Saturday, February 28, 2009

I love old ladies (most of the time)

I'm involved in a community service organization in which I work with a bunch of really special people. One lady on the committee must be in her seventies, at the least. She is a total ball of fire, just the kind of the person I want to be when I'm that old, sort of (except for the stubbornness part).  

The first time I ever talked to her, she went into a tirade about how the organization needed to take better advantage of computer technology such as email groups and web conferencing. For one thing, I totally agreed with her. For another, I thought it was awesome that someone her age was so on board with computer technology. 

The other day we went to a meeting together. At one point she turned to me and asked, "Do you Twitter?"

I laughed.  I was glad that at least I knew what she was talking about!!  I actually signed up for a Twitter account when I first heard about it, but I have never used it because I thought it was just another way to waste time, and I don't have a lot of time to waste.

Old ladies can be irritating as hell, but when I get to be one, I want to be an old lady who Twitters (or whatever the equivalent might be at that time).

Bird of Paradise

My Dear Husband cut back his  Bird of Paradise today because the sucker is taking over the house!! I never would have guessed these plants would grow so large. We have two plants in our back yard. Both are taller than our house. This bloom (one of many!) is probably a foot long. The flower has two white petals and a bluish purple one.  The colors are very subtle and my camera totally sucks but I took a bunch of photos and then ran them through some of the filters/effects on Picasa. (I [heart] Picasa!!) 

I'm actually pretty happy with some of the results.

This is the actual color.

Same photo in Sepia.

Saturation bumped up as far as it would go.

On the Sacredness of Story

I believe in the power and magic of Story.

Story has the power to heal, to redeem, to entertain, to educate, to inspire -- and a whole lot of other things, but that is enough of a list for starters. There are millions of individual stories, in endless variations, on archetypal themes. Most of them are fundamentally sacred stories because they reveal certain truths about Life, and orient the hearer/reader toward The Holy.

Storytellers are shamans, clowns, teachers and preachers, to mention just a few of their roles. In their shamanic role, Storytellers make the myths that become gods (for good and for ill). They tell Stories that offer potential explanations for Mystery, quell fears and give hope. As clowns/jesters they entertain us, making us laugh when we are sad, and reminding us that we are not alone when we feel lost and afraid. Storytellers are humanity's guardians, guides and companions. They are mouthpieces of the gods. Occasionally, Storytellers become creators of gods, when they spin webs of sacred myth that resonate with certain human groups over long periods of time, ultimately becoming what we know as religions.

Story-making is an act of Creation
ex nihilo, like what happens in the first Chapter of Genesis: God said the words, and Creation happened. Even more on point, in John 1, the Messiah of God is the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In my experience, we don't actually "create" Story. Story emerges from the mists of our subconscious, like the dry land of Genesis emerges from the waters of chaos.  Stories, like Creation, exist as potential in the heart of their creators.  They emerge when the creator loves them enough to let them go and take on a life of their own.  How many Stories are locked forever in the souls of people who don't know they are there or who know the Stories are there but fear to let them go?

For those of us who are blessed/cursed to have been called to be Storytellers, sharing Story is as natural and as vital as breathing. For nearly everyone else, whether they are aware of it or not, receiving Story is also a Life-enhancing, and, therefore, sacred act.

I no longer know if I believe in a personal God of the kind revealed in the Bible. Sometimes I do. Most of the times I don't, but wish I did. Increasingly, I have a much different sense of the Holiness that people call God. It is not a personal being. It is a Power. Most of the time I call it "The Holy". Sometimes I refer to it as "Life". I don't know (and can't know) its true nature, but I believe that whatever it is that people generally refer to as "God" expresses itself to humans in Story, whether we call it myth, scripture, or simply tales. The Holy is made manifest in Story. 

Storytellers bring that Divine Story to humans and, in so doing, orient us toward The Holy, which appears to me to be both our source and our ultimate destination.  (ooooooo, a bit of Teilhard de Chardin dredged up from some long-ago catechism class!?) 

