Monday, July 31, 2006

2701 FLW Tour: When you visit Springfield, Ohio

Be sure to ask for Kevin for your historical walking tour of High Street. The Springfield Preservation Alliance sponsors walking tours of neighborhoods filled with the wealth of 19th century Ohioans who built large homes along High Street, designed in Neoclassical Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Richardsonian Romanesque style. Our Frank Lloyd Wright touring group, on its 16th or 17th summer tour (depends on whom you ask), walked past these lovely homes in various states of repair and renovation to get to the Wescott House. Our tour guide, Kevin Rose, of the Turner Foundation, was outstanding. A booming voice to fight with the traffic, a love of Springfield, and a farm background, makes him ideal for this job of shepherding an architectural tour, or any tour.

The above house is actually not Henry Hobson Richardson designed, but was completed by the same builders who often did his designs. It is on the National Register of Historic Places being completed in 1888 as the personal home for American industrialist and two-term Ohio Governor Asa S. Bushnell. The mansion was designed by architect R. H. Robertson. It is now the Richards, Raff & Dunbar Memorial Home. The staff invited us in, and it is unbelievable inside. Might be worth being buried out of Springfield!

Springfield was a very wealthy town in those heady days, with many farm implement manufacturers located there. In the 20th century it was the home of several automobile factories, including the Wescott, and the Crowell-Collier publishing empire.
The Wescott House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is, of course, well worth the trip, but don't miss the rest of Springfield! Make a day of it.

2700 Home again, sort of

We're home from a fabulous architectural tour that included Springfield, Sidney, and Dayton, Ohio, then Columbus, Indiana (5th best sige for architure in the USA) and Madison, Indiana (133 blocks of restored river town), then on to Cincinnati and Lebanon, Ohio, then home. We've laundered and repacked, and today it is back to the lake for a week. My husband is teaching an art class this week, and the facility has no AC--so I won't be surprised to see dropouts, and dropovers. Hopefully, he'll get some sailing and I'll get to the coffee shop to write some blogs.

Friday, July 28, 2006

We're off on another trip

We're touring the architectural sites in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus, IN for several days. I didn't get my Finland stories finished because wouldn't cooperate with the photos, but I'll work on that next week. Have a good week-end.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

2698 Wedding wear

For his sister's wedding in September in California, my husband's choice is simple--his black tuxedo. He and brother Rick are walking her down the aisle together (second marriage). I'll probably cry. They didn't grow up together, so it is so neat to see them so close now.

So where does that leave me? No matter what I wear in California, it always looks like I just stepped off the boat plane from Ohio (probably because I did). It doesn't help much that we rarely dress up any more, or that I'm 20 pounds heavier than when I started blogging (which is very broadening, I've discovered).

So yesterday I tried the summer sales. My top priority is always: price. I don't even fight it anymore. Next is comfort. Then coverage. I actually found three dresses at Talbots summer sale. One black and white bold print looked right out of the 70s in the days we first discovered polyester. I'm positive I must have had one from this pattern, but in a different color. It fit, but because it was long sleeve and snug, I thought it might be too hot if their warm weather continues.

This is the style, but it was black and white. I didn't choose this one.

One was sleeveless, and one had a small loose sleeve, so that's the one I went with. It is black silk gorgette with little color dots, and I can wear a light weight jacket in any of the colors, I think. It is a body skimmer with an eased v-neck, so I think it will be comfortable, and has two lengths with small ruffles.

In Russia, we saw many brides--it is the custom to have your photo taken in front of an important monument or government building. So they were everywhere we were. If I can get blogger to cooperate, I'll add some photos. They were the prettiest brides I've ever seen.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

2697 Great teeth, good fashion

Brains and good looks apparently do go together. Enjoy reading (and looking at) "50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill" in The Hill. I've never seen such beautiful teeth.

2696 The real minimum wage

Dick Morris suggests it should have been indexed to the cost of living rather than givin one-shot increases, but figures the real minimum wage as:

"Much of the debate over the minimum wage is, of course, obviated by the earned-income tax credit which kicks in for all minimum-wage mothers. The credit, plus Medicaid eligibility, plus food stamps, plus day-care allowances, plus rent subsidies, plus exemption from income taxes, means that those who earn the minimum wage really have a pre-tax income equivalent over $20,000."

Tell that to beginning librarians and school teachers who earned a master's degree to earn about that much.

2695 Trip Tale: Tallinn, Estonia

The five of us went through customs and boarded the hydrofoil for Tallinn, about a two hour trip (it's about 4.5 hours by ferry). The waves were high and it was really bumpy, but with the help of a motion pill and keeping my eyes shut the whole trip, I kept my breakfast. Not so the pretty young Swedish girl next to my husband.

Little Estonia (at least its major city) has created a miracle in only 15 years of freedom from the Soviets. We were blown away by the restoration of its "old town," and the vibrancy of its newer areas. I'm sure it's going through some of the growing pains that countries experience as they transform themselves from totalitarian to democratic regimes, but compared to what we were to see in Russia the following week, it is really a transformation.

Riitta had been there under the old regime and she could hardly believe it. Old Town is now colorful gold, pink and blue buildings with red tile roofs and lovingly restored old Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox churches open for tourists and worshippers. It was like a German city without the hordes of Japanese tourists.

We docked at a huge decaying concrete "ice palace" built during the Soviet era. This ?? is on top--sort of looks like a Russian bear, but up close seems to be an ethnic-asian person inside a fish or animal skin.

