Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering

There are some days I have trouble remembering if I have gotten out of bed.  OK.  It may not be that bad, but you know what I mean.  If it is just not that important, it is easily forgotten.

If you want to know what is going on in the world, I am the wrong person to ask.  I peruse the news reports and relegate most of it to the trash heap.  I've told people that when they put a red phone next to my bed, then I will worry about carrying my cell phone and actually having it turned on.

Today they are asking on the internet 'Where were you when the Challenger disaster occurred?'  It used to be that they asked 'Where were you when Kennedy was shot' (getting on the school bus to go home from class).  I guess that there are too few younger people who have an answer, so now it is a question more relevant to my children.

I was totally unaware of the 1986 disaster until I arrived a pre-school to pick up my youngest son.  I had been out running errands, not listening to news radio, obviously.  When I got to Ealy School, everyone was gathered around crying.  When I asked what had happened, I was chastised for being uninformed.  Was I not watching TV all morning?  No.  Was I un-American?  No.  I just had other things to do with my time.  Being a stay-at-home mom did not mean I ate bon-bons and watched TV while my children were in school.

The thing is, I can probably remember very little of what happened in 1986, up until I started back to college for my MBA in the fall.  Even then, I cannot remember any particular day of an event.  But, I do remember walking into that school that day and seeing all those sad faces.  Especially the children.

So, I remember where I was when Kennedy was shot, and the Challenger disaster, and getting ready for work with the TV on the Today Show when 911 happened.  And sometimes I wish I didn't.

Get a Life, Lady

While meaning no disrespect to the elderly, the 83-year old woman initiating the recall drive against Trustee Larry Brown should get a life.  Talk about being confused.  My guess is that someone found the woman and put her up to this recall. Is she someone's aunt?

She is quoted in one paper as saying she wouldn't know Larry Brown "from a hole in the wall" prior to 2009.  Now, maybe the lady moved into West Bloomfield in 2008, but Larry was up for election that year and he has been active in West Bloomfield for many years before that.  I've known Larry all the way back to the early 1990s.  Am I supposed to believe she is 'sleeping beauty' just waking up from a long nap?

Give me a break.  The lady says that she got upset about the new waste hauler contract.  Well, so did I, but it passed on a 5-2 vote.  Done.  Not Larry's fault. 

Besides, she does not even mention that in her recall petition.  She is complaining about a sewer contract that also passed on a 5-2 vote.  I was at that meeting and heard the attorney tell the Board that they would lose a grant if they did not choose the low bidder and it did not matter if it was not an American company.  If the lady is upset, maybe she should direct her anger at Washington DC.

As for the failed lawsuit, I think Larry should have continued and refiled against the Township.  FOIA exists for a reason and denying access to public records is just plain wrong.  And especially in light of the $1.8 million dollar settlement against our Police Department in another case.

She has also sent a letter to another paper complaining about the Clerk's choice of a Deputy.  Well, he would not have been my choice, but that is strictly the Clerk's decision.  The Deputy is there to carry out her statutory duties in her absence and is to be loyal to her.  She can appoint and dismiss whomever she wants as many times as she wants.  Why don't some of these griping people sit down and read the state statutes???

As for the stipend being deposited into the Water Benevolent Fund, that issue is still at the Circuit Court.  Will she recall the Judge if she doesn't like his decision?  Let's just hope that she is never in need of money to pay her water bill. She could be out on a corner collecting pennies instead of signatures.

Giving Thanks to Those Who Help

We all hear about folks who live their lives with the cards they are dealt and make the best of bad situations.  Everyone has a story to tell.

There is nothing dramatic about my story.  I was fortunate enough to be born with an IQ well above average.  Unfortunately, my family did not have the money to invest in that IQ.  Fortunately, there were folks out there who were willing to put up money to allow me to get a higher education.

