September 25, 2008

Our Economy, The Economy, and Other Stuff

The economy is bad. From my point of view it's been bad. If people have been relying on "easy credit" to cover the essentials (a place to live, transportation, and basic needs), you can't get any worse.

Bush mentioned excesses. Around this house an excess purchase would be purchasing new brakes for the truck, which was a parts only purchase. Labor came from the sweat of our own brow.

We're not buying new Wii consoles, TVs, or even music CDs. We haven't rented a movie or ordered a pizza since I can't even remember when. In this house there is no excess.

Even so, our household economy is in state of instability. Everything is going up while our income stagnates.

About the construction boom...It's all over here. There are new developments tearing up the hillsides. Then the houses sit vacant for months, years in some cases. There's one house we drive by that's been sitting empty for 3 years (at least) since construction was completed. Sad.

I feel for all those who purchased homes with ARMs. I can kind of see why they went for it at the onset. But in the long run, you are going to pay. Always go fixed rate, always.

Is this our fault? If you ask me, it's the fault of the mortgage companies: faulty screening, faulty disclosure/education to the purchaser, and just plain bad business practices. So now they need to be bailed out...Is it just me or have they never heard of the big picture.

I know Bush went on about securities, blah. Those investors should have looked at the numbers themselves. Someone, somewhere, dropped the ball looking at the numbers. It's called the snowball effect and every thing got sucked in during the roll downhill.

It seems to me home/land ownership has been promoted since the beginning of time--"40 acres and a mule," even earlier. I think when Columbus docked the boat there was a mention of the land and owning it.

In all seriousness, taxes have to choke up the dough. Again. Then there's the promise the money "much, if not all" will be returned. Paid back. Okay. When taxes go up it's been the very rare occasion they ever go down again. Even if they do go down, it's marginal.

I guess we're just to trust the government has it all under control.

Sorry, but I have to move to something else. The Presidential debate was scheduled for Friday. McCain wants to suspend it, and the campaign, to take care of these financial issues pending at the House. Good show!

I agree McCain and Obama should be a party to these discussions. Perhaps Obama is not seeing the big picture here.

There was an issue with McCain canceling his Letterman appearance. Well, what is more important, TV air time or our Nation's financial status? I did not see the Letterman show--it comes on too late for me. However, I read some of the stories about it. In my opinion the media really needs to get a life.

Yesterday evening Katie Couric did an interview with Palin...Why, oh why, could Palin not come up with one example of McCain's Maverick-ness. I'll tell you why. Those off the cuff shooting matches of questions and answers are tough. We cannot expect Palin to know every single incident of example.

I'm giving Palin credit here, sometimes I can't remember what happened yesterday. I honestly think Palin is thinking about the here and now rather than regurgitating the past.

All in all, we really need take our blinders off. For the campaign, it's really no secret who's favored by whom. One can really be swayed unless they look beyond what sits before them.

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September 17, 2008

Are You Bored?

I subscribed to a magazine, Ode (For Intelligent optimists). Actually, I won the subscription by watching various ads on this site Adperk. If you like reading magazines and like getting stuff for free, you should give it a go.

I had heard of Ode but never read the magazine before. I have to tell you it's pretty darn good! One article particularly caught my attention. It's called "Childhood's End" written by John
Taylor Gatto, a retired educator and current author.

In the article, he discusses student complaints about being bored and turning that around to teach kids to be leaders and adventurers. Being the mother of two kids, I come across the "I'm bored" statement continually.

My response is usually to get them doing something, anything, to teach them something (trivial, moral, or otherwise). I've even told the teen to go move rocks out of the yard--we grow a lot of rocks here in Texas--if she was bored. Usually she will find something to do when that suggestion comes up.

Gatto said, in reference to being bored, "We all are. My grandfather taught me that. One afternoon when I was 7, I complained to him of boredom, and he batted me hard on the head. He told me I was never to use that term in his presence again, that if I was bored it was my fault and no one else's. The obligation to amuse and instruct myself was entirely my own, he said, and those who didn't know that were childish people, to be avoided if possible."

His grandfather sounds a lot like my grandparents did. I like him.

I read this to my teen daughter. Then I backed it up with my own boredom lessons I pressed upon her in the past. I think she gets it now.

I never get bored. I hope my kids are never bored for very long. I think I'm pretty happy-go-lucky and can turn a bored day into something productive and educational yet fun. I hope I'm teaching them what Gatto's grandfather taught him.

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September 12, 2008

My Week...

This has been a horrible week for us. Last weekend was busy. We decided to finish up the yard work. It was hot, dirty, work. The weed whacker decided to give us its usual trials. I think my husband finally killed it.

