Friday, April 29, 2011

Grutz says, "Who needs Westminster Abby when you've got this?"

A photo montage of our visit to one of our favorite places, The National Cathedral.  Enjoy!
The Cathedral rivals any I've visited in Europe.

If you visit at the right time, the light streams through the windows.  Alas, this was not that time.  Notice the state flags.

Can you find your state seal?  Try real hard!

Ohio......

.....and Iowa.

Can you identify the historical or religious events/people in this window?

Viewing the Cathedral on our way to the garden.

Ahhh, the garden!  Though the roses were not blooming yet, the herbs were in all their glory.  Carleen discovered an apple scented basil plant!

The lovely Carleen!

Splendid, no?

Carleen striking a pose. (Ed. note: I did not ask her to strike said pose.)

Tulips and ancient artifacts.
So there is a quick photo essay on the National Cathedral.  We're so fortunate that Nana lives only a few blocks away.  This has become a regular visit for us while in DC.  Up next, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens!  Get ready to get your food-heiress' palatial estate freak on!

B-day on Friday.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader, Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions. In the words of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe "In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington. (Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grutz says, "Is the end near?" or "College towns are wonderful. College apartments are, um, fine."

Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, tornados, radiation, uprisings, the NFL Draft/lockout, and a Royal wedding?!?!
It's not in Revelations, but what an odd/scary time.  Sure, I mock the importance placed on the Draft and the wedding.  But everything else, the natural disasters and the "so-last-week" uprisings in northern Africa/Middle East should be reflected upon.  Here I am lamenting garbage day in our 'hood (the trucks are loud and it takes ages to get all the garbage at 6:45 in the morning) when others are waking up to this...
Aftermath of the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa.  Image from TuscaloosaNews.com - Michelle Lepianka Carter
Poplar Bluff, MO, flooding from the Black River.  Photo Paul Davis
Even though we all have our own struggles and challenges, we are all very fortunate and lucky that they are of the "everyday" variety.  If you can help out with these stunning disasters please do, The American Red Cross.  And, as if you need the additional incentive, you can write-off donations......

Athens, OH does not like to be confused with Athens, GA.
En route to Washington, DC, Carleen and I made a stop in Athens, OH, home of Ohio University and Julia Healy.  She lives in a very nice, orange house with a couple of roommates.  The inside of the house looks like what you'd imagine.  I'm glad I'm not an undergrad anymore.  Julia is rocking something like 46 (I kid) hours of 400 level classes or something as near impossible to achieve her goal of graduating early.  Also, I find that her criticism of classes being "stupid" or professors being "dumb" is at an all time low, like only 28% of her classes.  It was a joy to have dinner with her and then have her join us in a sleepover at the local HolidayInn.  I was reminded of college life as we left in the morning as Julia "stocked up" on food from the continental breakfast.  Starving undergrads, oh, it's nice to know the circle remains unbroken.  So we left Julia and Athens, amid flood warnings, to make our way to DC.

Hello DC!
We trekked to Washington DC to see the sights and of course spend time with Nanna Nana. Ingrid was a fantastic host and had a litany of things for us to do.  First on the list, the Renwick Gallery!
Ghost Clock by Wendell Castle.  It looks like a shrouded clock, but its solid wood, carved to look like fabric.

Carleen appreciating the American artist gallery.

Game Fish by Larry Fuente.

Game Fish up close.  Yep, it's made of, well, stuff.
Nana left us to our own demise after the Renwick Gallery and we headed to the monuments.
Caleen posing at the Jefferson Memorial.

Nick soaking up the history.  If you haven't been to the Capitol you're missing out.

Carleen at our favorite of the memorials, FDR.
That was just a glimpse of our first day out.  More to follow.

My goodness, I was so concerned.
Along the lines of our DC visit, President Obama, yesterday, released his birth certificate.  Is this really what's it gotten to?  Really?!?  Just politically speaking, hasn't Obama done enough for the right to be critical?  They go after a possible clerical formality?  Anyway, here's a link to some more "certificate" issues for a possible republican "candidate".  Enjoy!