Graduating from high school in 1964, I had a scholarship to Wayne State University.  It covered all my tuition ($312 per year if you can believe it) with a little left over for books.  A part-time job at the JL Hudson Company downtown got me through the university with a Bachelor's Degree in Medical Technology from the School of Medicine.  I was the first college graduate among all of my many cousins.

Without that scholarship, I am sure that I would have been relegated to some low-paying nine-to-five job.  My brain probably would have atrophied from non-use.  Let's face it.  Not much is available without some advanced degree or training after high school.

I enjoyed my work in the laboratory at Detroit General, but after leaving to have my children and be a stay-at-home mom, I knew I did not want to return to a hospital to work.  Once my children were in school, I went back to get my MBA in Finance and ultimately ended up at West Bloomfield Town Hall for my second career.

Several years ago, when it came time to update my trust documents, I decided that I wanted to set up a scholarship fund at Wayne for future deserving students.  I put in a bequest in the trust doc and notified them of my decision. 

But, after retiring and thinking about it, I decided that I wanted to start funding the scholarship now, versus waiting until I was dead.  I think it would give me pleasure to see someone benefit from it before I go.

Yesterday, I received another letter from the University thanking me for the gift.  Well, I should be the one thanking them.  Without that original scholarship in 1964, I probably would not be sitting here writing this blog.  I would never have gone to college without that money.  And I would not have a trust document to update.  So, a BIG thank you to Wayne State.

If you are a Wayne graduate and are interested in giving money, here is the website information:  http://giving.wayne.edu/planned/bequest.php

Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothin'

I do not listen to speeches.  With the exception of the inauguration of our new Governor this year, it is a very rare occurrence for me.  No State of the Union, Inauguration Day, State of the Township, whatever.  To me it is just a lot of talk.

Someone writes a speech and some great orator delivers it.  How is this different than watching a really good movie performance?  Movie over and I am on my way home.  Speech over and I am shaking my head going, 'Yeah, right'.

Two years ago I was in DC and my traveling companion wanted to watch the state of the union speech.  Torture.  Pure torture.  Where are my earplugs when I need them?

Many years ago I went to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon where the Supervisor was giving her state of the township address.  It was all 'I did this and I did that'.  What were the rest of the board members?  Chopped liver?  Did we have nothing to do with any accomplishments?

After my divorce and re-entry into the dating world, all of my friends gave me advice to 'Watch what a man does, not what he says'.  I say we should apply that to all of the politicians out there.  Maybe we'd make better choices at the voting booth, not just the altar.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Public Employee Safety

Unless you've been living under a rock the last few weeks, you must be aware of the attacks on public employees and officials in the news.  No, I am not referring to stories on their pay and benefits, but rather the physical attacks on their safety.  First, the shootings in Arizona and now a brazen gunman in the City of Detroit.

Granted, these attacks are not new.  One can name many public officials shot down by crazed assassins.  And, when I worked at the old Detroit General Hospital, a disgruntled employee came into the building with a shotgun and killed an administrator.  The end result of that incident was the issuance of employee IDs and the stationing of armed guards at the entrances.

When we were designing the new TownHall in West Bloomfield, my clerical staff asked that we not have bullet-proof glass installed at the counter.  I agreed.  The only change I asked for was that my vault be built of concrete blocks and not the dry-wall that was in the plans.  (Go figure.  Dry-wall and a steel door.  You have to be a pretty stupid crook to fall for that ruse.)

Several years later, after threats were made to officials, a security system was implemented.  IDs were issued to allow access to employee areas.  No ID, no access.  My deputy pointed out that if anyone really wanted to get to me, all they had to do was walk up to my corner office, which was all windows, and shoot.  Well, thanks for that.  Another employee pointed out that without the bullet-proof glass in place, one could hop over the counter.  Well, that's what the panic buttons were for.

The underlying fact remains that no matter how safe we try to be, if the crazies want to get us they will.  It doesn't matter if we are at work, at home, or out on the streets.  There is no guaranteed safety.  Even if the anti-gun lobby banned all personal guns, the bad guys will find a way to devise their own weapons. 

