Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Is Not an Unlucky Number

Responses to past questions in no particular order from ya'll:

Never played Angry Birds, but I do know what it is.  (I got a smart phone for Christmas, unasked for, and I am sure I will not play Angry Birds on it.  I am hoping I can just figure out how to make calls!)  The Angry Birds game in the post below was a lego-like game without the great Lego engineering behind it.

I do not know what Google Reader is and glad that I have 117 followers there--so should I shoot for 150 now?  How can I not know  about this stuff?

Regarding the malware issue, I deleted the html link from my side bar to another blogger and deleted the html link in my post to the same blogger and that got rid of my malware issue.  I still cannot go there to read her posts and I love her blog very much, so this is very frustrating!  I will try again soon.

I also cannot leave a comment on Murmurrs and I love her blog to death as well!!  I log in as Google reader, I log in as anonymous, nothing works.  I seem to have resolved The Chubby Chatterbox issue.  WILL YOU ALL PLEASE JUST STAY PUT!

On the bright side, 2013 is going to be a great year for us all...I just KNOW THAT!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


The holiday was very nice this year.  One of those perfect ones where no one is sick, no one is grumpy, and no one has an agenda.  I will treasure it.

We got soft fuzzy things to hug, for me it was a bathrobe.

We got stuff to put on our head.

With or without tags, we really look cool.

Anyone for a game of Quidditch?

The adults got a little angry over assembly of Angry Birds.

Sometimes it was a little overwhelming.

Sometimes little animals friends went to hide under the furniture.

But it ended with the best double birthday party!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Follow Me!

All I want for Christmas (among other things money cannot buy) is 100 followers.  I am close!

I guess my blog is now safe from the malware notice that I got this morning??? I will let others know on the other blog if I get no problems later today.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Posting...or Not

I have been having trouble posting comments on a few blogs.   Murmurrs and Butler and Bagman to name two.  This may have been going on for some time because I assumed my comments were going through and I did not go back to read what I had written.  The other day I had wanted to add something and found that none of my posts were being accepted, at least to these two and maybe others.  I know that coding is becoming more individualized by bloggers, but does anyone know about this bug, and if so, found a solution?  (I tried IE and deleted all the cookies and that worked.  Mozilla is still being temperamental.  I am so depressed that all my wit and wisdom was for not lost in the Interknot!)

Now I find that Loose Leaf Notes is being blocked for Malware or something or other,no matter which broswer I use!  Sorry Colleen but Google will not let me comment!  Two bloggers forward and one backward.  Maybe this is a Mayan thing after all?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Godlessness Be Damned

As we get closer to a God-filled holiday, I am surprised, although I certainly should not be, at how many God-less situations are being pointed out to me by God-filled experts. The most recent being a justification for tragedies in schools and universities because they are God-less bastions of compromising lifestyles and philosophies, and the next at the funerals of some of the school victims where church-goers were protesting their Godlessness.

As my readers know I am not a religious person. I am not an agnostic or an atheist either. I am someone on a journey always looking for God-fullness and answers in religious and non-religious events alike.  I do not see God in my likeness but as a magnificent power or energy inside all living things, yet I do not see myself as a pantheist. I would never have the hubris to point out places where God does not exist.   But I am bold enough to say that I think God is goodness and God is everywhere.  God is the quiet and tiny.   God is sometimes the bold and loud. God is ALWAYS EVERYWHERE and we abandon God, God does not abandon us.  I do not think God is an evangelist demanding loyalty and creating punishment for those who stray.  We create our own punishment.  God is the softest act you will ever know seducing you into loyalty.  He is like the poet's (Autry) son who in his autistic struggle in this world caught not one but dozens of butterflies and hummingbirds in his child-hands in slow wonderment, named them and then set them free in love.

I see IT/God in the face of a child whose life was shortened by violence. I see IT in the eye of the whale. I see IT in the dance of youth at a party. I see IT in the hands of a nurse removing blood streaked gloves. I see IT in the bent and gnarled body of an old woman crossing the street. I see IT in all the music that man has created and invented. I see this power for goodness in the poetry I read. I see it in all the colored lights we string and all the candles we light when man celebrates any God-filled holiday anywhere in the world.  For that brief moment we concentrate outside ourselves.   I also see God in the anger and discouragement of mankind.  IT is hidden inside behind the fire waiting to be seen. 

I see IT when we sigh and forgive ourselves for our mistakes each year and promise ourselves a better year.  There sits God deep inside our soul waiting for us to recognize IT and not give up hope.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Got Your Attention, Didn't It?

I have had a mild infection that I have been unable to shake for weeks and I finally demanded help from a local Physicians Assistant since my doctor (well THAT is a whole other story) will be fired by me this month.  I am now on a drug that has the following uses:

"is used to prevent anthrax (a serious infection that may be spread on purpose as part of a bioterror attack) and  is also sometimes used to prevent or treat travelers' diarrhea and plague (a serious infection that may be spread on purpose as part of a bioterror attack)."  Were these explanations on labels years ago?  Do the U.S. embassies have this in their stock?  It also has not one but two black box warnings from the FDA.  Whatever THAT means.  I kept thinking of black boxes in airplanes as I read this.

The tablets are accompanied by a rather dense brochure.  This drug also has the following dangers:  "sudden pain, snapping or popping sound, bruising, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or loss of movement in any of your joints."  It is that "snapping or popping sound" warning that makes me more than nervous in taking this.  No popcorn or fires in the fireplace tonight.

The above is, of course, in addition to a whole slew of possible reactions you would never want to happen to your worst enemy ever.

There, now aren't you feeling much, much better about your current problems?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Waves on the Water

This is how one email begain when I opened my inbox today:

This was a hard day telling Michael about what happened before knowing names. He is handling it well by asking thoughtful questions and knows that there are kids in heaven with Orazio(grandfather), Ricardo (horse), Elmo (fish), and his hermit crab.

Michael is the grandson of a friend of mine who just earlier that week attended a birthday party of one of the children who was killed in the tragedy at the elementary school and who also attended CCD (Catholic school) classes at his church taught by the mother of the same child.  The wife of my friend who sent this email, who is also a friend of ours, is a nurse and was at the hospital working with a father, a NICU Physicians Assistant who has save so many babies lives, when he learned that his daughter had been shot at the school.  This is the little blonde girl whose face has appeared in so many news stories.  These tragic waves keep on expanding.

This is such a tough holiday season for us all.  I took an unplanned trip up to see my grandchildren on Sunday...just to hug them and see them.

Early Warming?

It is totally amazing to me that I had roses to pick a few days ago to add to some Christmas decorations that are on my dining table.  I also noticed this morning that some trees are beginning to have small buds swelling in anticipation.  This is so frightening to me as I do think we must have some cold weather ahead.  If we do not, how odd spring will seem in early March!  Which plants will survive this change, which birds and insects will be caught off guard and flying around somewhere they should not be?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Words...just Words

You can ask why?  No one will give you an answer that makes any sense.
You can ask how?  No untangled web will lead to the path of what the pattern meant.
You can ask what next?  Take one step and then breathe and then take the next step and then breathe.
The breathing hurts, I know.  It is harsh and sharp.
The first step feels as if there is no ground beneath your foot.
You may fall, but pick yourself up.
Reach for that nearby hand, it is firm and warm.
Take the next step.
You are part of the tapestry of this life.
Your presence helps keep it all from unraveling.
You are important.  Please stay strong.

