Better living.

Again, apologies for missing a day. Blah blah blah busy blah blah. Monday night, in search of sources for a story, I ended up at a neighborhood cooking night in Detroit, in which four couples get together and everybody makes a dish on the big Viking stove.

The house was a lovingly restored Tudor in an old Detroit neighborhood, and by lovingly I mean fabulously. One of the hosts showed me around the dining room, which had been gutted by fire in the ’70s. So they tore out the quick-fix drywall and had an artisan duplicate the oak paneling, which was stained dark. You could tell it was new because the pocket doors slid noiselessly and without friction. The fern on the dining room table was the pop of color in what could have been a gloomy interior, and of course the custom stained-glass windows helped. The living room was similarly beautiful, and full of fantastic midcentury furniture, which went perfectly with the Tudor architectural details, because good design of different eras can make beautiful music together, when the right eye does the combining.

I don’t need to tell you the gender mix of the couple, do I? My old boss Derek used to say that straight America wants to keep gay people down because we’re afraid they’re going to do everything better than we do. Has there ever been any doubt?

But I got a great idea for a salad — arugula dressed with oil and balsamic, and topped with oven-roasted oyster mushrooms, tossed in a bread crumb/parmesan mix. The artisanal cocktails were pretty cool, too, but I didn’t partake. (Gin. Haven’t been able to keep it down since an unfortunate incident at the age of 19.)

And then it was Tuesday, a swimming workout day, the first one after spring break. The pool is presided over by an older gentleman, a retired teacher who used to be a coach for one of the high-school teams. He told me he’d give me some stroke-refinement work this week, and so he did. Swimming is a repetitive motion, and chances are, once you start, you don’t change much. I always breathe on my left side, and have since I learned the freestyle, maybe 50 years ago. Today he had me do some one-arm drills, breathing on the other side. I am not ashamed to say I felt like I was drowning, even with fins on my feet. But I cannot deny that after a few lengths of this, I felt newly symmetrical. You do a thing, and then you do it differently, and suddenly you can do it better.

He also had me swim a few lengths just regular, but because fins were already on my feet and a pain to take off and put back on, I swam with them. And felt like an OUTBOARD MOTOR. These fish are onto something, I tell you.

And now I’m going to wrap this quickly, because I have yet more crap to do. So…

I’ve heard this many times: A person vehemently opposed to Obamacare is asked, “Well, would you support a plan that requires people to buy health insurance?” Sure, that’s OK. Apparently now it’s a thing.

Later, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

58 responses to “Better living.”

  1. Dexter said on April 30, 2014 at 3:47 am

    My dad taught me to swim during our frequent family visits to Pretty Lake near Stroh, Indiana. First, he taught me the dog paddle, then an overhand stroke as my head stayed above water. I learned to swim with my head down and using side-breathing simply by watching people swim. In Vietnam during a lengthy stay near the South China Sea my comrades and I went swimming as often as we could get away from camp. This time of year was best, as the water was warm and for a few weeks glass-like at times. One soldier I knew was named Sampsel, and he was the son a medical doctor from Columbus, Ohio. He had spent four years at OSU and had swum intramurally and he knew techniques of swimming and he refined my stroke, to the betterment and increased enjoyment of my time in the water. I suppose it was Mother Nature who saved all our lives at times. See, there are snakes which originally were land snakes but evolved into water snakes. These snakes are called kraits, and they are seriously and unequivocally poisonous. However, Ma Nature made them gentle as can be, and little kids would pick them up and handle them! Yeah, once in a blue moon one would get freaked and bite a kid or whoever was handling them, and that was bad, bad news.

