Friday, December 28, 2012


My younger son said he heard we might have snow again next Wednesday and Thursday. I didn't get to ask where he was listening. Mostly, we get 5 days at a time.
Weird, when political news goes on for well, decades.
Could it be we demand more of the weather news?
That's kind of a kick, over all.

American Democracy in the lower case

As near as I can see and understand, the United States remains a country with the same laws it has always had.

I believe our Congress no longer cares about the people, but about those who are pumping money into their campaigns.

I believe if they are egregious enough, Americans will petition for their removal, or campaign in the streets enough to let them know we do matter.

I believe all of this.

I believe we will "go over" the fiscal cliff. I believe the hasty fixes Congress will announce, like no cost of living on Social Security, Medicare at 67, tightened strictures on Medicaid and CHIPS, will hurt the working poor and add very little to the budget while hurting many.

I am not listening to the news. Not much these days. News now is all about scaring us and herding us in one direction or another. We used to have one of the most free press in the world. I think we are now ranked somewhere in the upper 20s. Capitalism has taken over.

What am I going to do about it?

Not panic, for starters.

Conserve on what I buy, second. Oh, I realize the economy needs us spending, but how can we,when we don't know how much money we will have? Especially those of us on fixed incomes. Well. No, not us. The worker who gets laid off because his employer has much to lose is a bigger loss. (I used "he" as something most politicians understand, even when it is the women raising the children.)

I will spend as little as possible. I will be joyful as much as possible. I will listen as little as possible. I will tune in for the news on what is actually happening. What they speculate? How does that help me live a good life?

I will plant my flowers. This spring, I will plant tomatoes and peppers again. I will help where I can. Oh, yes. I see a world of pain coming from the fiscal cliff. I will help where I can.

I'm not going to worry about it.

The hand-wringing news can do that.

We compensate and survive.

It's not what I used to think democracy was. Oh well.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back after the holidays

I wrote half a blog earlier. My computer froze. I lost all of it. I didn't lose until recent updates which I don't know yet.

It is the holidays and I sprint, so have many things to finish. I have had to change passwords on three accounts recently. That takes time. I am baking, cleaning,wrapping, cooking. Also in my household, meditating, praying and working on my attitude.

Frankly, this is more important than the tech I'm sorry I don't post more.

I am delighted with my developing Christmas holiday.

It's after midnight and I have to sleep. I have a volunteer gig in the morning.

If you read me, I wish you well, good week.

We'll talk later. After I walk the dogs.

Merry Christmas.
And please hope with me where Gracie is getting out of the yard. She loves it. I don't. She scares me to death
I have a chocolate pecan pie in the oven, a gazillion gifts to wrap, more baking and cooking to do.I will not get it all done in the usual way. I always come up with lastminute shortcuts that work.

Wonder how I'll handle this one?

I wish for better articulation personally for Christmas. I've listened to a fair amount of classical music this past week. Mostly watched the weather and 6 pm news, which is all local. I do know the difference between opinion and news. I want a peaceful existence for now.

And I am getting it. Sometimes late at night, my neck of the woods has very little light. The night sky is full of stars. Gives me a very real sense of my place in the universe.

I have small gifts this year. I actually started buying them before Dec. 15. Not wrapping, of course. Late enough the Christmas music didn't grate.

And so, bobbing along, taking a great deal of solitude for the season, I'm he

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Planting pansies, feeling the grief

This will be a hodgepodge, I think. Maybe with some sorta theme.

I bought my winter pansies today with some violas when I saw so many butterflies and even honey bees around them. Texas temps traditionally go up and down in winter. This year more tropical, Hint. Butterflies. I can't remember seeing them in December before.

I bought some of the violas that attracted them.

I never thought that I would see
A purple poinsettia
I can tell you right now
I'd be happier if I hadn't a.

A veritable sea of poinsettias in the store the colors of a sweetgum tree gone artificial. lavender purples, oranges, golden... I wonder how many the store will sell.
The now usual pink and white were elsewhere with the original red.


I just bought the violas, which used to come in one form. The ones I will pot mimic pansy colors, just smaller. Still spit the seeds. The clerk said the violas tolerate warmer temperatures and may last longer.

We have an organic market opening nearby. Onw thing I want to find out: are organic potatoes really that much tastier?

I have my radio and television off, and am cautious about Facebook and hide a lot of texts. I am dealing in the tragedy and don't want my grief fed. I see so many on hobby horses about gun control. Where are the hobby horses for better mental health services?

For those of us volunteering with homeless, we know very well the mental health hospital stabilizes, gives three days supplies, scrips, and dumps on the area streets. We don't have halfway houses. They go on the streets.

Not all massacres have shooters who were already noticably mentally ill. A lot have been. There were no resources. Why aren't there?

Oh, yeah. That might work out to be an entitlement.

But all the talk is about gun control. I suspect there is money to be made, somehow.

I don't know what I would do if I lived in Newton. Would I actually go to that many funerals?

I grieve. I plant my pansies, my violas. I delight in the butterflies.

I live. I continue to live. And don't we all?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rich or Poor? Taking or Giving? Choose.

For the last half-dozen years at least, I would have been at a really ritzy country club in Fort Worth today, catching up with former colleagues and having the kind of food I haven't had since the last gettogether.

I don't get out much. Can't drive much at night. Can't pay for the good stuff anyway.

So I have enjoyed these indulgences. I remember when they were part of my life. That was so long ago my children hadn't been born.

But I passed on going this year with no particular goal in mind.

I have recently started volunteering at the area super soup kitchen, where so many services come together besides food. And I was recruited for today, when we served a great Christmas dinner, gave out gift boxes with things like bandaids, chapstick, deoderant, a pair of socks, soap, razors, hand sanitizers,hard candies, lotion, shampoo....even the homeless consider these necessary luxuries. We had live music.

