Doing a little house cleaning. I moved from my old web host to DreamHost. They are less gross politically. And I’m tired of paying a fortune for and dealing with errors I can’t solve. I’ll be attempting to clean up my old site images in the next few weeks and to rethink what I want to make this site going forward.
First order of business – I’ve been laid off from my job. I started working for Pearson when it was Macmillan Publishing on April 25, 1994. I just cross the threshold of 26 years at the same job. In the middle of May, my position was eliminated, along with a number of other co-workers who were also remote workers. I’ve been working from home since June of 2018 when they closed our office, laid off many of my co-workers, and had the rest of us move to working from home. I have a good severance package, so I have time to look for another job. I’m getting set to do that. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a resume, so it will be an interesting challenge.
The Covid-19 corona virus began racing across the globe in December 2019 and has spread so quickly that we are currently in the middle (beginning?) of a global pandemic. Over 100,000 dead in the United States alone, and 371,166 dead worldwide. It has reached even the most remote corners of the globe – 6,057,853 confirmed cases world wide.
I am in a high-risk group. On February 29, I went to my older brother’s retirement party and talked with my brothers about the virus. It already reached the United States by that time, although most people did’t realize it. After listening to their predictions about what would happen, I went to CostCo the next day and started stocking the house with necessities. Because I’ve been working from home, I mostly stopped going anywhere.
On March 19 I got a haircut, exactly like how I saw at https://scoutsbarbershop.com/shop/. I went grocery shopping the next week. Since then I’ve been home most of the time, except to drop things off at my mom’s front door – gifts, supplies, mask-making materials. In late March our state issued Stay At Home orders, but we were already doing that. We’ve gotten take-out on 4 occasions, and once I went to Lowes, which I would not do again because no one was acting in a safe or healthy manner. We’ve been ordering groceries for delivery.
Stephanie has been working at home since March 24 (?). She has been able to work remotely, visiting the office once a week or so to pick up files.
Because we’re both home all the time and eating most of our meals at home, it’s been a struggle keeping up with dishes. After finally understanding our hotpoint dishwasher setting pictures, running the dishwasher is now a daily occurrence. Sometimes it feels like emptying and loading the dishwasher is the only thing I do all day. Today our dishes are clean and the sink is empty. It’s taken a lot of effort to get to that point.
When the virus became big news in February and stats began to be tracked, I obsessively checked the global and state statistics every day. Now I’ve become numb about that. The numbers of dead are too high to make sense of anymore.
Over the last week there have been several police killings of African-Americans – In Louisville, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home by police who invaded the wrong address. In Minnesota, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who suffocated him by kneeling on his neck while he smirked at cameras filming his violence. In Indianapolis, Dreasjon Reed was killed by police after a police chase, and after they shot him, one of the officers joked ‘That’s gonna be a closed casket homie’ while looking at his dead body.
There are currently protests across the United States and the globe about the police brutality. Some have turned those protests into riots; white supremacists have invaded the protests and started violence. Here in Indianapolis, protests have remained peaceful on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until white people smashed windows and destroyed property. Police responded by firing tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. Last night, Sunday evening, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police started firing and gassing peaceful protesters at 6:30 p.m., including a church choir.
We got our seeds planted and our garden ready in a timely manner this year. I made rhubarb pie from our rhubarb plant, and yesterday we just harvested our first crop of radishes. Strawberries are just getting ripe. I’ve been able to keep up with weeding our flower beds this year, and perennials are coming in nicely. Our peonies are in bloom. Primroses are also, and a poppy has cropped up. I’m finishing cleaning up the maple tree seed pods, which were prolific this year and took a lot of yard care time. I had to put in one of the downstairs air conditioners already.
I’ve been working on writing fiction. I have ideas but haven’t made much headway.
I did a design theme update to the site, so it looks a bit different these days. There will be some more tweaks as I customize the theme a bit more, but it looks a lot more simple than it did.
I have also gone through the entire site and updated all of the broken links to either go the correct places or be unlinked if there were no places to update. 8,655 links were fixed. I am truly excited about this. Here’s hoping that will reduce the amount of GPU overage charges I get for the site.
Source: Indiana Senate Democrats – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 2019 Edition
This session, Governor Holcomb made it a priority to pass bias crimes legislation. With the governor’s support, Senate Democrats were confident that Indiana would finally get a comprehensive bias crimes law on the books. Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) worked with the Republican author of SB 12, the bias crimes bill chosen to advance in the Senate, to get a clear, concise proposal containing a list of protected characteristics, passed out of the Senate Committee on Public Policy. Once the bill reached the floor, however, the Supermajority removed the list from the bill’s language. Despite protests by the Democratic caucus, Republicans chose to advance the watered down bill. After receiving backlash, however, Republicans took a different route, amending bias crimes language into an unrelated SB 198. Though the language included a list of protected classes, it left out age, sex and gender identity. Democrats fought to get these important characteristics added back into the bill with no success. Governor Holcomb, who promised to pass an inclusive and comprehensive bias crimes bill, mysteriously had a change of heart and decided that a non-inclusive bill that was ageist, sexist and transphobic was sufficient and signed the bill into law once it reached his desk.