I wouldn't want to push that metaphor too far, but there are sparkling little flecks of truth glittering out from all that tortured language, whispering to me that I'm not wasting my time when I spend so many hours of every day struggling to find the right words to tell the Stories that have been given to me, even the ones that are not overtly about spiritual themes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent 2009

It has been several years since I observed Lent. Lent has seemed rather unnecessary, if not a totally pointless exercise, for someone who no longer goes to church and who has sort of passed into the amorphous world of post-Christianity.

This year I decided to observe Lent again. It took me a while to figure out what that would entail, but I ultimately came up with a plan to keep Lent in my own special way. My Lenten observance will not involve the ordinary liturgical rituals at church on Sunday or the Wednesday night soup suppers and discussion groups in the under croft. For me this year, Lent will involve the dual acts of sacrifice (giving up) and intentional action (taking on new tasks) for the purpose of aligning my life more closely with what I believe the Holy is calling me to be and to do.

The sacrifice involves giving up fiction writing for the duration. Only someone inside my skin could understand what a huge sacrifice that is. I'd bet the farm I won't make it all the way without cheating on that one.

The intentional action will involve spending the time I am not using to write fiction in intentional examinations of conscience and exploring various facets of my spiritual life and health in my Journal. Some of that may end up here.

I am posting this by way of a warning that I will either be posting a whole lot in the coming weeks or I will be maintaining something like radio silence. I am not sure which way this will go.

In any case, as Christians and others of good faith throughout the world begin the passage toward Easter, I want to call upon the Lord to bless us, keep us, guard us and guide us. May this time bring us closer to the Holy, and to one another.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Live Blogging - The Speech

Intro: What the heck are they all so excited about?  I don't ever recall such an ebullient opening to a presidential address. It was a little over the top. Except for the greeting for Justice Ginsberg; I am so happy they greeted her with such enthusiasm.

President's arrival: Still a little too hysterical.  I like his "cool" demeanor.

The speech: Starts off on the right tone. Acknowledges where we are. 

Now where are we going?  ARRA is law. Jobs to be created / saved. Taxes cut. College credits. 

"A plan this size carries with it the responsibility to get it right."  Accountability.  

ARRA is only the first step.  No recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis that caused the problem. Swift/aggressive movement to restart lending.  Lending fund to provide loans to consumers/entrepreneurs who keep economy running.  Housing plan to help responsible families to pay mortgage.  Support banks to assure they do not fail and will be there for the people.

Plan may cost even more than set aside.

Regulatory reform.  

Must reduce dependence on oil, improve schools, provide health care.

Budget is a vision for America.  A blueprint for the future. Doesn't deny the present reality/problems.  During economic upheaval, we took bold action. Government catalyzed private enterprise. We see promise amid peril.

We must be that nation again. 

Priorities: Energy; Health care; Education.

Energy - We started this technology. We've fallen behind. "It is time for America to lead again."  Focus on renewable energy. Research funding to spur new discoveries in all areas of technology. Put Americans to work in being more energy efficient.  Clean, renewable energy needs to be profitable! Renew auto industry: "the nation that invented the automobile should not walk away from it."

Health care - Can't afford to put health care reform on hold.  Health care for children (the Dems really like that one; GOP not so much). Preventive care.  Comprehensive reform. Must have affordable health care for every American.  Vital to bringing down the deficit. Won't be easy.  A century after Teddy Roosevelt called for reform, we need to do it now. 

Education - Most valuable skill is knowledge.  Highest HS dropout rates of developed nations.  Too many fail to finish college.  Access to complete and competitive education.  "Dropping out of high school is not just quitting on yourself; it's quitting on your country."   By 2020, America will have highest percentage of college graduates. [Yes!! Americans love a challenge!]  If you are willing to volunteer, you will be able to afford a college education. "Responsibility for our children's education begins at home."  

Deficit - Must bring deficit down.  Goal: cut deficit by half in four years.  No payments to agribusiness that don't need them.  Eliminate no-bid contracts in Iraq.  Reform defense budget.  Root out waste, fraud, abuse in Medicare.  Fairness in tax code.  Bring back jobs from overseas.  Roll back tax breaks for those with incomes over $250K.  Tax cut for 95% of working families.  