Birthday for today.
Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American author best known for her 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which deals with the issues of racism that were observed by the author as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Despite being Lee's only published book, it led to Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the United States for her contribution to literature in 2007. Lee has also been the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, but has always declined to make a speech.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grutz says, "Whoa, hold on, we just went on a little trip." or "Yeah, that's right. I got a sunburn. Jealous?"

Greetings all!  Yes, it's been quite awhile.  Carleen and I relapsed into our old addiction of traveling this last week.  A combination of a free week and really crappy weather in Chicago forced us, literally, into our Subaru and head east.  First stop: Cincinnati.

As you may or may not know, my wonderful wife is from Cincinnati and her folks still reside there.  The weather was lovely, flowers galore, and more sun than you can shake stick at (ummm, yeah, that's what I meant....).  Also we also hit up the Queen City for a bridal shower for future sister-in-law, Maggie.  So while Carleen and her boss mom, Karen, got to rock out at the Vintage Club with a bunch of ladies I got to hang with fiance, Matt (uber-bro-in-law), in the pleasant Oakley hood of Cincy.  All in all, a great day for the both of us.  Sunday we had an amazing afternoon at the Great American Ballpark watching the Reds battle the Pirates.  Sun+brews+ball=spring.  Though the Reds couldn't quite pull it out (down by a run in the ninth, bases loaded...) it was a very entertaining game from beginning to end (back to back dingers in the first by the 'Bucs).  And it was truly wonderful getting all that vitamin D.  And yes, some of us got pink, except for Matt, he got red!
The Great American Ballpark.  Named after an insurance company.  Really.  I always thought that the Reds were just full of themselves.   I stand corrected.  Tom Healy totally had me, too.  He said all he could get were bleacher seats, yet he got us along third base line.  Well played, Tom, well played indeed.

Superfans from l-r, Matt Healy, Karen Healy (check out the 'red' Reds outfit she's sporting!  Awesome! You should see her decked out for Xavier games) and Tom Healy.  Notice Matt's exposed neckline.....his v-neck matched the color of his hat by the end of the game. 

Carleen sporting the rally-cap.  Alas it almost worked.  Maybe if it was a Red's hat instead of Dubuque hat it may have worked.  Maybe.
After the game we had a great dinner with our friends Tom, Holly and Frost Hankinson who recently moved from Chicago back to Cincinnati.  I have to say I miss them a great deal, but it gives Carleen and I even more of a reason to hightail it to Cincy.

Up next: Super-sleepover in Athens, OH with Julia Healy! And the Healy-Grutz tour hits up our nations capital (and not for the 420 rally, seriously)......stay tuned!

I hope your brains are ready for a workout, it's been awhile.  Make sure you stretch first.

Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, sociologist,  and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era. He has been described as "almost certainly the most famous philosopher of the Victorian age."  Spencer developed an all-embracing conception of evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies.He is best known for coining the concept "survival of the fittest", which he did in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origins of Speices.


Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (27 April 1759 – 10 September 1797) was an eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.

Whew!  I know it's a lot, but we've got to get back on the horse with the birthday facts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grutz says, "Who doesn't like people dressed in period costumes? Seriously?!" or "A clean forest is better than a dirty city."

Has anyone seen my bed key?
Yesterday evening, good reader, my left arm was pink.  Not both arms.  Just the left from driving in the country with the windows down, birds singing, frogs chirping.  Ahhhh, spring, no, dare I say, summer, peaked out yesterday with blazing (80+ for April 10 is blazing) temps and high humidity.  So Carleen and I finally made it out of Dodge Chicago.  After researching many forests in Dupage and Kane counties, we settled on LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.
Carleen enjoying the serene stream and the early signs of spring.  No, that not a Cincinnati Reds hat, it a Paul's Big Game Room hat from Dubuque.  Yep, a Dubuque hat.

