|My blog was filled up. I'm too lazy to clean it out. So I started a new one.|
| Garrison Keillor said that if you can put on your underwear without toppling over, you aren't ready for the nursing home. To put that another way, if you might need to start thinking about a nursing home if you fall over when you try to put your underwear on. Sort of a "You might be a redneck..." thing. Only, we don't say nursing home for all seniors these days. It's a senior community. Within that community, you can have a nursing home, independent living, an Alzheimer's unit,and assisted living. So I'll just say a senior community.
With that in mind, I've started a list, with Keillor's as number one.
You might need to think about a senior community if you can't go at least one day a week without losing your glasses car keys, or cell phone.
, , , if you see one of your grandchildren, and you have to list all your children and grandkids to come up with the right name.
, , , if you can't remember whether you've had breakfast and it's only ten a.m.
, , , if your favorite TV show is still The Smothers Brothers Hour.
, , , if you can remember a Shakespeare soliloquy or all the songs from a musical, but you can't remember what you did yesterday.
, , , if your cell phone contacts are all doctors' numbers.
, , , if most of your junk mail and computer pop-ups involve medicare supplements, reverse mortgages, hearing loss or incontinence.
, , , if you limit your all shopping to certain days so that you can get the senior discount.
, , , if your menu is determined by what gives you gas or heartburn.
, , , if the most exciting thing you did last week was to get new bifocals.
, , , if you go shopping at the mall, then get your exercise walking around afterwards trying to remember where you parked the car.
, , , if you're telling a story, get side-tracked, and can't remember what you were talking about.
, , , if you're telling a story and one of your kids tells you that you're already told that story several times today.
Oh, yes. There is much more. Just something to think about. We're all speeding in that direction.
| In response to some news stories about some businesses banning cash, I am registering my objection. That's a form of discrimination. Some people don't have bank accounts or have lost faith in banks or they're afraid of identity theft. Some people are too poor for bank cards, but they're unlikely to frequent hot lunch spots or bakeries.
I have read a lot of novels, like everyone on this site, and know that it is too easy for someone, like a hacker, or some group, to control the flow of society by locking up accounts of certain people or groups of people. You might have a fortune in your account, your hard earned money, but an enemy can lock your account for the fun of it, or an ex-spouse. Or you can be labeled for your political opinions or your ethnic background, allowing some cyber criminal to lock access to your money. You won't be able to buy gas, or food, or pay your bills, travel, or stay in a hotel when your cards are shut down. Allowing businesses to go cashless only is just the first step to controlling other people's lives.
i am guilty myself of buying gas with a card to avoid going into the store. I used to be embarrassed using a card to pay for a dollar cup of coffee, but now I do it without flinching, and even use it in vending machines for a 35 cent fee because I'm usually a nickle short. I even used a bank card for a taxi last week; I haven't taken a taxi in years, so that was a flashback in itself. Yet, I'm told using cash is good for the economy.
I understand the argument. Cash takes longer. I've waited in line while the little old lady at the grocer's counts out exact change, then takes a long time to get her purse straight before moving on. I've been tempted to pay the change myself just to speed things up, but decided patience would be the better part of valor. She didn't look poor. A lot of cash also cries out to robbers. Delivery men don't want to carry cash, or cab drivers.
I spend cash very quickly and don't have a record of it like I do with bank statements. But cash I write off as spent already. I don't rely on it, like I do a bank balance, which I don't keep up with on a daily balance. The bank card allows me to overspend very quickly, which is good for business, but bad for me. Most Americans overspend. I don't use checks much any more, except for church and charity. My dad pays most things by check, but they're regular monthly bills. They don't have id issues. I know from the business point of view that collecting on a bounced check is expensive and time-consuming. The fees for a bad check have scared most honest check bouncers away from using them. (The bank will charge $32 for the first bounced check, even if it only bounced by fifteen cents. Then the business can charge up to $50 in my state.)
My biggest fear is that the more times my bank card number is out there the more likely some punk will use it for airline tickets (it happened a few months ago). But I can quell those thoughts of an apocalyptic or pre -apocalyptic time when all but a select few are denied access to those bank cards. In a cashless society, those folks have no recourse.
| I just finished a romance novel by Cheryl Biggs. She was prolific. This one was The Cowboy She Never Forgot, a modern novel about a female cop who fell in love with a rodeo cowboy. It was copyrighted 1999. I didn't mind reading about the horses, the barrel racing, or the bull-riding. Nicholas Sparks did one about a cowboy with a ranch in North Carolina. Biggs' story is in Reno.
