Two Years Ago

It’s been two years since my father passed away.  I am lucky to have had time with him, and wish everyone would have the opportunity to spend adult time – lots of it – with their parents. I am a lucky girl.

I blogged at the time of his passing, capturing my thoughts and anguish, and am glad I did.  It is interesting to revisit one’s thoughts.

Took today off from work to reflect, and work around the house, pay my respects, and so forth.  I placed two batches of White Lilies – the big ones – at his site last night. Will return today to add red roses.
I have taken up some hobbies – to keep me busy, and to satisfy my natural need to do things for others.  I am knitting, and still sewing, but sewing more regularly.  I’ll work on those projects today, in addition to office work.
I stopped drinking alcohol just after Thanksgiving, more on a whim than anything else, and it’s February now, so I am a little surprised I have kept it at bay.  I keep saying I will have it when I want it, but I guess I am not ready for it.  I was a bit tired of drinking alcohol – tired of the weight it puts on, and the drag it was having each evening.  I would go to parties and watch how I would socially drink on “auto-pilot”, and a little voice in my head would mock me for not taking control since drinking alcohol was not what I wanted.  I guess I am now listening to that little voice.In part, that’s why/when I took up knitting, and returned to sewing.  Keeps my hands busy, fills me with purpose each evening.  And it is such a pleasure to make nice things for people I care about.I have lost weight too – down to size 2, again in part to absence of alcohol, but also because I am eating less.  Much less, as it turns out.

I have come to the conclusion that Americans have too much food in front of them, 24/7, and have just pulled back from that.   I am disugsted by our prepondernce to gorge ourselves on food and drink, indulge ourselves in over the top lifestyles.  We are a gluttonous (not sure that is a word, but what the heck) society, always having too much around us – too much food, too much drink, too much stuff.   I want away from that.
We have a friend getting married in Cayman Islands, and are thinking of joining them on their cruise. We haven’t had time together like that in a very long time – it will be like a second honeymoon.  It will be nice to do for “just us” – take that time and spend it together —  somewhat in a group, but also on our own.  I am looking forward to that.
On another front, I came up with an idea for a TV show – like everyone else, probably.  I just wish we – society – could get back to more sensible values.
The Superbowl just occurred, with pop singer Madonna (who did a horribly dated show, plus, she piped in her own vocals), and one of her “guests” was a singer who markets herself with a someone having a bad attitude – an angry person.  During her 30 seconds of performance time, ths guest flips the camera off!  What is up with that???  Her own customers – the audience – she gives the middle finger to!    I guess the kids in today’s market “take it”??
I hope not. I hope there is enough wisdom at all levels to recognize the value of the gentle society.  There will always be the shock jocks and girls offering titillation, but cannot that be for the few, and not for the masses?

Amer-Asian, Amer-Italian, Amer-African

I just heard this phrase in a recent movie or TV show.   I love it.   Amer-Asian.  It’s pronounced a-murr-asian, with that first “a” being a soft “a” ().    A very nice blend of America and Asia.  And why not for all of our nations – why not for America and Italy (Amer-Italian), or America and Africa (Amer-African).

I love it because it sounds beautiful, and it just rolls off the tongue so smoothly.  And it is a big plus that it puts being an American first, while honoring one’s roots.
With Amer-(country of origin), instead of each of us putting the country of our roots first, which is more divisive, we put our home country first, which can serve to unite us.
I hope it catches on.

We are an exhausted nation

It started a week ago, listening to Tim Conway Jr’s talk show – had to be Sept. 11th.  He took calls from people living off the government, and one thing he said really caught my attention.  He said “We are all tired.”  He went on to say something to the effect of: We work hard all day long doing too many jobs at once, we come home, grab a bite, see the kids, see the spouse, and drop into bed just to get up and start it all over again.  And it never stops.  We think nothing of calling or emailing colleagues at all hours – and they answer!  Because we can’t stop because we have too much work to do, but can’t hire anyone because no one can afford it.

I thought, “Man, that’s how I feel!”  and it was good to hear someone say it on the public airways.
I kept meaning to email him, or call his show, but never did.
Then Sunday, Sept. 29th, there was this:

First, there was Ben Stein on taxes on the Sunday Morning show asking the administration why he was being punished for earning 35 cents on the dollar.   Then, there was Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, calling out Robert Gibbs for his “snarky response” to House Republican Leader John Boehner’s previous week’s carefully worded statement that he would reluctantly vote for just the lower and middle income tax cuts, if that was all he had in front of him.
Bob Schieffer said:

“Blame it on a long memory, but I can remember when the first move by a president like Lyndon Johnson or maybe a smart aide in the Eisenhower White House would not have been a snarky press release. 

