Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

I stayed up way too late last night to see who won.  It was inspiring to hear Obama’s speech and, it impressed me that the Obama crowd did not “boo,” in fact there were some cheers, when McCain was mentioned.  I think the fact that Obama would stop that behavior, while on the campaign trail, was a big reason. He set the tone. 

I felt sorry for McCain.  I think he is an honorable man, who was running at a difficult time for his party and made a horrible choice for his VP pick.  She became, more than anything, a running SNL joke. I have always respected McCain but I think that perhaps he bowed to those on his staff who thought that defaming others was the way to go.  I would hope that was not his choice.

I finally had to turn tv off to get some sleep and  I was extremely pleased this morning to see this map.  This is perhaps the first time when I have felt that my vote actually counted. 

Booha, Indiana, well done.  Perhaps now, we can get onto the important things; like repairing America’s reputation in the world, fixing our economy, healthcare, jobs, the list goes on.  I do not envy the job he has to do, but I have faith that he is up to it. 


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I now have health insurance.  I am covered under a policy from the State of Indiana.  If Indiana can do it, this country could do it.

And, this is a great policy.  They focus on getting and keeping you healthy. There are benefits for getting check-ups and stuff that we all tend to put off, like the dreaded colonoscopy.  Today, I got a flu shot, a tetnus shot and a vacine against shingles.  I also found out that my cough may just be from my blood pressure medicine and my high blood pressure could be helped by an adjustment in same meds. 

I also have three tests being scheduled for conditions that have been ignored way too long.  Added bonus; a $50 coupon for Barnes & Noble for doing my part in staying healthy.  This is what insurance should be about. 

For those of you without insurance, you have to know how wonderful this is to feel like someone cares.  If your state is not helping you, send them to http://www.in.gov/fssa/hip/6621.htm and have them find out how Indiana did it.

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I came from a television family, my dad had the first television on our rural block and then studied, evenings, to become the local repairman. TV has been the background of my life.


Mom has a debilitating heart condition now and spends a ton of her day in front of the television. She cannot walk very far on her own and that has, needless to say, slowed her down considerably.  She has an electric buggy but does not use it much unless I am around, because mom never learned to drive. GASP!


Yes, children, there are people in the world who have never learned to drive.


When she was sixteen, her brother took her out in the farm yard to teach her. He later declared she had sideswiped a cow and was hopeless and never took her out again.


My dad acted like he was teaching her to drive, but only actually offered to teach her when she 1. Had a cake in the oven and couldn’t leave or 2. It was Christmas Eve and snowing; thus making sure she never learned. 


NO ONE drove my dad’s car (my brother and I were both taught to drive by our mates) and he was not going to make an exception for her. Beside, dad was rather of the belief that women are to be taken care of and not allowed to learn to think for their selves. Yes, a chauvinist extreme.


What does all this have to do with TV, you ask? Well, if mom was comfortable driving, she would be tooling all over Martinsville, Indiana in her scooter. She wouldn’t be afraid to enter the elevator with it. Getting in and out of the elevator is kind of scary yet and we work on that every time I am over. It is a tight turn.


But, for now, she sits and watches tv. She likes to watch “Little People, Big World” and “Some obnoxious woman and her beaten husband and their twin daughters, one of whom is an obnoxious child and the other who is ignored, and their sextuplets, many of which are brats.”  And, apparently, the whole family likes to hit each other on the head. I do not watch it, so I’m not as up on it as she is.


Secretly, I think mom likes it because the children are so out of control, and maybe the families are dysfunctional. The husband on “Little People…” overextends and leaves projects unfinished; thus reminding mom of my father, who measured shelves every year for twenty years and never did get the shelves put in until they were ready to sell the house.


I’m not sure why she enjoys bratty children? I plead the fifth.

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There are some things parents should not do; naming your child after beaches and spaceships may be yet two of those things.  But, definitely, do NOT name your child the exact same, albeit not common name of a relative.


My brother was named David Merle VanVleck.  Mom wanted to name him Allen.  She had loved the name Allen since she was a little girl, but since she also had a boyfriend named Allen-before she met Dad, he would not agree to name my brother Allen.  David was decided upon and Merle was picked by mom, because it was the name of the one cousin who treated mom nicely in Dad’s family.