Not only is this a great outdoor retreat, with hiking, fishing, biking, and horse trails, but there are historic sites in the preserve.  Carleen and I hiked prairie and forests.  The many dogs and their owners basking in the sun and frolicking got us both talking again about possibly getting a little mutt ourselves.  Oh, the stress of newlyweds!  But the the lovely landscape and canines weren't the only joys to be found.

 Both the Pioneer Sholes School and Durant Peterson House Museum turned out to be surprising finds (it really helped that they were both open!).   Wonderful volunteers in period costume, both adult and children, lead us through both the school and the home.  Carleen and I, along with other guests, were treated to many interesting facts and items.  It was all hands-on and no areas were restricted (that means it was awesome). At the Pioneer Sholes School we told of the schools history and how it made its way to the park.  Also, children volunteers were playing games of the day with some young visitors.  How refreshing it was to see kids 'finding the thimble' or playing 'cat and mouse', games void of any of the technogadgetry of today's entertainment, and enjoying it.  The volunteer 'teacher' provided great detail and insight into the daily routines of the one room school house.  As educators, Carleen and I, found all this very inspiring and intriguing.  I'd suggest visiting the Pioneer Sholes School's web site here for some additional info.  Very good!
The Pioneer Sholes School, in service from 1872 to 1946.  To think, there might be people that YOU know that went to a one room school house.....  
The Durant Peterson House was home to the Durants in 1843, who had six children, all born at home no less.  Its a very small (by today's standards) home and, interestingly enough, the largest room was the parlor, which of course, was off limits most of the time!  In the 1880's the Petersons bought the home and added a workshop wing and a modern Victorian kitchen!  Here are some (great) photos....
A shot of the house during the summer.

Not the kitchen, the hearth room.  We were treated to lessons on hearth cooking, which I greatly enjoyed, due to my affinity for cast iron.  It took great skill to cook like Mrs. Durant.  No variable convection ovens here!

The Parlor was off limits except for important visitors.  Like myself.  The couch was the only thing in the whole house that you couldn't touch.  It upholstered in horsehair!

The workshop made me giddy with all the antique tools and implements.  To the right leads to the modern kitchen.  It had running water and, wait for it, an ice box!  Still had to step outside to use the outhouse, though. 
We had a great time at these sites and we were especially impressed with the volunteers.  We highly recommend LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve!

Getting something done around the house.
I mentioned in a previous post that I found some old windows in the alley and I finally did something with one.  Finally.  I made a chalkboard, because, well, every house needs a chalkboard.  Here's how....
I removed the glass.  No, not with the hammer (though that would have been kind of cool.  Until I had to pick up the pieces.).  I removed the putty and some triangular shaped tacks.

I painted a piece of laminated plywood with 'chalkboard' paint.  Four-five coats, just to be safe.

Ta-da!  All finished.  Now to hang it and get some chalk!
Your brains is looking a little tired, let me see if I can help.
Glenway Wescott (April 11, 1901 - February 22, 1987) was a major American novelist during the 1920-1940 period and a figure in the American expatriate literary community in Paris during the 1920s.His novel, The Pilgrim Hawk, A Love Story (1940), was praised by the critics. Apartment In Athens (1945), the story of a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who must share their living quarters with a German officer, was a popular success.
Christopher Smart (11 April 1722 – 21 May 1771), also known as "Kit Smart", "Kitty Smart", and "Jack Smart", was an English poet. He was a major contributor to two popular magazines and a friend to influential cultural icons like Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding. Smart, a high church Anglican, was widely known throughout London.  His works include A Song to David, Hop-Garden, and Jubilate Agno.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Grutz says, "I'm just going to write about our plans for today." Carleen says, "What are we doing today?" Grutz says, "I don't know."