Although not as crowded as other European cities, driving is a bit dicey because before freedom 15 years ago, no one had automobiles--so it's sort of new to them.

We skipped lunch in the pricey market place (for tourists) and Tomi led us to a lovely local restaurant with great food and reasonable prices, called H.H. Rüütel.

Lower left of this photo shows some unrestored and crumbling buildings--what the whole town used to look like.

2694 The stem cell veto

There was a cartoon in the international ed. of the NYT last week that showed a distinctly Simian, slumping President Bush vetoing stem cell research with a reference to the flat earth society. If Bush's veto will make no difference in stem cell research (except to those of us with "narrow religious views" who believe it is immoral to create life for the purpose of destroying it to benefit someone else), where's the beef? There is plenty of private money for this, and no one has yet found any cure for any disease using the cell lines created before 2001 which are available. The media are creating yet another victim class--all the people who haven't yet benefitted from research that hasn't yet produced any cures!

Also, according to New Atlantis, the U.S. isn't falling behind in stem cell research. "Far from showing the United States lagging behind in the field, they found that American scientists had by far the most publications—46 percent of the total, while the other 54 percent were divided among scientists from 17 other countries. They also found that the number of papers in the field published by Americans has increased each year, with a particularly notable growth spurt beginning in 2002. . . [the study showed] more than 85 percent of all the published embryonic stem cell research in the world has used the lines approved for funding under the Bush policy. Since this is almost twice the number of papers published by Americans, it is clear that a great deal of the work done abroad has also involved these lines, even though most of it could not have been funded by the NIH. The lines are used, in other words, because they are useful, not only because they are eligible for federal support."

The media--NYT, CNN, WaPo and their sibs and blogs--flog this story that the U.S. is falling behind, but like a lot of the other anti-Bush stories published by them, it's a lie.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

2692 Trip Tale: Visiting Suomenlinna, the Fortress

When Peter the Great built St. Petersburg in 1703 so he'd have a port on the Baltic, the Swedes decided to fortify Finland (which it ruled) and built Suomenlinna on the islands. The fortress was lost to the Russians in 1808. It fell into disrepair, but now is a historical preservation site with cobblestone and brick streets, old walls, ramparts, cannons, a working dock for repair of wooden ships, a museum, art shops and a nice little town library. About 800 people live on the islands, but at one time it was quite a bit larger. The ferry there is part of Helsinki's city transportation so it is very accessible and a delightful spot for either tourists or residents.

With the long summer days, the island was filled with picnickers and families, sunbathing even as late as 8:30 p.m. We had dinner at a lovely white tablecloth restaurant called Walhalla, Charr with lobster mousse.

2692 The gasoline cost survey

Today I got an e-mail questionnaire from my congresswoman Deborah Pryce asking my opinion on gasoline prices. Although ANWR and more refineries were included as a choice (to solve the problem of high prices), I can't believe our congresspeople never mention the gasoline taxes (20% of the cost). So I reminded her of that option. I don't know why they even run that price gouging question past us! Yesterday in Bucyrus it was $2.85 a gallon. When it gets to $3, which it is around Columbus, and people just stop buying, then the supply increases, and the price goes down. Adjusted for inflation we're about where we were in 1981.

In Norway which is an oil rich nation and now very wealthy with the highest standard of living in the world, I see tourists are advised to fix their own food if possible--$14.50 for a chicken breast if you cook it yourself. They put their oil money in a trust fund for the future, so they pay high prices now. Our Finnish friends all drive small, efficient cars, they conserve, they pay huge fees to have a license to drive, and they have an excellent public transportation system. And they are paying well over $5/gal for gasoline, a lot of which is taxes. And they are very unhappy that huge Russian transports are using their highways paid for with their gasoline taxes to haul automobiles from the Finnish port cities of Turku, Hanko and Kotka across the border into Russia.

2691 Trip Tale: The new veterinary hospital in Helsinki

On Tuesday we toured what is probably the finest veterinary hospital in the world--at least until the next one is built--having opened just this past spring. "The Veterinary Hospital serves the Helsinki region in all small animal or horse medical cases and the whole of Finland as a place of treatment for referred patients. The design of the new hospital building takes into account the needs of the future inmates. Particular attention has been paid to the adaptability of the premises." Annual Report

Riitta was still on call when we arrived on Saturday, and had just completed two major surgeries, and was called in the middle of that night for a third. I don't know if doctors of human medicine spend as much worry and angst over their patients as we observed with Riitta, with frequent calls to the hospital to check on her horses. When we toured the small animal and large animal sections, we not only visited her patients, but saw where the surgery and care takes place.

Riitta is looking for an internal medicine person willing to come for 2-3 years who has a Dip-ACVIM. Because this is a Finnish hospital one of the staff perks includes a lovely sauna.

This was an extremely sick animal, but was still alive two weeks later when we left. I won't even describe the surgery or post the photos!

2690 Less Stress Chickens meet the same fate

One of the things I can’t resist (I should save this for a TT) is trying a new and interesting product--especially if it is at Trader Joe’s, which I consider a responsible chain for health, nutrition and price. So today I picked up Chicken Sausage mixed with fresh spinach and feta cheese (Han’s All Natural, Olympus brand). It has no antibiotics and no nitrates, and is “minimally processed” with no artificial ingredients. If you’re really picky, I’ll note that it has pork casing, and everything else on the label you can read without a chemistry degree.

