Thursday, August 30, 2012

No Sense of Urgency

I am watching the Republican Convention and look forward to Mitt's speech tonight.  I did watch the CNN special on Mitt the other day (liberal media?) and he seems a decent guy, hard working and I like that.  I flip channels between CNN and Fox (really I do!).  I want to know what is said and what people are thinking.  I read the entire Republican Platform! and, so far, here is what I still believe:
   Trickle Down Economics doesn't work.  More people got richer under eight years of the Bush Administration than most any time in History, the same time period when we were losing over 200,000 jobs a month!  The philosophy of abundance, of rewarded work worked pretty good in the days when a CEO pay was about six times the average worker's.  Then it became sixty times and now, in some cases six hundred times or even more!  Something got derailed.  American Corporations are sitting on over a Trillion Dollars, mostly in off shore accounts or invested overseas.  None of this is trickling down to us.
    The Republicans say the National Debt is the issue and yet the Super Wealthy pay less than 15% in taxes, or eleven percent in Mitt's case!  I do not begrudge them their wealth but think their taxes should equal mine.  They, the Republican Party, won't even agree to a measly 2% increase on incomes over $200,000.  I won't think it is a serious issue until they chip in to save the system that has been so good to them.
   And what is with this "who built it" crap?  Where is the gratitude that should come from living in the USA?  I had my own Company for over thirty years and of course didn't do it by myself!  I needed the roads and bridges, the public education of my workers and an endless list contingencies all along the way that got me to where I was.  It is the advantage of living in this country, a land of opportunities paved by people before me, leaving me with the obligation to pave the way forward for others.
   I am fine, whatever happens won't affect me.  I worry about the future.  If Medicare becomes voluntary it will be destroyed.  That is pretty simple math. And is Social Security about my personal benefit or a part of the responsibility required to live in a country where the old and sick are cared for and not indigent?
   It seems that the Republican Party is the party of me.  I see no National  Consciousness except maybe greed and self indulgence.    Drill baby drill.  Get it while the getting's good.  Use it all up!
   Should I mention women?  You really want to vote to go back in time 50 years?  They don't even make wire coat hangers any more.
   I do like the work ethic that is expressed in the Republican Platform.  I am not after a give away society.  Personally I don't even like food stamps or housing assistance or anything free.  I think that is the job of industry and the rewards from working hard.  If Bane Capitol believed that they would bring our jobs back home.  I think their belief system is Cash First and anything else is secondary if in their thoughts at all.
   A lot of my positions are just simple math and looking at consequences.  I don't like negative campaigning from either side and become very suspicious when my emotions are appealed to.
It would be nice if candidates could stick to the truth and occasionally mention what is nice about living in this country.  There is a lot to be optimistic about. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two at a Time...

When I was younger and in construction, that was always the rule.  Carry two sheets of plywood at one time.  If you are young and strong and know the trick it is pretty easy to do.
girls can do it!  I can't.
   I just came from my yearly physical, three months late so it was about a year and a quarter!  I would have gone even longer but my doctor was going to cut me off from the one prescription I take, "simvastatin", a cholesterol lowering drug that really works!  Brought it from 220 to 170 within a week!  Anyway, so I made an appointment and he pushed and pulled and prodded, took some blood and checked my blood pressure:  always on the low side of "normal".  I don't get riled.
   "I want to be 19 again", I was complaining about not be able to carry 2 sheets of plywood.  I did just finish an eighteen foot balcony railing and carried the back half of it to the street 160 feet from my shop with my helper leading with the front half.  Years ago I could have done this by myself.
I want that strength back.  Now I know what they mean when they say, "youth is wasted on the young".
   I know that I shouldn't be complaining, two years ago I couldn't carry 20 pounds!  I keep a photo of me taken 2 years ago, after 12 "chemo's" and the loss of over 50 pounds thanks to that voodoo chemical crap made from WWI Mustard Gas.  It is on my wall, right over my desk and I don't recognize that guy at all.  I used to walk down the street like a ninety year old man and the neighbors didn't know who I was.  I should have been a Bank Robber.  It was the perfect disguise.
  I did pass my physical, this one from my regular doctor, a much more thourough inspection than my cancer doctor ever does.  It was my regular doctor who discovered the Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the first place, nailed it on the spot during a fifteen minute physical that turned into over half an hour!  No one likes to hear those words: "You've got Cancer".  He sent me to the specialist who spent $30,000
to confirm what he already knew.
   No one wants National Health until they get cancer.  It is not really in the top ten things we think about during the day.  "Not me," right?  It is an interesting topic if you get into the thick of it.  Better to discuss it before you need it is all I am saying.  Should be just a discussion on economics, dollars and sense, what is practical and workable and not an emotional topic at all.  Funny, we can send a craft to Mars and we can't solve this problem!
   I have good insurance, so it is not a battle for me.  My $130,000 war with cancer cost me exactly One Thousand Dollars.  The Insurance Company paid the rest.  I was lucky, most people at least lose their houses and pretty much everything else.  People with great insurance get too sick to work and lose their policies and then get kicked out of cancer treatment, file bankruptcy or both.  Cancer represents only 5% of the total medical expenditures in this country.  But that is everything when you get it.
  All right, so I am not 19 anymore.  I am still getting used to that.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Am Retired

