Thursday, May 31, 2012

The house hunt

My East coast two are looking for a house.
Really close to work?
Close to the water?
Excellent schools?
Small house, big yard?
Big house, small yard?
I just want to know how anyone can afford to live out here at all!
My job has been to corral the child.
He is fun to corral!

Much better to be the Nana than the responsible one!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Did my children ever build Legos like this?
Did they ask a thousand questions about how a bird makes the nest?
Were they triple secured in car seats as we plunged down the road?
Did they worry that the bug on the door will get inside?
Time with a grandchild is priceless.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Musings of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is coming.
I worked on a presentation for the Smithsonian on African American military members using paintings from the American Art Gallery. The presentation was not entirely used because the Smithsonian does not like Wikapedia. The article I used was written by one of the foremost writers on Buffalo Soldiers. He could not get his book published, so he resorted to Wikipedia.
But I digress.
What brave men the African American soldiers were- fighting against the enemy outside and inside the country.

This is another one that I used. A pen and ink from World War I. Did you know that the French would serve African Americans, but the US mess soldiers would not?

Here is my father in law at the beginning of WWII. He did not become a pilot- got air sick. He became a mechanic on the Anolea Gay. I'd show you a picture of my brother in law, but we don't have one of him in uniform. He was a crew chief gunner in the worst part of Vietnam. He returned twice- my sister in law said it was out of guilt of leaving others behind.
Both men are gone now, but their life memories are strong for me.
My son now flies helicopters and my nephew is an F-16 pilot. They are men who followed in the air prints of their grandfather and uncle.

I'd like to show you another  picture. Neil Hyland.
Neil was a crazy man. He went to Notre Dame, graduated near the top in his class, went to seminary, and then joined the Army. I last saw him on a Metro. I was standing at a station with my class of 8th graders visiting DC. There he was. He laughed when we saw each other- remembering our long hours of playing RISK while he and my husband went to advanced course. He left us on 9/11 serving at the Pentagon.

Soldiering was not really a career tasking in our family until my husband. My grandfather served with the big guns in WWI and then came home. My father served in Hawaii at the end of WWII and then went to college.  My daughter joined the AirForce and my son in law the Marines. Both served and got out to start a different life of service.
My husband was a career man- after Vietnam and nine years of college.

I know I am early, but I will be pretty quiet the next few days. Going out to help my daughter find a place to live. And this Memorial Day I will be walking in Arlington. I'll touch a flag for you.

Who will your remember?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Forgot the camera?

We drove to Nebraska and met up with my husband's niece. Of course she is mine as well.
This kiddo has been through loads, but had a relaxed way about her. Her children and husband were also relaxed and just ...happy. What a delight.
They moved to a western Nebraska town for a good job
And the opportunity for my niece to be home with their three (almost four) kids.
Just a delight.
It is good to see that even with all of the complaining and nashing of teeth
Life in America continues to move forward in the lives of those who believ
That a good family and a strong will to work
Anything is possible in the United States.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

House shopping from afar

We haven't gone house shopping for seven years.  My daughter and her husband are in the market. Finally settled enough with a job that a house is the next step in stability.
It is a bit nerve racking.
I ask all those questions that they don't really think about.
Then again, I am the one paying property taxes and not getting a write off....
Questions. some of my questions are normal- others are...well something a retiree thinks about.
Are the taxes in the area likely to go up suddenly?
What is the chance that crime will quickly move into the neighborhood?
Does it seem that the neighbors are out in the yards, caring for the gardens?
What are the schools like? Not just the elementary schools, but the middle and high schools?
Do you think the local economy will stabilize if something happens to the administration and the country goes full tilt austerity? How about full tilt spend until we drop? (They are in Maryland and it seems the latter is more likely than the former for them.)
Can you fit al of your stuff in a house without a garage?
How can you live without a garage ---lol?
Lead paint? Copper pipes? Good wiring?
I love my kids to pieces. I just wish there were some real jobs in my area so they could just---come home!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We were the visitors today

One of the reasons we are in Kansas is to live by the lake.
Unfortunately, for the last three years the lake is often closed
-blue green algae
- zebra mussels
-high water.

Today we got out.
Surprisingly the boat still works!
Along the way we noticed that the two Great Northern Herons have grown into a small flock.
They watch boats closely, because they love to pick up the freshly killed fish that we have to throw back because they are too small.  They got a sun fish from us today.
We were the visitors today!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today's visitor

Staring at the hole
Suddenly comes
a toad.

Did it come out of the hole?
I don't know.

Mother's Day 2012


Slows you down
and makes you think
Are those birds making so much noise?

Did we really see scenes like this in central China?

Was the moon THAT bright last night?
Was our visit to Vietnam really in this lifetime?
Has this squirrel always lived in these bushes?

Sunday, May 06, 2012

When you checking amount meets your credit card amount

Last week was a wake up call- again.
Since we retired we have chosen not to save anything extra from our income of pension and part time work. That has worked well.
Until last week.

Until recently that has not been an issue.
We used the internet to purchase things, mostly from our allowance.
Our housing/clothing/ repair envelopes are rarely touched until we go to town.
Target runs (rare as they are since Target is 20 miles away)
or runs to the feed store, are always wonderful get aways where that money is spent.

Recently though, we have been almost entirely buying things on the Internet.
Nothing big. A book here, a toy there, printer ink. All purchases within reason and for a reason.
I have a habit of checking our Mastercard almost daily
until this last few weeks of substituting
and then it hit me! OW! Our bill was larger than our checking account!

I checked the purchases and then checked the envelopes.
Nothing had been moved over.
After switching around a few things, every charge was covered.

The internet is so enticing.
This exercise told me how quickly we could actually get into debt.
And we don't even need to go to town to do it!


Friday, May 04, 2012

Heart strings

The first year of marriage was spent on one of my obsessions
Researching, we traveled to see every Van Gogh in free Europe.
It was an adventure
We would get on a train and travel for the weekend to another country
sometimes the museum was just about to close.
There is something amazing about standing in front of his work.
It pulls you in and spits you out.

Some go to see the Monets, or the Rembrants.
Those are well loved by me as well
But it is the Van Gogh that brings rest in the movement.
Maybe, someday I will be able to sit in a room with one for several hours.

Another quest.

We had a visitor yesterday

She slips slowly through the cracks.
Zig zagging to the final destination
Enjoying the accomplishment of passing another brick.
Stopping and pondering the next slither.
With a bit of help she got to the bottom 
and raced to the forest 
to be comfortable and free to do what she pleases
Until she meets another brick in her journey.