Archive for November, 2008

Parker Mill

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

I’ve been curious, since the canoe trip Gary and I took, about Parker Mill County Park. Actually I’ve been curious for longer than that, since I’m interested in flour mills and grinding grains, as well as hydroelectric power and water driven equipment. So Parker Mill is all of that – a former grist mill that also supplied hydropower and other basic power. the signs said it also ran a lathe.

So I really wanted to see the mill and what sort of shape it is in — and does it have the mill stones? So many have had them removed.

I was also looking for places to drive to, enjoying the experience of getting to knwo my new car. But I’m not OK with just going for a drive. So I went to the Farmer’s Market, then went on to do a house call, back home and pick up the dog to go for a long walk since it was also a beautiful day and rather than stand at the dog park and watch her I wanted to walk as well!

The first trouble is I forgot where the park is and didn’t check before I left home. I was picturing it on Plymouth Road. Well, that was very wrong. So I turned onto Dixboro, thinking it might be on Geddes? Drawing near, I wasn’t sure which way to turn, and thankfully there was a sign.

There was a bit of mud but every new car needs a bit of mud eventually! Nala is being trained to ride in teh hatch back and not the seat. She isn’t really sure that is a good idea, and jumps into the front seat as soon as I leave the car. She also tried to come forward while I was driving. But we’ll work on it. She is safer in the back, there is plenty of room and she really is pretty dirty and messy often when we are driving. It is also a better sleeping spot. And she is close enough I can pet her and enjoy running my fingers through her coat while I drive.

So there is a path, all boardwalk, that pleasantly follows Fleming Creek until it meets the Huron. There was a couple making out in the shelter where Gary and I coked dinner during our trip. So I went to the river side but not in the lean-to. With the leaves gone, it would be harder to stealth camp. But I enjoed coming to the place from a different vantage point and of course via a different (much quicker) means of transport.

The path is all boardwalk, a wheelchair or stroller would have no trouble
I ran into a while I was there, small world of course.

So a lovely day and a happy dog.

The down side is David is back in the hospital, unknown prognosis, but something seems to be wrong. After a few weeks of just good news that is a bite. Hopefully it will be just a two night stay, but the medical people are monitoring him very closely.

Enjoy what you can. And I did enjoy the day and the car and the dog and in a few minutes some garlic sauce…

Picking up the car

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Today is the day.
I got the call Wednesday and dashed out to arrange insurance, and someone willing to drive me out to the dealership 45 minutes away. A flurry of coordination with the dealer, and I’m picking it up this afternoon.

I have one regret, that I’m spending on “Buy Nothing Friday”. I’ve strictly held to a do not buy policy to protest the consumerism of “Black Friday” for many years now. Although a purchase arranged 11 months ago is a little different. It is more of a delivery than anything else…

Now I have two friends who want to make the trip and seem pretty excited.

I really do hope that this is the car concept of the future. A car built from recycled materials, designed for safety, efficient and small, conservative in resources used making and using, and able to recycle it afterwords. Oh, and fun.

Photos to come, although I may not have my photo posting ability fixed until Sunday. But there is always facebook…

Thanksgivings past

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

I loved the long car trip with my family to the outskirts of Buffalo NY each year. It was a time fo forced closeness, and it was mostly fun. I especially remember the journey made in the 1965 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon, a light blue car with a slant 6 engine. That was the car that I learned to drive with. By the time I got my license we also had the VW Squareback named Robin, but I took a bit longer to learn how to drive a manual transmission.

For thanksgiving we’d alternate dinner with my father’s siblings. One year with Aunt Eunie and Uncle Frank, another with Uncle Gordon and Aunt Vi, then Aunt Gunny and Uncle Elmer. Every fourth year people made the trek to our small dining room in Ithaca New york

We always drove through Avalon, where there was an antique store my parents liked. We bought large and small pieces there, and each year I would carefully scour the shop for finds. I think the type trays may be the only thing left from there that I bought. But I’m pretty sure my hall tree came from that store, as well as David’s pie cupboard.

