Wednesday, December 28, 2005
We think about what WE want and where WE are going and how WE are going to get there and WE forget to focus on those around us. Once we look outside ourselves, our immediate problems seem to diminish. There are so many people on this earth worse off then we are. If we can focus on helping someone else our cares and woes will fade away. We get so wrapped up in the “poor me”s that we don't stop to look at our overall situation. No matter what situation we are in, we still have much to be thankful for.
Christmas time is a time to focus on doing for others and helping others and giving love and attention to others. But on Christmas day it seems we give up that focus and start getting the “gimmees”. Now it's more about what WE got and what WE didn't get and what WE are going to do next. We turn our focus inward and start to consider what WE are going to do in the upcoming new year. I guess we have done all we are going to do for the hopeless and helpless and we shove thoughts of them into the background of our immediate cares.
We'll think about them again next Christmas.
Right now we have more pressing matters to deal with.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
We get wrapped up in the events and the presents and all the holiday festivities.
It's also time to think about those who are not here with us to share the season.
We all have someone far away who won't be here this year to hug or shake hands. We can only send them a brief thought of how we would like to have shared this moment in time with them and hope that they indeed know that fact.
There are many friends and relatives from our past that we might think of at this time of the year. They helped make this time special way back then. Some are gone and some are far away and some have faded from memory. Even though they may not receive our thoughts, it is good to remember them and thank them for the memories they gave us. We can only hope that wherever they are, they will receive our kind thoughts as we tuck another Christmas into our memories.
I wish all of you who can't be with me a very Merry Christmas!
Know that you are in my thoughts.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
You know, deep down inside, that we should all be loving and caring people and should be looking out for each other and that there really isn't any need for our fellow companions to be starving or hurting. All we need to do is to reach out and help each other. You do your little part, but it's a drop in the ocean.
The ones that could really make a difference are the rich and powerful and they don't seem to be able to see the problems of the ordinary people. They are more concerned with keeping their wealth and expanding their power. Those born with wealth and power have no idea of how ordinary people live and what their concerns are. They dabble with charities but they are never immersed in the culture of the poor. You and I know that if we each help just one other person and that person helps another and the chain continues, it would be a better world. But when you are homeless and hungry and have nowhere to turn, there is little you can do. Those who can help don't know how and those who want to help don't have the assests and those who need help are left wanting.
We turn to our government to help us help ourselves, but more and more we find that our governement is being run by the rich and powerful who don't even understand what the problems are. Somehow, this earth that we all share has become a world of haves and have-nots. The wealth has shifted to a very few and the rest of us are left on the outside looking in.
I still believe that a person should get what he works for and that all people can't expect the same rewards if their efforts haven't been as effective, but inheritated wealth and power too quickly divides the world into artificial classes of people and improperly distributes the assests of this planet we all share. Earlier leaders understood this and redistributed the wealth by way of inheritance taxes and graduated income taxes. They knew that the strength of our country depended on the general financial health of all of our citizens. We have abandoned those ideas and now have a greater and growing division of wealth and power between those who have and those who have not.
It seems that greed wins out over love of fellow man.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Well, really it's a nightmare!
I am dreaming that we elected this fellow as president, but he is only a stooge for the special interests. While he is trying to cut the taxes for his rich buddies, the nation comes under attack. At first he seems dumbfounded, but it gives him the excuse to invade some other countries that he doesn't like anyway. He lies to the people about what the real reason is for invading those countries and anybody that disagrees with him gets shouted down as being unpatriotic.
He believes that he has the power to spy on his own people and jail anybody he wants to and even to torture any prisoners he feels are a threat. While this is going on, he is trying his best to dismantle all the environmental acts that have been passed before. He is on his way toward dismantling social security and reforming medicare when the fallout from the war causes him to pull back for a bit. He goes ahead and makes many of the tax cuts permanent while increasing the national debt and cutting back on aid to the states for education and health.
He spins the truth to suit the situation and gives great sounding names to some of the programs he initiates, while all the time he is trying to give back the running of the country to the business executives and take it away from the ordinary people.
It has been a long nightmare and the memories will probably be with me the rest of my life. When you have nightmares like this, you just want to wake up to a sane and secure world and know that all is right with the world.
Please wake me up and tell me it's all been a bad dream!
Monday, December 12, 2005
Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44 percent, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.
_Two-thirds express confidence in the Iraqi army and in police.
_Half now say the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was wrong, up from 39 percent in February 2004.
_More than six in 10 say they feel safe in their neighborhoods, up from 40 percent in June 2004.
_Six in 10 say local security is good, up from half in February 2004.
The leaders have asked us to leave as soon as possible. The people disapprove of our presence. WHAT ARE WE DOING THERE? WHY DO WE REMAIN?
Sunday, December 11, 2005
If we assume that we have reached the pinnacle of our lives and cannot achieve any better, we never will progress further. There are those in this country who see themselves as outcast and downtrodden and they will carry this with them throughout their lives. On the other hand, we have people come to this country with nothing but they see opportunity to improve their lives and they work to make it happen. It does help to have money and power behind you, but it isn't essential. If you truly believe in yourself and that you will succeed, you have taken the first step toward making your life better. Life is all about choices. Many people believe that the choices are thrust upon them and that they have no choice, but if they ignore the obvious and easy choices in front of them and choose the more difficult and time consuming choice that underlies their furture, they will take charge and change their own destiny.
With diligence and hard work, you can rid yourself of debt and take back control of your finances and your own future – you must choose to do so and work to make it happen. With effort, you can start at the bottom and climb higher – you must believe in yourself and work to make it happen. Nothing will be handed to you and there is no easy way to build yourself a solid foundation without this time and effort, but it is worth it and will help you throughout your days. You will gain experience and develop that self pride that others will recognize and appreciate.
You are not a victim! You have the choice right here and right now to improve the rest of your life and make you own future.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
We keep hoping that we will have some wonderful insight about how we came to be here and what our purpose in life is. Actually, if we live a good life and bring as much joy to those around us as we can, we will have done our best. Of all the billions of people who came before us, not too many get remembered beyond a century and certainly not beyond a millenium – just a very few. All these people were here, doing their best to make a life, and yet they were soon forgotten. I think the pool is too large for us to make much of a splash or leave a very big wave behind us. Be happy if you can leave things a bit better for those you leave behind and perhaps they will remember you for a while after you have gone.
If you reached for the golden ring and failed, at least you tried. If you kept your nose to the grindstone your whole life, you missed seeing a beautiful world. Don't take yourself too seriously – just look for the joy and appreciate it when you find it.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I have one of those digital thermometers and it shows zero degrees.
Where did the degrees go?
Every other day of the year there are some degrees out there, but not today.
Did they migrate to the south with the birds?
What really bothers me now is what if we go below zero?
Do we have to borrow degrees from somewhere else?
Who would be willing to lend us some of their degrees?
Would we have to pay interest?