It takes awhile to accept a new wife in some families.  Suddenly, everything the previous wife (who is deceased-which is even worse, especially for her) ever did is wonderful and besides, the new wife is a floozy. She must be; as she wears mascara, lipstick, nylons and high heels.  It was around 1940, after all and her new sister-in-law did not think too highly of her.


So, this baby boy comes along and they name him David Merle VanVleck, without ever once thinking about the fact that Dad’s brother and his wife also named their little boy, who might have been a year older or not, David Merle VanVleck.  This would have been fine if my brother had stayed in Indiana and not moved to Illinois and a neighboring city to his cousin.  But, he did.


Let me put a disclaimer here; as with all family posts, there must be a disclaimer.  Don’t sue me.  There, that’s it, ‘cause I’m going to tell the truth, as I remember it and I don’t have any assets worth suing over.  Unless you want that laptop with VISTA.


Unlike my brother, the other David Merle VanVleck; my cousin, David, had a mean look about him.  I didn’t like the way he would glare at me, when I was a young girl, and say mean things and then smile. That smile, I was convinced had a mass-murderer type of aspect to it and I avoided him when I could.  


When my cousin grew up, he made a lot of debts he did not pay, and then he stole money from his father and who knows what else.  I don’t because I still stayed away from him. He also left his wife, who is a beloved member of this family yet and loved him (and even cared for him at the end) until the day he died. His current wife did not show up for his funeral.


My brother, having moved to the nearby town in Illinois, would receive his cousin’s bills and collection notices, and all kinds of other troubles.


What brings me to this place is that even yet, eighteen years after his death, I think it may be haunting him still.  One of my search terms the other day was:

david van vleck sucks



Two people, actually searched those four words.  Now, my brother’s name gets a lot of searches for it.  I know there are other VanVleck’s out there and some may even “suck”, but I gotta tell you that both of my families, the good and the bad, David Merle VanVleck’s are deceased now. Both from the cancer that haunts both sides of my family and both were way too young when they died.


But, I will guarantee you that my brother was not the David Merle VanVleck, who “sucked.” David was an outdoors, camping, camera toting, phlebotomist, computer nerd, Boy Scout Leader, and listener of The Irish Rovers that we all loved.   And, I am stating we all loved my brother, David, and not the Irish Rovers.  Thank goodness for head phones.

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Let’s talk Kansas.  After all, it is the Heartland of America.  And, there are times when I have wondered if we have much of a heart anymore.  But, we have Kansas.


Kansas was named after the Kansas River, which flows through it and which was named after the Kansa Tribe.  No one seems to know the original meaning of the name Kansa, but it is said to mean “people of the wind.”  Now, if that were true, then I think Wyoming would be named Kansas. Kansas just has a breeze compared to Wyoming. However, I have not been everywhere in Kansas.


Mostly, my time in Kansas was spent on I-70.  I would be traveling through from Indiana to California, and all points west, and would like to break up my drive.  I didn’t want all those cows, happily chomping grass on I-70, which I had named (the cows, not the road — okay, so I did name the road too but I don’t use those words here.)  but, I did not want those cows to get jealous of the peacefully grazing cows I had named on I-80 in Nebraska.  I mean, I spent hours and hours traversing Kansas, and Nebraska over a ten year period.


Now, replace each of those cows with hundreds of Bison and get a picture of what it was like pre-1800.  It must have been awesome.


During the 1854 settlement, free-slavers from New England and pro-slavers from Missouri rushed to take the state. It became Bleeding Kansas, until the abolitionists prevailed.  In 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state.


I have to say that the people of Kansas have always been friendly, helpful and polite to me, during my travels.  And, while I am sure that Missouri also has nice people, I have broken down more than five times in Missouri. That being but one of the reasons I’m glad the abolitionists won.