There were also sugary sticks in wild flavors we’d buy, and slowly suck for the rest of the ride. Our game fro driving was the song game. Someone would start a song, and stop suddenly on a word. The challenge was to come up with a song that had that word in it. If no one could think of one the original singer had to come up with one and stop on another word. The goal was to get back to the original song. We heard a lot of interesting music on those trips.

My brother was also talented in making up songs on the spur of the moment – really silly lyrics that seemed pure brilliance at the time.

Dinner was always a squeezed affair. Kids tables, I remember best all of us in the basement of Aunt Eunie and Uncle Franks, using a ping pong table to add more space. It seems pretty odd now to be eating in the basement, but it seemed perfectly reasonable at the time.

I also loved playing with my older cousins. One of my favorite years was playing with model cars on tracks with Dan and Jim. Dan has been dead now for more years than I can remember, he died younger than I am now, the alcoholism that is such a threat to my family.

I also remember bringing home our cat Spooky who survived into old age after beginning his life with my Aunt Gunny and Uncle Gordy. Coming home with this gray and white kitten, riding in the dark for so many hours with this tiny exciting new life was just fabulous.

We also always came home with presents that wouldn’t reappear until the next month. Frustrating.

We always spent the night, I was never sure how the negotiations went as to who went where. But I also knew that I wasn’t supposed to say that my favorite place to stay was with Aunt Eunie.

So once a year we had this intimate fun quick reunion with all of these relatives. And then didn’t really communicate for the rest of the year. But I miss that.

I’m heading out this afternoon to be with these people who are new to my life. I’ve known one of my hosts for nearly 30 years, sure, but had never been in his home or had more than a passing conversation until this year. A pretty mild history. All new people who weren’t figures in my life until last year, and who knows about next year?

I miss the long history, the building foundations of connection and caring evenif it was just once a year.

I’ll probably call up a few cousins in the next few days, send an e-mail to the rest saying high. My family is all in town but we’re all going ot different places – the largest gathering of Feldt’s will be my brother with his three kids going to his ex-wives home that is shared with her new husband. That’s a good thing.

Feeling a little adrift. Awash with change and not sure who and what to trust. But if these people have the tradition of going aorund the table to say what we’re thankful for, I know what I will say.

I’m thankful my brother is alive.
I’m thankful for the wonderful adventures I’ve had this year with Gary, and for him being in my life.
I’m thankful that Nala and I found each other.
I’m thankful for all the opportunities I have to teach – my clients, my students, my readers.
I’m thankful for all the things I’ve learned this year. What a year!
I’m thankful for ending the year in far better health than I began – 17 pounds lighter, stronger, more iron in my blood, and with lower blood pressure and even better eating habits.
I’m thankful for my friends, and all we’ve shared the last year.
I’m thankful for coming into a new year with so much potential and possibilities.
Oh yes, and I am SO VERY VERY THANKFUL that Barack Obama will be our next president. This end of year would feel so catastrophically different if that was not the case!

That’s enough for now.

I hope I can be as positive next year.

too important a statement not to pass on

Monday, November 24th, 2008

This from Salon.com

Monday, Nov. 24, 2008 08:00 PST
Quote of the day

“Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always immoral.”

–The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, in a letter to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. After Bourgeois, a Catholic priest of 36 years, gave the homily at an ordination ceremony for a woman last August, the CDF sent him a letter saying he had 30 days to recant his support for women’s ordination or be excommunicated. In his response, Bourgeois points out that unlike him, the American priests and bishops involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children and covering it up have not been excommunicated. Snap!
? Kate Harding

From the Past

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Allan Sherman was a brilliant comedian, and his lyrics are a hoot. this is a very old clip that is 6 minutes of fun.

I happened upon on the Boing Boing blog.

He spells his name using the rare second “a” – just like my dad. The references are old, but still funny.

New Car

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Well, it seemed likely that I’d be driving my new car home this Wednesday, but it hasn’t yet arrived at the dealership. I know it got into Baltimore 12 days ago, so what has it been doing since then? The ’09 smarts had the wrong EPA sticker, so that was a hold up. Then there was a backlog of cars to be shipped around the country. Apparently Mercedes destined for the north all come through that port.