To the Rest of the World...We Are Not as Crazy as We Seem...Maybe.

(Note:  This event and the writing about it happened days before the Oregon tragedy.)

I had a list...somewhere...I thought...looking for that wrinkled yellow paper torn from my notepad and now lying hidden beneath a wallet, a small camera, hand lotion, a pocket calendar, and stale gum deep in the bottom of my purse.  I must use the list or I will kick into that addictive mode where I keep buying gifts for loved ones as if that could make them love me more or longer.  I MUST STICK TO THE LIST!

I look around the mall filled with dazed shoppers and resigned children carrying bags of all shapes and sizes.  Down the center of the mall are young minimum wage employees standing expectantly outside their kiosks wishing to dab something on my hand or allow me to play with some automated toy.  They stand intensely watching for potential customers or absently texting wishing they were anywhere but here before displays of woven scarves or silver jewelry or brightly colored cell-phone cases.  I silently say a prayer (to whomever) that they make it through the season with a little more money than they had hoped for.  They deserve some reward after spending days rubbing lotion on old ladies hands.

Sighing to myself,  I have given up on the list.  I do remember my son asking for shirts and sweaters in medium and I turn to hubby and direct him away from watching some flying toy toward the large department store at the very end of the mall.  It will be a trek and an obstacle course, but we will get there.

Surprisingly, the men's clothing section in the back of the store is not in total disarray.  Shelves are neat and reasonably full of stock.  Some of the sale prices are very good.  I peruse tables avoiding the cream cheese golf look and the expensive European brands and turn toward the edgier clothing to match my son's 'rock star' personality.  After all, he texted yesterday that he will be opening for Sublime with Rome...whoever in the hell they are!  Striped shirts with thin bright bands or shiny black buttons which I match to a more subdued but very soft pullover sweater are my selections.

As I turn toward the checkout a tall woman about my age is standing just to my left.  She turns to the (Indian/Pakistani?) girl behind the counter and asks if the shirt she is holding out is more blue or more purple.  The girl hesitates and then answers "Purple" with a distinct un-American accent.  Then the woman pulls up a bright lime green shirt, and looking at both the girl and I, asks if we think it is too bright.  The girl demures clearly not sure what answer her customer is looking for.

I think her question is naive, but I tactlessly respond.  "Depends on the personality of the man you are giving it to.  Is he bold with personality or more conservative?"   She doesn't answer but tucks the shirt under her arm and then turns to me again with the blue/purple shirt and asks if I think it is blue or periwinkle.  I want to explain that looking at colors under store lighting is very deceptive, but being the photographer that I like to think I am, I boldly state that it has a little more purple in it and is probably closer to periwinkle.

I place my selections on the counter and hand the girl my credit card.

"I do not know what color is periwinkle," she smiles as she begins to scan the bar codes of my selections.

The tall, solidly built woman approaches the counter behind my husband and I, and looks around the store commenting that there is a lot of stock that still has to be moved by the holidays.  I respond that I have seen some stores that do not seem to have so much inventory and appear to be playing it more carefully.

Hubby says something about the recession and something else that I do not hear about the economy as I finish my check-out.  The woman responds to him with some comment I miss and he looks at a loss for words.  I grab my bags of clothes and turn to leave as the woman leans in close to hubby's ear and says something to him in a low voice.

As we are leaving the store and out of her hearing, I ask him what she said.

He takes a deep breath, "When all the goodies are gone, just make sure you have your gun loaded and ready."

And yet, she had looked so absolutely normal.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Continuing with the Holidays

I have little to add this week as I am up to my eyes in Christmas wrapping paper and there seems to be various amounts of scotch tape in my hair that I cannot get out.  I have misplaced the scissors once again yet I know they are somewhere here on the floor where I am sitting under tags and ribbons and boxes.  I refuse to get up and look around, because at my age getting up off the floor requires and Act of Congress and I find it almost impossible to get back down again.

Speaking of Congress no one from there sent me a single Christmas card!  And I did send a number of those folks money this past year.  But I got a 'BUNCH' of cards from the White House--each time asking me for money and I thought my candidate of choice had won that election?  Anyway, I thought I would share two of my favorites that came in the mail.  No matter who is in office I always love their pets!

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Annual Visitor

There it sits with patience, or is it insolence, in a dark corner of the basement.  Plastic green sheeting with bright red handles protects it from dust and mice droppings.  Every year it gains weight.  What does it eat down here?  It has melded into its little corner with such fossilized determination and like a big fat dog it fights our every tug and pull to break it free from other large unidentifiable objects.

Finally it falls between us with a soft whoosh like a beached green whale just inches from our toes.  Hubby lifts the heavy end and I lift the other heavy end.  We both grunt and groan and wonder if we really want to do this.  Every year we put off the task until we reach a tipping point in time.  The lump gets bumped and dragged past the covered unused dining room table, past the antique doll house and over the threshold toward the stairs.  This is where we wipe our brows and put our courage to the sticking place.  At our age this could be a life or death decision.

With hands tightly grabbing canvas and stitched pulls we drag it ever so slowly over each wooden step up to the main floor using our (my) body weight to prevent it from running back down the stairs and taking me with it.  At the main level it is like a heavy dust mop as we pull it down the hallway.  It accordians various throw rugs until it reaches the designated place: the bay window.  This means we no longer have a place to eat breakfast.

We should feel successful at this juncture, but an even greater effort and struggle awaits us our expended energies.  We catch our breath.

Hidden in the dense plastic branches, there are green tips to match green holes, red tips to match red holes and black tips which are impossible to see to match anything.   Then buried deeper in the darkness of the plastic pine needles, there are numerous male and female plugs, so many that we have never been able to count them all.  One year long ago when I was determined I labeled them AA, BB, CC, DD.  We have never again found the DDs in the dense green.  There is one string of lights that no longer lights (perhaps related to the DDs) and we must add our own little string across that area.

After an hour in which we do not swear because it IS the holiday season, we have a perfectly symmetrical plastic tree in place.  It does not smell of pine, but smells of age and mildew, a perfect tree for old people.  We tweak the ends of various wire branches turned inward like the bowed head of a timid dog that has been subdued by its master and does not want to be here.  Then we decorate each branch in red and gold glass ornaments because it is an adult tree with sophistication and no whimsy as all the family ornaments have been given to the children now that they have their own homes. 

Once it is lit sharing all its glory we remember why we go through this every year.  It cleans up pretty good and so does my floor!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Action vs Reaction

Continuing on a theme from the prior post.