Anyway, I thought of Murray, from my hometown, who left a little story in my comments a few weeks ago about rescuing baby chicks from the local hatchery years ago when he was a child. They had been thrown out live into the trash can because of various imperfections. The chicken (sausage) I’m about to eat for lunch has been raised in a low stress, environmentally focused practice, and ate an all vegetable diet (don’t chickens eat bugs if they are free-range and happy?). But like Murray’s little peeps that survived to grow up to be halt and lame, but happy, their fate was the same. Low stress or not, it's a chicken's life.

2689 Learn a few Finnish phrases

Helsingin Sanomat (the on-line international edition), the main newspaper of Helsinki, is on midsummer vacation until the end of July. Just about everyone seemed to be on vacation--at the summer lake cottages, or little farms in the countryside. But here's a page I wish I'd found earlier, called Speak up in Finnish. It has recordings so you can hear how the phrases should sound.

Monday, July 24, 2006

2688 On being illiterate

In Finland, I am illiterate. Finnish and Estonian are related languages--the Finns and Estonians may have been one people centuries ago, but their languages are not like any romance or germanic language. I think Finnish has 12 or 13 declensions for its nouns. Swedish is the second national language, and because it is germanic, you'll have a better chance trying to pronounce the street names and directions and store types in Swedish to figure them out than to try Finnish. In Copenhagen I looked through a Danish newspaper and could at least figure out pieces of it. Nothing in Finnish made much sense.

On Wednesday I went shopping with Riitta for groceries and tried to find an English language publication. Truly, after three days of being unable to read, I was desperate. At the news stand my choice was between the international edition of Time Magazine and Vogue. It was a tough choice, believe me. But I paid 4 euros (about $5.00) for 52 pages of Time, 19 of which were photos of the World Cup. Photos I can figure out in Finnish. Five pages were devoted to bashing the "Bush Doctrine." No mention or credit for liberating the Iraqi people from a cruel dictator; no credit for identifying North Korea within months of taking office as part of the Axis of Evil; no mention that his neo-con advisors are former Democrats; or the 500 WMD that have been found; that the Iraqi people have voted in free elections. Although Bush has always acknowledged we were in for a long battle against Islamic terrorists, when he reiterates this, the MSM seems to think it is a victory for their side.

So what does Time recommend? Some Truman era reruns. They don't mention how extremely unpopular Truman was his second term--I think he was lower in the polls than Bush. Another article by Jos. S. Nye, Jr. pined nostalgically for the days of FDR and containment. Tell that one to the Estonians and the millions of other east Europeans who died in the Gulags waiting for the Americans to come and free them. Sixty years ago we sold out 40 million East Europeans to the USSR; let's not repeat that mistake by selling out the Iraqis.

Even so, it was good to be able to read again.

2687 Trip Tale: Touring Helsinki, pt. 2

After visiting the Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral we visited yet another church, this one very modern and built inside blasted rock, Temppeliaukio Church of the Rock, designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. There was a beautiful string quartet playing when we slipped inside.

Church of the Rock

From there we went to Finlandia Hall and viewed the problem of replacing the marble skin on the famous building designed by Alvar Aalto.

The severe winters cause the marble sections to buckle giving it a basket weave appearance, rather than smooth. If you buy a souvenir piece of marble, be sure to check it through in your luggage, not your carry-on. It sets off alarms. Ours is at the Helsinki Airport.

Next it was off to the Helsinki Train station to see where we would pick up our tickets for Russia, but also to look at the architecture. It was designed by another famous Finnish architect, Eliel Saarinen, whose home we visited the following Friday. He later moved to Michigan.

We looked at the Stephen Holl designed Museum of Contemporary Art, but it was closed on Monday. This is probably not the best view--sort looks like a downed blimp here.

View pt. 1 here.

2686 Trip Tales: Finland and Russia Compared

The border between Finland and Russia is like snapping a plumb line--neat and tidy as a post card on the west and trashy on the east. And it only gets worse as you move further east, because the USSR took that border area from Finland after WWII. We took the Sibelius train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg, a 5 hour trip, with a one hour stop in Vyborg ((Russian: Выборг; Finnish: Viipuri; Swedish: Viborg; German: Wiburg) while the Russians in smart green and white uniforms took our passports and reviewed them. This is the area that caused Finland and Germany to be on the same side during WWII--the Finnish people had all been removed by the Soviets, and they were fighting to get it back. After the fall of the USSR, many Russian Finns were "repatriated" and invited to live in Finland, but many of the younger ones are "russified," and don't speak Finnish or Swedish, and the older Finns still harbor hatred for the Russians.

We couldn't get a good photo of Vyborg, the old part of the city being some distance from the train station. But it is very old, and at one time was quite populous.

Finland is awesome--it's called "tiny," but only in population. It's really large and quite empty. Lakes and trees everywhere. Global warming--a few thousands years ago the glaciers melted--left lots of boulders. It lost 20% of its land area to USSR and has so overpowered its former enemy in every area that counts that it is stunning to see. Perhaps no better lesson of the failure of Communism than stepping from Finland into Russia.

Even so, I think the press is biased and negative here in the U.S., but it's nothing like the English language press in Europe. At least here, you might get a column by Medved or Sowell. Europeans and ex-pats never ever get another viewpoint. They are still hostages of the left in that area.

For American liberals who yearn for the good old days of "containment" as a meaningful foreign policy (as opposed to Bush's regime change) put in place by FDR and Truman, it would be good to remember the millions and millions of east Europeans and Finns who lived out their lives in Siberia. That policy didn't work so good for them.

