Sunday, October 31, 2010

Living in an international neighborhood

I had forgotten what living in an international neighborhood feels like.
The trick or treat door answering was left to me
as the grandbaby and parents went to
trick or treat around the area.
I saw fairies in every color and shape tonight.
Some were struggling with the
English words
some were shy
lots of thank you and
happy halloween day!
It was wonderful.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A day in history

Traveling to Mt Vernon today
once again makes me
happy to live in this simple time.

I do not have to cook in a house
outside so that the main house
does not burn down.
I can travel to see my children
without worry of mud or cold
trapping my wagon wheels.
I am able to invest in many companies
who invest in making life better all
over the world.
I am able to listen to any style of music
by a simple wander through the itunes
section of my computer.
I can communicate with friends
far and wide.
It does not take days or years.
Our country has come a long
way since the time of
George Washington.
We journey forward
It is such a pleasant thing to
journey with the next

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The things you learn when you travel

For the first time I flew over the lake next to my house. Our place is at the end of the dam. The longer I live at our house, the more amazed I am that I live in such a beautiful place.

At swim class I learned that my fear of completely plunging in is just a part of life. Can you see the energy he is trying to divert to his hands? He trusts his instructor, but there is also the hesitancy. I put energy out and am nervous to see the end results as well.
Continuing to learn as I grow up. Travel brings some things into focus.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm running away!

"My bags are packed
I'm ready to go
I'm staying here
just outside your door
I hate to wake you up
to say good bye.
But the dawn is breaking
Its early morn
the taxi's waiting
he's blowing his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could cry."
I love this song.
Not really lonesome.
Excited to see my grandchild and his family.

I'd thought I'd leave you
with a headline today.
My county decided that
they could not raise the
So, instead,
they have raised our property values!
Yes, we are the only place in the nation
whose house not only never lost value-
but have increased in value.
None of the houses of any
price have sold in my neighborhood.
Owners have dropped the prices almost
$50,000. and still no takers.
County says,
"Well, at least your taxes did not rise!"
I will pay several hundred more
in property taxes this year than last.
Our sales tax is now 10%.
Let's put it in perspective.
A family member in Phoenix pays the same
property taxes that I do.
Her house is worth double.
She also has access to libraries and
good streets.
I love Kansas. I love Kansas. It is worth it?

Monday, October 25, 2010

My aching back

It rarely happens
Sleeping in the wrong position
Happened last night
Tonight is the payback
Little sleep is to be had
Big believer in acupressure
Found a site on line that said
the skinny part just above
the meaty part on front and back of hand
Pressed it. Ten seconds on, ten off, ten times.
Awww. Not gone- but feels 100xs better
Off to bed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another rose break

Cheapest detergent

Before I get to the point, a commercial for fall roses.
Has anyone noticed that the price of laundry detergent
is out of control?
They package it for those new machines.
I wonder how many of those new machines there actually are?
My goal is always to purchase the one that costs the least.
I head to the commissary with coupons and shop.
A variety sits in the laundry room for use.
They are bleed to the end
and then my husband uses the containers
for target practice.
Recently I purchased CHEER
The smell drives me crazy.
Hope my children like it since it will be
the only one available when they visit -tee hee.
As for dryer sheets
I don't use them...
Life in the wilderness of central Kansas
continues to be good!

BTW- if you paid to understand your debt
you might check out where some of your money might have gone to.
Here is Dave Ramsey's new house.
Let's not let the country raise the taxes on this
man who make a bit more than $250,000 a year.
He needs that money to clean the house!
OK- political commentary
before my trip to DC on Wednesday

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is it time to buy curtains?

This is the closest you would probably get to my house
without me knowing you are coming
The living room is exposed.
At night you can see us clearly framed by the windows.
You will have already turned the corner
at the top of the road to get to see in.
The trees in the back go bald with winter
but only the neighbor horses live there.
If you are desperate enough
You may be able to catch me in my undies doing laundry
Why would anyone want that sight?
I put these us when I thought my grandson would sleep in this room
Otherwise the window is bare.
Our bedroom has one piece of draped fabric
Hawaiian print of the blue.
A place I miss tremendously
no longer willing to get on a plane to see.
At least for now.
Winter is coming.
It would be nice to close the curtains and keep in the warmth.
I guess I will go to IKEA while visiting
the big city with my daughter
And see if there is anything
that I could stand
to cover my wonder world.