I went outside to get the paper and sure enough, there were no degrees out there. It's breathtaking when there are no degrees. I think I had better stay inside until somebody finds some degrees for us to share.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
It ended up being about 10” of light dry snow. Not the wet stuff that you can make into snowmen. It's the light stuff that blows back over the path that you just shoveled. It packs nicely between the treads of your tires and lets them slide when you try to go or try to stop. It's too cold to sprinkle salt, so the snow will stay until the temperature rises. One thing nice about this type of snow (powder) is that it doesn't break tree limbs. It just sits there quietly and looks pretty. If you feel like it, you can wade out into the snow and take lots and lots of pictures. All of the schools around here are out for snow day. I suspect that the kids are all bundled up and sledding or sliding to their heart's content. It's a great day to sit inside and drink a cup of hot cocoa and gaze out the frosted window. Traffic is light and there's kind of a hush all over the world.
Christmas can't be far away.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Of course, there is always comfort in knowing that it's colder someplace else – like Nome, Alaska. That always makes me feel a lot warmer! If I tell somebody how cold it is, they always have to tell some story about when it was “really” cold. That always makes me feel a lot warmer, too! Even when I'm by myself, I will look up the weather in someplace where it is worse. It's funny how you never look up where it is “better”. Someday, I can tell little children how cold I got back in the early part of this century when it was “really” cold.
At least the sun is shining. The sounds of crunchy grass is refreshing when you go outside to get the newspaper. Have you ever noticed how it becomes more silent when it gets colder. Maybe it's just my imagination, but when the temperature gets lower, it seems that the whole world withdraws into itself and hibernates, just waiting for the warmth to return. That's what I plan on doing.
Let me know when it's spring.
Monday, December 05, 2005
It's been over 4 years since Bin-Laden's attack on New York and he is still at large.
Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,988 U.S. military members have died. Saddam is being defended by a former attorney general of the United States.
We have spent approximately 300 Billion dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Much more expense to come.
There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no ties between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.
Since our invasion of Iraq the number of active terrorists in the mideast have increased.
Remember when George was first elected and we laughed when he didn't know the name of foreign leaders and he had some difficulty twisting words around and we knew that he wouldn't really be good with foreign policy, but might be all right with domestic situations. He assured us that we could reduce the taxes and still balance the budget. We keep setting deficit records. We have no hope of balancing the budget.
His track record hasn't been great – has it? Where will it end?
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Since you have never met me, it must be a learned thing. Someone in your life has taught you how to hate me, even though they or you have never met me. If we met, we could very likely learn from each other and even come to like or at least respect each other. Instead, we learn from our teachers or our leaders to hate anyone who is not like us. Anyone who doesn't think like us is evil. Only people like us are good. We know the answers and everyone else is wrong.
I think we've proved this to each other over the centuries. In the name of religion or commerce or peace, we have killed millions of each other. Here in America, we “discovered” a new world and eliminated millions of the previous inhabitants. We have fought the French, the English, the Canadians, the Mexicans, the Spanish, the Germans, the Japanese, the North Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Iraqis. Those who once we considered our enemies have since become our friends or allies and some who were once friends are now considered enemies. We have wasted the resources and lives of generations of young men for some long forgotten reasons that seemed so important then. We learned over and over to hate and fight and kill. We are taught that this is human nature.
I don't believe this!
I don't hate you – I don't even know you. You have friends and family and are concerned with providing yourself and your family the best life that you can – just like me. I don't want to take from you what is yours. I want us to share whatever we can to give us all as much comfort in this life as possible. I don't want you to take from me – but I don't mind sharing. There must be a way we can all get along and help each other. We spend so much time hating and fighting and protecting and building walls that we have little left to share. We spend our future on the machines of war when we could be helping each other and tearing down the walls.
What's wrong with us? Why can't we learn from past mistakes?
Saturday, December 03, 2005
In our efforts to make ourselves more comfortable, we have tried to reshape our earth. We have been somewhat successful and somewhat unsuccessful. Some of us are more comfortable and some of our reshaping has damaged our fragile environment. We seem bent on arguing with each other and spending more and more of our precious resources on destroying each other than helping each other. If we occupied ourselves with as much energy and effort helping our fellow companions and protecting our little planet, we might find that we indeed could have a paradise.
Someday our sun, in its throws of death, will become a red giant and its atmosphere will encompass our earth destroying whatever is left. We, in all our glory, cannot stop this from happening. Mankind will probably not survive until that time. Whatever we leave behind, whether wonderful or ugly, will be consumed by the sun. All we can hope for is to leave a better home for those that follow us so they can have some degree of comfort. We aren't doing well so far, but it isn't too late yet.
We seem to have a distorted view of our importance in this universe. We really don't matter much in the overall history of all things. We may turn out to be a very short lived species on a backwater planet out in the suburbs of a small galaxy. We may feel like the king of the hill, but we haven't seen much more than our own backyard and we are leaving a real mess there.
I hope that each of us will try to give some degree of comfort to some of our fellow companions.
Maybe we can help each other find some peace and love.
Friday, December 02, 2005
I still enjoy the season and I'm sure that young children are awed by the festivities. I would think that the children would become more jaded as they grow up and figure out that it is now a commercial venture. We just use the Holiday as an excuse to over indulge our senses with very little thought of why we are doing so.
Even so, I do wish everyone a Merry and Peaceful Christmas filled with love and family and maybe even a gift or two. Hopefully the peace and love will carry over into the new year that follows.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
In the same paper american college students were worried about the 14 billion dollar cuts over the next 5 years ito the federal student financial aid program. With this cut, many students may not be able to afford college in the coming years.
We are cutting school aid, we are cutting medical aid to the poor, we are reducing federal aid to the states while we are piling on the cost for an unnecessary war. Our congress is trying to reduce the budget by cutting as many programs as possible while, at the same time, our war costs escalate in dollars and lives.
It's infuriating that the people we have chosen to lead us can't see beyond the noses on their faces. I have no idea what the real reason was for this invasion of another country, but the reasons we were told proved to be untrue and possibly fabricated. We are mired in another country with nothing to gain but pain and enemies. We have turned the world against us and have proven to be the biggest bully on the planet.
I guess my priorities are different than our leaders.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Children on a trip are so concentrated on the destination that they don't enjoy the trip. The world is passing you by each and every day. There are moments in each day to be savored and enjoyed and treasured. Too often we, like the children, become so focused on the goal that we have set that we forget to enjoy the moments passing by.
You spend so much time as a youth preparing for your life. Then you spend so much time acquiring and establishing a home and career. Then you have so much time to prepare for retirement. Then you have so much time to prepare for the end. It seems that we are continually packing our bags and preparing to move on to the next step or next adventure or next goal that we overlook something very precious – the moments of our lives that we are living right now. This particular moment with these particular surroundings and these fellow companions will never exist again – it is a rare and unique event that can be enjoyed fully or completely overlooked.
Enjoy the trip.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Down here in slushy Missouri, we endure the confusion of winter just waiting for the spring that comes much earlier than up in Minnesota. That way we can mow grass for months and months.
(I must remember this thought) but they get forgotten before they can be expressed on paper. I wonder how many truly great thoughts and solutions have been lost over all the years. We'll never know, but I suspect that some of those lost thoughts were well worth preserving.
