Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Meowloween

When guys go Trick or treating, sometimes they get lucky.

And, sometimes they don't.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Random Observations On Life

I could stop right there, since that's about as random as you can get, however...

I spend a lot of time looking at the current crop of GOP candidates and find myself asking how people got to be that stupid? Despite the fact that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan will raise taxes on 84% of Americans there are those who still support him? Michele Bachmann wants to close the Environmental Protection Agency when historically this nation has allowed corporate greed to damage the environment which lead to serious health issues suffered by those who lived in and around the brownfields the EPA has been cleaning up? Does she not know about Love Canal? Then there's Romney, who was fine with ideas that he had until they were adapted by the current president and then suddenly they're all wrong? I won't even get into the heartlessness of Ron Paul except to say that according to his ideas, our damaged returning veterans wouldn't be able to get healthcare they require due to what our wars did to them unless they could afford to pay for it.

While I am on that subject, who have we become that we believe people should die if they can't afford to pay for their care? I will never watch another CNN Tea Party debate due to listening to people cheer over the hypothetical death of a hypothetical young man who can't afford to pay to live.

"The rent is too damn high". Somehow or other we don't seem to get that when the top wage earners see an increase in their wealth of 285% in the last 10 years while the bottom of that spectrum only saw an 18% increase in the same time frame, the rent will always be too damn high. It should have occurred to someone by now that wealth is a finite amount and when most of it is given to a few, the many must make do with the rest. In order to give the top wage earners more of that pie, the other end has to give up their share. The pie itself is not going to miraculously grow larger to accommodate the increase.

When you stop to think about that, where do these Libertarians get the idea that they will be able to live on what's left over after the wealthy have taken their overly large share? Maybe they agree with Senator Sessions that the food stamp program is the problem? It's out of control with nearly 74% of Americans receiving food stamps. Hello????? That's a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.

When you allow the very rich to become richer by stealing wages from the middle class, you have an increase in the poverty level. Once that level increases more people fall below it and then qualify for programs that we aren't funding correctly and haven't been for a decade. Look. We have been effectively returning ourselves to the turn of the 20th century when Rockefeller, Astor, Vanderbilt, Whitney, etc. held all the wealth. Back then families survived because every member of the family worked, including children as young as 8 years old. Yes, we will soon be returning to digging ditches because computers and robots will be doing all the gravy jobs. Which leaves way more of our money for the wealthy to conspicuously consume since digging ditches is a low paying back breaking job.

What really makes me angry about this entire situation has very little to do with Corporations taking advantage of the middle class, and more to do with the middle class not accepting responsibility for their own demise. We were given the tool by which we had, please notice I said HAD a say in our government. It's called voting rights. A tool which more than 50% of Americans chose not to use regularly. The total number of eligible voters that actually went to the polls in 2010 was a whopping 41%. The only time more voters actually get off their asses and away from their computers where they sit and whine about how bad America has become is when there's a Presidential election. Then the percentage increases to 74%. The number 1 reason why they don't go to the polls is that they are "too busy".

It's all well and good to go out on the streets and "Occupy Wall St" because the banks are robbing us blind. However, if this movement doesn't translate to an occupy the voting booth increase, nothing they're doing will change a damn thing. And it better happen pretty quickly or a large percentage of Americans will be losing their right to vote when the GOP/Tea Party gets done with their shenanigans.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Too Pooped To Pop

I now know why Mom was always tired. I can remember having very little patience when she would answer my "How are you?" question by saying "Tired." I say "Fine" when asked, but frankly...I'm not. There are days when working for 5 hours leaves me with a need to crawl into bed for a long nap.

The first time it happened I thought I was going to have to crawl up the steps and into the house on my hands and knees. Someone pulled the plug on my generator and the lights went out. Seriously. That was the day I learned to take my pulse before taking the beta blocker I'm now on. Apparently I was so upset over having to take one that I totally missed her telling me that if my heart rate slowed to 60 or less beats a minute, skip the pill. I also missed the part where she told me it would take 10 to 16 weeks before my heart adapted to the beta blocker. This is week 7. After all this, if my BP goes down and stays down, she'll be taking me off of it, which, according to what I read could cause me to have a heart attack. One of the many reasons why I didn't want to take it to start out with.