It is a sad but true fact that we can never be completely safe, no matter what precautions we take.  Let's just remember that we have public employees out there who live with that risk every day of their lives. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Embracing Technology

Good for Governor Rick Snyder!  He has decided that the item pricing law needs to be scrapped.  It is redundant in a world of UPCs and computer technology.  And not only am I pumping my own gas, I am ringing up my own groceries and bagging them!

I understand that consumers' rights groups say that some of us get taken by not having items marked individually.  And I agree.  In the last two weeks I had two instances of having items rung up at the wrong amount.  One was clearly marked with a lower price, but ran incorrectly and had to be adjusted.  One item had a sale price on the shelf, but rang up for full-price at the register.  It was adjusted to the lower price even though the shelf price was out-dated and had not been removed. 

Now, it is quite possible that even labeled and rung incorrectly, I may never had noticed the errors.  How many people actually check every item?  I do not.  I just happened to catch these two.  But what does it cost to put all these labels on items?  And am I not paying for that cost when I shop?

Doing my Christmas shopping I bought several items for gifts with labels on them.  When I got home, I discovered that removing the labels was next to impossible. It appeared that they had been super-glued to the items.  I later learned that the store had changed to the non-removable labels because folks would switch labels and then argue with the cashier when the items were rung up based on the UPC price.  And who can forget the women who were arrested for changing prices in a store with their own price-gun?

The product price law is an idea whose time has come and gone.  I'll rely on the UPC and hope for the best versus ending up with a price tag that may belong to a different item.

As for the store that gave me the out-dated sale price, it was nice of them.  But now they are losing money and that will cost customers more in the future. 

As for the people who will lose jobs pricing cans in the supermarket, maybe we can train them as cashiers so that folks who cannot figure out how to ring up their own groceries (drives me nuts) can have someone else do it for them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

You've Got to be Kidding Me

Readers of this blog will notice that I have a link to the FRAZZ comic.  It is one of my favorites.  I read it everyday along with Dilbert.

I own one of the Frazz comic books, specifically 'Live at Bryson Elementary'.  Imagine my surprise when I was on Amazon.com today to find that the book is available for $607.00. 

OK.  It is being sold by a dealer other than Amazon.  But $607.00?  Well, folks, make me an offer.  I might just be willing to give mine up.  Or not.  Maybe the price will go higher. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Official

Twenty-six months after my retirement I have made it official:  I am RETIRED.  OK.  You may be thinking that you already thought I was, but now the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) has 'officially' acknowledged my 'retired' status.  Let me explain.

My CGFM, Certified Government Financial Manager, designation comes from the AGA.  Every two years must must attest to having attained eighty hours of continuing professional education (CPE) in order to keep the designation.  In January of 2009, having the hours under my belt, I paid my dues and continued my certification.  I actually thought for a time that I would return to the work force if the right position came along.  But even when positions looked promising, pay and benefits or working conditions did not.  Seems like a lot of distressed communities are the ones looking for help and aggravation was not in my plans.

So, this year when my dues notice came, I asked to be placed on the 'CGFM-Retired' status.  I had to assure the AGA that I had no intention of returning to the field of public finance.  Certainly for now it is true and if there was a reason to re-enter the field in the future I am sure some family member will take action to straighten out my thinking.

All of this came about in a week where we had Regis Philbin, age 79, decide to retire, saying he should have done so years ago.  And today an announcement that John Dingell, age 84, will run for office again in 2012.  What part about leaving doesn't he get?

For me, retirement is just where I want to be, though a warmer place to be retired would be great, too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finally, A Report

For a very long time I have had the practice of not sitting on committees that do not get something done.  I do not need to go to meetings to just sit around and talk about what someone else is doing.  I have left committee positions when that has occurred.

This past May I had a meeting to talk about the possible default on debt payments by local communities with a member of the Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) and the Executive Director of the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association (MGFOA).  The end result was the creation of a committee by the MGFOA to work with the SFA and look at the debt situation.

