Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Each signature written in blood adds to the walking dead, the No New Tax Pledge Zombies. Their infected kin lurch through the corridors of Congress and all levels of government. They feed upon reasonable ideas and bring deathly stalemate to the democratic political process. Bitter Tea Party and the Americans For Tax Reform Retrobates act like the mafia thugs to strong-arm elected officials into joining their ranks and seek to destroy anyone who opposes them. Tax Zombies are no longer fully human.

Yes, government must be fiscally responsible and operate in a cost efficient manner. Since the cost of living or inflation rises each year, the price to operate government at the same level increases yearly. It is foolish to believe that taxes should not be increased at the same rate. Government exists for logical reasons. No government would be anarchy and we have seen the results in Somalia. Millions of people displaced and killed due to war and no government for many years.

I had hoped that the currently elected members of Congress and the Minnesota Legislature would stave off the zombies. They must see the error of no compromise and implement reasonable reform. Americans must not re-elect anyone who will not retract their so-called Taxpayer Protection Pledge signature. A few brave souls have and they must be supported in their reelection efforts. John Huntsman is the only wise Republican candidate for President who refuses to sign the pledge in his blood.

We need a strong pro-government, pro-tax group. The Occupy Wall Street aka Occupy Movement is a countermeasure but it hasn’t been able to stave off the Tax Zombies. Use logic as the weapon to bring life back into government. Support positive candidates and vote.

Raise my taxes, please.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Monday, November 28, 2011


Terribly disappointed not to have been offered the job that I interviewed for on the 18th. It would have been a good match. I have an interview for a part time position later this week, position #16. Painful to be frequently rejected for such a sustained period of time.

Multitude of hours spent in front of a computer applying for 348 jobs, thus far. Numerous employers, including the federal government, have cumbersome application processes. I am willing to work for a corporation though my heart lies elsewhere. I expanded my search to include part-time and contract work. Part-time with no benefits is cruel. I should at least get pro-rated benefits at 50% of a regular full-time employee. However, I will take any job that I can procure.

My extended unemployment benefits will be ending soon. By no means did I expect to exhaust them. I have never had so much trouble locating employment. It is frustrating and rather frightening. I fear a catastrophe that would cost money. I panicked when the furnace ceased to function. My accounts are dwindling at the credit union. Many employers don’t hire from Thanksgiving until mid-January. I’ll just sign up with temporary agencies and do that for a while. I am sick and tired of searching for employment. I don’t have anyone to fall back on for financial assistance. My friends provide emotional support but I know enough not to ask for money.

Winter is a lousy time to be unemployed. Cold and cloudy days don’t improve my mood. I keep the house cool at 56 degrees to save on heating costs. Holidays add extra pressure because people expect happiness. I don’t feel happy right now. I’m worried and stressed. I don’t want a handout; I just want a full time job with benefits that pays the bills.

One bright note is the Tea Tasting Event at Mrs. Kelly’s Tea this weekend, December 3rd and 4th. It is located in the old Grain Belt Brewery Warehouse in NE Minneapolis. Social entrepreneur activity with donations benefiting charity of a $2 admission or food shelf item. Delicious and exotic teas to sample and food vendors, too. They have some of the best tea that I have ever consumed. The Green Tea Jasmine Pearls don’t taste like a swamp. More information is at Hope to sip with you there.

Hire me, please!
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Life offers unending challenges but it is imperative to be thankful for the positive aspects of ones own existence. Here are my top ten thanks for 2011.

You: Blog Readers (viewing my odd opinions)
Friends: My Logical Family (loving relationships of choice)
Felines: ZoZo and Tillie (furballs of love)
Unemployment Checks: Extended Benefits (financial safety net)
Food Shelf (fills the tummy)
Heatshare: Energy Assistance Program (warms the home)
Faith Community (soul food)
My This Old House (love it though it needs repairs)
Garden Growth (flora, fauna, edibles, and critters)
Library & Art Crawls/Fairs (brain food)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Attitude of Gratitude.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Monday, November 21, 2011


Friday, November 18th, was an exhausting day. Traveled twenty miles to interview number fifteen and it went well. I am one of three finalists but I have learned not to get my hopes elevated. I have to obtain and accept a job offer to end this unemployment journey. I have been ready for over a year and a half…

As I was walking into the interview my cell phone rang. I answered since few people have my number. It was one of the companies who visited the house on Thursday to submit a bid for the furnace replacement. They sent their bids to the Repair Program Coordinator who is in charge of crisis work. One bid was accepted and that company called me. Apparently they were planning to start at 8:30am and could not find me home. Apparently, the Repair Program Coordinator had forgotten to inform me.