Is it time?
Should I make this a home with curtains?
Is that what it means to finally understand
I am staying here
For a good long time?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall rains

Living in many places
fall rains were always welcome.
In Hong Kong we would sit out
on our 6x3 foot balcony
out from the 26th floor.
Our building was over 32 stories tall
two apartments on a landing.
That left a very skinny apartment building.
Being three blocks from the South China Sea
our building often swayed in the trade winds.

The rains would come.
Not the pounding rains of summer,
but gentle sprays.
Summer rains never relieved the heat.
The moisture often lingered
in the trees and endless plants.
The soil was mossy and the heat seemed
to hold all moisture to the ground.
We knew a fall rain,
for there was no fog that followed
The entire forest seemed to breath a sigh of relief.
The oppression of summer was over
and the joy of cool winter was on the way.
This is where we lived-
Victoria Garden
Pok Fu Lum.
We overlooked a huge Chinese cemetery.
I'll replace this with my own picture
If I can ever find...that box!

Sitting back and taking it in.

Seasons change
Colors brighten
Sit back
Take it in
Life is good

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wisdom from the past

We used to watch several news shows. They are all still on the air- Meet the Press, Wall Street Week and others. Unfortunately, the excellent journalists have passed and the new people are followers, not researcher/journalists. Blogs have become my medium of news.

While looking at Hope to Prosper I read again about John Templeton. The Huffington Post published one of his "predictions" letters before he died. It is well worth reading.
He predicted the shifting of debt from highly leveraged individuals to the country.
He stated that in the past cash was king- in the future you need to hitch yourself to global companies.

He predicts that most education will be delivered electronically in thirty years. El may be on to something I just don't see because I was brought up to believe face to face was best. Maybe this next generation just needs a different type of interaction....
University of Phoenix won't be the way- it is as expensive as private university. Instead maybe the bricks and mortar will move to professors at home on the net. That is how I am getting my masters (and actually feel like I am learning more than I did in a seat with a lecture)>

I once carried some Templeton mutual funds. We got out when Templeton did. It was the wisest moves we have ever made.

What do you get out of his predictions?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From my sister

Please watch through. His chat about his mother is amazing....

It is travel time again.

Every year I swear off traveling to see family during the holidays.
Never works.
The travel begins next week.
All my travel will be done by air this time.
Have I told you how much I hate to fly?

One of the worst things about winter travel is being stuck.
After spending my share of nights in Chicago's airport- I no longer see it as an adventure!
The carrot is that our tiny city has talked American Airlines into flying in and heading to Dallas!
I head to the airport (one gate) forty minutes before boarding. The three guards check us all out. Since most of my seat mates are soldiers flying to or from war- the plane is ladened with interesting items:>) If one is bored- you can always lean over and watch one of their slide shows of family (go to war) or the desert (coming home).

It is always a kick to fly south to fly north- but that is what I do to see my daughter in Maryland. That is also what I do to see my son in Tacoma. At least when heading to see my mother in Phoenix, it makes sense.

I am off. The next three months I will be in Maryland, Tacoma, LA and Phoenix. The three months after that I will be driving the state of Kansas. My final stop will be Phoenix for two weeks in March. I have a feeling I will hit Maryland another time in the summer.

Retirement? Heck, I am tired just thinking about it!

Any travel in your future? have you found a less expensive way to get from here to there? How often do you see your family who lives in another state?

