Friday, November 30, 2012

Finding a Connection

Some of my very favorite books were written by Maeve Binchy, who passed away this year.  She was born and lived her whole life in Ireland, which was a big part of all her stories.  She made Ireland seem like the best place in the world, with the funniest, sweetest people.

So I am pleased for no good reason, to find an ancestor in my family tree who came to America from Ireland.  My friend researched genealogical records for me to demonstrate what genealogy is - and found a great-great-grandfather who was a stone-mason from Ireland.

One website used is called and it's free of charge and easy to understand.  It feels like being a detective, with each bit of information leading to the next, and bringing up long-forgotten snippets of parents' conversations.  It was a lot of fun and interesting.

Maybe I'm really related to Ms. Binchy!  At any rate, I'm Irish for sure, even if it's just a tiny bit. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

There Are A Few Minutes to Smile

Today's weather was the exact opposite of the great fall blue skies and sunshine we've had for several weeks - it was gloomy and cloudy, spitting rain occasionally and a little chilly, upper 50s maybe.  It was a lot of fun to drive around doing errands and not have to squint.  More relaxing. 

The big Sundance catalog arrived in the mail.  It has beautiful photography and unusual products and inspiring artisan jewelry.  As i glance through a lot of ideas pop up for working on similar designs of my own.

We watched the news at 5 o'clock this evening and wondered why the stock market went down today - we thought the Thanksgiving shopping and the after Thanksgiving shopping and the internet shopping had all gone very well this year - wasn't that the shopping news everyone was waiting for?  I imagine that there is just no pleasing that stock market.  As much as we buy groceries, gasoline, products for work, gadgets for grandkid, toilet paper, paper towels and hairspray, stock market is still not happy.  I'm doing all i can to help him, he needs to just pull up and straighten up and stop causing so much trouble!

If someday this old grammaw begins to understand the stock market, I will undertake to explain it here on the bloggy, and that way I'll be passing down some useful information to posterior.

Posterity hates being called that. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Timeshare Pirates

We just watched the docu-movie The Queen of Versailles.  Twice.  We couldn't believe it the first time.  What couldn't we believe?  That two adults of evidently normal sanity would allow their lives to descend into utter neglected filth and chaos, simply from having an unlimited amount of money at their disposal.

They had unlimited ability to dispose of money.  But the main point of the show that resounded with me was the insider's view of the source of their wealth, the timeshare-selling industry.

Las Vegas tourists are lured into a sales presentation with the promise of a free ticket to something.  Then the high pressure sales staff, shown being coached to use any means short of murder, goes to work hammer and tongs to force the sale of what is essentially AIR.  They are promised a luxury week every year in any resort owned by the conglomerate.  Once they sign a contract and make a downpayment, the contract is sold to investors as if it was an actual mortgage on a property.

The CEO and Founder has his son running the schooling of the predators, I mean, sales staff.  He excuses the use of intimidation by explaining that the prospective buyers are "mooches" who are "greedy," because they wanted a gift in return for attending a sales presentation.

The customer encounters myriad heartaches ever after the sale, as they try to use the guaranteed vacation they think has been promised.  But the movie doesn't go into that.  The info addressing timeshare owners' problems can be viewed easily online, to the extent that this timeshare sales survivor cannot believe these ogres are still able to sell such a bogus "product" in this information age.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Good Habit Can Be Addicting

Recently i decided that a worthwhile goal for me to set for myself is writing a post for my blog every day.  It's not easy to pick a topic, they aren't just hanging in the air waiting to be expounded upon.  This morning as i reflected yet again about my addiction to eating more than is good for me, the thought occurred that there are some good habits getting established that i feel addicted to, as well.

One is getting my bed made before leaving the bedroom every morning.  I became convinced of the value of having the bedroom looking neat and nice, after reading feng shui books!  Now the habit is established at last - and i feel addicted to that good feeling i get when i go through the bedroom.

