Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Predictions

I've never done predictions before so we'll see how my first crystal ball performs. Here we go:

1. The cost of living will increase--food and fuel will cost more, taxes and fees will go up as services go down, and the cost of healthcare and insurance will increase. (Good luck to those struggling to make ends meet in 2009...)

2. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will drag on (with another 500 deaths and innumerable lost limbs) with nothing really accomplished in the long term.

3. The unemployment rate will come down some to 8-9%; hardest hit will be the older worker who was laid off in 2009 and has little chance to be re-hired.

4. The world will keep on turning: People will love and hate, babies will be born, seasons will come and go, and there will be laughter and tears.

Do you have any predictions?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

After Christmas

Whee!! Today is the beginning of my 5 days off!! I love my job, I really do but it really makes me appreciate being home!! It is a cold, gray day outside and I am luxuriating in the knowledge that I get to stay in my cozy, warm home. I have some baking potatoes and a piece of good sharp cheddar cheese so we will be having baked potatoes with cheese and some fried ham bits left from the Christmas ham for dinner. I may even have some apple turnovers in the freezer for dessert. A veritable feast for a winter day.

I am beginning to put the Christmas decorations away; each day I put a few things back in their boxes; I have a lot of Christmas decorations that have accumulated over the years. In recent years, I haven't put all of it out but this year JMM brought home a tree (a live one that he will plant); TSMdecorated it and then she set up my Fontanini manger scene. All I did was the put candles in the windows and the angels over the fireplace.

Quilting will be my pleasant occupation this afternoon. Probably a cat will join me; they seem to think that it is my job to quilt and their job to hold the quilt in place by laying on it. Besides it is a very convenient location for being petted and told how beautiful they are. Fortunately, they are older cats past the time when they loved snagging the quilting thread with their paws as I tried to pull the thread through. Quiet music, maybe David Nevue, and quilting with cats--doesn't get much better.

Thought for the Day:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Flight 253-- An analogy for the future

By now we've all read about the passengers and crew on the Northwest Airlines flight who took charge of their own survival by subduing a terrorist who was trying to set fire to explosives shortly before landing in Detroit. I think that this is analogous to what we all must do to survive and live in the coming turbulent economic times. We must take charge of our own lives. Too many people are waiting for something--for a government rescue or program, for the jobs to come back, to get an inheritance, to win the lottery. Folks, it's not going to happen. Governments at all levels--local, state, and federal--are going to be taking more and providing less, not the other way around. The jobs that have disappeared are not coming back especially if those jobs were making or doing something that can be made or done more cheaply elsewhere. As for the inheritance or lottery, well, don't hold your breath.

We must be responsible for making our own future. How? If you've read this blog before, there's nothing new:
1. Manage your finances--make a budget, live on less than you earn, pay off all debt, save for the inevitable rainy day.
2. Do everything possible to maintain your own health--stop smoking, stop eating junk, turn the television off and go for a walk.
3. Learn how to do someithing--cooking, sewing, quilting, gardening--no one is born knowing how to do any of this--so learn how.

Whether we realize it or not, we are all on our own personal Flight 253 and we must take charge of our own lives.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I think the Great Recession will come to be thought of as the Great Divide. The people who were economically able to survive the recession will come out on one side and those who did not will come out on the other side. And I don't think that there will be much chance for those who went under to pull themselves to the survivors side. There's just so much damage that has occurred--houses and equity gone, savings and retirement accounts gone, jobs that paid well and had benefits/health insurance gone, marriages and relationships damaged, and health ruined. There will be recovery for some but IMHO most of those damaged by the Great Recession will have a devil of a time climbing back out.

'Berry for a Merry Christmas

JMM and I bought Blackberries for each other for Christmas. Our old cells were just one step above rotary dials. I took my old cell to the T-Mobile store to have the SIM card changed and thus activate the new BB. There were two young men working there, one Asian and one Indian, and once again I thought how blessed we are to live in a time and place where people from all over the world come to work and raise their families and help little old ladies learn how to use a Blackberry. Amazing. Me and my Getting Started booklet are going to become fast friends over the next few days.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Love is shoveling shit

My sweet DH spent the morning shoveling cow manure to be composted for my roses. One of the good things about having a cow pasture just an acre away is the lovely manure to compost for the roses. How does he love me?--let me count the shovelfuls...

Speaking of roses, I've decided to add 2 new roses next year:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I am part of the problem (tee hee)

I read the other day that part of the reason credit is so tight is that banks are undercapitalized. They are required to have a certain amount of reserve capital for the amount of money they can loan out. They are undercaptialized because their assets have taken a huge hit from the decline in housing prices and from people like me who are paying their houses off early. Yea!! I think it is about time people shed off their shackles to the banks and live free!!

Goal 2009 Update #22

I have done a preliminary run through the end of the year and it looks like we will be able to pay an extra $4000 with the Jan 1 house note. That will bring us down to $4949 left on the mortgage. It is very tempting to take $5000 out of savings to just pay it off but I think I will just be patient one more month and pay it off February 1. Not that I am superstitious but it really seems like the best way to ward off Murphy visits is to have a fully funded emergency fund.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What Happens When the Newness Wears Off?

The news reports that the recession is over. Maybe it is, my 403b account is up and we are all still employed. The latest figures show that only 11,000 more jobs were lost in November. All good news. My thoughts though are not so rosy. There have been millions of jobs lost during the recession and IMHO, those jobs are not coming back. This means that the people who lost jobs will have a hard time finding new employment and what employment they do find will be at lower wages.

Right now everyone is aware of the need for frugality and that in order to save, one must spend less than one makes. You could even say that frugality is chic these days. But at some point this newness will wear off and the reality of a lower standard of living will set it. It won't be a pleasant realization that you really don't have the money to do the things you once did or have the things you once had, that in all probability you will never have them again and that your children aren't likely to fare any better either.

I think that once the novelty wears off, there will be an awful lot of weeping and wailing going on. There will be a lot of political finger pointing and blaming and not much of it based in reality. The definition of middle class will change and more people will have a lot less. What will make this such a difficult time is that reality will not match expectations for a lot of people. I just hope that we can get through this period with minimum civil, political, and international unrest. These are real possibilities IMHO.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Here on the Texas Gulf Coast snow is quite rare. The large lovely flakes have been falling for a couple of hours covering everything on the ground and outlining the limbs on the trees. JMM has gone out to fill the bird feeders and make sure they have water. I will not be going in to work this evening because it is too dangerous on our 2 lane country road when it is covered with snow and slush. I've never in the 18 years that I have worked at my place of employment not come in because of the weather so this is a first.
JMM is back in now and there are several chickadees and a bunch of goldfinches on the feeders.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Musings from the Mall

I went to the local shopping mall this morning to check into my Christmas gift for JMM. Since I am so very techno-illiterate, it took me quite some time at the T-Mobile kiosk; I must say the young man helping me was very knowledgeable, very patient, and I think I found a very good product at a very reasonable price.

On my way to the kiosk, I passed through Macy's and did some window shopping along the mall stores and three things were immediately apparent:

1. The stores are well stocked and well staffed. I couldn't slow my scooter down without someone wanting to help me or give me a sample.

2. For a Thursday morning, there were a lot of people in the mall. Lots of moms with baby strollers and older men and women which is not surprising for a weekday morning.

3. Precious little actual buying was going on. For every adult with a bag showing a purchase, there were 20 others without any purchases at all.

As for me, I bought 2 pairs of socks, a container of mulling spices, and a bottle of melatonin from GNC. Total less than $30. And got the information for DH's Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #21

We were able to pay $4000 extra principal with the December 1 house payment. That gets us down to $10,875 remaining. If everyone stays well, safe, and employed, it is looking like Goal 2009 will be completed by February 1, 2010. We'll see. I'm glad that we have done this this year but frankly I sure wouldn't want to do it again.

