Friday, December 31, 2010

Examples of retirement

There have been three major impressions of retirement for me.

First were my father's uncles.

One retired to farms in Pennsylvania
after years in the Navy.
The memory is going out to Uncle Evan's farm,
seeing the cow behind the barn
and watching him work on carving a table.
He loved it all-
and pointed out the hand of God in the mist.

Uncle Ned lived in a small "flat" in the city.
Retired and blind by his work as a
lithographer for the government.
He painted walls and canvas.
My aunt put the pins in for him to follow.
He died shortly after we visited.
She lived in a "manner house"
for fifteen years more,
We wrote each other once a month.
Her kind letters got me through some tough spots
in my marriage and life.

Second there was my mother's aunt.
She retired to a trailer in California.
Not far from the beach
the community was totally '60's senior.
Yup, flamingos and all.
she and her husband were a hoot
lots of laughter whenever we visited.

None of these people had loads of money.
All were cared for
by family in the last few years of life.
What I noticed the most is they were simply
Happy.
There was a sense of peace around them.

I am beginning to see how I can get to "that place".
There is a sense of peace of just being with the land.
There is a joy
in watching someone do
something they have always wanted to do.
I don't feel the need to
"accomplish" anything more
than just being available to my family
and enjoying my life.

Hopefully, when my great nephews and nieces
visit many years from now
they will walk away knowing it is possible
to simply be happy
for at least one season of their lives.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Don't know what I am doing...

but that has never stopped me.

The part time job I took
is full of paper.
The real job is all about
personal contact and trust.
Today was spent stuffing
envelopes and folders.
"We ran out when we got to you.
We might be too busy to help
when you get started." seem to be
the words said more than once.

Forgot what it is like to work the
second end of a ladder.
I'll figure it out,
take notes,
and fix it as I go along.
Until I am done I may
have to go a bit
Coo Koo
On my way to this job- an hour ride-
NPR was broadcasting results from
an international high school math and science exam.
Chinese came in first- with all of Asia close behind.
They interviewed the headmaster of the school
that achieved the highest results in the world.
"Of course," he said, "our students are amazing.
The problem is they have never learned how
to critically think.
They do well in Asian universities,
but when they get to the US they are
confused by creating and thinking
instead of simply solving.
Give them an equation,
the answer will follow quickly.
Give them a problem,
the answer is slow and lots of
equations are applied."
This information has been present to
US teachers for years.
It is good to hear a headmaster of a
"superior" school, state what we
know.
Move forward - but don't become Asia!



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best friends forever

Our dog and grandchild have bonded.
Their favorite thing to do is look out the windows at the squirrels.
Yup, that is the Grandchild with the binoculars!
We miss them already.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Four generations in 24 hours.


Yes, we are the crazy people who fly on Christmas day.
We started at 6 pm on Christmas Eve in Phoenix
and ended at 12 am on Christmas day. Flying and opening and laughing and playing.
It was all good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

A time of year for reflection of
what we have been given
by the grace of God.

I visited my Father's graveside yesterday.
My good memories with him filled
the crevices of my mind.
He provided many great Christmases
for such a large family.
He began a trend.
There has never been a Christmas I
have been in need.
That is, indeed, a blessing.

My husband, children and mother are all
well and happy
another blessing.

We tend the most beautiful land that
we know of on the earth.
To some it may just be the trees,
or the fields,
or the turkeys
but to us it is home
and that is a blessing.

I am not good at tending friends,
but I still have some that I can call
at a moment's notice
and I can be there for them
or them for me and
that is a blessing.

As much turmoil as my siblings give each other
they are still family
and that is a blessing.

I was born in the greatest country
and that is a blessing as well.

So, it is time for you to take account.
There are many gifts a newborn brings
which ones are dearest to you this year?

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My favorite time of year

This was my first nativity. It was painted by my blind- yes blind-Uncle. I love this painting. It began my obsession with nativity sets.







I inherited this from my Fran.









This was the first one we bought for the kids.








Hong Kong













After being bombed in Saudi I went into pottery mode. Confined to a compound- I made these


and several more.







In Flagstaff I fell in love with these.
And I continue to look and love them all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The stockings are hung

With family traveling, the stockings have to be hung early.

We are ready for Santa

Now, we have to prepare for Jesus!

