Saturday, December 31, 2011

It is a wrap

2011
A good year
Son married a charming young lady
She makes him smile and laugh

Daughter enjoyed a year at home
With the light of our eye
Our grandson
Our son in law
Continued in his wonderful job
We warn him that the government Will cut back
He reminds us that would only return them to the farm

Work became very part time for me
Enjoying an occasional substitute position
And four hours a week mentoring.
My sewing machine is set up
But it has yet to find a real quilt.

Hubby made three amazing doors
Who ever knew that ALL of those tools
Collected over 30 years of birthdays
And Christmas holydays
Would turn into an amazing workshop?
Our children have requested tables
He has begun to draw

Travel was supposed to slow
Ha!
About 21,000 air miles and 4,000 by car
Trips to see family
Continued to take every bit of my supplimental income.

Read my share of spy novels. Boring
Watched way too much of Yes to the Dress. Even more boring
Found my way to the library
Enjoying Elizebethan novels now.

Slowly my husband and I are carving out our time together
And apart.

This is the first year I have stepped back from "bag lady" worry.
It has changed our relationship.
I don't feel the need to hoard money for savings
He does not feel the need to seek to spend.
It works.
We are both happier.

We also stopped worrying about the end of the world
That was huge to let go of.
Politics is local
That is great.

We have plenty.

Our children are bright enough to survive.

Communication is about compassion with my sibs.
What a change that has brought.

Life is good
On to 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

What is on your reading list?

Going for the classics this year.
Last year was Elizabethan literature.
Looking forward to Dickens, Twain and a bit of Plato.
There are a few books of my father's on a spiritual bend.
The old family bible will also be explored.
I don't do fluff well.

I have to be fully relaxed OR traveling to read.
It sounds like opposits, but they are the same in many ways.
I can do nothing else productive in either situation:)

What are you reading?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 is on the way. What needs to change?

Some people call them goals.
I call them changes
Here are my thoughts on what needs to happen beginning on Sunday.

Save $100 a month. That doesn't seem like much. We have saving envelopes. New car (five years out), roof(10 years), travel (every six months), dinner out (every two weeks). I have gotten out of the habit of just saving for the little expenses that come up. The flat tire,the new grand niece, those things are not funded well.

Establish a home for substitute teaching. Currently I work in several schools a few times a month. I would prefer to find two schools and get to know everyone's name.

Enjoy time with my kids. I have the tendency to get wrapped up in the travel plans. We will probably be with our children's families in two places this year. I want to be relaxed enough to simply enjoy them.

Skype my grandson and talk to my son weekly. When Skyping my grandson I will get the added bonus of seeing my daughter. We talk almost daily now. That part I would like to maintain.

Quilt one large piece. I will get The fabric on our family vacation. I'd like to make it a memory quilt.

Learn to crochet. I was always too tense. I am hoping a year of quiet helps that.

Find something that both my husband and I love to do. Spend time with him.

Walk daily. We live 1/4 mile from a lake. It will be cold at the beginning, but my dogs don't mind.

Go to the library weekly.

Spend less than an hour a day on the computer.
That may be the most difficult commitment to keep.

Do you have changes that need to be made?

Fish and guests

Smell after five days.

The saying within our family is sacred.

Some of the things we do to survive one house for a longer period of time?

If at all possible, family occupies different floors.
Guests having access to their own fridge, bathroom and exit makes for easier times.

Trading off kitchen duties. Stepping up to doing dishes and cooking meals.
We also help each other with groceries and pay for our own meals out.

Make sure everyone has a private time and space.
An hour of reading, cruising the net or walk alone will do a great deal to improve together time.

Hold negative comments, no matter how valid- unless the situation is dangerous.
If you feel you cannot keep it to yourself- leave.

Discipline is only for the parent unless you are asked or alone.
Even then, never go further with negative discipline than the parent would. Never.

Remember that being polite goes a long way.
Please, may I and thank you.

Last, attempt to leave BEFORE you are the fish....



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy HolyDays

Friends of many faiths.
This is a rare time of year when most of us are celebrating at the same time.
May your HolyDays be filled with light and joy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Alternative methods of payment while traveling

We live with the envelope system.
Virtually no actual $$ ever floats.
Hasn't for years.
Most of our money is placed in virtual envelopes for normal household expenses.
Tomorrow we hit the road
with our "travel" envelope money.

Travel envelope contains an amount from every paycheck
and use it only when we are traveling together.
Today was the trec to the bank.
Loaded the "cash" visa card at my bank.
In the past it has been American Express travel cheques.
Last trip, two places not even know what to do with them.