I've been thinking about my financial goals for 2010 and here is what I have so far:
1. Up the Emergency Fund to $8,000
2. Save $1,000 per paycheck toward a new vehicle
3. Resume my 403b contributions
4. Once the house is paid off, open a new savings account with $500 per paycheck to cover the Homeowner's Insurance, Property Taxes, and HOA fee.
5. Needless to say, stay completely out of debt.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

National Day of Mourning

Since tonight President Obama will announce an additional 30,000+ troops for Afghanistan, I propose a National Day of Mourning for Wednesday. Let's mourn all the arms and legs and eyes and brains that are going to be lost. Let's mourn the families who will spend the rest of their lives missing the presence of their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. Let's mourn all the education and health care and infrastructure that won't be funded because we won't have the money. And finally let's mourn the fact that so very, very few people will lift a finger of protest.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dressing Ugly

I am astounded at the way people dress these days. It seems they go out of their way to be drab and ugly. I suppose the obesity epidemic has something to do with it. Maybe they are unaware of the way they look. Well, let me make it clear: knit is flattering if you are young and fit. If you are not, please understand that your flab is still there and is on full display in your knit stretch pants. And your sagging bosom needs some restraining; what in your youth was firm and attractive is now simply overflowing flab; please don't stetch a knit tank top to the breaking point and think it looks attractive.

It's not just the knits and flab that is so repulsive--it's the lack of style. Aren't there any designers out there with a sense of elegance and style? I wish I still had the old Vogue and Butterick patterns that I used to make my own clothes years ago. And color--what ever happened to color--even the blacks are washed out and faded; half the clothes I see are the color of something that has been chewed up and spit back out.

Doesn't anyone care about their appearance any more?

Friday, November 27, 2009

What Black Friday Means to Me

It means that I stay in the black in my own ledger by not buying anything.

It means that it is time to take the autumn decorations down and put up the Christmas decorations.

It means that it is time to address the few Christmas cards that I send out.

It means that we eat Thanksgiving leftovers and I don't cook.

It means that it is time to check on the New Year's Eve Neighborhood progressive dinner and see if they will be coming to my house or if I will be making my SIL's wonderful Seafood Gumbo.

Thought for the Day:
(I thought today's verse very appropriate for the beginning of the Christmas season.)

Proverbs 11:25
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well, it's been quite a year since last Thanksgiving but I'm still here plugging away and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that we are in good health, employed, and together. I'm thankful that I live in a country where I am free to choose how to live my life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Palin Free Zone

This blog has been and remains a PFZ.

Things I have far

I have my 62nd birthday coming up December 5 and I thought this would be a good time to think about the things I have learned so far:

1. It is frequently said that life is not fair but I think in a way it is fair--everyone has their trials, tribulations, worries, disappointments, and losses.

2. Everything is connected; there is a web of living and non-living and it is all intertwined.

3. The old virtues still stand--honesty, kindness, forgiveness, humility, patience.

4. Today is important; yesterday is gone and you may not get a tomorrow. Shed some light today.

5. People are about as happy as they decide to be.

6. Choose to surround yourself with beauty--music, nature, art.

7. We do have a purpose--it is to help.

8. What you send out generally comes back to you.

9. Be kind, gentle, and forgiving both to others and to yourself.

10. Don't just sit there--learn something! We aren't born knowing how to do a whole lot so the only way anyone gets good at anything is to start awful, make a ton of mistakes, and learn.

11. Be interested. Life is about as interesting as you are interested.

12. Laugh...often.

13. Share.

14. Get some rest, take a nap.

15. The borrower really is slave to the lender--get out of debt.

16. Things (and kids) always take longer and cost more than you ever thought possible.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Own Middle Class Survival Strategies

Morrison at has a thoughtful post up about the increasing pressure on the American Middle Class and ways to maintain a middle class life. No longer can one just coast along and expect to maintain a middle class lifestyle. The pressures toward downward mobility are just too strong. Morrison's post got me to thinking What are my strategies for economic survival??

Here are my 7 strategies for middle class survival:

1. Don't retire. You may have to change to a less physically demanding type work or work fewer hours but do not cut off your source of income.

2. Get out of debt. I like Dave Ramsey's baby step approach but there are many other debt reduction plans. Stop borrowing/charging now. Embrace creative frugality.

3. Do everything you can possibly do to maintain your family's physical and mental health. Diet, exercise, and attitude.

4. Learn useful skills. No one is born knowing how to do these so get in there and learn:
How to cook
How to sew and mend

5. Combining households--Saves money and keeps away loneliness.

6. Develop community ties--church, gardening society, local businesses.

7. Be prepared to take care of yourself in an emergency or natural disaster. Food, water, medication, fuel.

If we do these things and the economy continues to worsen, we have a chance; if the economy improves, we've lost nothing and gained much.

Thought for the day:

Dig a well before you are thirsty. Chinese proverb

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unemployment Graphic

This is a real eye-popper:

The number of unemployed in terms of absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population is still growing; they will not be spending in the 70% of the U.S. economy that is Consumer Spending. With real estate still going down and the commercial real estate bubble still to burst, this Great Recession is far from over.

Goal 2009 Update #20

I've done a preliminary run through the finances for the December 1 house payment. It is looking pretty good-->We may be able to pay an extra $4000 on the principal. (It would have been $700 more but the #%&## septic system aerator went out and had to be replaced and No it could not be put off until after the house is paid off!!LOL) Anyway, that will get us down to $10,800. If there are no other disasters between now and December 31, I will take what I need from savings and put it with the January 1 house payment, post it for payment on Jan 1, 2010 and be done with it!! Keep your fingers crossed!!

Thought for the Day:
Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stress reducers--noise

The first in my stress reducer series was getting control of your finances. The next is noise which is a huge stress inducer. Our ears and nervous system were not designed/evolved to deal with the constant bombardment of noise that can be part of life today. Turn off the blasted television, radio, and i-Pod. Have periods of silence; you may need to start with small periods of silence. Listen for the sounds of birds, the sound of rain or the breeze moving leaves. Be still and listen. Get comfortable thinking your own peaceful thoughts. Here are some links for further reading on the importance of quiet in our lives:

The Treasure of Quiet Moments Article by by Alice FedorenkoBased on the book, Pause: Putting the Brakes on a Runaway Life, by Katherine Gibson (2006).
Noise by Bart Kosko (2006)
One Square Inch of Silenceby Gordon Hempton and John Grossman
Stillness: Daily Gifts of Solitude by Richard Mahler
Unclutter Your Life: Transforming Your Physical, Mental and Emotional Spaceby Katherine Gibson
Quiet Mind: One-Minute Retreats from a Busy Worldby David Kundtz (2000).

Thought for the day:
In quiet places, reason abounds. Adlai Stevenson

Friday, November 13, 2009

Praying for our leaders

I Timothy 1:1-2
I urge you then first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Today's verse from I Timothy really resonated with me. We are told to pray for those in authority. Not if you feel like it or it would be nice for us to pray for those in authority but we are told to do it. Why? So that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. Is our national, local, and personal life in constant turmoil and war for the reason that we are not praying for our leaders?? Perhaps God has something to say to us while we are praying about our leaders??

