Monday, March 30, 2009


Our little jewels are back from their time in Central America and welcome they are!! We saw the first one March 7 and then another a week later. This weekend there are 3 of them. It is not an easy thing to count hummingbirds. We have 3 feeders with sugar water in each. One would think that with 3 hummingbirds and 3 feeders all would be peaceful. One would be very wrong. All three hummingbirds are fiercely driving each other from all three feeders. If you decide to sit on the back porch and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and gorgeous wildflowers, the tiny ferocities will try to drive you away too. And I usually give in so as not to distress them any more than they already are with driving each other from the feeders. Kind of reminds me of people who are so busy making sure that no one has more than they do that they overlook the possibility that by staying with one feeder, there is plenty for all.

Thought for the day:

No act of ever wasted. - Aesop

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Goal 2009 Update #9

We have scheduled the April 1 house payment with the extra principal payment; we are still on track to have the house paid off by December 31. (Holding my breath, keeping my fingers crossed.)

Dragon Lady

Very few things annoy me more than not being taken seriously. My normal persona is rather easy going and flexible and I think that sometimes I may not present myself in an assertive manner. (But frankly I find a state of perpetual assertiveness basically no way to live.) Anyway, there are times when I get so annoyed at being blown off by someone that I am paying my money to fix something that I morph into Dragon Lady. I remember several appearances of Dragon Lady when asinine pediatricians wouldn't believe me when I told them my DD was getting sick. Well, Dragon Lady appeared once again in the vet's office when she had to point out to them that Bandit wasn't getting any better on the current treatment and that he was losing weight because he wasn't eating or drinking and what were they going to do about it now??? The long and the short of it is that the antibiotic was changed and he was given an appetite stimulant and within 24 hours, he was getting better. What a coincidence... Last I saw her, Dragon Lady was smiling and cuddling a much improved Bandit and poof, she was gone but I suspect she'll be back when needed.

Thought for the Day:

Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Plato

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brief Medical Rant

I am naked with only a tissue paper "gown" on and it is bloody, freaking freezing in that exam room. I am soooo tempted to take a quilt with me next time. grrrrr Rant over.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

What an interesting book!! The premise of the book is that the people that we think of as "self-made" are not so much a result of a meritocracy as they are the beneficiaries of certain advantages. Cultural heritage and being in the right place at the right time plus 10,000 hours at a particular skill are what makes the star performer in a chosen field. Very thought provoking!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A beautiful day

Here on the Texas Gulf Coast we are in drought conditions so when it started to rain Friday, there were few complaints. It rained off and on all weekend and we needed every drop but by this morning I know I was ready for some sunshine. It was a perfect day--high of 76 and not a cloud in the sky.
My van was all mud-splattered so I took it to Bubbles Car Wash where it was washed and waxed and thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed inside. It was a nice treat for me as I spend so much time in the van.
I stopped by the library and picked up some books on the way home.
Lovely day.

Thought for the day:

"We can do no great things; only small things with great love." Mother Teresa.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beautiful Music

I am consciously staying away from the doom and gloom of the news these days and filling the space around me with beautiful music instead. When I get stressed or upset, beautiful music is soothing and calming. Two artists that I find uplifting are David Nevue and Josh Groban. I ordered 2 CDs today to play in the car on my daily commute.

More AIG Chutzpah

Looks like AIG thinks that their top management deserves $165,000,000 in bonuses. Well, I for one can certainly understand that--they need to retain the best and the brightest, the ones that destroyed the company. AIG certainly wouldn't want to lose them... It's mad; the world has gone completely bonkers.

Goal 2009 Update #8

I just finished doing the mid-month finances and it looks like we will be able to make the extra principal payment with the April 1 house payment that will allow us to stay on track for getting the house paid off by December 31. Lord willing and the creek don't rise as the old saying goes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ben Bernanke sez

the financial rules need an overhaul. Well now, who would ever have guessed?? Excuse me, but that's a given. How far along are you and your minions on writing these new rules? Care to share what these new regs might be? Any ideas? ARRGGGHHH!!!

The Wars Series Week #2

We need to get out of Iraq & Afghanistan.

Suicide bombers killed 28 on Sunday and 33 on Tuesday in Iraq. I think it will be a bloodbath when we leave no matter if it is 10 months or 10 years from now. And there is no chance of a good outcome in Afghanistan either.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Whole lotta chutzpah goin' on...

From what I understand we are just now getting a list of the wrecked companies that were insured by AIG and to whom AIG has been funneling the bailout money. It seems incredible to me that AIG had not been required to furnish that information in the first place. According to the list in the NYT, most of the companies receiving bailout money from AIG are also receiving direct bailout money. Talk about double dipping!
While on the subject of double dipping, the same people who brought us Countrywide Mortgage Co. with the ensuing sub prime debacle are now buying up their own now taxpayer subsidized toxic assets. Just incredible!
Disgusting. The whole sorry mess is just disgusting.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


We have a new addition to the OakMeadows family. She is an 8 year old reddish blond cocker spaniel. She is actually TSM's dog but is visiting with us for as long as she cares to stay. She has those adorable cocker spaniel liquid brown eyes. But it is the ears!! Long, curly, incredibly soft ears that won't leave you alone until you stroke them, roll them up, cover her eyes with them. Daisy seems very used to people going crazy over her ears and calmly endures the human fixation with her ears.
How are the cat/dog interactions coming along? you might ask. Well, Daisy has been browbeaten by the head cat (literally) and gives them wide berth. She is puzzled because everyone else around here seems to love her. Oh well, she says, I have other things to do than deal with cats.
She is very adaptable to new people and places. With our 4 acres, there are many interesting smells to sniff; one can stay exceedingly busy sniffing one's way around this place. JMM is really enjoying having her with him as he works around the yard. She thinks he is wonderful because he takes her to interesting smells... and because he feeds her sausage.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Swallows are back!!

