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It's almost over...

If you are one of the poor souls who lives in a "battleground state" I can't imagine how sick you must be of the campaigning by now. Even a political news junkie like me is anxious for it to be over and I haven't been subjected to nearly as many commercials or phone calls as people in the purple or yellow or whatever other color state you are in have endured. It is a good thing to be living in a solid blue Illinois this year for that reason. If anyone reads this blog, I'm planning a smallish celebration Nov. 5 after work. I'll be celebrating by going to Lord Stanley's and ordering up some fried pickles if you would like to join me. I hope I will be at least sort of happy while I'm munching away on a dill pickle and not crying into my beer. So if you are there ca. 4:00 or so that's when they start making the pickles.

Campaign signs I've seen and like

"Hey Sarah i can see the end of your political career from my house."
"Polar bears for Obama." and "Wolves for Obama"
"You can't win an occupation."
"Hockey dads against incompetence"
"Rednecks for Obama."
But please don't make me look at these two for the next four years.


Oh dear

Every now and then I get a bad case of the blues... not that uncommon I know, but it's hard to give someone who hasn't experienced true depression a good idea of what it is like. Sometimes you just have to wait for it to go away unless it's bad enough to immobilize you and you need medication to give you a lift up. Sometimes I think that it would just be solved if i had a significant other to share life with, but there are entire other issues there. I have lived alone long enough now, that I wonder if I could successfully live with another person. Maybe there is a website that introduces older people to each other, single people ready to start retirement with someone. The idea of people forming communities to live together has a certain attraction for me right now.
I just stole this from daiserswho stole it from someone else.
"What we have here is the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish. Here's the twist: add (*) beside the ones you liked and would (or did) read again or recommend. Even if you read 'em for school in the first place."
Personally I can't remember if I read some of these so I just left them alone.  There are hardly any books I would read again simply because there are too many books too little time, but maybe just maybe I would read some of the ones I haven't read for a long time like the Grapes of Wrath or Catcher in the Rye.  There are many books I would recommend before the ones on this list though.  I have tried to start listing my favorites on my google library.
The Aeneid
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
American Gods
Anansi Boys
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
Angels & Demons
Anna Karenina
Atlas Shrugged
The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas 
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Confusion
The Corrections
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crime and Punishment
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
David Copperfield
Don Quixote
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Fountainhead
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Gravity’s Rainbow
Great Expectations
Gulliver’s Travels
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Historian : a novel
The Hobbit
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Iliad
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Inferno
Jane Eyre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The Kite Runner
Les Misérables
Life of Pi : a novel
Love in the Time of Cholera
Madame Bovary
Mansfield Park
Memoirs of a Geisha

Mrs. Dalloway
The Mists of Avalon
Moby Dick
Northanger Abbey
The Odyssey
Oliver Twist
The Once and Future King
One Hundred Years of Solitude
On the Road
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Oryx and Crake : a novel
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice
The Prince
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
The Satanic Verses
The Scarlet Letter
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Silmarillion
The Sound and the Fury
A Tale of Two Cities

Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To the Lighthouse
Treasure Island
The Three Musketeers
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Vanity Fair
War and Peace
Watership Down
White Teeth
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
Wuthering Heights
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values

A common scold

Until 1967 the common law of England (until 1829 in Philadelphia) used this legal term for a boisterous, disorderly and quarrelsome woman accused of being a public nuisance to her neighbours. It was only applied to women and I don't know how boisterious and disorderly you had to be to have that term applied to you. I assume loudness and anger would play a big part. Other terms used included brawling and breaking the peace. I would like to have a description of this behavior from an actual trial of a "common scold" The punishment for this offense was to be dunked into the water in a "ducking stool." They were the early feminists, I guess. I should find it hard not to be accused of being a "common scold" in the days that this law was on the books.
Last night I watched QVC[!]and I bought something from the Jay McCarroll clothing line. Last year I promised myself that I would get something of his, I didn't care what it was. This will be a treasured piece of clothing. I wish I still had that Mary Quant dress I bought from Sears back in my heighday. This is 100% silk and it is kind of crazy looking fabric, but I like it.


