Last Time I Checked

2010, a bad year to be a volunteer

February 3, 2014
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I did my job and I did it well
But you took my life and made it hell
You won the battles but lost the war
You wounded me, but what for?
Your ego is bigger than your soul
Your pettiness has taken its toll
I leave with my self intact
And give you the last fact
You are mean as can be
Under the guise of a see
I will be working on forgiving
And doing my living
Away from your insignificant reaching
I’ll be teaching and preaching
Away I go
To where I don’t know
Just yet
I’ll get
What I need
I’ll be freed
From the constant source
Of your unwelcome force

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Goodbye Dear Sister

December 28, 2013
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The goodbye was left unsaid before my sister Sandy Kreiman died on November 6, 2013 at 1:30 am at a Phoenix Hospice facility where I hoped my brother and other sister would be – desperately hoped they would be and begged them to be – before she left us. They just barely made it after my urging. My goodbye was left unsaid, sad I am to say, long before I ever knew how much pain she was in, how lonely she was, how much she needed her family, and other support. The goodbye was left unsaid because I did not know she needed more contact with me, my family, and probably other loved ones in her life. The goodbye was left unsaid because there was not enough time between the time she was diagnosed on September 10 with stage 4 cancer and the time she died on November 6.

I’m reeling with the pain of losing my sister – my barely eldest sister, just 13 1/2 months older than I. I’m still reeling with the pain that we went through after our mom died, such a terrible ordeal, such an unexpected death – our mom was only 68. My sister was only 62! How can it be, I ask, that you lose a sibling younger than your own mother? How can it be than your sister dies, just barely older than you are? How can your sister leave you without saying goodbye?


I like the idea

September 6, 2013
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of cooking, baking, making things.  Doesn’t mean it happens very often.  I’ve become overly dependent on my DH to feed me, and that means very late dinners.  Lately, I barely finish what’s in front of me because I’ve been snacking and am just not very hungry by the time this good guy finishes grilling.

However, I may be developing a renewed interest in preparing food – at least for the next week or two – because I made something that was SO appreciated by my recent guest and later by her husband that it made me feel like a gourmet cook and super star!

So here I’m sharing a neat recipe for her should she decide she wants to make it in the future.  It’s actually my revised version of a recipe from a gourmet cookbook C 1976.

Basic Bread Stuffing

Huge bowl

Tear 2 loaves of store brand white bread into bite-sized pieces, crusts and all while the 1 C of diced white onions to two 2 Cups of THINLY diced celery are on very low  heat with at least 2 sticks of butter melting over them.

The kitchen starts to smell really good once you start pouring the melted butter with the onions and celery over the large bowl of torn bread . . . especially after you grind the pepper and add the tarragon over the stuffing . . . and sprinkle with regular salt – all to taste.  If you’re lucky to have helpers Thanksgiving morning like I am, you’ll get a lot ooohs and no complaints.

Be prepared to melt more butter as needed.  You don’t want a soggy stuffing, but you don’t want a dry one either.  Use the largest bird you can, and stuff it as full as you can.  Even if it means you’ll have lots of leftover turkey . . . you’ll have very little leftover stuffing.


Posted in Cooking

Spring

April 13, 2013
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is almost here if I go by what’s coming up in my garden beds.  If I go by the weather it’s still winter.  I need to be outside.  I need to garden.  I need to dig in the dirt.  This year – and I mean it this time – I am going to garden my ass off.  I am going to rip out, or hire someone to rip out, what I don’t want, what’s taking up too much space, what doesn’t look good enough.

Two weeks from today we leave for California.  I hope we have even just a few days of nice weather so I can at least do some preemptive weeding before leaving for ten days.  Ten days!  It’s been a long time since we’ve been away from home that long.  For me, that’s too long right now.  Alita is only 18 months old and I see her several days a week.  And I’m really attached to my pooch and she to me, and I know she will miss me so much.  I am grateful that her former foster mom is going to watch her.

If the weather continues to be poor here, then I think I might not get that homesick in California.  At least not for several days.


