Sunday, December 26, 2004

A lovely weekend.

It's been a wonderful weekend. On Friday, my Mom, my daughter and my brother in law were here for dinner. We had the traditional Swedish sausage, Swedish meatballs, jello salad and rolls. Yum Yum.

On Saturday, we opened presents. This year was a spare year for presents because money is tight and the focus is more on being together than on spending. I got a couple of books I wanted and a beautiful cross-stitch that my Mom made. My brother in law and daughter came in around 12:30 and we had lunch. Ham, potatoes, seven-layer salad and rolls. Around 3:00 my other daughter arrived with her husband and my grand-daughter who had already had an exhausting day. It took a while for Ravengranddaughter to get into the spirit, but soon she was opening up everybody's presents for them. My uncle and aunt arrived around 3:30 and we had pies. Everyone but my brother in law left by 5:00 and then we sat around reading books while "The Sound of Music" aired with the sound turned down low on TV.

This morning Ravenhub made brunch and then Mom headed out to my visit with my uncle. Then it was time for chores to get back to work tomorrow.

A couple of important things to note:

The Public Housing workers won their strike and our back to work already. Good for them!

This month CenterPoint energy, in violation of the Cold Weather Rule, turned the heat off in hundreds -- maybe even a thousand -- homes this month. There was a minor notice in the paper on Wednesday and the Tenants Union stirred it up into a huge story. Apparently people who couldn't pay their bills were not properly informed of their rights. CenterPoint tried to pass it off as a few employees forgetting to do their jobs. Funny, how it is always the fault of the workers, eh? By Friday night it was a huge story and the attorney general for Minnesota is considering action against the utility.

It is just another example of how even when we have won battles, we have to keep struggling to ensure our rights. The Cold Weather Rule was a major victory when I first got active in politics in the early 1980s. COACT and ACORN won that fight by making it unlawful for the heat to be turned off if there was an honest effort by home owners and renters to pay their bill. In Minnesota, shutting off the heat can be deadly. And yet, today, CenterPoint tries to weasel out of their obligations.

Over the weekend I read William Kent Krueger's book, "The Devil's Bed." It has a great lead character in Bo Thorsen but the political stuff as well as the hints at romance, were awkward. There is a deliciously flawed murderer in David Moses. But what took me right out of the story is when Thorsen's entire back story was "told not shown". Moses, the murderer, breaks into Thorsen's apartment , looks through his personal belongings and "tells" us all about Thorsen's life up until now. It felt like cheating. Let us get to know Thorsen through his memory or flashbacks, not through an info dump disguised as a chapter.

This book included the President, the First Lady and Washington politics. One is supposed to conclude that a naive President was misled by evil political operatives. The problem is that a President who is so stupid that he can be manipulated by these guys is not the sort of person to be admired. Not Krueger's best work, even though a couple of the characters were very interesting.

Next up: KJ Erickson's latest Marshall Bahr novel.