I have decided there is some weird electrical vibe under the ground of Missouri, causing me to break down. Well, my car actually, not me.  Although, by the fifth time I entered the state and my car broke down, I had a bit of a fit too.  Then, there was the time I sat numerous grand-children and daughters down to eat at a large restaurant in Missouri, to be served boiling hot mugs of water (not smart to set in front of a one year old, people) and packets of hot cocoa mix, (not cool in a restaurant bigger than – NO, I take that back, it’s not cool in any restaurant, it was reinforced in my brain that the people of Missouri may be a cocoa packet short of a full box.  And, that is not to judge a whole state of people on just five breakdowns and one restaurant, so please do not spam me with your ire.  Just treat me better the next time I’m in town.


But, back to Kansas; it is the friendly state where I have eaten many a great meal. And, why not?  They are one of the most productive agricultural states after all and we should all thank them for that.  It has also been proven now that Kansas is NOT “flatter than a pancake.”  I have to trust science here but it is a very gradual slope upward from the east to west.


And, once, on my journey from West to east, late at night and with two parents sound asleep in the car, I saw a great 4th of July fireworks show in Kansas City, where I used to stop regularly to eat at a great restaurant that I can no longer remember the name of.


So, why, you ask, this tribute to Kansas?  And, it has only taken a full page to get to the reason, so shoot me.  Aren’t you glad to know all that about the most productive state that provides your food? 



You all know my love of my ClustrMap.  Well, Kansas was the first place I had a larger circle indicating that it could be 1 to 10 readers in that dot.  Not just all the scattered ones I had watched popping up.  And, Kansas has hit a second milestone for me.  It is the first dot to say it has “100-999” views.  And, I want to thank Kansas for that honor.


I will do my best to keep you happy and entertained.  I just have one request.  Could a few of you lurkers, drop a kind word, or even a not-so-kind word once in a while?  It can get a little lonely, sitting her with irritating little Chihuahua.

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Yesterday, I watched a repeat of Anthony Bourdain’s Anthony Bourdain’s Blog: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations : World, Travel, Food, Wine No Reservations in India. It was the “Bollywood” episode where he did this stupid skit about being a director and casting Bollywood parts for a movie.  Now, Bourdain may enjoy these skits, but it never looks like it. Why do his show’s producers find it necessary to waste time on them? Frankly, I would rather hear him grouse endlessly than watch some lame kindergarten skit.  I actually like Bourdain’s grousing.  He does not sugar coat things, but tells it like it is.  Skits on television, however have not worked since the Carol Burnett show. But, I digress, as always.


In India, lunch survives globalization – International Herald Tribune


What I found amazing on this episode is the lunch system in Mumbai, India.  Fresh home-cooked lunches are delivered to office workers every day; from their own home  usually.  What this article did not mention, and what Bourdain did cover, is the rate of mistakes.  Once, every three or four months, one lunch is miss-delivered.  Or, as Wikipedia says: there is one mistake in 6,000,000. Dabbawala – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   One mistake in 6,000,000.


Wow!  Picture that in most of America. Where, you are lucky to get the right order at McDonald’s on any given day.  Where, the Wal-Mart employees do not know how to make change without a register telling them.  Where, I will get the wrong mail, on average, once a week. 


Do these lunches actually stay warm during all of that travel?  The one they delivered to Bourdain appeared to be steaming. I believe the reason they do not just carry their lunches in themselves, is there is a very long commute involved. And, vegetables do not microwave all that well.  Or, perhaps it is just that home cooked quality means something in India.


My mother loves to eat out, so anytime I take her to town, we hit a restaurant. After sixty years of cooking for family, I can’t blame her.   This wrecks havoc on my diet, but mostly because I forget to order something that is good for me to eat.  It’s a habit I need to get into. We often do get thoroughly burnt toast or raw or burnt bacon (This reminds me of being home, actually!).  I rarely complain, but occasionally I point out that I do not like my toast black. Mother comes from a generation who thought that suffering was the way to Heaven, so she can get embarrassed when I complain.


My nearby town, Nashville, Indiana, had a Long John Silver’s for years. They closed it because, and this was stated in the paper, they could not get good help.  If their employees were delivering the Mumbai lunches, I would be able to get one delivered here, in America, purely by mistake because their employees did not know where the “special of the week” food was kept in the kitchen or how to prepare it.  Although, I’m not certain how much was the employees fault and how much blame lay with the management.