The travel cards are ready,
the suit cases are packed,
we are checked in.

Sea food, National Christmas tree, formal Churches, singing, Jesus' birthday cake and
SANTA is alive and well ready to come down the chimney of a four year old's house.
Hate to fly- love the family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What can one person do?

Small and large works of joy are important- now more than ever.
Buy $10 gift cards at a local grocery. Hand them out on the street or drop them in a begger's cap.
Call a brother or sister you don't have easy contact with.
Chat with a person sitting alone at a library.
Go out of the house with a smile on your face and greet anyone and everyone.
Drop off a backpack full of food and ask them to give it to a student who needs it at a school.
Take your "hotel soap" to a shelter.
Stop by a juvenile detention center with a new jacket for a kid.
Buy a dinner for a family you know is struggling.
Invite a single person to Christmas dinner.

Other ideas?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just for fun

Go to google search
type in
let it snow
Pretend you are in the mountains in the West!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Packing for the pat down

Air travel at Christmas seems to be a way of life. We raised our kids in many places, so we need to assume (yes, ass u me) that they will be moving for a good many more years.

And so we prepare.

A good look over the clothing.  No metal- anywhere.

Even plastic zippers does not help a 60 yr old man who sports a replaced hip. He always gets to have his underwear felt. Lucky boy!  One cannot profile. Even if you could, there are so many suspects who carry a military retirement card, walk with a limp and strip to almost nothing before they enter the airport.  Must be that Seahawks cap!

How about the pleasure of being hand searched because they said they could not see what is behind a necklace? The necklace hits above the collar bone and the blouse was a V neck. Yes, checking the breast area is so necessary after sending a person through that amazing machine that x rays bodies.  What did we spend that money on?

Walking across yards of rug and tile will be awaiting you. Have you ever wondered what is on the bottom of security's shoes? We all get to trace their foot steps in our bare feet.
Make sure your shoes slip on, otherwise you will sit in the chair too long and be asked to "move along".

Carry on luggage- pack correctly.  Little bottles, that carry less and cost more than the full sized ones, are stuffed into zip lock baggies. Then you are permitted to have those held up for everyone in the line to see what you use. Knitting needles are fine, Swiss Army knife  will be taken away. iPads are ok to leave in the bag, computers are not.
Clothing is rolled, not folded, into neat sections. You never know when a bobby pin will get you "Bag Check".  More than one TSA agent has found my dirty clothes bag- unfortunately for them.

Packing a week worth of clothing into a carry on is necessary if one hopes to get to your destination with items and money.  That lesson was quickly learned when standing behind a family of seven going home to see Grandma for the first time in ten years.  They left the counter with $250 less for the trip. Mama crying, baby crying, dad gritting teeth. Not a pretty sight.

Off to book the car. How many more people are killed in car accidents than air accidents?

"I am ready.
I can do it!
It is worth it to see my children and grandchild!"

The chant begins today....

BTW- I worked security at the airport for two years.













Friday, December 16, 2011

Saudi Christmas

The call to prayer waifs over the desert sands. The winter sun warms the camel markets and bedoiun tents in the country side. A land of beauty that is closed off to the world. One cannot go to Saudi, you have to be invited. It is a closed world where women are covered, male children drive cars and camels are common.

Saudi Arabia does not celebrate Christmas. It is illegal. When non Saudis arrive in country their house hold goods are opened. If ornaments are spotted, it was not uncommon for the family to be called and made to watch as each one is smashed.
People of other beliefs are still tracked down and hung. One learned quickly not to go to the main market place on Thursdays- judgment day. Being careful of not showing your beliefs is a way of life.

Saying all of that, Christians are not often dissuaded from Christmas. A closely held secret, the emphasis becomes the mystery of a Messiah in a strange and hostile world.

And so we gathered, in the large courtyard, and enjoyed the Christmas narrative. The ten foot walls kept us in a nd prying eyes out. Our children act out a narrative that is more similar to their lives than counterparts in most of the world.
The gifts of the kings- the beginning of sharing gifts - the western take on the day- is much more understandable. Our markets are full of the sap from Myrrh and frankincense trees. They are common smells, ones are children are often "blessed with" in local markets.Gold is sold openly and given on every important occasion.

Children of the compound had mothers who traveled daily outside the walls in abyah, a long, looses,dark travel coat from the early times. Underneath such coats, local women often wore loose long dresses- as Mary is often pictured in? Western women do not have to cover their eyes, but are expected the old modesty of covering hair, as Mary is pictured as well.