The interview took about an hour. I am acquainted with the Executive Director so I told her that I was a little preoccupied with furnace issues. She was sympathetic and we had a good discussion. I would enjoy the organization and work. The only challenges would be the long commute and not quite full-time. However, I would say yes.

Zoomed home, changed clothes, and prepared for the replacement. Toted cat paraphernalia up from the basement including the litter box, food, and refreshed their water on first floor. I didn’t want the cats to get in the way or dirty during the procedure. Plus, they might run out an open door. The basement isn’t too messy but I moved aside some boxes that I had taken out from under the stairs during the swampy summer. I have to improve ventilation in that area before I return the boxes. Unblocked the basement access door and waited.

The replacement crew arrived a bit after noon. Friendly guys who just wanted to get to work so I showed them the way. After they hooked up the draining hose I opened the standing radiators to bleed water out of the system. It took almost eight hours to tear out the 56 year old radiator, which weighed almost 300 pounds, put down a chimney liner, and install a new 83% efficiency system. Lots of pounding and horrific sounds terrified poor Zozo. She hid behind the couch most of the time.

The new model is about a third the size of the old one. When I moved in nine years ago the entire house would rattle when it turned on. I added some insulation to the pipes in the basement so the rattle was reduced to a low hum. The new system is so quiet that it purrs. I hope that it will reduce my heating bill accordingly. A thirty percent drop in cost would be wonderful. My body doesn’t tolerate cold as well so perhaps I can keep the house a bit warmer this year.

I am profoundly grateful to the Energy Assistance Program for paying for the replacement. I was rather panicked about the cost of $4,000. I qualify due to low-income status. The Federal Government works to help people in need because I have no other resources. I’d much rather pay for it on my own but unemployment sucks. As soon as I am financially able, I shall donate to the Heatshare Program. They saved my home from freezing, literally. It snowed three inches on Saturday and the temperature remained below freezing for nearly two days.

Warm thoughts.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Thursday, November 17, 2011


It has been one of those years, lots of stuff not working. I strive to focus on the positive and seek the good side of every situation but my patience is wearing thin. The proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back is the furnace. It has ceased heating the water boiler. In a cold climate that is very bad news. If this were the bowel of winter, like the end of January and early February, it could be deadly.

Thankfully, it is only the chilly beginning of the season. The house was 48 degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up this morning. The sunshine is warming the first floor fairly well but its only about 50 degrees on the second floor where my office is located. I am wearing several layers of clothes along with a hat and scarf and I am still shivering. I wrapped a heating blanket around me and that at least keeps my torso warm. The poor cats are puffed up to retain heat. At least they won’t be shedding until the heater is repaired.

I qualify for the Energy Assistance Program due to my low income so I called for help. The nice Repair Coordinator sent out a contractor who looked at the boiler and was not optimistic. I phoned the coordinator and he said that another contractor would contact me for a second opinion and drop off space heaters. If that opinion coincides that the 56 year old furnace is dead then it will have to be replaced. The basic model of 83% efficiency is about $4,000 and I don’t know how much of that I will have to pay. I don’t want to completely drain my savings account. I was planning to purchase the 97% efficiency model next year for $6,000 but it all depends upon my employment situation.

I’ll do whatever they recommend and my dear friend Allie said that I could borrow money from her if needed. I hesitate because money usually messes up relationships. It is better to seek a loan from a bank than pay the heavy price of destroying a relationship. I doubt if I would qualify for a loan right now. I dare not borrow from my parents because the siblings would get in a snit, though two of them never repaid our parents for their personal loans.

Just to add to my glee the car battery is hesitating so it needs to be replaced for about $150, Tillie is showing signs of being in heat again (she needs to get spayed), I can barely see with my glasses (I need a new prescription), and my monthly menses cycle has begun. I’m cold, tired, and feeling a bit crabby. I have some yard work to complete before snow falls but not in the mood today. Dang cold outside too.