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  2. David C. said on April 30, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I’m a flailer, which looks pretty embarrassing, and chlorine turns my eyes bright red, which also looks pretty embarrassing. So my plan to combat this is to stay out of the pool.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2014 at 7:37 am

    The problem with the non-single-payer plan we’re trying to implement right now is that it doesn’t force people to buy insurance. It tells you to either buy insurance or pay a penalty . . . and news from this locality’s community health clinic is that traffic hasn’t changed much. We’ve taken advantage of the opportunity ACA/Obamacare has given us to get a raft of folks on Medicaid who had chosen not to/refused/hadn’t figured it out before, and that’s a good step. But in general, low income working folk who are low skill, $10-$15 an hour employees, plus their considerable paid-in-cash fellows, are not able/not willing to pay even with subsidies, and the gaming discussions as to if, when, under what circumstances they WILL go on the exchanges and get insurance are going on in the waiting room for free basic care. We’re creating opportunities to help people get online with assistance (not official Navigators, but the same idea without the extra paperwork), and they’re just not biting on the offer at the end . . . the fact that they mostly don’t have checking accounts or a credit card is no small weight against it, plus the cost.

    But it’s all a step along the way to Medicare Part-E, so there you go. Middle income premium increases are going to be a bear next year, though, and the politics of it will be an ugly mix of Republican “see, we told you it would suck” and Democratic “it’s all greed and profit” which will get us to . . . I have no idea what policy short-term fiddling. I fear the fiddling more than I fear the impact of federal single-payer.

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  4. alex said on April 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Jeff, on what basis are you sure there will be middle income premium increases? It sounds more plausible than death panels and a man in an Uncle Sam mask sticking his fingers up your ass, certainly, but why should I believe this is anything other than the lies the Republicans have been churning for the last six years?

    As for oven-roasted mushrooms and mid-mod furniture, Nance, it sounds like a perfect evening. I was so happy to discover that roasting mushrooms brought out the flavor better than any other cooking method and now I can hardly stand to eat them the blah sautéed way. I’m thinking about selling my purple Eames compact sofa. Compact it’s not. It has never fit particularly well in my lake-cottage-size house. I just happened to come across some used ones for sale online and was astounded to learn they’re now selling anywhere from $2.5K to $4K used, and almost $5K new. I’d be crazy not to cash in, although I’m not sure I’d find many takers here in Pumpkin Junction.

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  5. Heather said on April 30, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I got into swimming a few years ago and, while I knew the basics, I gradually taught myself and now I can do bilateral breathing and all that. But I am having some upper arm pain now while I swim–maybe a repetitive motion injury. Can’t swim for more than a half hour or so. I probably need to refine my stroke and am looking for a good class or a coach. I’m hoping that will take care of it. It’s one of the few types of exercise I actually like–that and bicycling. Did I mention my knees hurt too? Ugh.

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  6. Deborah said on April 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Alex, I have always liked the Eames Compact sofa. I like furniture that sits up off the floor like that. Our furniture in Chicago that we got back in the 80s is now considered vintage. It was designed by Antonio Citterio, the line is called Citi k ( or City), they don’t make it anymore. We’ve had it all recovered 3 times since we got it and I still like it.

    I hate to complain, but I’m typing this on my iPhone and the sidebar at the top with the commenter names is floating over the comments box and I can’t see half of what I’m typing. This seems to have started a couple of days ago. Is it just me?

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  7. brian stouder said on April 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Deborah, I don’t know shinola about iPhones – but on my computer the stuff on the right always clouds over comments box, unless I stretch the view to the left.

    It is as if it is the end-table, while the comments box is the bean-bag chair

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  8. Dave said on April 30, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I see the commenters box to the right, it doesn’t float anymore, the comments scroll while it stays in place. I just brought it up on a Iphone5 and it works in Chrome but always enlarges itself using Safari. Are you using Safari, Deborah? Can you pinch the screen and make it smaller.

    I’m less than a year away from Medicare and I confess to not knowing nearly enough about it.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Alex, I was not trying to make a point beyond trying to predict where policy is going to move the process. I think, just based on the math, that this year’s full impact of non-exclusion, non-premium differentials will result in a general increase. Low income families have subsidies, high income families won’t care. Middle income families will be noticing any increase in full, and I predict it will not be horrific, but it will be substantial. If I’m wrong, I will be delighted to eat that dish of crow. Let’s hope.