They were also used to seeing men In thobe and ghutra. The long "dresses" And head coverings were the norm, not the exception.

Family outings often took us to the cliffs at the edge of the sands. Children could understand that a stable could be carved from. Cliffs, since camels and donkeys were a norm in their lives.Towns are still made of mud brick and stone.

And so the narrative began near sundown. Our children portrayed the journey of Mary and Joseph, the birth of the Christ child, and the visitors of shepherds and kings. The compound dwellers then gathered in the sound proof chapel for strands of Silent Night and hugs of joy to be able to be together in such an amazing place.

The white thread becomes indistinguishable from the black one. The call to night prayer begins. Our children know to grow quiet. With Santa, without television, it is a simple celebration of the First Christmas and a time for prayer for Christians in an islamic world.

How to save during the holidays

Two weds: "Stay home!"

Those words need to be followed by, "put blinders on while cruising the net."

Having shopping done early permits time to enjoy the family and reason for the holydays.

Yes- holydays not holidays. That is what we are hoping for.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Soldiers

Every once in a while I read that someone feels that we are "done" with the war.
 Somehow that missed the many thousands of soldiers who are still serving.
Our family has been Army strong for many years. We are now in the middle of the second generation to serve. This is the hut that one of the children that we grew up with. We met her when she was a three year old- and could hold a conversation with you with her eyes. She is now an Army nurse doing trauma work in Afghanistan.

Last week I sent out a package to a father of four- Army soldier- who is serving in a village with only six other Americans. We sent him things of home- like US coffee and beef jerky. Since he lives in the village, he eats their food...which is not to the normal US palate. He acts as a mayor- keeping things in check so the enemy will stay at bay.

Yesterday a helicopter went down where my son is serving in Washington. Night flying- always dangerous. They train because that helicopter is often the eyes for the people on the ground. Keeping guard while others take a shift.

Today, when I sit in my warm house and complain that the mail may be one more day delayed, I take pause and thank the Lord that I live in a country where "young people" still choose to serve. They serve the impoverished, the illiterate, the injured and tired in the newest branch of the State Department, the US military.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Less expensive theater

We live near a university. Actually, for you big city people, we live about 45 minutes from a major university.  Last year I looked into season tickets for the shows that the university hosts.  We save a certain amount every year for eating out or local entertainment. This year I decided to take that budget in a lump sum from savings, replacing it slowly with our regular monthly allowance.
Tonight we are seeing Mannheim Steamroller.
In a "regular" setting, we would never "afford" the tickets.
The University provides the cultural experiences to enhance their students and the community at large.
I am glad they do!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Self insuring


We don't carry life insurance.
There, I have said it.

My husband had a professor who did not believe in life insurance.
Fortunately, while my husband served in the military, he was insured by the government.when he left the Army, we left insurance behind. He could not see it as something necessary. It has worked out so far.

Instead of insurance,we have worked hard to make sure that we have things paid off and we have savings. About three years ago I began to feel that his plan had worked. I still have concerns. He is older, but his family has a longer life span, in general, than mine.

Sometimes I get nervous. We lost several family members suddenly a few years ago. Something could always happen. I could be hurt by a collapse of military health care.

Still, I don't see us turning back now.

Do I recommend this plan to my children? No, quite the opposite. When asked, I tell them that both members of the family need insurance until children are long gone.

"Is the baby Jesus here?"

"Not yet."
"when is they Baby's birthday?"
"two more weeks"
"but we have mama and dada's presents?"
"yes" "We celebrate the Baby's birthday by giving presents to others."
"Can we give presents to everyone?"
Who says there is no hope for our future.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Through the eyes

We gathered our jackets and strapped into car seats. The drive to the train station took two minutes.
Train into town, and then the metro for a day at the museums. We avoided rush hour but still ran into a few rushers.
Hold hands
Talk about airplanes
Eat snacks
Color pictures
Do experiments
Talk to a toys for tots Marine
If you ever want to know how good the world is
Take a four year old to a museum.

It os amazing we can have such a productive day in the shadow of our Nation's capital building!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Off to soak it all in

In about 45 minutes the car will turn towards Kansas City. A plane will be waiting. It will whisk its way to Baltimore. Once it arrives one passenger will jump off, grab her bag and get on a train.

Most Nanas that I know do not have to go through all of this in order to spend a weekend alone with their grandchild. But we have been making plans for about three weeks.

