Monday, January 26, 2009

The Environment

I've been interested in environmental issues since high school. I remember that the Sierra Club had a monthly paper and can recycling project. I faithfully collected all our paper and cans and took them to the pick up location. JMM and I still recycle cans, bottles, and paper; I wonder how many tons of paper, cans, and bottles we have collected and recycled over the decades. I love the beauty of nature and realize how we utterly dependent our species is on a delicately functional environment. But what I truly love are the little creatures--the skunks, raccoons, bees, butterflies, and the innumerable others that live in the little nooks and crannies of habitat.

There are many other people who are much more active in environmental issues than I am and there are others who have chosen much more environmentally friendly lifestyles than I have. But I have made the best choices that I could within the restraints of my life. One of the things I want to do when the house is paid off is to contribute to the Nature Conservancy of Texas on a regular basis.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #4

Thursday was payday so I spent some time today getting all the finances squared away. I also scheduled the Feb. 1 house payment. We were able to put an additional $4400 on principal which will keep us on target. Only 10 more house payments to go!!!

Thought for the day:

Joy is not in things, it is in us." ~ C. Wagner

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barak Obama

What an inspiring, uplifting event the Inauguration was yesterday! The crowds were the happiest million people you would ever want to see. I grew up in the South during segregation and it wasn't pretty. I remember the separated drinking fountains and separate restrooms. I have ridden in the buses where I sat at front and the blacks at the back. There were no blacks in my schools all the way through high school and the schools were not equal. Now to watch as a black man is sworn in as President just makes me so proud of my country. And I think he is an exceptional person too--his calm, deliberateness is what is needed to lead us through the economic morass we are in and to get us out of the quagmire of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I must say that people who depend on the government to take care of them will be disappointed; we must all be more prepared to take care of ourselves. Will he make mistakes?? Of course, don't we all. I will pray for the wisdom and blessings of the Lord to be with him.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Winter beauty

Our winters are mild here on the Texas Gulf Coast. We seldom have the beauty of a blanket of pure white snow but we do have our own winter beauty. One form of winter beauty is the splendid array of birds that winter here. Here at OakMeadows we have 6 or 7 various feeders for the birds and JMM faithfully keeps them filled and the bird bath filled with clean water. The large oak trees and the other surrounding trees provide shelter for them. This year we have had a tumult of goldfinches; I know I should say flock of goldfinches but there must be a hundred of them and tumult is a good description. We also have more cardinals than usual. Add in the usual sparrows, chickadees, titmouses, bluejays, mockingbirds, and just this morning we saw meadowlarks. Such beauty!! In a few weeks, we plan to drive down the coast to see the lovely ducks & cranes from Canada that winter here.

Another winter beauty this past week has been the morning frost on the grass. It is sparkly beautiful as the sun comes up. Just beautiful.

It is altogether too easy to get so wrapped up in daily tasks that we neglect to see the beauty that is frequently all around. It is easy to listen to the news and become so worried or depressed that we forget to thank our Creator for the beauty of His creation.

Thought for the day:

Rachel Carson:
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
Rachel Carson:
It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #3

I did a preliminary numbers run for making the extra principal payment with the February 1 housenote and it is looking good. Now if nothing untoward happens we will be on track. Fingers crossed.
The second goal is to increase our emergency fund by $1000 by putting $50 per pay period into the fund. Happy to report that is done for this pay period.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.


I don't have a clue as to what I can do to promote this idea but I am going to start finding out.

It's a little thing but I sent an e-mail to

I'm going to find a way to work on this.

Where has all the money gone?

At least with Bernie Madoff, we can point to Uncle Bernie and say $50 billion went to him and then it went away. But where did all the bailout money go, what happened to it? Where did ao much of everyone's retirement money go? There one quarter, gone the next. And the black hole known as rebuilding Iraq, what happened to all that money? Afghanistan? No wonder the country is in financial meltdown, the barbarians have sucked us dry. And now we have literally given them the keys to the national treasury. And what do we have to show for it?? We are losing jobs at a rate of 500,000+ per month and will spend the next generation broke and debt ridden. It's flat depressing.


JMM's 62nd birthday was yesterday. I gave him 2 books which he had on his wish list and a birthday card. We went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch (his choice) and came home for a nice afternoon nap. We've celebrated a lot of birthdays together!! and I hope to celebrate quite a few more!! Since my birthday is in December, I like to tease him that he is much older than me for almost 11 months. I don't mind birthdays and JMM doesn't either; I'm rather proud of myself for making it this far.

Musings: When JMM and I were growing up, kids didn't have the big birthday parties that many have today. It just wasn't the norm. Your mother maybe made a cake and put some candles on it but there were certainly no parties at ChuckyCheese (maybe because there wan't any ChuckyCheese back then). I don't think I ever had a birthday party except the year that I turned 16, I invited some girlfriends over and we had cake and a fun afternoon. JMM remembers one when he was about 5 or 6. I don't remember going to birthday parties either. Just different times.

Thought for the day:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
Sonnet XLIII
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach,
when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need,
by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely,
as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely,
as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!
- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cooking is a problem

I really, really don't like cooking. Heaven to me is a nice cafeteria where I don't have to think about meals until I go through the line. No meal planning, no shopping, no preparing, serving, or cleaning up. I've tried talking myself into liking it but with no success; I've tried being grateful that I have plenty of food to cook and I just end up feeling guilty. It's a quandry because my dear husband is very easy to please but I really, really don't like to cook.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Way Forward 2009

So far JMM and I have not been adversely affected by the current economic downturn. We are both still fully employed in jobs that pay well and have benefits. We both realize that this could change at any time for either of us. Therefore, we have made decisions to help prepare for this possibility. The first decision was to make it a priority to pay off our house by the end of 2009; this meant stopping all contributions to our 403b retirement accounts for this one year. The second decision was to increase our emergency fund by an additional $50.00 per pay period; it is a small amount but over the course of a year, our emergency fund will increase by $1300. The third decision was to continue to live frugally in order to accomplish the first two goals. The fourth decision was to do everything we can to maintain good health; with the exception of my CMT, we are both in good health but there is room for improvement in diet, exercise, and stress management. I hope to look back on 2009 as a year in which we moved forward physically, financially, personally, and professionally.

Thought for the day:

"We can do no great things; only small things with great love." Mother Teresa.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Haby Dew Year

I am all stobbed up except when I use the nasal roto-rooter (Arfrin) which turns me into a nasal Niagra Falls. So much for New Year's resolutions for exercise and diet. Just let me get through this evening shift and tomorrow. Blah.