This is why (not really) that I no longer go to church.  I wonder what the parishioners' "helping the poor" programs are like, because in spite of their misinterpretation of that quote from the Bible, Jesus did preach that we help the poor.  Do they offer free gun training or free ammunition to poor families at Christmas?  It reminds me of the dorm at the Colorado University that was set aside this year for students who wanted to bring their guns to college.  Keeping a concealed weapon is so important to learning.  No one signed up, which gave me hope that we were not returning to the uncivilized wild west where we must be ready to defend ourselves daily using violence.  There are those who live in fear of almost everything and need to stock up on food, water, guns and prayer with the belief that victory goes to those who are prepared for the very worst.  There are those who feel there is a master plan of which we are a small part or if no master plan is unfolding, then we must accept that each day is an energy of events and we can control it to a small extent by the way we live our lives.  But the greater control we have is how we react over time to what happens to us.  You know which one I am.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tis the Season to Blow a Kiss

Up to 57% Off Concealed-Handgun  -  Permit Class

"A bullet travels at hundreds of miles per hour, much like a beam of light or a kiss blown by Paul Bunyan. Work on your quick-draw skills with this Groupon."

( Found in my "Groupon" email this morning.)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ticky, Tacky Taste.

(In a pink fog mood.)

So my cold decides to stay a  little longer and that means that bacteria bring trunks of stuff and move in to keep the cold company.  Therefore, I am now on antibiotics.  The cough has reduced in duration and size, but the medicine I am taking to move these hanger on cells has given me tummy rumbles that are not wise to endure in polite company.  I am staying under cover for a day or two more and have now finished both books that I was reading.  Hubby is gone to babysit while I am bored and turn to TV.

Some  of my choices are:

The Shopping Channel
Ink Masters
Storage Wars
Pit Bulls and Parolees
Celebratory Ghost Stories
Redneck Island
Deadly Women
Amish Out of Order

Honey Boo Boo doesn't come on until another time, so I didn't list it, and there are bunches of 'housewives and wh++es' shows that feature plastic/saline enhanced women wearing skin tight clothes who spend too much of their time drinking and shouting at each other in expensive restaurants...shows that only a very lost soul would consider entertainment.  Even at death's door I would not invite these people into my home. (And people think the Hunger Games is a fantasy.)  Many times I turn to BBC, Aljazeera or RT (Russia Today) or MHz network for a fresh air change in news and re-runs. 

Main stream shows are interspersed with tasteless ads about some beautiful celebrity using expensive perfume and then having men chase her through the rain soaked streets of some European city while her diamonds and clothes drip away.  The next ad is developed with great Christmas spirit when a handsome young man shows up at the Holiday decorated house of his well-to-do parents and goes looking for them while they sneak out the back door and steal his fancy new car and go on a road trip laughing as they get traction on the snow.  This ad may be followed by a family being persuaded to go on a holiday cruise by a sea shell.  Yes, a sea shell!  Perfume, cars, cruises...all of the things that families will be buying this year I am sure, the 2% at least.  We are so tasteless, tacky and tawdry sometimes that I am embarrassed for us. 

At least I have Bill Moyers on PBS and that dignified costume drama on BBC starting in a few weeks.

Do you think this time in our culture will go down as the lowest in years or am I just not aging well?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bah? Is there a bug humming?

Still sitting here waiting for the departure of this cold.  It is a moving target.  Fever and scratchy throat and malaise have given way to chest congestion, cough, runny nose and grumpiness   Taking various PM drugs to sleep, but decided to try without last night and now realize that getting about 4 hours of sleep does not put me in the best mood.  (Don't you just hate when bloggers whine about their winter colds?)

Speaking of wine, even that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I seem to be able to eat cookies and cupcakes rather easily, though.  And Lindt chocolate truffles go down without a whimper.  I am living in stretch pants this week.

I have finished my Holiday newsletter and will print up a batch and distribute them to one and all who might scan them before tossing them in the trash.  There are only so many news notes on travels and photos of darling grandchildren and brags about adult children that my friends and relatives are able to endure before pouring more bourbon in the eggnog and watching a rerun of Miracle on 34th Street, or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or the Muppet Christmas Carol while wrapping some odd shaped item that was on sale and will find its way into the back of a relative's crowded closet.

Yes, I am grumpy.  I am heading back up to those darling grandchildren to babysit once again this weekend...unless I find my illness does not go away.  Then it will be up hubby to hold up my end.  It is only the baby that needs to be watched as all four other members of the family have different social obligations on Saturday.  They have full calendars most days.  Hope the baby can keep up!  Below is the command center that was recently installed.

I have finished much of my holiday shopping for them, but it is a bit of a challenge.  Just a photo or two of my granddaughters room is an example of holiday shopping headaches for those who are grandparents to over-privileged children.  (For the longest time I shared a bedroom with my brother AND sister until I was a teenager!)

Yes it does look like someone threw up a strawberry milkshake in here and one can get a headache if staying too long!

Oh well, I do not want you to think that these over-privileged children are spoiled.  They do their chores somewhat faithfully and seem to get along with each other phenomenally well.  I am blessed and will be in a better mood to realize that when this damn cold departs!

Monday, November 26, 2012


There is a hedonistic side of me that emerges more as I age.  I guiltily like being able to be lazy when I have justification.  For the past two days I have been sitting and watching TV.  There is little on day time television that is worth my valuable attention, so I spend time watching reruns of old favorite programs instead.  Then I go through my holiday photos that I took and sort them and later I begin the reading of the Anne of Green Gables series that I bought at the bookstore near the author's home on my summer trip to Prince Edward Island.  I have caught up on reading current blog posts but not reading the past posts.  "Why", my eager reader's might ask with the holiday season hot on our trail and a tree to be decorated and gifts to be wrapped, "am I being so lazy?"

Well, the weekend before my long Thanksgiving Day drive north, I spent babysitting my three grandchildren.  Naturally my lovely granddaughter had a nightmare and about 4:00 A.M. I heard the soft patter of feet and little child whimpers and then a tearful child was beside my bed crying from a nightmare.  I allowed the sharp kneed and elbowed girl into my bed and dried her tears and comforted her as we both attempted a speedy return to sleep which she succeeded in doing.  But unfortunately, my little grandchild was fighting a cold, sore throat, and mild fever at that time.  And she shared that with me.

My husband developed the cold symptoms first on the day after Thanksgiving and two days later I came down with the same cold symptoms.  My response is always worse than his, and even though I have been taking Zinc lozenges regularly, I still have symptoms and feel tired from lack of a good night's sleep.

But, because I am not super sick, I am kind of enjoying this gold-bricking excuse.  Tomorrow I will return to my lists, errands and duties.  But for today, I am being the grasshopper.

In the photos above we are driving in and out of a little of winter on our return from the north two days after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday Thoughts 13-#38 Thankfully

I will be sharing Thanksgiving away from home and with my son's future in-laws whom I have only met twice.  It will be a long drive and a bit of an experience, but I am sure by the end of the day I will be thankful that I didn't have to cook, didn't have to hostess, didn't have to eat with just the two of us and didn't have to bite my tongue once over something not worth such behavior.