"Nana, I want to go on the train 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10 times with you!"
"The train only runs on the week days."
"That is OK- we can still go 10 times!"
" How about we take the Metro into town two days?"
"OK (sad voice) but we will see all the animals and the airplanes?"
"Yes, maybe even the dinosaurs."
"Can we dance?" "Yes baby"
"How about doing some mak'in stuff?"
"I have my bag full of things to make for the tree."
"Did you know that Santa has a key to my front door?"

And off we go into another conversation.
Skype and the phone are amazing.
Our family lived 2000 miles from my parents most of their childhood.
With modern technology- it is almost like living next door.
Still, the rare visits with the grandchild are few and far between.
Soaking him all in will be a pleasure!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Extra Income

I have been a teacher all of my life.
Surprisingly, most substitues do not have any background in education.
If you are need of extra income, you might try a classroom.

Substitute pay averages between $60-100 a day.  Most school districts do not take out your taxes until you have worked a few months, so you will end up with the entire amount. If you work too much, you need to hold out your own taxes.

Most places require a substitute license. That, in general, is given to anyone who can pass high school and a finger print check. Some states require some money for the license as well. My district does the finger print check for free. They are desperate for subs!

Once cleared, you go on a list. Our district is fully computerized. I go on line and sign up for the jobs that I want on the days that I am free. Good all around, for me.

"Are you crazy to suggest substituting?"  Nope.

If you come in with a plan, have a strong voice, and dress professionally, most jobs go very well.

Tongue depressors are my friends. A bucket full of forty sticks with numbers on them are the trick for 3-8th grades.  As a student is doing the "right thing" they get a stick. Making sure that everyone gets one is tough at times, but can be done.  At the end of the period, sticks return to the bucket for a drawing. Having stashed key chains, erasers, general little things that kids like, I am ready for the drawing. Pick out two sticks. You would be amazed at the cheers when someone "wins".  Even if I had to put out $1.00 for small things, it was worth my sanity for the day.

It is a great retirement gig. Many people substitute a month before they travel, so they can have a bit of extra spending money. Personally, I think most people don't think they can do it.  Give it a try. A day will pay all of the upfront expenses- so you will not lose any money over it.

If you feel the educational world stinks because of teachers, substituting may be a civic responsibility.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Moving mom

Mom chose to move to an independent care center. She chose a smaller apartment because it has a fantastic view. Now it is time to downsize.
When mom moved my sister and I moved as many of her pieces of art as possible. Her place is fantastic, relaxing, fun, and wonderful. The rest needs to go so we can sell the house.
First, inventory. There are five of us "kids" from 49-59. An inventory lets everyone know what is there.
My iPad came in handy. Pictures were fast and furious. My sister,out of town, posted all photos on Picassa. We each could make comments on pieces. Lots of fun memories shared.
Next month we will gather-two of us on Skype. We choose numbers 1-5 and then begin picking.
I'll tell you, doing it this way sure makes it fun.
Mom is excited. She loves to see her stuff in our houses. Nice to be moving forward while Mom is still with us.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Wedding in September

In case you missed it! We had a great time!

Starting again


It has been a wild few months.
We almost lost our nephew to congested heart failure.
Our son got married to a wonderful lady.
And I decided
again
that the full time classroom was still not for me.

This is a different start.
I am looking to track everything
and asking for help to keep on track.
We are going to live within our means
which means a pension and some substitute teaching money.

Start with the spiritual side
not necessarily the religious side.
Move to the financial side
not necessarily the budget side.
Move to the deeper relationship side
not necessarily leaving out the me side.

I have taken the time to breathe

Now I can step back in
and work
to see what is ripe for the second half!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The debt

Last night I perused
my credit cards.
They are paid off monthly
no carry over.
Last month and this-
oooollllaallla.
Getting our house in shape
and helping with a wedding,
we are out of whack.
For the first time
we are going to have to go into our savings.

That is what savings is for.
But the wake up alarm has rung
and things will tighten up around here!

Much like the national debt
Sec of Treasury said he will pay our debt
no matter what.
A suggestion this morning was to delay
Social Security for two weeks,
pay the debt and then move forward.
I don't get social security yet.
The one person I know who gets it,
and needs it,
will probably be homeless if this
wonderful idea is implemented.

I do not know the answers to the debt problem.
Which generation do we throw under the bus
There does not see to be an
equal opportunity throwee answer.
I have asked some conservative bloggers
where their churches stand on what needs to be cut.
No reply.