Taking in to consideration

One thing we use quite a bit is our television.
Really it simply fills the air with noise.
When our children were young we did not get cable.
I have started to track what we watch.
1)CNBC- Squawk Box, Mad Money and Susie
In reality I can get Mad Money on line, watch the market on my dashboard and Susie has become a therapist instead of a guru as of late.
2) NCIS, NCIS LA, Ordinary Family
All available on Hulu
3) Reruns of Boston Legal and Fraiser
Available in box sets
4) House hunters international
OK- that is a human interest thing...I could live without.
5) Sell this House
I am becoming convinced that if I ever bought any of these houses I would be insane. I have to admit that the painting and plants at our last house did sell it fast. Since we are not moving in the near future- this is a waste as well.
That would be it.
So, why, exactly, are we paying $65 a month for this stuff? We don't get anything by antenna- so we would lose it all if we cut the cord.
Decisions, decisions....

Have you cut the cable?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Investing in hardwood?

You might want to check out this example of long term growth.
The writer suggested planting trees on 40 acres might be a great investment for retirement. Of course she is a good deal younger than us. We did add three fruit trees to our property last year. The amount of water it takes to establish fruit trees is amazing! Hoping for some yummy apples and pears next year.
The previous owners took out about twenty fruit trees and several pecan trees because they were not "pretty". Bummer for us!

We think about our "farm" as a place where our children and grandchildren can go for years and years. Is there a downside? Yup. Our county considers our land investment property. Maybe it is because so many deer and turkeys like it!

Is the background noise effecting your taste buds

This article from a British journal discusses the taste of food and noise. Those who eat with noise tend to lose the taste of food. What was written was about the addition of salt. I can see how it could really be about consumption all together. When we eat in front of the TV there is a tendency to just eat and not think about the food. I always thought it was the distraction of what is on. Instead it might be the noise messing with our brains.

What it means to be a Christian part 2

I have been deeply thinking about this question for a long time- Spending many days in the sun and finally being able to think. One of the parts of my Christian journey I have missed for a very long time is contemplative solitude. How does one know what God desires if I am always talking and never listening?

I have been quite angry over the actions of others- relating their actions under the mantle of Christianity. The problem is they are simply a very small cog in a wheel- as am I. Only at the time of death will we discover if we are truly the cog near the center or the wheel cover. We are all a part-but some are closer to the truth than others. So is my anger over their interpretation really what God calls me to?

I am acutely aware that my drive is centered around social justice. What does that look like in today's society? I also know some people who made great changes around them started when they were older....

So...even if the change is only for me and my house- it is time to get back to figuring out what the Lord's plan is. Listening, reading will be woven back into my day. God provides.

Several hours later I found this blog from Ruth's blog. Wow- this woman is walking the walk.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Count down of best things about retirement

5. You get to stay up late and sleep in. Of course that only happens if the dogs also sleep in. It does happen...well it doesn't happen. I stay up late anyway. Then I take a nap about 10 am!

4. You get to read, plan and go on the internet when ever you want. Don't ask if my quilt is done- it is still in the planning phase.

3. You can wear a mumu all day. Ah- if I cannot be there I can wear there.
2. You can take the dogs for a walk after the frost is off the grass. Did you know I live less than a mile from a lake. You probably don't because I never really got there until we retired.

And the number one thing I like so far about retirement? I can talk to members of my family when they have time and I have time. It is wonderful.

I think I am getting the hang of this retirement thing.

From a good friend

The 4% rule

There is a "rule" hanging around out there about how much you will need in retirement. Basically it states that if you take your yearly cost and divide them by .04 the end result will be the amount you need in a nest egg. At the end of 30 years you will deplete the account.

Food at my house is about 4800 a year. Divide that by .04. The answer is 120,000. That is the amount that I need in my nest egg to supply food for 30 years. Inflation is counted in because your nest egg should grow at the rate of inflation (unless we get another oil embargo and inflation flies through the roof like it did under Carter).

The second largest thing we need to save for? Property taxes and insurance. I figure in ten years we will need to move from this land so we can afford property taxes. Arizona has some of the lowest property taxes- who knew!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why should it matter to you?

No Social Security increase next year.
The overall economy has not grown does not mean that the areas that seniors pay the most for is flat.

Health care. Co pays for seniors are not expected to stabilize until 2014. Care centers or caring for seniors at home was not included in the health care bill. Those continue in price as the supply and demand slips further from each other.