    The Medicaid system even where the expansion was implemented (I can only talk about Ohio) is still a wobbly thing for the newly enrolled, who often find they aren’t when they thought they were. And it’s also not hard to suddenly find yourself off of Medicaid if you were on the bubble before expansion. Income variability for lower income earners is pretty usual, and the system is unfairly biased towards a presumption of a single, constant annual income. It’s creating an additional ripple in an already uneasy process.

    We’re trying in this area to encourage churches to offer their often pre-existing computer set-ups to allow parishoners to check out info and costs, and to sign up on exchanges Sunday after worship in the church office. A sort of “Touched By a Navigator” bootleg assist. Too often I’m hearing visceral reaction to the ACA, either from the pastor, or a pastor who would love to do this, but says they have too many active congregants who would be unhappy about the church helping support “Obamacare.” It takes negotiated diplomacy to get it going, but it’s something that some of you might be able to bring up in your own community. No risk for the church, you just need to have someone with very basic online skills that the pastor/leaders trust being on the church computer terminal, or in the pastor’s office. Put out the word on Sunday, and you are likely to have a couple of 50-something struggling folks hang out in the narthex after saying “I’d appreciate having a hand in figuring this out.” You just need to put in the newsletter or bulletin the Sunday before “To help us help you do this, you need to bring with you:
    Social Security numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
    Birth dates of family members
    Pay stubs, W-2 forms, or “Wage and Tax Statements”
    Policy numbers for any current health insurance
    Information about any health insurance the family could qualify for from an employer

    You also can check out, which offers an overview of how to prepare to enroll, from understanding the options to setting your budget.

    (If any of you try this at your church, let me know how it goes.)

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  10. Kath said on April 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Alex – I say cash in. Given the way it folds down, it might not be too expensive to ship. And who knows how long the mid-century modern fad will last.

    Some friends of ours bought a mid-century modern house in the Milwaukee area. A neighbor who’s a scout for some New York dealers saw the light fixture in their foyer and asked if they’d be interested in selling. It looks like a giant colander with brass snowflakes extending out on wires. The offer was $12,500. Now they wish they hadn’t thrown away the crazy sculpture that was in the backyard. Who knows what that was worth.

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  11. Deborah said on April 30, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Yes I use Safari. And so far it doesn’t seem to be happening. Weird. It seems to have healed itself. Wait. Spoke too soon, it’s still there.

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  12. Connie said on April 30, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I grew up in the small town where Herman Miller is located, and we always went to their summer outside sales. One of my friend’s mother had been President D.J. De Pree’s secretary in the 50s, and their living room and dining room were done completely in George Nelson and Charles Eames designs from Herman Miller. We thought it was horrible.

    It was not unusual to see the shell (no base) of an Eames fiberglass chair mounted on a tractor or a fishing boat. I have eight royal blue Eames chairs with black matte legs and an Eames round table to go with them. And a couple of armless ones on the auditorium stacking base as well.

    I knew Hugh De Pree as a supporter and promoter of foreign exchange programs when I was in high school and had no clue that I was dealing with the President of a Fortune 500 company. And I did have dinner at his mid century modern house, it wasn’t big and fancy, just nice.

    I’m sure I have mentioned this all before, sorry if I am repeating myself.

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  13. nancy said on April 30, 2014 at 10:24 am

    The Herman Miller company owns a big lodge on the shore of one of the inland lakes around Holland, and I was entertained there when I wrote a story about them a few years back. It’s very much in the prairie/arts-and-crafts style, and you’d expect it be full of Stickley furniture, but of course it’s not. The Eames chairs and ottomans look perfectly at home in front of the many fireplaces, proving my contention that great design of different eras can get along swimmingly.