The best laid plans.....don't take into consideration my forgetfulness.
Thank you all for such great suggestions for quick getaways for the two of us.  Though Boston doesn't lend itself well to a "quick getaway", it's still an idea that needs further investigating.  But we didn't make it out of Chicago yesterday.  I kind of forgot about Carleen's dance class on Saturday.  And meeting up with Tom & Holly and Tim & Laura last night.  So now, today, the getaway, I think, will involve a short jaunt to a neighboring county park for a picnic.  Or enjoying the city (like everyone else!).  The temperature is projected to be in the low 80s!  Now where are my short-shorts?
To think that last week it was still mittens weather.  The lovely Carleen with some Chicago landmarks.  And industry.


The carrion game, the game the whole family can stomach!
As I'm sure you, like a many around the world (over 11 32 million views!), are glued into the Decorah Eagle Cam.  All three eaglets are live and kicking and I'm amazed at their quick development.  The arrival of the eaglets has ushered a bountiful harvest of tasty treats.  I find myself playing a identification game each time I visit the cam.  "Now let's see, that's a rabbit, a crow, aaaaaaaaaand I want to say......a trout."  Just a moment ago I switched over to see one of the eagles depositing a fresh meal.  I was describing to to Carleen, "Oh, he just dropped off a rabbit.  No, squirrel.  Nope, it's a duck.  Yeah, a duck."  Wow.  This is how I spend my Sundays before Being and The Splendid Table.  Interesting.
From a few days ago.  It's a marmoset!  No, no, it's a gopher!  No, it's a rabbit.  Bingo.


Combating ignorance one day at a time.


Paul Edward Theroux (born April 10, 1941) is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work of travel writing is perhaps The Great Railway Bazaar(1975). He has also published numerous works of fiction, some of which were made into feature films. He was awarded the 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel The Mosquito Coast.


Joseph Pulitzer  (April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911), born Politzer J√≥zsef, was a Hungarian-American newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York World. Pulitzer introduced the techniques of "new journalism" to the newspapers he acquired in the 1880s and became a leading national figure in the Democratic party. He crusaded against big business and corruption. In the 1890s the fierce competition between his World and William R. Hearst's New York Journal introduced yellow journalism and opened the way to mass circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue and appealed to the reader with multiple forms of news, entertainment and advertising.


Today he is best known for posthumously establishing the Pulitzer Prizes.


And rumor has it that Carleen will be posting soon!!!!!!!!!!

The Sun is here!

Today is a great day.  Yesterday was a great day.  I foresee great things to come.  And of course, apologies for the absenteeism on the blog, I've been doing this thing called work, that and other things have been taking up a lot of my brain space lately.   Yesterday, after coming home from lunch and dancing with lovely Kristina, I was delighted to finally find none other than HEALTH AND DENTAL INSURANCE cards in the mailbox!  Some of you, my close friends, know about this saga that has been ongoing since January and what an amazing relief to get these plastic pieces of risk management in the mail.  Picture unrelenting pulling of teeth and scratching of nails: that is how these past few months have been, ME convincing THEM that I (we) deserve insurance.  CPS has this inane policy that if your "insurance window"of 30 days from the day of hire has closed, then you become ineligible until the next enrollment period, at the start of the school year.  Well, as you know I was hired as a temporary teacher first, and months later my position became full time.  At the time of hire, I discussed in it's entirety the process of acquiring health insurance, and the friendly CPS officials assured me that if I chose to wait until my temporary position was complete, and that if my position became full time, I would have no problem with joining the CPS benefits plan.   So, not wanting to risk losing our personal insurance policy and then being out in the proverbial no insurance land cold, we kept our personal policy and decided to wait until/if I was hired for a full time position.  This is not even the beginning of the plight to get health insurance, I will spare you the details but suffice it to say that the process involved multiple emails, phone calls, me documenting every interaction and then compiling it all into an written appeal that named each individual that I spoke with and quoted the direct and repeated misinformation that I was given.  I never received a response to my appeal, though I was told that I would receive an email or letter.  After several weeks of calling repeatedly to inquire as to the status, I was told that my appeal had been sent on to the insurance company for approval.  And several weeks after that, yesterday came along, and now we have, in hand, insurance.  All of this for "the privilege" of participation in an incredibly flawed system.  At first I was elated, and now I am mildly put off that in this country, we still have to fight for basic rights like health care.