I do know that our country has low standards when it comes to employees because when I did temp work, in Wyoming, I had three different bosses say to me, “If my secretary ever quits, would you come work for me?”  In my head, I was screaming, “Well, fire her, you fool.”  Especially, since I was looking for a job at the time.  One of these secretaries did quit finally and I was called, but I was rehabbing a house in Indiana.  Once, I found two months medical billings in the bottom drawer of the desk of one office. 


So, why is it that America cannot have competent help? Yet, Mambai can deliver tens of thousands of lunches correctly.  Could it be that we are people who don’t give a flying fig? Like the shop employees, and owners, in this town who sit on the phone and continue to talk while you stand there with your purchase and cash, in hand.


I have no way to wrap this up.  To bring you full circle from where I started. I just do not understand how India can keep it’s values and in America we have people who insist on putting your change  ON TOP OF YOUR BILLS in your hand. What is that about?  Ever try to keep from dropping that change, while holding a bag and getting out of the next guy’s way? You know what is fun?  Let them put the receipt and bills in your hand and then pull your hand back before they get there with the change. Freaks them out. Especially if you just jerk that hand back and put your other hand out. They have no idea what to do. 



Yup! Real Bright Employees. Maybe it isn’t intelligence.  Maybe it’s just common sense that is lacking.



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I have moved so many times in my life, that I have lost count. Unlike the people I see interviewed on Actor’s Studio. I did not move as a child, thus causing trauma, and creating a person who can, not only, act in any part but win an Oscar for doing so. I WANTED to move as a child and daydreamed about it, but I lived in one house until I married.

When I was a teen, I wanted to move so bad I could taste it.  As an adult, I worked in a high rise, which overlooked an expressway. I remember stopping by the window a dozen times a day and wishing I was one of those people, down there, in those cars, going anywhere.

Then, as an adult I started moving. My record was the year I moved five times. One of the apartments had so many rodents in the walls that the cocka-poodle I owned refused to go into the kitchen at night; even though her water and food were in there.

The next move, was only a few blocks away and I moved everything I owned (except the fridge) in a sedan.  Every night, I would get home from work, put the boxes I had packed the night before, in my car, drive to the new apartment and empty them. Then, I went to the old apartment and packed them up again. I worked as a secretary with a two hour commute, each way, to Chicago, during this move. I was young and had energy.

Another time, I moved everything (with two kids) in the middle of the night. That was from a BAD boyfriend’s house back home to mom. I was young AND stupid.

Not anymore, though. Now, I treat moves with the disgust they deserve. We moved from a 2,100 square foot well built home in the high plains desert of Wyoming; meaning a nice house on sand, without water. We had well water but no one had enough to water plants. A brush fire encircled our house once and we were evacuated several times for fires. But, I loved it there. I moved because I wanted to be closer to family. So, I decided to see what the house was worth; you know, call the realtor out and just see.

Honest, that is what I intended to do. Just check the value and THINK about moving. NEVER, EVER, EVER say to yourself, I will call a realtor out, just to see how much your house is worth. Because, when they leave, you will be standing there, papers in hand, mouth open, saying, “I don’t believe I signed this. How did this happen?” I honestly was not going to sell for another year and a half because Gaffer was still in High School.

The next advice is: Don’t believe it when you say, “Oh, it’s not the right season, my house will never sell, it’s a mess, it needs work. I’m safe.”

NOT! Twenty-four hours later, we had our first offer to purchase. I immediately went to WalMart, purchased tons of large Rubbermaids, and started packing. Two weeks later, the guy was going to start another round of inspections and I said, “NO.” Sigh of relief here. It was a fluke. I’ll go into the realtor’s office, refuse his inspections and the house will sit for six months and then I can pull it off the market.  HAH!

I go in to sign the contracts to turn down his latest offer and she, upbeat realtor that she is, bubbles over as she hands me the second offer to buy.  We had exactly two weeks, to pack up for three adults and one teen. This included my mother’s two bedroom apartment upstairs. The only help we had was this elderly woman, who has never learned to pack, one disabled man (husband) and a teenager, whose claim to strength was having very strong thumbs from gaming. Thank goodness, he worked his sorry little muscles to the bone.

