Thursday, July 29, 2010


I spend a lot of time listening to the radio. Sometimes it is just on in the background. Sometimes, like during and after hurricanes, radio is essential to know what is going on. When I was growing up the cool radio station was KILT which played all the new rock music. (All the really good music ended about 1970 though ...) My mother listened to the local station in Galveston but I can't remember the call letters for it.
Ever since I discovered Pandora, whenever I want music that's what I'll have on. But for general radio listening, I love NPR. The Diane Rehm Show is a daily favorite, Talk of the Nation and Marketplace are usually interesting, All Things Considered covers the news of the day, Ira Glass's This American Life almost always has a different perspective on life today, and Science Friday is always interesting but since I am at work when it is on, I get the podcast.
What I don't like on radio are the hate mongering sensationalists... so I don't listen to them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bible Reading

When I was growing up my church encouraged reading through the Bible in a year. This can be done by reading 3 chapters each day and 7 chapters on Sundays. I have done this several times (although it generally took me longer than a year). But I found that I was reading just to get my chapters for the day done. I wanted to focus more on content by reading just one chapter per day; the problem with that was that I didn't want to leave the New Testament for as long as it would take me to read through the Old Testament one chapter a day. So my solution was a 3 day alternating cycle. Day #1 Old Testament. Day #2 Psalms / Proverbs /Prophets. Day #3 New Testament. I usually pick out one verse from the day's chapter for my thought for the day. I have been using this system for several years and it seems to suit me quite well.
Today's chapter was Isaiah 3.
Tomorrow's chapter will be Revelation 18.
Friday's chapter will be Joshua 20.

Monday, July 26, 2010

This rubs me the wrong way Part II

From the Wikileaks documents we learn that the Pakistani's have been aiding the Taliban. What a shock, who would have thought???...

As Rod Dreher says in his blog at Big Questions Online, " I get angry at the thought that American service members are fighting and dying in a war that may not be winnable, and that our allies the Pakistanis may be secretly waging against us, despite being the recipient of more than a billion dollars a year in aid to fight the people they actually appear to be helping."

U.S. Unemployment by county through May, 2010

Think your job is secure?

Think again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why I continue to work

I have been asked on numerous occasions when I am going to retire; other times people are surprised that I work after all I am 62 and I use an electric scooter because I can't walk. I am married and my husband works and brings in a good salary. Why not retire?

Back in 1987 my husband lost his job. We had to sell our beautiful home with a pool and spa for exactly what we owed on it losing every penny of equity we had built up over the previous 12 years. We lived on severance and savings for the following year while I finished my Pharmacy degree and my husband began his training for a new career. I supported us for the following 2 years while he finished. He was without work for 3 years total. Now fast forward to 2007--husband is able to keep his job only by transferring to a totally new department. I have watched several mass downsizings at my own place of employment. So if there is one thing I have learned for sure over the years is that no job is secure and that has never been so true as it is today. So why do I work? So that if one of us loses their job, we still have an income and health insurance.

I can stretch a dollar as far as anyone but frankly there is a level of income below which it is exceedingly difficult to live even a modest life. Then there is the whole health insurance debacle; I have health problems and need to see doctors. I cannot imagine how much stress it is to be sick and not know how your are going to pay for health care.

The new financial reality is no joke and it is not optional. If you have a job, keep it, upgrade your skills, and (you know what I am going to say next, don't you) pay off all debts and get an emergency fund in place yesterday.

Finally, the last reason I keep working is that I want to die like Daniel Schorr--fully engaged with the world and doing work that I think is important until the end of my days.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


JMM and I went to see it today. JMM really liked it; I thought it was pretty good--better than I had expected. The special effects were excellent, story and acting good--maybe a little too much shooting, car chases, and fights, but hey, it's a summer action movie so to be expected. The thing I have against it is purely personal--pseudo-science talk annoys me to no end. Taking something that is false and wrapping it in scientific language to make it sound believable just grates on me. If something is fiction that's fine but leave off the science talk. It reminds me of the late night radio show where people call in with their paranormal experiences. (Maybe if I'd ever been able to levitate anything, I'd think differently about it.) Anyway, if you need a summer action movie with some good plot twists and turns, it may be a dream come true for ya'.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another day, another test

Abdominal ultrasound. If a CAT scan and an MRI hasn't told me what the heck is going on, I don't have much hope that an ultrasound will either. But then I have had my hopes up too many times only to realize that nope, that's not it either.

Frankly, I have been surprised how being ill and trying to find out what is causing it just takes over one's life. For one thing it is time consuming to go to multiple doctor's offices, find a parking place & go in, wait in the interminable waiting rooms and exam rooms, then drive home again or back to work. Then there is the time spent on the phone trying to get something scheduled or talk to the doctor's nurse or waiting for a call back.

And finally, there is the emotional toll. I have never been so depressed in all my life. I think I could deal with most anything if I just knew what it was.