Thus I am thankful that:
  1. The holiday catalogs that will fill my mailbox on my return are not overdue bills.
  2. The candles I light tonight are for beauty and not because of lack of electricity.
  3. The fire in my fireplace tonight before departure is not the only warmth in my house.
  4. The clothes that I pack are well-worn but by me and not a stranger.
  5. The long drive that I take will be to see friends and not to seek shelter.
  6. The food I eat will not be the only warm food  I have had that day.
  7. The stories I hear will be followed by laughter and not tears.
  8. The photos I take will be for smiles and not for insurance assessments.
  9. The tours I take will be to see places for the rehearsal dinner and not the damaged neighborhood.
  10. The thing broken will be my diet promises to myself and not something rare that I loved.
  11. The loss will be the passage of time but not whole days in my life.
  12. The hugs I share with others will be for the future and not to forget the recent past. 
  13. The thankfulness I give will be no less sincere than that of others on this planet.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving this week or an other time in your life, I wish you peace, understanding and forgiveness as you break bread with strangers and loved ones.

(posted early due to travel)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Peacefulness is Here

I did not grow up in a family that listened to music, either at home or on the radio.  I never heard my father or mother sing that I can remember.  I could not sing with a bucket over my head and my flute playing in junior high school was a struggle for us all.  But I was able after my children were grown and moving out of their teen years to listen to music on the radio that was not just popular or contemporary stuff.  I was able to focus on what certain types of  music did for me during my pauses in busy work days.

With no more college bills and reduced food bills at that time I was able to peruse music shops and buy a number of CDs from all genres.  Classical, broadway, international, jazz, folk and even some popular artists.  I today am listening to something called African Tapestries and it is filled with percussion that mimics the sounds of a lion, drum beats from some village, a flute that calls like the tropical birds and the sound of rain now and again.  It is as if I am sitting in some rainforest bamboo hut waiting for the storm to pass.  I have not converted these CD's to digital and may never spend the money to do that.  I also purchased an expensive sound system at the same time and have wallowed in this delightful decadence for years.

Regarding my prior political post, it was not removed because I felt I cannot speak my mind on issues.  I feel strongly about my liberal social values and my more moderate to conservative fiscal values as well.  You can ask any of my relatives and they will tell you I am no wallflower when it comes to controversy.  I am willing to listen to their side, and they must listen to mine.  But this blog was not created as a forum for that, so I try to keep away from going down that road.  My conservative readers are moderates, I really think, and do not need my lecturing.  My liberal readers will only agree with me in spades.  My moderate middle-of-the road readers can find their way better through factual research than my specific arguments.  So do not feel that I removed it out of fear of making someone angry, only out of realization that the conversation tends to be more one-sided in blogdom.  I do worry about those who think that politics U.S. is too far gone for their voice anymore.  Every citizen that throws in the towel is more dangerous than they know.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Good Morning

So sorry for the prior post and I wish to formally apologize.  I just felt my head was going to explode.  These past few months have been like being on a diet of bitter coffee forever waiting for the hot chocolate to get delivered.  There is a SMALL segment of our society (much like deeply conservative segments in other countries of the world) that want their way but since they cannot form intelligent arguments or ways to compromise to convince their populace they instead resort to violence, anger, and other stupid ideas.  I will be a very good girl, now and avoid writing about them and certainly avoid reading about them. (I deleted the post...did not want to give them immortality.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

That Canned Meat

I doubt it is just me, but I have suddenly been hit with spam comments on a daily basis to both of my blogs.  I have my blog set up where I do not require those posting comments to go through that annoying word verification window that is set up to prevent spam robots from leaving comments.  I hate this gatekeeper because it also prevents real people from commenting on others' blogs. I also have no restrictions on who can comment on my registration,  etc.   I do have an approval requirement that kicks in on comments to my posts that are over 7 days old and this is where the spam comments are being posted.

I mark these comments as spam so they never get published.  They are drug ads mostly...some clothing ads.  All of them annoying and clearly from non-English sources due to the bad grammar.

I do not want to implement that nasty word verification window that Blogger has created which is so hard to read that I sometimes try three times to get the code right when trying to place a comment on another blog.  After that, if I still have no success I just don't comment on the blog.  Most readers refuse to use the word verification at all.

At any rate, here is hoping we soon get a much reduce diet of that canned meat, SPAM!

Monday, November 12, 2012


It was the end of a long day in the garden for hubby as he put his beds to sleep for winter and a long day for me going through all of my office files and moving an ugly wooden file cabinet out of my bedroom and up the stairs into my little office on the stair landing.  We had moved all the patio furniture into the shelter of the porch and finished the process of getting it ready for winter.  We both were basking in the success of a well organized day. We had just stuffed ourselves on spaghetti Bolognese with a side of garden vegetables while we were waiting for NPR news to start on TV when hubby turned to me and leaning forward asked:

"Do you think you will treat grandchildren differently from your new daughter-in-law than you do for those from your daughter?"

I thought for a minute and realized that indeed I probably would.

I know my daughter intimately and while I allow her to raise her children as she wants, I do sometimes offer just a little advice when I think she needs guidance.  I also stretch the rules just a little when they are alone with me.  With my daughter-in-law, if they are lucky enough to have children, I will stand back more and wait for her actions to help me.  I already love her, but I only 'think' I know her.  She is very close to both her mother and her role will be much smaller.

I will live closer to them geographically, so I hope they feel free to call on us for babysitting and child-watching.  I feel strongly that is my biological role in life.  I cannot explain. but being a grandmother is a calling in my book.  I think it goes to the deep root of reproduction that is the core of most of us.

As I pondered on my husband's unusual question, I realized I had never given thought to how different these two families would be in my life.  I accept that our relationship with our children colors so many things that happen in their lives.  So tell me, if you have children of both sexes, who marry and have children of their own...does it make a difference in your relationship with the grandchildren?  I am not asking if you love more or less, that I know is stupid.  I am just asking about your philosophy in providing guidance to the children and interacting with them and their parents on a subtle and small scale.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Post Mortum

The results of this election have not really changed the egg shell mood of this country.  Deeply conservative people are angry and terrified.  ( I remember how I felt when George W. Bush was elected.  I was sure he was going to destroy this country or bring it to the edge of destruction with Chaney.  Guess what?)

I have talked to (former) friends who are so mad they are no longer going to vote.  Trying to reason with that logic is hard.  Fortunately, most of my friends are moderates...they are Republicans married to Democrats and Democrats married to Republicans and Independents not yet married, who realize that politics is an evolutionary model.  It swings to the left and then to the right and makes most of its slow progress in the middle with compromise.

While Trump was adamant that Obama was very secretive about his background, I was concerned with the fact that Romney deleted his emails and sold off servers and PCs to employees when he was governor of Massachusetts with the result that there was no information to send when freedom of information requests were filed to find out how he really governed that state.  I was concerned that he did not reveal his taxes.  If you want to be the Head of State I want to know everything about your finances and I think I have that right.  I did research Bain's success under the time of Romney and found that the huge majority of companies purchased were sold off and shut down.  Of those that Bain did help, only seven really became successful under Romney and only four continued in the black being able to carry the debt that Bain left them after he left.

But I also want to point out I am not happy about Obama's record on the environment.  Neither candidate even touched these issues due to the recession.  Clean air and clean water are too expensive these days. The Keystone pipeline will be completed under this president...but perhaps that is the least of our environmental issues. 