Friday, November 25, 2005
I just wish that everyone could be as blessed as I have been.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I was sorting through the pictures I had scanned into my computer, separating the various years into different folders. The years and events fade into the past and yet the photos bring back a memory of the moment or the person as if no time had passed. Time passes so quickly and people we once knew are no longer here and places we have been are no longer the same, and yet the memory lingers fresh and new just waiting to be relived in our minds. Time has a way of taking off the sharp edges off of memories. The bad times don't seem quite so bad and the good times seem tinged with gold.
It's nice to look back occasionally just to see where you have been and to help focus on what's important in the future.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
How are you this bright and cheery morning?
It's been a while since last we met. I can tell you truthfully that although I miss your friendly faces and the great conversations we used to have, I don't miss the pressure at all. Retirement is a frame of mind that you must sink into. You really need to get comfortable with yourself and your surroundings and rediscover your personal interests. While you worked the center of your interests and scheduling was mostly concerned with the job, except for weekends and vacations. You put off many of your own interests and hobbies until some future date. For me that date has arrived. It takes a while to realize that you now have the freedom to do whatever you have the inclination or desire to do. You were so used to keeping a list of functions you had to perform and your time had to be structured to allow you to finish those functions on time. With retirement, there is no list or structuring or time requirement that you have to complete. You are free to be yourself and approach the day freely discovering what new and exciting things there are to be seen and enjoyed each and every day.
Many people, including me, when they first retire rush around trying to accomplish this and that and hate to waste a day. They are still in the “vacation from work mode” where you only have so many days to enjoy and must get the most out of every day. After a while you realize that you can afford the luxury of taking a whole day off without accomplishing a single thing and not feel guilty about it. At that point you have accepted retirement and are ready to greet the natural world about you.
I feel good about the years I spent with you and what we accomplished together. I will carry all of you pleasantly in my memories as I watch the passing of the seasons and explore who I have become and what lies ahead for me. Someday you will each reach your retirement and I hope you won't look forward with trepidation, but with anticipation. It's a great world out here and there is much beauty and much joy to discover.
I wish you health and happiness.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Dad would have been 90 years old today. I still miss him, but I don't begrudge his passing away in the manner he did. He suffered a little pain at the end but it wasn't overwhelming and his end came quickly with his family about him. He did well living that long and left fond and loving memories. He had a good life.
I was looking back over my life to see if I had any regrets. I have been blessed with a loving family throughout my entire life and this has been a great comfort to me always.
I have felt sorrow for many years that my marriage didn't survive, but there were compensations that arose after the divorce that I wouldn't have suspected. I was able to quit playing roles and look into myself and find out what was really important to me. Career became less important than family. Because I was alone and free, I was able to start up a loving relationship with my younger brother that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. I was able to spend much more time with my sisters and became much closer to them. When I moved in to help the folks, I was able to develop a deep and meaningful friendship with mom and dad. We were able to lean on each other for support and love. It was a rare opportunity that wouldn't have been possible without the events that lead up to that time. I wouldn't have been able to take my camping trip around the United States if I had remained married. The divorce enabled me to really be free to know myself and to know my family members more than otherwise possible. As time passed I feel that my daughters and I have passed beyond the father/daughter relationship into a much deeper friendship. We are able to trust and share with each other as loving friends who really care.
In summary, even though things didn't turn out like I had planned, my life has been a success and I have great memories and am surrounded by loving and caring family. Who could ask for anything more?
Monday, October 31, 2005
Our war in Iraq, our war against drugs, our war on poverty all have something in common: they continue without success. We are great at starting but are poor at finishing. These young men were asked to sacrifice their all and they trusted their leaders to make sure their sacrifice was in a good cause. They accepted their orders in good faith that what they were asked to do would help protect their families and their country. We need to make sure that their efforts aren't wasted in a wrongful cause.
We have discovered that the initial reasons we were given that resulted in our preemptive invasion of Iraq were flawed, perhaps misleading and maybe even prepared lies to insure that the war would take place. The emphasis has shifted since the invasion took place and now the words are all about bringing freedom to the people of the region. Many of the people of the region are killing us and don't seem to appreciate the freedom we have brought them. Perhaps we shouldn't be there.
The question that still lingers in my mind is: If it truly wasn't about weapons of mass destruction and imminent danger, what was it truly about? Was it revenge directed toward Saddam? Was it all about the oil? I don't believe that it was about bringing freedom to the people, otherwise we would invade North Korea or some of the countries in Africa where people are really suppressed. What other reason to invade Iraq other than the assets they had that other countries didn't have?
How many more young men will sacrifice before we decide that this really isn't worth it?
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I have always considered myself to be a "lucky" individual and much of this is due to looking for the good in each situation that confronts me. Life can be very interesting and the path you eventually wind up traveling isn't always the path you thought you were going to follow, but it brought you to here and you have choices from here on out which way to go.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I was willing to sacrifice whatever it took to make our marriage work. I set aside my family, my education, my friends in order to devote myself to us. My goals for future career had to change to fit the circumstances and I made the most of what I was able to do at the time. All that mattered to me was our love and our future together.
I worked hard at the opportunity at work that was available and advanced as far as I was allowed to. We had two daughters and we bought a house and worked to make it our home. I thought that we had done well to establish ourselves and that we had a plan for the future.
All that fell apart when my wife asked me to leave our home so that she would have time to sort out her thoughts and feelings. I was apparently oblivious to her unhappiness with our life together. I thought all was right with the world, but not so for her. We had had no discussions about this, so it was a surprise to me. I was dazed and confused when I moved in with my folks temporarily. During that time, I offered to go to counseling with her, but she said that I could go if I wanted, but she didn't need or want it. She was visiting a psychiatrist at the time. Within a few weeks, she had filed for divorce. I was dumbfounded and very hurt and confused by this. I offered to sleep in the basement while we worked out any problems, but she wanted me out of her life. I talked to her psychiatrist and he told me that I couldn't make her love me, no matter how hard I tried. When I talked to her about that, she told me that she had never really loved me, but that I was a way to get away from her father. She told me that I was a good husband and a good father but she couldn't live with me any more. When she told me that, it hit like a ton of bricks. I was completely destroyed. I loved her with all my soul and she didn't want me in her life any more. Where was I to go and what was I to do?
We were married 13 years when the divorce was granted. I could have fought and stalled but I wanted her to be happy and there was a burning hope deep inside that we might someday reconcile. I was an empty shell for a long time after that. It felt like my whole life had fallen apart. I had lost the love of my life, my daughters, my home, my dogs – everything I had worked for. I tried very hard to keep contact with the girls steady after that so they would know that I still loved them and that they were not involved in the problem. All direction was gone from my life at that time – my goals and efforts had been so finely focused on our marriage and our future and now I had to refocus on something else. I focused on the girls and on my family who gave me much support during those difficult years.
All of a sudden my career and advancement wasn't of such major importance without someone to share the gains. I had a few years of wandering and waiting and enduring the loneliness and despair to pass through. Eventually, I bought a townhouse and decorated it, but got little satisfaction from that. When Mom had her larynx removed due to throat cancer, I moved home with her and Dad to give as much help as I could. I was able to focus on helping them. After she adapted to this loss and she and dad seemed to be getting along pretty well, I quit work and traveled about the country to help me see things more clearly. It helped me become more content with myself and with what life had brought to me. I became closer to my daughters during this time. After the trip, I settled down at home with mom and dad and work. After mom died, my focus switched to my father. We became very close friends, leaning on each other for support and counsel. We took some trips together and watched out for each other.
Dad died this year and I find myself alone again. My daughters have become my friends, but they have married and moved away. My sisters and brother are very close friends and we get together every week. I retired early last year, partly to help dad as his health was slipping. I also thought we might be able to get in a few more trips before his health failed completely. His death came quickly and with a minimum of pain to him. Now I have the daunting challenge of refocusing on something else. I'm not sure yet upon what or who to focus, but I'm hopeful that time will provide an answer. Right now I know that I face some time of despair and loneliness again.
I have my family, who love me, to lean on and that helps when the anguish builds up inside, but it doesn't fill that empty kernel down deep inside that yearns to share. In my quest for self, I had learned that doing for others and giving to others gave me the most joy. I didn't need wealth or power or “things” to make me happy – I needed to share myself with someone who cared. Seeing the joy I could bring to a loved one gave me the greatest pleasure. This is what I search for in my life – to help my loved ones when I can and to bring them joy.
I also found out that you can't destroy love. Once you really love someone, you can't just turn it off. No matter what they do, you still love them. I still love all the people I have ever loved. I now try to limit my love to people that I trust – this helps avoid the deep pain when the people you love turn away.
They say that time heals all wounds, but I'm not sure about that. With time, wounds will build up some pretty tough scar tissue, but the memory and the scar of the wound is always there.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
It was cloudy and cool, but it was spectacular. Every year they have a baloon fiesta in early October with hundreds of baloons and it is a sight to see. People come from all over the world to see this event. The field is about 4 football fields long with a walkway and concession stands along the full length. There are hundreds of picnic benches set out for people to sit at and there are large grassy areas where people can spread out their blankets and have a picnic. In the morning, they have a mass ascension right after sunrise. In the evening, they have an evening glow where hundreds of baloons are tethered, but lit up with the glow of their burners.
The people in Albuquerque are very nice and the event is well organized. There were over a million visitors during the 10 days of the event. Well worth watching!
Monday, October 03, 2005
It's time for their annual baloon festival. Each day for a10 days there are about 700 baloons that lift into the air - mostly in the morning when the wind is slight. At night, they keep the baloons tethered but light them up with their hot air jets. They also have fireworks. Thousands of people from all over the world come to see this event and the traffic can be quite heavy. Each morning from my daughter's patio we can look out toward the mountains and watch the baloons drift above the city. They have different shapes and colors. It looks really peaceful watching the baloons slowly rise and drift along then descend. With little wind, even the landings are nice. We watched a baloon descend onto a school soccer field right next to the highway and it came down gently with the basket staying upright until they started letting the air out of the baloon. Weather is nice this time of the year. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 50s - low humidity - very pleasant. Many of the homes here are built in the adobe style with block walls covered with stucco and flat roofs. The block/stucco construction really helps moderate the inside temperatures of the homes. Debb's home seems to stay in the low 70s day and night without the need for heating or cooling at this time of the year. The aridity and lack of forests is quite a difference from Kansas City, but they have the advantage of not having to care for a yard of grass - most houses have rocks and shrubs that are native to the area and need little water.
At night the sky is clear and the stars are clearly visible (the city trys very hard to control light pollution). You can stand outside at night and see the Milky Way. It's a great place to visit.
Monday, September 26, 2005
It's Monday and another week has begun. I used to really dread Mondays - it was time to sacrifice myself to the necessity of making a living. It was time to turn away from the joys of the weekend and return to the drudgery of work. And then I discovered that It was only a matter of changing my opinion and revising my attitude to make Mondays joyful. I started asking my fellow workers how they were this bright and cheery day and they eventually responded cheerfully. It took a while for all of us to start to enjoy each others company and to think of work as a place of friendship and sharing. We were all in the same situation of needing to work in order to survive and we had all chosen to work where we were because of circumstance or availability. We figured that if we really hated working there we should move on to greener pastures but since we had chosen to stay we had only to set our minds to finding the joy of working together. Once you break through the hard shell that we all assume for our own protection and start to trust and enjoy and empathize with those around you, you can find true friendship. When you are working with friends and sharing a large portion of your life with them, work takes on a greater meaning and life becomes more enjoyable.
I hope you all stay happy and healthy and enjoy each precious moment.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
It was nice while it lasted, but school has started and football is upon us and it's now time for the leaves to turn. We're getting our last gasp of hot summer weather and I'm looking forward to cooler weather. Fall has pleasant memories for me. I remember the rustle of leaves and the rekindling of school friendships after the leisure of summer. It was time to learn new facts and to grow just a bit older in a higher grade in school. I remember the smell of burning leaves in the gutters along our block. Everyone would rake their leaves into big piles at the curb and then burn them under a watchful eye. We kids loved to jump into the piles of leaves. The colors of autumn were bright and I loved to watch the leaves float to the ground. It seemed that the sky was bright and clear in autumn – you could look up through the brightly colored leaves to see a brilliant blue sky above. In our neighborhood, we played touch football in the street (not much daytime traffic then on the side streets). You could only get 2 or 3 players on each team so you didn't need much room. It seemed that we walked to and from school in large groups. The older kids hung out together but looked out for the younger ones. Grade school was only 5 block away, so I could walk home for lunch. Fall wasn't very stressful. It was a time of harvest – apples and pumpkins and the last of the tomatos. After a summer of heat (no air conditioning back then), the cooler weather was welcome. There were more pleasant smells coming from the kitchen (with the heat gone, you could once more bake and can).
Vacations were over and everyone seemed ready to buckle down to another season of study and work. It was nice to enjoy the autumn evenings (not so hot and before you had to close up everything for winter). Looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving and eventually Christmas – but that's a long, long time from now.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I am constantly on the lookout for meals that taste great and are easy to prepare. I don't want to spend all day to fix a meal that will disappear in minutes. But, I do want a meal that tastes like it took all day. I don't mind fising food that cooks for hours but just takes minutes to prepare. With that in mind, I have collected many of my favorite recipes and decided to put them on my new blog linked to this one: bobsrecipes.blogspot.com. If your tastes are similar to mine, you will enjoy. I'll add others in time.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Nope! I did the best I could and if that's not good enough, then too bad. Besides, I can't think of any mistakes I've made over the past 4 years.
But, maybe someone else around me made a mistake. Yeah, that's it! Someone else made a mistake without me knowing about it. We'll just have to look around and find out who is really guilty. It sure couldn't be me. After all, the buck stops somewhere else. I just tell my people to handle it, handle it. That leaves me time to do what's important to me. I don't have time for the details or for the little people. I handle the BIG problems and work with the IMPORTANT people.
Trust me, would I lie to you?
Maybe I can line up a few more photo ops and make the little people feel better. Where is my flight suit? Give me a bull horn!
Durn, this will set back my overhaul of taxes and social security. It will be hard to give all those tax breaks to my friends when we have to spend money to help these Katrina victims. What do you mean when you say we have to INCREASE medicaid to help the refugees? I just got through getting that cut!