Medicare/Social Security. Health care reform will help Medicare.  Tax free universal savings accounts.

Restore trust.  Budget will include cost of the war. We won't hide its cost.  Responsibly ends the war in Iraq.  New strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

[Biggest ovation of the night.] Unyielding support for military. Expand benefits they have earned as a result of their service to America.  

Uphold American values: close Guantanamo.  "Living our values makes us safer."
"USA does not torture."  [McCain stands!!]

We are called to move forward with other countries. "Strengthen old alliances, forge new ones."

"In our hands lies the ability to shape our world, for good or for ill."  "Hope is found in unlikely places."

"We are not quitters."

Generosity. Resilience. Willingness to take responsibility.  

"Every American loves this country and wants it to succeed."  That must be the starting point. The basis on which we will find common ground.  

"An America that does not quit."


Without denying the difficult times we are in, he hit the right note of challenging America to move forward and do what needs to be done to address our problems.  
I like it!

This'll scare the bejesus out of you. It did me!

Bumper sticker seen on my way home from work tonight:


I must go lie down now until the pain in my brain lets up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The god of Lowe's

The fastest way to get to Target from our house involves cutting through the parking lot of  a Lowe's store.  Shortly after the store opened my Dear Husband came home from one of his almost daily trips to either Target or Lowe's and said that he thought the god of Lowe's was working overtime.  I asked him to explain, and he told me he felt there must surely be some special deity looking out for the Lowe's customers because they sure as hell don't look out for themselves!  They walk right in front of cars. They operate shopping carts recklessly.  They do not watch where they're going.

In the intervening years, we have continued to be amazed at how well the god of Lowe's takes care of the Lowe's patrons.  

This morning was particularly bad.  I actually saw a car almost hit an old couple, and it would have been TOTALLY the old peoples' fault.  Fortunately, the god of Lowe's swooped in and stopped the car just in the nick of time.

The god of Lowe's is pretty awesome, but that kind of over-protectiveness seems to encourage people to behave irresponsibly.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Totally Delightful Surprise

A year or so ago our very favorite restaurant in the world closed.  Dear Husband and I ate lunch there at least two Sundays a month, and we often had dinner there as well.  Food was limited to old fashioned Florida seafood -- fried by somebody who knew their way around a stove!  Everything was take-out but they had picnic tables all around the building, which sits on a little promontory between the intracoastal waterway and a marina.  Pelicans, seagulls and every other manner of coastal bird sit on posts around the dock.  Dolphins and the occasional manatee were routine visitors. I'm not a huge fan of fried fish, but I loved the atmosphere so much, I ate it anyway.  Sitting in outside in the sunshine, with a cold beer and visiting with native Florida critters was enough for me.

Ever since the place closed, we've been checking back periodically to see if someone else might open a restaurant there.  In recent weeks, someone was remodeling the building and it appeared that a new restaurant was in the works.  Today, it was open.  The views are the same.  The beer is still cold. The counter area and kitchen had gotten kind of run down; now it's all clean and new.  They need some new picnic tables outside, but far be if from me to quibble about a little thing like that.

The best part was the food!  For one thing, they offered both grilled and blackened fish in addition to the awesome fried stuff. DH doesn' t like blackened fish, so we split a seafood platter and got the oysters and scallops fried, with grilled fish and shrimp.  It was hands-down the best grilled shrimp I've ever tasted and the fish rivaled my benchmark grilled fish from a dive on Key Largo.  (The only points off were that it was mahi mahi, not grouper.) The Cole slaw was good and so were the hush puppies. I wasn't much for the tartar sauce (it was made with miracle whip, which I think is a disgusting concoction that should not be considered actual food).  However, the fish was so good it didn't need the tartar sauce, so I didn't care.  

As if all that were not enough, the price was right. 