The dealer was minimally helpful, she had no idea where the car might be or when it was coming. Just on or around the 26th, although that is obviously now going to be after the 26th. I feel for them – they are making minimal profit on each car, and have a waiting list of almost two years now. They are fielding a lot of calls and e-mails that result in just a few actual sales.

But as usual providing real updates and info would go a long way in making people feel happy and involved. I’ve mostly had to figure out the process and the progress by reading blogs and forums. So I know the ’09s are being delivered and people are driving them home. But no info from the dealer about any of it.

They aren’t required to hold my hand, they are just selling me a car. But is has been a strange process. I’ll give a more thorough critique once it is done and I have the car. Usually good sales people shine at one or two points in the process – that’s all you can ask for. I may not have hit that moment yet. Of course the outstanding sales people cover most of the bases and surprise you on a few extra. Rare indeed, but if you read my last few posts I did note that sort of service from Stadium Hardware (of course) and Modern Mechanical. Very much worth noting, appreciating, and recommending.

So I’ll do a bit of driving around tomorrow, and then again on Thursday, and then hope the next bit of driving is in the new car. Any day now….

Canoe Story

Monday, November 24th, 2008

The Ann Arbor Observer published my story on the canoe trip Gary and I took from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti. It is now on line, as well as their other “My Town” stories. That’s my photo as well.

So all of you out of towners can check it out. It was a great trip, a lot happened in just 30 hours!

Apples

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

With all the free apples around, available for picking, my consumption has been up. Then I ran across these articles in Psychology Today. I knew it was a good fruit, but had no idea they were loaded with Quercetin (a flavonoid associated with heart and brain health). A Michigan researcher has also found apples help prevent metabolic syndrome – so another positive benefit affecting heart health as well as diabetes.
The drugs that do the same thing are expensive, and come with some pretty significant side effects. Compare with the free fruit that is just hanging around, growing on trees. Suggested “dose” for the benefits to to kick in? An apple a day – raw with peel is best, applesauce and juice and other recipes are also good if the peel is included. I’ve been eating 2-3 small pears a day for the last week, I suspect they have equal value but have just not been part of the research yet.

Dogs at Work

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

This morning Nala did her first stint as a pack animal. Gary and I walked to the Farmer’s Market, and Nala used her backpack to carry home a hubbard squash, two spaghetti squashes, and two butternut squashes. It took a bit for her to get used to it, and she ran into a few things because she was wider, but it was a great help. One more way to wear out the dog, and that is always good. Unfortunately there is only one place in town where a dog can come in and I can buy food – Downtown Home and Garden. So it takes two people to shop with a dog, one to wait outside with the dog, and one to shop. When will the Co-op have its own dog park for shoppers?

my appliances are in a conspiracy to make me paranoid

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

And as you can tell from the headline, it is working!
While my house appears to be falling apart rapidly this month, the very good news is that I’m feeling well supported in getting things back in order.

The dishwasher repair was free – as it should be – with my new machine. So far it has worked, but the defective part will also be replaced. Replacing the thermocouple on the furnace was just $150, but when the furnace failed to respond a few days later (pilot light was on) Al from Modern Mechanical was here minutes after they paged him, found a short in the line, and didn’t charge me for the quick and effective service.

When the dishwasher stopped working a few days after the warranty work, I was at a loss to figure out if it was trouble on my end, (the drain) or with the dishwasher. Gary laid down on my kitchen floor and quickly confirm the drain problem, figured out a fix, and made it happen. Another gift.

While locking the front door yesterday, the lock fell apart. There was a worn part. While Gary correctly guessed – out of the blue – what part of my house had fallen apart now this was something I could do if I found the right part. Although I’m still impressed that out of all the possible things that can happen in a house I simply asked him “guess what part of my house has broken now” and he said “the front door”. Psychic repair man.

This story also has a happy ending – while Stadium Hardware didn’t carry the part, (it is no longer made) Mike went upstairs and found what I needed and provided it free of charge. Once again, Stadium Hardware to the rescue.

So while it is true that my appliances and the general hardware of the house seem in conspiracy to coordinate their failures for maximum stress, certainly the repair men and hardware people in my life have come through with flying colors and been supportive, effective, and inexpensive. Yeah for humans!

Perhaps my house is jealous of the pending new car. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Suuuuurrre.