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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

money_handfullI’ve been watching and listening to the pundits hem-and-haw over the politics surrounding the stimulus bill, with all the hub-bub over tax cuts. I’m still waiting for and wondering when the transparency part will come in.

I don’t think politicians understand the concept of transparency. If they’re going to be spending our money, shouldn’t we be more fully informed about how all this money is being spent? Perhaps if we, the people, were told in plain English the who, what, when, where and how, we’d be more supportive and a lot more confident.

I just read an article by CNN that shows the items that got cut or partially cut from the bill that may be passed this weekend.

While I haven’t looked for info about what is included, just looking at some of the things that were cut gave me pause to wonder why some were included in the first place and why some were cut.

For example, the total for NASA amounting to $50 million was cut out altogether. I’m not sure that was a bad thing, especially with our current economic situation. However I am certainly a supporter of NASA for a lot of reasons, and if you look at what we’re going to end up spending, $50 million seems rather insignificant for a program that will benefit us in the future. What they learn there may ultimately be our salvation.

To be transparent, what I believe we need to know is how each and every item on the list will stimulate our economy? Exactly how will this money be spent? What programs will it benefit, and how will that directly affect us now and in the future? What are the related industries and jobs that will benefit from these funds? How many new jobs will be created or protected and what kind of jobs. Where will these new jobs be? I’m an unemployed graphic/media designer. Any programs for us?

While I realize that as more people get back to work, and more money is being spent in our economy, the more companies that hire designers will again be hiring. People need to understand how all this works. While we’re not stupid, we do need for the people in Washington – the supposed “geniuses” running the government – to inform us in a manner that we all can understand. They are our elected representatives, isn’t that their jobs?

That’s how transparent I think our government and this stimulus bill needs to be. We don’t have to be economists to understand when someone is spending our money foolishly. Americans, as a whole, are a lot smarter than the politicians and pundits would have us believe. If we’ve been “stupid” it’s because we’re kept in the dark. Just where they want us to be. While we’re in the dark, they’ve cleverly worked to create the loopholes that continue to screw the rest of us.

Take the September “bailout” for example. How can we trust any politician to manage our money when they allow themselves to be so deceived, so easily, with so much of OUR money? If they had been more thorough, more clearly informed as to the who, what , when, where and how before approving that bill, we would already be in a better position. Not rushing to meet the “demands” of Bush and friends should have been the first priority. The cloud of fear, created and skillfully manipulated by his administration, caused dire panic in Washington, fueled by the media. Quick decisions made to save usĀ  resulted in giving away money we clearly flushed down the toilet. To the benefit of no one it was meant to help. And the economy has gotten worse.

Most people who have to live on $200 a week know how to spend a lot more wisely than you may believe. A lot more wisely – it seems – than Wall Street executives. Thanks to these greedy Wall Street geniuses, many people who had a whole lot more, now must live on a whole lot less. And Wall Street employees still get their bonuses, and continue to live high-on-the-hog, riding the backs of the American people.

It’s time the left hand of the people know what our right hand of government is doing. Clearly and completely.

While the pundits seem to try, they really don’t investigate and report the vital statistics of what is in these bills enough to make listening to them worthwhile. They like – and encourage – the political fight more than reporting the actual truth – the real news that we can use.

Tax cuts. I still can’t understand how cutting taxes is prudent when taxes are our economy’s source of funds. How will we ever see a surplus again if we don’t have a source of revenue?

Isn’t it like saying that by reducing our yearly income, we’ll have more money to spend? It just doesn’t add up to me. I’m not an economist, but isn’t the Bush/Republican tax cuts and war spending responsible for all this trouble in the first place?

Wouldn’t it be great to have that surplus Bush “inherited” right about now?

I’m not any happier than the next guy about the amount of taxes I pay. Yet, I know that they are inevitable and I consider them my share in helping to make our country the luxury palace it is. I don’t mind the government spending it on programs that benefit all sectors of society. Not just the rich or just the poor. It should be used to enhance the quality of life for all citizens.

If it is true, that our system of government is of the people, for the people and by the people, isn’t it time the government reported clearly to us for a change?

Especially when it concerns how they are spending our money.

Is that really too much to ask?

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I just finished watching a video, caught by a surveillance camera of the actual landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson. I was amazed at just how smoothly the pilot, Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, landed the commercial airliner in the Hudson River.

Beautiful.

Facing a catastrophic situation – Capt. Sully was quick to make a decision and act on it using his piloting skills resulting in minimal injuries and no loss of life. What surely could have had a devastating outcome, became the stuff of legend, heroes and inspired optimism. That, even while fearing the worst, the best can happen.

His well trained crew were also quick to seize the moment and led everyone off the plane to their safe rescue.