Spent five hours getting Medi Alert
set up for mom.
She fell on Wednesday-
but did not tell me personally.
A few hours on the garage floor:<(
Thank goodness that "older teen" down the street
walked down to see if she needed help.
I heard it through the grape vine.
I don't think there will be a fight over
wearing the pendant anymore.
It will be installed next week.
I am SOOO glad there are programs like this one.
Phoenix has many to choose from because of the population.
She doesn't want to move, nor should she have to.
I can see mom in her house for many years to come.

It is hard to think there will be a time
without my parents
during the Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Powerful words

I was reading my favorite PF blog: Get rich slowly
I had to share with you this comment:
"James says:

I used to be super career driven. I used to be an uber-entreprenuer. I used to carefully manage my budget. I used to think we “could do without”. Then, a very wise older gentleman changed my life with this:

“You only have 10 summers with your kids”

Think about that… the first 4, they don’t remember, the last 4 (14-18) they don’t want to be with you. Each time I consider spending a weekend doing something to save $ at the expense of doing something fun with the kids, I think of that phrase.

Sure, I’d love to reap the rewards of compounding gains on my fat RRSP. But if it comes at the expense of seeing my 5 year old’s face when she sees Belle at Disney world, I’d rather work a few more years in retirement or even… eat dog food when I’m 95 (at which point who cares)."


It reminds me of how often my sister and I seem to talk about our childhood. Here we are at 53 and 56 and it seems like the only years to really reflect on are the 10 we were in the childhood house with memories. We both went on to do some amazing things- but those years formed us. It is amazing the details we remember!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Calling people you do not know

My part time position is hourly.
This beginning part is calling people.
I don't know any of these people.
They are under the threat of losing some funding if they do not comply.
This is Kansas and I am given every courtesy.

There is an anticipatory edge on most voices.
One more test for their students to take.
More papers to fill out.
It is an extra burden on schools who already struggle to keep
the students' attention
so they are not deemed, "School of Failure".

Traveling to the Nebraska border will be a feat in the dead of winter.
The roads are chilly at five am.
One callee already told me she would call if the roads are too bad.
It is Kansas, and people are kind here.

Kids are even chillier when you are laying an exam in front of them
and then announcing the results
will not be given to the school or the district.
"Do as well as you can."

Still, there is something quite good about seeing how
the width of the population tests in six weeks.
Some schools will encourage their homeschoolers to sit the exam.
Others will bring in the local private schools.
Being a part is....interesting.

Calling someone I do not know....
Do able, but no longer
a favorite part of my life.
A part time "retired position".
One never knows whose life will be touched
if I am careful and watch what I am doing.



It is time to check your pantry.

There are two times in a year for a pantry check.
Christmas and the beginning of summer.
Gleam out extras and take them to the homeless shelter.

Some of the things are extras that are bought during the year.
They are ready to rotate.
Some are travel items.
Since hotel stays seem to be more common these days,
extra bars of small soap and body lotion are in abundance.

Going through closets is another task.
Coats and boots are taken to the homeless shelter as well.
Good will is not open at 2 am when a family might arrive.
Little presents that were forgotten
are wrapped and taken there as well.

Being thankful for what we have is the most important
part of this process.
I am thankful, every day, that I was born in this country
with the rights and freedoms I enjoy
With the ability to make enough to keep my family safe and fed.
It is a great nation.
Only for the grace of God, I was born here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Should homemakers be allowed to collect Social Security?

A dumb old Maxine joke about health care
came to my inbox again
today.
This is the result.

Social Security is a slippery slope.
As it slides away, there are a few touchy questions
we should be asking.
Most of us are forced into putting money into the system.
That was not a problem until "they" have started
to question whether "we" should not get as much
in the end.
How about those who never contribute?
Their spouse may have,
but they never worked outside the home.
You don't put in. You can take out.

To make this argument for the other side.
If you work, you are allowed to contribute
much more to a 401K than an IRA.
This disadvantages the homemaker.
If the homemaker chooses,
the spouse should be able to significantly support an 401 for them.
Maybe the 401 could have a "government match".
Then the homemaker could have plenty
even if the spouse dies- or divorces them.
The government match acknowledges
that children need to be cared for.
OK- our government does not acknowledge that
but it is a thought.

The days of supporting the unemployed is over
as far as I am concerned right now.
If we, as a society,
are unwilling to care for our people's health and finances
until they are 67,
why should they start, ever?
Why should there be social security or Medicare?
The two of us have paid into a system for 30-40 years EACH.
Why should the people who never contribute, benefit?