2685 Trip Tale: The flag exchange

When Martti and Riitta, our hosts in Finland, left the USA in 1981, we had a going-away party for them with friends from our Lutheran church, which they also attended. We gave them a large US flag, specially stitched by the local Flag Lady.

My husband in the front in white shirt, next to Riitta in the navy striped shirt, next to Martti in the plaid shirt, and me next to Martti with my hand on his shoulder.

The night before we left Finland, they gave us a Finnish flag and an Alvar Aalto book. Notice the light--it was about 10 p.m. This flag was adopted in 1918; the blue is for the lakes, and the white for snows of winter. The official state flag has the coat of arms in the center.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2684 Maybe I should stop more often?

I just checked my stats for this past week when I could't blog. They were better than when I do.

Page Views

Total ...................... 117,933
Average per Day ................ 225
Average per Visit .............. 1.4
This Week .................... 1,572


Visiting the library on Suomenlinna, an island fortress built in the 17th century by the Swedes (who used to control Finland). Now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was lost to Russia in 1808.

2683 Trip Tale: Touring Helsinki, pt.1

Our first full day in Helsinki was packed with many local sights and sites. First we stopped at "Fire Island" (don't know its Finnish name) where Martti had designed a housing complex on the former site of the North Korean Embassy. It had a setting to die for--at least in the USA, in central Ohio, where lake sites are at a premium.

Then it was on to the Central city, Senate Square, where you'll see all the tour buses stop filled with Russians, Koreans, Japanese, Germans and Italians. I believe it was two weeks ago that the New York Times ran a wonderful article about Helsinki in its travel section. Here we visited the gorgeous Lutheran Cathedral and walked across the street to visit the Helsinki University Library, probably not a stop for most tourists, but I enjoyed it. It is high-tech and high-touch, with computer terminals, digitized collections, and also wonderful old books.

Tuomiokirkko (The Lutheran Cathedral), Helsinki, exterior
Cathedral, Helsinki, interior. There was no "night" while we were there, but this photographer caught a good night shot.
Inside the Helsinki University Library, or National Library of Finland. Read about digitizing the "national memory" here.

Then we walked along Esplanadi Boulevard through Kauppatori, Market Square (looking at the interesting merchants' offerings and climbed the hill to Uspenski Cathedral (Finnish Orthodox).

2682 Trip Tale: Our hosts

Twenty five years ago we promised Martti and Riitta that we would visit them in 1985 for our 25th wedding anniversary. We were a bit late by visiting in July 2006, but that only sweetened it. We had become acquainted in the late 1970s when Riitta was getting her PhD in equine orthopedics (horse bones) at Ohio State, and her husband Martti, who didn't have a work visa but was studying architecture, volunteered at my husband's firm. They also became active in our Lutheran church and made many friends there. She is now a successful surgeon and department chair, and his home, residential, and commercial designs in Finland are some of the best I've ever seen in the 40+ years I've been following my husband around.

How delightful to visit them now with three grown children, the oldest also planning to be an architect, and see our hosts well-established and successful in their careers. If we had come earlier, we would have missed a lot--such as the family home which Martti has redesigned and completed in the last two years after the death of his parents (his father designed and built the original house in the early 1960s). Knowing friends' children is great, but meeting them as adults is even better in some ways, because they will be adults much longer than they were children (and they can help you with tour planning, rubles exchanges, and language). So, I think it is best that we visited in 2006 (when they were having a terrific, but warm, summer) rather than in the 1980s or 1990s.

Here they are walking through the small forest with us near their house, down to a public beach. They live on the island outside Helskinki proper where they grew up. One of the streets in their area has four homes designed by Martti.

The main house in which they live was originally a two level on a steep hill and Martti redesigned it, incorporating the large boulder on which it sat into the new living room wall. The house now has four levels. Finland has long summer days (didn't really get dark while we were there), but very short days in winter, so the house has a lot of glass to take advantage of the sun when it is available.

This photo is from the master bedroom level, looking over the living room into the kitchen where Riitta and I are at the table. You can see that much of the living room is glass, as is the kitchen ceiling. The period furniture of Martti's parents was reupholstered for use in the new living room. The white walls and wood cabinetry and floors set off a riot of color in flowers and plants.

Brief comments during the time we were in Helsinki when I could use a computer, here, here, and here.

Other entries I wrote about the Helsinki, Finland area
The flag exchange
Finland and Russia compared
Helsinki, pt. 1
Helsinki, pt. 2
Illiterate in Finland
The new veterinary hospital
Suomenlinna, a fortress
Saarinens' summer home

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

2681 Back from the lake via Parvoo

We Christians believe we will have a resurrected body someday, and I think God has planned for us to exist someplace like the Southern Karelian forest in Finland. I've never seen such a lovely place--the pine and birch brush the heavens, the water is crystal clear, and our host designed and built a fabulous cottage and separate sauna house. Indoor plumbing would have made it perfect, but even that was nicely designed. I have much to blog about when I get home, and I'll select a few of the hundreds of photos my husband has been taking. I even have one of me in the only 1950s full coverage swim suit still on the racks.

We came back via Parvoo, the second oldest city in Finland with wonderful old wooden buildings. For you anti-Walmart folks, yes, they bulldoze forests here too for shopping centers. There are fabulous shopping malls, some with consumer items I've never seen or knew I needed!