Lowering stress levels

Wouldn't it be nice if you got a paycheck and then got to decide how to spend it instead of hoping that it would stretch far enough to cover all the bills for the stuff you already bought, bills you've already run up, payments you've already signed up for? Wouldn't that lower one's stress level? Imagine for a minute that you just got a paycheck and you don't have a single credit card, car payment, student loan, or house payment--the money is all yours and you get to spend it or save it or share it however you wish. Well, it doesn't have to be imaginary and it doesn't have to be at some far off date in the next decade. The first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging; no more debt period, ever. And don't annoy me by telling me that in today's world it can't be done; it can and people do, every day. The next step is called a plan, a budget and it starts with how much money you have coming in on your next paycheck. Write this amount down and spend those dollars on paper--have a purpose for every dollar, make it work for you--what is the best use for each dollar. Concentrate on one debt at a time, I think paying off the smallest debt first gives you a boost but others pay off higher interest debts first--it doesn't matter as long as you've permanently stopped digging the hole. The third step is what makes it all work--you stick with the written plan for the next two weeks. If it wasn't on the plan, you can't have it--no whining, crying, or feeling sorry for yourself. OK, you can whine, cry, feel sorry for yourself if you want but you stay with the written plan anyway. But what about emergencies?? Well, that's why you have an emergency fund--I like $1000 but $500 will get you started; it's enough to cover most car repairs, fillings coming out of teeth, or leaking hot water heaters. Christmas is not an emergency--most banks or credit unions have a Christmas Club plan where you can have $10-15 taken out of each paycheck and ouila at the end of the year you have about $300 to spend on Christmas presents; otherwise, you bake cookies or make aprons for gifts. Lastly, you repeat the process before the next paycheck. You are in controll and you determine how the money is spent. It's a great stress reliever.

My next stress reducer will be on noise but that is yet to be written.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Going ahead

We have been totally focused on getting the house paid off for the past several years. During that time I simply put off purchases and repairs as much as possible. I kept a list of things that would be purchased or repaired as soon as the house was paid off. We are down to $16,600 left on the house and aim to have it finished by April 1. The fact though is that I have reached the end of my patience and have started down the list. This month I had the dishwasher replaced; next month, I will have the broken window replaced and the carpets cleaned. In January I will resume my 15% 403b contributions with I had lowered to 3% for this year. I have rearranged the budget so that I will have the cash for each item before the purchase. I think I will be more content if I go ahead with these needed items and stretch out the house for a couple of months longer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


In 1968 I received as wedding gifts two cookbooks--The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and the McCalls Cookbook. The pages of these books are stained and yellowed but they are still my favorite cookbooks. I learned how to cook with these books. I have quite a few other cookbooks acquired over the years and most have one or two recipes that have become part of my repertoire standard meals. Mother's in the Kitchen from the La Leche League has the best Banana Nut Bread recipe. I have Laurel's Kitchen and while I love the philosophy expressed, there isn't anything in it that my family would actually eat. Then there is Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease Cook Book which after reading, I decided that I would just as soon die young. Several years ago I went through my cookbooks and made a computer file of the recipes that I use most often; I printed some of them and put them in plastic sheet protectors for quick use. I have some new cookbooks and like to try something new occassionally. For example, I was going to make one of the cupcake recipes in Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess but found that I really liked the recipe for cupcakes in my tried and true McCalls better. (I am, however, using Nigella's cream cheese and powdered sugar icing.) I have had Mastering the Art of French Cooking now for several years but have yet to work up the nerve to try anything from it. I am not, as Julia would have me, fearless in the kitchen. I must say though that I am looking forward to getting Pioneer Woman Cooks; her recipes tend to have ingredients that are in my grocery store and produce food that my family will eat.
So for dinner tonight we are having cutlets and gravy, salad, mashed potatoes, and corn. None of which needs a recipe from a cookbook.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #19

This was a 3 paycheck month so finances were unusually good. I was able to repay the Emergency Fund and get it back to $7,000. We paid for a new washing machine after the old one died beyond any hope of resusitation. And we were able to add $2700 in extra principal to the November 1 house payment. So now the mortgage down to $16,604. If everyone stays healthy and employed and if the car doesn't die, 4-6 months and I can breathe again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


One person speaks out against the idiotic war in Afghanistan and it makes the Washington Post. Hallelujah! I suppose I should be grateful for that. But I'm not--I am furious that we are such utter sheeple that we are being led down this primrose path AGAIN. God how I wish we would bring back the draft so that everyone would have a stake in whether to continue this madness or not. How I wish we were forced to pay in full every year what this costs. But of course we won't--we will continue the war because you really don't have to send your children to be killed or maimed and we can continue with our tax cuts and piddling around with health care because we simply borrow more money from China.
There is no "win" in Afghanistan; we will simply keep pouring more beautiful young men into that bottomless pit and the ones that aren't swallowed up will be sold to the highest bidder to repay all the money we borrowed to finance the war in the first place.
Same goes for Iraq.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Families can be complicated

My DH is the oldest of 5 boys. Yesterday Brother #2 hosted the annual family fish fry. Brother #3 has boycotted the rest of the family for years and yesterday was no exception; however, his ex-wife was there with their 2 children and grandchildren and it was great--we always preferred her over him anyway... There were 50+ people there and it was just a pleasant evening of reminiscing and laughing about trying to figure out who was related to whom. The longest marriage there was 56 years and the youngest child there was 3. The food was terrific--I never made it to the actual fried fish because I couldn't get enough of SIL #2's gumbo. I brought my Chocolate-Chocolate cake. There was a whole table of desserts and a table of salads--potato, corn, cabbage. Very nice evening indeed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We Are Doomed by John Derbyshire

Although I am referred to as the family pessimist--I fully anticipate the repairman will be late, if he comes at all, and things will definitely cost more and take longer than planned, and if something can be spilled, broken, or tripped over, of course it will be-- I prefer to think of myself as a realist. I thought when I picked up John Derbyshire's We Are Doomed that I had found a kindred spirit and it is true that we have points in common. However, I am not as fatalistic as he because I come at things from the perspective that of course things will be a total fiasco while we work through the difficulties but eventually things get sorted out. He doesn't--he comes to a full stop in the lake of the dismal swamp. I wish him well but prefer to slog my way out of the swamp and come out on the other side--a bit splattered but in a better place.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Over the $1 Million Dollar Mark

I finally got around to doing the 3rd quarter numbers and things were considerably improved in the retirement accounts and in the mortgage categories. We have gone over the $1 million mark in net worth which is nice but it doesn't really change anything. My plans and budget stay just where they are for the next 3 months until the house is paid off; then we will adjust the budget for saving for vehicles, working my way down my To Do List, and increasing our charitable giving. Who knows, maybe we'll hit 1.5 million before we retire??
People who know us in real life would have no idea of our net worth and that is just the way I want it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You can't go home again.

Today we drove down to Galveston. It was the first time that we have been there since Hurricane Ike went through last year. Considering the terrible flooding and wind damage, the island on the whole looked better than I had anticipated. What looked much, much worse than I had anticipated was my old home where I grew up. After Hurricane Carla, my parents raised the house 5 feet on concrete blocks and I had hoped that this would have protected it. But it did not. The house is gutted and abandoned with windows open and siding sagging. I haven't lived there in over 30 years but it was like a punch in the stomach to see it like that. There were several houses which were in the process of being raised and several others that were in the same shape as my old house. Poor house, I hope someone comes to buy it and love it back to life but it won't be me--after Carla, I made up my mind that I will never live right on the coast again.
We drove around and saw many of the old familiar sights. The island is being re-built and is coming back to life... until the next big storm.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #18

We are down to $21,153 left on the house. While I am very disappointed that we will not make the goal of paying it off by the end of the year, I am pleased that we have made so much progress this year; this time last year, we owed $93,288. If we had not paid down the principal and were just making the scheduled monthly payments, we would still owe $263,156.
Never, ever again will I have a mortgage.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two Good Books

Kessler, Ronald. In the President's Secret Service. Excellent, informative. Who would have thought that nice Jimmy Carter was such a twit!

Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. Excellent. While I understand that following natural disasters unfortunate things happen, I am beyond appalled that a man could be arrested in his own home by men in varying states of uniform and without identifying themselves, taken to a prison without being allowed to notify anyone of his arrest, and kept without any legal process for weeks.