Cut them all off.
Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Disability,
how about the subsidy for Mental handicaps,
Autism, Blind and physical handicapped?
Let's not pay taxes at all.
OK- we can pay road taxes.
That is a pay as you go system.
Land taxes- no way!
Those who make loads of money will be fine.
The rest can buy insurance and work
until they choose not to.
Those who depend on schools,
libraries, hospitals and such
too bad.

Rush Limbaugh has a nice house in Costa Rica-
no residence in the US.
Maybe we should all move there.

I will start to try to convince at least one man
in my family to go into medicine.

What do you think?
Do you think I am tired of congress?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home

What did I miss the most? Clean air, my husband, the internet and the grocery store.
What did I miss the least? Not much. It was 80 in Los Angles and 7 in Kansas but, I like the change of season and snow (as long as I am inside).
I ment many wonderful retired educators.
The trip made me realize, again, that travel is not my favorite thing anymore ESPECIALLY when it does not bring me to see or be with my family.
Happy to be home.
Happy Birthday to my oldest!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Darn proud

We have so many friends who bucked the system and home schooled their children. They realized as military families they would have even less control over the schools that their children attended. I got a note from one of them today and it made me think back at our different experiences. I was the chicken- opting out for regular school.

Their starts were for various reasons: religious tone in classrooms, non reader, suggestions that their child needed medication, two moves in the middle of the year. They started slowly and worked on reading and math - with the other parts of the curriculum fitting in nicely as they lived the day. I've observed everything from unschooling to "the total purchased curriculum package".

Some sent their children to private (usually Catholic or Christian) high schools. Others had their children attend community college after they were sixteen.

Most of my friends are at the end of their "careers". The ones with seven or nine children have a few still at home.
I love hearing the news. One blogger I follow has four in college right now. You can see her under Choosing Joy. Renee has her second heading out. A friend has one who went on to be a lawyer, two girls in college and a son who is an auto mechanic (and five at home). Several of the children in different families have joined the military (as engineers). One has a firefighter with several more at home in the wings.

What I know of almost all of the homeschooling families is that, unless the rare occasion arises that home school was about controlling the child not the environment, all of these children have gone on to be a key part of society. They are active in their churches and community organizations. They are getting married in a reasonable way- with the knowledge that they will be married for life. They tend to be self confident, beyond the normal teen. They are mission orientated and do well on college campuses. They have the backbone it takes to make it.

Yup, I am darn proud of these families. I hope they realize it!

A new position

Tomorrow is D day.
Leaving for LA for a training.
Position is temporary and sounds interesting.
Missing the house already.
Wondering what the details will be.
My way of lucking into things continues.
Send some good wishes my way
when you have a spare moment
will you?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Budget chart

This is very enlightening.
Here is the basic US Budget in a chart.
One of my favorite Bloggers- had it on his site today.
Go check out the part of the government you are most interested in!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Continuation of the budget

We are quickly learning that we did not plan well for present season!
Presents set in about the same time as cold-
the budget moves slowly to the "are you kidding me?" side.

Upbeat? The market is good.
We continue our 15% for the year.
We sold AVAV, KMB, HOG and GOOG
We bought some more F and NFLX.
That is it for our trades this year
unless we see something suddenly happen.

We were relieved that we had sufficiently calculated
to save enough for house insurance,
car insurance
AND house taxes.
Those are all paid.
Whew. Now we save for next year.
I did not anticipate taking down a large tree this year. Bag worms- it had to go. He told me that the other pine will be gone by next year. Fortunately, that one is smaller. We can take that one down by ourselves.
It would have been nice if we could
use it for fire wood. Nope. Twenty five
foot tree and the wood goes into
the gully for erosion prevention.

Scott is winterizing the barn this year,
in anticipation of spending more time
building doors through the winter.


The down side? Travel budget is being put
into the mix for things like "just one more tiny car" or
"need that tool" stuff. Distance travel is slowly
moving further into the distance.
House repair money is going to winterizing,
which makes me nervous.
One major thing seems to go out
every winter.
Starting the winter with a pot of gold
makes those issues much easier to
deal with.

The north wind is blowing
down into the teens tomorrow.
Winter is here!

So far, so good.
How are you faring for the end of the year?

It was a beautiful time in Seattle







Timely posts

This post is very sweet. Thirty-five gifts your child will never forget.

We came home to leave-less trees. The winter season is upon us. This time of new beginnings is so good. A time to store away and wait for spring. It is a bit like pregnancy. Exciting in the beginning, long, and sometimes scary, in the middle, expectancy finally takes over and preparation for the new begins.

I love winter! (and in three months you can remind me that I wrote that!)