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Monday, May 30, 2011

Question

There's something about today, Memorial Day, that I don't understand.

It's always been my understanding that the purpose of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, is to remember those who have died in the many wars we have been involved in. Originally, the day was used to decorate with flags and flowers, the graves of those who died in the Civil War. Since this is a day to remember the dead, how can so many people wish a "Happy Memorial Day".

If a friend or relative died in a war, any war, and you are remembering him or her today, how can it be a "happy" day. Maybe, if you really stretch the meaning, it can be a happy day if you remember and thank the casualties of war for their efforts in preserving our freedoms, otherwise we should remember and thank the members of our armed forces, past and present, living and dead.

Maybe the day should be renamed Memorial Thank You Day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Frasier Trivia

Today I've spent a lot of time watching reruns of Frasier. I've always enjoyed that show, so much so that I actually laugh out loud. During the show, the announcer gives us some little bits of surprising trivia about the show and the actors.

I was surprised to hear that Eddie (the dog) got more fan mail than any other members of the cast. They also said that, in order to get Eddie to lick John Mahoney's face, a discreet layer of liver pate was put on John's face.

Prior to appearing on the show, David Hyde Pierce (Nils) had absolutely no interest in either wine or opera. He was taught to appreciate these things by none other than John Mahoney.

But, the biggest surprise and one that I didn't hear tonight was that the actor, Anthony LaPaglia, who played Daphne's brother who was always drunk and chasing women, is the same Anthony LaPaglia who appeared in Without a Trace.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Complainers

Some people have too much time on their hands.

We have a community blog. The person who started it is a complainer, I don't think there's much that goes on that he approves. I think it stems from the fact that he lost election to the Board way back in the early years of our community.

The blog does have its good points. Many people use it to get recommendations for car service, plumbers, painters, etc., but then there are the others.

Some of their complaints make sense - dog owners who don't pick up after their dogs and let them relieve themselves on other's property and drivers who seem to speed. The complaint that led me to write this started yesterday.

So many people started commenting on the fact that our lawns are growing quite tall. They felt that the landscaping company should have been around mowing the lawns. We've been having a lot of rain lately, a shower or two every day. The ground is not dry. I'm not a gardener, but even I realize that you just can't mow wet grass, it won't cut. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is, so what if the grass is "as high as an elephant's eye" (slight exaggeration). It's not that important. I did get one call that I enjoyed yesterday when I was working at the Clubhouse. A woman asked when the lawns would be cut because she has a very small dog and is afraid it will get lost in the grass. I told her they were starting to work on it and she was happy.

Unfortunately, most of the other residents weren't. My feeling is that if they don't like it, they should get out and mow the lawn themselves.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm a NY Chauvinist

Listening to the news coverage of the launch of the Endeavor this morning, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my son when NASA announced the sites that would be getting one of the space shuttle.

As he rattled off the names, the Intrepid, the Smithsonian, Kennedy and several others, I was speechless. For just a short while I couldn't understand why a shuttle would be going to the Intrepid in Manhattan and another going to Kennedy Airport in Queens, both locations in NYC. I was puzzled, but proud.

Then it dawned on me. The shuttle was going to the Kennedy Space Center, not Kennedy Airport. I guess we New Yorkers feel that everything revolves around New York.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hoarding

I spent most of today glued to my TV for a marathon of TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive. I find this show fascinating for two reasons.

First, I can't understand how people can let themselves go so far and live with such clutter. Second, it scares me because I'm afraid that I could be like them. My garage is full of clutter and my office is strewn with paper. The rest of the house is fine and I'd like to keep it that way.

However, after watching an episode or two, I started making a list of things in my house that I have no use for and can easily live without. I went through my scarf drawer and decided to donate half of them to a charity. When I was working, I often wore scarves to dress up a plain blouse. I also have some old Corningware that I no longer use. I'm sure someone would put it to good use.

I'm inspired to clean up my act before I reach the point where I can't even sleep in my bed or eat a meal at the table.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Social Security Fix

I've been under the weather the past few days. Nothing serious, just a cold that is keeping me home in front of the TV and getting me on my soapbox.

I've been doing some thinking about Social Security and doing the math and have come to the following conclusion.

