Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good morning, All.  Sunny so far this morning with temperatures in the 50s expected.  So some gardening is on the agenda.  The whole week should provide nice weather bouncing between the 60s and 70s with dry patches.  On one of the weather segments on a local news program the weather person quizzed his colleagues on where they thought the April temperatures stood in relation to the norms for the month.  They all guessed between 5 and 10 degrees below normal.  Actually, April was just about 5 degrees above normal.  We were so thoroughly spoiled by March that April's weather felt like a return to winter.  Well, May will be here shortly and the temps are going up a bit and it is time to get serious about finishing the soil prep and start on the planting and transplanting.  How are your gardens doing?

I noticed the other day that I have put up 1000 posts here.  And I have been doing this for nearly five years.  My goodness, how time has flown.  It has been an interesting five years.  Back then I was looking for a new job and we were watching the economy, news, politics, and Bush's two military screw-ups.  It feels like we have been mired in amber on so many fronts.

  • We still have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq but on the whole I don't see that we are really any more secure, at home or abroad.  
  • Two years before I started this blog, I was still working at a small party supply shop and finding that the price of gas was getting painful.  A gallon then cost me the equivalent of between half-an-hour to forty minutes of work (taking taxes and other deductions into account.)  The price today is considerably higher.  The job I found just after I started writing here lasted four months.  I will be thoroughly honest--it was the only job I ever had for which I was totally unsuitable and abysmally unsuccessful.  Looking back, I am surprised that I lasted as long as I did.  But two-and-half years later I was still unemployed with a string of rejections (when I got a response at all) and one interview which really ended after five minutes when the manager commented on how over-qualified I was for the position.  I am still unemployed but now I can call it "retirement."  Thank FDR for Social Security and a pox on all the Repthuglican, Teapublican, and other assorted assholes who somehow think it would serve the 'public good' if it were privatized or eliminated.  I have news for you, pinheads--it wouldn't serve this public at all.
  • At the time I put up my first musings here (and for a several years before) we watched the soaring housing markets and asked (as very few others did even among the so-called experts) when the collapse would come.  We just couldn't see how that mess could be sustained and we were right.  And then a good bit more began to go to hell--AIG, Lehman Brothers, the bank bailouts, soaring unemployment, the sub-prime mortgage crash.
  • The political atmosphere was absolutely poisonous and has only become more toxic with time.
So, you might ask, what has changed?

  • I have more gray hair.  I haven't seen the inside of a hair salon in about five years.  But I haven't missed the salon and I am fine with the gray.  I have earned every one of those gray hairs.
  • I don't have as many clothes and shoes in my closet and most of those are jeans, sweats, tee shirts and other casual items.  I don't dress up much any more.  Goodwill got the rest.
  • Five years ago we had three cats and a few decorative fish in a small tank.  Today we only have one cat.  Don't be sad though.  The fish lived long lives for their types.  Sawagimasu and Damarimasu were 19 and had provided good companion ship for the entire time.  They came with me from Colorado through Missouri to here.  They are missed just as their predecessors (Captain Hook, Gilraen, Fang, Galadriel, Grayboy 2 and Grayboy 1) are.
  • About the time the party supply store job ended (when the shop closed) Sister gave Mom a potted tomato.  We had forgotten how good a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato tasted.  And, about that time, our landlords put in a fence and extended the cement patio.  How are these events related?  Well, we re-acquired our taste for home grown veggies and got a secure space in which to have a few container gardens.
  • We have also become far more conscious of what products we are consuming (edible and otherwise).  We have eliminated almost all processed or prepared foods.  We don't buy much in cans anymore.  We have found the local farmers' markets and patronize those.  And we do the processing ourselves.
  • As you can probably tell from that last we have also become far less trusting of our commercial system.  We no longer assume that what is out there for sale is safe and wholesome.  I don't know that we ever really assumed that but now we think about it more.
  • And we are also less trusting of our political system.
Ah, well, enough reminiscing.  Let's see if there is anything worth commenting on.

I found this Burning Platform post by way of Chris Martensen's Blog.  I think it quite accurately assesses our economic 'progress' over the last five years.

I can totally relate to this post by Joe Nocera at the NY Times.  I didn't plan to retire.  Whether I could 'afford' to retire or not I did not have much choice: two-and-a-half years unemployed, savings gone, no job prospects.  Combine that with a long history of minimum wage jobs, a long marriage to a man who never saw a penny that didn't burn a hole in his pocket to get out and made sure any savings I managed to make got spent also, and long periods preparing for jobs that managed to disappear before I was fully ready to compete for them.  A 401k??  A pipe dream.

This MSNBC article makes me ask: if a government has to go to these extremes are the Olympics really worth the trouble?

Crooks & Liars can always be counted on to highlight the political idiocy that has been passing for a legitimate 'campaign' and karoli gives us the new and improved Mittens.  Unfortunately for those asshats I may be a senior citizen but I don't have dementia and my memory is fine.

This article provides a sad commentary on our economy.  It would be bad enough if the story concerned only one person living is storage units for a short time.  But the evidence says they had families living in the units for months.

Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds expresses very well what I have been thinking about our much-ballyhooed but nearly invisible 'recovery' for a long time:  it is all smoke and mirrors.  Sooner or later reality intrudes.  The powers that be are simply hoping that the reckoning won't come soon or hurt them much.

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