However, I did encounter a lot of what made me avoid romance novels for most of my life. One of my goals this year is to read more genres, and this book is one I found at home, probably one of my mom's books. She would read anything, except a Russian novel--too long. I kept putting it down, and thinking, "Man, this kind of young love is too hard. Who wants all that intrigue and heartbreak? Too much game playing." Then I would try just to finish it. It was repetitive. It actually had whole sections reprinted word for word, but in italics, as the character remembered a conversation or the sensations. Maybe people in a tortured relationship do relive a moment over and over, but don't make me do it. Near the end, when the stubborn, self-centered,but handsome sexy man is walking out, I'm thinking "Good. I hope he stays away. He's not good enough for her." Yet, she throws aside her pride and goes after him anyway. You know after 200 pages, they're going to get together one way or another.
Very quickly, at the end, the man does dome to the shocking revelation that he is pig-headed and a fool. They make up and ride off into the sunset, each allowing the other to have a life choice, but both making compromises. They live happily ever after, Meanwhile, the police case is solved, everyone gets what's coming to them, jail or true love, buckles and titles. (Did you know a rodeo groupie is called a "buckle bunny"? It was new to me.)
It was okay. But I don't want a steady diet of romances.
| There's a new baby in the family. My middle brother just had his 6th grandchild, a boy. The boy is named for my father and his daddy's uncle, Ernest. My dad is a junior, and my late brother was the III. Jack was also my oldest brother; Jackson was the middle name. Another great grandson also has the middle name Jackson from my dad and his great grandfather on the other side of his family. This baby's first name is Jackson. So it's safe to say it's now a family name. They plan on calling him Jack, like my brother, who taught our niece to drive.
As happy as we all are to have this perfect, healthy baby with long fingers and toes, we can't help but remember his daddy who died six months earlier at age 35. it's a sorrowful time for my niece and her in-laws. It's a sorrowful time for all of us, because Billy was special, and had been a part of our family a very long time. So our hearts are breaking all over again, while at the same time celebrating.
Can we ever fully appreciate the joy in our lives unless we have experienced great sadness? Can one exist without the other? Are they always intermingled? We'll take our mixed blessings. We'll hold this child and sing to him and tell him stories about the daddy he'll never know. We'll tell him his nickname is the same as the great uncle he never met. But he is prized and treasured.
| Please, half the news these days is about someone taking offense to what someone else said. Do all public figures just need to tape their mouths shut on all sides of the political fences until they think it through and have it proofread by a half dozen assistants? This would include celebrities and the media folk themselves. Everything they say is going to misinterpreted, taken out of context, or misquoted.
Have we really become so sensitive in our culture that we get our feelings hurt or our righteous indignation aroused over the minute bits of idle or off-hand conversation? Or have we just become so angry that we manufacture reasons to complain and ridicule and rant? There are plenty of real topics to outrage us, but they don't come to light very often.
We are a snarky, insulting, whining, complaining, bitching culture. As a people, we just love the sensation of argument and ridicule. We hold onto our peeves, nourishing them and letting them grow. Our hatred of our enemies is poisoning us. We ridicule people who forgive or try to live with grace and peace.
It's hard to hold out hope for peace on earth when there is so much venom in every day people. Forgiveness isn't a subject taught in school. Tolerance only receives lip service.
| We're not quite done with Christmas at church, but at home we are. I put away all of the Christmas dishes and mugs today. We spent half a day un-decorating the tree, the mantle, the windows, the foyer, the staircase, and all the knickknacks around the family room. Whew. That's only the lower floor. The tree is boxed and ready to go into the garage attic. The other boxes are taped and read to come upstairs and be lifted into the main attic.
So tomorrow, I face the living room and dining room. We have animated figurines which are rather large, so they have their own boxes. I will have to go up into our Arctic attic to find the right boxes and bring them down. It shouldn't take quite so long. Now all the red hand towels and special kitchen accessories I had already washed and put away. I don't want to wash them too often and have them fade.