The other has to do with getting up at a regular time every morning, and going to bed early enough to feel good when six a.m. arrives!  I'm addicted to morning coffee, and when that alarm sounds, the thought of coffee is a huge motivation to get moving and feel happy to greet the day.  There is much more time to get things done when feeling energetic enough to use the morning hours.  The whole house looks better.  Laundry is caught up - the washer gets up as soon as i do. 

So i like having a coffee addiction and changing from a surly riser into an early riser, yes!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday - THANK YOU

Five Minute Friday  It's Friday after Thanksgiving Day, so Thank You is a great subject for Five Minute Friday.

To my two good old hands, thank you for doing whatever i ask of you.

Thank you to my good old husband, who works hard for us and laughs a lot with me.

Thank you to my family all around the world for being a part of my life, and thank you to the internet for helping us keep in touch.

Thank you to Blogspot, a terrific and helpful website.

That's five minutes! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Wish Petraeus Had Paid Attention to This

Ace of Bass

You know I just hate to complain about anything! BUT, the school my granddaughter attends has put her in a huge catch 22 over the orchestra class and the instrument she plays, which is the Double Bass.

There are many problems resulting from trying to be a bassist in the school orchestra.  A double bass is too expensive to buy to have in the home for the musician to practice with, in order to make good grades in orchestra.  The only practice she gets is in school, in the class!
Her grandfather and I could have made arrangements to provide one. But the main problem is keeping it safe at the house from getting broken by curious siblings.
I often wonder how this is handled in other families.  People do study and learn to play musical instruments as they are growing up - but maybe they are all kids with no sibs!  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wish In One Hand...

This is a beautiful day in Fall 2012.  I wish I was at the beach!  It would be a perfect time to enjoy being by the ocean having a cuppa coffee.  But I'm doing fine having coffee surrounded by dry land and millions of brown leaves covering the ground.  Things could be better but they could be a lot worse too!

I wish I could head down to the fancy mall and buy lots of beautiful, expensive clothes for my family.  Even though we have plenty of wardrobe, the shops are tempting and the cool new styles are just calling out for us.  But, the crowds and noise make me tired right away and then i'd be wishing for the back porch and sweeping leaves again.  And who can afford $60 for a sweatshirt? 

I wish we could all go out to eat and have yummy smokin' hot food brought to us while other people do all the work!  But, seems like every time we go to a restaurant somebody gets an upset stomach.  And who wants to pay $35 to eat eggs in a restaurant when a dozen and a half eggs only cost $2.50 at the store?

Well, I've used up all three wishes for today!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday: STAY

Five Minute Friday

Five minute Friday is all about writing whatever comes first to your mind when you read the word for this Friday - for just five minutes, no stopping to worry about how it sounds.

So the word for today is STAY.  Right away i'm thinking of Jackson Browne singing Stay just a little bit longer!  was that a great song or what!  All about how a performer was enjoying rocking out on stage with his band so much that he wished they could all ignore their schedules and keep on making music together even after the audience had gone.  He was appreciating the gift of musicians blending their skills.

Everyone loves to be appreciated but it takes time to understand an individual for who they are.  Life goes along better if we're aware of the need to observe and quickly recognize something positive about the people around us, and then appreciate it all.

Because nothing can stop change and nothing will ever stay the way it is right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

River of Life

Evidently our bodies respond very positively to routines.  This is the message and huge mission of the Flylady's website, which includes a whole program of building up cheerful living and doing away with harmful, mindless negativity.

In my opinion, her approach works well (once i finally beat down my relentless inner cynic).  Flylady teaches the importance of living in the moment but simultaneously preparing for future necessities.  Getting ready for bed involves doing things that make the next day better, for instance.  That's a big change from how I used to stay up late reading or watching tv or chatting online, then barely getting teeth brushed before falling unconscious into bed - feeling groggy and grumpy the next morning as I struggled to get the day started.

Instead, there's a plan to begin heading for bed at a certain time.  Putting away craft materials, getting clothes picked out for the next day, checking the calendar, caring for nails, moisture cream for face and hands, maybe fixing packed lunch to take in the morning, etc.  Waiting until the hour when I should actually be asleep to begin getting ready for bed, robs me of sleep time.