Tomorrow we're off to St. Petersburg, Russia. I understand that my buddy George is there.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

2680 Today we're off to the countryside

Our hosts have a summer cottage about 2 hours north of Helsinki on a lake and that is where we go today. Yesterday we were in Tallinn Estonia. This country has only had its freedom from the Soviets for 15 years, but the economy seems to be booming. Those of my readers (and you know who you are) who are closet marxists are just blind I suppose. It is wonderful see a country that had been so beaten down as Estonia was just bloom from the ashes of Communism. We had a little extra time and toured a small museum dedicated to the Soviet years.

On Tuesday we toured probably the finest veterinary hospital in the world--until the next one is built because they all build on the shoulders of the one before in technology. But not all vet hospitals have a sauna for their staff! We're also having some fine architectural tours since that is our husbands' interests.

Not much computer time, so this may be it for the trip. Our tickets to St. Petersburg are causing a bit of a problem. Hope we make it! Goodness, I heard so much Russian being spoken in Tallinn.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

2679 We're here in Finland

We arrived about noon Sunday. I didn't sleep on the plane so I'm about to crash. We are enjoying our Finnish friends wonderful hospitality and plan to do some interesting sight seeing this week. We've met all 3 kids, and her mother, and toured the house Martti recently renovated. The guys are both architects, so that's seems to be keeping them busy and we've walked through a lovely forest over to a street where Martti has some homes. I've never seen so many lakes in my life!

Probably won't be doing much blogging--the keyboard is different. No MM or TT this week. Just hoping I can find some coffee in the morning.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Interrogating the historical literature

Chapter 11 can be a form of bankruptcy, but it is also an interesting chapter in "Companion to American Immigration" (Blackwell, 2006), my summer reading. I must leave it at home as we fly off to Finland and Russia. Read the whole entry at Illegals Now.

Jeffrey Melnick, author of Chapter 11
begins with the obligatory "mythic images," of American immigration, all inaccurate according to Melnick, but they only get a brief paragraph. He quickly moves on to genocide, mass enslavement, annexation, violence, and pernicious cultural works that destroy everyone they touch. He is a master at "interrogating the historical literature." That's where you take every historical monograph written before 1960 (but ignore original sources), tie them to a chair in the faculty lounge and torture them until they spill their guts about how awful the United States is, was, and forever will be. It's like the torture and interrogation (called deconstructionism) the feminists perpetrate on novels of the 19th century, only more violent. You make the literature say things it would never even whisper if it weren't bound and beaten by faculty seeking tenure at any cost.

Friday, July 07, 2006

2677 What does it mean to be 22 today?

Elise has just graduated from Hofstra and with her mom is staying in our Lakeside cottage this coming week with our cat while we fly off to Helsinki to see Riitta and Martti. Her mom will be teaching some art classes and she'll be assisting. She was pretty tired, having driven through from NY, and we sat on the porch chatting Thursday morning before my husband took her sailing. She was eating cold nachos and sour cream for breakfast. She laughed, and said, "I'm just being 22."

It reminded me that I really don't know very many young--really young--adult women, except through the internet. Mainly through Thursday Thirteen. For all I know, cold nachos for breakfast is the cold pizza of the 80s (which my kids thought was great). It surprises me to come across women bloggers 25 or 26 talking about their school age children. It wouldn't have surprised me at all when I was 25 (one of my close friends from high school is a great-grandmother), but these days, adolescence seems to stretch into the early 30s. When I meet women directly with babies and toddlers, they seem to be late 30s or early 40s.

When I was 22, I was a working, going-to-grad-school mom. I've never felt as old or tired as I did then. I don't regret any of it, but don't remember that translating Russian medical journals in a tiny apartment with a cranky baby was a lot of fun. Still, I distinctly remember that when I was a child, my only goal was to become an adult and be independent. Mission accomplished.

2676 Now this is library humor and parody worth reading

No FatStalker here. This is the real thing. RLG. Regressive Librarians Guild. It's so regressive, it actually uses the word "librarian." Think Kelo on steroids. They want to take your land so they can build libraries on it. They want everyone to dress like a librarian dress in drab Communist gray.

2675 The Fat Cat

Edie, my son's cat, is jealous that Abby (my daughter's Chihuahua) has had so much time on my blog, here and here. I suggested she lose some weight first, but she stomped her dainty little paw, then tipped over, and said, "Does this kitchen tile make me look fat?"

2674 The well-dressed librarian (retired)

Here's the fashion plan for the trip to Finland and Russia: black, cream/khaki and white. Boring but easy. No one will accuse me of being a fashionable, stuck up American tourist (although they might guess my career track). I ran into K-Mart this morning and picked up a few things--I mean, summer stuff is on sale. If it shrinks or rips, I can always crochet a rug like Mom did (lol--that'll be the day).

I bought a little black dress, probably too little, it is an 8 and it's been 20 lbs since I wore an 8. Folded for travel, it is about the size of a farmer's hankie. I bought a swim suit--a style that I swear I haven't seen since the 50s. 50% off and 50% more coverage than most suits. It might be my ticket into the sauna. I do not do naked. I used to belong to a health spa when I was in my 20s and was shocked to see what 45 year old women looked like. Now I'm 20 years the other side of awful! It's also a size or two too small, but K-Mart is providing mirrors that make you look slimmer instead of like you're at the carnival fun house.

I don't have time to do my usual watercolor sketch, but here's the general plan for the suitcase. For the plane trip (very long) it will be the loosest black slacks, a coral t-shirt, a cream jacket with generous pockets, and coral print scarf. I'm so pale, coral looks good on me.