Let's see how we can put a spin on this to make us look better. We need to get our poll numbers up to help keep control. Maybe I could go down and have my secret service agents help pull people to safety while I hand them a towel. No, too much chance of getting shot by those angry young men. I sure wish mom hadn't said how the astrodome was a step up for some of the people. That makes us look out of touch with the little people. Maybe I could get out the chain saw and help cut some of the downed trees – yeah, that would be a great photo op. The people could see how hard I was working with my sleeves rolled up and everything. Let's see Hillary top that!
And the beat goes on.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
What's going to happen if terrorists attack some urban center with biological or chemical weapons? Will we just have meetings and wring our hands for a while before trying to help those who survived? It's not like we haven't had warnings. It's not an unexpected event. We had to know that someday a hurricane was going to hit New Orleans. Someday a volcano will blow near a major town. Someday an earthquake will strike a city. Someday another tsunami will hit our shores. We know this!
Is this the best we can do to help our own people?
We're getting help from poorer countries all over the world. They have to be wondering why we aren't faster in response. The terrorists will be watching this response and it will help them decide their next type of attack.
As the hurricane was approaching, I heard analysts assessing the levee system at New Orleans. They said that it was only designed for a category 3 hurricane at best. They said that it wasn't worth the additional billion or so to beef it up to handle more. The corps of engineers budget has been cut over the last few years, so their hands were tied. It should have been no surprise when the levee failed and the town flooded! It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a town below sea level might get flooded.
When I was a child, we had fire drills in school. In my area they test the tornado warning system and people know to take cover in basements. Was there no thought given to the population along the coast and no preparation for anticipated catastrophe?
What are our leaders for, except to help us protect ourselves and provide for the common good? What happens next time?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Looking back over the months, I see a recurring theme of time passing more quickly and building memories mentioned.
I guess that I'm just more aware of the passing of time and events now than I was when I was younger. I have seen loved ones, while in the process of leaving this life, mentioning how short life is and how time flies by more quickly with the passing of years. When you have a myriad of wonderful memories to look back on, it's hard not to occasionally reflect. You spend more and more time looking back on what you have enjoyed and experienced than you do in looking ahead to new experiences. If you have enjoyed your life and haven't put off adventures, then there is a feeling of “Been there, Done that” that comes back to many new, but similar experiences. “The mind is willing, but the spirit is weak” takes on new meaning as you get older. The willingness to risk and recover is greater when you are young. Sometimes when you look back on some of the risks you took, you marvel at your good fortune to have survived. With age comes a bit of wisdom and a reluctance to risk it all for a thrill.
I'm a bit calmer now and a lot more patient. I don't feel the need to prove myself to anyone. I'm comfortable with what I've done with my life and where I am right now. I'm willing to find new adventures, but not actively pursuing them. I get a vicarious satisfaction by watching the adventures of my daughters and son-in-laws as they progress through life. Each person has their own set of adventures, trials and tribulations to enjoy or endure. It's interesting to see how different people handle their own particular set of circumstances. In the end, they wind up where they have brought themselves and hopefully they have gained wisdom and strength and built memories in the process.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Time is so short when you get older. It's funny how the term “old” takes on different meaning as you get older. Old used to be 30 then 40 and seemed to move up decade by decade. When you know that you are looking back on more than you have to look forward to, you are on the downward slide. Years fly by. Decades may be hard to crystallize in your thoughts looking back. The past is so full of memories that crowd in upon one another that you have a hard time distinguishing the time line of events.
Suddenly the summer is over and you face another winter. All the best plans of all that you were hoping to accomplish will have to wait for another time. It's not sad to see the seasons and years pass by so quickly. You get comfortable with yourself and your surroundings and you have your friends and family and you have your memories that you built back when time was unending and stretched out forever.
If you're fortunate, you didn't waste too much of your youth and enjoyed each day as it passed. It doesn't take much to notice just one thing each day that makes that day different from all the others.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
After much soul-searching I determined that there were several core elements in my life which would not change. You always will have your family, if you work to keep that bond alive. Friends come and go and life changes many aspects of our lives, but family is always there to care for and care about. I also determined that “things” acquired throughout your life don't really matter. You accumulate many “things” during your life and eventually have to discard most of them. They really didn't matter. They gave you temporary happiness that soon disappeared. What really gave me the most satisfaction was to bring joy into someone else's life. When they had joy, I had joy. The memories of the joy you give sustain you. Those memories won't be discarded. They are treasures you can enjoy the rest of your life. When you give joy, you are really giving of yourself and you create a link between yourself and someone else. People like to share joy – they are just afraid of being taken advantage of or or “owing” a payback favor. When I try to bring happiness to someone else, I make sure that they understand that there are no strings attached. I give freely and expect nothing. My reward is in making someone happy.
Unfortunately, this isn't true for all people. Some people only feel happy when they “win”. Winning for them may be acquiring wealth, or strength, or power. If they only could realize that wealth and strength and power fade away with the years. All you end up with is memories. Happy memories and friends and family make life worthwhile.
I didn't try to amass wealth. I set out to love and protect and care for my family (daughters, parents, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc). Over the years, I feel that we have all shared much joy and our relationships are strong and loving. It turned out that I lost what I had been working for but found much more. I have many great memories.
You read stuff like the following and it makes you mad. Where are our values and priorities? Obviously, they aren't where I believe they should be.
WASHINGTON - The nation's poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year, the fourth consecutive annual increase, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.
The percentage of people without health insurance did not change.
Overall, there were 37 million people living in poverty, up 1.1 million people from 2003.
The number of people without health insurance grew from 45 million to 45.8 million.
Regionally, income declined only in the Midwest, down 2.8 percent.
Tim Smeeding, an economics professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, says the nation has experienced a shift from earnings income to capital income and capital gains, which aren't reflected in the Census Bureau's latest numbers.
"Most of that growth in the economy over the last couple of years has gone to higher income people and has taken the form of capital income - interest, rents, dividends," Smeeding said.
From the Kansas City Star:
It was standing room only Monday in Truman Medical Center’s financial counseling center as the main health provider for the area’s poor made cuts in services.
The changes include the elimination of the hospital’s prescription assistance program and the requirement that nonemergency patients who live outside Kansas City or Jackson County make a down payment on their anticipated bill and commit to paying the balance. And Truman eliminated dental services at its Lakewood facility for adult patients who lack dental coverage, unless they work out a payment plan in advance.
And it’s possible the counseling center will become more hectic as cuts in Missouri Medicaid take effect Thursday, said Shelly Phinney, corporate manager of Truman’s financial counseling center.
More than 300,000 Missourians are expected to be affected by those changes, which include the elimination of adult dental coverage, a reduction in rehabilitation services and changes in Medicaid coverage for children.
Friday, August 26, 2005
The news says it all. Did we liberate the people or did we just try to liberate the oil? Are we liberators or occupiers? How badly do the people in that area want us to be there? Was it worth all the effort? How long will we stay and how many more lives will it cost?
“Saddam's family announced in Jordan on Aug. 8 that they had dismissed the 1,500-member Arab and Western defense team. Saddam Hussein has fired his legal defense team except for an Iraqi attorney who is the only person authorized to represent him, a court said Wednesday. On Friday, thousands of protesters in Baquba north of Baghdad took to the streets in support of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, who now awaits trial in jail.”
“Sunnis, loudly denouncing the constitution, could block it with a two-thirds "No" vote in three of Iraq's 18 provinces, ruining U.S. plans for Iraq's future.”
“Although the talking continues, Sunni leaders have already began mobilizing their community in central and western Iraq to vote against the charter. “
“Insurgents sabotaged an exporting oil well on Friday, stepping up pressure on the U.S.-backed government facing a relentless Sunni-led insurgency. “
“In a familiar scene in a country with the world's third largest oil reserves, flames threatened to halt output from the well, which pumps 7,000 to 10,000 barrels per day and feeds a pipeline to Turkey. “
“Some Shi'ites, notably the young and influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have joined Sunnis against the charter and deadly clashes on Wednesday night between his Mehdi Army militia and pro-government Shi'ite groups fueled to the tensions. “
“Bush has been insistent that Iraqis stick to a timetable for democracy set down under U.S. supervision last year, as part of an overall plan to reduce U.S. troop numbers in Iraq where they face a relentless Sunni-led insurgency. “
“As the calls for setting a deadline to withdraw US troops from Iraq grow louder a top American army general said in an interview that the army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq — well over 100,000 — for four more years. “
“Uzbekistan on Friday put further pressure on the United States to withdraw troops from an air base near the Afghan border with a parliamentary vote demanding that the American military go home. “
When you put it all together, it seems like we will be going around in circles without ever getting anywhere for years to come. It was a noble thought to bring capitalism and some form of democracy to other areas of the world, but they just might not want our form of government or our type of society. Are we just ramming our ideals down their throats?
Saturday, August 20, 2005
It's inconceivable that he still holds to his original thought that this war is a good thing to do. Each additional step we take in the muck sinks us deeper. If we don't admit that we took a bad step in the wrong direction, then we'll continue onward further and further into the mire. We need to look about us to see that we are indeed going in the wrong direction and change course.
You need a leader big enough to admit that we made a misstep who will lead us out.
The trouble is we know that our leader is probably a good man and hopefully didn't lead us in the wrong direction on purpose. The troops keep following him blindly and we keep losing our boys to death and dismemberment. What does it take to see the light?
We know now that there were NO weapons of mass destruction. We know now that
al-qaida wasn't based in Iraq and that Saddam had no connections with al-qaida. He was no threat to the United States. Most of the insurgents in Iraq that are killing our boys are coming in from other countries. The Arabs now look at us occupiers, not liberators. We are building bases and maintaining forces and apparently plan on doing so for many years to come. Our presence aids in the terrorist's recruitment.
Osama came out of Saudi-Arabia and operated out of Afghanistan. The hijackers were from Saudi-Arabia. We have not yet captured Osama, even though we have had years and millions of man hours to do so. Somewhere along the line our priorities got mixed up and we lost our focus. We keep talking about terrorists and Iraq in the same breath, but we created the situation there. The terrorists that we need to find are somewhere else.
Iraq was a mistake. Let's go after Osama.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
There's nothing wrong with being spoiled, is there?
I'm ready for fall now. It can come any time now.
I heard from one of my cousins in Minnesota today and she mentioned that fall is in the air already up there. They have very short seasons except for winter - it lasts a long time. They really seem to enjoy winter and snow and ice. Once it comes, it stays - none of the slush and salt that we end up with down here. Up there you can really use skis or snowmobiles or ice houses on the lakes. Here you just slush along and wait for spring rains and mud. Oh well, no place can be perfect. I'll just sit back and enjoy my conditioned air and see what the seasons bring.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Deborah inspires me. She has the intelligence and ability to deal with just about any problem that comes her way. She cares deeply about the world and the people around her and has always had a difficult time dealing with careless and stupid people. She has overcome that difficulty and now knows how to work with people who don't understand. She is able to bring out the best in most of those around her. She has quick wit and quick understanding – she will often anticipate the end of your sentence before you get there. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. She is loyal and faithful and true. She is a very real person and is exactly who she presents herself to be. She is truthful but won't hit you over the head with the truth. There is no vindictiveness in her. What a wonderful person to have as a friend and daughter!
Beth is my younger daughter. She has always struggled in the shadow of her outgoing older sister. She is shy, but loving. She tends to denigrate herself, when actually she has a great deal of intelligence and understanding. She is kind and really cares about the people she has accepted into her life. At times, she seems amazed when she shows her intelligence or her poise and people look to her with admiration. Slowly, she is developing pride in herself and her accomplishments. Someday, she will have to acknowledge, as I do, that she is a wonderful person and deserves the best in life. Everyone who meets her, loves her. She also has learned much about herself and her feelings over the years and is a real person without airs. She is my friend.
I love my daughters and I am so proud of who they have become. I look forward to sharing their friendship in the years to come.
Friday, August 12, 2005
What brought this to mind is the fact that my home air conditioner seems to be taking a vacation right now. Yesterday when it got to be 100 outside, it got to be 85 inside. This morning it was 77 outside and 80 inside. The air conditioner has been running full blast without having any effect. I've called for help, but it will be several days. I'll just have to pray for rain or go for long drives in an air conditioned car. It's amazing how spoiled we have become. We have made our homes so airtight and buttoned up to help hold in the cool or heat that we don't have the screens or fans that we used to have. I could run through the sprinkler, but I would feel a bit silly at my age. If I sat in a cold bucket, it would be just my luck to get stuck - not a pretty picture.
With the house sealed up, you lose the sounds and feel of summer. I remember the crickets and the locusts. Remember the lightening bugs? You could hear the summer wind through the trees and you could smell the freshly cut grass. The earth was warm, but the grass was soft. Now we shut those senses off as we button down and turn on the air conditioner. Now all you hear is the sound of the furnace fan or the refrigerator or the television blaring. You gain the cool but you give up some part of living with nature.
Come winter, this will seem like a silly thing to have worried about as we wrap ourselves up in another blanket to keep warm.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I suppose every place has its own problems to deal with and there is no perfect place to live. There may be a perfect place to live, but the folks there are keeping it a secret so the rest of us won't invade. Sip an iced tea, stay in the shade and look forward to the frigid, barren landscape of Winter - but be optimistic.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
I worked for the same company for over 30 years and lived in the same community all my life.
You used to make commitments to your mate, your family, your workplace and your community and then you followed through and gave them your loyalty. They all expected to do the same for you and the world was a safe and secure world.
I believed the scout motto - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverant. Great ideals to guide you through life.
Now we seem to live in a world of broken contracts. Everyone seems ready to break away at the slightest hint of misfortune or trouble. There is no loyalty, it's every person for themselves. Sue thy brother before he sues you. Don't trust anyone. Suspect everyone.
I liked the other world better. It's hard to be selfish. You have to surround yourself with walls and barriers to keep out the offenders and you find that you have built your own cage.
Perhaps that's why I enjoy going out into the mountains. The natural beauty and the timelessness inspire you. The pettiness of men and societies fades away when you become another rock on the mountain. You sit and observe the trees, sky, clouds, listen to the wind and the mountain stream. You breathe clean sweet air and let your untroubled mind wander.
Deep in the mountains, there is no polution, no lasting monuments to man's follies. Time, weather and the mountains eventually reclaim all items left behind.
I celebrate the good luck of those who survive these times and are able to share their lives with someone else without building cages. It seems to be a rare thing to happen these days.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Now that I've been back for a bit and started reading and watching, the anger is creeping back in - and I know that there isn't a whole lot I can do about it. Mankind seems to always want to dominate and control the weaker and less organized peoples. Bullys persist and those in power have learned how to wield a powerful club. It disappoints me that in the "game" of politics, the voters seem to lack the power that they once held. Now it's the special interests with the big bucks who can control the airwaves and buy the elections. We have the best congress that money can buy and they have been paying back their benefactors nicely. You and I have very little clout and very little say so in what transpires. The rich get richer and you and I seem to be stuck in a rut. Now that the manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and now that our service industry is losing its best paying jobs overseas and now that our unions are the weakest they have ever been it looks like the future for the average citizen of the USA is fading into bleak.
But then maybe I need to go on vacation again and get a fresh perspective.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
The war that took these brave people from us is in question, not the action of the soldiers. We were attacked on September 11, 2001 by terrorists from Saudi Arabia who were based in Afghanistan. There was no link between these terrorists and Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction, just as the United Nation inspectors said. There was no imminent danger to the United States from Iraq. There was danger and there still is danger from Osama Bin Laden and his group of terrorists, but invading Iraq has not diminished that. Our leadership appears to have contrived this invasion and the resulting occupation for some unexplained reason.
Our brave soldiers deserve to know the truth and the real reason why they are asked to fight and die over in Iraq. The reasons we have been told have been shown to be wrong and yet there has been no apology or other explanation for our actions. We invaded another sovereign country on false pretenses and are now occupying that country with troops. It would appear that we must have an ulterior motive for doing this and yet our leaders tell us nothing other than it is a good thing that we removed their leader. Perhaps that same justification could be used against us. If another country doesn't like the leader of a country, do they have a right to invade and remove that leader? Why don't we do that in Iran or North Korea or Sudan or Libya or Liberia or in any of hundreds of other countries that don't agree with us? Are we just the biggest bully on the block right now and willing to force everyone else to do things our way or else? That's not what we are about. That's not why we fought for our independence. Somewhere along the line, we have taken on the role of Earth's policeman and that isn't what we should be about. If we take this attitude of “Convert or Die”, we aren't much better than other empires and tyrants that have come and gone before us.
On the other hand, if we conclude our operation swiftly and turn their nation back over to them and get our troops out, we may be showing a different face than what we are showing right now. We'll see if this was about getting rid of Saddam and freeing the people or if it was about controlling the oil. I don't see us rushing into Iran or North Korea to free the people, but maybe their rulers aren't as bad or their countries don't offer the same resources.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Meanwhile, Congressman Cleaver from Kansas City said that those controlling the government are manufacturing contrived distractions to divert people's attention from real threats. He said the real threat to our nation right now is the federal debt. He says that our country is borrowing heavily from China, South Korea and Japan. It makes this nation more financially and politically dependent on outside interests. We're losing our manufacturing base - the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The wealth of the nation is shifting faster and faster to the rich and powerful and the individual finds himself with less and less.
Could the war be a distraction? We keep saying that we must follow our leader during time of war, even if the war was created by him. Our attention and the news coverage is all directed toward Iraq and the subtle internal changes taking place withou our system get less press and often unnoticed. That would be a cruel trick.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Monday, June 20, 2005
Unfortunately, most of us have carried this concept forward into our adult lives. If we exceed the speed limit and don't get caught then we aren't lawbreakers. If we cheat just a little on our income taxes and don't get caught, it's okay. If we find something of value that wasn't ours and no one sees us, it's all right to keep it. If the clerk undercharges us, it's all right to keep the change. As long as you don't get caught, you are still a good person.
If you start slipping away from what is truly right, it becomes easier to repeat the next time. You can justify lying and cheating in your mind, especially if you never get caught. It becomes almost a game. There is a risk/reward element that plays with your mind each time you try. The ultimate result is that you cheat yourself. You find you didn't NEED to lie and cheat - you just enjoyed the thrill of getting away with something wrong. You lose some of your self respect and become less of a person than you know you could be.
The more you can resist the temptation to cheat "just a little", the stonger you become. You develop pride in yourself. You did good, even if no one was watching.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
I've had my own computer(s) for over 20 years now. I've been involved in writing programs and using many programs already written. I've been a cad/cam operator and helped instruct many people in how to use various programs. The main thing I have learned by helping other people is to show them WHAT you can do with the program and then HOW to do it. Too often, people say “which button did you push and why did you push it?” They get too wrapped up in the details of HOW before they know WHAT they are doing. I tell them not to watch my hands but to watch the screen and see what the program does. After they see what can be done, then they can spend the time to learn all the details of how to do it. It is much like teaching a youngster how to drive – there are so many details to pick up on that sometimes their attention is diverted from the main purpose of being aware of where they are going.
When I am first introduced to a new program, I want to know what I can expect this program to do before I devote the time to learning how to do it. If the program doesn't accomplish what I want it to do, then there is no point in proceeding further. This approach works well for the student as well as the instructor. For a really involved program, I prefer to become adept at the basic operation before delving deeper into the other bells and whistles available. If the basic operation isn't friendly or doesn't produce what I am looking for, then there is no use in trying any further tricks to dress it up.
When I was in grade school, we had a principal who had the whole school learn problem solving by writing out the problem, writing down “to find:” then listing what answer we were searching for and then writing down “to solve:” then performing the operation of solving the problem. It was tedious at times, but it lingered with me the rest of my life. Before jumping in to solve a problem, make sure just what you are looking for and then find the best way to get that answer. In this manner you won't get lost along the way to finding the solution to your problem. Actually, it makes a lot of sense to apply this to your whole life – if you don't know what you are looking for, you'll never know how to find it.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
It shouldn't matter any more and there isn't much that I can't buy for myself, but it's the thought and the love expressed that comes across at these times. If you take the excitement out of special days then they become just ordinary days to be forgotten with the multitude, but if you add just a touch of love and remembrance it makes the day memorable and you can relish the memory whenever you feel a bit low. I always loved to see my folks faces light up when I gave them something special. I realize now that anything that I gave them would have been special – it would have been a sharing of love and attention just for them.
Older folks who live beyond their contemporaries and who have no family feel left alone and these special days often bring remorse and despair. They have no one to tell them that they are remembered and loved. The little boy or little girl in each of them need this more than you can know.
When you have left most of your life behind, you look forward to the simple pleasures. It's nice to be remembered and to know that someone out there really cares.
