Sunday, August 28, 2011

Makin' my list, checking it twice

No, I'm not getting a head start on Christmas.  I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow for my annual physical and I want to be sure that I remember what needs to be discussed.  Fortunately it is a short list because other than my CMT, I'm in good health. 

I can't mention health care without thinking of the one in four Texans who have no health insurance.  I have insurance and can go in to see a doc to make sure I stay healthy.  But there are so many in this country who are sick and can't afford to see a doctor.  I had such hopes that we could have universal health care...Evidently we can't afford universal health care but we can afford perpetual warfare.  Got to keep our priorities straight...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A new iron

I had to buy a new iron.  This new iron is only the 3rd iron I’ve had in 43 years of marriage.  The last iron lasted 25 years and would still be working if I could replace the cord but things today are not made to be repaired, they are made to be replaced.  I suppose replacing every 25 years is not too bad on the landfills.  But still, I’d rather have been able to repair it.  ( One reason it lasted so long may be that I don’t iron much—only with my quilting and sewing.)   There have been improvements in irons in the last 25 year:  It turns itself off if left in the down position after 30 seconds and after 15 minutes in the upright position.  There’s a dot on the side that tells you when it is hot and when it is cool enough to put away.  I seem to have done OK without these improvements but they do seem to make it a bit safer.                

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One of the best things about retirement

is that when you need to go to Home Depot, you don't have to go on the weekend!!  Actually, it could be Target or anywhere you need to shop--you can go Monday through Friday during the day and essentially have the store to yourself!! I had to go to Home Depot to arrange for someone to come out and install a new faucet for my kitchen sink.  It would have been a major ordeal on the weekend of waiting for someone who actually knew how to schedule an installation and then standing in a long line waiting to pay for the installation.  But on a Tuesday at 10 AM, it's a piece of cake!!  Well, not actually a piece of cake because the person who was supposed to help me, hadn't been in serviced on the new computer software and we had to find someone who knew how to do it.  But all I could think of was how much worse it would have been on the weekend.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

I am writing to you today to urge you to end the decade long war in Afghanistan and to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. As we move closer to their removal, there will be immense pressure on you to leave some troops longer. I urge you to resist these pressures and to move steadily and consistently to a complete end to these military involvements.

I am so distressed over so many things in government today that I feel completely overwhelmed. Social Security and Medicare being dismantled, health care overhaul being shredded, lack of civility, compassion, and compromise in budgeting.  What can I do? Where does one start?  Well, for me right now the thing that tears at me most is the terrible toll these wars are taking on everyone. So I am committing myself to writing one letter each Sunday to President Obama and one to my Congressional Representative letting them know that I vehemently object to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

I wish there were an organization of Old Ladies Against the Wars but I've Googled it and nothing comes up.  I'd even fly me and my electric scooter to Washington if there were any anti-war marches planned but there doesn't seem to be anything there either.

So you do what you can.

Lucy by Ellen Feldman

Historical fiction at its best transports one to a different time and place.  There you see the sights, hear the sounds, and feel the emotions of that time and place.  That is what happens when you turn the first page of Lucy by Ellen Feldman.  You listen in as Lucy Mercer tells you how she came to 1733 N Street to be the social secretary to the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  You understand how she and Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to love each other and just how deep and enduring that love was.  In telling their story, you are transported to Washington, D.C. when Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, you are with the women in the canteen as the troop trains arrive and depart, you are at home in Aiken, S.C. when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and at Warm Springs, Georgia when Franklin dies.  As much as we are who we are, Lucy, Franklin, and Eleanor are just who they are, each person treated with respect and compassion.

I can't wait to read more of Feldman's books.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Heat

It is always hot on the Texas Gulf Coast in August and I am always tired of it by August.  But Lordy, there are summers and then there are summers!! There has been no rain and relief from the 100+ degree heat means a day of 97 degree heat. Ack!!  Which brings me to air conditioning.  I think of myself as an environmentalist--I reduce, re-use, and recycle; I drive a fuel efficient car and bundle all my trips to be as efficient as possible.  But at approximately 90 degrees, I stop worrying about my carbon footprint and crank up the a/c.  How did our pioneer fore bearers stand it?? Many didn't--they died or settled up North.  The drought is wearing on me too.  I worry about the little creatures and how they are getting enough water to stay alive.  I see big old trees dying for lack of water.  And it has been so long since I have heard that soothing sound of a nice steady rainfall and smelled the cool, clean air that it brings. 
I am ready for autumn.