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  14. Peter said on April 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

    While I personally blame the gay community for single handedly driving the cost of mid century modern through the roof and pricing me out of the market, I don’t think there’s a better furniture store than Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams. Go in there once and you’ll never go back to Design Within Reach or Room and Board. And it’s dog friendly.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it:

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  15. Julie Robinson said on April 30, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Our niece would love your sofa, Alex–she works in historic preservation, specializing in mid-century modern, and lives in a mid-century A-Frame. It’s just too bad they live in Florida. I’ll confess to not loving that period, but she is opening my eyes and giving me new appreciation. Their A-Frame has also been lovingly restored–they bought it off foreclosure, put in a lot of sweat equity, and now it’s a showplace.

    Lately she seems to be giving a lot of talks about concrete and brutalism, which was a brand new term to me. So far I haven’t learned to appreciate concrete buildings, though. Too much gray, a color I find oppressive. Especially when the interior walls are also bare concrete; it just drags me down.

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  16. Mark P said on April 30, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I started swimming in graduate school when my knees prevented me from running. I swam about a mile at a halfway reasonable pace, but there were people who were swimming when I got there and still going when I left, and they were passing me in the other lanes at a ridiculous pace. Now I don’t have access to a good pool, so no more swimming for me.

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  17. Joe Kobiela said on April 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Never can remember not being able to swim, guess it was just one of those natural things I could always do. Always thought knowing how to swim should be mandatory in order to graduate highschool, cut down on drownings.
    In other news, would really love to hear the gin at age 19 story.
    And if I had the money would sure love to help save the willow run bomber plant. Hauled a lot a freight in there, was sitting eating my lunch one day and there was a b-24 doing touch and goes, how cool is that, watching a 60 year old plane still flying in front of the building it was built in.
    Sitting in dtw, waiting to board delta to go visit the mouse house.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. Charlotte said on April 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I was the only camper at Camp Osoha ever to get my basic swimming badge without doing the back float. Camp Director, Head of Waterfront, Head of Swimming and a few other curiosu types all lined up on the pier to certify that yes, I cannot float, no matter how much I arch my back, or hold my breath. Glug. Got my dad’s dense bones, and I sank like a rock as a little kid, which made the whole swimming thing a challenge. I have a pretty decent stroke after years and years of twice-a-week lessons at camp, and at the U of Utah I swam a lot in their gorgeous outdoor pool up on the bench overlooking the city. Alas, Livingston is in sad need of a pool — we have a slightly grotty outdoor one in the summer, but no indoor pool. A perennial topic with the new people wanting to build an aquatic center and the old pensioners saying we can’t afford it.

    They’re replacing the gas line in my alley, and the 1944 meter in my basement, and today, they have reached my house. Might have to flee to the library to escape the heavy machinery.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on April 30, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Every opponent of the ACA is thumping those stupid polls showcasing stupid people who oppose “Obamacare” but favor everything it is and does. It’s basically the only thing they have left.

    When I was in high school, they had this ridiculous thing called “drownproofing.” They would do things like tie your hands or feet together and make you try to stay afloat anyway (to simulate muscle cramps or some damn thing). To this day, not only have I not swum, I get queasy at the smell of chlorinated water.

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  20. Sue said on April 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Ok, let me try this again. My home computer tends to put me in windows I didn’t ask for and I ended up one day behind.
    I know what mid-century modern furniture is but what’s a mid-century modern house? The only thing I can think of is post-war tract house suburbs and I’m sure that’s not it. When I think of those, I think of 2.5 kids eating cereal in front of the tv on Saturday mornings, not fabulous design.
    I tell people I’m like a cat: I like to be near water, not in it. But swimming will probably become important for me as all the bones and joints continue to get older and something besides chair yoga is needed. But I promise I won’t be like the oldsters a co-worker was constantly running into (not literally) when he swam before work – groups taking up a couple of lanes in the middle of the pool, chatting and blocking those around them who were actually trying to swim.

