Monday, February 23, 2009

Keeping on keeping on

It seems to me that much of aging is a matter of keeping on with what you've been doing only now it's harder. We have to do many of the same activities--housework, cooking, bill paying, and hobbies but without the stamina, flexibility, eyesight, or balance of our younger days. So it becomes a matter of finding ways to keep on. Fortunately, with age comes a modicum of wisdom. For example, while we don't have the stamina that we once had, we gain the wisdom to pace ourselves and to realize that not everything has to be done. I've found ways to keep on quilting, reading, exercising (though I'd really rather not), and gardening as well as keeping my job 32 hours a week. The emphasis is on finding ways to do the things that bring enjoyment, maybe not on the same scale and certainly not at the same pace to keep on keeping on.

Thought for the Day:

Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's new in the garden?

Tomatoes and bell peppers, that's what!! We planted 4 varieties of tomatoes. I usually have good luck with cherry tomatoes so we have several of those. For my new variety, this year I am trying Roma tomatoes. Only 2 bell pepper plants, one generally provides all we can eat but I want some to chop up and put in the freezer. The little pea plants are doing very well and will have to be thinned out before long.

I am contemplating getting a solar oven and learning how to cook with it this summer. It really is ridiculous to use the oven during the summer while running the airconditioning to keep the house cool. I saw a couple of books on solar cooking but I'm sure it is like anything else, you learn it best while doing it. I would also need some kind of cart on wheels to move it in and out. Interesting. Need to look into the different types and the cost.

Another project for the summer is to do some home canning. The last time I did home canning was back in the 1970's. Funny how the things I did back then are now all the rage.

So much to learn; so much to do!!

Thought for the day:

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. Albert Schweitzer

Culture of Corruption

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things, rather than the Creator." Romans 1:25

Can anything describe our current culture with its Bernie Madoffs, Robert Stanfords, Wall Street Masters of the Universe, TARPS, bailouts, and stimulus plans better?? I've never thought much of the school of thought that humans and societies are perfectable. (I've known too many humans and read too much history to do that.) It seems to me that our current economic meltdown was caused in large part by worshipping and serving created stuff--houses, cars, 401Ks. A certain amount of material is necessary and good but all pervasive grasping for more and more and more has turned us from the beauty of God's creation and toward a destructive enslavement. The question now is how to balance the production and consumption of what is needed and good without becoming enslaved to what we are capable of producing and consuming.

Thought for the day:

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Goal 2009 Update #6

Thursday was payday so this morning I am paying bills and balancing the checkbook. All to make sure we will be able to make the extra principal payment with the March house payment. We had two large unexpected expenses but they were covered by the income tax refund that came in quicker than we expected. So the answer is YES!! We will make a $5000 extra principal payment with the March 1 payment. As of March 1, we will owe $63,670 on the house. So far, so good. Thank you Lord!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Current Quilt

I am making an Amish Cross Quilt. I have the pieces cut out and am piecing the blocks. This weekend, I finished block #2 of the 25 blocks. It will be very pretty when it is finished but the truth of the matter is that this is the last quilt I will ever make using such tiny pieces. My CMT just does not permit me to manipulate such small pieces. From now on 3 inch pieces will be as small as I will work with. My plan is to make one block each week and have the quilt top finished over the summer. We'll see how it goes.

Garden Update

It is beginning to look like spring! I am certainly ready for it because I am tired of being cold. I love my house but it is the coldest house I have ever lived in; I think it has something to do with the large tiled area or maybe it is the high ceilings but whatever, in the winter, it is cold and I am cold an I don't like it.

Anyway, back to the garden. The sugar snap peas are up and growing toward the trellises. The rain this week has certainly helped. JMM planted the cucmbers and some seedless watermelons this weekend. I want to plant a couple of tomato plants this year although I usually have very little success growing them. Actually, I've done well with cherry tomatoes in the past.

We pruned the rose bushes on Valentine's Day as usual. JMM moved 2 of them as they were really too close together.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Economy...again

Last month saw the loss of 598,000 more jobs. The official unemployment rate is 7.6% but if you add in those who are in part-time work because they are unable to find full-time work, the rate goes up to 13%. So far we are all fully employed. However, if these increases continue, the chances increase that one of us could lose our job because of the ripple effect. We could manage on one salary but it would take over 1/2 of that salary to pay the mortgage leaving very little for irregular expenses such as car repairs or pet expenses. So I continue to hold my breath while pouring money into paying off the mortgage and increasing our emergency fund.

If we do manage to remain employed, I have been thinking about goals for 2010:
1. $12,000 for yearly house expenses which include property taxes, homeowners insurance, and POA fees.
2. $20,000 new vehicle fund
3. Increase the emergency fund by another $1,000
4. I continue to debate with myself about food storage but it is a possibility.
5. I want to resume the CD ladder that I began several years ago and I want to resume 403b contributions.
These goals are achieveable only if we remain healthy and fully employed.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


JMM is finally catching some of my interest in vegetable gardening!! He put up trellises for sugar snap peas and got them planted this morning. We were discussing tomatoes and have decided to do little cherry tomatoes this year. He has some corn to plant the first of March and he wants to plant some seedless watermelons too.

On the flower side, the butterfly garden should be even better this year with many of the plants reseeding themselves and others well established. Roses need to be pruned on Valentines Day.

I hope one of these days to have several bee hives but that is well down the road.

Thought for the day:

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not our circumstances." --Martha Washington

Goal 2009 Update #5

We were able to pay an additional $4400 on the mortage principal with the February 1 house payment. That brings us down to $70,200 left. So far we are on track to meet our goal of getting the house paid off and increasing our emergency fund by $1000 this year.

The Taxes Are Done!

Sometimes there is a quantum leap in the improvement of human life. Two such improvements are TurboTax and e-filing. Back in the bad old days, there were trips to the library or Post Office for the right forms; there was aggravation of filling in forms and hoping it was on the right form; there was mailing it in with a midnight trip to the Post Office to get it in under the deadline; there was the wait until your refund check was mailed back to you so that you could go to the bank to deposit it. Today with TurboTax and e-filing we were done in under an hour. And our $1090 refund will be directly deposited into the checking account.

Of course, the down side is the total amount that we paid in Income, Social
Security, and Medicare taxes. But at least it is done, done, done.