Food. Our bill has gone up about $25 a month in the last four months. Not much, but we are very stable on what we purchase. We are also noting that coupons are not as good for the things we actually need. Produce is on the rise and corn is supposed to top out this year. Con Agra just announced that they will be sending on between 5-15% increase in all of their commodities. Staples are going crazy. Add to that the taxes in the area rising to pay for the overspending of the previous ten years.

Gasoline. I live in a rural area. It is far less to live here than in the city, but a major drawback is that one has to drive to get to the store. Cost of gas continues to rise. I am betting we will see $3.00 a gallon again by the end of the year. We don't use much gas, but it is in the budget.

Electric. One of the small electric co ops in the area was just purchased by a large conglomerate. They have informed the towns to expect their electric bills to double beginning November 1st. I am wondering how long it will be before all of the rural electrics are sold off. BTW- this deal was put in place under the Bush administration.

Big deal- housing has gone down. Has no one noticed that this issue does not affect most senior citizens? Rents have not changed for the smaller places. If you own your home- there is no difference.

This doesn't effect me much. Just like health care- I am covered. We have saved carefully. We have done the math and with our land we should be fine. My mother has saved as well. My husband's parents have passed. My son is well educated and my daughter's family can always farm.

Why should it matter to you? Most of the people who read this are Christians. Christians care for the poor. Many of you live in places where a Social Security check is the only income- whether you agree with that or not.

Is should matter. My question is - why doesn't it?

Win an IPad

You might check this site out.
Do Not Wait is a blog about retirement planning.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


1992 1993 -
2001 2002 2003 -
Here are the tax brackets from the past and possibly the future.

The last bracket is for the people clearing $350000 and above (after deductions)
Taxes during the Reagan years for that group were as high as 50% on their top money.

Just an interesting thing to view on Money Chip.

Monday, October 11, 2010


This is an excellent chart on education and employment.
Two of my extended family have very unique talents and have not attended college. They are not a part of the norm. Otherwise the charts say it all.
Scary isn't it?

It is beginning

The only reason I like this bush is fall
Has anyone noticed fall roses are thinner, taller and more fragrant

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A wonderful little site

Sometimes my wondering gets me to sites I don't expect.
Today it was this one

Many of you have children at home or nearby.
This site is warmth and joy.

Go, you will enjoy it!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

This may be morbid to some

Listening to a piece on web radio tweaked my thoughts. The sessions are about retirement, but the one on health care lapsed into "what would my parent want near the end" and then "what do I want".

I have written before how profoundly my father's death affected me. To the core. I knew that health care had run a muck- but to what extent?

A person HAS to die. One can do it or prolong it.

The elderly/very ill are especially vulnerable since others make decisions for them. They continue on- taking vast medication, being on machines or having surgeries - for their loved ones.

One of the last things that happens on the road to death is the refusal of food. The body is shutting down. It is a part of the process. Slowly life ebbs away. Unfortunately for my father, the Pope had a feeding tube inserted to continue his life. In turn the decision was made to do this for my father as well.
My father despised noise that was not beautiful. Here was the very thing that was making his end a living hell- a pump he did not want and a noise that would drown everything beautiful.

That brings me to what I desire. The older I get, the more interested I am in death without machines. Any machines. Death brings us to a higher place. Why would I want it extended with objects that were not present twenty years ago?

Open the window. Put the Hawaiian blanket on the bed. Put some of my favorite paintings on the wall. Leave if you must. But please, let me go in peace in a sealed hospital room.

OK- I have still have to make the Hawaiian blanket so I cannot go anytime before my sewing room is ready!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dust Bunnies or Dust Rabbits?

Our wired hair dog has taken to sleeping under the bed during the day.
I haven't thought much about it until
I saw today
A dust rabbit!
Yes, this is all from the dog with hardly any hair.
It sort of reminds me of my spiritual life.
All there- but balled up someplace in hiding.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I heard an owl call my name

listen close you'll hear the same.

Outside my front window at 8 pm.