This trip will be quite international. Most of these clothes were made in China and Mexico, however, in looking over the tags, I also saw Costa Rica, Lesotho, Australia, Ukraine, Vietnam, El Salvado, Cambodia and Bangladesh. Hey, better there than here if workers are being shipped in containers to work in sweatshops or coyoted across the border. Trade agreements will keep potential illegals in their home countries (instead of joining labor unions here and becoming democrats). If they are going to take American jobs, better to do it there.

2673 Friday Family Photo

Thirty years ago we flew to California to visit my in-laws. Because my husband's parents divorced when he was very young, we didn't know them all that well. We had a great week and particularly enjoyed getting to know my husband's brother and sister. I think this is Huntington Beach. We're visiting the sibs in September for his sister's wedding.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

13 Things I wouldn't know if I didn't read the Black Swamp Trader and Gazette.

There are a lot of local festivals in small towns in the Firelands area of Ohio. Some areas of Ohio used to belong to Connecticut, and during the American Revolution, British troops destroyed property along the sea coast of Connecticut. In order to repay colonists for their losses, Connecticut gave these colonists 500,000 acres of land. These were called the "Firelands" and were set aside at the western end of the Western Reserve. This newspaper serves some of these small communities as a "free circ."

1. Mondays are grandparent days at the President Hayes Center in Fremont, OH.
2. Bowling Green is having a classic car show on Main Street July 8.
3. Grand Rapids, OH is having Rally Days, July 8-9.
4. Pemberville, OH is having a German Christmas on July 8, and a cruising night on July 6.
5. Genoa, OH is having a classic car and truck cruise-in every Wednesday.
6. Mansfield, OH and Richland County are having Fall Foliage Festivals--there are several--and you can visit Malabar Farms where Bogie and Bacall were married.
7. Marblehead, OH had its 7th Annual Ice Cream Social on July 1.
8. Norwalk, OH is having a classic car show with live radio broadcast every Thursday through August!
9. There will be a Dutchtown Hatchery Festival in New Washington, OH on July 7-8.
10. Milan, OH is having a Food and Wine Celebration with 20 renowned chefs on the grounds of The Culinary Vegetable Institute on July 15. On Tuesday nights, all the cruisers will be in Milan.
11. Berlin Heights, OH is having its 2nd Annual Marble Tournament on August 6.
12. Fostoria, OH is having a Fostorial Glass and Heritage Festival on July 14-15.
13. The 2nd Annual Lincoln Highway Yard Sale (through Ohio and Indiana) is noted for Bucyrus, OH, August 10-12 and stretches for 250 miles. Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival is August 17-19 (don't try to drive through Bucyrus on those days unless you want to eat).

Since I've only been to Marblehead, Bucyrus, Milan, and Mansfield, I can't guarantee these are all fabulous places to visit (or even that they are all "Firelands"), but there are small town festivals and events everywhere which support local history and merchants. Visit one in your area this summer.

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2671 Who is this masked librarian?

Someone is attempting to write a right wing librarian parody--at least I think that's what it is. Shush, Annoyed, Tomeboy, Oyarsa, and a few others get featured with the word RIGHT very prominently. And since I write right on more often than they do (I'm retired and they have to work for a living) and because I rightly pointed out a flaw to a very sensitive but excellent writer who writes in parenthetical phrases too deep to plumb some time back (around the time the blog started) for using the word "right" but not the word "left" in discussing the WIDE range of thought among librarians, pardon my run on here, I think my astute analytical skills have figured this one out. I think he really took it hard that time I said I felt no obligation to provide marijuana culture books or advice in the agriculture library since it is illegal. Oh those baby boomers!

But since I only get occasional hits from that parody, I guess I'll be big and overlook his tantrums because no one seems to be reading it. He doesn't pick on the guys much. Just old pensioners like me. Sigh. His regular stuff (technology) is outstanding, but politics just doesn't seem to be his gift. Besides, it helps the stats if someone wanders in. It's been up almost a year and I've just come across it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

2670 You're getting this third hand

Politics. It's never very pretty.

"The upper echelons of the ALA [American Library Association] are a wasteland of irrelevant political intrigue and foolish commentary. The ALA Council either is itself composed mostly of scoundrels, or (as I believe) lets itself be hijacked by political scoundrels who, in the words of one SRRT scoundrel I overheard in New Orleans, "really know how to get resolutions passed." She considered it a point of arrogant pride that they were able to herd the other librarians like sheep. I was too polite to tell her what a rude and ill mannered little troglydyte she was. And of course how unimportant she is."

Annoyed Librarian

The SRRT's [social responsibilities round table] siblings and cousins are in every fraternal and professional organization, including churches, herding the sheep. Ignoring them or not attending the meetings doesn't discourage them--it emboldens them.

2669 The Oath and the Pledge

Sure, you can say the Pledge of Allegiance; it's not a government document and was actually first written for a children's magazine by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist.

But could you say or even read and commit to the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America?


"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

According to chapter 2, "Naturalization and nationality" in Companion to American Immigration the right to naturalize recognized in the U.S. Constitution represented a conscious repudiation of feudal subjectship when individuals were bound without their consent to sovereign overlords and states they ruled. The Articles of Confederation left citizenship up to the individual states, however the U.S. Constitution empowered the federal government to establish naturalization (Article 1, Sec. 8).

A new oath of allegiance was being planned for 2003, but the CIS came under heavy criticism for not allowing enough time for public debate. I would guess that following on the heels of the demonstrations by illegals held in May, the public discourse if held in 2006 would not be kind to diluting this oath.