Monday, August 15, 2011


There is a time to plow ahead and overcome the circumstances.  There is also a time to reassess the situation and make adjustments for reality.  For example, I had planned to continue to work until age 66 because I was good at my job, my employer appreciated me, and the pay was great.  However, my neuromuscular condition reached a point that the struggle was simply overwhelming.  I tried to soldier on but made myself sick.  So, I retired.  And you know what, the world didn't end.  Our paid for house and debt free living habit of many years made it financially quite doable. 

Today I made another accommodation to life.  My life long hobby has been quilting--hand piecing the blocks and then hand quilting the quilt.  Today, I realized that I can still quilt by piecing on the sewing machine and quilting only in straight lines.  And you know what, that is fine with me. I can still get the pleasure of putting colors together in a pleasing pattern and still enjoy hand quilting and that is what I enjoy anyway.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Trouble with Painting

The trouble with painting is that if you just paint that little wall by the computer which really needs painting, then the freshly painted wall makes the wall next to it look grungy and you end up painting it, which of course makes it necessary to paint the next wall. I've been able to postpone it for a while by taking my glasses off but now even with glasses off, the little wall by the computer needs to be painted. Out will come the floor cloth, wet rags, paint, stirrer, brush, and paint for the little wall. Later will come the pan, the roller, and the extension for the next wall, and the next...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dream to Goal

There is a saying that the difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.  While we were paying off the house, I kept a list of things that I wanted to do or buy When The House Is Paid Off.  This WTHIPO list was to remind me that the austerity was just temporary and would not last forever.  I put the list in priority order and what a joy it was to draw a line through that first item! (It was a replacement for a cracked window.)  Over the past couple of months JMM and I have been discussing various things that would be nice to do  but with no real commitment or priority to any of it.  Ever the planner, I made a list of all that we had idly discussed and e-mailed the list to JMM with a request that he put them in order of his priorities.  As it happens, the top 3 items on his priority list corresponded with mine.

They are:
1.   Yard scooter
2.   Sprinkler system
3.   Travel

So we have decided to concentrate on getting a Precedent Golf cart so that I can move around our 4 acres and not be limited to the brick path where my electric scooter can go. 

Next step is to move from dream to goal and make a plan.  I spent some time going over the budget and arranged things so that we can save $200 per paycheck minimum.  We should be able to accomplish this in less than a year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Fruit

We will digress from the usual abysmal political / economic news and wallow in the juicy, drippy deliciousness of summer fruit.  Oh my, the aroma of the peaches at the market just about sends me directly to heaven.  Juicy, drippy, sweet peaches.  We brought home peaches, grapes, and cantaloupe. The peaches didn't last until we got home.  I cut up the cantaloupe and put it in a bowl in the refrigerator. I found JMM had stuck a note to the bowl, "No good.  Leave this to me to take care of."  Which of course meant that it was so good, he wanted all of it.  And grapes, I've just left them on the counter so we can snack on them as we walk by.  Watermelons, I love the smaller, seedless varieties.  JMM loves plums of all kinds.  Yum, have to go wash the juice off my chin.  What's your favorite summer fruit?

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'd rather have to find a new husband

I think I would rather have to find a new husband than a new hairdresser.  It’s like going on a blind date in which if things go badly, you can’t just walk away—the bad date lingers on for months.   Which is why even though we moved almost 8 years ago, I have been driving 60 miles round trip each month to the old salon.  It was fairly reasonably when I was still working because I could stop by on my way in to work but now that I have retired, I really need to find a new hair cutter.  I can’t put it off any longer so next week I take the plunge. Ack!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

CBS Evening News 8/3/11

Several Items on the news yesterday really grated on me.

First, President Obama is going on a "listening tour" about jobs.  He doesn't need to go on a listening tour about jobs.  Can there be anyone, anywhere that doesn't already know that unemployment is a huge problem??  What is needed is some LEADERSHIP: fire and brimstone, raise the roof, energetic LEADERSHIP.  Throw out ideas, plans, programs.  Use the vast 2008 database to bury, drown, and trample the opposition.

Next was the segment on spending billions on inventing an Afghan police force.  Is there anyone, anywhere who thinks that any police force in place when we leave will be there 15 minutes after the last troop transport leaves???

Finally, the segment on the dismantling of our educational system.  This segment focused on California's universities but it could have been any state's elementary, secondary, or university system.  We have to cut teachers, cut research, cut federal tuition aid while we pour money, lives, and limbs into Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.

Why are we not marching on the capitol and burying our legislators with e-mail, phone calls, and letters??