This President is pretty moderate by standards of years ago.

This article here (not really tongue in cheek) makes the case against a liberal president and shows you we are in moderate, if not totally conservative, hands.    Read it before the link disappears as they all do.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Make the Pledge

This is a new day folks. Please make a resolution to find and focus on Common Ground. WE agree far more than we disagree in spite of what the Citizen's United Ads have tried to convince you.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Nothing Shared

One of the most important and powerful things in my life as I age is that file of shared memories I keep nearby and open at the oddest moments to peruse.  While we remember the dark and sad times in our lives, I think that we most often allow our minds to turn to those happy and meaningful events that we shared with those we love.  These are our restoratives and reminders that our life has been good.  I realize that they do not have to be monumental periods in my life.  The memory can be studying a spider spinning a web with a two-year-old on your hip, brushing the pollen from the pants of a 5-year-old tree climber just before he boards the bus for school, the sweet/sad memory of a little girl sitting on her metal lunchbox as she waits for the school bus.  I also have a few big memories such as the memory of an evening in Hawaii standing on a hotel balcony overlooking the beach with a rising moon when my husband presented me with a new diamond to replace the one lost so many years ago and which was too expensive to replace at the time, or that time my husband, who greets life with endless enthusiasm, woke me at 2:00 A.M. during a camping trip so that I could see the tropical reef at an exceptional low tide under a full moon.

But lately, being a bit greedy, I have been having regrets for all the memories I have not been able to make. Life moves on with those I love who live outside my house.  Their days are busy and full of tales and I am not there to see or hear them.  I might get a shortened version of the more interesting or dramatic, but the little memories are only for those who were there.  I have missed the grandchildren's first days at school and all the stories they might have shared when they got home and sat for dinner.  I have missed the weekend and after-school learning or successes they experienced.  I have missed the daily jokes and get-togethers of my own brothers and sisters that live so far away.  I wish I could be there for the new challenges they have tried as they move into the later part of their lives.

I also think about the memories others missed.  My third grandchild will not know all the early fun times we had with his brother and sister over the years before he arrived and while this is natural and inevitable, it does cause me pause as I realize we all have missed so much stuff.  I then think of those whose families are broken and how difficult it must be to keep continuity to shared memories when some must be kept away in a quiet place that is visited only when everything is perfect.  It is a tricky dance and full of land mines when skipping over these memories.

I know that I am reaching that time in my life when memories are going to be the most important tools I have and need to fill the sometimes big empty pauses in each day.  Looking back can be such a bittersweet time, can it not?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Downfall of the Aftermath

As those of us who are intelligent understand, this type of weather is the new normal.  We have had 7 national weather disasters this year and had 14 last year.  Those who deny global warming and our role in it, will not be spared the forest fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or micro bursts to come any more than the rest of us.  We were spared the worst as I posted recently.  But while waiting for Sandy to arrive and a full 12 hours before we felt the strongest force of her dance, I looked out my formal room (I call it the library) window and saw this tulip poplar in the center of the photo leaning away from his compadres.  This tree is over 100 feet high and all the poplars that are the same height on this part of the yard have been compromised due to a septic drain field which was put in when we built the house.  We had lost another tree just like it and only a few feet from it last year.  I checked on it every 10 minutes and it continued to lean more.  I was fixing a snack when...

I did not see the actual fall, but was not surprised.  More firewood for next winter.  Another section of deer fence to repair!  We also lost the lovely little wild fruit tree down at the dock.  It was such a little tree, but its roots had sat in the brackish water too long.  It had provided many lovely little white blossoms each spring, but will do that no longer.

During the noon of Tuesday, long after Sandy had checked out and checked in up North creating more disaster, I went down to the dock at high tide.  The little dock platform on the right was not even visible.  Still this flooding was not as horrible as it could have been.

But I think the biggest surprise was when I opened the front door just before the tree fall and saw my old Mazda with its sad expression.  I had clearly neglected it way too much after the purchase of my new car.  While my new Camry sat safe and comfy in the garage, the Mazda was left outside in the wind and rain.  I stood in the doorway and saw the Mazda which sat like a small wet mammal wanting to come in and dry off!  It had ruined the lawn  in its crossing I noticed.

(Hubby did drive it here in the shelter of the garage.
Sandy does not have a driver's licence and you should see what she had done to other cars!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creep 'em Out!

Well, I did not lose electricity and am feeling very happy about that.  At least one large tree down in the front yard out by the drive way.  Waiting for sunrise to see the yard, although there will continue to be rain throughout the day.  Sandy is still leaving a trail of life-threatening devastation to the north of me with broken levees flooding entire towns, terrible fires reducing dozens of homes to ash and 3 foot snow blizzards to the west and north.  May we all hope those continuing their watch and wait are safe and may we send some relief to those who are now devastated.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Watching and Waiting

Sitting here in the early morning dark listening to the rain and wind gusts outside move ominously around my house.  It is very different from other storms in that I am hearing the rain pelt BOTH the front and the back side of the house at times.  I am guessing that everything outside is as drenched as a soaked sponge.  No large gusts and no downed trees but the ground is becoming less able to hold roots of those heavy giants.  The worst of this storm will hit us tonight when it is dark again.  Tonight will be the long dark ride of dread with predicted 70 MPH winds along with the hours and hours of rain.  We will sleep in the basement as we usually do because of fear of several large trees falling on our heads!

I am waiting for daylight to see what the water levels at the dock are. 

Yesterday I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Not sure how that helps, but it does!  Hoping my kids and their kids are safe throughout the next 24 hours.  Keeping up as best I can with friends on FB as they work their way through this storm.  Trying to plan for two days of food without electricity.  It is getting colder and we have stocked firewood, but it is on the front porch and may be wet and we may have to move to the garage to dry before we can warm ourselves by its fuel.

As this storm has evolved and I watch the news it appears we are going to be just south of the eye and going to get the worst of the winds which are on the Southwest side of the storm.  

Waiting impatiently for daylight.....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Pasta

As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is just off shore from the north part of the state of Florida.  We are getting scary reports about how this will be a 'perfect' storm when it meets up with a strong cold front bearing down from the Northwest even though it has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

We have spent the day moving patio furniture, getting the boat off the lift and on a trailer, and checking what errands we may have to run tomorrow to prepare for any loss of electricity for an extensive time.  We have filled the kiddie pool with water, frozen plastic jugs of water, checked our flashlights, finished all laundry, moved canoes and the kayak to shelter and started to eat lots of food from the fridge.

Hubby also made the first harvest of his oyster mushrooms which he "planted" or whatever it is you do with mushrooms last spring behind the tool shed.  They are mushrooms.

I checked out the fridge and felt we needed to use up as much cheese as we could in the event we lose electricity next week.  Hubby went to the store for some half and half while I shredded some sharp Provolone, some Fontina and broke up the little bit of some left over blue cheese.  I melted butter along with all the cheese (nice and rich) and when hubby came back I added about two cups of the half and half that he bought..cream would have made thicker sauce, but I do draw the line somewhere.  Then I added salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Once the cheese was melted I discovered that we had a small package of turkey bacon and a leftover package of frozen peas.  I microwaved the bacon and added it along with the frozen peas into the sauce along with the first harvest of the oyster mushrooms which I had cleaned and sliced.