I need to conserve my physical and mental energy for an interview tomorrow. The job would be great since I have an interest in the work and I like the supervisor. However, its only 80% time (30 hours per week). I’d have to find another part-part time job and is located about 20 miles from my home. Commuting during bad weather would suck big time. I am getting desperate so I’ll take any job right now. The urge to scream, “Hire me,” is palatable. I have been seeking employment since July 2010. I have sent out nearly 350 applications and gone on fourteen interviews. It’s an unrewarding chore to search and not procure employment. At times I feel hopeless and afraid. Will I lose my home? What happens if I get injured or ill? What is wrong with me? Why won’t anyone hire me??? ARGH! Sorry, I just needed to vent today.

Seeking warmth.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am so sick and tired of dogs hogging the limelight. It is not the animal’s fault but the humans involved. Canines get more attention from the media, larger section at the pet store, frequent veterinary appointments, and public adoration. I love dogs AND I love cats. They are both special for different reasons. I grew up with a dog in the house and cats outside on the farm.

There are so many myths floating around about cats. Two cats share my abode, Zozo and Tillie, Momo died last year. I’ve written about their antics in previous blogs. My felines are very affectionate and expressive. They want to cuddle and be in the same room with me. They cry when I shut the bathroom door with them on the other side. I can understand a lot from the tone of their vocalizations, aka Meow-lish. They display a range of expression on their furry faces and body language. People who distain cats should spend three days with some affectionate felines and perhaps their hearts will open.

No, I am not into spoiling or pampering my cats. I am a servant for their companionship. I make certain that they have regular veterinary appointments, good food, fresh water, cleaned out litter box, trim their nails monthly (much to their chagrin), toys, space to run around, and affection. They are spayed and keep their front nails (they have never damaged furniture). I do indulge their tummy rub request at least once per day. Visitors to our home give the cats treats and that makes the felines happy to greet guests. They stay inside because it is safer in an urban environment.

I really want a dog but cannot afford one until I am gainfully employed. Plus, dogs are so social that they need at least two people around and I’m single. If I could take the canine to work with me or could afford to drop it off at doggy “day care” a couple times per week, I would definitely add a canine or two to our home. I’m sure that Zozo and Tillie would have fun with a pet puppy.

Cats are cool.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Monday, November 14, 2011


Victims are never to blame. A child never coerces an adult into a sexual situation. The victim is tricked, bullied, threatened, seduced, beaten, or talked into an inappropriate interaction. Pedophiles are predators. They stalk their prey and leave a trail of broken lives.

I was sexually assaulted by my step-grandfather when I was a young child. He threatened my siblings and I into silence. I submerged the memories until I was in my 20s and they came back in a flood. I was overwhelmed and frightened. It explained the nightmares and fear of being touched by a male (even my best friend who was gay). I eventually went to therapy and it helped. Occasionally, I have nightmares or jump when touched but I can’t quite shake the fear of men. Perhaps that is why I remain unmarried. I will forever be haunted by the abuse, which occurred more than 40 years ago. No one protected me from harm.

Every single person at Penn State who was aware of the sexual abuse must be fired and have his or her pension revoked. Period. End of discussion. The only exceptions are the subordinates who feared for their jobs, they could keep their pension. The supervisors who knew about the abuse created an atmosphere where it was tolerated. The glorification of sports is part of the problem. A criminal is a criminal; it doesn’t matter about his or her physical abilities. Penn State students must be educated so that protests are made against the criminals, not the victims. Anyone at the Police Department who did not take action should be fired, too.

Mandated Reporter Law exists to protect children under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults. Anyone who is aware that someone is being sexually, physically, mentally, or financially abused is REQUIRED BY LAW to report it to their supervisor. The supervisor is then required to follow organizational protocol to protect the victim(s), document the abuse, and contact law enforcement within 24 hours. Law Enforcement is then required to act upon the information and protect the child or vulnerable adult. If the supervisor doesn’t report the abuse, then it is the responsibility of the subordinate to contact law enforcement directly.

They all have “blood” on their hands for not stopping the predator from claiming more victims. They are Accessories to the crime. Criminal and civil action must be taken against them. The County Prosecutor must persue all involved. Penn State officials must internally punish all people who were a part of the conspiracy. They and all learning institutions must make certain that nothing like this ever occurs again.