There are many Americans living abroad for many years who would never be able to say this oath if it were required for coming back. Not that they want to (return), but the country in which they reside probably won't allow them to become citizens (few countries make it as easy as the U.S. and Canada), and they don't want to be stateless.

Cross-posted at Illegals Now.

2668 Are expensive shoes worth it?

You probably don't think $90 is expensive for a pair of shoes, but it's about $80 more than my favorite pair that has held up for three years. Perhaps I shouldn't be depending on a librarian for fashion advice, but Blonde Librarian who is living in Germany says that white athletic shoes really give you away as an American. I don't know why that should be bad, but I remember we used to chuckle at the German exchange students who even in high school wore hose and sandals for every day wear when everyone with a plug of sense knew you should be wearing white, roll down anklets and suede tie oxfords.

But I digress. About three months ago I went to the New Balance store in the Tuttle Mall for some hoity-toity, colored athletic shoes. Well, I didn't want them to glow in the dark or enable me to leap tall buildings with a single bound or be wrapped in velcro, so I chose a very handsome sleek black leather loafer style by the Dunham label. I was even able to get them in 8.5AA, my size. But they were $90, with a 90 day wear guarantee.

I broke them in gradually so they would be comfortable on our trip to Finland and Russia, beginning with about an hour a day. I even wore them a few times on short one mile walks to make sure they wouldn't be a disaster for a day outing. They are extremely comfortable and I don't feel like I've dressed from the missionary barrel when I wear them. This week I noticed that the inside lining is starting to disintegrate and I can feel the impression of my foot and toes on the inside--like I might expect if these were a year old or more. All shoes these days are made in China, but not all Chinese shoes are equally durable. You can keep your snooty name brands and expensive advertising; it's back to K-Mart for me.

2667 New Jersey Casinos forced to close?

Is this supposed to be bad news? Will Grandma have to stay home and read a book, go out to lunch with her former bridge club friends (they've lost contact), or put some of her check in the bank instead of playing the slots for an artificial high? Tell me why this is bad. That New Jersey won't be raking in money from the poor, addicted and addled.

2667 On Being White in America

Although I haven't found a scholarly article that traces when the worm turned and it became bad to be White in America, I'm sure I could find such a chapter in a Tammy Bruce, Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly book (I'm aware of them, but haven't actually read any of their titles). At the university level, however, such an expose wouldn't get you promotion or tenure in 2006, and even having such a title or article in your library, might get you censored or suspended.

It would make an interesting bibliographic essay or review article--just tracking the literature, beginning around 1965. But because wiping out WIA, all vestiges of the European in the United States, is a positive goal for academics, I'm not anticipating finding a department or area studies** program to determine and anlyze the motives, money and machinations behind this movement among historians, educators, sociologists and college administrations. Economists and political scientists are still a bit conflicted--waiting to see which way the wind blows. Just throwing the phrase "marxist hegemony" or "mainstream media" at the problem just doesn't explain such self-hatred, or why the majority have bought into the brainwashing. Have our collective brain synapses been tangled by our entertainment industry? Is it the fast food that is causing our brains to turn to mush? Is it the happy, clappy music at church in place of Euro-based liturgies?

This theme ungirds just about everything I read about "diversity" or "multiculturalism." The push for multiculturalism is not rooted in the idea that we all benefit from exposure to difference cultures (although the early proponents may have thought that), but that it is bad and evil for this country to be majority white and anglo. Every other culture and ethnic group has value--but ours must be destroyed. The push for abortion begins and ends with the educated white women, not with the poor and minority women, whose offspring still have value. Increasingly, being Catholic, if you are also white, will get you no "brownie points" (pardon the pun); and if you are a middle-class or wealthy African-American, you just might be white on the inside (oreo) and have sold out your heritage since you are too rich and educated to be an Uncle Tom. If your surname is Hernandez you will be more welcome in academe than if it is McAdams, even if your grandfather settled in Indiana and no one has spoken Spanish for 3 generations.

If you've seen a bibliographic essay which traces this peculiar death wish for the last 40 years in our society, please point me to it.

[These thoughts emerged while reading A Companion to American Immigration (Blackwell, 2006), which although it depends heavily on secondary sources, also includes many interesting (and biased) scholarly works.]

**In a flash of library humor, some of our workshops on handling specialized digital material when I was at Ohio State, used the fictional "Department of Canadian Studies"--perhaps the organizers thought there was no such field, at least not in Ohio. However, wiping out the White Canadian is also a goal of multiculturalism, so we share more than a long border.

[Disclaimer: I used to call myself an 8th generation American, but then I started doing genealogy in retirement and dug up all manner of evil white ancestors on our eastern shores and colonies before the 18th century.]

2665 The Lakeside Kids' Sail

Members of the S.O.S. (Society of Old Salts) volunteered their time yesterday to take children out for a sail on Lake Erie. It was supposed to have been Sunday, but the water was too rough. These guys took 71 children out for a good time. One by one.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

2664 Celebrating our 230th anniversary as a nation

Lakeside had two parades--the children's at 10:30 and the regular at 11 a.m. It was hot and humid, but everyone was in great spirits.

Even the spectators were dressed up!

Kevin Sibbring, the Director, was our parade marshall

The Guys Club Cordless Drill Team: their motto is, "We're working on it."

One guy is probably Uncle Sam, but the other looks like he's supposed to be in the fall festival parade.

2663 We're going to the dogs

These guys are dressed up for the Fourth of July.