Posted in Let's Try This

Post-election coverage

November 4, 2010
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has brought good news and bad news.  The good news is that the money I’ve spend in the past for my HP printer and my ebay auction items didn’t help elect Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.  And it’s good news that wrestling fans’ investments in the sport didn’t support the win of Linda McMahon.  The bad news of course is the we Americans are so caught up in the hype, rely too much on Fox News input, and lack a basic education in our system of government to understand that it’s a politician’s job, his/her only job, to get elected!  

My top dreams for this country:

  • Campaign reform that includes truth in advertising, limits on spending, public disclosures on contributions from corporations, PACS, and individuals, campaign time limits, and a prohibition on the use of public resources under the guise of outreach to voters (i.e., mailings to constituents) in an election year
  • More campaign reform that includes strict time limits for broadcast and requires equal access to the opposition candidates 
  • Get lobbyists out of Washington and require legislators to meet with them in their home office; this will be a stimulus to local economies and eliminate the unfair advantage in access that lobbyists have to our representatives 
  • Ethics in politics: censor false statements and punish extreme hyperbole made by office holders at all levels
  • Transparency that gives the public adequate opportunity to review proposed legislation and requires congress to report back to constituents via a radio, TV, web-based, or town hall meeting on the legislation in an objection fashion
  • More coverage of legislators on C-Span (thanks to the House Majority speaker for this idea and for suggesting greater transparency)
  • Health care insurance for all Americans, paid for by both the public and private sectors, with provisions to eliminate waste, fraud, and restrictions to women’s reproduction medical procedures (if the pubs say they want less government, let them start by getting out of our bathroom, bedroom, and doctor’s office!)
  • Enforcement of the separation of church and state
  • Taxation on large corporate and individual contributions made to 501 (c) (4) organizations (this would include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other member-based organizations)
  • Elimination of many of Bush’s tax cuts, especially to individuals earning, say, $300,000 or more, but certainly those earning 6 figures
  • A more simplified tax structure but an increase in deductions for middle-class wage earners
  • Elimination of the ceiling on Social Security taxes so that we do not have to keep increasing the retirement age and do not have to worry that cuts will have to be made in the future
  • No more tax credits for oil companies 
  • No more tax credits for overseas companies unless – perhaps – there is a proven and direct connection that benefits the United States economy
  • Re-define what constitutes a small business
  • Public supported K-12 education that requires knowledge of U.S. history, the constitution, and our political system in order to get a diploma
  • Set a goal to bring back manufacturing jobs from countries like China that risk our national security and health (food and drugs for example)
  • Research the impact of immigration to our economy – the benefits vs the drawbacks economically – and give the facts to Americans
  • Stop wasting money building border walls
  • Decriminalize drugs and if we’re not going to eliminate privatized prisons, make them fully accountable and keep them from influencing legislation like they did in Arizona which is a huge conflict of interest
  • Reinstate regulations of the banking and investment industry to protect Americans from ever having to go through a financial crisis like this one again!
  • Change the Department of Agriculture subsidies to benefit local farmers instead of large corporations

Back to it

November 2, 2010
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on election day.  I have to admit I’m feeling a bit sick to my stomach, but I hope the dems have countered the foolish tea partiers’ rants and that most of America is still sane.  It’s hard to tell with some of the things I see on TV or read in the paper (whether people are sane in this country).  The pubs definitely are great fear mongerers, and it must be hard on them to see things like Stewart’s rally last weekend in Washington. 

During this campaign and all the accompanying political ads I was pretty shocked to see an ad with a world war II vet protesting health care sponsored by an over-60 group.  He said something about the generation that fought for our freedoms.  I can’t equate freedom with not having healthcare.  Seems we’d be less free if we didn’t have it.  But maybe the dems moved too fast and maybe there are provisions in it that are bad.  I know I haven’t done much research to see the red flags.  But I do believe that in today’s world there is no excuse for every person not to have access to health care via universal coverage.  And universal coverage, in my mind, does not mean that it’s the only the government providing the coverage.  My son, who is in the medical field, told me today he wasn’t sure if he supported this.  He cited the people he sees who come in with an entitlement attitude, who are obese, etc.  He thinks this might further burden an already over-burdened industry (I say industry intentionally) because there would be no controls over who accesses health care that they might not need.  We didn’t get to talk very long about it, so I couldn’t really counter his argument about that.  But his perspective, while perhaps based on ignorance or fear, is probably shared with a lot of people who feel disenfranchised about the democratic processes in this country.  Or confused.  It’s easy for me to sit here and state that I believe every American should have health care insurance that provides adequate health care.  That’s a personal value I have.  But for those who don’t share that value, I ask them to think about what would happen to them if they no longer had coverage and could not afford to get treatment for a chronic or acute health problem.       

