Riordan Mansion

Anyone who lives in Flagstaff knows of Riordan Mansion. Riordan, the home for two of the Riordan brothers (bigwigs in early Flagstaff) has been one of our state parks. Visitors to Flagstaff can get a better sense of the history of Flagstaff, plus see a prime example of Arts and Crafts style architecture and furniture.

Here’s what’s embarrassing: the only reason I know the above information is that I finally toured Riordan Mansion. Yes, I’ve lived in Flagstaff for 17 years and I only now make it to the place for an enlightening look at early Flagstaff history.

So, why did I finally decided to go now? There may not be a chance to see it after February 22nd. The yahoos in our state legislature have taken the funds for state parks to help “balance” the state budget. There is no money to run Riordan Mansion. Don’t get me started on this. These legislators are yahoos because they’re cutting education, parks, and health care, but also plan on passing tax cuts for corporations! Yes, you got that right, tax CUTS. When they can’t even balance a budget they want to take more money out of the state coffers. Ugly, ugly yahoos, aren’t they?

Anyway, if  you’re in Flagstaff for the next week, do check  out Riordan Mansion. Make sure to reserve the tour in advance. Their tours are filling up. Maybe it’s folks like me, procrastinators who wait until the last minute to see a local treasure.


Fingers Crossed

There are elections going on today, so that means I’m surfing the web to see how things are going in certain state elections. The main one I’m paying attention to is the Maine one  — main , Maine – aren’t I clever? < birds chirping >

Okay, in Maine it’s the Vote No on prop 1 that has my attention. I’m hoping that gay marriage is not overturned in Maine, so the No votes have to win.

New York 23 has an interesting election where the Republican quit the race as the third-party candidate looked like he was going to win. It’s a real mish-mash of weird politics going on.

I’m also wondering if NJ Governor, John Corzine will keep his governor position. Christie was leading in the polls, but New Jersey is a weird state that can surprise everyone.

So, fingers are crossed that Maine goes the way that I want it to. I just wonder how long it will take before we learn the results?

Health Care Forum – Calm and Quiet

I went to a Health Care Forum tonight. You’ve heard about all the teabagger mobs that have shut down some of the forums? Nothing like that happenned here. It was calm, quiet, and kind of boring.

Kyrsten Synema, one of the state legislators, conducted the event. She’s on Obama’s Health Care Task Force, so she’s traveling around the state presenting information and answering questions.

Yes, there were people who cheered the comment about our border — if ex-Gov Napolitano had closed it there would be no health care crisis. Yeah, makes no sense to me either. I’m sure that the insurance companies would have cut prices, insured all, and never denied care to anyone as long as that dang border was closed.

Anyway, I can’t report anything exciting. It was informative, but I bet the two bills described will be very different by the time they are combined in the conference committee.

Good Week; Bad Week

The Arizona Cardinals winning the NFC Championship was phenomenal. Seeing Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president was great. Feeling healthy and active is exceptional. Unfortunately, the week hasn’t been made of just those things. Some things are sucking the big one.

My mom refuses to be active. Hearing that she is getting weaker and unable to do much is hard to accept. My poor sister is feeling so down as she is the sibling taking care of Mom. There’s still hope that Mom can discover the will to do what needs to be done to get herself active again. We’re hoping.

The other bad thing? Budget cuts. Arizona is hurting badly. As an employee of the state of Arizona and working at one of the state universities I don’t expect much from our state legislature, especially now that Janet Napolitano left to take charge of the Homeland Security. We now have a governor who is liking many of the other conservative yahoos in our legislature: a tax cut aficionado and higher-education hater. The announced budget cuts to the state universities total $600 million over the next 18 months. Lovely.

Our department could have possibly survived those cuts with lots of belt-tightening, but what really hurts us is how we are funded. Most of the funding is based on a program from state sales taxes. Arizona’s economy is spiraling downwards and the projected funds are disappearing fast. To make ends meet we are voluntarily cutting our hours. So instead of a 40-hour a week paycheck, I’m now getting a 38-hour paycheck. We’re now hearing that we may have to do something more drastic. It could end up as a non-voluntary eight hours a week cut. Goodbye discretionary funds for fun.

If we have to do it, I can go back to scrimping again. It just pisses me off. I’ve been working hard at getting some old nasty debt paid off and I’m not close, but I’ve made tons of progress. Now I’ll have to cut back on the debt payments, which means a longer time frame to pay them off, and living without a large amount of savings. That’s all I want — more than $1000 in my savings. I want to put more towards retirement too. Of course, I’m lucky. I have $1000 in savings, a regular paycheck, a financial plan, and I’ve seen that debt go from five figures to four. There are no debt collectors calling at all hours, no maxed out credit cards, no children to clothe and feed (though the way I keep losing weight I’m going to need some funds for clothes in smaller sizes!).

Anyway, good week; bad week. I like the good, hate the bad, but life is more than just a lifetime of average weeks.

President Obama

President Obama. It sounds good, doesn’t it? A president who can speak in complete sentences will be refreshing.

By the way, I loved this moment at the Neighborhood Ball. How fitting to hear the Etta James’ song “At Last” as the Obamas dance.

Yes, quite the day.

A Prop 8 Musical? Why Not!

I do like this video. Marc Shaiman’s music (he’s at the piano) and quite a group of talented performers makes for something funny.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “A Prop 8 Musical? Why Not!“, posted with vodpod


Depressing Finances

My finances aren’t great, but that’s not what is depressing. It’s the place I work. Working at a state university in Arizona isn’t a fast trip to riches. With huge budget woes hitting the state of Arizona, it is certainly hitting the universities.

This afternoon our university president gave a talk on the budget and how we’re trying to survive. It’s not pretty. Lots of cuts could be coming our way. Budgets have been slashed already, but we expect more slashing, but no one knows by how much.

The worst of all is that Gov. Janet Napolitano is leaving to head the Department of Homeland Security. She’ll be great in that role. Unfortunately for the rest of us remaining in Arizona it looks less great. She’s the one that used the veto to stop the Arizona legislature yahoos (we have lots of yahoos here) from drastically cutting our budgets in the past. I hate to see what will happen with the yahoos and a republican governor in charge. It’s gonna get ugly.

Yep, I’m depressed.