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  21. brian stouder said on April 30, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I can float a little bit, in salt water – but not at all in pool water

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  22. Deborah said on April 30, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I’m a horrible swimmer and having grown up in Miami, FL, that’s a travesty. My parents were not swimmers either, but they grew up in the midwest on farms with no water in sight. I vowed that little bird would learn to swim and she did well, she can float like a champ too.

    Our place in Santa Fe has mid century knock offs, George Nelson benches (two, one on either side of the fireplace) and Arne Jacobson Swan chairs (two in front of the fireplace, they swivel so can face any direction). In between the swan chairs is a small round table with paper clip legs (from CB2). There are a couple of antique pieces mixed in, an Amish rocking chair and my grandmother’s hope chest that we painted orange, put over scaled casters under it and covered the lid with a bright fabric with padding under it so you can sit on it. Generally colorwise there’s a lot of bright orange merimekko fabrics on pillows and such. It makes for a warm, inviting (I think) environment. Mid Century modern is fairly popular in New Mexico, it works with adobe style beams and latillas etc.

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  23. Suzanne said on April 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I don’t like to swim for two simple reasons–1. I have to wear a swimsuit of some kind and that makes me feel completely unattractive. 2. I have very poor eyesight. Can’t wear glasses in a pool and really swim & contacts tend to wash out of the eyes. It’s very disconcerting to not be able to see who is on the other side of the pool. Heck, who am I kidding? I can’t even see the other side of the pool. I guess the upside is, I also can’t see how bad I look in that swimsuit!

    So, I don’t swim…

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  24. Deborah said on April 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Here’s what the swan chairs look like Ours are orange of course.

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  25. Deborah said on April 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Here’s what our Amish rocking chair looks like We bought ours from an Amish guy in southern Missouri who makes them.

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  26. Claudia Allen said on April 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I live in a mid-century modern house. It’s not as fancy as most–was built in the early 60s by a steamfitter who put hot water heating pipes in the ceilings. The first floor is basement/garage/laundry–all on ground level. We live on the second floor. We have pretty much four rooms (not counting a sliver of a galley kitchen and a bathroom). We have sliding glass doors leading to decks in the living room, dining room, and the two bedrooms. Decks on three sides–one overlooking the pool. Flat roof. Lots of roll-out windows. We’re in the middle of the woods, so it’s like living in a park. We’re surrounded by McMansions except for the neighbor up the hill who built an amazingly beautiful hunting lodge. The coolest feature of our house is a suspended chimney over the fireplace that also serves as the divider between the living room and dining room areas. We’re getting ready to have the living room and dining room floors tiled…they’re carpeted now and we have dogs. I also want a new front door…but haven’t found one I think will fit the personality of the house.

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  27. alex said on April 30, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Connie, my folks have a mid-mod house where I spent a fair part of my childhood — quite a showplace — and when we moved in about forty years ago there was a beat-up old rowboat with Herman Miller fiberglass shells for seats. Both their house and mine are full of those shell chairs, mostly on ’70s vintage swivel pedestals. The ones on the boat were probably from the ’50s. Some people in a pickup truck swiped that boat one night as my dad watched from a distance, helpless to do anything about it.

    My parents have a great mid-mod furniture collection, including both custom-made and designer pieces. I had hoped to inherit their house but my dad is trying to talk me out of it because it’s a high-maintenance money pit and will soon need so much foundation work that it would be better left to someone with deep pockets. My inheritance will consist only of interest income from a trust, not piles of cash, so I’ll probably have to give up that dream much as I hate to. It’s the gayest fucking house that ever was, and I hope it falls into gay hands because it would break my heart to see it crapped up by people with no taste.

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  28. brian stouder said on April 30, 2014 at 11:48 am

    For sitting, I’d take the swan chair over the Amish rocker 10 times out of 10

    (just sayin’)

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  29. brian stouder said on April 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Hey, wait!