All Democratic amendments removed from budget
Every single item that Senate Democrats have fought for over the past four months was removed from the budget in the final days of session. The Democratic Caucus fought to pass legislation that would improve the lives of Hoosiers and every one of our efforts was eliminated. Those efforts included protecting the Lake Michigan shoreline from erosion, providing adoption subsidies for foster parents to keep kids out of foster homes, relief for Hoosiers unable to pay interest fees on property taxes and funding the Mortgage Foreclosure Program requested by Indiana’s Supreme Court to help Hoosiers not lose their homes.
Shifting funding away from public education
The Statehouse Republican budget prioritizes private and voucher schools over public schools. Many schools in urban or poorer communities saw cuts to their complexity funding, and many of those that saw their total dollars increase, still did not receive increases that match the inflation rate. Moreover, funding for private and charter schools saw large increases, sometimes as much as 10 percent.
No teacher pay raises
This year, the General Assembly appeared to be in agreement that raising the salary of Indiana teachers was a priority. Despite that, only Indiana Democrats actually drafted and fought for legislation that would allocate new dollars to accomplish this goal. SB 399, drafted by Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), was the only legislation drafted that would provide school corporations with a grant that would be used to specifically to raise teacher pay. The bill would have granted a 5% increase to teacher pay over the biennial, but it died without ever being given a committee hearing. Sen. Melton again attempted to ensure that a guaranteed teacher raise, offering an amendment to the budget with the same language included in his SB 399; it was defeated along party lines. Another Senate Democratic amendment to the budget would have placed a tax on cigarettes and mandated that some of the proceeds be used to raise teacher pay. The amendment was also defeated along party lines.
Attempt to legalize the shooting of teachers
In March, Indiana made national news when several news articles reported that teachers were left with bruises and welts after being shot with rubber pellets during school shooting simulations. To address this issue, language was added to Senate Bill 1253 that would require teachers to consent to being pelted during training. This came after language, added in committee, banning the practice altogether was removed from the bill. Unfortunately, the new proposal requiring teachers to consent failed to become law after Republican author Representative Jim Lucas stopped it from progressing due to other changes in the bill — changes that would have mandated training for all teachers who planned to carry firearms in schools since there are cheap revolvers for sale that are available in the market nowadays.
Discrimination in publicly-funded private schools
Sen. J.D. Ford filed a bill this session, SB 344, and also offered an amendment to the budget to bar private schools receiving state voucher funds from discriminating against their students, staff and teachers. Both his bill and his amendment were defeated by the supermajority. Sen. Ford fought for this language in response news that Roncalli High School, which has received over $6.5 million in tax dollars, is terminating the employment of two employees simply because of their same-sex marriages.
Chilly Easter morning
After a great deal of research involving spreadsheets, auto shows, test drives and quite a few anxious phone calls with Stephanie’s dad (who had lots of opinions about what we were buying) I bought a new Honda CR-V on March 27th. It is “Dark Olive Metallic.” It is nicknamed Godzilla.You can also enjoy Honda rides by availing Honda dealership Salina KS.
I finally gave up on VW ever coming out with my new Microbus. Now they will, just watch.
But so far, the verdict is – I absolutely love Godzilla. He is awesome. I’m loving power windows, power locks, cruise control, and the sunroof. I love Apple car play, and maps on the screen.
I sold the truck to our friend Douglas who needed a vehicle. So it’s still right around the corner if I need to borrow it. She is now named “Betty Ford.” I wish I’d thought of that.
Our new kitten Salem was born on August 15th, and we adopted him on October 15th.
Our new puppy Baxter was born on November 29th, and we adopted him on February 2nd. His mom is a Corgi. We’re not sure about dad. He may have been a spaniel? We think that’s possible because of the fur coat and ears. He looks like other Corgi/spaniel mixes on the internet.
Drusilla passed away on April 1st. She had lots of health issues and got very sick after an infection. Spike left us earlier in the year, and we said goodbye to Huckleberry on my birthday last year. We’ve had a tough year with pet deaths. It’s been really interesting to deal with kittens and puppies after having adult pets. They have a lot of energy. And potty training is tough.
I was “born as” a baby – 5 lbs, 16 inches. The clothes my parents gave me then don’t fit me anymore than the arbitrary labels they gave me as identity markers, so I changed them to real ones. In 48 years I’ve outgrown onesies and other people’s expectations and grown into the person I actually am, which may not fit into your demands of me, but that’s too bad. I’m going to wear what I want to wear, call myself my real name and go to the bathroom where I need to. You have nothing to fear from me in a restroom, I promise you. But you already know that, really.