Do we throw everyone at the same time?
Just cut the entire pay system
of the federal government 10% across the board?
Do we only throw the poor under the bus
since they obviously did not do a good job saving?
Do we only throw the military under the bus
Since they are stuck anyway?
Do we throw all of the people in Washington
under the bus?
All the federal workers furlough for two weeks
should save a pretty penny.
What about the economy in those areas?

How would a complete federal furlough
non payment for two weeks
effect you?
Before you answer
make sure you think of ALL the ways
federal money effects your life and lively hood.




Monday, May 16, 2011

Taupe and short



Two words I could have lived without.
Taupe
I don't look good in taupe
or any other non color
I am round
Round looks better in something scrumptious
because browns say:
"I just don't want to be seen or heard today".
My freckled white skin says:
"OW! why would you knowingly do this to me?"

Short.
Do you know the last time I wore a short dress?
Hummm
that would probably be about 1979 or 80.
When was my daughter born? 1983
I definitely haven't worn short since then.

So the mother of the groom is supposed to wear
short and taupe (or versions of those).
How about if I used the above dress and cut it short?
AGGGG!
HELP!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weddings

Weddings are a state in and of themselves
If you let them
they will take over the marriage
part of the day

Tough to distinguish between
Yes to the Dress
and
You are now man and wife

Sometimes I wish
that the TV was never invented!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mitch Rapp/////Mark Valley

For those of you who are spy novel people
My husband is heading up a campaign

One of Vince Flynn's books is becoming a movie
He is asking for suggestions.
My husband thinks Mark Valley should play Mitch Rapp.

Could you help him out?
http://www.vinceflynn.com/Who_Should_Play_Mitch_Rapp.html

What we do for love---:>)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Communication

It can be the best thing for the human soul
or the worst thing.
To me there seems to be three sorts of communication with other people

Compassion- I can feel where you are coming from
maybe this communication can help.
This form is often the source of communication
within a loving family

Competition- You need the job
(insert: time, strength, money,
love, encouragement....)
so I come up with equal needs for the job
We both need job
The ends are now justified into win/lose or
at times
win/win or lose/ lose.
This form is often used in debate
or when going after a common goal

Control- I want a certain thing
Your wants, while valid,
are not my wants.
I will do what it takes to get control.
If I am correct then
My control of the situation
will eventually show that I had the best idea
to begin with and it is good.
If I am wrong, the control will spin out of control
and usually cause great pain in the future.
This form is used in authoritarian situations
police and firemen use this.
Many parents use this form as well.

These are not positive or negative ways of communication
Evaluating from which angle the communication comes from
(looking at BOTH sides)
is legitimate.

Stepping back from a situation
and seeing "where" the other is coming from helps.
For one person may think you are having
a compassionate conversation
while the other is dealing in control.




American Airlines part 2

Yesterday I decided to cruise by American to check it out.
The "low price" was BACK!

After all that hassle on the phone
of "it was a mistake and needed to be removed"
We are now flying to the wedding
with enough to spare a car for the week!

Whatever@@

Monday, May 09, 2011

American Airlines

I am a bit ticked off right now.

American had a fare on its website
that fare has been there all day
but when you actually click to buy
they claim "it is no longer available"

If it is no longer available
then it should not be advertised!

We take a lot of guff from the airline industry
I am REALLY sick of it
paying for your luggage
as if you could actually get somewhere without clothing
Well, maybe if I were doing
the round the world with no luggage challenge.

American- you are about to help me find a new home airline.
GRRRRRR!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day


Crisp morning air
small vase on the window seal
acapella Mass
adirondack chair
ride in the convertible
drive through greening fields
stain for the playhouse
watering the garden
lots of phone calls
great movie
beautiful sunset.

Miss my children terribly
but having the "baby" come to visit in June
and the son getting married in September
makes it all more bearable.

Friday, May 06, 2011

the calm

My children are all twittering
there will be lots of visiting this summer.
The wait is on to see if the oldest will move
in the middle of the winter.
If they do or if they don't
there is going to be a shoving match here
when the decision is made.
Enjoy the calm before the storm:>)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Yes, I have read the Martin Luther King Post

Yes, I know the Pope has declared it is unChristian
for me to be glad at the death

but I am

November 1996 changed our family's life forever
My husband was in a building that "received a gift from bin Laden"
The rest of us were at school.
We returned home our Saudi compound not knowing what to expect.
A soldier got on our bus
dripping with blood
screaming for his children.

We lost seven people that day
and a bit of my soul.

There were many survivors
most of us were walking wounded.
We were "kept" there until March
to show support for the Saudi government.
Living with it day by day.
A fog of injury, blood and mourning.
Several months after we left
the same people came in and shot
a number of teachers on a compound
just to show they could.
The press finally showed up
at Daharan- I guess that was big enough.