We made our presentation in October to the SFA and will present it to the MGFOA at their March meeting.  And finally, the written report itself will be issued today.

There have been many premature articles in Bloomberg and the WSJ since the project started.  Here is the one from the Bond Buyer on the final report.

Our committee will continue to meet to look at some legislative issues and come up with suggestions to alleviate future occurrences of the problem.  We need changes in Michigan and I am sure some of them will be unwelcome.  But what is obvious to me is that we cannot continue to conduct local 'business as usual' anymore.  Local government units cannot borrow their way to prosperity, anymore than local residents can.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Could be Worse?

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who also has spent many years in the public sector of employment.  They inquired as to what I knew about a fisticuffs in Plymouth Township.  Well, though I know the Treasurer there, I had heard nothing, being out of the loop on many 'gossipy' things in other communities.

So, I googled and found that she was right.  There may have been a knock-down in July involving the Clerk and Treasurer.  Right in the Township Hall!  Geez. 

Earlier yesterday I had an inquiry about Township Treasurers and their bond requirements.  Seems the Treasurer in Redford cannot obtain the required bond to collect taxes.  Bonds were also denied to Detroit, Ecorse and Highland Park.  The State law says that if you cannot obtain the bond, the taxes must be turned over to the County Treasurer for collection.  MCL 211.51 says: (1) If a township treasurer does not file his or her bond with the county treasurer as prescribed by law and the township board fails to appoint a treasurer to give the bond and deliver a receipt for the bond to the supervisor by December 10, the supervisor shall deliver the tax roll with the necessary warrant directed to the county treasurer, who shall make the collection and return of taxes.

I guess that things in West Bloomfield could be worse, but I would hope not.

No, She Cannot

Just one week ago, on Friday the 7th, I asked if the Township Supervisor in West Bloomfield could 'stop the nonsense'.  I got my answer on Monday  night when I made the mistake of tuning into the Township Board meeting.

I stopped on the government access channel at 7:00 PM to see if the meeting had started after their scheduled 6:45 Executive Session.  I discovered that they were discussing Item #12 regarding the minutes of closed sessions.  I blogged about this particular issue back on December 11.  Closed sessions are CLOSED.  The fact that they occurred show up in the regular minutes of the board meeting showing the vote to enter and the items discussed and the documentation from those sessions are sealed in an envelope by the Township Clerk after the meeting.

For the twenty plus years I was on the Board, that is how it was done.  Now, this Township Supervisor has accused past boards of throwing out the laws and doing things wrong.  In addition, she insulted the township attorneys and told them they were wrong in their opinion that we had always been in compliance because her own legal experts, whom she conveniently refused to identify, told her she was right and the rest of the world is wrong.  She complained about a website that is critical of her, but refused to identify it even when asked by both the attorney and Trustee Brown.

Township Clerk Shaughnessy read the State law out loud and the Supervisor reinterpreted it to mean something completely different.  What is her problem? 

The meeting went downhill from there, even though it already seemed to be in the gutter.  The Supervisor managed to misstate the decision of the Circuit Court on the lawsuit she filed against four of the Board members.  On the issues she lost, she is appealing to the Court of Appeals and stated that she would have a quick decision in her favor.  She said that there had been a ruling on the tax issue, even though the Judge has not made a decision.  I sat here watching this take place and questioning the mental process of the person who is supposed to be running several of our Township departments.

Oh, well, then there is that problem she identified about department heads 'crying in her office'.  Really?  Crying?   (The fact that all but two department heads are men, makes the mental picture rather interesting.) I'd fire their a--es.   As a taxpayer, I want you doing your job, not crying about it.  If you can't perform in what I know is a very stressful situation over there, then you need to go, or come forward with the issues.

All the public sees is what happens at the Board table and some folks think that the majority is the problem because they Supervisor is telling them so.  And they don't know what the law says any more than she does.  She and they believe she has unlimited authority.  (She does not.)

