Friday, August 28, 2009

Not Going to Make It

As of September 1, 2009, we will be down to $27,857 left on the mortgage. We will not be able to pay this off by December 31, 2009 to meet our goal unless I raid the emergency fund at the end. With no house note, we could easily re-build the EF in 2010. But should I? What's the big deal about December 31, 2009? Not having an EF seems to be an evil spirit magnet guaranteed to bring on major expenses. Why not just extend the goal to February or March?? BECAUSE I WANT THIS FINISHED!! I don't know---should I raid the EF at the end or extend the agony?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Social Security

We've known for years that our Social Security system is headed for trouble. The Social Security money that is deducted from our paychecks has been spent; it is gone, spent, not there. It should come as no shock to anyone that eventually the bill comes due and we're broke. No cost of living increase this year or for the next few years--if ever. Yes, it will hurt as the cost of Medicare supplemental insurance continues to rise but freezing Social Security payments at current levels is a rather mild temporary solution to a problem that is not only not going away but is guaranteed to get progressively worse. If you are depending on Social Security to feed and shelter you, you'd better come up with another plan ASAP. This is just beginning.

Thought for the Day:

The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first. Robert J. McKain

J. Mario Gonzalez M.D. RIP

I can hardly believe that I'll never fill another medication order with his scrawling signature. He was murdered Saturday in an apparent robbery while at his ranch.

He was born in poverty in Guatemala and worked and studied his way to the top of his profession. He was a good and caring man and he was a great doctor who gave the best of care to his patients most of whom were critically ill.

We are all in shock over this. He will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #15

September 1 house payment preliminary: It has been a less than satisfactory month in the out-go category. We are having an unusually hot, dry summer with its attendant electric ($311) and water ($200+) bills but the kicker was JMM's truck with 160,000+ miles on it had to be in the shop for $780 work. So that is $1300 that won't be going on the mortgage. It is annoying but such is life--we still have jobs and good health and will be able to knock it down about $4000. I'll post again after I know the exact amount for September.


I know that I write this same post twice a year but it thrills me every time--spring and fall humminbird migrations. The hummingbirds are gathering along the Texas Gulf Coast for their fall migration to Central America. We had very few hummers over the summer but during the last week we have at least 5 feasting on our salvia plants and our 3 feeders and more will come during the next 3 weeks. One year we had about 30. How do they know? How do they do it? They are so very tiny, so fragile, so fiercely territorial! It is just a miracle!

Monday, August 17, 2009

North River by Pete Hamill

I picked up North River by Pete Hamill on the bargain books shelf; I'd never read anything by him before but it looked interesting and the price was right. What a surprise!! It was wonderful!! It is the story of a doctor in NYC during the Depression, his family, and the people (mobsters included) that he treats. Good story that hold your attention but even more is the way you are drawn into the sights and sounds and smells. You are just there with them. Good book, worth a read.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Julie and Julia

Rarely do I enjoy the movie more than the book but that is the case with Julie & Julia. These days with people griping and mad at each other so much, it was a delight to see someone happy with their life, work, and spouse. In all honesty, I wish the movie had been all Julia; to me the Julie parts were mostly an interuption until we could get back to Julia. Such zest for life and such pleasure and enjoyment of cooking and eating. Don't miss it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What generous people!!

I have been reading recently about 2 open air medical clinics where people could go to get medical, dental, and eye treatment. One was in Kentucky and the other in Los Angeles. Thousands of people who needed treatment were provided with the needed treatment; no questions asked, no payment required. I can only imagine all the background work that must have gone into organizing these events. God bless them--all the doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists--healing the sick, relieving pain, helping people see--Jesus work done by people here on earth. What generosity!! Makes me so proud of my fellow Americans. Kindness, gentleness, and generosity--we need more of them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beans & Rice and Rice & Beans

If anyone has listened to Dave Ramsey for any length of time, you'll be familiar with his advice to cut your lifestyle and eat beans & rice, rice & beans. I agree with him on the principle but take exception with the tone in which the advice is given. He says it as if beans and rice were some punishment to be endured only while one gets out of debt. Au contraire, beans and rice if properly prepared is a feast! I have a pot of pinto beans simmering right now with onions and peppers (from my garden); I will add some summer sausage later and serve with a rice, a green salad, and jalapeno corn bread. Ah, what a feast!! And the leftovers--c'est magnifique!