If you know of a child, vulnerable adult or anyone being abused report it. Don’t sit there and be passive because you then give permission for the pain to continue. If you are being abused, report it. You deserve not to be harmed. Even if the abuse occurred years ago, get help. Attend therapy and heal your soul. It took me several years and three different licensed counselors(art therapy worked the best for me), but it was worth it.

Support all victims.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Fifty gallons of black gold is excavated out of my back yard every fall. Nutrient rich compost is organic, very low cost, and easy to make. Mining the compost bins is the crux of the process. The bins are 3 feet square and four feet tall. Stuff in the yard and food waste, add water, and voila compost! Well, it really isn’t that simple.

I procured the bins from the county’s environmental program several years ago when they had a sale. Thirty dollars per bin made out of recycled plastic slats and assembled from a box was a bargain since the normal retail price is ninety dollars. I purchased four and realized that I needed more. Last year a neighbor bought a different bin and gave me their old one. I don’t bother staking them into the ground, I just anchor the bin in a couple inches below the ground level and they have not needed any more securing.

Yard waste comprises the majority of the input. All household paper products that don’t contain chemicals such as Kleenexes, paper towels, napkins, and paper plates are added with food scraps and used tea leaves (I’m not a coffee drinker), though no bones. The bins have a lid but I like to keep the contents exposed to air and moisture. Pests such as squirrels and raccoons like to feast on the contents so they must be kept at bay. I constructed a double layer of chicken wire about a foot wider than the bin. It is secured with long vegetable stakes that slightly poke through the chain-link fence next to the bins. I add a couple bricks on top of the wire and no pests have broken through the security measures. City critters are fed well enough; they don’t need my compost ingredients to add to their feast.

Each empty bin is filled with layers of new and old waste in the fall. I place the hard to break down materials on the bottom, like raspberry canes and black-eyed susan stalks. The next layer is smaller material with a gallon bucket of not-quite-done compost poured on top. I tamp it down with a shovel. Don’t get into the bin and stomp on the contents because they will be too compacted and not able to disintegrate. Continue layering new material with old waste until the bin is full. Secure the top with the chicken wire and wait for it to cook, aka rot. All it can do during the winter is freeze dry and collect layers of ice and snow.

The waste deteriorates when it is above freezing and moist, not drenched. Mice and voles tunnel in and consume the edibles. Worms inhabit moist areas and munch some more. Microbes nibble at the remainder. During the summer I turn the contents every two weeks or so. I use a short potato pitchfork to dig out the contents of one bin and dump it into a wheel barrel. I mix the remainder of the bin around the bottom. The bins are positioned next to each other so I then dump the contents of the neighboring bin into the partially empty bin. After the final bin is mixed I transfer the wheel barrel contents in and I’m done. At this time I check for moisture. If the bins are a bit dry I add water whenever I water the garden. If they are too wet I put on the bin covers over the chicken wire to let them dry out a little. The bin does not stink unless a lot of food waste is near the top and when you stick your head into it. My neighbors have never complained.

The first year I added coffee grounds and compost enzymes. They are no longer needed since I can use the not-quite-done matter to the new materials and pass along the microbes. Every fall I clean out the bins. This is the most physically challenging task. I place the covers on the bins as soon as the weather turns to fall, meaning that the first frost has occurred. The bins need a couple weeks to dry out or else I could be mining mud.

Pull one bin out of the ground and empty the contents onto an old plastic shower curtain. Place another plastic curtain on the ground and center the empty bin. Empty five-gallon buckets are placed inside the bin and to each side. I take off one layer of the removable slats and position a homemade screen over its top. My neighbor constructed a quarter-inch heavy gage wire mesh screen to fit inside the top of the bin. The wood sides of the box are four inches tall so I can load a lot of compost onto the screen. I ladle the compost onto the screen and gently push it around. What falls through is ready for use, the remaining bits are placed into the wheel barrel to be added back in with the new material and have another year to cook.

Screening the cooked compost is the most physically demanding part of the task. I split the task between two or three days to avoid exhaustion. Compost is a lot better than manure or chemical fertilizers. My garden grows well as a result. I store the five-gallon buckets in my shed. I cover each with a lid and place a brick on top, otherwise the voles tunnel in for supper. The mined compost continues to cook during warm weather and I target where I spread the compost for best results. If you use it for indoor plants make certain that you sterilize the compost to kill off any seeds that still may be lingering. Place in an old cake pan and bake in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, let it cool before you use it. Stay nearby because it can catch fire if it becomes too hot or dry.