Pickin' and Grinnin'

Over the years, I earned a slew of free CD's from the BMG music club but had never redeemed any of them because I hate their website and I never could figure out exactly how to do it.  Recently I received notice that the free CD's were to be eliminated and I only had a few months in which to redeem the ones I had earned or I would lose them.  I figured out how to navigate the website PDQ and ordered about 12 CD's (got free shipping to boot!). The stupid people at BMG shipped my order in like five batches. (When they're giving away free CD's and free shipping, you'd think they'd want to ship them all at once, but that could just be me.)  

The good part about that was I had the chance to savor and enjoy each CD for a while as it came in.  Some I liked better than others, but they were all pretty good.  A week or so ago, I received a message that one of the CD's I had ordered was not available, so I had to make another selection.  I was kind of distracted and not in the mood to shop for music, so I sort of picked a random CD without thinking much about it.  It came in the mail the other day, but I didn't have a chance to listen to it today.

I went for a two hour walk and listened to it twice. It is the best "walking music" I have besides Jimmy Buffet.  It is also far and away the "happiest" album I have ever owned.  I've been very depressed lately. This album hit me like a half-bottle of Zoloft (I guess: I've never taken any actual anti-depressant medicine).  I caught myself walking along smiling today.  It is more than feel-good music: it rises all the way to the level of soul-healing music.

The album: Three Pickers  The artists: Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs (with Allison Kraus on some vocals). 

It just don't get any better than that!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reading Scripture

Every once in a while I take a notion to read the lectionary readings for the day. A while back I did that for a few days just for the heck of it. The result wasn't so much anything learned from the specific readings as it was a reflection on the process and purpose of reading Scripture in the first place.  This thread at Pooch's reminded me of what I wrote about my experience of Scripture.

My most common reaction reading Scripture is often a kind of baffled wonderment. Some of the references are difficult to understand without looking up information on the context. Some of it is just plain weird, strange and even totally incomprehensible. But a lot of it strikes me as fresh, inspiring, uplifting and comforting no matter how many times I have read it or heard it read from the pulpit (which is how Scripture should be experienced in my opinion). [I realize how ridiculous that sounds coming from someone who does not go to church. I do not claim to be consistent, God knows!]

We know there are multiple authors for most of the books in the Bible. Especially in the Old Testament there are actually competing and/or contradictory versions of the same story woven through entire books. There's almost a point-counterpoint (in music is that called contrapuntal?) effect. It's like an echo.

The Prophet stands up and says, "God will smite you!"
God's Messenger says, "God loves and will have mercy on you."

The Teacher says, "Listen to the Word of the Lord, and obey."
God's Messenger says, "Listen to your heart and follow the path of love."

The Church says, "Outside the Church there is no salvation."
The Lord says, "Come ..." for rest and for life abundant. I love the image of: "....a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over..."

A person could get sort of intellectual and/or spiritual whiplash reading this stuff. I used to try to study Scripture by studying every word and considering the nuance, the context, the audience. I got caught up in the details of hermeneutics and historical-critical biblical exegesis. All of that can be very cool, especially to someone with a literary bent. Some of that is even sort of important. But, I found that I too easily lost the forest for the trees when I studied the text too closely. Scripture is a little like spilled mercury. It's a bitch to try to gather into one glob, and it's toxic if you're not careful. It is also incredibly beautiful and useful, if you handle it cautiously.

After a lot of trial and error, I reached the point where I was able to read Scripture the way I listened to it read from the pulpit: I sort of let it flow over and around me and I don't try to think about it too much or force it to go anywhere in particular. I listen to the words and phrases that jump out and mean something to me today, on this particular reading. My assumption is that I have read it before, and I will read it again someday so I don't need to wring every bit of meaning out of it. I have a general idea of the hermeneutics and all that stuff. What I want now is to know what the text has to say to me today.

The tension between the "church" and the "spiritseekers" is clear in Scripture. I take great comfort in the message that God cares for all God's children, both those who stick to the straight and narrow as well as the wayward and recalcitrant ones, like me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Have A Job

As I mentioned recently over at Pooch's Place, my parents were products of the Depression and WWII. Their experiences as children and young adults colored the way they managed their home.