I think that a $5.00 cut in monthly SS benefits would be affordable and would result in annual savings of $2,210,447,160. After all, I think we could all cut $5.00 from our monthly expenses. That's a little more than $1.00 per week, about the price of a newspaper, ice cream treat, cookies, coffee, etc. Monthly, it's even less than a pack of cigarettes. Here's how I came to that conclusion.

The population of the United States is approximately 307,006,550. Of that amount, about 12% or 36,840,786 receive social security. If everyone's check were reduced by $5.00 per month, that would result in a savings of about $184,230,930 per month or $2,210,447,160 per year. Please feel free to check my math and let me know if I'm wrong.

While we're on the subject of social securiy, I have another thought that, while seemingly cruel, might save some money. There is no question that benefits should extend to workers who become disabled. I'm sure the payment procedure is the same as it was years ago when I first became aware of disability payments. The worker receives the full amount, each dependent child receives half of the worker's amount. I know of two cases of workers who were receiving disability payments who added to their family. One was a woman with a chronic illness who was discouraged from having children, but had two anyway. Naturally each child received half of her payment. The other was a man who was married with one child. He injured his back and couldn't work. That didn't prevent him from having another child who then received half of his payment. That just doesn't seem right. If you're too ill or disabled to work, you should not be adding to your family. If you want additional children, pay for them yourself. That was not the original plan for social security.

I have some thoughts on the tax situation, but I'll save them for another time. This was enough of a rant for today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Memories

This year my son celebrated a milestone birthday. Besides going out to Seattle to celebrate with him, I decided I really needed to find a very special present.

After much thought, I decided to make a video which I called, "This is Your Life". I had been scanning our old family pictures for a while so I went through them and selected some very old pictures of his grandparents, childhood and young adult pictures of my husband and me, and, of course baby, school and adult pictures of him.

I used Windows Live Movie Maker and assembled the pictures. Because I'm so impulsive when I get a good idea, I never took the time to correct some of the snapshots or clean up the very old pictures.

I decided to add music and initially chose Mantovani's "Long Ago andFar Away", then decided to add Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are". Unfortunately, Mantovani didn't want to go away so I had both songs playing simultaneously. Not a good mix. Back to the drawing board. I finally chose "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" which I had never heard of but was in the music library on my laptop.

I forgot to mention that in the middle of the project, my computer crashed. Fortunately, my work was backed up by Carbonite, a true lifesaver. When I tried to save the work on a CD, I got a message that the CD was not valid. I had no choice, I had to ask for help from my son. I lied that I was doing something for his cousins. Eventually I got it saved and onto a DVD, or so I thought.

I gave him the DVD for his birthday, but was very disappointed the next day when he told me that he couldn't see it. Now, I could be honest with him and get the help I needed.

With his guidance I was able to burn a new DVD when I got home, then sent it out to him. He received it last week and enjoyed it.

In spite of the problems I had creating this video, I'm so glad I did it. I really surprised myself and my reaction. Sometimes, I just sit back, watch and take a trip down memory lane. I was very lucky, he was a very good baby, a good student and is a wonderful son. Those were the days my friend, such happy days. Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ever the Optimist

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Using that definition, I guess I'm certifiably insane.

Last week I bought several plants for my herb garden. Every spring I plant basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc. Usually by around July they are either dead, dying or going to seed. Yet, every spring I start all over, full of enthusiasm that this year it will be different.

After I bought all the plants I realized that I had a very busy week ahead of me and I would not be able to pot them all. I didn't want them to die, so I put a little water in the bathtub and put the plants in there. Surprisingly, neither Crash nor Burn tried to check them out.

Today I started potting them until I ran out of potting soil. Tomorrow, it's off to buy more soil so I can finish the job.

Hopefully, this year I'll have a bumper crop and lots of pesto for the freezer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mission Accomplished

This morning I woke up at 4:30 and tried to go back to sleep. I turned on the TV hoping that would work. Instead, I heard the wonderful news - OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD! What a great way to start the day.

Thank you to our Navy Seals for a job well done. Thank you to our CIA and their informants. Thank you to Presidents Bush and Obama - Mission Accomplished.

Hopefully, without their leader, members of Al Queada will give up the fight and we can have some peace in that area of the world.