Marilyn's Musings

Just another site

Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Southern Great Lakes Gardener

For nearly 10 years, I’ve had a website on gardening.  This year, I let the web hosting lapse. I figure it isn’t cost worthy to have a personal website any longer.  Blogging is a more up-to-date and effective way to say what I want to say.

So, under the category of Domestications, you’ll see a sub-category of Digging In The Garden.

I am moving my articles and links over there and over time and will be adding new gardening articles as well.


Things that go bump in the night

Every town and county has its stories about ghostly sightings. I’ll share a few of my own with you.

In town is the old Embassy Theater. A beautiful place built back in the early 1900’s and first called The Emboyd Theater, the theater is an ornate and lushly embellished structure.

In its early days, the Embassy was about the only place in town where one could take in the first movies of the time. As was usual, local musicians would supply the backup music for the silent films. In this case, there is a massive Grand Page Organ in the theater that provided the music.

Legend has it that on nights after a concert or when the theater is closed to the public, random notes and even a few bars of music can be heard coming out of the organ.

Also, a long-deceased maintenance worker from the early days has been seen walking the halls of the building.

Not far from where I live is a beautiful and scenic area known as Cedar Canyons. This is an anomaly for this area, more like Southern Indiana or a part of Appalachia transported to the northeastern part of the state. Its topography varies significantly from the gently undulating landscape and slowly rising small hills typical of Northeast Indiana, courtesy of the last glacial retreat which left an area of abrupt uplands and deep valleys. It continues to be carved and shaped by the scenic Cedar Creek which winds its way through the canyons area.

Roads meander up and down and through the narrow canyon corridor. Mainly residential, there are still a number of wild areas that have not been developed.

On Cedar Canyons Road itself is a low area known as Devil’s Hollow. Over this low point, or hollow, there is a narrow bridge. Up on the hill above the hollow stands a lone chimney, the only remnants of a property that was occupied by a woman. The house burned down in the early 1980’s. The story goes that teens who routinely taunted her for being a witch and vandalized her property set fire to her home and she died in the resulting fire. No one was ever apprehended for setting the blaze. It is said that anyone who intrudes or goes to the property to investigate is run off by the specter of this woman.

Also in the Cedar Canyons area is Chapman Road. Go down to Chapman and turn right on Griffin Road. There is a deep plunge down the road to another valley or hollow. If you stay parked in the hollow, unseen forces will push your car back up the hill.

On the beautiful University of St. Francis campus is the old Bass Mansion, now the University Library. Legend has it that a young male student was found hanging. Since that time have been numerous reports of cold spots and other events and noises that cannot be accounted for.

Just northwest of the downtown area is the Main Street Bridge. Since the late 1800’s, there have been numerous sightings of a Lady in White who walks the area, oblivious to traffic and those around her. Try to follow her, and she will simply vanish!

These are a few of the more interesting and well-known tales of hauntings in our area. Do you have any of your own to add about yours? If so, please share and do keep the lights on tonight!!

Can’t pay for your disabled child? Move him/her to a homeless shelter…

I can’t believe that it’s come to this. Now, granted, this came out of Fox News. But, ironically, Fox has a decidedly Conservative bias. So it surprises me to read this in their news. It is an AP article they picked up.

There have been so many facilities shut down in Indiana that take care of people that fall between the cracks. Group homes are closing as well. Most of these people have mental health issues or are developmentally disabled. Budget cuts, a tightening of restrictions for reimbursement, delays in benefit qualifications have all taken their toll on innocent people who need a place to live that offers around the clock caregiving services.

I think in this day and age, this is deplorable. Whoever suggested this should be called on the line for this and at the very least be forced to spend a month at a Homeless Shelter and take a few classes in sensitivity training:

Indiana State Workers Suggest Leaving Disabled People at Homeless Shelters

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s budget crunch has become so severe that some state workers have suggested leaving severely disabled people at homeless shelters if they can’t be cared for at home, parents and advocates said.

They said workers at Indiana’s Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services have told parents that’s one option they have when families can no longer care for children at home and haven’t received Medicaid waivers that pay for services that support disabled people living independently.

Marcus Barlow, a spokesman for the Family and Social Services Administration, the umbrella agency that includes the bureau, said suggesting homeless shelters is not the agency’s policy and workers who did so would be disciplined.

However, Becky Holladay of Battle Ground, Ind., said that’s exactly what happened to her when she called to ask about the waiver she’s seeking for her 22-year-old son, Cameron Dunn, who has epilepsy, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Holladay, a school nurse, said she and her husband would go bankrupt trying to pay for services themselves, so Cameron spends most days sitting in his stepfather’s truck while he works as a municipal employee.

“It’s heart-wrenching as a parent to watch it. We are people and they are people,” Holladay said, referring to her son and others with disabilities. “They have lives that are worth something.”

There have been no confirmed cases of families dumping severely disabled people at homeless shelters because Indiana wouldn’t provide the care needed.

