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12 posts from May 2017

What does your common sense tell you about Michigan moving from a full-time to part-time legislature?

Michigan has a full-time legislature where lawmakers have their own staff people and their own offices.  They get a generous salary and with expense money can earn pretty close to six figures.

Does our state need all that just to pass laws?  How much work is actually involved in pressing either a green or red button on your desk?  

This is an issue where voters need to shift into "critical thinking."  It's way too easy to react to this issue with personal prejudice. On the surface, it makes sense to reduce the amount of money we spend on our state's 148 lawmakers.  But, are we ignoring the law of unintended consequences like when you push in one side of the balloon where will it come out the other side?

I've seen the legislature "up close and personal" for most of my adult life.  I've worked in a variety of jobs in and around the State Capitol.  

Two Republican candidates for governor want a part-time legislature.  Soon, you will be asked to sign petitions to put it on the ballot.  This is worth doing some homework about.  I too have my own political prejudices and I've learned that I needed to either discard them or substantially recalibrate my thinking.


Getting my haircut and thinking about the Michigan Legislature.
I'm thinking about the proposal for Michigan to have a part-time legislature.



Q & A about two senior citizens pulling up stakes to move into a condo



Memorial Day Parade in Holt, Michigan.
We live in a small town where there was actually a Memorial Day parade yesterday. This doesn't show the crowds of people. My wife is in the foreground.



My wife and I were sitting on the couch in our living room of our old house a year ago talking about the next chapter in our lives.  We are both senior citizens.  I'm 70 and my wife is four years younger.  Our nest had been empty for quite awhile in our paid off house in the middle of a somewhat quiet urban neighborhood.

We had considering buying a house near Grand Rapids.  Real estate there was way too expensive.  We ruled out Florida and we even thought about moving closer to our kids.  

Then while sitting on the couch talking about renting an AirBNB in Hell's Kitchen in New York City and epiphany hit us.  What about looking at condos in the outlying areas of Lansing.  We weighed it carefully.  A requirement for our new place was space to have special family occasions where our five grandkids and their parents can fit.  And we wanted a place that we could leave for extended periods of time.

Our goal was to sell our city house and get enough to buy a condo in essentially a swap of funds.  We talked to a Realtor friend familiar with our house who encouraged us to take a few months to get the house ready and then list it in February just as people were looking for houses.  And that's what we did.  We expected to have a few showings over the coming months with maybe a nibble of interest.  What happened?  We got a very friendly offer within three days.

Over last fall and winter, we had purged many carloads of stuff and took it to Goodwill and we threw out a lot.  We also set a lot of stuff on the curb where it was picked up within a half hour.

How have we made the adjustment to the far end of a bedroom community where you go down the road and there's a dairy farm?

Question #1--What's it like living in a condo on the outskirts of Michigan's State Capital City?  Have we had any regrets about leaving our home of 18 years and moving to a place where they cut your lawn and take care of most outside stuff?

Answer #1--We really like our new place.  To find it, our Realtor had to show us about 15 condos.  We had to

Continue reading "Q & A about two senior citizens pulling up stakes to move into a condo" »

Do you start your day with a favorite coffee mug?


What do you think of this coffee mug?
We have bought mugs from this potter in past years.



Since we've been retired, Gladys and I have had a ritual where when we wake up one of us presses the button on the coffeemaker and then picks out the mugs of the day.  We've been collecting coffee mugs for several years, including Starbucks mugs from many of the different places we've been too.

That's what draws us to the East Lansing Art Fair every year.  We went last Saturday with the goal of adding to our collection.


We purchased two mugs.
Gladys got the light blue mug in the basket on the left and I got the brown one in the basket on the right.


It was packed with vendors on the main city streets and on the outside open areas next to the MSU Union.  People seemed to be lined up to buy from many of the vendors.  The whole area was filled with customers and lookers of all ages.  Do you have a favorite mug to drink coffee?


Coffee and the Bible.
For me, coffee and the Bible seem to go together.