I no longer make lists, obligations and chores to fill my day.  I may or I may not do anything at all.
This time of year my garden no longer requires my devoted attention.  It will grow now and take care of itself.  The tomatoes will get big and ripe and juicy or they won't and my effort is not required.
I may paint, sometimes I do that even though I am a beginner, a novice who doesn't understand the rules. I have sold three paintings in my life and don't even remember what they were.  As I get older what once was important has lost its significance, just a painting, that's it.
   I might weld, slap steel together and make something that way, the  way that got me on this road, introduced me to art and got me to wherever I am.
   I have four sheets of siding that need replacing on my shop and I work at that a little each day, pulling a few nails, dragging out a three hour job and making it last weeks.  I have until the fall rains, another five or six weeks so I am not in a hurry.
   I still read the newspapers, an old habit that I continue.  We are on Mars and won a lot of gold medals, the most I hear!  Romney has chosen a running mate so that race has really started.  We will be getting a lot of lies from both sides, distortions and I sometimes wonder why these people (from both sides) are not in jail?  It leaves a lot of work for us to discover the truth and I wonder if we even give a rip?   Many days it is not on my list and I do not investigate at all.
   I sometimes start something and put it down and not go back to it.  Finishing a project, unless it is for a customer, is not as important as it once was.  I do not have to get something done in order to get on to that next thing on my list because I have no list at all.
   I have begun the last in the trilogy of  Stieg Larsson's books: "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest".  It is a complex novel full of details and conspiracies.  It requires the reader's attention, something not required from most books nowadays.  I like it and, of course, love Lizbeth Salandar, the uncooperative heroine!
   I check on my friend's house from time to time.  The roof trusses arrive next Wednesday and I will be there to help.  It is a small house by our standards, about 900 square feet and only one bedroom and one bathroom, mostly a living room with kitchen and a big front porch.  It is enough and I wish my house were smaller.  How we ever got trapped in the bigger is better I will never know.  It is just a lot more work and I wonder what drives us so?  We could learn from other species if we could listen.  My dog could teach me to relax.
    My hands still hurt and they are teaching me to slow down but inactivity doesn't seem to help. They are at their best when I am deep into a project and can forget about them.  Maybe that is the purpose of a "list"?  I will pull five more nails and think about it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Baby Daughter

She should be getting frequent flyer miles.  She is a lawyer now, living and working in Washington D C but when she gets the chance, flies here and there, to visit with us, off to California for a wedding (not hers!) or to Texas to visit her sister.  My family is scattered over the Country, a result of this lousy economy.  You go where the work is.  They are getting older and as the mirror attests, so am I.
   My daughters are fearless, not afraid to tackle new things, not afraid to move away to where the action is, seemingly not afraid in this scary world at all.  They are both hard workers and I am lucky that they choose to spend some of their money on a visit to me!  It is expensive to fly across the country and that money could be going for a new car or an ipad or whatnot.
   My youngest daughter likes to cook and maybe should have gone to a culinary school.  Instead she went to Law School and wants to represent the down and out, woman's rights issues, immigration issues and all low paying legal forums.  She is not a corporate attorney.Not a great way to get rich but doing what matters to her.
   I am the lucky recipient of her cooking skills and she always raids the garden while here to see what is available. The tomatoes are coming on fast now and some peppers were ready so we had Chili Rellenoes, one of my all time favorite meals.  On a different day I made her a Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich the meal of Kings, if they were so lucky!  I always feel like a millionaire this time of year, the garden provides so much in abundance!  I have lost the photos of these wonderful meals but when able I will post them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Where the heck are we going? and do we really long for the "good old days"?  What is the direction of USA that you like? and do not like?  I think that when we look back with nostalgia we don't see what we don't want to see.  When were the "good old days" anyway?  The 1950's? when the best job a woman could get was a school teacher or a half the salary of men?  No, I don't think so, unless being "kept" is your idea of perfection.  Woman have come a long ways, their voice counts now.  Our rivers and the air we breath are so much cleaner now.  Landfills are no longer just a dumping ground of unwanted discards.  We are more aware of the damage we can do and more protective of the environment.  I like that!
    Somehow, miraculously and by design we have stayed out of the wars in Lybia and Syria and i sure like that direction.  We are out of Iraq finally, that quagmire battle, our longest war and on schedule to leave Afghanistan, the other mistaken war.  That seems a good direction to me.  We have yet to get the bills for these wars but they will come
   Twenty six million more people have health insurance and that just can't be bad.  For those of you against National Health Insurance, let's do away with Medicare!  Or is it OK for you to have National Health Care but not others?  This is a good direction.  It is a tribe looking after its members.  A Nation that cares for its weakest members.  A sign of strength.  I like that direction.
   We landed on Mars!  A one ton scientific vehicle as big as a car and nuclear powered at that.  What a sense of pride that should be!  The Koreans would kill to have such rocket scientists.  They should be rock stars!  American Made!  We should be bursting with pride and dancing in the streets!  Nice direction!
   People believe in us, even when we don't sometimes.  Investors from all over the world pay us to put their money here!  Face it, we are the prettiest girl in the house!  Stable, maybe slow sometimes, but secure, a country founded  and based on laws.  I like that and most of the world does too.
   Oh, sure, I have disappointments!  The pretty girls of my youth have grown old and fat. And sometimes I don't remember things exactly as they were.  I am not sure it would have been nice to ride in the back of a bus.  I wouldn't want to go back there.
   I wish we would do things, that is for sure. There has never been a better time to rebuild our infrastructure.  Money is cheap and it needs to be done.  China has better roads and trains than we do.
Our bridges are getting old and some of our water systems are over 100 years old.  They are far more expensive to repair on an emergency basis than having a plan and I wish we could agree on one. There is no single thing that would be better in creating jobs than working on our infrastructure and it need doing.
    Unless you are into dirty water and dirty air the answer is not in deregulation.  Go to Mexico City and see what that is like.  I am glad we are not going in that direction and hope we never do.
   The direction I really don't like is our own apathy.  We have lost a sense of investigation, of reading and looking at other sides, of considering consequences. This fosters hate and fear and intolerance.
We would rather be entertained than learn something and we get bored easily.  Easily distracted we are only after sound bites and emotions.  God forbid if we actually sat down and read a book!
   I think the Country will be fine, even if "the other guy" wins the election.  We have so many checks and balances in our system that even someone "perfect" cannot move fast.  That has always been our biggest strength and prevents popular opinion from crushing the minority.
   It is the direction that we are going as individuals that I worry about.  Our becoming comfortable with being lazy, our feeling of inconsequence, our sense of powerlessness and our own willingness to settle for less.  That is a bad direction, every time.