This was a Big Day. So the advisory board was around. They were taking pictures. I confronted, in a friendly way, one of them. I told him I was a green volunteer, but how could he legally take pictures of the crowd without permission?

He eyed me with a sanguine expression.

"Non-profit," he told me. "No law against it if it is non-profit."

He went off to take more pictures.

So it was legal. I still don't think it was right. And then I understand that pictures sell people on donations. Can they fuzz the faces? Yes. Will they? no, probably.

I don't think it is right. Yes. We have homeless for whom it is a way of life. They aren't celebrities, so don't they deserve privacy under the law? Apparently not.
What about the woman I talked to a week ago who waid she had worked for 12 years and they cut her off? She could afford a car, to get to interviews, or a place to live. The shelters around here are full. She's sleeping in her car. We can help her with clothing, a place to bathe, and some necessities if she doesn't have them. I don't think she's wrong in choosing the car.

The emergency shelters actually were open the last three nights when temperatures plunged in the teens. I hope she went in.

She is only one. I have a score just like her to meet.

Some come in, eat their free meal and leave.

Others pitch in, help clean up, mount decorations, unload food trucks--and they don't get anything for the work. Some volunteer to clean up premises outside as well as in. Several help the others, the handicapped or anyone worse off than they are. None get any compensation. Not even a bag of chips.

But the cameras were busy.

As I age, my mouth goes down in an upside down grumpy look if I don't smile. Except when I was smiling at hungry and homeless folk today, I made sure I had my dour on.

I doubt there will be any pictures of me

And since I made it clear I was a green volunteer and he was on the advisory board, I doubt any repercusions on me or the facility.

He is necessary. Helpful often. And he is totally convinced he is far above and in a different civilization than those we serve. He's wrong. I will never tell him so.

I was not at the country club today. I had a wonderful meal. I saw folk I am beginning to know. Met vibrant volunteers I want to know better.

In the country club and in the soup kitchen. I feel blessed both places.

I give back in the soup kitchen. Somehow, that makes me feel richer.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas on a belated, low budget holiday

This year, I decided to be more sedate about Christmas. This is beyond taking it really seriously before Dec. 15.

My youngest granddaughter, 10, who I pick up everyday after school, is having a problem with that. She acknowledges that (since I got the darned thing Sunday) I have a wreath up. I bought a poinsettia from the school choir. It is prominent. I have a handcarved creche on the bookcase. I don't have lights. I haven't decided whether to assemble my short, lights attached tree. I am beginning to think I will. Oh, well.

This year, the 12-year-old, adept, son of the house directly across the strreet, decided he wanted a display. He put it all up. and I mean ALL. By day, the yard, and his grandparents' hedge looks, well, cluttered. At night, really gorgeous, ostentatious, and maverlously mesmerizing.There's music, too. some sort of chimes that includes a lot of real Christmas carols.

Since I seldom have the tv on, I hear it. Unobtrusive. kinda nice.

I think the juxtaposition between his independent-almost-teenager and myself is funny. Even in my gym, there is a Christmas tree and garlands.

But it is later into December now. I enjoyed shopping today. And where did all these kind, helpful folks come from? Sure, they were good salespeople and I bought, but they actually seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Hope they did. I did, too.

I haven't bought presents for the dogs per se. I measured Brody's chest so I can get him a walking harness. I renewed some chew toys and will continue to for the preservation of my home. And their enjoyment. (yes, I come first.)

I have a few books to buy, a book bag, and that is more or less it.

Why? because I am living within my income, and I can do things through the year. They all know they are loved.

I hope to get started walking the dogs and disciplining more. I accidentally let them spend one night on the bed. Doom. Later, war. Many assails. Last night I slept really well. Maybe I am really the Alpha.

I wish I knew how to video Gracie and Brody racing around the yard, jumping over each other and racing again. The joy of Corgis is, you can see them laughing. I am convinced it is not the looks. They laugh. So often on wakeup, Gracie has insisted I join them. They give me joy and laughter. They insist on snuggles. They lick, even when reprimanded. My new (cheap) blanket has a few 3-inch holes she has chewed and eaten. I can buy a new one and have enough to stay warm. And an new collar to replace the thin canvas Dollar Store one. It can't last forever.

Pecans off the neighbor's tree!

Next weekend,I think I will take these pecans, make Vienese crescent cookies, some fudge, and snickerdoodle dough and give some friends. Only a few. Most are either diabetic, gluten-free or non-something-or-other. If you know me and you are under 50, you could get lucky!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Old-fashioned Christmas

Fifteen days to go.

My granddaughter was puzzled.

"Why don't you want to do Christmas now, Gramma?" she asks.

So I explained my history. How we always had fresh Christmas trees, and you couldn't set them up too early and...

That is not a lie. It is an obfuscation. I wonder how many of you even know what that is? I am startled to find how minuscule current conversations are. Obfuscation takes a lot of strokes. it would not be a popular word. It is accurate in this case.

To the subject: some of us who are used to shorter holiday seasons have not adapted to the current mode. I am one of them.

The fact that it is a religeous holiday for me is immaterial. Honey, some of the best shoppers I know go to my church, put up the tree Thanksgiving night and/or went shopping afterwards.

Dec. 15 is my deadline. Officially Xmas afterwards. Oh, I admit I am starting to shop next week. Hope I can still find a few good deals.

How do you endure it, society? I enjoy two weeks of celebration. A month? 2 months?
I am not debunking. I honestly don't understand. You do it your way.

Please let me do it my way.