Pictures of our Instant Pot pressure cooker chicken that lasted five days


Our Instant Pot chicken
This is our five dollar whole chicken when we took it out of the Instant Pot



Several readers of this blog asked for pictures of our whole chicken that was cooked in our new Instant Pot.  Cooking time was a little less than a half hour in this twenty-first century pressure cooker.  Taste was incredible.  We spread eating the chicken over five days.  What a great deal for food that cost less than six dollars and had a marvelous, inviting taste.  We got it from Amazon and found a store house of recipes and tips on Pinterest.


The Instant Pot in action.
The Instant Pot has a small footprint in our condo kitchen.



It's Justin and Lauren's sixth anniversary today

Justin and Lauren's wedding.
Justin and Lauren at their wedding celebration in rural Maryland.

I hope our son Justin and our daughter-in-law Lauren know that we will be celebrating their sixth anniversary today.  It's a very special occasion for a couple who have added so much to our lives.

Their wedding was a memory-maker not only for them but for Gladys and I as we look back at that whole weekend.  It was the start of their life adventure together.  They've lived and worked on both coasts, including Las Vegas before settling in St. Louis.  They've lived a whole lot of life together in six years.

New chapter are being written with their two children.  They have been immersed into the real happenings of day-to-day living.

Gladys and I.
My wife and I catch our breath at their wedding reception. It was the last time I wore a neck tie.


I was really surprised and stuck in a little disbelief that my son would want me to be his Best Man.  My experience had been that the groom picked a close buddy.  I was honored and given a memory that will never leave me.  I wrote my best man's toast in short simple sentences so it could be easily tweeted and it was by some of his friends at his party.

Gladys and I are exceedingly proud of him and his wife Lauren.  The two of them add to each other and they both pour themselves into their kids.  It's exciting to watch.

Justin adds new family members.
Here are Justin's mother-in-law and Lauren's grandmother and late grandfather.


My mother and Gladys' parents had to be smiling from heaven when they saw the occasion.  It was a testimony to the reality that God provides.  Every once in a while, I have to be reminded of that.  He's made me part of a family, my own family.  There was once just Gladys and I and now there are 11 of us.

In my wedding toast, I told Justin and Lauren and the other attendees the best advice I've ever gotten was "Remember Who You Are."  On that day, I was reminded in big bold print that we are all children of God, loved by him.



Older baby-boomers: Jim Bunning, Detroit Tiger Hall of Fame pitcher, died at age 85

Jim Running page.
This is Jim Bunning's page from the 1961 Tiger's yearbook.

Were you a Detroit Tiger fan back in the early 1960s?  If you were, then you were more than familiar with the name of Jim Running, the team's Hall of Fame pitcher.  After baseball, he went on to serve in the U.S. Congress and became the center of more than one political controversy.

But most of all I remember sitting on my front stoop when I was in grade school and listen to the radio announcers shower him with expletives that you seldom hear today.  He was part of an extraordinary period in Detroit baseball history.  What a neat guy!

He died. He left a positive mark.


Lunch today on our condo deck with my wife and Time magazine

Lunch today.
We ate lunch today on our condo deck

We had talked about teaching spelling in school before.  What do you think?  Is it important for a young child to learn the importance of spelling words correctly?  Some say "no so much" while others say it's vital to effective communication.

I brought it up after thumbing through the latest Time magazine.  It uses words with some hefty spelling and uses some words that are not part of everyday conversation, at least in my parts.

Now my wife has plenty of background in this area as a retired third grade teacher and as a student teacher supervisor. We talked about right through a dessert of fresh strawberries and yogurt.

We ended up asking each other about the proper spelling for broccoli.  Is it one or two "c's" and one or two "l's?"

Marijuana merchants have invaded Michigan's Capital City


Marijuana billboard in Lansing.
Is the new symbol for Lansing, Michigan's State Capitol, a marijuana plant?