Healthcare Reform

There is a raging debate in the U.S. about reforming healthcare. I wish everyone had access to good medical care. Insurance is a very iffy thing—even when you have it, you probably don't have what you think you have and even if you have really good insurance, it is byzantine to actually get them to pay out. I don't know how people who are dealing with life threatening illnesses manage to cope with recalcitrant insurance companies also. There are countries with nationalized healthcare and it seems to work rather well for them. This is not being proposed for the U.S. though because the insurance industry has way too much politcal clout. What is being proposed is a requirement for everyone to have insurance and for those who can't afford it, government subsidies. It sounds to me like a rather mild requirement. I would think that the insurance companies would be ecstatic to have everyone required to buy their product and if they can't afford to pay for it, then they will have access to bottomless government coffers. My two questions are: Will requiring everyone in the U.S. to have health insurance actually make us healthier? For some, it probably will—people with chronic conditions will have access to keep the condition under controll. But will they? Will they stop smoking? Eating junk? Drinking in excess? Drugs? Will they drag their big butts away from the television and go for a walk? I rather doubt it. Most simply want a pill to make them well. The second question is: How will the insurance companies deal with 50 million or so new customers? Will they continue their abysmal customer service? I rather think so; if everyone is required to purchase insurance, what incentive do they have to provide excellent service to bring in new clients?
So what is the point of this rambling rumination? My bottom line is that you'd darn well look after your own health because you really are the only one you can depend on. If you smoke, stop now; if you eat Twinkies for breakfast, oatmeal is quick and cheap; if you can walk, just do it. Also, investigate alternatives—meditation, alternative meds such is niacin for cholesterol, bicarb for stomach acid, plain aspirin for headaches. Make friends with your local pharmacist, learn to use the internet for health information, check out books from the library on nutrition and first aid. And stop whining, count your blessings, and do something for someone less fortunate than yourself.

Monday, August 10, 2009

This is how an economic recovery looks???

(This is a replacement for the post that I accidentally deleted when I meant to edit it.)

* In July 247,000 Americans lost their jobs.

*July was the 19th month in a row of net job losses.

*Since the start of 2008, 6.7 million jobs have been lost.

*A record 5 million people have been unemployed for more than 6 months.

*The unemployed have been jobless for an average 25.1 weeks, a 61-year high.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


There was an article in the NYT yesterday about napping--who does and who doesn't. I do! In fact, I am a world class napper. I love to nap right after lunch for 30-45 minutes. I wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the second half of my day. If I don't nap, I more or less stumble around all afternoon and go to bed soon after dinner. How about you--napper or non-napper??

Thought for the day:

Middle age is when you have a choice of two temptations and choose the one that will get you home earlier. Anon

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I don't know whether to feel sorry for these people or not.

They are in a really difficult situation but I wonder about some of the choices they have made. They seem to have money for beer, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. And I wonder what kind of choices they will make it the future to get themselves out of the bad situation. Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself isn't a good plan for improving your situation. I see them setting a very bad example for the two children.
Maybe I am being uncharitable. After all, I had the blessing of growing up with parents who worked hard, were frugal, and took care of themselves financially.

Your basic worker bee

That's what I have decided that I am. I like to get things done. At work, I am always in the top 3-4 in productivity. At home, I always have a list of things to do--whether it is cooking, cleaning, quilting, reading, or tending the garden. Yes, there are days when I am tired or not feeling well and on those days, the best thing I can do is just rest, read, and nap with cats. But on the whole, I am your basic worker bee.

Thought for the Day:
People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get. Frederick Douglass

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Food, Inc.

We went to see Food Inc. this afternoon. It is about the industrialization of agriculture and the results of it. There were portions that I just could not watch—the parts about the treatment of the animals and the pollution of the earth were just too awful to watch. While I can't change everything, there are some things I can do:
1. I will never, ever buy another Tyson chicken product.
2. I can eat less meat and buy what I do eat from WF.
3. I can stop eating anything with high fructose corn syrup in it.
I really don't like the idea that large corporations are in such control of the food supply. So the obvious thing to do is to stop buying processed food. This will take some doing.

Thought for the Day:
Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength. St. Frances de Sales