Happy mining!
© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Updated rankings of books that I have previously read. I have adjusted ratings of a few to get them aligned with other books and alphabetized by author. Don’t bother to read anything below three worms.

Five Worms (Crème du la Crème)
TBD (to be determined) still searching for the perfect novel!
Suggestions are welcome.

Four and One Half Worms (Excellent):
* Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
* Plainsong by Kent Haruf
* Spiral by Paul McEuen
* Under Fishbone Clouds by Sam Meekings

Four Worms (Very Good):
* Half Life by Roopa Farooki
* Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston
* Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky
* Black Mamba Boy by Natifa Mohamed
* Pirate Queen by Barbara Sjoholm

Three and One Half Worms (Good):
* I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive by Steve Earle
* Hit By a Farm by Catharine Friend
* Blindness of the Heart by Julia Franck
* Song Yet Sung by James McBride
* True Grit by Charles Portis
* Little Indiscretions by Carmen Posadas
* Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
* Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
* The Help by Kathryn Stockett
* The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (first half of novel)

Three Worms (Fair):
* Stormchasers by Jenna Blum
* Healer by Carol Cassella
* Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen
* Sheepish by Catherine Friend
* Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man by Steve Harvey
* Private Patient by P.D. James
* Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
* Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
* The Eight by Katherine Neville
* Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
* I Think I Love You by Allison Person
* Nemesis by Philip Roth
* The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford
* To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
* Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson

Two and a Half Worms (so-so)
* Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show by Frank Delaney
* Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
* The Way Things Look To Me by Roopa Farooqi
* Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
* Absent a Miracle by Christine Lehrer
* Midnight and the Meaning of Love by Sister Souljah

Two Worms (oh-oh):
* Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
* Busy Body by M.C. Beaton
* Cat’s Eyewitness by Rita Mae Brown & Sweetie Pie Brown
* The Aloha Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini
* Cat in a Topaz Tango by Carole Nelson Douglas
* Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich
* Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
* The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers
* Wicked Lies by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
* Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
* The Wilding by Benjamin Percy

One Worm (heavy sigh):
* Troublemaker by Janet and Alex Evanovich
* Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels
* The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers

Not Rated (due to special circumstances):
No One in the World by E. Lynn Harris and RM Johnson

Most recent review was posted on October 17th.

© 2011 Ima B. Musing

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Seeking humor, watch a Sasquatch Search show on cable tv. It is hilariously stupid. The idiots do everything to scare away the creatures. One bunch of fools played rock and roll music and sang. If I were a Bigfoot, I’d just run away.

The searchers wear lights, constantly talk, and probably have a crew of people swarming around. The electrical equipment makes a high-pitched whining sound that most humans ignore but probably scare animals. The homo sapiens are probably silly enough to wear perfume and bug spray, too. Don’t they realize that smart forest dwellers can see and smell foolish humans? It would make more sense to set up motion detectors with cameras and walk away.

Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Swamp Ape, or however you refer to the primates, they are another branch of the family tree. Yes, I believe that several species of primates still need to be documented. Valid researchers have found hair and fecal samples, which cannot be identified as a known species. Nature can consume a dead mammal within a few days so we may never find a skeleton.

I have a friend in northern Minnesota who has seen a Forest Brother (the local nickname). She said that it was about six feet tall and traveled in a small family group. One time her brother got too close and the adults threw stones and sticks at him. He backed away and they calmed down. The locals would never admit to the Forest Brother because they don’t want a bunch of idiots to plod around and disturb the animals.

A Forest Brother was brought to the Minneapolis Veteran's Administration Hospital in the early 1970s. I know someone who got lost and ended up in the VA Medical Center's basement. He heard a loud sound from a locked room. He asked a janitor what was going on and got a quick glimpse of a hairy creature which refused to wear clothes, speak, or use furniture. I’m certain that a record of the animal is somewhere and perhaps other employees have information about the purported Bigfoot. My friend said that the closest to the sound he heard is actually the groan on the opening credits of the sasquatch search show, at least the producers got that right.

Get Harry.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing