I saw a little item about three weeks ago that got me to thinking. I planned to check out what I needed to get together to apply for Social Security this time next year. Then I saw a question and answer page that talked about surviving spouse benefits. That discussion indicated that a spouse over the age of 60 may qualify even if divorced so long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years. The information I found on line also looked promising and the phone call to the local office sounded even more promising. So Tuesday I will take everything in and see if it comes to fruition.
The conversations Thursday on the iPad amused me a bit. One of the women anchors (I forget which) kept asking if people 'really needed' the iPad. She must have asked that question half a dozen times before one of the men remarked that 'need' wasn't the major factor here. The real master factor in the equation was how badly people 'wanted' it. The mere fact that she asked the question reveals something of what pundits have called the 'new normal' while the man's response shows he is still thinking in the old normal. For a long time now Americans have not considered need but rather want. Being flush with money and/or credit we simply bought what we wanted when we saw it without any regard to what we actually needed. Now that both money and credit are tight we have to take a second (and, maybe, a third or fourth) look at what we want and judge it by a different yard stick--whether it fulfills a genuine need and whether that need has to be filled at that cost. We look at the iPad and it falls into the 'cute but...' category which means we won't be getting one any time soon, if ever. I guess a lot of other consumer gadgets are going to all into that category and that we are not the only ones doing that bit of calculus.
We put in our seed order online with Burpees yesterday. Yes, I have spring fever and am looking out at our snow covered containers with longing for warmer weather. My sister gave us a little terrarium style starting tray they bought and never used. I will try it out this spring. After considerable cogitation on what to order I finally settled on heirloom varieties of tomatoes (Brandywine and Big Rainbow), beets (bull's blood--the foliage should be visually pleasing as well as edible), and spinach (bloomsdale longstanding). We were not happy with the 4th of July tomatoes--too small, too few, and not significantly earlier than the others. We loved the Fresh Salsa tomatoes last year so it will join the other two. We still have some pepper seeds left from last year (Gypsy, Ancho Poblano, and False Alarm) so we will go with those and will also try to plant the seeds I saved from the Mexibelle. That one is questionable since it is a hybrid pepper so it may not sprout and, if it does, it may not produce the kind of pepper we got last year. We have plenty of lettuce seeds from Burpee's heat wave mix. I also have sweet pea, nasturtiums, dwarf marigolds, and viola seeds. I almost forgot--we also ordered stevia seeds so that will get a try out. We will see what happens.