I got both of these from the library; check and see if your library has them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vacation Plans

I am taking a week of vacation October 12-16. We are not going away so I am planning a few things that will make a pleasant week.

1. I want to take a trip to Galveston and eat seafood either on the wharves or on the seawall. I want to see how the island is recovering from Hurricane Ike.

2. The Quilt Festival will be going on at the convention center. It is usually a pleasant (but humbling) morning.

3. There is a new branch of the Natural Science Museum that has just opened. It may be interesting.

4. One day I want to take a picnic to Brazos Bend State Park.

5. Shopping--clothes, linens, an electric blanket

I'm beginning to wish I'd never heard of

Health Care Reform. I'm really unhappy with the idea of the IRS fining you if you don't have health insurance. But then I'm really unhappy with any bill the insurance industry is happy with. I look at the mess we got into when the government decided that everyone should own a home. I look at FEMA or take a trip to the Post Office and decide that most likely health care will get worse the more the government gets involved. One thing is for sure, there will be more money going out of my pocket. We are a two high income couple and we are considered fair game any way the health care debate goes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meat, milk, and eggs

I'm not a vegetarian--I wish I were but I'm not. For many years, out of frugality I stretched meat by making it part of casseroles and stews and I still do this. But I have been limiting meat recently to meat that has been raised without antibiotics or hormones and as far as I know raised under humane conditions. Two years ago I switched to milk that comes from cows that are not injected with hormones or antibiotics. Just this year I changed to eggs that are from chickens that are not treated with hormones or antibiotics and are free range. These changes are more expensive but the taste is so much better and I hope my purchases reflect my desire that animals be treated in a humane manner.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mortgage Refinance Scams

There have been several articles out lately about companies that scam people with offers to refinance their mortgages. They contact people by phone or mail with offers to lower the interest rate, lower the payment, get government aid, all for 3 easy payments of only $1500. Yes, you too can send in your money to a someone you've never heard of, has no office, no BBB rating and feel good because--> they have a web site.... While I think these scammers should be lined up against a brick wall and machine gunned, I have to say the people who have sent in money bear responsibility also. Are they really so naive? I am dumbfounded by the people who take out a $300,000 loan with an income of $30,000/yr and are surprised to find that they can't pay the payments. (I'm certainly not absolving the banks who targeted the lower income areas although I am aware of how our government policy encouraged them to do it.) Then these same people who took out the $300,000 loan on a $30,000 income and can't make the payments turn to scammers who get $4500 out of them in the attempt to re-finance the home that they couldn't afford in the first place. Come on now, if it sounds too good to be true, in all probability it isn't legit. There have been con men and there have been fools from the beginning of time. Perhaps that is why Proverbs tells us that "The fool and his money are soon parted."

Thought for the Day:
There is only one corner of the universe you can change, and that is yourself, but in changing that corner, you change the universe. Chinese proverb

aaaah chooooo

Ragweed. Itching eyes, drippy nose. Claritin & Puffs. aaaaah.....cho.....

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I am just amazed at this. While I understand that they have mental health problems, there are 2 things I really don't understand--Where do they get the money to buy all that stuff?? Credit cards maxed out?? and Why are their family members so passive about it? Why do they continue to live the hoarder?? Patty's husband and Bill's wife both look perfectly able to shovel stuff out or clean out that disgusting refrigerator. Why would you let your children live in that squalor? I'd be gone in about 10 seconds.

The Lead Pencil Society

I'm on one of my periodic news fasts. I suppose the world is getting on without my being informed. It's nice listening to pleasant music instead of chatter. Yesterday I had to do quite a bit of driving to do some errands--music or silence, no NPR. It is amazing how much more peaceful things are with quiet music or silence at home. No television, no radio. I'm thinking of renewing my newspaper subscription and getting my news from print only--haven't decided yet.
(BTW, I want an old-fashioned telephone--one that plugs into the wall and has a cord to the receiver, no answering machine--if I'm home, I'll answer, if I'm not, they can call back. I'd really like one with a rotary dial but I suppose they are antiques now.) JMM says that I should be a charter member of The Lead Pencil Society but that's not completely true--I like having the information from the internet available but I do find that the internet can eat up way too much time.

Cooler Weather

We have had the hottest, driest summer I can remember--and I've seen a lot of them, LOL. Today is the first 24 hours that we have not had the air-conditioner on since May. We've had much needed rain too.

I've been fighting rose fungus on my roses. I have 4 different fungicides that I alternate but the best treatment is the cooler temperatures.

The hummingbirds are still with us but not in the numbers that they were last week. We usually have some passing through well into October. We send them on the way to Central America well fed. They love our salvia and bottle-brush bushes and butterfly weed and of course the sugar water in the feeders.

This has not been a butterfly year. A Monarch or two, a few Gulf frilaries, and a Tiger stripe now and then but nothing like normal. Maybe it was the horrid heat or drought.

Believe it or not, I still have a few tiny tomatoes and quite a few bell peppers.

Good by to Summer 2009!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #17

I scheduled the October 1 house payment to include $5,000 extra principal. That will bring us down to $21,110. We will not make our goal by the end of the year but it looks like February 1, 2010 will be the payoff date. I can live with that!!

I have mentioned my list of things that I have put off until after the house is paid off. #1 is a dishwasher and #2 is having the broken window replaced. The list is 15 items long and will be such a pleasure working my way down.

So what will be the Goal 2010??--To save up enough money to pay for a new vehicle for JMM by the end of 2010. His Ford Ranger has been a really good vehicle but he has been less than pleased with the Ford Service Department. Don't know if he'll go for another Ford or not. I love my Honda Odyssey and have no intentions of getting anything else for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dear Bandit

I just wanted to tell you Thanks for the years we had together. You were really special from the moment you showed up and announced that we had won the cat lottery and you would be allowing us the priviledge of loving and caring for you. I'm sure you knew that we called you Mr. Personality and that we were totally in love with you. You filled the house with your presence as head cat. We will miss you and carry you with us in our hearts always. Love, Me

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Everyday in my journal, I list one thing for which I am grateful. Sometimes it is something big--like a good husband who has loved me for 40+ years--and other times, it is for something quite small--like hearing an uplifting song. Gratitude keeps me grounded and stops me from feeling sorry for myself.

Today I am thankful for my special country. The Osgood Files comes on the radio during my drive to work and is often very thoughtful.

Despite the hate and fear mongoring of talk radio, people from other lands know just how special a country America is. They vote with their feet and once they get here find it a place of improvement and opportunity.

Thought for the day:

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as every you can. John Wesley

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One more thing

In discussing end of life decisions, I forgot to mention the importance of Long Term Care insurance. The lack of LTC insurance can leave the surviving partner in a marriage destitute, usually the wife. This is simply because wives tend to live longer. With no LTC insurance and a husband needing LTC, all assets are eaten up leaving the wife old, alone, and destitute. Husbands, if you love your wife, get a good LTC policy and wrap it up as a present--it's the best present you could get.

I was fortunate to be able to get LTC insurance without a physical through my employer; with a progressive neuromuscular disease, I would have been laughed out of any other means of obtaining it. I was able to get my husband a policy at the same time. The really good thing is that I am able to continue the insurance at the same rate after I leave my employer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

End of life decisions

I have definite wants and don't wants when it comes to end of life choices. My family, however, is not clairvoyant and I must communicate my wishes to them and to our family physician. In order to do this, the following documents are needed. I can clearly spell out what treatments I want and what I do not want.

1. Advance medical directive
2. Medical Power of Attorney
3. Will

If you don't have these 3 documents, you can easily obtain them from your family attorney, your spiritual advisor, or the Chaplain's office at your local hospital.