Friday, June 17, 2005
There actually was a time when men would work for a dollar a day. Inflation must not have been a problem back then. Back then, a penney saved was a penney earned (and a penney amounted to something). My grandfather came over to America in the 1880s and after finishing 4th grade, went to work in a packing plant for 5 cents an hour. Do you wonder why the child labor laws were enacted? Later he was given a man-size job for 10 cents an hour. You worked at least 10 hours a day for 6 days a week with no overtime. So you really did make a dollar a day. You walked to work and you had no leisure time so you didn't have much on which to spend the money you didn't have. There were no movies or radio or television to watch back then - but that was good because there was no electricity either. There were no automobiles, so there there weren't any shopping malls or fast food places to drive to. Since there wasn't any electricity, you cooled your food with an ice box and you used gas lights. Life was simpler? I guess you were too tired to really care about anything else but keeping food on the table and a place to live. Except on Sunday, when you and the whole family had a whole day off. You can bet they didn't fool around with cutting the grass - they didn't really care about having lawns. Sunday was a day to walk in the park ad breathe the fresh air. Life really was simpler on Sunday. You worked hard and didn't get to play much, but you tried your best and tried to build a future for your kids.
But that was long ago and another time. Now we are so concentrated on consuming and enjoying the moment, we often forget to build a future. You really need a bit of both. It's good to enjoy the life you are living and its good to build for the future. The trick is to balance the present wants with the future needs. The good old days were not really all that great - they were just different. We squander a lot more these days - I'm not sure that this is better.
Another day, another hundred dollars.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Where is the anger?
There should be a swelling of protests and marches! We have been duped and lied to.
When Bill Clinton lied to us we set up a special commission to investigate and ultimately brought him to impeachment. When Richard Nixon lied to us, he ultimately had to resign in disgrace. Now that George has had his war and we find out that he intended to have this war from the very beginning of his presidency, why aren't we doing something about it? We have lost 1600 american boys lives and thousands of Iraqi's lives. We spent Billions of dollars and we have not made the world a safer place. We have stirred up bitterness and hatred against us. The reasons for this war as presented to us were that Saddam was evil and had weapons of mass destruction and that the danger was imminent. They lied to us! Saddam was no worse of a threat to us than the leader of North Korea or Iran. There was no reason not to continue to negotiate instead of throwing away all those lives. Why did we go to war in Iraq? Was it for the oil? Why did George and his minions feel the need to do this?
This from CBS news today:
"The Bush Administration began making plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks, as has been previously reported. That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. O'Neill talks to CBS News Correspondent Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," he tells Stahl. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do is a really huge leap."
The stories are rolling out on the O'Neill book. Now from CNN:
"Suskind cited a Pentagon document titled "Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts," which, he said, outlines areas of oil exploration. "It talks about contractors around the world from ... 30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq." In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting asked why Iraq should be invaded. "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,'" O'Neill said.
Let's consider an item from the news of about two weeks ago:
A British citizen leaked a memo to London's Sunday Times. The memo was of the written account of a meeting that a man named Richard Dearlove had with the Bush administration in July 2002. Dearlove was the head of the England's MI-6, the equivalent of the CIA. On July 23, 2002, Dearlove briefed Tony Blair about the meeting. He said that Bush was determined to attack Iraq. He said that Bush knew that U.S. intelligence had no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no links to foreign terrorists, that there was no imminent danger to the U.S. from Iraq. But, since Bush was determined to go to war, "Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy." "Fixed" means faked, manufactured, conjured, hyped - the product of whole cloth fabrication.So we got aluminum tubes, mushroom clouds imported from Niger, biological weapons labs in weather trucks, fear and trembling, the phony ultimatums to Saddam Hussein to turn over the weapons he didn't have and thus couldn't. We got the call to arms, the stifling of dissent, the parade of retired generals strategizing on the "news" shows, with us or against us, flags in the lapel, a craven media afraid to look for a truth that might disturb their corporate owners who would profit from the war. Shock and Awe. Fallujah. Abu Ghraib.It was all a lie. Many of us have said for a long time it was a lie. But here it is in black and white: Lies from a president who has taken a sacred trust to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Richard Nixon was investigated for a cover-up of a two-bit break-in. William Cohen, a young Maine Republican, played an important role for the prosecution in those proceedings. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about sex with an intern. Now we have the irrefutable evidence that George W. Bush lied about the reasons for taking the United States to war. The intelligence wasn't flawed. The weapons weren't hidden. Our elected leaders were lying.
Our leaders say: "Trust me. Would I lie to you?".
It's more of an attitude toward work than the work itself that makes a difference.
Once you figure out that you really need to work in order to survive and you have found the best job available to you at this moment, then you need to make an adjustment in attitude and start enjoying what you have to do. At that very moment, you are where you have chosen to be because of circumstances. If not, make another choice. Life doesn't take you kicking and dragging into these situations, YOU make the choices. If another choice is not available at this time, make the most of what life has given you and try to be happy.
Of couse you could just stay grouchy and complain a lot and see what kind of life that brings to you.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Each decision you make in life can be compared to a "Y" in the road you are following through life. You choose to the best of your abilities, with advice from others or following a road map, which way to go. Once you have made that decision, you are now following a new road. There are no "wrong" decisions - there are just decisions to be made at various junctions of your life. Those decisions you made in the past have brought you to this point in life and made you the person you are today. The road ahead is clear and uncluttered and you are free to choose which way to go from here forward. As long as you go forward with your eyes wide open, making your own choices, you'll get somewhere close to where you want to go. Just make sure you are following your path and not someone else's.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Monday, June 06, 2005
In this era of corporate america we sometimes lose sight of the fact that our government works for US, not the other way around. We were not hired by them - they are our employees. Our government employees perform functions for us that we prefer not to do ourselves. We reward dangerous duty, such as policework or armed forces, and hazardous work, such as firemen, with pension plans and early retirement rewards. This is right, for they are performing work for us that we prefer not to do ourselves. When our employees do not perform in accordance with our requirements, we have the right to fire them and hire new employees. We are fair about it and give them a period of years in each new contract.
Sometimes our employees forget who’s business their running. They sometimes feel that it’s their business and we don’t have rights. That is completely wrong! WE,THE PEOPLE, have established and ordained a constitution and a government to provide for the general welfare of US. WE set up the government. WE set of the court system. This is OUR country. It shouldn’t belong to the special interests unless we all agree to it. Our legislators should be looking out for the health and welfare of their constituents, not for their donors that helped pay for their elections. We should not have a government bought and paid for by the wealthy and directed by special business interests. This should be OUR government watching out for US!
With all this in mind, I wonder why we in the United States pay more for drugs and health care than the rest of the world. With all this is mind, I wonder why we in the United States don’t have universal health care. With all this in mind, I wonder why we in the United States pay more to maintain a huge military industrial complex than we do for education of our next generation. It seems that our government has slipped away from us and is not doing the job they were hired to do. There are other interests directing our government officials away from the common good. It seems to have happened gradually and I’m sure that most of our officials never intended for this to happen, but they find themselves owing favors to contributors and “friends” who helped them finance their elections. They now feel that it is THEIR government and that we are just nuisances that must be put up with while they negotiate their way around Washington.
I hope that someday WE, THE PEOPLE, will wake up and see what is happening and look to hire new employees and find some way to keep OUR government out of hands of all the special interests.