What makes us proud to be Americans was also shown as all those on the Hudson who could help came together, worked together and rescued all 150 passengers and 5 flight crew.

At the time, I was also watching the Obama inauguration train arriving in Washington, DC on TV.

Perhaps this extraordinary event – the remarkable safe landing and rescue of Flight 1549 is a good omen for our future.

That in spite of the catastrophe the Bush administration has created and is leaving us with, Obama will be able to seize the moment when he takes the wheel and steer us to safety.

Like the passengers of Flight 1549, we may have to endure a critical time in icy cold, and dangerous water.

Hopefully, Barack Obama will prove to be our Capt. “Sully”; his recent cabinet appointments will be his expert crew. And we, the people, seeing the need will answer the call and do whatever it takes to help salvage our country.

Ah, only three more days to go and Barack Obama will officially be our President.

Godspeed, President Obama.

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As I sit, and write, just 18 minutes into the New Year – I felt compelled to wish everyone a most Happy New Year.

Yes, I’ve had my champagne toast – and an extra glass and I’m a wee bit tipsy. I must apologize for any faux pas and rambling that may occur.

This year is the first year in a long time I’ve felt the excitement of the New Year.

Even though my husband could not make it home this year, I was none the less determined to celebrate what I believe will be a turn for the better for us as a family as well as for our country and our planet.

Somewhere, on the web, I found information that may have been the root of my past New Year problems.

There is a tradition of New Year foods that is traditionally prepared and eaten on New Year’s Day – collards (or other) greens for financial success, pork (because a pig roots forward), black eyed peas (because they resemble coins) and cornbread or corn I guess because it is golden and resembles coins, but maybe it is for good health.

Anyway, in years past, I prepared each of these items on New Years Day. And I religiously ate them in hopes of a healthy and prosperous New Year.

I must have been doing something very wrong, as it seems that our situation – other than our health – seemed to worsen each and every year.

Recently, somewhere on the web, I read that this “lucky” meal should be the first items you eat in the New Year. Not being one who particularly wants to eat collard greens, black eyed peas and cornbread for breakfast – I decided to make this a midnight meal.

Actually, as I write this – I’m getting ready to go back for seconds!

I really found some good recipe ideas this year. I never really follow a recipe as written – I just use them as guidelines and adapt them to my own tastes. This year everything has come out Great. A very good omen for the New Year.

I’m excited. I’ve been excited the whole night. This isn’t my usual M.O.

I started watching the videos of fireworks since about 4pm (est) from different counties around the world. So far, my favorite is the Sydney, Austrialia display.

Past years have been somewhat bleak – they have matched the current financial crisis, so you have an idea of why I am hopeful that this New Year will indeed bring the change I desperately need.

I haven’t written for a while – mostly because I have been diligently trying my best to clean my home before this New Year day. While I haven’t – until the past week – touched the rooms of my two sons (aged 21 and 17), I could take it no longer.

When the dust reaches a certain height – I must intervene. Their rooms were definitely bad Feng Shui! And I needed to correct this problem.

I don’t understand why dirt and dust doesn’t bother them. While I may be guilty of clutter – at least it sits upon a clean surface.

Anyway, I see that I’m rambling. And while I do have much to say, I think I need to get a bit of sleep and come back later .

Good night everyone. Have a most Wonderful, Happy and Propserous New Year!

Juedz

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coffeesugarcubesI guess getting ready for the holidays brought it on.

It’s only natural, I suppose, that this time of year, we find ourselves thinking about the past. The good times we had as children with people who are now but a memory.

I’m not sure why, but I fixed a big breakfast this morning. Eggs, bacon, home fries, and pan toast.

Pan toast.

When I was a very lttle girl, we lived next door to my mother’s parents. Every morning I would jump out of bed and run over to my Papaw and Mamaw’s house for breakfast.

Every morning.

This was a time when most country people didn’t have toasters. A time when my grandmother wore an apron all the time and still used a wringer washing machine.

My grandparents adored me and I remember most of my early childhood by their side. I went almost everywhere with my Papaw. I remember being small enough to ride in the back seat window.

My grandfather was known as a “jack-of-all-trades”, and I learned that most people are capable of doing a lot of ordinary as well as extraordinary things when they put their minds to it.

My grandmother was a great cook, good with a plow, and always there when I needed her.

And every morning, she made me pan toast.

To make pan toast, you need a few slices of white bread – or leftover hamburger buns, fresh churned butter and an oven. She would chip off chunks of the butter and place them on top of the bread so that once you put it in the oven, you’d have little “puddles” of butter that soaked into the bread. The perfect pan toast was a little brown and crusty around the butter spots.