I also had a small bottle of white truffle oil which I drizzled over the top...just to make sure there was enough fat in this meal.

I cooked linguine al dente.  Then poured on the sauce and hubby "roughly" chopped fresh basil as a garnish.  Way too much fat in this soup, but with a hurricane on its way in a few days, I felt justified.   This made up recipe may now become known as hurricane pasta at our house in the future.

If you do not hear from me in a week or must mean there is no electricty here due to the storm.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


It is such a gamble when you agree to meet-up with a blogger that you have never met but have followed for several years.  You may know more about them then you do some members of your family.  They know where you stand on politics, religion, and life, because they have followed you for several years as well. You both know where you can agree to disagree and where you can be so totally in agreement that you can laugh out loud.  I guess the only time it would be of concern is if one of you was not very honest on your blog and portrayed yourself as something other than what you are.  (Then to add to the mix, you bravely bring you husband along who has no idea who you communicate with on blogger or even why you do it.  Throw in that fish out of water and who knows where the day will end.)

It seems, to me at least, to be the anomaly of blogging.  People are so straightforward and honest when writing to 'virtual' strangers and more reticent when talking with real live folks each day.  Perhaps it is because we have to live or work with those 'live' folks and cannot dare to trample on feelings or embarrass them.  If it goes awry with a Blogger, we just stop visiting and push the delete key on our blog roll.

I am sure that professional writers who blog have a much different take on these meet-ups because they ARE the writer.

The greatest tension of the day was that we drove up in the new car, the car without a dent, scratch or smudge.  We were going to park near my daughter's house and metro in, but since the cost would be almost the same, we parked downtown.  We found a place to park in the Bowels of Hell.  Behind Union Station and several levels below ground and below the Kaiser health building and the Securities and Exchange Commission is a public parking area, one where you do not have to pay by the month or give up one of your limbs.  It is an enterprise run by a company that parks people every which way and leaves only room to pass by inches in the entry and exit.  $15 for the whole day, which in any city is a steal!  BUT the place is crammed and you have to loan your keys to young men who speak little English and they park your car for you in spaces in underground garages where you never should park a car! It is not without exaggeration that hubby turned over his keys with much trepidation, thinking our little Camry was on her way to a chop shop and never to be seen again.

As luck would have it I suggested that we meet at a restaurant that unknown to me had closed a year ago and I left my cell phone in the car in the Bowels of Hell.  What an auspicious (always wanted to write that word) beginning.

In spite of errors we successfully met up with Mage of Postcards and her husband yesterday for lunch.  She is an aficionado (always wanted to find a reason to write that word as well) of architecture.  So we met up at the beautiful building of Union Station in Washington, DC which is a little more than an hour's drive from my home.   I recognized them holding hands as they walked through the archway toward us.  They were on their last day of a 10-day trip, and I swear, even though confined to a scooter most of the time, Mage hit EVERY SINGLE place of significance in the city.  And she is not the type who 'scoots' through an art museum, for instance.  She reads up before she gets there and then reads all the information while she is there.  She explained why the netting was stretched above our heads in the Union Station lobby.  It seems that debris may still be falling from the earthquake a few months ago.  Then before lunch ended her husband took my point and shoot camera and showed me a feature that I probably read about years ago and yet never used!  Mage (or as I later learned to call her Maggie) has a newer model of my same camera.  I now have even less excuse for blurred photos.

All four of us are talkers which meant there was little in the way of silence during the entire lunch.  We laughed and hugged and people watched and took photos.  An outside observer would think we were long lost relatives who had found each other after decades.  While many bloggers have meetings of each other lots of time, this was only my second meet-up of a Blogger, but I am most satisfied that it turned out much as I optimistically expected and I hope the same for them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chinese Apples and Wine

The world is a better place due to wineries and I am looking forward to the day when they are available on all country trips...well, at least that is my opinion. We stopped at this winery in the photo above in the apple country in Pennsylvania last week. It has only been in existence for about five years.  Yes, my European and South American readers can turn up their noses at this. We are babies in this industry, at least on the east coast, and  I admit, most of the wines reflect that in lack of sophistication.

This winery is called the Hauser Estate Winery and the building itself is brand new. I was told by the visitors center staff in the town when asking for directions to the winery to look for a lovely building on a hill. Well, one person's "lovely building" is another person's new and somewhat boring rock structure.  They do have the catbird's seat on the hill, though.

This view is across an agricultural area known primarily for its apple orchards.  One can purchase a glass of wine and sit out on a very large patio and drink in the scenery along with the fermented grape juice.  They even have shawls and wraps near the door to borrow on cold days.  On our day there was no need for anything but a light sweater.

But this post is more about the conversation that I had with the woman who poured our (my) wine.  (They have apple cider for those who want a less strong drink.)  She is the (one of the?) granddaughter(s) of the man who created Musselmans apple products in America, most famously you may know the applesauce.  Her mother and two aunts have built this winery as their new enterprise and 80% of the grapes they grow are used in their wine.  The daughter went on to say that they were moving into the wine industry because it now was cheaper to import apples from China to make applesauce then to grow them in our own country.  It now is cheaper to import apples from China to make applesauce in this country then to grow the fruit in our own country!  We no longer manufacture most things in this country...we don't even grow fruit economically it seems even with the rising costs of fossil fuels!  What would Johnny Appleseed say?  Or, perhaps, he viewed this on a much smaller more personal scale when he took his trek.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Rolling Stone

 Dear Diary,

We are putting miles on the new car.  Hubby was beside himself with planning for a road trip.  We seem to be moving into this relationship where he is the little kid with all the fun ideas and I am the old mom trying to keep things normal.  It actually has some balance to it, because I am a bit of a stick in the mud.  God forbid I should die tomorrow with my sticks still in the mud, which is hubby's greatest fear!

We took a tour of the new Gettysburg Battlefield and Museum and other stuff in the Pennsylvania area and then did a traditional old folks leaf peeper drive down the West Virginia and Virginia skyline.  Hubby did the driving and I did the surprise.

He was just beside himself with all the buttons and adjustments on the car.  Every five minutes he was checking how much gas we were saving, how he was charging the battery going down hill, how the cruise control worked, and resetting the trip odometer.  Conversation from his side consisted of, "We are currently getting 66 MPG!"  "I have a range of 400 miles left."  "Look how this engine takes these hills!"  "Isn't this a smooth drive?"  Yes, this is "my" car.

I, on the other hand, fiddled with the radio controls listening to satellite channels of public radio, CNN, smooth jazz, traffic and weather, and the SPA channel.  That last one is the one to listen to while driving past the golden, red, orange, peach and lime yellow trees in the mountains.  It is very Zen although hubby said it was putting him to sleep.  I did get a chance to use the seat warmer one morning which I must say was worth every penny.  Weather was cooperative for the most part and we needed neither heat nor air conditioning as we drove along.  We did open the fancy moon roof for a short time, but the wind going over head is a little noisy...maybe if we were younger with better hearing?