Today is still a great day, despite my mini rampage on CPS and insurance companies.  I woke up with the sun, and then chose to stay in bed.  I let myself drift in and out of dreams for a full hour.  This is the epitome of luxury.  A sun filled room, letting myself lay still, no alarm, and no plans all day.  It's the beginning of my 2 week spring break.  We've been less than illustrious with our planning, so it remains to be seen if we can snag a cheap flight somewhere, or if we will go on a mini road trip.  Nick is now coaching soccer for a CPS school, and his school is not on Track E, like me, so he only has 1 week of Spring Break (the second week of mine).  Well, that was a circular explanation.  We know for sure that we're going to Cincinnati next weekend for Maggie's (my almost sister-in-law!) bridal shower, but other than that, we are free birds for next week.  I am not sure how I will spend this coming week.  This apartment needs a lot of work.  And, I have a lot of catching up to to in the baking, reading, biking, lake time, friend time and dancing niches in my life.  And, I'm looking forward to the sun.  My face is ready for the freckles.



And one thing I forgot.  On Friday, one of my 4th graders, who is amazing, defiant and autistic told me that I was a great teacher, in his thickly accented, but clear English.  Lately for him, the word "sucks" has been on repeat, but on Friday he was joyful and smiling and happy to participate and do really good work.  Milestone reached! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Grutz says, "Help, Carleen and I need your help!" or "Gotta get outta Dodge!"

I'm only one man.....
Hello wonderful readers!  Alas, spring in upon us and one's thoughts drift to a wonderful tradition: spring break.  So I find myself in a dilemma.  Carleen has the following two (2!) weeks off.  Normally, as per my recent layoff, I would be available at this time, too.  But as it stands I have some previously arranged commitments for the days of Monday 4/11-Friday 4/15.  I am free the after that for the following week and we're headed to Cincinnati for a bridal show(er) on the 16th.  In the meantime, I've been entrusted to devise a plan for a brief getaway from Chicago starting tomorrow, Saturday, and returning to Chicago Monday, early afternoon. So.......

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?!?!?!?!?!

I'd like you're input.  I'd like to drive no more than 5 hours and prefer heading south, as it's warmer there and Carleen likes it warm.  A b&b of course would be nice.  So far I've looked into Quincy, IL and Hannibal, MO.  Any input from any of your travels in down-state Illinois, just across the boarder in to Missouri, or even (I can't believe I'm writing this) Indiana would be highly valued.  Your haste in the matter, too, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks trusted sidekicks.

Smarts! Get'em while there hot!
Torquato Tasso (11 March 1544 – 25 April 1595) was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Deliver, 1580), in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Muslims and Christians at the end of the First Crusade during the seige of Jerusalem. He suffered from mental illness and died a few days before he was due to be crowned as the king of poets by the Pope. Until the beginning of the 19th century, Tasso remained one of the most widely read poets in Europe.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grutz says, "Jon Rolling says, 'Those damn pirates.'" or "Wow, it's like Iowa knew....." or "Look what Scott Walker did now. He is pathetic."