As I posted in Facebook today, nothing could be worse than the re-election of George W.  Not even Nixon’s re-election.  Nuff said.


Posted in The Last Word

Oil and water

June 30, 2010
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don’t mix.  Does the benefit of deep drilling for oil outweigh the risks?  If you answer yes to that question then you are complicit in causing damange to the environment and therefore just as responsible for paying for the cleanup as BP. 

My brother forwarded me an email that contained a letter to someone who was witnessing (and volunteering in the cleanup) the damage caused to the beaches on a pristine penisula in Florida.  The writer claimed we should stop the blame game and just get on with taking care of the problem.  I wondered if he was referring to the Obama administration or if his comment was simply generic and meant we shouldn’t worry right now about who to blame and focus instead on mitigating the impact of the oil spill.  My brother responded with a comment that we should not blame people who drive cars.  Hmmm . . . really?  Aren’t we users and over-users of non-renewable sources of energy complicit in the destruction this causes to our environment?  I’d say we’re indirectly part of the problem.  We’ve known for years we are on the downward slope of peak oil yet we continue to live our lives as though it’s a plentiful and cheap resource.   

I just heard a newly employed clean-up worker in L.A. in an interview on NPR say he hopes the oil keeps on coming because that means he’ll have a job.  Unbelievable.  I guess that’s looking for the silver lining, deciding to make lemonade from the lemons you’re stuck with, or an example of short-term (and impaired) thinking.  Maybe we should just divert the money they’re spending on all the equipment, research, PR, claims payouts, and other expenses related to the spill into a jobs training program for workers in the gulf.  We could train workers in handling and cleaning wildlife, scooping sand, making and laying booms, oil extractions methods, repairing wetlands, and all the other intricate methods needed to mitigate the impact.  Maybe there could be a think tank of all the creative types – anyone would qualify – to come up with ideas on how to recycle the oil once it’s collected in all the containment methods used.  If the people in the gulf states assert the continued need for off-shore drilling they are complicit too.  They should get off their butts and instead of looking for a check from BP, they should demand new job training in mitigating the impact of the oil spill.  You can’t have it both ways.    

If it hasn’t already, history will show Jimmy Carter as a prophet and maybe if Reagan hadn’t manipulated the political scene to enhance his chances of getting elected Carter would have been able to talk some sense into the American people.  But then again, maybe not.  As long as oil and water don’t mix, we’ll continue to drill in deep waters.


Posted in The Last Word

The finish line

June 6, 2010
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is just around the corner.  End of drama, stress, and too much work!  The finish line will lead to a fresh beginning, a time for unfettered enthusiasm in what I want to do.  NO is my new mantra when someone asks me to volunteer or suggests I might like to do such and such.  Instead of dealing with organizations I want to look a little closer to home and spend time with my family.  Amazingly, two years of my life have passed helping an organization and I feel like I am recovering from being fired. 

It’s early June and I have gardening to do and grandsons to play with and projects to look forward to.  I am gaining hours and hours of my time back.  I am almost done with the filing at home and that has meant I’ve found my desktop.  Wow!  My office is turning into a room of my own.  I’ve uncovered my own stuff and I cringe at the accumulated things I set aside to volunteer.  I’ll need to spend some time to think about what I really want to focus on.  Once I cross the finish line, there will be time for that.