Finally, be sure that your family knows where to locate these important documents.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Morning at the Park

We went birding this morning at Brazos Bend State Park. We arrived just after sunrise and it was absolutely perfect. There were 15-20 other people there at that time and all of us had various binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras, and lenses. We took Daisy (dog) with us on a leash and she was in nose heaven with all the scents. She's so pretty and friendly to everyone who want to pet her. I love seeing people out enjoying the beauty and peace of nature.
Here's the bird list for the morning:

Mourning doves
Great horned owl
Cattle egrets
Rusty blackbirds
Great blue heron
Purple Gallinule
Tri-colored heron
White Ibis
Green Heron
Reddish egret
Red-winged blackbirds
Little blue heron
Whistling ducks
Ladderbacked Woodpecker

Next month it will be cool enough to take a picnic lunch.
I think we should make a project of visiting all the Texas State Parks. Texas has a wonderful system of state parks and it would be fun to see if we could visit all of them!! I think I've had an idea!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rain! Glorious rain!!

It is raining--a for real, coming down in buckets, rain. Our parched earth is just soaking it up and you can just feel the plants take in that cooling, life restoring liquid and smell their exhalation of thanks. And for the first time since the end of April, the temperature didn't go over 90 degrees today. JMM and I sat on the back porch and watched and listened. Glorious rain!!

Maybe there's hope

When Nicholas D. Kristoff, Thomas Friedman, and George Will are all urging caution in getting more entangled in Afghanistan, maybe there's hope that we won't make another hellacious mistake.

Here are links:

I know that no one listens to me but maybe, just maybe these three (2 on the left and 1 on the right) professional noisemakers will get enough attention to stop us from totally getting into another quagmire.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You area child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

(Max Ehrmann)

You can never have too many roses.

My Day Breaker roses have survived this hot, dry summer with blooms almost all summer. It has meant almost daily watering and trimming but the beautiful blooms have been well worth the effort. I am battling rose fungus now; I have learned that proper pruning is the basis for controlling fungus and that you must use more than one fungicide to keep the blight in check.

I am planning to expand the rose beds this winter but haven't made up my mind with what. I definitely want something with fragrance. I have asked JMM to think about putting up a trellis so that I could cover it with climbing roses; that will be a major project since the trellis will have to be very sturdy to stand up to the wind that comes through here.
Here is a picture of my sweet Day Breakers:

Thought for the Day:

We are all in this world together - people , plants and animals - and we had better make the most of our opportunities. We are all here for some purpose: I believe that it is to live a good life, individually and collectively. That means for us humans to do as little harm as possible, to other humans, to animals and to the whole environment, and to do as much good as possible. To live simply, not elaborately; to consume the least possible, not the most possible. If you have any religion, let it be helpfulness, love and unity. We will then fulfill the purpose and take our part in the great plan. It is as simple as that."~Helen Nearing (1904-1995)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's depressing.

It looks like:
1. We are not only going to stay mired in Iraq but also getting deeper into the quagmire of Afghanistan.
2. We are not going to have universal health care.

We really are idiots.

Morning Routine

I have always been a morning person but my current work schedule (2:30-11PM) has played havoc with my "Early to bed, early to rise" nature. However, I do find that having a morning routine allows me to get things done on auto-pilot. Here's the general routine:
1. Make bed--first thing, get it done.
2. Shower and dress--I feel better and get more done than if I stay in my jammies and slippers.
3. Feed cats--By now they are hungry and WILL NOT BE IGNORED.
4. Breakfast and clean up the kitchen.
5. Dust mop kitchen and family room--all tiled area; with 3 cats, 1 dog, and 3 people, it needs it everyday.
6. Bible chapter for the day. I read through the Bible in this way: Day 1--Old Testament; Day 2--Psalms, Proverbs, Minor prophets; Day 3--New Testament. It isn't the fastest way to read the Bible, but I'm in no hurry. I usually pick one verse from the day's reading to think about during the day.
7. Laundry--I like to do a load every day or two. Towels are changed weekly and sheets every 2 weeks. Kitchen linens daily.
8. Project for the day--Cleaning, Cooking, Reading, Quilting--just depends on what is on my To Do Today List.

This routine works for me--keeps us generally clean and fed.

Thought for the Day:

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. John Wooden

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Compromise

I think we'll all agree that raiding the emergency fund to finish paying off the house by the end of the year is not the wisest way to go. One of the reasons that I have been so anxious to finish it is that I have been putting things off for a couple of years to focus on the house. I have thought that I could just hold off until January, 2010 and then I could start on my When the House Is Paid Off List. The fact is that I am willing to wait that long but no longer. My compromise is that I will continue as planned through December to put every penny I can scrape together on the house which will get us down to $10-12,000 but in January I will pick one thing on my list and get it taken care of. That way the house gets paid down as rapidly as possible through the end of the year and I start taking care of some other needs in a reasonable time frame.

Thought for the Day:

"The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Martin Luther King

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Retirement plans

I am a great believer in planning. Life doesn't always go the way I plan I find that having a plan and goals helps keep me from just wandering around aimlessly wondering what's coming next.
So with retirement coming in 4 years, I wanted to know if my planning and saving was going to be enough.
First I made an estimated budget for a year of retirement living. This was not hard because I just took my usual monthly budget, made a few adjustments, and multiplied it by 12 for a yearly estimate. There are 3 major unknowns--what taxes will be at that time, what health expenses will be, and what the rate of inflation will be--but I made guesstimates and went on. We can live quite comfortably on $60,000 per year allowing one large travel expense and a generous entertainment expense.
The plan is for both of us to work until age 66 when we will draw our full Social Security--$23,000/year for me and $26,000 for JMM. If we withdraw 3% per year from our current 401K accounts, that will bring in $15,000 per year.
So the answer to my question is Yes, our retirement planning and saving looks like enough. Now if life will just conform to my plans...

Thought for the day:

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. Phillips Brooks

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why wives become homicidal

I love my husband, I really do but there are times...
This afternoon while preparing a chicken casserole, I trimmed some globs of fat off some boneless chicken thighs. While I was putting the casserole in the oven, the cat jumped up on the counter and began to sniff, lick, ingest some of the fat globs. Enter husband. Instead of simply putting the cat off the counter and the fat in the garbage, he just stands there and asks, "Do you let him eat raw chicken??" No, and I don't let the baby play with matches either.

Miss Julia

What a delight! Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind is the first in a series by Ann B. Ross. The only word for the book and Miss Julia herself is--what a hoot!! Very pleasant summer reading. I do believe (living here in the South as I have for all my life) that I have met Miss Julia in person...maybe even several Miss Julias. Have a nice big glass of iced tea in a shady spot on the back porch and settle in for a nice visit with Miss Julia.

Thought for the Day:
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. Anon

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #14

I scheduled the August 1 house payment with $5,000 extra principal. This brings us to $31,515 that we still owe on the house. If we stay well and fully employed, it looks like we will make both financial goals by the end of the year. It will definitely be worth it to have a mortgage free house!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Why does shopping for clothes have to be such a pain in the rear??? There are bazillions of clothes on racks and shelves and all of them look like limp pieces of dishrags. Because every last freaking thing out there is knit. Did China ditch all their looms for only those that produce stretchy, clingy, limp knit? Has no one noticed that in hot weather--cotton fabric is cooler than knit?? Not to mention cotton fabric looks better. Ack!!

Thought for the Day:

How we live our days is how we live our lives. Annie Dillard

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tell No One

Add this movie to your Netflix queue and move it to the top-- right now. It is the best mystery that I have seen in quite a while. It takes a bit to figure out all the relationships but hang in there--it is good to the very last scene.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quilt Update

I finished piecing the quilt top today. It is an Amish Cross pattern. It is not a pattern that I will use again because the pieces are just too tiny for a person with CMT to work with. The pieces are 1.5 inches square and 1.5 by 4.5 inches. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot work with anything smaller than 4 inches. Anyway, I have the borders all ready to stitch onto the top. After that I can layer the backing, batting, and top, baste it all together and be ready to do the quilting. (One of these days I will learn how to attach photos to my blog...)
And yes, I am planning my next quilt top--It is going to be baskets with flowers. I think I will piece the baskets and applique the flowers and quilt in bees and butterflies. Many details to be worked out...