That's just the beginning and there's plenty for "flybabies" to learn.  But as her motto indicates, anyone can do anything for 15 minutes - step by step, things get done, and as a routine for everything develops, life begins to flow much more smoothly.

The Flylady website is free of charge!  Feeling happy to get up in the morning is priceless.  Thanks, Flylady!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Copper Moonstone Necklace

Copper Mesa Necklace & Earrings

Copper Mesa necklace & earring set - red jasper, turquoise, copper wire-wrap.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Starvation Has Life-Long Effects

As a child I was starved when my father didn't have enough work to get money for food.

One winter after I turned 10 years old and my brother was six, my father found a 100-lb sack of potatoes for $2.00.  For several weeks that was all we had to eat. 

Later on there were several periods of time when we coped with food shortages but that was the worst.

My father had taken my brother and me away from our mother and moved us across the country and took us out of school so we couldn't be traced.  He had studied "living off the grid."  When you're off the grid you can't take a regular job and get paid by check.  You have to find menial labor that pays cash and no social security number needed.  Some weeks he earned no more than $5. 

In 1963, five dollars bought more that it would now but it still wasn't enough for two growing children.

Finally he was able to falsify his birth certificate and change his name.  He got a job with regular pay and we began eating somewhat better.  Sometimes we had cornbread with creases (greens) which we gathered on the riverbank.  Sometimes we had a plateful of sweet potatoes and that was it.  There was never what you could call a balanced diet.  He considered our life to be good enough and his conscience never bothered him.

Now at nearly 60 years old, I am morbidly obese, at nearly 300 pounds.  I have tried various theories and methods to lose weight.  Currently I'm attending Weight Watchers meetings and have hope of learning how to apply their points system.  But the memory of those months of living without enough to eat often drive me to the kitchen convinced that I've got to get something to eat.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Priorities Are Decisions Are Choices Are Feelings

Oh man! i have got to take a little break from breaking my back in my bathroom, which has not been cleaned thoroughly since we moved into this house a few years ago!  So as the work gets a sweat worked up, my thoughts turned to the WHY i allowed this room to get into such a neglected state!  I only made trouble for myself by frequently choosing not to spend time in here cleaning - and rushing to keep rooms clean that others would be seeing.

I have only been going in there when I had to and everytime I rushed out of the room I would think, I've GOT to take a few minutes and clean this bathroom!

Well finally I just could not stand the sight of the dusty dirty molding around the baseboards; the thick dust on the floor around the back of the toilet; the gray blanket of dust over the tub which i only use for throwing laundry into baskets.  I'm good about cleaning the toilet and shower stall but all around them is DISGUSTING.  I had non-slip mats placed all around the floor that hadn't been washed since i bought them over a year ago.  The container with the toilet cleaning equipment was so dirty i couldn't see what color it is.

I mean this room was FILTHY!  Needless to say i don't let anybody in here, EVER!

So TODAY is the day and I feel good about my feeling to choose to decide that my priorities have to include luxurious time spent making a room enjoyable even though no one else will see it but me.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanks For the Commercials!

Being online is great!  Just consider the enormous amount and variety of things we can now buy over the internet that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible! 

One internet company currently making a big push is  They have frequent radio commercials and today they sent me an info cd in the mail, offering a free digital scale, free this, free that, which would amount to $50 in savings.  I can open an account with them and never have to ride to the post office again!

It seemed like a great deal, offering convenience and savings of both time and money.  I've learned to look up other peoples' opinions of great offers like these, on the internet, very conveniently.  People are anxious to help everyone by telling about their own experiences with products and purveyors, and they bring up aspects that might not have occurred to me, which is appreciated.

After looking at every angle i decided to use the USPS website, which does not charge a usage fee.  But thanks to the vendor who put me in the mood to find out about printing postage at home.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Quiet

Five Minute Friday

Quiet inside is the best, most complete way to analyze reality.  To stop all the thoughts in the brain's stacked intersections, pull myself over to the shoulder of the road and watch, see, feel, be aware but so quiet i have to remind myself to breathe - just for a minute or even less than that.

