Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Social Security & Medicare

Yesterday I signed JMM up for his Social Security to start when he reaches his full retirement age of 66 next January.  It took about 25 minutes online.  I will do the same for me when I turn 66 in December, 2013.  I have no qualms about drawing Social Security because we have paid into the system for 50 years in Joe's case and about 30 years for me.  We would probably have more money if instead of paying into SS, we had invested the money in a long term growth fund and if we had done that, what we didn't use could be passed on as an inheritance.  But that wasn't the case and I do think SS is necessary. Not everyone will save for their retirement, some because they are frivolous, but most because they simply can't.  Ill health, intermittent employment, and just plain bad luck make it difficult for so many to save for retirement.  So God bless Social Security and long may it survive the Paul Ryans of the Congress. 

Now we come to Medicare. We both enrolled in Medicare when we turned 65.  We only signed up for Part A as JMM is still working and we have health insurance through his employer.  I truly dread when JMM retires and we have to try to figure out the Medicare maze.  Do we get a Medicare Advantage Plan, will they still be available? How about a crystal ball to figure out which prescription drug plan would be best for each of us for the next year? It is useless to try to figure it out until just before he retires because Congress may overhaul the whole thing.  I know that Medicare is rife with fraud and I know that it is unsustainable as it is currently structured but I do hope that Congress doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water.  I guess, as Miss Scarlet said,  "I will worry about that tomorrow."

But I just have to add that if we hadn't muddled into two unfunded wars and numerous interventions and if we weren't so dead set on giving tax breaks to multimillionaires, we might have enough money to take care of the poor, sick, and elderly, properly educate our children, and adequately maintain our infrastructure.  But alas, it was not so. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

7 An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Many of us have realized that our lives are filled with excess and have sought to live a simpler, saner life. Jen Hatmaker was astonishingly shallow if she was accurately portraying her pre-7 life.  She chooses 7 areas of her life, food, clothing, spending, waste, media,possessions, and stress of her life to radically limit for one month each. By these limitations, she thinks that she is more closely following Jesus teachings to care for the poor.  Each month was a different area of emphasis and brought her more awareness of her life choices.  Now this is where I am not sure I am as enamored with the book as the majority of others who have read it. It was a temporary experiment, a learning experience, almost a game because at the end of the month,  that month's experiment was over and it was on to the next area.  I have to wonder if there was any permanent commitment to any of it.  I hope she doesn't go back to the shallow, spend and waste of her previous life. I suppose we will have to wait for her next book to find out. 

Thought for the day

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I have been made obsolete...and it is fine by me!

For 40+ years, when JMM and I travel, I am the navigator, the keeper and interpreter of the map.  Mostly we have ended up where we intended to go, sometimes not exactly according to plan.   My services as map reader and navigator are no longer needed because JMM purchased a Garmin. Garmin expertly guided us from Logan Airport in Boston, to Portsmouth, NH,  to Freeport, Maine, on finally right to our hotel in Bar Harbor. It was amazing!  In 0.2 miles turn left on whatever and sure enough in 0.2 miles whatever is right there for you to turn onto. And the lovely little screen which tells you in which lane to be! Well, that little feature would have forestalled many an unpleasant comment from JMM when I used to point out to him our exit, just as we were passing it by.  This is one piece of technology that I really like!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hay Quaker: Home Folks ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hay Quaker: Home Folks ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder: “As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which...

Hay Quaker: Rest, Peace and Liberty ~ Elizabeth Fry

Hay Quaker: Rest, Peace and Liberty ~ Elizabeth Fry: "I want less love of money, less judging others, less tattling, less dependence upon external appearance. I want to see more fruit of the ...

Hay Quaker: Rest, Peace and Liberty ~ Elizabeth Fry

Hay Quaker: Rest, Peace and Liberty ~ Elizabeth Fry: "I want less love of money, less judging others, less tattling, less dependence upon external appearance. I want to see more fruit of the ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where does the time go?