I’m guessing LBJ would have been on the phone to Boehner in five minutes after seeing him on TV, saying something like, “If you’re serious, why don’t you come over here quietly and we’ll try to work out something good for both of us and the folks out there?”

Call me a romantic, but I believe that might have happened.

As we saw, no chance it could happen today.

And we’re right back to the partisan war. Too bad, really. “

I just about jumped out of my chair.  NOW we are going to get somewhere, I thought.  And we did.
True to form, along came Velma R. Hart at Obama’s “Investing in America” townhall.  She used the “E” word – exhausted.  She said she was an exhausted woman, and asked the President if this was “her new reality”.
Michelle Malkin’s column made reference to the Obama administration as being called the “let them eat cake” presidency.
So it’s not just me.  It is not the fact that I have been burdened with the passing of my father, who was also my business partner and very close friend.  I work very long hours, and I am tired.    There isn’t enough business to go around, and everyone is fighting for something.  With steel prices set to rise again, we are faced with a price increase, and Lord only knows what this will cause.
Sometimes I think Dad got out just in time.

Freebies – are we too broke for common sense?

Can you believe this?  Can we really debate the need for available drinking water?  For the full L.A. Times article, click here.

You just don’t imagine in our country in 2010 that there isn’t free water to drink while you are having a meal. But there isn’t,” said Kenneth Hecht, executive director of California Food Policy Advocates, an Oakland-based organization that supported the legislation. Leno’s Senate Bill 1413 requires schools by next July to make fresh drinking water available where students get their meals. The bill provides no funding, and districts can make the case that they cannot afford to comply.

But the solutions can be inexpensive, advocates say. In small schools, that can mean putting water pitchers and cups on lunch tables.

Montclair Elementary School in Oakland has a “hydration system,” basically a faucet that students use to fill their own bottles with cold drinking water, said George Manalo-LeClair, a parent at the school and senior director of legislation at California Food Policy Advocates.”

Seems simple enough, given buildings have potable water.  And when you think about the staff you are paying to manage drinking water, and the associated costs, think about the staff (and insurance)  to transport children to school, or feed children at school.  These services are what parents should be directly billed for –  everyone needs to step up and take responsibility for their own family’s daily expenses – food and transportation.  And if the family can help out by sending a thermos of water with that packed lunch, all the better.  

Water is a fundamental right for human preservation.  Ditch the other freebies – water is a legitimate one.  For more on this topic, click here.

First Gaga, Now this?

Are you joking me? This is unbelievable.

The “reporter” who wore skin-tight clothing to a football practice…..
She dresses in tight tight jeans, and says “it’s not her fault” because those jeans are “her size”. Excuse me?
Since when does a real woman blame her style (or lack of it) on the manufacturer? As if she has no choice in the matter!
Someone needs to educate this young gal on basic professionalism, basic business etiquette, and how your presentation of yourself sets the stage for the message you send out when you dress yourself in sexually explicit attire. She needs to understand she is not only being disrespectful to the people she is working with by being a distraction, but that she is also being disresptful of the wives and girlfriends of the men she was dressing :oh-so-suggestively” around.  She needs a dose of common sense – because while there is a time and place for that kind of attire (and that kind of fun), it is not in the professional field of journalism.   On the field, you expect to see that in dancers or cheerleaders, but not in journalists.

After Life

I have given up on the ability of those in the after life to come back and visit us mere mortals.

