and revenue.

I can’t afford cable, satellite, or a new digital tv set. It would cost several hundred dollars to procure a digital antenna and have it mounted on the roof of my home. Plus, an unsightly cord dangling alongside the house and extra holes in the roof. Analogue was a much more reliable signal.

Nostalgic for analogue.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Not the political party, but the democratic governmental process. Democracy has been around since ancient times. It evolves as societies become more sophisticated. Equality of access is the main principle. All citizens, regardless of gender, religion, social/financial status or any other factor, must participate in the political process. That ranges from being elected, appointed, assisting persons in political office, donating money, and volunteering time for campaigns or specific issues. The most important aspect is one person one vote without interference from anyone (being told how to cast a vote), also known as a free and fair election. Corruption cannot be tolerated at any level. Also, corporations should not be permitted to donate to campaigns.

Women must be a part of the process. They are generally about half the population and should hold half the elected and appointed positions. Unfortunately, few governments have attained parity. Women are not perfect, they will make mistakes but at least gender balance will help all the citizens of the country. It is imperative to have a representation of the population, based on the demographics. When one group of people consider themselves to be superior for any reason it will result in harm. The civil unrest in the Middle East is a current example. America had the Civil War because some people thought that they had the right to own other humans. No one is superior. Humans are flawed, every single person. Period. End of discussion.

I prefer the Parliamentary style of democracy. Coalition building is preferable to a two-party system. Plus, if confidence is lost in the Prime Minister/President a new election will be held within a few months. However, the House of Lords/Senate should be elected not appointed or inherited by heredity. Ability to lead is not a genetic trait. I am surprised that monarchies still exist in the 21st century.

Tolerance of all people is essential. Democracies must not be based on religion. The political process must be secular. Even if every single citizen practices the same faith, there are different interpretations and no one should be forced to follow what they don’t believe. America is moving towards pluralism, though the struggle has been unpleasent. It would have been beter if we started with pluralism.

Equality of access regardless of one’s religion (or non-religion) is essential. If you think that one religion is better than another, you are making the foolish mistake of superiority. Remember, no religious doctrine/practice is superior. Every religion has a right to exist, but not crowd out alternatives. Religion must not be used as an excuse for causing harm to others. Period. End of discussion.

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than many other types of governance or anarchy. Every citizen must participate to make it work. I wish for true democracy in the countries undergoing transition right now … Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc … best wishes to them all!
© 2011