I seem to have misplaced today. First it was morning and now it is dinner time.  I did go and have my annual mammogram but that only took two hours including driving, parking, and waiting time. So where did the rest of the day go. It's not like I got carried away reading or quilting and certainly not cooking because as I said it is dinner time and I had to call JMM to bring home grilled chicken sandwiches from Whataburger.  If anyone finds my missing day, please let me know-- I really could use the time...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goals for the Week Ending Saturday, October 20, 2012

1. Continue Read the Bible Chronologically in a Year 
2. Exercise 5 days
3. Continue Weight Watchers 26 points per day
4. Finish Block # 7 on quilt
5. Have mammogram
6. Reading
     South Riding by Winifred Holtby
     Love Does by Bob Goff
     52 Small Changes by Brett Blumenthal
7. Cook 4 dinners
8. Dental cleaning
9. Get ready for trip to Maine

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Fallacy of Hope

JMM and I have been watching the old Kenneth Clark Civilization series.  I think this is the 3rd time I have watched it. Last night we watched the segment The Fallacy of Hope which covers the period after the Age of Reason and the Romantics and goes through the French Revolution and Napoleon. I was rather uncomfortable watching it partly because I love the Age of Reason and the Romantics so much. But as I gave it more thought, there was more to it than that. Yesterday, while listening  to Living on Earth on NPR, I was appalled to hear people in coal country ranting about abolishing the EPA. Here these are the very people who would be most harmed by the ending of environmental regulation so afraid that the switch to cleaner energy would cost jobs in their area that the harm to themselves and the environment means nothing.  Watching the madness of the mob in French Revolution very much reminded me of the angry crowd calling for less regulation and more freedom. 
The Fallacy of Hope seems to be appropriate for how I feel about hope for the environment these days.  Will we stop pouring carbon into the atmosphere before we make the planet uninhabitable? There are those who say that we have already passed the limit but even if we have not, when will we stop? I suppose to keep from sinking into depression, it is best to focus on the things that I can do. We have our little 4 acres (which I might add we recently had certified by Texas Parks & Wildlife as a certified Wildlife Habitat ☺) to care for and we are active members of the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Little but at least something.

01:10 PM

Saturday, October 6, 2012


‎"Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind." ~ Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Do No Harm

First, Do No Harm

I think that I would do well to use this as my measuring rod.  For many years I was a hospital pharmacist and the phrase, First Do No Harm was well known in the medical community.   But I'm not thinking of it in that aspect alone. There are, of course, many applications but I am considering these 3 today:

Environment--I can consider my actions and the amount of harm I do to the earth and the living creatures in it.  In terms of CO2 emissions, do I need to make that trip in the car and if I do is it worth the harm that it causes.  Do I need that new hot air popcorn popper? I eat popcorn and the microwaveable bags are both unhealthy and result in extra packaging waste. Does that make up for the manufacturing, shipping, packaging, and electricity that is used in a new hot air popcorn popper?  Winter clothing has been on my mind recently. I have lost 24 lb. and have another 20 to lose.  My winter clothes are too big, should I pay a seamstress to alter them or should I donate them to the Goodwill and buy new? At this point, I am leaning toward alteration since the pants are good quality LLBean pants.  That way someone is given employment for their skill and no new product or packaging and shipping is involved and therefore less harm is done to the environment. 

Personal health--I can consider my actions and the amount of harm or good that I am doing to my own or JMM's body.  What we eat and how it is prepared is mostly my responsibility.  Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, eating vastly less sugar, and being mindful of portion sizes has resulted in weight loss and less harm to my body.  Our health care system would be much less overburdened if everyone would do less harm to their bodies by stopping smoking, eating only real food in moderate portions, limiting alcohol to wine with a meal, turning the television off & getting off the couch, and spending some quiet time in nature.  I think this would at least do no harm. 

Interpersonal relations--I think we have gone too far in feeling free to express ourselves.  I think kindness and gentleness in dealing with one another would result in less harm being done to our family, friends, acquaintances, and other drivers on the road. 

Maybe I won't be able to do no harm but perhaps I can do less harm by being mindful of my own actions.