Monday, August 6, 2012


are in order! ...and, Sherry, it is not your fault for not knowing about this. I'll explain my thinking there in a minute.
    Over 2,000 pounds, a nuclear powered robotic rover has landed on Mars.  Stand up proud folks, we did it!  It is more difficult than sending up an Earth based rocket and landing on a dime.  It is the modern version of the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China, something pretty phenomenal created by Man and "Made in the USA"!  No other country could have done this and several have tried. Mars is a harsh teacher.  10:31 PM Pacific Time and what was on television?
   Reruns of 2 and 1/2 Men!, maybe the news about the crazy man killer in Milwaukee and the typical crap that is normally on television!  What a terrific educational opportunity lost!  I could watch pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope all day long.  You want poetry, adventure, mystery and violence, you won't get better than that!  The television stations could have thrown in some history of the Space Program, a reminder that we began this mission in second place, losing to a Russian dog!  They could have run programs touting the civilian benefits of the Space Program but chose not to.
   It wasn't "luck" that we did this.  It was ten years in the making and the final victory of an eight month voyage and two and a  half billion dollars spent!  They could have educated us and instead gave us reruns on television!  That is sad.
   The guy in Milwaukee or that orange hair theater killer should have been back page news, two paragraphs at most.  Add up television time at over a half million dollars a minute, add up court costs, time and money and energy.  Why do we focus on such b.s. when there are wonderful things, amazing discoveries, incredible achievements to dream about?
   Made in the USA!  We did it.  We should be proud.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It is not on your local TV station but tonight, 1:31 am Eastern Time. 10:31 Pacific Time is the landing of "Curiosity". our Mars Lander!  Ten years in the making and in flight since November, pretty cool stuff!  It will be on NASA TV  which you can get on your computer.  Something to be proud of that we even attempt this and oh so incredible if we succeed!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hotter than Blazes!

Well, it is all relative, for Oregon it is hot.  99 degrees today!  I will be in the pool!  It is hotter everywhere, you know.   This drought is world wide, ask India or our own Midwest.  Corn it seems is in every food and in the gasoline to drive our cars and there won't be much this summer!  How much hotter does it need to get for you to believe in Global Warming?  I wonder how much more coal we need to burn to really screw up the atmosphere?  Seems like a challenge, doesn't it?
   Chic-a-fil seems to think we are challenging God in the bedroom when it is really this small blue orb that we are playing with.  It is not nice to fool with Mother Nature!  It will get hotter, that is for sure, and a lot more weird weather before we will admit...anything!  That is just the way people are.  Stubborn.
   I have a well on my little one third acre, one of the first things I did over 40 years ago.  It is only 20 feet deep and has never run out of water, although I am not so presumptuous as to think this might never happen.  I pray to the well gods every time I turn on the pump.  So far that works.
   So, how hot is it where you are?  and what do you do to cool down?  I don't have air conditioning, would only need it one week a year in Oregon.  I have my little garden pool and that is where I will be.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Did You See The Moon?

Wow, how lucky Oregon is!  The Full August Moon and just over our coastline!  It is huge and a bright white yellow and oh so close.  I sometimes wonder about other countries?  How many moons does Canada have?  I am pretty sure that the French have two; in England you can never see the moon because of the rain and in Russia?  I am not sure whether a moon would even be allowed?
   Did you know that it is getting a little further away from us each passing day?  Someday it won't be there at all, just a fairy tale that no one will believe.  Enjoy it while you can.