The nightmare continued a few years later
when we found out that one of our close friends
had been in the Pentagon when it was hit-
as well as one of the Sergeants that survived with us
five years before.

I remember that day well-
since I was watching TV just after the first plane hit.
I called my friend and told her
this was another "bin Laden present".
She said it was an accident
then the next plane hit.

Sometimes people have to accept that there is evil
Without the show of evil
we will not understand good.
I have felt evil
and being rid of it is a good thing.
I believe that there are a very few who will actually mourn him.
A few mourned Hitler and Stalin.
I will say
I am not sorry for their loss.

I would not dance on his grave
Neither will I "hold my nose" and walk on
I appreciate that we have people in this country
Policemen and soldiers- who are willing to do
the most difficult thing
to keep the rest of us safe.
And yes,
I do feel tonight
that finally my family is free of this horrible man.



Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beatification of John Paul II

Understanding the idea of Catholic Saints is difficult for many

We are all in the community of saints.
In some ways the LDS understand saints more than Catholics.
We all are in the community of saints-
it is simply our free will that takes us to fulfillment or moves us away from it.
LDS take the explanation and move it into becoming god
but the beginning idea is the same.

Catholics declare saints on two levels -in my mind
The first is an example to follow
a person who was alive and gives a person pause
by their example- brings the other person to a higher good.
Some saints did some very "bad" things and turned to God for salvation.
Think St Paul.
Others were blessed with a life of leadership.
John Paul II was one of those people to me
Tomorrow is the Mass for John Paul.
Beatification Mass is the step just before the Church
states that She feels that the person should be looked at
as a person who lived in a way that exemplified
Christ's love for His flock.
That is one celebration of life I would have enjoyed attending.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fishing

Fishing did not happen today
the engine would not start.
It was good to get out in the sunshine anyway.
Loads of ducks have taken over the docks.
The advantage of being "retired"
We can go back again tomorrow!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Father in Law

My father in law passed away in 1999.
Hard to believe it has been so long.
He was a plumber in the first nuclear power plant in the US
Would he be surprised that one of his grandsons
graduated in nuclear physics!

Anyway...
My husband has been doing a ton of research for the family
The wonder is how much of his father's exposure to radiation
has caused what "we" seem to be going through.
My brother in law died at 58
from a very rare form of stomach cancer.
My sister in law has had three (a record) bouts of
Hodgkins Lymphoma.
A grandson has Crohns-
without any family history of it.
Another has serious stomach issues.
All of the women in my daughter's generation
have had difficult times with pregnancies-
miscarriages, ectopics, and tough carriages.
Some may say,"well, birth control", but to my knowledge,
unless someone is telling an untruth,
it is not used among these young women.
None of our families had baby problems in the past.
My MIL had four children with no problems.
Both my MIL and FIL came from families of 13.

Soooo--the research is on.
The nuclear plant actually keeps records back
to the time when "grandpa" worked there.
It even kept track of the radiation levels for these men
many of whom were sent home
when their meters were "off the charts".
The records for them are also kept
interestingly enough
at the regional cancer center
in Oregon.

Do I think Nuclear power is safe?
Much safer than it was when Grandpa worked there
Much safer than a number of deep water rigs exploding
or wars to keep ourselves in oil.
Not as safe as wind or solar....

Reading list

Why Retire
He approaches it a bit differently
but it is the same.
We are going fishing on Thursday.
Life is good!

I have been taken over by a Christian homeschooling mother
who also happens to be a Air Force Chaplain's wife
stationed in Japan.
Her blog shows Christianity at work.
Without the empty words.

Bob is writing a blog on being satisfied
with retirement
but really with being who you are.
This article on commitment
really made me think.

There are so many others-
Ruth and Renee write about books.
I love hearing that Renee has a second child
heading to college on full scholarship
and a third one in the wings:>)
and Carrie writes about the heart
and lose of her mother.

But mostly I enjoy just cruising and reading
because I have the time to do it
and I enjoy it!
Woo HOO!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter



It is a quiet Easter here.
Daughter's family heading to their parish
and then some Easter fun
in Maryland.
Son joining his fiance at church
with her family
I understand there was some egg dying in Washington.