In fact, MCL 42.9 states:  No creation of any additional administrative office or combination thereof shall abolish the offices of township clerk or township treasurer nor diminish any of the duties or responsibilities of those offices which are prescribed by state law. 

Do you see anything in the language that protects the Township Supervisor?  NO.  And the Board can, by  majority vote, remove her duties and hire a Township Superintendent.  MCL 42.10 states, in part:  The township board in each charter township shall have power to appoint a township superintendent and may delegate to him any or all of the following functions and duties which functions and duties, unless so delegated, shall be exercised by the supervisor:...

Criticizing the attorney in public, arguing with Board members, misstatements of Court decisions, monopolizing 'Public Comment' to give speeches on ones own merits, implying that prior boards did not follow the law...  Need I go on?

If you are a resident and are reading this, please send it to your friends.  I have received emails and phone calls this week about this, but the same group of people talking about it is not enough.  We need lots of voices to 'Stop the Nonsense'.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Music To Live By

There is an interesting article in this morning's paper about a study on music and its effect on the brain.  They did a study?  I could have told them some of the very stuff they discovered.

I have been known to 'shush' people in my car and even in my home if music is playing and a particular piece of music is approaching that I want to hear and not be distracted from.  Rude?  Well, yes, but for me, music is one of the most pleasurable aspects of my life.

Starting in elementary school, I used to walk to school early in the morning to have voice practice before classes started.  I had choir until I reached high school when I decided that since I was not pursuing a music career, I needed to drop those electives and study stuff like chemistry and physics instead.

My interest in music tends toward the jazzy, smoky nightclub, top of the piano chanteuse style and classical.  I've never had an interest in rock and roll or its successors in the 'pop' genre.  I will admit to having been to two Barry Manilow concerts and once got dragged to a reunion of the band 'Traffic' (OMG, it was the worse event ever, and not just because I had no idea who they were.) 

So, when I read the article I decided to grab a CD and play it to see how it affected the rest of the reading of the newspaper.  I put on Gata Barbieri's 'Caliente'.  The music was already going in my mind when the first note sounded.  I think I know the CD by heart even though it has been more than a few years since I have played it. 

During the first two numbers my butt was bouncing on the chair along with the requisite 'head bobbing'.  I was trying to do the Sudoku puzzle and I swear it took me twice as long as usual.  But then I knew that the third cut was getting ready and my brain turned to mush. 

The song is 'Europa' by Carlos Santana.  (OK, I saw him in concert at his 'Supernatural' tour, before the album became a 'must-have'.  I had four fourth row seats I won in a drawing and had a difficult time finding anyone who wanted to go.)  The guitar solos are replaced by Gato's saxophone and it is definitely a 'shush' song.  I just wanted to close my eyes and float.

I could not imagine my life without music.  Yet, I have attended music events where people talk all the way through them as though the performance is the background for their own little party.  I've had to endure people snoring at the DSO.  I am not sure which scenario is worse.  Well, the guy sleeping can't hear my 'shush'.

There are wonderful quotes about music.  One of my favorites is:
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. - Victor Hugo
 
But you have to love the one from Oscar Levant (you must hear him play 'Rhapsody in Blue'), because I can definitely relate: 
You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow. ~Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket
 
If you wish to read more of these, click here:  Quotes

Friday, January 7, 2011

What a bunch of Junk

I am not a pack rat by any means whatsover.  Was that clear enough? 

I've thrown away a lot of things I wish I had kept.  There was the Mary Quant mini-dress I picked up off the sale rack at Hudson's and later given to the Salvation Army.  Same for the autographed copy of Rosemary's Baby.  And nothing is worse than going to an antiques show and seeing the very stuff you tossed marked with some ridiculous price-tag.

Even so, there were boxes in my basement that needed to be sorted through and tossed.  Most of the boxes I brought home when I retired two years ago.  Committee materials, awards, campaign documents, pictures.  In other words, junk.  Most of it is being tossed.  Some is going to folks who still have an interest in this material.