The car is now covered in dusty streaks, the floormats have leaves, and we feel we have broken her in.  We did stop at Harper's Ferry yesterday hoping to walk around, but could not find parking.  Actually, that is not true.  There were two parking spaces left below the train station, but both were over small puddles and hubby refused to bring wet shoes into the car when we would have to get back in!  So we drove on!  (Yes we could have parked down the road and taken the shuttle...!)

Now I am back going through hundreds of emails and deleting every single political request for support.  I am so done with this election!  I now must go through the 300 photos I took and delete most of those.  I hear you sighing with relief on that one.

Meeting up with a blogger next week, although we have not set an exact time or place.  Meeting up with grandkids to check out the Halloween fun on the 31st.  Finishing up on a volunteer gardening committee until next spring.  Time to put up my feet and let you know how I feel about the J.K. Rowling novel next.  Eventually I will get back to reading all your blogs.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seven Sunday Recalls Because It is All I Have

1.  Hubby and I were watching the "Barefoot Contessa" which is a cooking show in the United States.  I have not decided that I watch her because of her good and delicious recipes  or because the intermission is shots of her lovely Connecticut gardens accompanied by some nice jazz.  Anyway this week it was boned leg of lamb.  She lifts out the largest cut of meat I have ever seen and I just had to comment, "That is not a leg of lamb...that is a leg of sheep!" 

2.  During a grocery shopping trip we noticed a grenade decal on the back window of an automobile.  Hubby commented on it.  I explained that it was probably seen by some folks as a tool just as we would look at a decal of a garden spade.  We do live in a military area and that driver may have just returned from Afghanistan where weapons are common and a daily part of life.

3,  I have owned my new car about 5 days and driven only once more since getting it home.  I really like it, but I am not in love with new cars and do not create errands to run just to get it out of the garage.

4,  I learned that  new cars have thick sun visors.  My garage door opener and deer gate opener do not clip over the visor very well. As a matter of fact, my garage door opener fell in my lap while making a turn the other day which was an unexpected startle.  I have to find an auto store to buy a new visor container.

5.  I hate more when I lose a thought than when I lose money!  Losing less money and more thoughts these days.

6.  I invited two Mormon Bishops for an oyster lunch this past week.  One is a very good and old friend, a former Green Beret and parachute jumper now in his early 70's and the kindest most gentle old soul.  No, we did not talk politics or religion.  It never ceases to catch me up short to find the bravest and most dangerous men are very pure old souls deep inside.

7,  I see Halloween and Christmas decorations in the stores everywhere.  Both have become such terribly commercial holidays.  While I am having fun creating photographic Halloween cards, my favorite holiday is still Thanksgiving which is so often overlooked, but has a message that resonates with me.

(The photo has nothing to do with this post.  Just wanted to show how rich people can grandfather in stuff and then totally rebuild it.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My First Time

Do you remember one of your first times?  Probably only the very first?  You look a little confused by that statement.  Let me explain.

Yesterday I drove my brand new car home for the first time.  I purchased a Toyota Camry hybrid XLE.  It has 90% of the bells and whistles but none of the post production add-ons.  I paid about $1,000 more than the lowest target price recommended on the various web sites I visited and close to other prices given on other sites.  I might have gotten the seller down another $400/$600, but I admit I just wanted to get out of there.  I did discover after I got home that I also got the floor mats which I had not asked for, so I am happy.

Earlier in the week I could not get the seller to provide me with some negotiating enthusiasm until I started searching on-line and his dealership got my name and information via the Internet and emailed me.  He suddenly wanted my business once again. He asked if I was shopping around and I said, of course!

Well, we went to the dealer after working on the museum grounds today and the deal ended up taking half as long as I thought.  Learning how the navigation system, radio, heated seats, gas saving systems, etc. worked took much longer.  The dealer linked up hubby's phone via Bluetooth to the car and now I have dozens of stupid names to sort through in making a call.  Hubby adds EVERYONE to his phone.  (During this week I am going to learn how to delete contacts from the car's database!)   I was encouraged by the salesman to get my own "Smart" phone.  I am not sure why I want a phone smarter than hasn't helped hubby much that I have noticed.

Anyway, after much training I was finally able to kick both of them out of the car so that I could drive this little beauty home.  I get 60 (90?) days of free Satellite XM radio so I selected a nice jazz station and put the car in drive and enjoyed the ride back to my house.

By the time hubby brought home the "old' car that had been a love only 15 years ago, I had decided we needed to celebrate by eating out.  We headed to my favorite Italian restaurant with him driving so that I could have fun with all the buttons and displays as we headed there.  We had a delicious Italian seafood dinner with several glasses of wine -- me only as hubby does not drink. and is therefore, always the designated driver.

We got into the car and both noticed weather had turned colder.  I turned on the heated seats with such decadent pleasure.  I no longer had to wait until my butt warmed where I sat!  On the way home it started to drizzle and in the dark there was some quick discussion on how to turn on the wipers.  Hubby fiddled without success and I directed without solace.  Finally we admitted it was too hard to read buttons on the lever and other symbols in the dark and I looked for the cabin light.  There were a lot of buttons to select overhead.  I pushed a few randomly waiting for light.  Soon I realized as my face was becoming damp that I had pushed open the moon roof in the rain!  I had had enough wine that I got the giggles and it took me some time to find the button to close the roof of the car once again.  We finally got the wipers going and the right station on the radio and began to enjoy our ride home once again.

Now for the part of the story that brought us back to earth.  We approached the bridge over the river and noticed traffic was very slow up ahead.  Once we got to the other side of the bridge we saw lots flashing lights and a detour sign.  As we left the bridge to detour from the main highway we were able to see across the median a good sized truck in the ditch sitting cross ways and just a few feet away was a sedan with a crushed roof and covered with white fabric to prevent those of us driving by from seeing the scene beneath the crushed roof as our headlights made the turn.  We slowly passed as two ambulances arrived and the rain started in earnest.

We came back to earth with a jolt and hoped those involved would be safe as we were reminded the real reason for automobiles, getting easily but safely from one point to another.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


I am in the process of buying a car and want to warn others who might be entering this dark period in your life.  Make sure your health is at its peak.  Make sure your finances have no surprises.  Make sure your marriage is rock solid.  (When we went looking for a 2012 model at a Ford dealership last week, hubby took the side of the salesmen encouraging me to look at the 2013's and compare because they didn't have any 2012's of the model currently on the lot!  It is not polite to argue in front of the salesman and gives him an advantage.  Fortunately this salesmen was about 18 and didn't know quite how to handle a domestic dispute.)

I remember when I went out to purchase my very first car after landing my first real job. I was on cloud 29.  My Dad went with me and I had total faith in his ability to cover my back.  I knew absolutely nothing about buying a car, and perhaps, my father did not know much more.  I had the down payment and took over the monthly costs with no help from my parents.  But I got this beauty and loved it totally, even though it proved not to be the guy-magnate that I thought it might be.  Hard to believe that is not a toy car, isn't it?  (What might be harder for you to believe is I still wear the same style, not the same actual clothes, as in this photo!  And I only weigh about 40 pounds more.)