Our 8 am Mass was joined by the soprano from the 9:30 Mass ;>)
She commented at the end-
over the microphone
that it would be so nice if everyone sang
then she launched into a hymn that no one knew.
Father walked slowly down the isle
as he always does
and shook hands and gave Easter greetings.
He is so warm
and knows his flock.
I wonder if he ever thinks of just saying no to the soprano?
We, the 8 am crowd, know the traditional hymns
and sing them a cappella most of the rest of the year.
It is lovely to hear the men's voices,
The large amount of young families at that mass
is also nice
since the young children are often joining their
grandfathers in singing praise.
It is a joyful Mass
and I enjoy meeting God there.




Saturday, April 23, 2011

Paintings


While in New York with my daughter we saw this painter.
He had just finished this painting of the street we were on.
There was something surreal about experiencing him
in the spot
with the wet paint.
I don't know why it so reminds me of Holy Saturday
a beginning?
lots of blobs for the common good?
a defined purpose for everyone?
His name is Phillip.
Maybe I will have one of his paintings
and maybe I will always just enjoy this picture.

Friday, April 22, 2011


There is a strange guilt that hangs over my generation.
The guilt is to work at a paying job as long as humanly possible.
Men and women are to work.
Work and work and save and save.
Saving is not a bad thing
but there has to be some sort of goal.
Wasn't there a time,
like every time period before the industrial revolution,
that the work that was really sought
was to become a better person?

Today's hole

Remember the hole from last week? The ones the moles made in my new garden bed? The one I filled with dirt and rocks and twigs? Well, this one appeared after last night's rain. The last holes were about the size of a silver dollar. This one- the size of a fist.
Do you think God was telling me something?
I have been trying to fill my own hole in my life with things
Trips and applications and thoughts of working
But the reality is I need to just relax and understand
the hole is there for a reason
and it is time to take some real energy with it.
I got out my "junk fabric" and started to play.
Here is the beginning of my first quilt
after 30 years of not quilting
I am nervous that it will not live up to my expectation
but is that all a part of the hole?

I finally went for a walk with the dogs. I don't have to go far to find things to enjoy
the trees are amazing this time of year
time to sit back,
enjoy where I am planted
and begin
just begin
to fill in that hole
with the things that really
will make me whole.

Monday, April 18, 2011

:>) It is time to apply again!

I cannot sit still.
I truly love to work
I do not work without a push
and so....I am applying again!
Shhhhhh- don't tell anyone

I miss teaching
something fierce
I don't miss the tests
but I miss
the buy in
the time developing lessons
the thrill of having someone get excited about learning
the entire journey year after year.

Aggg!

Getting ready for the summer

The first of the plants are in the ground.
yesterday night the local yokles
ate the seedlings in the starter pots.
Repeat after me, "I love the wildlife that surrounds my house".
Then plant the pots again
but this time bring them indoors at night.

We have reservations for our son's wedding
The plans look lovely
not unexpected with such a great bride!

Our portfolio is only half sold.
This could prove to be a sad mistake
but we have enough out now to ride a roller coaster down.
Did you hear that the S&P just declared
the US to be overvalued?
They declared the government is too far apart to make
a significant difference in the debt.
I hear my dreams of finally being on Medicare
Going down the tubes.
Looking for just one more up day
to get out the rest of the way.
O boy- more to put in my .05% savings account!

We took the dogs in to get their heart worm stuff
$345!!!!
AGGGG!
oh well they are worth it in entertainment alone!

Yes, life is anything but dull.



Friday, April 15, 2011

Wind

Things are stirred up today
The wind is blowing
Going through a few things today
to see what I can start purging.
It is amazing the stuff we have accumulate
and put in the closets.
Anyone want a silver tray?
How about a sketch by an unknown artist?
Bronze camels for your counter?
A photo of Queen Elizabeth before she was queen- inspecting a ship?
Maybe I can interest you in a small silk rug.
My favorite? old shower curtains
you may laugh- but mine show Hong Kong when we lived there.
What to get rid of
What to save
I dislike being stirred up!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pears and apples this year?


Confused about the cuts in Medicare proposed

Is the idea that private insurance
will permit end of life decisions readily for all?
Who will be able to afford
the private insurance premiums that are put in place?
How much will they be?
Can you tell me now so I can get a plan together on how to save?
Will there be a sliding scale-
those who can afford private insurance instead of Medicare paying
and those who cannot...what?
Will Medicaid still exist if I go totally broke?
I know these programs need to be roped in
But I don't understand that
on one hand these moves can be called death panels
and the other hand they can be called "private insurance' calls.
If I have minimum private insurance near the end-
does that mean I will get minimum care?
Why do I have to pay when I am
simply one year younger than the proposed law?
Why does my mom have to pay
or my older sibs?
Is it because if they had to be put into this system
they would not vote for the person who put the system in place?
What happens to the family
who does not have insurance at all for the end of life care?
Or even the beginning of life care-
say a premi who needs tons of help to get started?
I don't get it.
Does someone else get understand
how the two parties are so different
in what we can expect in the end?
This really affects me since
Tricare ends at 65
when Medicare is supposed to
pick up.
Will my health insurance actually be
MORE expensive when I am old?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Home again!

