Thursday, February 23, 2017

I'm owned by a big plastic tub of paper clips I fear

The A to Z will be back with a different twist. I may be just a follower this year. Life is getting in the way big time. It is interesting how priorities can change. Lately I've realized, my house may remain junky.

We are not hoarders. I watch the show periodically. I never can watch the whole thing. It is the humiliation factor for the folks. When I see one of them upset wanting to have time to go through a box, I feel their pain. They had good intentions and there is just never enough time. Plus, they have lost perspective. How can you explain someone sleeping outside in a tent with a home filled with items that may be lost anyway.

Presently we have a clothes crisis. It is killing me but I am hauling a bunch of stuff to Happy Hour Service Center to donate. I found a shirt yesterday that I had worn regular last year, I try to wear items over and over in an effort to wear out and discard. Well my system has bugs is all I can say. Fortunately not the real bugs yet.

I used to go to work where you had to present yourself better. Now, I have three pairs of jeans I wear. When one set is in the washer, another one is on me and the other one sits in a drawer waiting. You would probably not be surprised at the number of black pants I have. Each one carefully snagged at a super bargain. Black pants just don't go on sale.

Then I retired and all my black pants are being folded and put in a plastic tub to save and a few in a box to give away. I have not shopped for clothes in seven years. Occasionally a sale has snagged me and I picked up a few things. I think I'll go back to the plastic tub and take a few more out to go to the thrift shop.

If you read my blog, you know I'm probably exaggerating my efforts to unload. You are right and wrong. I had stockpiled that well. Lately, I have been thinking of how much extra money I might have if I had not purchased so much. One of the hoarders was $750,000 in debt due to his excessive collections of valuable things. I don't think he was called a hoarder. He was a collector with a spending addiction. Once again I can think to myself, I could be much worse.

It's funny how you spend your life accumulating things. Then one day you leave it. A co-worker's sister suddenly died of a heart attack in her early 40's.  The sister had an immense collection of hardcover novels. There was value in the books and yet a huge burden to move them half a continent back to her home. I used to have the idea that if I could find a place for it, I could keep it.

I don't plan to get rid of any of my books. I know I will never read half of them.
Button on the left has carefully removed the stuffing from a dog bed.

The one thing I do know is we all need to keep our affairs in order which includes Log In IDs and passwords. When I brought my sister's power of attorney to the bank, the woman says this will not work if your sister dies. I thought, why do I need to know this. The woman was not being mean, what gives. Then I thought of the voice of experience. She was warning me to get what I need out of my sister's safe deposit box.

For what it is worth, I am making a record of my accounts. Who will take over, who knows.

I know this sounds like I am depressed but I am not. I just have had to recreate so much information to get my sister's affairs in order. It really was not bad. It was just hard to pick up the trail and pay important bills, make sure her health insurance had continuous coverage, etc.

But I have also rethought my stockpiling ways.  As I cruise the clearance shelves, I'm careful to buy only what we will use right now. I did buy ten packs of printer ink at a greatly reduced price. Hopefully they will last awhile and the printer will not break. But the heated wraps to sit on the sofa with marked down to I don't know what stayed there. It's a toy I would use maybe one time. Or worse, leave in the wrapper and find myself taking to thrift shop.

So, should I be jealous of your bare necessity lifestyle or are you in the same boat as I but like it that way?


Thursday, February 2, 2017

My favorite birds

Large flocks of Red Wing Blackbirds winter in central Georgia. There is something about how they rise as a group and move that I find relaxing. When you are standing close to a group, they sound like the flames of a fire as they lift into flight.

One day I heard a noise and looked overhead to see a flock flying over. Toward the beginning and end of their migration, they coalesce into an incredibly large grouping. That group took about 15 minutes to pass overhead.They are so numerous this time of year, they schedule flights at Robins Air Force Base to times the birds are not as active.







 Loretta is the family camera hound.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The things you do for a thrill at 60.

Chill folks, I don't plan to blog politics. This is slightly political in that it is about something I did. As a retired science teacher, most Democrats, many Republicans and loads of Tea Partiers, I am concerned about environmental issues.  There are elections and then there is another part of being part of a Democracy which is advocating for issues that benefit us all. Other than that, I am sick and tired of politics. I've thought of not watching the news.

Girls just want to have fun damental rights.

This was a common sign at the Women's March on Washington. Organizers created bus rides from various points in Georgia. One lonely bus left from Macon, Georgia and I was on it. The bus originally left at 10:30 PM on a Friday and were to return at 5:30 am on Sunday. In actuality it left at 8:30 PM and arrived in Washington around 9 am Saturday. The return was around 9 am Sunday.

Now why would I want to go? Didn't I have plenty to do at home?