    Are you sayin’ hetero’s crap everything up?

    Not that that’s not true (at least in my case, if not in my lovely wife’s)…

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  30. Deborah said on April 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Brian, the Amish rocker is the most comfortable chair in the world, it fits the back remarkably well.

    One more, this daybed is in our living room in Chicago, when people first see it they think it looks uncomfortable to sit on, but because the “back” is a diagonally positioned padded leather roll, it fits many body types. In other words if you’ve got short legs you sit on one side and if you’ve got long legs you sit on the other, so when you lean back it works perfectly.

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  31. Little Bird said on April 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    The Amish rocker is indeed remarkably comfortable, but every time I lean my head back, my hair gets caught it the slats. It is where Deborah sits most of the time, I sit in one of the swan chairs. Whichever of the two that hasn’t been claimed by the cat.

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  32. Sue said on April 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Suzanne, one time I had taken the littles to the pool and was standing at the side of the pool, watching them, in my equivalent-of-mom-jeans bathing suit, when I noticed I was standing next to the Baywatch-level lifeguard. It must have been ridiculous to watch me trying to casually sidle away.
    Of course, that was no worse than the time the little kid at the pool pointed to me and said “Mommy, is that an albino?”.
    A sense of humor helps, but really, water is not my element.

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  33. Connie said on April 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    The soon to be available job of Library Director for Fort Wayne/ Allen County is being advertised.

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  34. alex said on April 30, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Brian, I suppose I did paint with a broad brush there. I don’t think that house would look good in the hands of gay people with Liberace taste. Or anyone who thinks brand-new particle-board cabinetry is preferable to 60-year-old architect-designed custom-built cabinetry, and there are such people.

    Occasionally passersby stop and ask my parents if they’d be interested in selling. A few years back there was a local spy-cam entrepreneur in a Humvee who kept trying to befriend and ingratiate himself with my parents because he wanted their house. In a heartbeat I could see he was a particle-board sort of guy.

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  35. alex said on April 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Any chance you’d consider trying for it Connie? I’d love it if you were to relocate here. I think your quilting circle of Daryl and Christine would be delighted too, although Christine’s in Muncie for the time being while her significant other is pursuing a degree at Ball State.

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  36. Dorothy said on April 30, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Swimming after my knee replacement made me feel normal again in the water. I almost cried when I was able to navigate the ladder to get me in and out of the pool at Kenyon’s athletic center last fall! I’m not an under-the-water swimmer, I stay above. But I can pinch my nose and duck under the lane separators if necessary. I just dislike holding my breath underwater and used to get frequent ear infections when I was younger. But swimming is excellent exercise for those of us with arthritis. We have to start going again more often, my hubby and I. We always feel so good afterward.

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  37. Charlotte said on April 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Re: swimming — here’s Tomas Hertl, the adorable 19-year old phenom on the Sharks doing pool rehab after getting hurt. Love the caption: “Today after exersice…i have a lot of new young must be alwalys:-))”

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  38. Julie Robinson said on April 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Nothing hurts when I swim but it’s a huge time commitment, and I can ride my exercise bike whenever I want. As for others seeing my in my suit, I steadfastly maintain that if I can’t see them, they can’t see me; and as long as there’s a black line or lane markers my poor vision doesn’t matter. I’ve seen ads for prescription goggles, wouldn’t those be cool?

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  39. brian stouder said on April 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Connie – what Alex said!

    I’ve no doubt you would take our ACPL to the next level

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  40. Jolene said on April 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Hooray! I’ve been sort of out of commission for a few days. I waited too long to get a new power cord for my iPad (Good grief, they wear out fast.) and couldn’t recharge it. Have been reading on my phone, but typing on it is painful, especially as I seem to be having the problem Deborah mentioned, but it’s tolerable on the bigger screen iPad. As with her, the odd placement of the list of commenters has just been occurring for the past few days.