What was more surprising was finding a box of 'stuff' from when I left my job with Detroit in 1977.  There was my teaching manual on lipidology, a book on blood cell identification, my enzymology lecture notes, and even the enzymology exam I used for my students.  (Confession:  I no longer knew any of the answers to the questions I read.  After a few, I just gave up.)

I am not sure why I ever kept them.  And I must have seen that box over the years and wonder why I never opened it and then threw it out.  Especially once I decided I was never going to work in a laboratory again.  So, now it is all boxed up for the recycling bin, since most of it is paper.  I think I have an entire small tree in my garage and Tuesday can't come fast enough.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Can You Stop the Nonsense?

I have been thinking about this particular blog entry for some time.  I knew the day would come when I would have something to say, but now that the day is here, my mind is still befuddled with what has been going on.  Of course, that can only mean that this is another entry about West Bloomfield politics.

This morning's Oakland Press has a story below the fold on the front page titled 'Judge dismisses township's officials vs. officials lawsuit.'  (Reminds me of 'Spy vs. Spy')

Now, if you are someone who does not routinely follow what goes on over at that particular institution, you may think that the headline is written incorrectly, since it makes no sense.  But, alas, in the rather disfunctional minds of a couple of our officials, if we cannot bully our way to the top, we sue.

All of this is costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars and all because two people can't read and have serious delusions about being some kind of super-supreme rulers.  The state law clearly says that the Board MAY authorize the supervisor to appoint a police chief, NOT that the supervisor shall appoint.  And now an Oakland County judge has agreed that trustees did not violate any statutes in nominating and appointing a Police Chief, which, by the way, is in accord with our own Township ordinances.

But even worse than the lawsuit is their (Economu and Kaplan) behavior.  It is nothing more than bullying.  Let us do what we want and run West Bloomfield like a dictatorship or we will sue or, at the very least, run to the papers and TV stations to make you look bad. 

We hear reports in our papers about students bullying each other at school.  Schools are having classes to teach them that this is inappropriate and unacceptable. 

Well, in light of the behavior of these two officials, I think our broadcasts of Township Board meetings should carry a warning to parents that 'some content may not be suitable for children'.  Hey, it's not suitable for adults.  

I find the comments in the newspaper particularly disturbing since they (E & K) are indicating they may appeal the decision.  I've heard that an email was sent to township employees regarding this and someone may want to FOIA it and read it, maybe publish it.  This can only cost more taxpayer dollars, unless these two individuals are planning to reimburse the township. 

This has gone on for far too long.  My hope is that both of these people will resign in shame, but in the interim STOP the bullying now. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Revisiting Last year in Illinois

Back in May I reported on my trip to Lincoln Park, Illinois.  I meant to get around to talking about the Coonley Estate, but got distracted.  Before I knew it I was writing about my trip to the 'big ditch'.

So, in going through my photos, I saw the ones I took at the Coonley Estate in Riverside, Illinois.  It is one of those examples of what you can do when money is no object.

Avery Coonley and Queene Ferry both came from families with lots of money, he from industry in New York and she from the Ferry Seed Company in Detroit. 

The complex they built consisted of the main house, now separated into two residences, the gardener's cottage, stable, playhouse, and a residence for the 'help' at the school.  The complex is incredible and following are pictures.

Entering the main house, with a landscaped walk:

Outside by the pool:

Inner Courtyard and gardens:





The stables, for sale at the time at $1 million plus:





The Gardener's Cottage, not bad and I can garden too



The Playhouse/School that they ran (above) and the house they built for the teachers (below)




If you ever get the chance to visit the area, it is worth seeing.  Not just these homes, but others in the city.  You do not have to be an architect to appreciate this.  Just ooooh  and ahhhhh!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's Worse than Mom Thought it Could be

When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who owned the local gas station down on the corner of the street.  The couple had five sons, all of whom at one time or another worked at the station.

The older boys were close in age to my sister and I.  My mother called all of them 'grease monkeys' (OK, not PC) and told us we had better not marry any 'grease monkeys'.  Well, there was no possibility of that, but...