Shouldn't people just accept the election is over? Well the election is over. I am not contesting who is President. What I am interested in giving my input to my elected officials as to what I think is important. Like I don't want rivers in the United States to have water that resembles green cottage cheese like it does in some Chinese rivers. I don't water to be contaminated like it is in the former Soviet Bloc countries. Good politicians make decisions based on their constituencies input.

I'm a thrill seeker. I have never been a part of a movement. The March was not a Trump protest. It was a declaration of women's rights.

Everyone enjoyed one another. You spoke to all sorts of people. Yet everyone was familiar. Around noon, I sat on some steps and watched many families eating their lunch. Mom, dad, kids passing sandwiches around. A teenager scrunching her face after biting into her sandwich; dad switches sandwiches with her and they continue to eat.

The signs were hilarious and sometimes serious. The funniest to me was a large pink poster with the words "I can see Russia". I also enjoyed the one that said "Don't tampon my country". There were a great many patriotic signs with historical quotes like the coiled snake saying "Don't tramp on me". I go for the humor.

I ate a falafel. It was seasoned chicken, chick peas and rice in a wrap. They put a sour cream sauce on it and some paste. Having to watch indigestion with the double whammy of being on a bus; I chose my food carefully. I had brought several peanut butter and raisin sandwiches.

Law enforcement and emergency personnel were very friendly to the crowd. One took the time to make sure I had the most direct route back to RFK stadium where the buses were parked. I still did not go the right way. A local man walked me to a subway. I took the green line to find the blue line closed down. The entire system was overwhelmed with riders.

Washingtonians welcomed us with open arms. People allowed us to use their bathrooms, recharge our phones, gave away water and coffee. They were so friendly.

Sitting behind me on the bus was a former student with his girlfriend on the bus. They clearly had a great time. They were a darling couple.

The real motivation was knowing it is a man's world. How do I know this? I have an individual that goes everywhere with me and it is my developmentally delayed brother. If information is important, people make sure they explain it carefully to him. In returning to the United States, my mom and I gave knowing glances as the San Diego waitress refilled his soda and ignored us. We were giving the tip. We tipped her well.

It is catching myself in telling the young nurse in my sister's hospital room that nursing was a good profession for a woman. I was thinking of how I was told in my twenties that teaching wasn't everything but it paid well for a working woman. I have no regrets with my choice of profession. I enjoyed it for the most part and the profession broadened me in ways many other professions would not have. Add to that my view of world was pretty naive.

Sexism like racism is roughest in that the most damaging aspects are subtle and hard to put your finger on. I've seen the glass ceiling and I have been put in my place. I was born a humble person.
It's knowing how someone who has fought the good fight in a male dominated profession and has paid a huge price in personal happiness and health to stay there. It's keeping the secret when you have been propositioned by a co-worker. You try not to make waves and yet you sweat possible repercussions to your rejection.

When I see a young person, I want them to do their personal best and not make decisions based on what works best to maintain the status quo for their sex, race or social class. This adds public education to the list of items I advocate for.

I went because of my concern over environmental degradation and healthcare.

With my sister in a stroke rehab clinic, I slipped out of the house for an adventure that was worthwhile. The amount of walking I did was punishing. I stood most of the day or walked. I did sleep sitting up in the bus. I listened to people talking all night the first night. There wasn't a peep the second night. We were in a collective deep sleep.

As a teacher, I agreed with everyone's dad at the dinner table. When a child told me what mom or dad said, I admired how special their parent's were. But this past election, I saw how I straddled the fence and did not say clearly how I felt. I recognized the same pattern in Facebook rants of other people.

I took the following from a Facebook page. This is why I went. I have a right to speak my mind.


But this is the original reason. I was limited by the choices in Wikimedia Commons. I try not to use photos that artists are making a living by selling the rights to.

This is algal blooms in Newport, Rhode Island. The picture was taken in 1970. Although water is cleaner in the United States due to the clean water act of 1970, there is loads of pollution that has been documented.

"ALGAL BLOOM" IN WATER NEAR MIDDLETOWN DUMP INDICATES PHOSPHATE POLLUTION - NARA - 547509

This river is in Taiwan. I did not find any pictures of China. But we have all seen photos of Chinese wearing masks during periods of heavy air pollution.
A contaminated river runs through it, Thirteen Levels (14853426230)

Photo from Poland. Due to lack of pollution controls in Soviet Bloc Countries; almost all water sources are contaminated.
Frombork July 2013 109 href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAutumn_Tyres.jpg" title="By Tom Thiel (Flickr: Autumn Tyres) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons">  This photo is in Russia. There are comparable scenes in the United States.
Autumn Tyres
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/21/world/womens-march-pictures.html