Given what I do for a living, it's a good thing that I don't experience dizziness from it. I'd be falling head first into toilets and bathtubs if I did. I did have to rearrange my schedule to move clients requiring more traveling to the earlier morning time. I've never really thought about 30 miles being a long trip, but I have to say that it's as bad as a thousand miles when you are having trouble keeping your eyes open and your brain isn't processing where you are. Try that at 55 mph. I did, it wasn't fun. Trust me.

If having a reduction in the number of weekly fatigue spells is any indication, I'm going to have an adapted heart at 10 weeks. The one spell of fatigue that I did have only required a 15 minute sit down instead of the hour and a half nap. That is a welcomed improvement. Before I know it I'll be able to dance the night away just like I was...NOT!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Subject Is Cat Hair

Our four legged, fur bearing, hairball puking, benevolent dictator is named Butterscotch for a very obvious reason or two. Number 1 being that at the time, so soon after the death of Bashful, I had little imagination and less desire to have a cat, let alone name one. Number 2 is that said unwanted (at the time) demonkitteh was blonde with butterscotch orange markings. Which eliminates the colors black, grey and dark brown in the daily collection of swept up cat hair. Well, at least it should. However, this doesn't seem to be the case.

Since I live in a mobile home, we had no storage for off season clothing. Hubby and Youngest were kind enough to build me a cabinet with shelves on which I could store neatly folded off season garments. So, every Spring/Fall I wash whatever is to be stored, the inside of the cabinet, shelf surfaces and neatly stack the clothing on the shelves.

When Bashful was alive, it was necessary to wash the clothing again when we removed it from the shelves because she knew how to open doors and enjoyed snoozing on the stacks of clothes. Unless she wanted something and I was home alone, she preferred the pleasure of her own company to that of everyone else. To that end she was a veritable genius at finding ways to isolate herself from the hubbub of our household. She never met a cabinet she didn't love nor a door she couldn't open.

Butterscotch, on the other hand, is a cat of a different stripe. While he may not appreciate all and sundry who waltz through the front door, he wants to be out in the center of the action. He's a very handsome cat, and quite vain. Not for him the out of the way hidey holes. He prefers to bask in the admiration of the strange 2 legged creatures that are found in the living areas of this home. Besides, he's not smart enough to figure out how to open doors.

Bashful died in 2008. We have since replaced the bedroom carpet with a laminate flooring material similar in color to the livingroom and hallway. It made it much easier to clean the dust bunnies and the cat hair since I could use the Swiffer dust mop system in there as well. Now, I am used to blonde and orange cat hair with the occasional longer human hair that seems to like to accumulate under the bed and along the walls or in the corners. What I am not used to is the black, brown and gray cat hair that began to appear a week ago. The hair is not short enough nor the right color to be either Hubby's or mine.

I really didn't think much of it until this afternoon. After work today I decided to remove my dark colored scrub pants from the storage closet. I figured it was getting cooler and time to get out the long pants for work. I pulled the stack off the shelf intending to hang them on pants hangers and discovered that both the navy blue and the black pair appear to have been slept on by a cat, and the hairs left behind by the sleeping cat are not blonde and orange.

I don't know if we'll be able to figure this one out, but I do know one thing. Next time Butterscotch sits on the floor in front of that cabinet and talks to it, I'm going to open the doors.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Indian Summer

We've had 2 nights of killing frost. It's brought out the red so sadly lacking in the foliage until now. The temperature has warmed up to nearly 80 degrees for the second day in a row. One more day and it will be officially an Indian Summer.

For the past week, every evening at 6 or so a flock of geese have announced that they are leaving as they wing south overhead. The robins and hummingbirds have gone leaving behind their heartier songbird friends to keep us company through the cold harsh winter. I've been sitting here with windows open listening to one such feathered friend. First I hear the call of the woodpecker and then this bird that chirps over and over, just a short shrill sound. Almost sounds like a squeaky wheel. I've no idea what bird it is since I'm unable to see it in all the glorious fall color.

All the corn fields in the area have changed from green to gold and farmers are out cutting them down. Farmers are selling their ripening winter squashes and apples since the frost killed off just about everything else. The punkins are plentiful this year. Apples are sweet and juicy, just the way we like them. I'm tempted to bake a pie but it's not really something I'm supposed to be eating. I'll wait until November at Thanksgiving time. Sweets to be consumed for a special occasion.