My grandfather was passionate about coffee. To make it more “child” friendly – to a budding three year old, he would put a little bit of coffee in the cup, and add loads of sugar and cream – fresh from Aunt Bessie’s dairy.

There before me was my perfect breakfast. Oh, there were always fresh eggs and sausage or bacon – but the brightest spot of my morning was dipping my pan toast into my coffee and talking to my Papaw and Mamaw. I was their sunshine, and they were mine.

Life was good.

While I do possess a toaster, that’s used quite often, I have – on occasion – made my family pan toast. Though their fascination with it is far less than my own. This morning, of the four pieces that I made – no one took even one piece. Which meant they were mine – all mine.

So, I fixed myself a cup of coffee. Though I usually drink my coffee “black” – like the grown-ups do – this morning I sugared it up and added loads of half-n-half, merrily dunking my pan toast and thinking about my grandparents and how much I miss them.

It’s funny how such simple things can bring a flood of memories of loved ones lost so much alive. I can see Mamaw fussing around the kitchen and my Papaw sitting across from me fixing my coffee. I can feel myself fidgeting on my knees – wearing only my “step-ins” – in the chair across from him in anticipation.

How delightful it was to have recalled this wonderful memory of my childhood this morning.

Life is good.

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lonelywalkonbeachI don’t think it’s easy for people of my generation to know if they’re old or not these days. I mean, when we were growing up – someone in their mid-fifties was certainly thought of as old, especially when most of the people we knew as “elderly” died some time in their 70’s or 80’s.

While that may still be true for some, more and more people today are living to their 100’s and beyond.

So, am I old, or just middle aged? And how do I plan the next 50 years of my life?

I tend to think of myself as a person who could – bar some tragic event – live well into my 100’s. Most of the women on my mother’s side lived into their 90’s, despite diets overloaded with sugar, fat and homemade biscuits. I’m blessed with my dad’s low blood pressure, and my grandmother died in her late 80’s with a mind as sharp as a tack. Those that did die “early” did so due to cancer, after being exposed for years to toxins like the now banned substances such as DDT, asbestos and an addiction to cigarettes.

However, the burgeoning world of opportunities still belongs to the younger generation who have pre-conceived notions that someone in their 50’s are too old to cut the mustard.

At the moment, I’m thinking of going back to school to earn a degree in English, in hopes of teaching in either a middle or high school environment. My reason for this is that one of the things that irritates me the most is that kids (and many adults) today don’t seem to grasp the difference in the words “then and than”, your and you’re, as well as there, their and they’re.

Maybe I could make a difference on a whole new generation that needs to learn the proper usage of the English language.

Doing something that makes a difference becomes a predominant thought in deciding what to do with the rest of our lives for people my age. At the very least we’ve reached an age of maturity that is of great value to society and future generations. We’re beyond most ego-driven impulses and can relate to most people without some preconceived notion of who or what they are. Patience is a virtue, and most people I know about my age have a lot more of that than they use to.

So, am I old or just in the prime of my life. Do I not have a value that transcends the vigor of youth?

I still can’t decide. I do know that I feel younger than the mirror shows. That I relate, enjoy and am open to all the newest wonders of the world the same as most college kids. Much more open to new ideas than my parents were when I was a young adult. The generation gap doesn’t seem to apply – or be as wide – to my generation towards young adults these days as it was when we were young. Unfortunately, I don’t think young adults today see it that way.

As my children have grown, one is now in college, the other graduates high school this spring, I can see the years I’ve spent raising them as quite an accomplishment. I enjoy being able to talk to my kids about anything. It’s easy for me to relate to what they’re experiencing in a way my parents never could. As they’ve gotten older, I see that they value my opinions and advice more.

While I do sometimes think I could have been a better mom, I have raised two great kids with the principles of kindness towards others as a primary objective. I was blessed in that I was able to be home with them when they were growing up. As they are getting ready to “leave the nest”, a sense of what do I do now has been an overwhelming dilemma, especially after graduating in 2004 with a media design degree in a market with no jobs, and those few available going to those much younger than me.

While I admit I’m not quite as fast as I use to be, I think that has more to do with my motivation than my ability to get things done. Some days I have more energy than others – but who doesn’t feel that way? I think my energy level has a lot to do with just being bored with the daily routine of my somewhat stagnant life.

In spite of the fact that I have accomplished raising two great kids, some days I see my life as unfulfilled. I need a new passion. A new direction. I need something that fires me up. A new sense of purpose.

With that in mind, I now see that perhaps I am limited only to the confines of my own mind about old age. That I am much younger than I some days think I am. That I do in fact have a lot to contribute, even as I grow older – and wiser. I am at the age of wisdom, and I have a lot to share.

Perhaps today truly is the first day of the rest of my life.

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