If you live in one place long enough, you know that that place soon becomes filled with ghosts. They may not be the ectoplasmic kind, the ones that say boo and swirl around the sky artistically, but they are the ghosts that linger in the neighborhood of your memory. When I go for a walk in the several blocks surrounding my house, there are first the ghosts of the old husband and wife who lived one door down from me. The old guy built dollhouses as a hobby and was always pottering around his yard keeping it as neat as a golf course. He once helped me get in my house when I locked myself out by removing the storm window. He was a reliable presence every election day at our polling place until he was unable to do it any longer. He drove out of his driveway and down our street to parts unknown, til his head was barely visible above the steering wheel. His wife came over to see what I was planting in my garden and had compliments for my dianthus. She died several years before he did. They are long gone, the tidy brick house now inhabited by a family with young children. Up the street just a tiny bit farther, the crossing guard for my daughter's (now 32 yrs. old!) elementary school. A jovial person who wore a sort of John Lennon cap and began to walk around more when his doctor discovered heart problems. His wife dressed up as a clown for childrens' parties. She got dressed up and drove around in full makeup for each occasion. Both of these people have been gone for some time. I think of the dogs of years past, remembering them walking by, barking greetings, their owners, some of them gone also. My own dog Bear, greeting each of my neighbors who exclaimed over how pretty she was. My father who lived just about six blocks from me with his gardens full of fruit trees, vegetables, raspberries and flowers is gone and I can barely walk in the area near his house for the sorrow that he won't be at the end of my walk. My sister-in-law's father, who became ill with Parkinson's disease, the same illness that took my father away, also walked the streets near my father's house for several years before he was gone. I still see them when I walk the same streets. I see the children my daughter used to play with before they became grown up. When I visit my Mom, I see the ghosts of other people, friends of my childhood from the age of about 8 when we moved to a small subdivision next to a big farm, now turned into more houses. Sometimes I feel the reason I'd like to move away, is to finally say goodbye to the ghosts here. I think it is just a few years away.

Wedding stories

Over the last week of May, first week of June my daughter and I were running around Wilmington, NC doing nutty errands, spending lots of money and getting ready for the wedding or else I was making stuff for the wedding. For three days afterwards I tried to lead a group of disparate people for some sight seeing around Wilmington (unusually thankless job sometimes!) Kind of hard to find things everyone will enjoy or restaurants for everyone, but I think I did rather well. I got to see a lot of new things in the area and we had a beach day, a downtown day and an historically themed day. There are pictures loaded to my flickr site. They are not in very good order yet, and there are more to be added, but you can cycle through the first few pages of thumbnails and get the gist of things. The wedding ceremony was lovely, somewhat more of a religious ceremony than I expected. The minister is the pastor of the church my son-in-law's grandmother has been a member of for years and years. It was a bonus that she happens to be a woman. The two kids each cried at some point and so did I of course. The outdoor setting was beautiful. We decorated with the banners or outdoor bunting that have been coming together since January. My brother and his family, mom, my sister and various friends helped get things together at the last minute. My friend and my daughter's friend pitched in to help me with the flowers and bride's bouquet, a last minute chore and they looked great. The groom's mom and dad hosted the party and provided traditional N. Carolina style food including pulled pork cooked in a smoker, etc. I have to give a big thanks to them all. I'm busy trying to make a few things to send them. So North and South got together after all. There was a slight disagreement and early misunderstanding about the size of the group that had been invited and the difference between informal receptions and unplanned ones, but it all worked out fine in the end. The weather was so hot I believe some people didn't want to be outside for a barbecue reception that afternoon and so didn't show up. My daughter looked very beautiful. Her dad was there and it wasn't as scary a meeting as I had anticipated for so many days. I managed to remain calm and collected for the most part. Weddings are good excuses for families to get together but for many of the participants they aren't exactly good places to relax and get caught up with people you haven't seen for a long time or to meet and have nice long conversations with any of the people you don't know well. Maybe we should all have a nice relaxed get together sometime further down the road. What do you think?