It's like that phrase Check Yourself.  To me it means, stop and check if i'm really doing the thing that will get me the result i want, or am i defaulting to thoughtless behavior that will sabotage what i really want to accomplish.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Voting Psychosis, by R. A. Childs, Jr., in 1968

Americans are largely governed by myths and illusions. This has always been the case with every "people," and may well be inevitable. But nowhere outside of America do we find the dominance of one single belief: the belief in voting. Everywhere and for every purpose, voting is seen as the sacred answer for any problem whatever.

Vote, politicians tell us, and you shall be saved from all disasters. You shall inherit the earth, and establish the kingdom of God here on earth. Peace, freedom, wealth, happiness - all shall be yours. Just vote. So, like a herd of cattle, Americans periodically round themselves up, file by the millions into voting booths, pull levers, and "cast a ballot." The question is:  Why bother indulging in this massive opinion mongering contest?

To vote is not to "govern yourself" or any other such absurdity. A nation is not a self: It is only an abstraction meaning a whole lot of people. Govern a nation? You are governing others. You are supporting a system founded on the principle of pushing people around. YOU can govern YOURSELF without any help. So why bring others into the picture?

You are choosing your own leaders? To lead you where? And if you don't really know, why pretend that you are really choosing your own course of action? You are making no "social contract" with anyone, for the terms are not specified, the agreement not explicit or written. No politician will be bound by his promises. Peace, or liberty, can only come when leaders are too weak or feeble to lead, coerce or command. Choose your own destiny? You are deceived, citizen. YOU are on a political leash.

You are electing "representatives?" Then you will be personally responsible for his action? How can you be, when you hide behind a "secret ballot?" Representatives to do something in your name? Can you, then, dismiss him when he breaks his promises, and does not do what he claimed he would? When he lies, and betrays you? You cannot. You are stuck with him. His will is sacred - it is "law" and he enforces it upon YOU. No representation here, citizen. He does not obey YOUR will, or conform to YOUR demands. You are subordinated to HIS. You are HIS tool, he is not yours. Who, after all, forces whom to do what? Who takes all he wants from whom? Who sends whom off to become cannon fodder and fertilizer in foreign lands? Who pushes whom around? Who imprisons whom? If a politician is indeed YOUR representative, how can HE tell YOU what to do? How can HE punish YOU for disobeying HIM? Strange representation, citizen.

Someone has total power - power even of life and death - over you, and you think HE represents YOU. You think HE is the servant, and YOU the master. Ah, delusion! What is it then, to vote? It is to deceive oneself, to pretend that YOU are not governed. Citizen, remember Proudhon:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, directed, regulated, penned up, preached at, checked, appraised, censored, commanded. To be governed is to have every operation, every transaction, every movement voted, stamped, rated, measured, counted, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, indulged, prevented, referred, redressed. To be governed is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be laid under contribution, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted, exhausted, hoaxed, and robbed. Then, upon the sightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, annoyed, hunted down, beaten, disarmed, imprisoned, shot, judged, condemned, banished, sacrificed, betrayed, and to crown all, ridiculed, derided, outraged, and dishonored."

Look around you, law-abiding citizen, taxpayer, filer of a thousand forms, gun bearer, warrior, victim, corpse, you with a thousand other scarred faces. Who governs whom?

Is this what you vote for?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Think It and Get It, Sometimes

Here is a nice tiffany-style lamp with the dragon flies and rose that i wished for everytime i saw it in my favorite show, McLeod's Daughters.
Just last Saturday i felt a powerful urge to head into our favorite antique/junque store in town, the Green Bean.  The closest parking space was available, which never happens!  Steve said, There must be something big in there calling us, and this way we won't have to carry it very far.
Well i didn't take more than two steps inside before i spotted the lamp of my wishes.  I said, LOOK, i found what i came here for!