Goal 2009 Update #13

I paid bills, balanced the checkbooks, and did a projection for what we will be able to pay for the August 1 house payment. If all goes as planned, we will be able to pay an extra $5,000 on the principal which will mean that as of August 1, we will owe $31,515. The mind boggling thing is that if we had only been making regular payments, we would still owe $266,524. YEA!!! My other goal for 2009 is to increase my emergency fund to $7,000 and so far so good, I am at $6800.
There are so many things I am just putting off until the house is paid off that I have started a list which is fun to play around with--what do do first, a dishwasher that works or repair the broken window?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Feminine Mistake

by Leslie Bennetts. Some well-educate young women leave their professional workplace to become Stay At Home Moms. Some men leave their wives, lose their jobs, or die. The Feminine Mistake is about the aftermath of the intersection of these two statements. It is well written and full of individual life stories.

Major points of the book include:
1. There are financial and emotional consequences to dependence.
2. While it is not good, fair, or the way things should be, wives/mothers are the ones who do the vast majority of child care, cooking, cleaning, and provisioning for the family in addition to any outside the home job she has.
3. The words, "Just do what makes you happy." when spoken by a husband are very dangerous words because what makes you happy at one point in your life (i.e., escaping the dual demands of home and profession) can make you very unhappy at another (i.e., being old, broke, & alone).
4. It is possible to manage both but you better figure it out and set up a system for yourself because you really are responsible for yourself.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Everyday Courage #2

Some time ago I started a series on what I call Everyday Courage--It's about those people in your life who if you didn't know them, you would never guess the burdens they are carrying. These are people who carry on with grace, dignity, and courage.

Today I want to write about Lou; I have known Lou at work for 15 years. She is a CRNA and always has a smile and a good word for everyone. During the time I have known her, I have known that in addition to work at the hospital, she nursed her mother at home until her mother died. Then her husband until he died. Then she took in a grandson who was headed for trouble but under her care, finished high school and has now finished his sophmore year of college. In talking with her last week, I learned that she is paying a housenote for one of her children because they have lost their jobs and have been unable to find enough work to pay the house note. Did I tell you that Lou is 76 years old? If that's not courage, I don't know what is.

Thought for the Day:
I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. Helen Keller

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I am not grieving for Michael Jackson--I didn't like him or his music. And I don't really identify with the culture that makes a pop star death a major news story. But that's just me. There are things that I do find a profound sense of sorrow over. Here are some of them:

1. I will always miss my parents; they were such good people who lived their hard lives with courage and dignity. (And I miss a culture that knows what courage and dignity are.)
2. I mourn for the loss of the beaches and salt marshes of Galveston where I grew up and all the birds and wildlife that lived there. The huge beach houses that displaced them make me want to vomit.
3. I long for the days when trash wasn't every place you look--plastic bottles, cans, bags, garbage.
4. I am almost paralyzed by an overwhelming sense of helplessness as I see the beauty of the earth strip mined and polluted.
5. I can't even bear to think about the animals whose lives are processed in our food factories.

Pop stars don't really come close.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Throw-Away Society

I was thinking today about how many people are just thrown away in our fragmented society. There are so few extended families, so little community to lend a hand, to be a model, to nurture virtue. We value rugged individualism at a cost of a sense of belonging; not just a loss of belonging to family or community but also a loss of belonging to a continuum of time and place.

We have hardened our hearts to the plight of animals and the pillaging of the environment because there is no feeling of connection. We think in linear terms--beginning-->ending. Perhaps it is time to start thinking cyclically. We are all connected, we are all important, nothing is really disposable. Everything is part of a whole and it is all precious.

Sarah Palin

She is talking in front of cameras again. God does seem to be favoring the Democrats prayers.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


467,000 people lost their jobs in the single month of June. The unemployment rate is 9.5% which means that almost 1 out of every 10 workers in America is unemployed. I keep hearing that the economy is getting better but how can that be if more and more people are unemployed and lose their ability to purchase goods and services??

$38,211 left to pay on the mortgage. I won't relax until the mortgage is paid off, a year of expenses is in the bank, and the new vehicle fund is complete. Let's just pray we all stay well and fully employed.

100+ The temperature this week has been 100 degrees or more all week and more heat is expected. It was like this in 1980 when the heat started the first of June and never let up all summer. The grass is parched and brown with only the areas around the trees and beds aroun the house green wherre JMM has faithfully watered. I keep the thermostat up at 80 and fans going to keep reasonably cool but I am certainly not looking forward to the electricity bill.

Thought for the Day:

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.

Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961) American Writer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Madoff Musing

While the big news is that Bernie was sentenced to 150 years, I'm more interested in what happens with Ruth. Of course, there is the question of what did Ruth know and when did she know it??? It is, however, the daily living questions that I am hoping that the tabloids will report on.

1. Where to live? She will be living on the returns of $2.5million which should bring $100-125,000 per year. No way could she continue to live in Manhattan--COL is too high and the unforgiving attitudes of the Manhattanites who are now even poorer than she is would make living there very uncomfortable. Perhaps, Florida where the prices of condos are exceptionally low just now. OTOH, living in Florida would make it difficult to visit Bernie who will be somewhere in the Northeast.

2. She will need investment advise on the best way to make her $2.5 million last another 20-25 years. Who could she trust with her life savings??

3. That brings to mind, she will need someone to do her 2009 income tax returns; I doubt if TurboTax will suffice. Can you just imagine the accountant she asks to do her taxes???

4. What if she gets sick? Does she have health insurance? Medicare? Medicare supplemental insurance? Long term care insurance?

5. Can she draw her own or Bernie's Social Security?

5. What will she drive? and can she afford car insurance, maintenance, gasoline, and license fees?

6. Will her children help her or do they have financial problems or job loss problems of their own.

One thing is for sure, life as she knew it is over.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #12

We were able to pay $4,000 extra principal with the July 1 house payment. That brings us down to $38,243. The really notable thing though is that if we had only paid the regular payment with no extra principal, we would still owe $268,184. Think of all the interest that we have not paid!!

Thought for the Day:

Well done is better than well said. - Ben Franklin

A Conglomeration

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is dead at age 50 and you would think something important had happened with all the media hype. He was a popular singer 20 years ago. Since then he has been a weird recluse who appears occassionally to have facial surgery or to be sued. I guess it has been a slow news week and the media need something to stir things up. TSM said that CBS devoted the entire evening news to it; glad I don't have television.

I think we only have one resident hummer this year--at least, I only see one at a time--a beautiful Ruby Throated. He comes to the feeder frequently and sometimes I see him working the salvia blooms. I wonder if the drought is the reason that we only have one this year.

Record Heat
It is hot, very hot--104 on Wednesday. 95 days until cooler weather...

Thought for the Day:

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of non essentials. Lin Yutang

Monday, June 22, 2009


by Edward Andrews.
A NYT financial writer loses his mind, leaves his wife, buys a house he cannot afford, moves his new soulmate in, racks credit card debt up the gazoo, and tries to borrow his way out of debt. (I told you he had lost his mind.) Actually, he writes the most clear and understandable explanation of the mortgage fraud/crisis that I have come across. It is only when he writes about his and soulmate's personal financial disaster that I just find it hard to believe that someone could be so stupid.
It's a good read but I came away shaking my head at the unbelievable mess he and soulmate made of their finances. I also came away wondering Did he and soulmate ever get their finances straightened out? Did he and soulmate stay together or did the financial strain break them apart?