2662 Where to eat in Lakeside, Ohio

We're eating in today (holiday) but there are some great spots for such a small town. The hotel also has a dining room, but we haven't quite figured out the schedule. Changes each summer.
The Abigail Tea Room, full dinners, closed on Mondays. Home made pies.

Erie Food Market, for great deli items to go and a full service grocery with a personal touch. At noon there is a guy grilling hamburgers and brats outside.

Last year this was the Irish Tea Room, now it is Oo-La-La--haven't tried it yet

Sloopy's Sports Cafe--the only game in town off season

The Patio--fabulous warm donuts in the morning, great complete dinners with specials. My husband has an art show here. On the left is the Whistle Stop for ice cream and sandwiches.

Coffee and Cream is the coffee shop which also runs an outdoor grill for special events and week-ends. Toft's Velvet ice cream, Bassett's bakery and deli items.

2661 Fond baseball memories

The family renting the cottage across the street has a bunch of kids, and each has a baseball glove. We've enjoyed watching them from our porch. One little guy who is really plucky, has a glove that almost goes up to his elbow. Back in the years when we had a grand daughter (lost her in the divorce), she was here one summer eyeing the kids (different family) playing catch in the street. She sauntered out and stood near-by in the grass, shagging their missed balls. Then the dad invited her to join in and she was out in the street in a flash. What they didn't know was that she was a darn good little athlete--she clobbered the "locals." Soon their dad was throwing mainly to her.

2660 The Traveling T-shirt

We're going to take some Lakeside t-shirts with us to Finland. Our FinFriends are BIG people--and I hope they fit. No sense trying for a "made in America" shirt, because technically they don't exist. But they do, actually, regardless of what the label says. Chances are the cotton was grown in Texas, the designs were done by an American graphic artist, and the retailers and wholesalers are from Florida, NY or NJ. But most importantly, the trade agreements and restrictions are crafted by our government.

I've been paying more attention to the lowly t-shirt since I began reading, "The travels of a t-shirt in the global economy," by Pietra Rivoli (Wiley, 2005). Unfortunately, it is in my stack of vacation reading, and on top of my immigration title, my book club selection, and boning up for Finland and Russia, I won't get it finished. It is still a 14-day book at my public library, so I'll be returning it tomorrow.

Here's the final conclusion, so as not to leave you wondering: To the World Trade protester she writes "Appreciate what markets and trade have accomplished for all of the sisters in time who have been liberated by life in a sweatshop, and . . . be careful about dooming anyone to life on the farm. . . . the poor suffer more from exclusion from politics than from the perils of the market, and [activist energy should be focused on] including people in politics rather than shielding them from markets." But the author also provides kind words for activists who she believes [and follows in the book] have made a difference--but she urges them to look both ways.

I highly recommend this book for an easy, enjoyable, fascinating read/course in the global economy written by an economist with a gift for story-telling.

Monday, July 03, 2006

2659 School teachers and pay scales

Per hour, they make more than many professions--certainly more than librarians. Why do we persistently argue that teachers are underpaid?

"Data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that in 2002, elementary school teachers averaged $30.75 per hour and high school teachers made $31.01. That is about the same as other professionals like architects, economists, biologists, civil engineers, chemists, physicists and astronomers, and computer systems analysts and scientists. Even demanding, education-intensive professions like electrical and electronic engineering, dentistry, and nuclear engineering didn't make much more than teachers per hour worked. And the earnings of teachers are much higher than those of registered nurses, police officers, editors and reporters, firefighters, and social workers.

Some argue that it's unfair to calculate teacher pay on an hourly basis because teachers perform a large amount of work at home--grading papers on the weekend, for instance. But people in other professions also do offsite work. The only important question is whether teachers do significantly more offsite work than others."

Read the entire article about myths and education.

What freedom means

Because tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the Cleveland Plain Dealer carried small op-eds about the meaning of freedom, apparently publishing submitted essays. Mary Nguyen wrote that her parents were immigrants from Vietnam--"there hasn't been one conversation about my future that hasn't included the fact that they left their entire families, their entire lives, behind so their children could have freedom in America." Her parents dedicated their lives to raising 6 children to give them the finest education they could afford. Now, she says, she has the freedom and opportunity to fail, falter or learn.

I don't know how old Mary is, but she will always be older and wiser than another woman whose essay seemed to focus on a "watershed" event in her life--Angela Davis' afro. To her, freedom was wearing her hair any way but straightened--braided, natural, or blonde. Yikes.

That may have been the shallowest essay on the meaning of freedom I've ever read, and why we need immigrants (legal) to renew our faith.

2657 Sex Economics

"By one reckoning, boosting the frequency of sex in a marriage from once a month to once a week brings as much happiness as an extra $50,000 a year." No word in the survey if they asked men or women.

However, this item is from the LATimes newsletter of highlights and editorials, which along with a few other assorted sources (, a .edu, my sitemeter, and some spam) is getting through to my e-mail; but just about everyone else thinks is spam.

Oh, and btw, in the Gross National Happiness indicators, happiness peaks around age 51.

Monday Memories

The Lakeside Wooden Boat Show was just yesterday (July 2) however, it brought back many memories for a lot of people. This is only the 2nd year, but like classic car shows, it really brings in the people, particularly in the Lake Erie vacation land. The Lakeside Wooden Boat Society also builds boats in a tent in the park so people can learn how to do it.

Lots of activity here for people learning how to create and put a finish on a wooden boat. Children and old folks welcome.

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