Our beautiful barn swallows are back!! They've been swooping in and around the porch all day. I believe they are checking out last years nests and beginning to get things in order for this year. There is just nothing so beautiful as those aerodynamically perfect birds as they swoop through the air. And I love to hear their rather musical chatter. It always comes as a surprise when we realize there are babies in the nest. We watch in amazement each year as the parents tirelessly feed those gaping mouths and hold our breath when flight day arrives. Life is so precious and so beautiful.

Thought for the Day:
"Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance." ~ J. Petit-Senn

Coping with Economic Free Fall

How am I coping with the economic freefall that we are in? Physically, I am cleaning and cooking and sewing and quilting. We are gardening and I am learning home canning. We are paying off our one remaining debt—our mortgage and building up our emergency fund from $6,000 to $7,000. That is what we are actively doing. Emotionally/mentally I am dealing with it by consciously limiting the time that I listen to the neverending bad news and listening to beautiful music instead. Also, I am consciously focusing on gratitude for my many blessings. That is how I am dealing with it--how are you coping?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Learning Home Canning

Home canning is not totally new to me but it has been a very long time. Of course, my first stop was at the library to check out 4 books on home canning--good reading for this weekend. I found a complete home canning set of water bath, tongs, jars & lids at Lehman's for $59.00 plus shipping. My plan is to buy at the Farmer's Market because I don't think I'll have enough from the garden to can. We shall see.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On the work scene

We had a meeting at work yesterday for all pharmacists. The economic slowdown is beginning to show itself at our hospital. We have had a hiring freeze for several months and have lost 2 pharmacists in that time. Our schedules are being changed to try to provide adequate coverage with less staff. I'm not looking forward to a rotating schedule so I will see if I can find someone to trade with so that I can keep working straight evenings. It is unavoidable that I will have to work a rotating weekend schedule. In all honesty though, I don't mind the weekends as it is nice to have some days off during the week. The main thing is that I still have a job. If the economy doesn't pick up by the end of the year, I wouldn't be surprised at all if JMM is laid off; if we can manage to both stay employed until the house is paid off, we can live on one salary for as long as necessary. Interesting times these are.

Thought for the day:

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

24 Hour News Fast

The world will just have to get along without me for the next 24 hours. I'm at my bad news saturation point. So for the next 24 hours, only that which is beautiful and uplifting will be permitted.

Thought for the day:

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies--those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." ~John Milton

Monday, March 2, 2009

Down, down, down Dow

Well, the Dow went down another 300 points today bringing it to a close at 6763. I sure am glad that 2/3 of my retirement funds ($200,000) are not in the stock market!! My plan is to continue working 32 hours per week until age 66 (5 more years) and then drop to 24 hours per week until 70. Unless there's a total economic collapse and rioting in the streets, my finances should be just fine. Good health, full employment, and the Good Lord willing, that is.

Thought for the day:

Joy is not in things, it is in us." ~ C. Wagner

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Wars Series Week #1

We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I wonder how many weeks I will have to run this series.

Thought for the week:
"Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of." ~ A. Allen


We are in a mess--2 wars and the worst economy since the 1930's, not to mention environmental degradation, peak oil, and climate change. There are those who don't believe the last 3 are real (I do) but you'd have to be off needed medication not to agree that the 2 wars and the economy are a real mess. So we have an election and vote Republicans out and the Democrats in. That's the way the system works. What I am finding exceedingly irritating is the Republican blather about Obama. He was elected fair and square; he's not a Republican, things are going to be different, get used to it. We had a Republican President for 8 years and much of that time Republican control of both houses of Congress and you can see what a pile of dung we are sitting in now. I don't agree with everything Obama is doing. I don't agree with all the bailouts; I think if a company digs its own grave, it ought to be allowed to fall in. I may not like his healthcare plan but I do know there are a lot of sick people in this country who are not getting adequate healthcare (if any healthcare at all.) We have problems and Obama is trying to do something. All you get from the Republicans is wondering where they went wrong and how to get back into power. Here's a hint: Show some energy, enthusiasm, and initiative in getting some of the nation's problems solved and Newt's not the answer.

Thought for the Day:
The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now. - James Baldwin

Talk about sending mixed signals

On the one hand, we are told that Americans are reckless consumers who spend every nickel and dime they have (and then some) and castigating us for not having nearly enough savings. But then you pick up the next article which is pitching a tizzy fit that the credit markets are frozen and we're all going to Hades because we're not buying cars or houses or racking up student loans. I know that businesses need credit for inventory and expansion but I'm not so sure we need so much personal credit. As for me, this less debt I have, the better I like it.

Thought for the day:

If I really grasped the reality of how brief life is what would I do differently?

Goal 2009 Update #7

It is official now: we now owe $63,670 on our mortgage. We are on target for having the house paid off by December 31 if we all stay healthy and fully employed. There are so many things that I want to do but everything is on hold until the house is paid off. I have a list of things that need to be repaired or replaced and when the house is paid off, I will take great pleasure in one by one going down that list--with cash. But there I go counting my chickens before the eggs are hatched...or even laid.