Thought for the Day:

Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness. Pearl Buck

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fly, baby, fly!!

Our back porch baby swallows flew for the first time this morning. Mom and Dad were swooping around giving encouragement and flying instructions. The babies didn't look all that enthusiastic about actually getting off the ledge. There are two babies; the first one fluttered around and more or less crash landed on the hummingbird feeder hanging about 6 feet away. The second baby saw what happened and hopped back in the nest. Baby #2 eventually got out of the nest, fluttered around, and landed (not too gracefully) back on the ledge. Flying doesn't seem to be a problem but the landings definitely need some work. Darling baby swallows!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sewing machine drama

In 1963 my mother bought a brand new Singer sewing machine in an oak cabinet. She bought it to replace the sewing machine that was ruined when the house flooded in Hurricane Carla. That sewing machine made dresses for me through high school and college, it made the dress that I brought TSM home from the hospital in, and dozens of quilt tops and so much more. I was using it until last week when it stopped. It just stopped. I was sure that it could not be repaired. I could never throw it away--more likely, if it were truly dead, I would want it to be buried with a funeral and gravestone. I found a Singer repair shop and took it in this morning and joy of joys, it looks like it can be repaired!! JMM is going to bring it home Thursday so this weekend, it will be back home with me. Almost like a member of the family home from the hospital.

Pleasant View Schoolhouse

There have been no blog posts, no journal entries, and very little else done since I discovered this beautiful weblog. I've been giving myself a treat every chance I get to partake of the life and times at Pleasant View Schoolhouse. It is a visual delight and a balm to the soul. (If you get started reading it and get nothing else done for the next 5 days, don't say you weren't warned.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


JMM and I just celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and a lot of why we were able to do this is because we have always lived under our means. I am the family bill payer and budgeter but JMM is always part of the planning. We always have a plan because the fact of the matter is that if you don't tell your money how to behave, it will rule you, make a shambles of your marriage, and ruin your life.
I don't mind paying for goods or services; I'm not out to get something for nothing. The thing I really don't like paying is interest. We pay our credit card off every 2 weeks. JMM's truck and my van were paid off withing 6 months of purchase. Our previous house was paid off and this house will be paid off less than 6 years after building. I keep an emergency fund of $6000; the thing about emergencies is that you know that they will happen, you just don't know when or what.
This year's goal is to finish paying off the house and get the emergency fund up to $7000. Next year's goal will be to save up the money for a new vehicle and raise the emergency fund to $8000.

Thought for the Day:

Debt, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver.
Ambrose Bierce quotes

Sometimes really bad happens

I work in a hospital and see sick people all the time ; I hope that I help to either get them on the road to recovery or at least make them more comfortable. The ones that touch me the most are the young adults with Cystic Fibrosis or Sickle Cell Anemia. Life is such a struggle for them and in all reality will never be a whole lot better. Sickness is nothing unusual in my profession but here lately I have seen some really tragic situations. First there is Sharon with her husband sinking deeper into dementia; she is his 24/7 caretaker and the one who has to earn their living. Then there is Stephanie who is recovering from terrible burns following a plane crash; she has 4 children and cannot take care of them. The good thing with her is that they are Mormons and have good support from their community and family and she is improving. Yesterday, I learned that Brandy's husband is critically ill with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome; it is unknown whether he will live and if so what condition he will be in. Hard to understand.

Thought for the day:
What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? To help each other get through it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Very Good Day

There are days when you have so much to do but obstacles keep coming up frustrating all attempts to get anything done. This was NOT one of them. The stars must have been in the correct alignment because I just zipped along from one place to the next getting everything done. I went to the cleaners, to the bagel shop, had my 9 o'clock haircut appointment, bought nuts at the warehouse, bought stamps for the newsletter at the Post Office, went to Penney's (where they not only had what I wanted in my size but it was on sale—buy one, get one free!!), picked up a sandwich at the Potbelly's drive through, and was home BY NOON. Since my luck was soooo good, I probably should have bought a lottery ticket...but I don't buy lottery tickets but I'll betcha if I did buy lottery tickets, the one I would have bought would have won...

Thought for the Day:

"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." John Lennon

Friday, June 5, 2009

National Healthcare

Is this ever a topic to ruminate over!! Thoughts in no particular order:

1. We waste sooooo much money in the current system.

2. Other countries manage to provide reasonable healthcare for their citizens.

3. Everyone (with the possible exception of the Warren Buffetts and Bill Gates income levels) is really just one catastrophic disease away from bankruptcy whether they have insurance or not.

4. If I were an insurance company, I would sure want to require everyone to have insurance, i.e. pay me. (And we have all had such pleasant memories of trying to get the insurance to actually pay for things....)

5. The conversation stopper: FEMA

The Lost City of Z by David Gramm

I finished listening to this on CD on my way home from work last night. It is non-fiction about the explorer P.H.Fawcett and his explorations into the Amazon in the 1920's and especially about his search for the lost city of Z. All I can say is that I may have been willing to go on one expedition into the Amazon but after starving, being eaten my insects and parasites, and infections, I sincerely doubt that I would ever have gone back. It evidently takes a mind set that I lack. The book was interesting and I learned much about the indigenous people of the Amazon and I learned more than I wanted to know about maggots and the body. Usually one of the best things about listening to books on CD is the reader's voice; this one was adequate but not outstanding.

I have mostly stopped buying books on paper and get them on CD to listen to while on my daily commute. Although it is more expensive, I really enjoy listening more and besides it makes the commute much more enjoyable.

Thought for the Day:
"A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it." Samuel Johnson

Monday, June 1, 2009

Putting things off

We are focusing so intently on getting the mortgage paid off that there are many things that I choose to just put off. There are big things like replacing furniture, blinds, & valances and little things like new sheets and kitchen towels. Being a habitual list maker, I have a When the House Is Paid Off list. We are getting close--6 more months--and I am getting antsy to start working through the list. (At the top of the list is a dishwasher replacement.) I don't want to do anything though that would jeopardize accomplishing the main objective but oooooh how anxious I am to start down that list!!

Thought for the Day:
Lord give me patience and give it to me right now.

GM in Bankruptcy

Today's news is all about the GM bankruptcy. I suppose the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history is newsworthy but it is hardly something new, unexpected, out of the blue. Then handwriting was really on the wall when GM lost customers like JMM and me. Why have we bought Japanese cars and not GM?? Simple dependability. The one time we bought a GM vehicle was in the early 1980's when we bought an Oldsmobile. It was a dream to drive--for about 2 years and then things started going wrong with it--the a/c, the windows, etc. I finally traded it in and we went back to Toyotas--good gas mileage and utter dependability. I now have a Honda Odyssey with over 100,000 miles on it and guess how many times I have had problems with it--zero. I take it in for maintenance and never have I had any problems with it. And the Honda dealership where I take it, treats me like royalty.

I am sorry for the GM workers, bond holders, and retirees but not sorry enough to buy a GM car.

Thought for the day:

Henry Ford:
A setback is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

My Luxury

I admit it, I love having someone come in and clean my house. And I love Adrian. About 8 years ago, I decided that with my CMT either work or housework was going to have to go and since I make a lot more money than I would save by cleaning my own house, I would hire someone to clean. Back in the old days when most everyone had household help, you could check around and see who was available and who had good references. Now though, everything is franchised and you really don't know who is going to show up. So I called Molly Maids and took a chance. The house was cleaned but the people kept changing. After less than a year that Molly Maid franchise folded but one of the regular cleaners asked if he could continue to clean for me--that was Adrian. I said sure, same days, same pay which worked out fine for me because I had a regular, steady cleaner and fine for him because he didn't have to split off a percentage for the franchise owner. As I got to know Adrian, I liked him better and better. He is very dependable and does a good job. I pay him $100 to clean my house--it is well above the going rate but I want to be his number 1 priority. Anyway, I encouraged him to expand his business--business cards and fliers, and to get dependable people to work with him so that he could build his business. He now has all the business he can handle; he says that his biggest problem is finding reliable workers to help him. He is from El Salvador and is the kind of immigrant that we need more of. The sun is shining and Adrian is here cleaning, all is well in my world.