Now I have become one.  I've been pumping my own gas for what seems like forever.  Of course, I remember paying 19.99 cents per gallon at one time and someone pumped it for me, but that was a very long time ago.  I refused very early on to pay more to have someone come to my car and pump it for me when I could just as easily get out and do it myself.  Call me cheap, I didn't care.

So, I thought of this today when I got in line at Costco to get gas and pulled in behind someone who seemed clueless about the process.  First she fumbled around in her car doing god knows what.  The she came out talking on the cell phone, then she appeared to be texting, and then finally she figured out how to get the gas cap off. 

She walked over to the pump and inserted her card in the slot where the receipt prints.  Man, this was going to take a long time.  After several feeble attempts with two different cards, she was finally ready to pump gas.  By then the person in front of her was pulling away and I had to drive around her to get to the pump.

Pumping gas is not rocket science.  And I don't care if my mother would think I was a 'grease monkey' for doing it.  At least I know how.  Geez.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A First Time for Everything

I've just finished watching the Inaugural ceremony in Lansing.  I do not remember ever watching any inauguration before, whether at the State or Federal level.  I've never been into the pomp and circumstance of these events.  I have several invitations to these events stashed away in a drawer, including this year's.

I had the radio on and they said they would be covering it so I switched to the TV.  I found it interesting.  The fact the Mayor Bing was the 'emcee' gave me hope.  The talk of cooperation and vision, ditto.  The understanding that government is not the answer to our problems, but that we ourselves are.  Real jobs and growth are produced by business, not government.  (Clue:  If you think government should run like a business, elect a businessman, not an attorney, to run it.  And if you do elect an attorney, make sure they know how to appoint competent people.)

I have a friend who is not from this area.  He located here after a business transfer.  We met soon after and after more time here he said he noticed that people in this area tend to 'dummy down' to the lowest common denominator.  I do not disagree.  The way out of this mess is to increase out expectations of ourselves and our children.  I have hopes our new leaders can do just that.  I'm psyched.

An Anniversary

One year.  That is how long I have been writing this blog.  I started it after a suggestion from a close friend.  I intended to keep track of what I did during the year, but got side-tracked into discussing a variety of issues.

Last year on New Year's Day I cooked French onion soup.  Today I will bake ciabatta bread (I started my biga yesterday) and try a new chicken recipe.  My New Year's resolution is to try at least one new recipe each week and try to clean out all my recipes files.  I have lots of recipes in a filing cabinet.

I expect that this will be another wonderful year in retirement.  I am really looking forward to going up to Racine, WI to see the SC Johnson Building.
This image from the delmars.com website shows the incredible working area of the building.  Check out that ceiling construction.

I will also visit Wingspread, a FLW designed home in Racine.  Hopefully, I will get wonderful pictures to show and talk about when I return.

This year I will also try yoga.  I have a few medical conditions that have limited my range of motion and, hopefully, yoga can help with that.  Lord knows I have tried everything else from a medical standpoint. 

I will continue as the Chair for the Fiscal Stress Committee, although our representative from the Senate Fiscal Agency has returned to work at Michigan State University.  I have listed his blog 'Eye on Lansing' on my blog list so you can follow it also if you desire.

And I also look forward to this new year because our state has a new Governor.  Thank God for that.  Not for one minute was I ever a fan of Gov. Granholm.  Unless you were living under a rock, you had to know in 2002 that we were a state in trouble.  And she was a player in Lansing, so kick that notion to the curb.  Really didn't want the job?  Then don't run.  Want to blame someone else for leaving you a mess of troubles?  Just put your big girl panties on and deal with it.  She was right about one thing, though.  She 'blew us away' and now we will have one less representative in Congress.  Thanks for nothing, Guv. 

It's a new day.  A new year.  And we have no where to go but up.  Happy New Year to all of you who read this and thanks for your comments.

And now, off to bake bread.