The two week time period, included finding somewhere else to live and being able to move into it. We went to the internet, found possibilities, found a realtor and drove to Indiana. We spent three days looking for a house and found out that our price range in Indiana was called fixer uppers. This included a house with some of the foundation missing and a house without electricity in the second and third floor levels. Our price range was more realistically, tear it down and start overs. We finally settled on this house, over what we wanted to pay, but doable and life has not been boring since.

Tomorrow: Our move, from Wyoming, in two and a half feet of snow.

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I have always loved the rain. Once, we were on vacation, staying in a relative’s house, and the rain drummed down all night on their tin roof. I was just a kid but I thought it was the coolest sound in the world.


Rain on camping canvas is awesome. Other than the safety issue, I love rain when I am driving. And, when I am walking, I truly walk in the rain. I do not run.


This morning I woke up to lightening. Then it was clear and now, at 8 am it is dark, lightening and ready to fulfil its promise of rain. I may stand outside in it for a while (when the lightening is not near) but there are certain problems with rain in our County.


When it rains in Indiana, and it does often:

1. The electricity goes on and off all day

3. The phone lines buzz and we get a party line on our phone, and since the repairman doesn’t come out for five days, it’s dry and gone by then and AT&T charges you $51 for the privilege of having a party line.

4. You can’t get on the internet because your phone lines buzz.

5. We don’t need terrorists in Indiana; our infrastructure is disintegrating all on its own.

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It is now 9:19 pm. I have just gone on my blog and see that today is a new day in WordPress world and I have 0 views for this new day; Wednesday, which I am presuming probably started at 9:pm on Tuesday.


Now, I am irritated enough having lived in the Central Time Zone most of my life and now having had some idiot legislature vote that we now belong with the east coast. If they had given me an ocean view, I could have accepted it as I would not be sitting here now watching Tim Burton on “The Directors”, I would be sitting on my deck, listening to the ocean and watching the stars. But, no, I am sitting in a stuffy, air-conditioned house, that sometimes has electricity (last night it went out three times).


So, why, if it is 9:19pm in Indiana and on the East Coast, and I live in Indiana, which should be 8:19, just why is it tomorrow in WordPress land?


I have tried setting my Timezone for UTC -4; which seems to be closer than the UTC -5 that I am told I should have it at. But, I have tried both and UTC -4 gets me closer to the time I am at; probably because frikkin Indiana is now on the East Coast.


So, why is it that WordPress changes me to a new day three hours before midnight?  This is one of those little things in life, I cannot let go of, like deleting extra programs on my computer.


Okay, to further complicate the matter. I just published this and it does, indeed tell me it was published today, Tuesday July 22, 2008. So, it is only tomorrow, Wednesday inside of WordPress, where my cute little graph chart resides. I feel so much better now!

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This time of evening, 7pm in idiotic Indiana, which voted to be part of the east coast not that long ago. What is it with that? All my life, I have lived in the central part of the country. I didn’t even have to pack a box and, all of the sudden, I live out east. Why would anyone want to stay up till 10pm to watch a sitcom.  Frankly, I may abdicate and declare I am returning to the central states, so I can watch tv and go to bed at a halfway decent hour. Didn’t that work for the Mouse that Roared?

But, I digress:  This time of evening, words begin to jumble in my brain. (Yes, I need to post more things late at night.) Unfortunately, I forget what I went online to post, so that may not work well.

I was writing with almost wonderful MS Word. That’s it. Do they actually have people design these programs who have never written a document in word processing in their life?  Or are they all just color blind?

I refer to the idiocy of having fifteen colors available to highlight with and only seven of those colors are light enough so that you can read a black, bolded word that has been highlighted in them. Now, I can change the colors of the text to unlimited possibilities, and I can change the color themes also. I can change just about anything, except the frikkin highlighting. 

Let me guess, the guy in charge of highlight is the same guy who designed VISTA.

And, please, yes write me and tell me how wrong I am. Just be sure and give me directions how to do it because I can’t find them anywhere else.

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