Dad died February 8th, 2010.  I thought for  sure he would find a way to come back and, if nothing else, give me a thumbs up.  Nothing, nada.  Yet I KNOW he would have if he could have.
So it must be that death really is final (yes, I know how dumb that sounds).  And now, I appreciate every living thing so much more, because there is no second chance, no ‘reaching out”, no “message” we get to send.
I know some people swear they see loved ones that have passed, but right now, I think it is their imagination.  I did see dad in some dreams, but it was nothing that was compelling – it was just a dream.
I will know if that moment ever comes, and I will let you know if it does.
But for right now, I think we do our work here on earth, and return home to much greater things, such that we never even look back, knowing we will greet our loved ones as their time comes.  And, I think we never look back because by the time we make it to the other side, we realize how insignificant most of the earthly life is, so what is the point of coming back?  To say what?  Everyone already knows what you would want to say to them, so what is the point of trying to overcome what must be an enormous amount of energy to try and deliver some obscure message?
So I say, go in peace, dad.  I know you would come back if you could, and I am good with that.
post note, added July 23, 2012:  dad has returned once to me, twice to his beloved Louise.  And once to my cousin, whom seems to attract the souls from the other side.  Her “channel” is more open than the rest of ours, and people who have crossed over seek her out to get their message into our world.

I Love to Learn

I can’t get enough of learning. I love to learn, but there is so little time.

I just found Khan academy.  He is written up in the Sept issue of Fortune – he makes homemade tutorials for us to learn a variety of subjects by.  And then I also just learned of iTunes University – which is okay, but not stellar.  But combining these with Ted.com, and the world just got incredibly more interesting.
This is fabulous!  Check this out. From Ted.com
Okay, now for a  downer.  (I apologize in advance, but it still qualifies as learning ….)

Pension Reform, 1st Black President

New find . . . .  http://reason.tv/video/show/jack-dean   an interview with the founder of pensiontsunami.com,  an aggregate news “publisher” for pension-related news.

Also, in yesterday’s WSJ (Aug, 27, 2010), we were told by the CA Accounting Board that 80 cents of every tax dollar goes to support CA employee compensation and benefits.  Something’s gotta give.  This is just one of the reasons why big government is a bad idea.  They can’t just “mind the store” . . . .  they steal from it, because no one cares enough to watch.  So if we are wondering where our sense of entitlement comes from, look no further than the system we have allowed to grow.  Like a weed, but deadly like a cancer.
Peter Berkowitz has a good column in the WSJ, too. I like the line that “Big government tends to crowd out self-government—producing sluggish, selfish and small-minded citizens, depriving individuals of opportunities to manage their private lives and discouraging them from cooperating with fellow citizens to govern their neighborhoods, towns, cities and states.”
Ain’t that the truth!
So back to the statement “no one cares enough to watch”.  While it appears that way, it is not true. A lot of people – both good and bad – care.  The bad ones care because they can benefit from public neglect, worming their self-interests into policy, so they try to propagate it (they do this by telling us partial truths about what they are doing).  The good ones care but are naively too busy working to pay 80 cents on their tax dollar for their neighbor’s retirement.
But now the evidence of the neglect is apparent, and its weight is crushing all of us.
There is one more thing I’d like to go on record with.  This has to do with the 1st black President, the 1st black actor, and actress to win the Academy Award’s Oscar for best actor/actress.
We know who the 1st black president of the US is, so let’s keep moving….
The first black actor to win the Oscar for best performance was Sidney Poitier.  His 1963 acceptance speech was dignified, simple – and as always, he was unassuming.  The first black female to win was Halle Barry.  Her 2002 acceptance speech was marked with uncontrolled emotion for “the faceless women of color who now have a chance because this door has been opened”, thanking the Academy for choosing her “to be this vessel”.
Halle Berry was a bit over the top, for me, but the point I wish to make is this:  I wish that in Obama that what we got was a Sidney Poitier, not a Halle Berry, for our first black President.   I would have liked to have seen General Colin Powell, or Thomas Sowell (see his archives here).  Or think about Nelson Mandela, and how he led.
How in the world did we manage to strike out with a guy like Obama?  This is one of the saddest aspects of our first black president – there were so many good to great choices, and we got a junior senator who doesn’t know better to withhold judgement until all the facts are in, to stay home and work than to continue to campaign, who doesn’t know that perceptions are people’s reality – stop flaunting vacations, wife’s vacations, etc, in such tough economic times.
I could go on but I don’t want to bore you.

We Have our 1st National Sales Tax

A shout out to my friends Robert Bloomquist and Tommy Stevens for bringing this to my attention:

Under the new health care bill – did you  know that all real estate transactions are subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax? You can thank Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid & Barack Obama and your local Democratic Congressman for this one.If you sell a $500,000 house, this will be a $19,000.00 tax by itself, NOT including any other costs of sale that generally range approximately 8% of the sales price ($40,000. on a $500,000. sale) !!!