When the yard work was at a stopping point, we sat in the garage for a celebratory beer. Nothing beats an ice cold beer after a hot, sweaty job like that. Our cats came to praise us for a job well done. They hate it when the equipment comes out; but they love it when we're finished.

We have two cats. One, B.J., has been with me for 13 years. He's the most lovable, purr happy, cat. He likes to sit on our laps, be petted, and knead our legs with his claws.

Sunday morning I went about my usual routine. I made my coffee and proceeded out to feed the cats. B.J. didn't come for breakfast. I called and called but not a response came. He didn't come for lunch or dinner either.

Monday came and nothing. Now I'm worried. B.J. never has left for more than a day. Sometimes he goes to visit the neighbor on the corner. I went to see our neighbor and he hadn't seen him since Saturday night.

We canvased the entire area, walking the properties near us and the park. No sign of him.

Tuesday I made posters and called the pound. As of this time I've spoken with the rest of the surrounding neighbors.

Wednesday I got a call from a neighbor but it wasn't B.J. they found...

Thursday I posted to the neighborhood loop and contacted the newsletter editor to post a bulletin for a missing cat.

My husband had thoughts he may have gone off to die...I wouldn't think so as he has not been ill. Of course, I scolded my husband. Beside, if that was the case, we would have found him or seen evidence of buzzard activity to investigate.

So this morning I checked my emails. I received a few responses to my loop message. I'll be checking them out after the little one gets going and eats.

Remember my deer post? I've been having horrible thoughts my poor B.J. has been catnapped. The whole situation is driving me insane with worry. I won't go on and on, but the full moon is steadily approaching, Halloween is next month, and apparently we have some real sick tickets in the area.

Okay, if he did pass, I want to know. If he's found a new home, I want to know. If he's been catnapped, I'm going after those cretins...

B.J. is a solid black cat, like a witches cat, it's hard to tell from the picture. He's neutered and has never been a wanderer. He comes like a dog when he's called. He's friendly and not one bit stand offish when strangers come 'round.

I know some may scold me because we don't keep the cats indoors. Okay, we went that route and they HATE being inside. Our cats are not wild, roamers, or otherwise. They just lay on the deck and bask in the sun. We bring them in during extreme weather and they make it known they are infuriated to be inside.

I've heard of cats that go off for a time and come back. I've had some do it in the past myself. I know B.J. and I don't think he would go off like this on his own accord.

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September 5, 2008

About the Republican National Convention...

I wanted to talk about the Republican National Convention today since I posed my thoughts on the DNC last week. Remember I'm not big on politics and these are just my little blurbs. I watched the coverage on PBS, so I got to see a lot.

Wow, the crowds were not quite as enthusiastic as they were at the DNC. However, they were much more festive with their attire. I just loved the elephant hats with the business suits! That really shows spunk. And, what about the guy dressed just like Abraham Lincoln? Awesome!

Generally, it seemed the crowd took their time to warm up with each speaker--except for with Giuliani and Palin. I don't know if it's just the nature of the Republican party or what.

I have to say McCain made a good choice with Sarah Palin. I liked how she presented herself and what she said. I can tell you, I'm looking forward to the debates. She's a real firecracker. I laughed when she mentioned the Greek columns going back to some prop room on a movie set (referring to the DNC stage).

Cindy McCain's presentation was fantastic. Did you notice, no notes! I never knew about all she has done. I likened her to Princess Diana.

The video presentations really felt good for me. I am more impressed now than I was prior to the RNC. John McCain's video especially got me. I knew in my head what they showed us, but it wasn't until I saw the video did a whole new respect develop for me--pictures are truly worth a thousand words.

A thought kept popping in my head while I watched some of the crowd shots. Don't they screen or search the spectators prior to letting them in? During Palin's speech a woman was escorted out and a man during McCain's. First, why did the cameraman document the incidents and the display of certian banners? I know, it's propaganda but I had to mention it. Second, I think McCain handled it very well. I guess even politicians get hecklers.

The commentators changed their tune from the DNC. It was almost like they jumped on the other side of the fence and turned Democratic from their previous Republican demure. They're reporters so I guess they can flip the coin when they choose.

One issue they pointed out with Obama's speech was he distanced himself from the crowd with the stage choice. McCain opted to redirect the stage so he would be one with the floor. The main commentator kept talking about it almost as if it was a waste of time. Come on guys, damned if you do, damned if you don't was the impression I got. I personally liked McCain's stage better.

Overall, the crowd for the Republican National Convention was just as diverse as it was for the DNC. I swear I saw Bill Clinton there crouching, speaking with one of the big guys in the box where the Palins, McCains and presenters were sitting. Perhaps I was seeing things the camera was shaking and moved away quickly.
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