Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Waste of It All

Rod Dreher has a good post up about the end of the Iraq War.

"The waste of it all." sums it up for the Iraq war.
"The waste of it all." will sum it up when we end the war in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Uganda, and the others that we don't even know about yet.

Birding Galveston Island

It was a perfect day for birding!! Cool temperatures, clear skies, and two wonderful companions—JMM and Daisy!!  We left at dawn and drove to Galveston.  As usual great birding along the frontage road leading to the causeway and along East Galveston Beach.  Here’s the list for the day:

Mourning dove
Red-Tailed Hawk
Turkey Vultures
Brown Pelicans (lots)
Belted Kingfisher
Great Egret
White Ibis
Tricolored Heron
Willets (always)
Great Blue Heron
Little Egret
Reddish Egrets
Laughing Gulls (many)
Royal Terns
Ring-billed Gulls
Snowy Plover
Forster’s Tern
Herring Gull
Lesser/Greater Yellowlegs
Black-necked Stilt
Rusty Blackbird
White-tailed Kite

Pretty good for a morning's birding!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


All through this summer's horrid drought, we consoled each other by remembering two things.  The roses were outstanding this year because it was too dry for them to be blighted by the usual fungus infestations.  And secondly, this year we could rejoice being outside in the evenings because there were no mosquitoes to drive us mad.

Well, we had some rain last weekend and by Friday, we were unable to step outside without being covered with the little beasties!!  It seems that we are getting a whole year's worth of mosquitoes all in one week.  You can watch people as they are driving smashing their hands against the car window trying to rid themselves of the maddening creatures that they are confined with.  Last night I found myself with a blanket over my head while watching a Netflix DVD because there was this kamikaze mosquito determined to suck blood from my inner ear.

Mosquito by Deborah Frontiera

Familiar whine in my ear
You settle on my forearm
Prepare to pierce my skin with your proboscis
I raise my had to strike
What if I let you complete the cycle?
You might feed the songbird
Who cheers my day.
You larvae might feed the minnow
Who feeds the fingerling
Who feeds the pike
Who feeds me.
You might be a meal
For the brown bat
Whose guano fertilizes
Tomatoes for my salad.
But not today.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One War Down, At Least One to Go

President Obama has declared victory in Iraq and the troops not attached to the U.S. Embassy will be leaving Iraq by the end of the year.  (My immediate thought was "End of which year??" but it appears that it is by the end of this year.)  Thank goodness, it's finally coming to an end.  I am still suspicious that they will be moved from Iraq to Somalia, Yemen, Uganda, etc. but then I am a suspicious person.

My suggestion is that he declare victory in Afghanistan and save us all a lot of trouble (and lives and limbs).  Whether we declare victory today, next year, or five years from now, the future of Afghanistan is up to the Afghans. 

I will continue my weekly letter writing campaign to the President about this matter.  (Hey, it can't hurt...)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

SSDI or not??

I am disabled from a progressive neuromuscular disease;  I worked until I could not work any longer.  I have not applied for SSDI and don’t intend to.  Why not?  I suppose that I could spend the money but in all honesty, I don’t really need it.  I know people whose disability has caused them real hardship and they flat need the money but I don’t.  I do plan to draw my Social Security when I turn 66 because by then DH will be retired (maybe) and we will be drawing down our retirement savings.  My sister-in-law thinks I’m dumb not to take the SSDI and maybe I am…but then maybe I’m happy with enough.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Sleep(less) Study

I had a sleep study done last night and what an ordeal that was!!  I checked in at 7:30 and the technician started getting me ready.  It took about 30 minutes to get all the monitoring electrodes in place: on my scalp, on my face, on my neck, chest, back, and two on each lower leg; a belt loosely around my chest and one around my waist;  and last but not least, a face mask over my nose and mouth with a tube attached to a CPAP machine.  Good night, sleep well…How on earth can anybody sleep with all that??—and don’t forget the camera staring down at you.  I turned the lights off at 10pm and lay there sleepless until about 1 am, dozed/slept until 5am.  I can’t imagine how that is reflective of a normal night but I suppose it is the best that can be done to get the information.  I should get the results in about a week.  The cost to me so far has been $45 co-pay to the sleep doc, $42 for the mask and tubing, and $289 for the sleep study itself (insurance paid 80% and I paid 20%).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The New Quilt

I finished this quilt last week.  I am calling it Jewels.  Reason number 97 that I am so glad that I retired--I can finish my quilts in less than a year!! LOL!!  I have the next quilt cut out--it is a Hearts applique made from leftover fabric from this quilt and another.  I'll post a picture when I have the top together.  And I also have fabric for a baby quilt--but I have until April to get that one done.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We've gone mad.

That's it, the USA has gone stark raving bonkers.  What other explanation could there be for:

1. We are sending troops into Uganda to end the Lord's Liberation Army.  I suppose our stellar experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have emboldened us to take on another area of the world.  (Can the Nobel Peace Prize be rescinded?)

2, The state of Texas is considering adding a confederate flag to the available vanity license plates.  There is certainly nothing else our legislature should be dealing with.

3. Oh wait, we do have one other issue here in Texas that is of some urgency--immigration.  We don't want to be outshone by Alabama now do we.  ( I wonder which group of immigrants should be deported--the Mexicans, or the Texans.)

I'm taking a News Fast for a week.  I just can't stand it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman hits all the right points in listing our national problems—Energy, Education, Debt,  Jobs.  He accurately describes the problem, gives a history of the problems, gives concrete examples of the problem, tells why it is a problem. And then he discusses solutions for the problem—which is the problem with the book.  You see, Tom, if human nature were as good as it would take us to be to implement these solutions, we wouldn’t be in the frigging mess we’re in in the first place.  If you are an optimist, Wow, you’re going to be bowled over by the terrific solutions to all these national problems.  If you are a crabby pessimist like me, well, it just isn’t going to happen....which is a real shame.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Retirement 5 months in

One of my more annoying habits is to make a decision and then beat myself up because I didn't decide the other way.  It wouldn't matter when side I chose, I would look at all the benefits of the other side and berate myself for not chosing the other side.  Anyway, I can honestly say that I have not once, not for one minute, wished that I was still working.  That amazes me because I was very proud of my profession, I worked at a prestigious institution, and if I say so myself, was darn good at it.  I had often thought that I would be bored or lonely without my work.  Ha! I love being busy at my quilting, reading another chapter, cooking something new, watching the birds at the feeder.  I am busy without being pressured and I love it!  I'm not lonely because I've never been one that has to have others around all the time.  I see my family about as much as we all want to see each other, I'm in a really good book club, there's a quilt group that I can drop in on if I want, and I see my church friends almost every week.

One thing that I am wondering about is DH.  He is still working and I am wondering how we will rub each other once he retires??  I love him dearly but too much togetherness may grate.  I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

3rd Quarter Financials

I finished the Quarterly Financial Statement this morning and while the market is down, we still have $815,000 in our retirement accounts.  Since we aren't planning to take any withdrawals until we have to at age 70 1/2, I try to focus on how we are buying while the market is down and hoping that the market will have recovered in 5 1/2 years.  Total Net Worth is down correspondingly to $1,352,678.

We need to set up a new Excel Spreadsheet and graph.  I have been tracking on the current StarOffice spreadsheet since 1996 and so much of our investments, properties, and savings has changed.  It is fun to look back and see how the graph has risen but I think it would be cleaner and easier to do on a nice fresh Excel Spreadsheet.