A public apology...
April 1st was opening day for the Cubs at Wrigley Field against the mighty "often-less-than-stellar-bottom-dwelling-team-who-always-beat-the-Cubs-after-the Cubs-sweep-the-Cardinals" Pittsburgh Pirates. Needless to say the Cubs loss, actually dropping 2 of 3 to the Pirates (luckily, they're back to .500 after yesterday's win vs. the D-bagsbacks). I wrote a bit during the game here (and yes I was at a coffee shop with a portable radio and headphones listening, antenna fully extended. Har har, why yes, I am a dork, why do you ask?). During the day my very good friend and Chicago Cubs uber-fan, Jon Rolling, and I exchanged messages about the game's progress. After the loss, he texted me from Dubuque, "Those damn pirates." And I have to say it did lighten my spirits with a fine chuckle. Back in Dubuque Jon would host opening-day parties in years past, alas, I did miss attending the event. It primarily consisted of nachos, Chicago-style hotdogs, Old Style, and, of course, the Cubs (and when we were young and stupid silly, we'd sport only Cubby t-shirts and brave the brisk weather outside, as if we were braving the hawkwind at Wrigley). In the razzle-dazzle of opening-day I was blind to something rather important and I feel very fooling for forget about it. April 1st was also Jon's birthday! And I totally forgot!

So happy (late) birthday Jon.

If anyone in DBQ runs into Jon around town, give him some b-day love for me. Don't worry Jon, I got your gift and I swear, it will make up for my incompetence. For now, the only thing I can do is to post a ridiculously old photo of Jon, Ciaran, and me from St. Patrick's Day, about 4 or 5 years ago. Yes, this makes it all kind of better.
Pretty boys with pretty whiskers (except me). Jon, me, and Ciaran (l-r)
Somebody's in the know, you know what I mean?
I'm sure all of you, even those not in Iowa, know that this week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa (April 4-8). And no, I am not making this up, check the facts, yo. And quite a number of states have these weeks, too. Yesterday, April 4th, a crazy hail storm rocked Dubuque. To quote the Telegraph-Herald, "Damage? Hail yes!" HA HA HA, Ba-zing!
Stunning lightening burst over downtown Dubuque.

BANG, POW, CA-CHING! Huge hail stones pelted Dubuque Monday night. And apparently a cue ball and a quarter. (Editor's note: the cue ball and quarter included to emphasize the size of hail stones, we regret in the ignorance of the author.)
It was a bad storm, and there are some reports of minor damage. The thing that gets me is how did they know?! Right on cue, the severe weather hits. So what now? Some horrid system each day of the week? A typhoon on Wednesday? Sandstorm on Thursday? Cats and dogs living harmony on Friday? If something terrible does really happen, and lord knows tornadoes are not uncommon at this time of year, I can just hear Gov. Braindead Branstad saying, "Can't say we didn't warn you." It's a little eerie.

Is there anything your wonderful wife can't do?
Last night, I attended a Dance Chance Chicago at The Ruth Pace Center for the Arts for three different pieces, the last including my talented wife, Carleen. It's a pretty neat concept, each month choreographers/artists put their name in an empty fishbowl and three names are chosen at random. These three people then have a month to put together a piece and perform it. Heck, I put my name in last night for the May performance, but alas, my name was not selected. One of Carleen's friends from Contact Improv (at this site, you can see Carleen in a photo!) was selected in March, so he included her in his piece last night. It was an improv with six dancers and a cellist. Maybe I'm biased, but it was the best of the three.
Carleen and friends doing their thing. It's quite a spectacle and takes great skill and concentration to pull of good improvisational dance.

There she goes!
This is a sculpture outside the Palette and Chisel, next door the The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. I just thought is was pretty neat. See, it's a sculpture of artists sculpting. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, witty.
You can't have crafty without.....rafty?
So I've been taking some time off from building/crafting/keeping busy doing things with superglue, etc. So yesterday I made a pledge to do something. I think the inspiration for this was a visit with MarySue and Matt on Saturday. We enjoyed their company, some fine pizza, and grouted tiles that will be used for their wedding this summer. As you dedicated reader remember, we mosaic-ed with them before our trip out west. Here's a link to the post Carleen wrote for all you who've recently jumped on the band wagon known as Nick and Carleen's blog.