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  41. Bob (not Greene) said on April 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I spent the better part of eight years submerged in a pool. I swam miles and miles and miles, day in and day out, at both the swim-factory high school I went to and in college, until I decided in the middle of my senior year I had had enough.

    It would be years until I’d get back in a pool for any reason. The smell of chlorine would make my heart pound as if I were about to race again.

    When I was in my 30s I started up again, on and off, mostly because the only place where you could snag regular lap swimming time was at the YMCA. But the pool was gross, the hours set aside for lap swimming sucked (I refuse to swim at 6 a.m. ever again) and the old ladies floating in the middle of the lanes or standing around by the wall would drive me nuts. And, of course, I would get to the point where I’d say, “Why the hell am I doing this to myself again?” I found it hard to swim without thinking I needed to push it, to hit some interval I used to be able to hit easily, but couldn’t any longer. And just going back and forth and back and forth is just boring as hell (I used to sing entire albums in my head during practice in high school and college).

    But I still feel completely at home in the water. I used to dream about swimming through air and being able to breathe underwater. Haven’t had those dreams in about three decades, though.

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  42. alex said on April 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I don’t use my iPhone much for web surfing or reading and posting on this site because my failing eyesight and fat fingers make it just about impossible, but today on a PC I’m using Chrome instead of Explorer and I see the bizarre word breaks in Explorer don’t happen in Chrome.

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  43. Sherri said on April 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I’m a terrible swimmer, and my sinuses clog up at the thought of a pool. When I was rehabbing my knee, I did like jogging in the pool, even though I normally don’t like jogging, either.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on April 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    The names float over the comments on my android phone too. How strange.

    Internet Explorer hasn’t been great to use for quite awhile, but right now it has a huge security flaw: You’re much better off on Chrome or Firefox.

    Bob(nG), there are waterproof mp3 players now. I kinda lust after one of those too.

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  45. Heather said on April 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    @Bob (not Greene), I get annoyed at the people standing around too. It’s *lap* swim and I pay an extra fee for it. There are plenty of non-lap swim hours for you to do your water aerobics! They’ve been better about it lately though. I think the staff at my public pool finally started enforcing the rules consistently. My other complaint is people who thrash and splash so much that they nearly drown nearby swimmers. But since I am unlikely to get my own private pool anytime soon, I try to just breathe, relax, and enjoy. My mood is nearly always so much better after a swim no matter what.

    I have four of those shell chairs around my dining table, in grey. They are a bit beat up but I love them. They have the stackable base and were likely used in a school or something–the backs have numbers mounted on them.

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  46. Dexter said on April 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Our nn.c history buffs have ignored this infamous day in American history. Surely anyone of age who watched any TV on this date in 1975 has vivid or at least fleeting memories of the true last day of the American War Against Vietnam. If you weren’t alive then or were too young to remember, here is a primer.

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  47. Bob (not Greene) said on April 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Heather, I usually swam in a way that cleared the floaters and wall standers out if they were really a problem. Nothing a few flip turns can’t cure. It did piss me off though. You’d complain to the lifeguards, but they’re just kids and they don’t want the old folks made at them. But, hell, I don’t standing or do stretching in the middle of the running track or in the middle of a basketball court. I’m getting mad about this just thinking about it. OK, I’ll stop now.

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  48. nancy said on April 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    At the Y in Fort Wayne, where we frequently swam three or even four to a lane, turning counterclockwise, the guys who drove me most nuts were the ex-competitive swimmers. They’d blast down a lane in butterfly, the splashiest, roiliest stroke available, and then stand at the end reminiscing about the good ol’ days, swimming for Doc Counsilman at IU. I’m no speed demon, but I felt like they screwed me two ways — out in the water, and at the wall. Grr.

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  49. Bob (not Greene) said on April 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm


    What I remember is seeing a newspaper photo of a tank with the North Vietnamese flag on it that went along with a story about how the North was basically just mopping up on their way to victory. I was only about 12 years old and I was astounded that the U.S. was going to lose a war. What about all those World War II movies? We were invincible! It really bothered me.