I am extremely fortunate that I have excellent health insurance and access to medical care. I flat don't know how on earth people deal with serious illness and a financial nightmare of poor or no insurance at the same time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

I made this Sunday and oh my, is it ever delish!!

Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 16-cup tube pan. Dust pan with cake flour; tap out excess flour.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until fluffy.
Gradually add sugar.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition.
Beat in lemon juice and peel.
Mix in dry ingredients.
Mix in sour cream.
Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around cake in pan. Turn out cake.
Carefully turn cake right side up on rack and cool completely.

Lemon Glaze

1. Melt ¼ cup butter in microwave
2. Sift 2 cups powdered sugar in large bowl
3. Add butter to powdered sugar
4. Add 2 tablespoonsful lemon juice
5. Add 2 teaspoonsful lemon zest
6. Stir until smooth and creamy
7. If too thick add a few drops milk, if too thin add a little more powdered sugar.
8. Drizzle over cake.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This rubs me the wrong way

I hear on the news this morning that we will be giving Pakistan half a billion dollars for hydroelectric dams, drip irrigation system, and infrastructure. This was followed by a segment on how we need to rein in the budget by not extending unemployment compensation to the unemployed here in the US. Seems to me that my tax dollars could be used for some infrastructure here at home even if we don't extend unemployment compensation. And then there is always the question of how much of that $500,000,000 will end up in some one's private Swiss account--80%?90%?? And finally, there is the question of isn't the House of Representatives supposed to have something to say about how our taxes are spent??

Update: Well, it looks like the aid to Pakistan was part of the foreign aid in the budget approved by the House of Representatives. Still, don't like it. I suggest it is time to give a long look at all the countries that I am sending my taxes to.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Yard Scooter

Because of my neuromuscular problem, I have never been able to amble around our 4 acre property. JMM built a lovely brick path to the patio under the live oaks so I have been able to enjoy some of the loveliness but have been restricted to where my little scooter could take me. Well, that is about to change because we are getting a little utility vehicle. This morning we found what looks just perfect:

The one we are looking at has a roof to provide some shade from the hot Texas summer sun. We are debating the merits of the battery vs. the gasoline engine versions. The battery would be quieter and less smelly than the gasoline, but then there's much to be said for a good solid powerful Kawasaki engine too. Decisions, decisions.

The ones we were looking at cost $5,000--$5200. We will, of course, pay cash for it. When we make the final decision, I'll transfer money from savings to checking.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hopeless in the face of such ignorance

When I saw the picture of that billboard, what I felt was just utter hopelessness that people could be so ignorant. It was a desecration of the people who were transported in cattle cars, starved, gassed and burned. To compare President Obama's desire for adequate health care for Americans, for financial reform to prevent another 2008 financial meltdown, and to have a workable, enforceable immigration policy with gas chambers and firing squads is just incredible ignorance. My response to the ignoramuses: You lost the election, get over it. The representatives were elected. If you don't like them, elect new ones. Your hatred makes me ill.

Summer Camp

I only went to camp once when I was growing up. It was a church Bible camp. I think it was called Peach Creek Bible Camp but I'm not sure. There was no air-conditioning and it was soooo hot!! The heat and being afraid of spiders was the down side. But the up side was the boyfriend I met at camp. It was a sweet little romance of walking along the creek and sitting together at the evening Bible study. We wrote to each other a few times after camp but that ended after a month or so. I heard nothing further from him for years until I got a letter from him from Viet Nam. He had been drafted and his wife had sent him a Dear John letter and he just wanted someone to correspond with. I wrote back that I was now married and my husband was also in Viet Nam. I never heard from him again. I hope he made it back alive and in one piece.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Habits that keep you broke

These were on Yahoo today:
1. Paying only the minimum on your credit card. (Surely this cannot come as a surprise to anyone.)
2. Buying a brand new car. While I theoretically agree with this, we buy new and drive them forever; my husband's previous vehicle lasted 14 years.
3. Smoking. Well, duh!
4. Keeping a drafty attic. Insulation is good. The most energy saving thing we have added to this house is the solar screens. They really do help keep the rooms cooler so the a/c runs less.
5. Ignoring your student debt. If you want to really go suicidal, figure out how much money you have paid out in interest on those loans. Same principal as #1.

I would add one more:
6. Short-term thinking. Not planning past the next paycheck. Set goals--what do you want to have accomplished in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year? What are steps are you taking to get there today?

Summer Fruit

Here in Texas the peach crop is coming in and just walking into the grocery and inhaling the scent of those peaches is enough to waft one into Heaven. Love peaches in pies, cobblers, or ice cream but love them even more just as God made them--juice dripping from mouth to chin to shirt.

Cantaloupes are beginning to come in also. I only eat cantaloupe in July and some in August when they are at their juicy, sensuous best.

Looking forward to luscious grapes in another month or so.

What's your favorite fresh summer food?