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.