    And now that I’ve made two posts in succession, I will now sign off before I go all Prospero on everyone.

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  50. Bob (not Greene) said on April 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    OK, one more. Nancy, I will state here for the record that I never, EVER would consider doing butterfly while swimming laps at the Y. That’s a total douche move. But slide your slow ass into another lane, OK? 🙂

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  51. Dexter said on April 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    You think I’m boring with all my Vietnam reminiscing, yas oughtta have heard this young woman in my local recovery meetings who could not resist, every time she “shared”, bringing up her days at IU , training and competing under the watchful eye of Doc Councilman. She was the creme de la creme, the apple of his coaching-eye, to hear her tell it, over and over again. 🙂 She did get a job out in Los Angeles at a spa or health club , teaching swimming and supervising all the activities in the pool. The longing for her days back at IU and the glory of basking in Doc Councilman’s approving tutelage drove her to a hellish down-slide into , well…you know.

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  52. Connie said on April 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Sorry guys, no more big libraries. Plus I am in the early stages of planning for a new library building. It will be my fifth new building, plus a couple of major renovations. Oh the things they don’t teach you in library school.

    Heather, a good coat of car or furniture wax will brighten up those Eames chairs. In my younger years every auditorium space would be filled with those stackable chairs.

    I keep waiting for Prospero to chime in the swimming discussion.

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  53. Connie said on April 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    In other news I am going to have cataract surgery, the first eye in a couple of weeks. The concept of being able to see without glasses is so foreign to me I can hardly imagine it.

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  54. nancy said on April 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    But Bob, that was another thing — the “slow” lane was for the people who were so slow, they barely counted as making forward motion. Dead manatees would drift faster than these folks. The fast lane was usually fine for me, but when the former glory swimmers were there, it was ridiculous. They really needed at least one or maybe two more intermediate lanes, but the rest of the pool was water babies, water aerobics, etc. Bleh.

    I’m sorry the sport was ruined for you by too much competition. One thing I love about lap swimming is the thinking it allows you to do as you watch the line pass under you, and the unique “non-thinking” it encourages. I think that’s one reasons it’s so relaxing — it’s almost like meditation.

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  55. Sue said on April 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Here’s some swimmers for you. Really – watch it.

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  56. Kaye said on April 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I been intrigued by the concept of cataract surgery since my optometrist asked if I could image a day when I could have 20/20 vision again. Will you spring for bi-focal lenses Connie? Did you Nancy? Maybe by the time I need that surgery (it is inevitable if you live long enough, right?)those lenses will be covered by insurance rather instead of requiring an upcharge.

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  57. Bob (not Greene) said on April 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Nancy, don’t get me wrong. Swimming was never ruined for me. I love watching it (two of my sons swam in high school). I was just a head case when it came to competition. If I had the time and pool availability I’d do it again, competitively. Oh and Dexter, I must admit I was never Doc Counsilman material. I was strictly Divison III (John Carroll Univ. Class of ’84). I did play water polo at Purdue in grad school for a spell though. We were not good.

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  58. Connie said on April 30, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I have one eye with an oddly shaped lens that will need an $800 lens upgrade not covered by insurance. If I want perfectish vision. And I will wear reading glasses in lieu of bifocals. Insurance will cover every thing else, and I am at the point in my insurance year where it is paying a no deductible 100^%. Which shouldn’t be a good thing, but in this case it is. And it has been fifteen years since I was first told I had cataracts. I still do not notice any effect.

    In other news ATT sent me a letter saying my phone was so old they could no longer guarantee service, and to come in for my free new phone. And I discovered that I could reduce my monthly cost for three lines by $40 by adding a data plan. Didn’t realize my old minutes per month plan had gotten expensive in comparison.

    The replaced phone was a 2004 flip phone, so old it said Cingular on it.

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