It also affected their attitude about work. My mother was a homemaker. My dad worked in a factory.  They both believed that if a company was willing to pay you a salary and provide you any benefits whatsoever, you should respond with gratitude, and  a whole lot of hard work.  My dad's mantra was that if the Company paid you for 40 hours a week, you should work at least 45 hours, because you probably screwed around at least a few hours during the week.  

In today's world, that may not be an option for most hourly workers whose employers won't allow them work overtime due to budgetary constraints. When I was an hourly worker, I routinely worked ten hours of overtime a week, and I often worked twice that.  I'm salaried now, and I don't have to worry about requesting authorization for overtime.  I still work a minimum of ten hours a day; most weeks I work considerably more than fifty hours.

That may make me something of a nut, but I have a job.  In the worst economy I ever remember, I've got steady, well-paying job.  I can assure you, I will be working a lot of extra hours and going to even more extraordinary lengths than usual in the coming months because my father impressed upon me the fact that nobody owes me a living.  I'm lucky enough to have an employer who is willing to pay me for my services.  They don't owe it to me. I have to earn it -- every day.

One of my biggest problems with Gens X, Y, and Z (or whatever the Generation after Y is) is that they approach getting paid as an entitlement, not a gift.

I view everything about my life as a Gift.  For me, getting paid for my services (both salary and benefits) falls into the category of Privilege/Gift as opposed to an entitlement.

In the worst economic times since the Great Depression that so permanently scarred my parents' psyches, I have a job that pays a living wage, and then some. 

Am I grateful?  You bet your ass I am! And I will do whatever it takes to maintain the status quo.  I have a family to support, including a kid in college.

I have a job.  Thank you, God. Please, help me to keep it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ARRA -- Hmmm....

The other day I receive an email from Sojourners which expressed satisfaction with the bailout proposed by the Obama administration. I did not have time to review it in detail, but I thought it was interesting that Sojourners sort of liked the Obama version of the bailout. When Sojourners likes legislation, I'm pretty sure I will too.

Today, I read a summary of the total package for the first time.  I understand why Sojourners was happy with it.  It's got all the right stuff in it to prevent people from falling through the cracks.  It includes a lot of good stuff, I think.

It also provides for bailing out businesses and financial institutions that I think should be allowed to fail. 

Nevertheless, it is clear that our President's heart is in the right place.  The man's got his priorities all lined up correctly.

My only concern is: where is all this money supposed to come from??

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cogitations on Government Bailouts

I do not pretend to understand the intricacies of economics, nor do I care to make the effort to learn.  I do not understand all the factors that brought us to our present predicament, nor do I even pretend to have a clue about the best way to get us out of it.  I have read a lot of articles lately arguing every facet of the issue. For the most part, they only make me more confused.  

Generally, I can be very objective about things, but when I truly don't understand the facts, my emotions run rampant.  I typically try not to be too dogmatic about things, but when my understanding fails and my emotions run amok, then my psyche falls back on ideology in a desperate attempt to cling to something.  

In the case of our present crisis, that only creates more confusion for me because, while I'm a bleeding heart liberal who usually takes the side of the poor and the underdog, I also believe in free markets and personal responsibility. While I believe that whatever the government ultimately does about the crisis should include provisions for the sick, the aged, the young and the otherwise truly helpless, I don't like this whole bailout business on general principals.

The thread over at Pooch's Place about how people survived the Great Depression and a number of conversations we have had at work have caused me to think a lot about this whole bailout thing.  It sort of flies in the face of my political ideals, but emotionally I'm opposed to the whole idea of government bailouts. The financial institutions got into trouble because they lent money for people to buy houses they couldn't afford.  The bailout provides relief to the banks who made the bad loans and, potentially, to the borrowers.  WTF?  How is that fair? What about those of us who bought small houses we could afford and who never made a late payment? Why should we pay taxes to rescue banks who made stupid loans and forgive loans for people to live in big houses they couldn't afford in the first place.  

I live in a two-bedroom concrete-block-and-stucco house that is considerably less than 2000 square feet. It belongs to us free and clear.  We were never late with a payment and we paid off the entire loan years ahead of schedule.  Call it sour grapes, but I'm not really thrilled about the prospect of my taxes going towards forgiveness of loans for people who are living in big houses they couldn't otherwise afford. I could use that money to make some upgrades to my house!