But some families have been on waiting lists for waivers for 10 years. The lists contained more than 20,000 names last month, and one advocacy group predicted they will only grow longer because Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered budget cuts that have eliminated 2,000 waiver slots since July.

Budget cuts also have resulted in the state moving foster children with disabilities to a lower cost program that doesn’t provide services for special needs and eliminating a grocery benefit for hundreds of developmentally disabled adults.

Kim Dodson, associate executive director of The Arc of Indiana, said her group has received reports of state workers in several of BDDS’s eight regional offices telling families to take disabled adults to homeless shelters. She speculated that the suggestion resulted from frustration among BDDS staff as families become more outspoken about the effects of state cuts.

“It is something we are hearing from all over the state, that families are being told this is an alternative for them,” Dodson said. “A homeless shelter would never be able to serve these people.”

State lawmakers said they also have received reports from several people who were told they could always abandon their adult children at homeless shelters.

Rep. Suzanne Crouch, R-Evansville, said she found it “deplorable that people are being told to go to a homeless shelter.”

Leaders of several agencies serving homeless people across Indiana could not be reached for comment after business hours Wednesday.

Some parents said homeless shelters have also been suggested — or threatened — as an option by private care providers.

Daunna Minnich of Bloomington said Indiana Department of Education funding for residential treatment for her 18-year-old daughter, Sabrina, is due to run out Sunday. She said officials at Damar Services Inc. of Indianapolis told her during a meeting that unless she took Sabrina home with her, the agency would drop the teen off at a homeless shelter.

Sabrina, who’s bipolar and has anxiety attacks, has attempted suicide, run away during home visits and threatened her older sister, Minnich said. Bringing Sabrina home isn’t a viable option, but the two group home placements BDDS offered weren’t appropriate, she said.

“I don’t want to see the state of Indiana hasten her demise by putting her in a one-size-fits-all solution that will drive her to desperate acts,” Minnich said.

Jim Dalton, Damar’s chief operating officer, said he could not comment directly on any specific case but his nonprofit would never leave a client at a homeless shelter — even though it is caring for some for free after they got too old for school-funded services and haven’t yet been granted Medicaid waivers.

“We’re talking about youth that absolutely require services, and no one is willing to fund them anymore,” Dalton said.

Nesting In On A Cold Autumn Day

It’s a really cold autumn day here. The coldest daytime temps yet since the turn of the seasons.

Days like these make me feel cozy and my thoughts turn inward to home bound pursuits.

Reading, needlework, crocheting, drawing are all things I like to do when the weather turns.

I’m also thinking ahead to the Holidays and doing little things to get ready for the same. Some homemade gifts. And, believe it or not, I’m making cookie dough and have been freezing it for baking later. No one will know the difference when they bite into a cookie that the dough was made in October and early November. And it sure cuts down on the mess and time for baking.

Here is a favorite of mine, an Eastern European cookie recipe that are widely made in Hungary, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. Make a few for a touch of Old World Charm for your family and friends:

Poinsettia  Cookies (Kolacky)

1/2 lb. of butter
1/4 lb. of cream cheese (3 to 4 ounces)
3 TBSP of sour cream
1 whole beaten egg
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups of flour
Zest of one lemon (best fresh–may use dried lemon zest, 1 TBSP
1 tsp. vanilla
Assorted jams, fruit butters or lekvar, nut pastes. (Solo brand makes great fillings that are thick enough to not run).

Powdered sugar and flour in equal portions to sprinkle the board where the cookies will be rolled out.

Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sour cream together.

Add the beaten egg, salt, vanilla, and  lemon zest in.

Add the flour and blend completely.

Chill at least two hours and work with chilled dough and chilled clean, ungreased cookie sheets. (May also line sheets with parchment paper)

Roll chilled dough out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on board dusted with powdered sugar and flour mixed to prevent sticking.

Using a pastry wheel, cut in strips about 2 inches wide. Cut across the strips about 2 inches apart to form 2 inch squares. Place each square on the chilled cookie sheets.

On each corner of the cookie, make a cut about 1/2 way down the corners. (You will be folding the left side of the cut corners over to form a pinwheel).

In the center of each put about a teaspoon of Lekvar (plum butter), Apricot butter, thick preserves of choice or a mixture of finely crushed walnut meal, one egg white, and one cup of sugar blended to make a paste.

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven until golden–don’t overbake!

Cool completely and store in a cookie tin between layers of waxed paper. Store in a cool place. Will keep up to a month. When serving, dust with a little powdered sugar.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


The dough may be frozen if wrapped tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. It will keep in the freezer for about three months. To use, thaw but keep cool in the refrigerator. Only use what you need to roll out cookies, keeping the rest cold in the refrigerator to work with the next batch. Or, roll out all the batches of cookies and while one batch is baking, keep the others chilled in the refrigerator to go into the oven cold when the previous batch comes out.

Any leftover fillings, if you are using the Solo brand fillings, can be put into freezer containers with some plastic wrap over the top and kept frozen for use later.