Thought for the day:

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?- Albert Camus

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #11

I have scheduled the June 1 house payment with a $5000 extra principal payment. This will bring us down to just under $44,000 left. We are half way through the year and still on target. As long as we stay fully employed and well, we should be able to get this house paid off by December 31.

Thought for the Day:

The Madoff affair is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations and common sense. Which is why we don’t just need a financial bailout; we need an ethical bailout. We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics and regulations. I don’t want to kill the animal spirits that necessarily drive capitalism — but I don’t want to be eaten by them either. Thomas Friedman 12/17/08 NYT

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Early Summer at OakMeadow

One of these days I'm going to learn how to attach photos to my blog so I I can show you just how beautiful it is here. In the meantime, I'll just keep telling you.

The tomatoes are spectacular this year. We are harvesting all we can eat and the rest I take to work to give away. One cherry tomato plant must have 100 tiny green tomatoes; these seldom make it into the house as they are so easy to pick as they ripen and just pop into the mouth.

The front porch baby barn swallows have flown. (And we have cleaned up the mess of poop on the porch under the nest.) The back porch babies are working their parents to death to keep them fed; there are 4, I think. It will be another week or 10 days before they are ready to fly. I wonder if we will have a second brood like we did last year??

The vitex is covered with spikes of purple blooms but what is really interesting is that as you go by it, the bush seems to be humming and almost vibrating. It is, of course, the bees gathering the heady nectar. I wonder if they tickle the bush as they move in and out of the flowers.

The daylillies are in full bloom. We have some yellow and some orange.

As my mother used to say though, "Into every life, a little rain must fall." And into our lives, the evening mosquitoes have come. No lingering on the porch after dark these days! As they think of me as a food source, so I like to think of them as food for our baby swallows.

Thought for the day:

"Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving." - Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Segregated South

I am listening to the audio CD of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I grew up in the segrated south--I took the separate drinking fountains, separate bathrooms, and the separate schools just for granted, just normal, just the way things were. In my 12 years of public education, I never had a black classmate. This book is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 and is the story of two groups of women--one the white, Junior League women and the other their maids. Kathryn Stockett has caught not only accuracy of physical detail (Final Net hairspray and radio music) but also the underlying fear on both sides, simmering resentment of the black maids, and total obliviousness of the white women. The readers voices are so perfect in their accent and tone that several times I caught my breath remembering just that tone, just that manner of speaking. This is one of those books that I listen to on my way home from work and find myself driving slower and slower so that I will have more time to listen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

I have never seen the fun in mall shopping. It takes so much time to drive there, find a place to park, get into the stores and actually find what I am looking for; then you have to find a checkout, pay, lug it back to your car which by now is blazing hot from being in the parking lot, and drive home. I think on-line shopping is so much simpler. This morning I simply went to JCPenney online, ordered what I needed in my size and color choice, and was finished in 10 minutes instead of a couple of hours. In a few days, my order will be delivered right to me.

Evidently there are people who think shopping at a mall is a pleasant way to spend the day because last weekend, it was jammed with people. TSM and I circled the parking garage while JMM went in to get his niacin from the GNC store. The recession was no where in sight at that mall. Frankly, just circling the parking lot was more mall than I care to deal with.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

While I have never been interested in reading science fiction, I was an early watcher of the original Star Trek television series. It seemed that there was purpose and future in exploration of the unknown. Then there was Star Trek: The Next Generation which I thought was every bit as good and thoroughly enjoyed. However, the Star Trek movies were mostly stupid and forgetable attempts to take the old Star Trek, dress it up a bit with special effects, make it longer, and pass it off as a movie. So I was rather skeptical when I heard that there would be a new Star Trek movie coming out. Would it lean too far back and be another blah re-hash? Or would it lean too far away from the past and leave out important characteristics of the main characters? Would the actors be believeable in their roles? Would the story be any good?? To my great surpirse and even greater pleasure--it was terrific! The actors were perfect for their roles, there was enough of the old to anchor the new, & a reasonably good sci-fi story. All in all a really, really good movie. I look forward to the sequels.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beautiful Things

It is necessary for me to have beauty in my everyday life. Beautiful music, beautiful flowers, the beauty of nature. So often it is there unnoticed but I am making it a point to look for beauty. Today's beauty included
The daylillies in full bloom
A flock of barn swallows sailing and swooping through the air
A spectacular full moonrise

What beauty has been in your life recently?

Thought for the Day:

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." ~ Rachel Carson

Thursday, May 7, 2009

4 Days Off

And just in the nick of time too!! I have worked the last 8 out of 9 days and am more than a little ready to have some days off. You would think that I would want to spend the day in my pajamas napping with the cats and while that does have much to say for it, I was happier doing things today. With 3 cats and a dog (and 3 people) all contributing hair and dander to the house, there is a constant battle to vacuum, dust, and mop it all up. Today I washed bedding, vacuumed, and dusted the back bedroom and generally straighted it up. Tomorrow I will do the front bedroom.

Next on my list of projects was bagels. When I worked at the VA, I would frequently stop at the New York Bagel Shop on Braeswood and get the freshest, best bagel in Houston and eat it with cream cheese on my way to work. TSM had some grocery store bagels which reminded me that it has been way too long since I had a real NY bagel. So I stopped by and got 4 plain, 1 cinnamon raisin, and 1 blueberry bagels. I had a plain with whipped cream cheese on my way to Bubbles Car Wash. Sooo good!!

No one cleans a car like Bubbles--Yes, it costs $35 plus $5 tip but worth every cent--sparkly clean outside and not a speck (or crumb) inside and windows you can see through even where the wipers don't get to. Bagels and Bubbles make for a very good day but no time to shop or cook.

So I am meeting JMM at Chili's for dinner. Nice end to Day Off #1.

Thought for the Day:

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails.__William Arthur Ward

Friday, May 1, 2009

Much Ado about Flu

The H1N1 influenza virus is spreading like... well, influenza. This flu virus is different in that it really isn't flu season. Otherwise, it seems like it will turn out to be as serious as most flu viruses--it makes you miserably sick for a week and then you get well unless your immune system is weakened from some other reason.

The news people are paid to create hype but it seems to me that most people discount what comes from the news and just use common sense. (There is a minority that go from one fear driven news crisis to the next but most don't.) Some of the over-reaction is a defense against lawsuits in case something bad somewhere happens to someone.

This is another reminder of why I limit the amount of "news" I am exposed to.

Thought for the day:

"..Learn to be more compassionate company [for yourself], as if you were somebody you are fond of and wish to encourage."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine flu

While it is possible that this will turn into a pandemic catastrophe, I am definitely in wait and see column. There have been 149 deaths in Mexico attributed to swine flu but it is hard to know if that is accurate considering the state of medical infrastructure in Mexico. I wonder how the people in Mexico contracted it--do they work directly in pig meat production or processing? Why does it become less lethal as it has moved into the U.S. and Canada or is the difference that the U.S. and Canada have systems that are capable of locating and treating patients earlier in the course of the disease? It is surprising that with global air travel and global trade that there have been so few actual pandemics and those that have occured, such as SARS, have been contained with no where near the mortality rates of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The next two weeks will tell the tale: major pandemic with high mortality, major pandemic with lots of miserably sick people who eventually get well, or pandemic contained/averted.

Thought for the day:

It has been said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength. Charles Haddon Spurgeon