The trip was amazingly quiet. I think everyone was ready for a shut down. We got to walk the cherry blossoms and see the dinosaurs.
I'll miss the family-
but it is
good to be home again.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Government shut down?

Bring it on!
I am tired of this play.
If "they" want to shut down the government- shut it ALL down.
Bring the troops home and let them be in their houses.
Let the wounded live on the street
and the veterans be without care.
Have the Congressmen live without a paycheck
(of course most of them can anyway since almost all are millionaires).
Hold up Social Security checks and Medicare payments
maybe "that" will save us the money that seems to be lacking.
heck, we could start that new insurance policy tomorrow
and the people who are 80 are the ones who get to try it out.
The post office should have been closed long ago.
Shut the airports and train stations- or at least get rid of air traffic control since the security is actually paid for by the airlines. Come to think of it most of air traffic control is well.
Let our national debt go into bankruptcy.
Don't inspect meat, meal, or oil.
Teach students with the half of staff that is paid for locally
that can be done during testing season anyway
no need for a teacher- the computers do all the work.
Computer education is far superior than human interaction anyway.
Turn off rural electric
or any electric that comes from a rural source.
Get rid of the extra police and firemen- after you close the FBI and CIA
Close the national parks
they are just a waste of space that could be working land anyway.
Get rid of the radio stations since they are over publicly moderated airwaves.
Get used to pornography on bill boards
they are owned by people who make the money.
Let's let the small business owner pay whatever they want to pay
government is holding them back
from making too much money.
Yes, let's shut it down.
I have a farm. It has a stream and deer and turkey.
My family can survive.
I have lived in countries with little government
where the powerful control
rights, freedoms, religions.
Shut 'r down!
Wait- first I have to get my family here.
Then shut it down!




Sunday, April 03, 2011

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tomorrow is THE day

And I will tell you why tomorrow ;>)

A little less crabby now that the sun is shining!

Remember last Saturday?
This is 2 April--- just 40 degrees warmer
This poor rose was the only thing that survived last year's flood



I decided a lilac and lavender will keep it company. Not too many plants yet. I don't want to be really scrambling when the freeze comes in next week again. Of course the mint always finds a way to come back.


Friday, April 01, 2011

Taxes

Doing taxes is a draining experience
We pay loads of taxes
We have never had enough to "write off"
so we pay what the number says.
I want FLAT taxes.
Why should someone be able to write off their house
because they didn't have the money
while I have to pay fully?

While private industry complains about public workers
and their compensation
They need to remember that
few of us get to write off our lunches
or the car and gas
or even the home office.

I pay more taxes than GE
What else is new?

Next year will be interesting
What happens when you don't have income?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stuff

I stopped at Petrified Forest.
Never been able to afford a piece
This time I asked about a discount
Looking for a spot in the house
OK- some stuff I still want


And something more....
For years I was on a chat board
working through my religion and faith
This person always brought me back
I have been reading his blog again
It is good for me.



If you want to retire- don't get a dog!

Make no mistake
I love our doggies
they are a crazy part of our lives
BUT
they are worse than having kids if you want to travel
or do almost anything for long periods of time
Kennels
other dogs
worry about colds
waking in the night

Can't we just visit the dogs like we visit the grandbaby?

Monday, March 28, 2011

A visitor


We don't get many visitors
This one just wandered up from the creek
and into the trees on our property
For those of you unfamiliar
it is a possum!

From Phoenix 88 to Milford 38


Yesterday was a great reminder of why I live here
The trees became etched in snow
as I watched out my computer room window
Yes, life is good in Kansas.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

This little piggy-or how to get ready for being the groom's family


Things have changed over time.
We are not clear on the responsibility of being a groom family.
The bride we got---
pay for everything;.)
On to the groom- maybe- possibly.
Honeymoon and the groom apparel used to be the norm.
Bride's rings?
but that the modern groom cares for himself.
We bought this little piggy
it is really for our grandson
but we had better start stashing.
We have a feeling that it will have to be full
for the groom
and his ideas!
We decided not to wait until he pops the question
That is something he has to do on his own.

Saturday, March 26, 2011