This is the best time of the year for Autumn Soup and Mushroom Stew. I may not have managed enough money to buy what I needed for the Winter, but I do have enough to make large warming pots of both and freeze much of it for the coming months. For the rest of it, although homegrown tastes better, I can still buy what I want at the grocers. Organic when I can afford it and whatever else when I can't.

When the temperature cools back down a bit, I'm going to try my hand at baking a loaf of whole wheat bread. the old fashioned way, without a bread machine. All that kneading of the dough will be good for the stress relief and if it turns out well, I will continue to do a loaf or two every week. Might even manage to get Hubby to eat it if I tell him it's made with unbleached flour and that's why it's so dark. It worked to get him to eat whole grain pasta, I might get lucky if I don't let him see the packaging. Sometimes life just needs us to be a little creative to get over the humps. Although, it does seem like there are a lot more humps these days.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time Will Be Spent Waiting For The Paint To Dry

Given the state of our finances and the time of year it is, I'm going to have to be somewhat creative when it comes to gift giving. Which is perfectly all right since I am somewhat creative. A little paint, some dollar store stemware, some stemware not from the dollar store, some candles, glass plates, inexpensive hurricane glass chimneys for those popular oil lamps and I'm thinking the Season of Giving might just be a winner in my house.

Same ideas can be used on the 4" ceramic wall tiles available at Lowes. With the addition of felt on the backs, the tiles can be combined in sets of 4 or 6, packaged with some attractive ribbon and voila! Coasters to protect the wood table tops from damage caused by wet glasses.

Of course, all of this takes time, and since I thought of it early, I will have the time to do some unique and elegant items. Not just flowers, but fruits of the vine would work for much of what I'm planning. I should even be able to find the time to post a couple of times a week since there is always that stage of painting where one must have patience while the paint cures.

I haven't been painting much since I no longer do craft shows. Once in awhile I paint a piece for me, but for the most part, the table sits unused. I need to change that since one of my stress relieving tools is painting. That's the one area in which I cut myself some slack since paint can be washed off when mistakes are made. Too bad I can't do that with the rest of my life. Seems like the perfect stress relief. Wash it away.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Attitude Needed Adjusting

For awhile I was feeling as if I had lost my sense of humor. Everything seemed to be piling in on me and I could only spew my anger onto these blank pages called Post Editors. I'm not given much to self pity. I don't have it harder than millions of others, yet I found myself wallowing in a mood so dark I was beginning to feel isolated in some way. The more I looked around me, the less I liked what I saw and the angrier I became.

It started with the quarterly sales tax preparation for the filing date in September, on my 62nd birthday. We owed half of what we normally owe for the third quarter. To say business has been bad is putting it mildly. I've lost count of the number of bad checks we've had to chase people down for. We received more bad checks in the third quarter of this year than we've received since buying this business in 1986. You can't begin to understand what it feels like to have these checks and try to work things out with people who have no shame about writing them. For the first time in our business life, we had people arrested.

The day I had to go to court with our first case, I sat outside the courthouse and cried. After the ruling in our favor, I left the courthouse and sat in my car and cried some more. Even knowing that we aren't to blame for the problems these people got themselves into, doesn't make me feel any better. One woman couldn't understand why the charges against her included misdemeanor larceny. She simply couldn't grasp that paying for a service with a check she knew was bad is theft of services. In addition to the septic pumping she had some pipes replaced. Total was $600. She wrote a check on a closed account.

With the financial setbacks we've endured, all my healthy food purchase plans went down the drain. I've purchased and preserved as much as I could afford, which hasn't been much at all. The stress took a toll on my blood pressure. The bottom number stayed down but the top one went off the chart again so, I am now on a beta blocker to protect my heart. Which, of course, made me feel like a failure somehow. Doctor says she's positive it will only be temporary since I have made "great strides" forward since I began the program. I resolved the issue of our financial situation by not purchasing the supplements I need. That allowed me to buy the locally grown produce that sits in my freezer. Wasn't the smartest thing I've done, but I did it and as the doctor says, I need to forget it and move on.

I really didn't start the forget and move on process until Scratch got a job. Something about his good news was a lifeline that I am using to pull myself out of the rut I dug for myself. I'm not out yet, but I can see the top of the pile. Nothing financially has changed, I just have knuckled down and started using the stress relieving tools that have been at my disposal all along. I lost sight of the forest because of the trees and needed to find my chainsaw to thin those trees out some.