Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Chair

I bought a new chair for the bedroom. I love it--the style, the colors, the fabric and pattern--and it is wonderfully comfortable for sitting and reading. However, it has made the room look rather dowdy. Obviously such a chair needs a good reading lamp and a small table beside it. And the curtains on the window don't coordinate with the colors on the chair. And if we are going to have new curtains then the spread on the bed will need to be replaced...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feeling better

If you are as sick and tired of my GI troubles as I am, skip this post. However, I think that I have solved another part of the problem. I have noticed that the less dairy products I consume, the less unpleasantness I have (to put it delicately). So I am going dairy-free and taking Lactinex. Lactose intolerance is not the whole problem but certainly has contributed.

I have requested some cookbooks from the library on cooking dairy free. We shall see how this proceeds.

Retirement plans

I've decided not to retire just yet. Financially, we could manage if I retired now but in all honesty, the income from my job allows splurges and pleasures that would not be as easy as now. Also, I am physically doing better; I think I have solved another piece of my GI problems--lactose intolerance. The third reason I am staying in the work force is that I am really good (she said modestly ;) ) at what I do. I've been at it long enough to know when something isn't right and should be looked into and I know the people I work with. So it looks like I will be staying with my MWF and one weekend a month schedule.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


When we are young, we think we can fix things or that if we do all the right things, life will be what we want it to be. We think that people will change or they will at least come to their senses. And it is true that sometimes we can fix something, sometimes virtue is rewarded, and occasionally people do change. But mostly, things are what they are and must be dealt with.

There have been several people in my life that I kept waiting for them to come to their senses and get their lives together—none ever did. They just were who they were for whatever reason.

Sometimes charity helps but for all the efforts of agencies and programs and aid, mostly the destitute stay destitute for various reasons. Life is difficult and it is a struggle and sometimes that’s just what it is and how it is.

(On a personal note, I am coming to terms with health issues; I continue to try to figure out what is going on, but maybe it is just time to accept that this is my lot and just deal with it. )

Friday, September 17, 2010

What Recovery??

15 Shocking Poverty Statistics That Are Skyrocketing As The American Middle Class Continues To Be Slowly Wiped Out

Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.

According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.

The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on a year-over-year basis, household participation in the food stamp program has increased 20.28%.

The number of Americans on food stamps surpassed 41 million for the first time ever in June.

As of June, the number of Americans on food stamps had set a new all-time record for 19 consecutive months.

One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.

More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.

The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has risen over 60 percent in just the past year.

According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12 month period ending June 30th.

More than 25 percent of all Americans now have a credit score below 599.

One out of every five children in the United States is now living in poverty.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I started recycling when I was still in high school. (I graduated in 1965.) The local Audubon Society had a monthly paper and can recyling drive. You notice that plastics were not included and that is because there was relatively little plastic circulating back then. It is hard to imagine time before plastics but it is true--milk was in glass bottles or waxed cartons, shampoo came in a glass bottle, tooth paste or powder in a metal container. I wonder how many pounds of materials I have recycled over the years--tons I am sure.
We still recycle--paper, metal, glass (not much), and plastic. We do not have curbside recycling out in the country where I live so we have two large (plastic) trash cans--one for plastics and one for paper--and a (plastic) bin for metal. All the recycling goes into these containers and once a month I take it all in to the recycling center in Houston. They also take any electronics we need to dispose of as well as used motor oil. It is not a lot of trouble because it is simply a habit we have done for decades.

Over the last year or so I have been using my own tote bags when I go shopping rather than use plastic bags from the stores. There are two problems that I have encountered with this--the first is remembering to take them inside the store with me, so many times I don't think about bags until I am in the check out line and my totes are still in the van. Have to work on that. The second problem is some of the checkers are stymied by someone wanting to use their own bags. They want to put the groceries in the usual plastic bag and then put the plastic bag into my tote. I suppose they think of me as a little old lady in her dotage that must be accomodated.

Reusing items is the second leg of reducing the amount of garbage that we generate. I find it so simple to reuse printer paper--just turn it over and print on the other side. It is very seldom that I need a good copy printed only on one side. Clothing or household items that I don't want or use are dropped off at the Goodwill center. Another way to reuse is composting. Actually most of our food waste goes to our local raccoon population which is fine with me. I love to see Mama Raccoon leading her brood of babies to our goodies.

The third leg is simply reducing the amount of stuff that we buy. I am by nature and necessity a frugal person. I believe in planning ahead, giving thought to what is needed, and buying quality that will last. I don't like clutter and the easiest way to be clutter-free is to not buy the stuff in the first place.

That's how we reduce our garbage output--Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Nothing new, just habits.

Taking care of those pearly whites

I had my twice a year routine dental cleaning done Tuesday morning. It got me thinking about how fortunate we are today to be able to take such good care of our teeth. My mother had a full upper set of dentures and partial lower dentures before I was born. It was very common for people of previous generations to have dentures. I’m sure my mother had dentures because when she was growing up they were too poor to see a dentist until it was too late to do anything but pull the tooth. My father must have been blessed with very strong teeth because as far as I know, he never once saw a dentist and had every tooth still intact when he died. His teeth were stained from coffee and cigarettes but still there and functional. I, on the other hand, have always been rather fanatical about taking care of my teeth—regular brushing & flossing and twice a year cleaning. I am convinced that good dental health promotes general good health. We are fortunate also to have dental insurance to help defray the cost of maintaining those pearly whites. (Speaking of which, I detest bleached white teeth.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Wonderful book for anglophiles (and anyone else who likes a good story). Wry humor, well drawn characters. As usual, I loved listening to the audio; I think it just adds to the pleasure of the story.

Roses Update

All three of the buried Daybreaker roses are still alive. Frankly, I am surprised. I am still whacking back the morning glory vines from the smallest one but even it is still alive. We have had so much rain the past couple of days that it is useless to spray them with fungicide right now. I hope next weekend to finish trimming the dead wood off them and get them properly sprayed and a lightly fertilized.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Time to Retire???

The plan has been to stay in the workplace until 66 but I am reconsidering. This past year of ill health has been a real struggle. I am physically better in many ways and my employer has worked with me to decrease my hours to Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays plus one weekend each month. The thing is I am tired; my days off are mostly spent resting from the work days. I will be 63 in December and perhaps I should just call it quits then. I wouldn't necessarily need to start drawing Social Security or to draw from my 403b and JMM will still be working to provide health insurance and benefits. So why not retire?? I think the thing that is holding me back is concern that something might happen to keep JMM from working. Life experience has made me very leary of not having my back covered. It seems to be that when one thing changes, a whole cascade of things happen...usually not for the better.
I am just in the beginning stages of looking into this and seriously thinking about it. Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Neglected roses

Since I have been sick all year, I have totally neglected my roses. They didn't get pruned on Valentine's Day, they didn't get fertilized, or sprayed at all. To make matters worse, JMM planted some morning glory seeds near them intending for them to go up the pillar of the back porch but what they actually did was flow over the 3 Daybreaker roses. It looked like kudzu taking over the world. Sunday, I saw one tiny rose bloom peeking out from under that tangled mass of vines as if to say “Help me!!” So I have been spending a few minutes each morning before it gets too hot whacking that mess back. I have the middle rose bush one cleared off and today I watered it and sprayed it with fungicide. Tomorrow I will start on the largest of the 3 bushes; it will be difficult because I can’t get my scooter around to the front side of it but I will figure something out.