Why should the government bail out the auto industry?  If General Motors made a car as good as a Honda Accord, people might buy it.  My last car was a Saturn. I'd happily driven Jap Crap for decades, but let my DH talk me into the Saturn because it was cheap.  Didja ever hear the one about "you get what you pay for"?  The Saturn was cheap because it was crap.  I am happily driving an Accord again.  Why should we bail out the American car manufacturers because they mismanaged their companies and make shitty cars?  What about the whole idea of free markets and capitalism?  We don't bail out the mom and pop hardware store that got put out of business when WalMart came to town.  Why should we bail out Ford because it can't compete with Toyota in the free market?

I think the market should be allowed to correct itself. If the government is going to bail anybody out, it should provide a lifeline to people who get caught up in the fallout. I'd rather see the government provide health insurance, education subsidies and child care subsidies to unemployed and underemployed people until they can get back on their feet when their employers implode.  I admit that's a position that arises from my ideological belief in the free market and my emotional feeling that it's not fair for people like me to have to subsidize and bail out people who overreached their ability to pay, and ended up with nicer houses than I have!

This whole subject makes me feel that I am being small minded and petty, but I can't help but feel there is something fundamentally un-American with the whole idea of government bailouts for failed businesses.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I have written about my hearing loss before.  I first noticed a problem with my hearing when I was a teenager. My doctor told me at the time that there was nothing that could be done to help my hearing loss. In recent years, I tried single hearing aids (one ear only).  That just did not work.  Perhaps the only truth they tell in trying to sell hearing aids is that two heaing aids are better than one -- one for each ear. 

Thirty years after I first noticed a problem with my hearing, I have found myself less and less able to cope with daily life. I get confused about what people say in meetings.  I can't understand most of what people say on telephone conference calls. I struggle to understand dialogue on television.  I avoid going to restaurants or other crowded places because I can't understand individual conversations in noisy environments.  

Getting through each day has become exhausting because I have to concentrate so hard to understand what people are saying to me. Too often, I can't really figure it out, and I guess.  Sometimes I guess wrong and give really inappropriate responses to questions or comments from my bosses and co-workers.  I can't begin to express how humiliating it is when I do that ... and the person I'm talking to looks at me like I'm some kind of moron. 

My problems in communications have been growing worse in recent years. Recently, it has gotten so bad, I had to do something.  I finally broke down and went to a hearing clinic to have my hearing checked.  The results did not really surprise me, but it freaked me out.  The price for the hearing aids they recommended was in the neighborhood of $5000.  I was prepared to pay that, but decided to check online one last time.  I found a pair of hearing aids very similar to what I had selected for a fraction of the price, and with a 30 day money-back guarantee.  I decided to give it a try. I would try the aids for 30-days to see if I could tolerate them.  I ordered the new behind-the-ear, open-fit hearing aids.

I picked up the aids at the post office on Tuesday.  I thought it would take me half the evening to read the instructions and get them set up.  My husband decided to go hang out with his buddies in order to get out of my way.  Less than five minutes after he left, I had them in my ears and working. It was as though I had been watching TV with the sound turned almost all the way off for most of my life! Most of my understanding was based on a combination of lip-reading and guess-work from body language. 

Immediately after putting the aids in my ear, I could hear!!
In the two days since, I have heard sounds I have not heard in years: birds singing; doors slamming (Lord, do we have a lot of doors slamming at work!); my assistant's radio playing; conversations taking place in the hall. It has been an amazing experience. The world has opened up to me in whole new ways! My life is an adventure, which now includes an audio component it has not had for a long time.

If these hearing aids only last a few months and I have to end up buying the expensive ones, that will be okay. The point is that I have been given back something I thought I had lost forever.  

After my third day with the aids, I continue to be astonished and amazed at how quickly I have adapted to them and how dramatically they have changed my life. I'm much more relaxed because I don't have to concentrate so hard on understanding conversations, and I'm more confident that I am not going to make a fool of myself with inappropriate responses to questions I didn't understand.

