Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting established

MARCIA POWELL -- Blog article (#6) – February 17, 2012
Note: I have added some names to my email list, so if this is the first blog article you are receiving, I suggest you go to and read the previous articles (5) before reading this one.
My last blog of December 24th found me staying at my sister Jane’s house (the house I grew up in) in the country 17 miles east of Urbana, Illinois (population 110,000—a college town). Christmas was a fun family affair what with Jane’s two kids and their kids (and one big dog!).
Next project: find a place to live. That was an experience! Just when I thought it might be impossible, I turned to Craigs list (yes, Urbana has a Craigs list) and made a call. The landlord said he and his friends were having a party at the house, but come on over. By the end of the hour’s visit, complete with birthday cake, I wrote him a check. What closed me was that he said I could dig a garden in the south yard, and could have a cat if I paid a pet deposit.
The house, built in 1908, only has 774 sq feet—just a shoebox of a house—1 bath, 1-1/2 bedrooms… sorta strange, but I’m working with it. The kitchen is like a cockpit. The floor sort of “undulates,” so nearly every piece of furniture has to be shimmed.

Curiously, the house number is 808, and when I give directions, I say “…go south on Lincoln and then turn left on Oregon where the AXIOM sign is.” Also, the house is walking distance from where my grandparents used to live, as well as from a house my parents had briefly and where I lived for one year during college; so I’m truly “back in the ‘hood.”
On New Year’s I saw the event at the local mission. It ended early enough that I could catch a community choir concert at a local theater. 70 voices; good quality. Some day I’ll meet the director.
In the past, I think all my moves occurred in hot weather, so it was a unique experience to move in 25 degree weather, with actual snowfall before we were through! During the 6 weeks since then, I have been working on getting the right furniture and then “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Challenging, but rewarding when done!
Shopped the local piano stores, then again checked Craigs list. Drove to a town 30 miles away to see a Yahama upright. It had sat in a living room for 30 years without being tuned! Playing it was painful, but I took a chance, talked the guy down to $800, gave him cash, and then called the moving company. Cost another $265 to move it. Held my breath till the piano tuner came and gave me her evaluation—it would take more than one tuning to bring it up to snuff, but it was otherwise in pretty good shape. I gambled and won!
An old friend, Andy Lobue, paid me a visit (flew in from PA). Of course, I put him to work moving furniture (the only way I could get everything in my bedroom was to put the bed in the middle of the room—different, but it works!) and hanging pictures. We had fun renewing our friendship while getting some stuff done.
To accommodate my full LRH materials library, I had to order two custom-made bookcases in addition to one I purchased. No room for a couch, so purchased a Queen Anne chair to accommodate a visitor, or a rare sit-down-and-read moment. Once I get a reading lamp and footstool, the house will be pretty well “finished.” So you all are invited to come visit!
The winter here has been unseasonably warm. Mid January there was a major lightning and thunder storm!! (Global Weirding.) Had one major snowfall. Trouble with living on a corner lot is that you have TWO sidewalks to shovel! Pulled a muscle in my back. Before that pain subsided, I slipped on the ice on my front concrete steps and whacked my back. It was a learning experience! Anyway, I think I have now come to realize that I am no longer living in Southern California—or Florida, for that matter!
I purchased a high quality Needak rebounder—bought one that folds up! Just finished reading the accompanying booklet. Highly recommend it. We all have work to do and need to live as long and healthily as possible.
On the last day in January I figured I’d better go to the mall and get some winter stuff before the January sales ended. Got a $200 coat for $60, boots half price, etc. Bring on the blizzards!
The Krannert Performing Arts Center is only about 10 blocks from my house and has really great performances of all kinds. Went to an MLK event there (100-voice gospel choir!) a few weeks ago, and a few nights ago I went to hear the St. Olaf’s Choir. These young people are able to say, “I memorized a Bach Cantata—IN GERMAN!” I would not have believed it had I not seen/heard it myself!! Here’s a link … watch and weep!
I attended a free showing of a documentary about ending Black History Month, followed by a discussion. Am gathering data about this community—what are the issues? Who are the leaders?
On Monday nights I attend the Ron Paul meetup group. Have agreed to be a precinct captain. I have no backoff on knocking on doors, but I do hope it’s not TOO cold! My landlord is a Democrat but allowed me to put a Ron Paul sign in the yard. Nice people.
One of the people in the Ron Paul group is a young man who is running for the Illinois State Assembly. I had a great one-on-one meeting with him. It’ll be fun to help in his campaign.
Finally met Tom and Sue, the couple who are “cash-renting” my 25 acres. The next three years we’re growing alfalfa as the first step in transitioning the land and rebuilding the soil in preparation for doing sustainable farming. Gives me time to learn what to do next.
Am enjoying meeting with the people at the local Scientology mission. For starters I’m volunteering to work on central files and addresso.
Finally, please know that my daughter, Ashley, (currently living in Portland) finished massage therapy school, is licensed, spent two months in Thailand learning Thai massage, and now has been hired by both a wellness clinic and the college itself! Quite a compliment. I’m a proud mama.
Please write and catch me up on what you’re doing.
Love and best wishes, Marcia
(217) 607-0632 (new home phone)