Drive around Lansing, Michigan's State Capital City, and you will be greeted by these billboards all over town.  They made a statement about a once proud city ceding its identity as a major role player in the auto industry and state government to a drug that's still outlawed by the federal government and many state governments.  

Marijuana shops dominate the southend of town with some counting as many as 70 to 100.  And it's completely unregulated.  The stores are also located near stores and schools and nobody seems to care.  

If marijuana has so many medicinal qualities, why isn't it sold through a pharmacy?  Are there health downsides to using the drug?  Right now, you have to apply and purchase a card from the state saying that you need the substance for you health.  How long before you can buy "weed" at a gas station?"

Anybody have a problem with any of this?

INSTANT POT MEAT LOAF AND VEGGIES: Easy to make and we loved it


One of my favorite meals is meat loaf and boiled vegetables.  Love it.  Just love it.  That's why I was excited when the first meal we made with our Instant Pot was just that.
For Mother's Day, I ordered the Instant Pot from Amazon for $79.  I have fond memories of my mom's old pressure cooker and the meals she made.  I remember the noise when the pressure was released.
How about a 21st century version of an kitchen tool that's been around for a long time?
Our first meal was the meat loaf with small potatoes and carrots.
We went to Pinterest for a recipe.  It is filled with all kinds of food that can be made and tips on how to use it.
Here are some pictures from our first experience.
Instant Pot meat loaf
The final product from our new Instant Pot.
We used high end ground beef for our meat loaf.
We got a little more than a pound of ground beef for our Instant Pot meatloaf.


We mixed this into the ground beef.
Three eggs, dry onion soup, bread crumbs were mixed into the ground beef.


These are the raw veggies to go with the meat loaf.
The veggies were in the bottom of the Instant Pot


The timer on the Instant Pot is easy to use.
We set the timer for 35 minutes.


A really good tasting pressure cooker meatloaf.
Here's the finished meat loaf.


Our Instant Pot veggies after 35 minutes.
"Yummy" doesn't begin to describe the veggies after 35 minutes in the Instant Pot.



Maybe I need to change my attitude about eating black olives


Look at all those black olives
This is my salad from Zaytoons on Aurelius in Holt



We recently moved to Holt, Michigan where we are close to a Zaytoons, a Mediterranean  Restaurant.  On our third visit, we ordered a side salad that came with a mess of black olives.  Until now, I've always given them to my wife who loves them.  I decided to try them and found that they are really tasty.  I'm wondering, do black olives have any positive health properties?

I couldn't resist the Insta Pot as a Mother's Day gift for my wife

Have you used an InstaPot pressure cooker yet?

Baby-boomers:  Do you remember your mom using a pressure cooker at your house?  My mom had one and I was always amazed that it never blew up.  I always enjoyed what she cooked, especially roasts and fresh vegetables like potatoes.

That's what got my attention with the Insta Pot from Amazon.  It was computerized and seemed to have adequate controls to keep it safe and computerized setting to cook a whole range of items.

Do you have one?  Have you ever eaten food made with one.  I will report more as we use it.

Michigan State University dairy scientists might have the answers to our state's crappy roads


In the past few months, I've driven Michigan roads to cross the border into Indiana.  Going through our state's southern border into the Hoosier state, you feel like you've left the badlands of roads and entered paradise.  Go the other way from Indiana into the Great Lakes state and you feel like you are traveling on the roads of Haiti after the earthquake.

What's the answer?  The governor and the Michigan Legislature hasn't found one yet, but the MSU Dairy has made a stab at it.  Am I serious? Partially.  

Last night, my wife and I explored our new neighborhood in Holt, Michigan and found Sweet Sensations, a small family-owned ice cream shop that features the MSU Dairy's ice cream creations.  We both had "Michigan Pot Hole."  It has broken pieces of chocolate, laced with peanut butter and a flavor that would bring a smile to anybody who has traveled over our state's atrocious road system.

Michigan might not be able to get good roads, but we have wonderful ice cream.