As I said, above: I have been given back something I thought I had lost forever.   I failed to add that I am so incredibly grateful for this miracle I have no words to describe it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Winter of our Hardship

I watched President Obama's press conference the other night. I think it's the first presidential press conference I have watched in its entirety since the Carter Administration.  I was impressed.  He was articulate and familiar with the issues. It was a treat to watch an intelligent, articulate and truthful president, after the last eight years of bumbling around and the eight years before that of dissembling and the eight years before that of ignoring the questions altogether. I thought the president did a good job under terrible circumstances.

He underscored the fact that he inherited this mess. He did not create it.   To his credit, he also emphasized it is his job to fix it, regardless of how on earth we got here.  I like that attitude: never mind how we got here.  We move forward from where we are.

I like the fact that he has a plan, which is flexible and (hopefully) responsive to the actual situation. 

Despite being a sort of wacko social bleeding-heart liberal, I'm kind of a fiscal conservative who believes that government should not bail out private companies that get themselves into a crack because of their own greed and internal corruption.  A part of me would like to reject the stimulus plan for that reason alone.  Daughter Dear was here the whole time.  She agrees with the president that the time is now for the government to act boldly. I can't bring myself to disagree, mainly because I hope that something will turn things around. I have my doubts about the effectiveness of the bailout plan.  I think the Mystery of the Market will have its way, regardless of what the federal government does.

I thought President Carter was right when he said there was a "crisis of confidence in America" in 1979.  He paid dearly for that speech. I thought President Obama was right when he referred to this as the "Winter of our Hardship."  I hope the repercussions for him are not so dire. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chilly Day Outing

Yesterday it was too chilly to go to the beach, so we went to a nearby park.  
It was a fun change of pace to walk in the quiet of the woods, with leaves crunching under our feet. 

Spruce Creek.  The water looks like melted chocolate, hiding heaven only knows what kinds of critters, including but not limited to alligators, water moccasins and other assorted creepy-crawlies and swimmers I would prefer not to think about.

Another shot of the creek.  This is definitely a cool weather outing. We decided we would not want to go there in the summertime, what with the skeeters, flies, and other flying-and-biting insects.  

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sad ... but Grateful

I was saddened to read today that Justice Ginsberg has cancer.  I have admired her from the time she was first appointed to the Supreme Court, which was when she first came to my attention.  I have continued to admire the grace and good humor with which she has conducted herself among the other Justices.  During the latter part of the Bush administration -- especially after Chief Justice Roberts joined the Court and Justice O'Connor stepped down -- she and Justice Kennedy have done their best to balance the Court as much as possible.  

One of my biggest concerns during the Bush's second term was that something bad would happen to one of them.  I am grateful that both of them managed to hold out until President Obama was inaugurated.  At least if something were to happen to one of the Justices, he will no doubt try to nominate a suitable replacement. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Coming Up For Air

I have been distracted lately: Work;  Life/family; Writing; Trying to stay warm.

I know. I know.  I shouldn't complain about the cold in Florida, because the folks up north are in the DEEP FREEZE.  They are dealing with snow and ice and sub-zero temps.  My mother tells me the snow in her front yard looks like a wedding cake: a layer of snow, a layer of ice, more snow, more ice.  

How dare I complain about being cold?  

Well, for one thing, I don't own a coat. I have a couple of sweatshirts and a light jacket.  I don't have gloves or a hat. The furnace in our house is just not up to the job of keeping the place warm in a cold snap like the one we're having. In the house, I can wrap up in multiple layers of clothing. 

At work, it's a different story. I've worn all my turtle neck shirts already this week. Now what?  Tonight it's supposed to be the coldest it's been.  I have nothing warm left to wear to work tomorrow!

I hate winter.   It is dark when I leave for work. Dark when I come home. And it is cold.  Maybe not as cold as it was in the Midwest, but uncomfortably cold for the life I live.  I still hate it.

So, what have I been doing about it?  Snuggling up in a blanket and writing up a storm. 

Blogging has sort of take a back seat lately.  Maybe I'll get back with it when I warm up a little.