I've been working on some feather earrings fom Carleen, finding some challenges, having some successes. It's hard mating metal findings to organic feathers/fabrics. Here's my latest attempt.
Front (l) and back (r). Notice at the top of right feather, a metal finding glued to feather. The rings around the bottom of the feather is to keep the feathers from fraying/splitting apart.

Moving on. I bought some inexpensive 12 in x 12 in mirror, meant to be used as tiles. I've already made one framed mirror as you can see here. I cut a mirror and created a wood frame. The second mirror I made a mold to make a plaster frame, for something different.
Cut the glass and the wood. Look, Ma! I gots all my fingers!

Chiseling out a channel for the mirror to rest in on the back of the frame.

Dry-fitted mirror and handsome, charming man. (Wink.)

The finished mirror with a light coat of orange paint. I plan to make more mirrors of differing sizes.
The clay mold for the plaster frame.

Plaster poured in the mold.

The cured frame from the back. The wires are to reinforce the plaster. I may have inserted the hook too close to the placement of the mirror. We'll see....

The front of the frame. The parchment paper I used wrinkled up from the moisture in the plaster leaving this interesting pattern behind. The plaster also picked up the faint pencil outline I drew of the mirror on the parchment paper.
Now I have to remove plaster from the back to insert the mirror, clean up the plaster, and paint the frame. I'll get up a photo when it's finished. So why am I doing this? One, it keeps me out of trouble. Two, our apartment is still kind of bare and Carleen is working, so I have to make it look nice. Three, it's inexpensive. Four, it takes up little space, unlike building a deck or pulling an engine. Five, it's fun. Six, sometimes I don't want to clean or make dinner or play music. Seven, it keeps me out of trouble.

One of my next projects involves these windows I found Sunday in our alley.
A great find, four rather large windows.
I'm going to remove the pane of glass from a window and replace it with plywood or possibly mdf that has been painted with with chalkboard paint. Every house needs a chalkboard. Though I'm not sure if chalkboard paint comes only in spray can form, as spray paint is not sold in Chicago. Also, I had to show my id when I bought the glass cutter. Weird hardware laws.

Everyone is getting smarter starting right now!


Arthur Hailey (5 April 1920 – 24 November 2004) was a British/Canadian novelist.Born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, Hailey served in the Royal Air Force from the start of World War II during 1939 until 1947, when he went to live in Canada. After working at a number of jobs and writing part-time, he became a writer full-time during 1956, encouraged by the success of the CBC television drama, Flight into Danger (in print as Runway Zero Eight). He also wrote Airport, Hotel, and Wheels. (I see a trend here.)


Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and political leader. He was the dominant figure in the African American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915. He was the first leader of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institut (later to become Tuskegee University). He authored such books as The Story of My Life and Work, Up from Slavery, and The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery Vols I &II.

I couldn't pass this up...
You can't have douchebag and hypocrite without........Scott Walker? Oh, wait, yes you can.


"Walker administration hired lobbyist's son for $81K job"



The administration of Gov. Scott Walker hired the 27-year-old son of a veteran lobbyist then promoted him to an $81,500-per-year job overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees, despite his having no college degree and little management experience, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday. (from the Wisconsin State Journal).


Here's a link to two articles in the Wisconsin State Journal and the breaking story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Wow. This is the same fella that b!tched and moaned about "cushy" public sector jobs (read: teachers) and did his best to bust up the unions. What a moron. Really. Talk about the worst time to try to pull this off. Are people advising him to do this? Hey let's pay this guy a lot of money for a PUBLIC sector job (even though we think they're oh so bad and costing the state oh so much money!) because his Dad gave us a bunch of money. Oh wait! Let's pay him a bunch of money for something he's not even qualified to do! Yeah!


I keep toying the the idea of going back to school to get a few more credits to get additional teaching endorsements, but I should just take that money I'd spend and donate to a political election fund and get employment that way. Right? It's the American way......aparently.


At least the eaglets are safe..............for now.