Here in CA, it’s not hard to have a house in the $500,000 range. So now, if you use realtors, you pay their 6%, and an additional 3.8%. You lose almost 10% of your home value.  Wow, that’s a fairly big loss.

Well, I think I have decided to vote against nutMeg Whitman.  She seems a little on the crazy side with her English/Spanish mixed messages.  If she was against prop 187, as she claims in her ads, I’d love to ask her if she voted against it….Isn’t that how you demonstrate your moral outrage?  (Oh wait, she hasn’t voted FOR 20 YEARS!!)  Talk is cheap.  Ignorance is cheaper.  Brown is looking better and better, although I loathe the idea of a democrat (especially him) at the helm, the idea of nutMeg is worse.

 

I don’t think I have mentioned I attended a fundraiser for her back in the early days.  Paul Rodriquez was there about the water problems for CA farmers.   She took questions, and the first guy asked her what she thought of “Keynesian policies given the economy.”  She looked a little awkward, then said “You have to help me out here.”  SHE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION.  This is a woman who graduated Princeton, and got her MBA AT HARVARD!!!!  I was stunned. She only took one more question, then they wrapped it up.   I sought the guy out who asked the question, and asked him what he thought of her answer (she had hemmed and hawed through it).  He was as flabbergasted as I was.  We were both there to because we WANTED to support her, but she couldn’t demonstrate basic economic knowledge.  Unreal.  Almost Surreal.

 

and yes, I am still doing P90X, albeit not regularly.  Too much going on at the office.

P90X & Girly Fashion

Wow.  Am I tired.  But, tired as I am, I can’t fall asleep.  Took Ambien, now waiting.   Rambling on…

So I thought I’d journal about P90X, my latest endeavor to stave off the rising hips of middle age.

I am just completing my first week of it.  Well, really, it’s technically the second week, but I’m not counting the first week because I was so wimpy about it, and I had some traveling to do in between the workouts.

So I started it up again this week, and surprisingly, I find myself at the 7th day of the three week cycle.  It’s my “rest” day.
Now, I have been doing this in my garage, which is a whole other story – but short story is it is great.  Which means I haven’t been going to the gym, so maybe I’ll do that tomorrow on my “rest” day.  I only have 10-15-20 pound free weights at home, and no bench, so until I build that up (which I plan to take care of this weekend), I might as well go and push metal at my local gym.

So, P90X.  It’s pretty good.  You feel kind of dorky doing it (which is the great thing about doing it alone in your home).  Especially the yoga crap and kendo pseudo martial arts stuff.  But at the end of the day, you feel muscles you had forgotten about, and that my friend, is a good thing.

So I think I will stick with it.  It may not help me in my battle of the rising hips, but it certainly can’t hurt it.

Oh, and that reminds me.  I have to make a bathing suit appearance in the very near future with my grandsons, ages 13 and 9.  My bikinis don’t seem appropriate ( for them at this age), so I bought some wake board shorts. How much fun is that!  Comfy shorts to play in the pool with the boys.  I got to thinking, the guys have had it right all along, and us chicks have been dealt the bad deck of cards – we are stuck shoving our bodies into skinny clothes, high heels, and strappybikinis, while the guys wear loose clothing, boxer swimsuits, and comfy shoes.  How did we (girls) get ourselves into this mess?

Admittedly, fashion is some kind of ego fun.  But will we ever be truly equal as long as we are willing to sacrifice comfort and commons sense in the name of fashion?  That inability to come to our senses is what, I think sets up apart.

Look at newscasters. The pros are dressed conservatively, and most females are dressed as thought they want to date  your husband.  Kind of weird.  Why show some much chest plate?  Or bare arms?  cover up girlfriend – you’re on TV.  It’s not your living room, it’s ours.  Be respectful.

Hmm I think that this is it. Ambien friend is kicking in.  I am fading.  Plz excuse any typos you found. I still want the junior senator O out of the senior office “P”.  If that is not clear enough, I want Obama out, and his socialistic ways reversed.  There, that local town (Belle sp?) where City manager gets $800,000/year, and council members get $100,000/year for their part-time efforts.  Problem is, if City Manager resigns, HE GETS HIS PENSION!!!!  It truly is a MAD MAD WORLD.  We need pension reform, and we need a youth who knows how to kick butt in the intellectual world.