It did take longer to put it all up, but taking it down is sort of sad. I linger over it and remember more of when and where we got them. What was my mother's favorite. What belonged to my late brother. And seeing it go makes me feel like I didn't just sit and enjoy it more. I did carry my coffee down there this morning and just look at everything before tackling it. There is always so much to do before Christmas, that even as low stress as this year's holiday was for me, I still didn't take much quiet time or listen to music. So I did have a half hour today by myself just to enjoy how pretty it was.
As soon as my brother comes to help me haul the boxes up the folding ladder into the attic, it will all be put away for another year. Another ten months or so will be pass without remembering how much money went into all that decor over the decades or how many special memories are triggered by them. It seems a shame to leave them up such a short time. I do know two people who have spectacular tress, and they leave them up all year long. I might get a little callous and not appreciate it so much if I did that.
Until November, 2018, it's almost done.
| OK. So, no resolutions have begun. I stayed up late binging on Thin Man movies on TCM. They were showing six; I only watched four. And I did it without booze or popcorn. I had Sprite Zero. This morning, when I finally crawled out of bed, I had pie with black coffee for breakfast. So there to a happy, healthier new year.
I'd like to do all the usual things that people want to do. Lose some pounds, be happier, healthier, richer, etc. I made one small resolution last week which I've already started. having to do with tidiness. I do want to lower my A1C. It's still in the safe zone, barely. My doctor is riding me about it because I have other risk factors which could push it over the line to pre-diabetes, like my gender, age, and family history. If I can lower it by just a few decimals, say by March, he'll back off. The way to do that is a combination of more exercise, reducing fats in my diet, and losing a few pounds. That's specific enough, but not too grueling to manage. Give up all ice cream, now that's just unreasonable. But if the day's fat intake has been low, maybe it would be okay. On the other hand, that last thought could be dangerous thinking. I've got to evaluate my thoughts every time I'm tempted.
Finish a novel is probably too big a command for my feeble brain. I've tried that before. Instead, maybe I should just pick one and work on it for noticeable improvement. That shouldn't be too daunting. I could make loftier goals for writing. However, I think I should stick to something I've come close to doing already, and just go a bit further.
I do have to reduce my spending, and start saving for a rainy day. I need a budget in my head, so I know when I'm getting close to my limit in certain categories. For most of my life, like a lot of people, I just lived from paycheck to paycheck. I paid what had to be paid, like utilities and car repairs. Now there's no rent to pay, no mortgage. The car is paid. I don't have any debt. Nobody else has his name on my checking account, so my money is not being spent without my consent. For the first time, this past year, I've had discretionary income. But it's not going to last. Something always goes awry. I have to be practical.
don't want to make a list of things that I'll just end up breaking within the week. I want to set some targets that I can and should be setting all the time. I might make some resolutions the first day of every month.
Meanwhile, I held a Southern style New Year's Day. For dinner, we had black eyed peas, turnip greens, iced tea, as always on this day, with some leftovers--roast beef, salad, and homemade crab dip.
HAPPY NEW YEAR !
| This week, we go back to normal, if not already. The decorations will come down. Ordinary music and chores. Back to work or housework, back to laundry, cleaning floors, cleaning toilets, maintaining the car. The parties, the concerts, the special events are pretty much over. Life goes on as before.
The shepherds had that experience the first Christmas. They were startled out of the ordinary by scary magnificence of heavenly beings. They didn't understand what they heard, but decided to check it out. When they found the baby as told, they marveled and felt joy, but they still didn't know the whole story. They didn't know how it fit in with the prophecies, or how it would turn out. They were excited and didn't keep it a secret, but they did go back to work. Maybe they were changed forever, maybe it wore off.
We have the advantage of knowing the significance of the details. But are we changed by it? Are we more giving all year or only in season? How does having Christmas every year really affect us, other than give us an excuse to party, to have a big meal, and lavish gifts on our friends and loved ones?
I heard someone today talk about everyone being in a bathroom every day. Most bathrooms, even in stores and work places, have mirrors. If every time we looked in the mirror, we told ourselves "I am wonderfully made" like the psalmist said, would we be nicer people to be around. Would we be more positive and encouraging to others if we tell ourselves, "God loves me and cares for me" every time we look in a mirror?