Posted in The Last Word

Wednesdays are days with Jack

May 3, 2010
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and are almost always hilarious.  First of all, he’s four years old.  That’s the best age in any human being’s life.  His language skills are amazing, his imagination is unbelievable, and he makes me laugh.  In the car last week on the way back to my house after picking him up at preschool, he asked me if he could play Jack in the Box when we got there.  I thought to myself, what does he mean by that, the Jack in the Box I gave him one year is at his house?  Ah, he reminded before I even asked him that it was the one on the deck and I immediately knew he meant the Rubbermaid deck box that we store our patio chair cushions in.  But before I could respond, he started laughing about how the name of the game and his name were the same.  And then he thought of jumping jacks and I thought of the song Hit the Road Jack, and before you knew it Jack and I were laughing and talking all the way home.

We never did play Jack in the Box.  His mother doesn’t like that game anyway.  Reminds her of a coffin.  She turns away when the boys start playing in it.  I stand by as guard so no one gets hurt.  The boys sure think it is funny though. 

Everyone was over last night.  Jack said something really funny and we all laughed.  He got mad and said “I’m really mad at you.”  We laughed again and he said “Now I’m really really mad at you.”  And he makes these adorable facial features that really express what he is feeling or thinking.

He’s a little thinker.  His dad calls him his scientist. 

We belatedly celebrated my son’s birthday yesterday.  We had a great cake that also congratulated the runners – Tracy, Mike, Midgee, Denny, and the boys ran in the MSU run earlier in the day.  Rob ran with the boys in the one-mile race but he didn’t come home with a medal, so he’s not counted.  The cake was decorated with a pair of runner’s shoes.  We only lit one candle and after singing happy birthday to Mike the boys were trying to blow out the candle.  Their uncle Mike spoke a little too harshly to Jack about not blowing out his candle, and Jack ran off in tears.  I went to find him; he was crouching between the side of the couch and the end table.  I coaxed him out and told him we could put a candle on his piece of cake so he could make a wish too.  He wouldn’t tell us his wish until after he blew out the candle.  Then he said that he wished he could be Spiderman without getting bitten by a spider.

The mummy comment was the funniest.  That was during a sleepover when the boys and Denny were preparing for our movie night.  I was making the popcorn.  I heard them going over some movies on cable and Marty, who at 7 is becoming a great reader, exclaims “Mummy 3, how ’bout that one.”  I yelled from the kitchen “I don’t think so!” and was then told that their mom would let them watch it.  I called Tracy and of course knew the answer.  I just needed the ammunition before going into the livingroom.  I said “do you even know what a mummy is?”, and Jack said “yeah, it’s when you get all wrapped up.”  I had to leave the room.

So we agreed on the Incredible Hulk, which we watched once with them before.  Within an hour Jack, the early bird, fell asleep on my lap.  So sweet.  So hilarious. 

I look forward to Wednesdays.


Posted in The Last Word

The worst thing

May 2, 2010
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about not having a good set of eyes at the moment is it makes it difficult to read.  I can manage typing and looking at the computer screen (although that is surely adding to my dry eyes) but with the left eye feeling again as though there’s a small pebble lodged in the upper inside corner, it feels like only my right eye is doing its job.

Notwithstanding my poor vision as I write this, I have an eye – literally – on a print-out of something interesting I found on the Internet last December.  It’s from SOMA, The Society of Mutual Autopsy.  I don’t remember what I was googling when I found their website www.somareview.com, but the article is about boredom and its impact on society and individuals both historically and today.  The article, while not in-depth, mentions that some researchers and writers blame boredom on the brain, over-stimulation in modernity, feelings of emptiness and the inevitability of death, or not realizing our need for God, the ultimate source for all meaning.  The Buddhists would say be more mindful to assuage boredom.  

Here’s a link that, if you read it through, will help you figure out a lot of things to do that will prevent you from being bored (like blogging, protesting, conversing, thinking): http://www.somareview.com/mostfamouschristian.cfm


Posted in Let's Try This
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About author

These days, I am mostly happy. Not wildly happy. Happy as in feeling very content with my life. Happy with my darling husband and wonderful family. Happy I have a pooch to keep me company. Happy that I pretty much get to choose and do whatever I want. That kind of happy.

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