Car purchasing is such an agonizing experience for most people because the industry hires people to sell you a product based on their commission and not a fair salary.  The price on the car is a huge secret fudge figure.  They give salespeople a bag of tricks and then they begin to wear you down to a nub by stalling on everything from whether they really have the model they told you they had to adding tons of stuff to the total cost.  Can someone explain to me why floor mats cost as much as carpeting for a house?

I know that the first rule is to NEVER fall in love with anything you test drive.  Be able to walk away.  That is not a problem with me.  I have no ego tied to any vehicle I purchase these days.  It is about comfort, convenience, safety and cost.  I test drove a "luxury" Toyota Avalon and in all honesty did not feel much different (except for space) when compared to the Camry that I drove immediately after.  It has been 15 years since I purchased a car, and as a result, the bells and whistles that impress me are standard features on cars these days.

I have been saving money for several years to be able to pay cash because I cannot make much by investing the money and then applying it to car payments and paying the increased cost that is worked into that deal.  Others tell me that is not true, but I do not see it on my statements and numbers.  I also have a serious psychological aversion to paying for anything on time, so that is pre-paid therapy in my mind.  I will put as much of this purchase as I can on a credit card to get the points.

I am hoping by next week to have this whole thing finished.  I emailed the Toyota salesman yesterday, but he is taking his time to respond.  Hubby wants me to push it, but I kindly explained that there is more than one 2012 Camry in this state that has one of the 4 colors I like and all the features.  I do not want the salesmen to think I am in any hurry...and in reality, I am not.  My old car got an oil change this week, a $37 fix on the AC and the mechanic told me it is fine and should run for quite a while longer.  (It is going to my son who spent more than the cost of this model on a ring, if you will remember.)

If you are interested I will keep you posted.  If you have advice, I'll certainly listen.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Discussion for the Masses

I am sitting here in my bed with laptop at hand.  Hubby is waiting for the United States Presidential debates to start in just minutes.  I cannot watch them in real time before I go to bed.  It will start my mind like a squirrel in a cage or a hamster on a wheel and I will be up all night!  Thus I am recording the debate and will watch it tomorrow with breakfast.  I will play the DVD quickly to make sure the talking heads on the news shows do not skew what I am seeing before I see it.

The moderator, Jim Leher, is a great old man who has provided many, many years of great news for me.  He gets criticized because he is not aggressive enough.  It appears that many people do not know what the role of a moderator is.  I also think that attitude means too many people think politics is about fighting and the presidential debate is about war.   They just don't get that it is about enlightenment and elaboration, as much as is possible in this powerful environment.

Everything is so fine tuned, as I think they had to agree to 25 items regarding the debate.  I doubt it will reveal much that I don't know about either candidate, but maybe they will surprise me.  I also doubt that it will change anyone's mind except for the rare independents who are still undecided.  Got an email from the President stating that he was getting ready for tonight's debate but he would still like me to kick in a couple of hundred dollars to help him win.  That sure warmed the cockles of my heart. 

How many millions of dollars of negative ads do they think citizens can watch before they totally tune out everything?  It is wasted money.

Anyway, below this graph from an artist on that famous Mad Magazine is being passed around on Facebook and I thought it was humorous enough to post regarding the debates.

For those who are not U.S. citizens, please forgive us.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Constipated Zen

It is true that it is has been a longer gap than usual for posting.  I  have been waiting for some profound thought to give me stimulus for a wise, intelligent or even humorous exception to the rule.  I have been waiting for something to write that elaborates, enumerates, or illuminates.  I noticed the other day that this blog has shrunk in followers which is a nice bit of evidence on how boring I have become.  Of course, I would continue to write even if no one read this, because I do still write for my own creative outlet.  It is like eating and pooping...I just have to do it.

Alas, my dear brain has entered a far dimension these days...maybe I left it in Aruba with that curious blue lizard?

Maybe  I gave it too long a rest after finding my future daughter-in-law and I are in such a magical and wonderful space together and I do not want to tamper with that by thinking too much.

Maybe I have absolutely emptied it - my mind?  That is a scary thought.

Wait!  I am trying to find a focus here!  It is like knocking on the door of an empty room for conversation.  No one answers because no one is in there.  I open the door and there are just dust bunnies and faint shadows and the hollow sounds of my footsteps.

Death and politics.  This is all that seems to sneak into my thoughts when I let it..  And certainly both of those subjects are not small enough to write about nor safe enough to even consider these days.   Beauty and peace find their way to my other blog, so that outlet is well satisfied, and not surprisingly, that blog has grown in number of readers. 

You know that I am going to die, if not imminently, and I know the same about you.  I cannot change that by writing about it.  ("if you mean 'famous' or 'superior' you want eminent; if you mean 'impending, about to happen' that is imminent; and if you mean 'present, inherent,' your word is immanent.")  That was tricky.

You know who I am going to vote for and I might know the same about you, but since we are adults it is unlikely we will change each others minds if we are not in agreement.  The world, especially Europe and the Middle East, seems to be collapsing.  The poor are getting very poor which means dark days ahead globally.  So, should I write about that?

That leaves puppies and babies and what I ate for breakfast..since I am on my own this weekend it was a biscotti with coffee..  Maybe I should post a photo?  Nope, this is not Facebook...........Guess I will go see what is happening there.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

The island of Aruba is hot, hot, hot.  And I do not say that because of the effect of the voluptuous body below in the string bikini.  (I thought I had excluded her from the serenity of this lovely pocket beach.)  Throughout the afternoon, as we walked back from swims in the water, every single person was talking about how cheeky she was...and much to my reader's disappointment I did not get a photo of her facing sea!

Okay, enough!  With the magic of photo-shopping, lets remove her from the picture, shall we.?

Does it still look hot?  No?  Well it was!  It was so hot, that while we could walk on the sand barefoot, we went directly from the water to lie in the shade of the Palapas, palm frond covered tables, each and every time.  Only mad dogs, Englishmen and ladies in string bikinis would lay out in the noon day sun.  Below are my fair haired son and future daughter-in-law shade bathing, both with enough Irish fair skin to practice safe sunning.

The difficulty for photographers, such as myself, is the hot flat sun.  Everything is over-lighted within an hour of sunrise, and each photo tends to lose any depth and colors are washed out unless the lighting levels are changed later by software.  Thus my eye was drawn to shadows in taking photos.

This is an early morning photo from our east facing balcony.  I never saw anyone on any of the other balconies the whole time we were there.  Of course our free condo balcony did face the parking lot!

We spent a good deal of our time seeking the shade of trees and buildings and yet I still came back with a really good tan.  Go figure.  The other thing that would draw my eye was the shadows beneath large cactus on hikes.  Sort of a tempting/not-so-tempting approach to sitting in the shade.

The other respite that was welcome was spelunking.  Aruba has a number of caves.

It is interesting to see how many people while afraid of the cave residents (rattlesnakes and bats) did not mind "hanging out" in the cool shade for a while.  On the other hand, I tend to neither fear nor want to cuddle with either.