Celebrating Christmas is a reminder that the God of all creation became one of us to communicate his love to us. Maybe that conversation with the mirror would remind us of that all year long. Christmas would be a quiet part of the ordinary on a daily basis.
| Oh my, oh my. Can it be that another year has flown by? The last three months have been a blur, but they say that's a sign of old age. Time is relative. The longer you've been watching time go by, the faster it seems to go. My grandmother never had that experience. The days always seemed long to her. It was hours or days since she last saw someone. Then you'd listen to her talk and realize she'd had half a dozen visitors that day. Come to think of it, she never complained of anyone staying too long. I don't have that experience . . . yet.
So I've been toying with resolutions, which I usually try to avoid. But I know I want some changes. I've been thinking about them for some time. The ones that cost money will stay on hold. However, I got an ad in the mail today. The good gym has just opened a new branch 24/7 near my subdivision. I know I need to get some direction from a trainer, and they do have a trial period. Maybe, I could try two months, and I could see if it's worth the ongoing monthly fee, or whether I've learned enough to do it on my own. I know I need to up my game without straining a muscle or having a stroke trying. Inside out of the rain and snow would be nice, too. I'm thinking. . . .
So, I guess I'll make a list of things and see how they look. I might end up throwing it away. I'm going to concentrate on daily behavior and not results. Like forget "lose ten pounds". Instead, exercise 10 minutes more every day, and no eating in front of the TV or computer video. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier, that kind of thing. Write for X number of minutes a day, or read a certain amount of time. I can always adjust my list, if I keep it, and decide some things were too easy or too hard. Maybe I need to set aside certain days, like every Thursday is research day. Or pay bills on Friday. That might keep me organized and help me meet my weekly goals.
Resolutions will be broken, no matter what the intention. But we can get back on track or throw them out. But throwing them out should be intentional, and not just forgetfulness. I'm going to dabble with them.
| Solicitations are up in December. I hate answering the phone. My favorite TV channels with the long commercials, not my favorite part, are big on sad children ads. The animal ads run all year, as do the St. Jude's, but they increase the number just before Thanksgiving, through New Years. They usually feature the girl who looks like a boy talking about the "adorable blanket" for your sizable donation. Shriner's starts showing up, along with the hare lip organization that use to feature in the back of every magazine. Wounded Warrior advertises all year long.
There's a couple of local theaters that I like to support in a small way, but they don't make a big to do this month. The Municipal Band is pushing because they have a matching donor who has issued a challenge. They need to get as much as possible very soon to get the largest match possible. I know a lot of people do wait until late in the year to make their contributions for tax reasons, or when they balance their budgets.
My dad and I give to the local food bank several times a year. We give memorials to Wounded Warriors or the closest Habitat for Humanity when someone passes away. I give to my church regularly which supports the local women's shelters and will occasionally do meals at the men's shelter. They also participate in the food bank and other local projects like water in the summer for the homeless or gloves and hats in the winter for kids and adults. We also do projects in nearby housing projects and nursing homes, as well as some foreign and emergency projects. These are ongoing, which makes sense. Dad likes to give to the Heart Association since Mom died of a heart attack.
I've made it my policy not to buy or donate over the phone. I've had my credit card number stolen once. I've also found you never get rid of the solicitors once you give. Every ten to 30 days, they're on the phone again. I recognize their voices. I've asked to be taken off the lists more than once, so I think that's why they call back so soon. The cancer society and its divisions are the worst for frequent calling, always pretending to be your best friend. I have limited resources and can't supply all the requests, no matter how much they plead, as though their requests to "Please, don't hang up" will make me give more.
I'm really tired of the commercials. I don't watch certain channels now just to avoid the extended ads--they're longer than name brand products. Someone has to pay for extra time and the repetitions. The cost of the ad itself is taken out of your charitable donation. Today the Shriner's ran an ad showing deformed children, and kids with artificial limbs. I burst out crying. I then turned the TV off once I could breathe again. These commercials need to have warnings. I was only halfway looking at the screen, so it caught me by surprise. I'm not an irresponsible person. Most of us aren't. But the guilt they want to lay on the average viewer is too much. The need may be real, but in most cases only a small percentage of your donation goes to the actual need.
Hopefully, the begging will be reduced soon.