Friday, September 26, 2008


Help me out here. I realize that I'm only an "uneducated/stay-at-home mom type" (that was a side joke shared with Vee from A Haven for Vee), but I don't understand a few things about this whole economic crisis. Barack Obama has said that he intends to see that no American loses their home. Soooooo....does that mean that the people who bought houses they couldn't afford using financing agreements that couldn't be met will get to keep their homes even though they can't now, nor have ever been able to, afford said homes? How does that work? Should Randey and I rush out and buy a much larger and more expensive home with the full knowledge that we can't afford it, but with the comfort of Obama's reassurance that we won't lose that home? Oh. We left it too late, you say? Should have done that months ago before the shady dealings of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wall Street banks and the money-grubbin', do-nothing congress banking committees came to light? Figures. Once again, we seem to have missed the boat, I suppose. At any rate, can someone please explain Obama's plan of keeping all Americans in their homes? Will we all have to continue to pay for our own homes or will our tax dollars take care of those mortgage payments for some of us? Or is Obama just doing what he does best; talking smack. I'm sorry, all you Obama supporters, I really am. I don't mean to sound dismissive of your candidate, but I honestly don't see any substance to him. What has he done in his political career that indicates he could or even would be a good president? Okay, so he makes "profound" speeches. Big whup. Ever heard that saying, "Talk is cheap"? It's a cliche' for a reason, you know. Pretty much all politicians can talk. I prefer the ones who will act on their convictions and not just talk about them. McCain comes out and declares that he's going to Washington to work on this bailout proposal for the good of the country. He seems to think he should be focusing on the biggest crisis to hit our shores since 9/11. Obama's response? "Let's issue a joint statement". Wow. Thanks. Really helpful. He further says that the leaders in congress "can call me if they need me". Here's a thought, Barack. Get your butt back to the job you were actually hired to do, roll up your sleeves and help save all us little people from the mess our financial sector and our government leaders have allowed us to get into. You are the man for change, right? So what change were you referring to? A change of scenery? A change of pace? A change of venue? What? He and his camp say things like "we need a leader who can chew gum and walk at the same time". Well, first of all, I'm going to have to say, you're slipping a little on that whole "profound" talk you're so famous for and, second of all, I personally think we need a leader who can identify and focus on an issue when that issue threatens the entire well-being of our country. I heard yesterday and this morning how Democrats are blaming McCain because they were "close to an agreement" until McCain showed up and injected "presidential politics" into the deal. Too bad no one told the Republican leaders they were "close to an agreement". I heard Harry Reid say again this morning that they didn't need "presential politics" brought into this. Well, Harry, what do you need? I only ask because you sure as hell don't seem to be solving the problem with the current group of people you've got working on it. Although, it is my understanding that the Democrats do have enough votes to pass the bill in both the House and the Senate, they won't do it without Republican support. Not because they want to include Republicans in that bill, but rather because they don't want to face the blame alone if the bill doesn't do what it's supposed to. What ever happened to standing up for what you believe in? If these people believe that the bill, as it stands, is the best possible route to take, then stand up for it and get it passed! Personally, for once I'm glad for their cowardice actually, because I don't believe this bill should be passed in its current form. I don't get how us taxpayers paying out money to buy these so-called "toxic mortgage loans" can be in anyway beneficial to us. Something needs to be done, that much is evident. But I don't think Bush's plan is the right thing and I don't believe that our elected leaders in Washington are working towards what's best for us. I think there's still back-biting and trying to put "party" ahead of "country". There is one person who has shown over and over again that he can and will work with sensible members of both political parties and that is Senator John McCain. He's proven it time and time again. So why have certain politicians (Harry Reid anyone?) as well as certain media outlets (damn near every one out there, but MSNBC in particular) labeled John McCain's willingness to suspend his campaign and focus on this crisis "a political ploy". Washington game players are so freakin' warped by their "party is number one" way of life, that they've forgotten what they were sent to Washington to do in the first place. And the fringe element (media, etc.) is just as bad. I'll point out that Democrats aren't the only ones guilty of partisanship either, so don't get too smug my GOP brethren. Case in point: Rush Limbaugh. The man couldn't stand John McCain because John McCain has had the nerve to work with Democrats in the past. Now that McCain is the Republican nominee, however, Rush has managed to jump on board and become a loud and proud McCain supporter. Has he suddenly had an epiphany and decided he and McCain agree on the issues? Nah, not so much. It's because "party" matters more than issues to people like Rush. And people like Chris Matthews. And Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and well...I wanted to add some more Republicans in here just to show my true disgust at the whole Washington community, but after researching a bit, I'm unable to find any that are more partisan than most Democrats. I would think they must be out there, but then again, if they were, I'm pretty sure the media would have publicly tarred and feathered them by now. Regardless of party affiliation, however, as a taxpaying citizen of this country, I want you people to work together, stop whining because a member of the senate has returned to Washington to do his job and FIX. THIS. DAMN. PROBLEM. you know, sort of like you're paid to do.
Our country is facing a crisis of epic proportions and we have one presidential candidate rolling up his sleeves and working towards bringing both parties together and we have another one who says things like "call me if you need me", "let's make a statement" (with words only, of course), and "this first debate must happen and it must happen on schedule because the American public deserves that". Whoa there, little Buckaroo! As a member of that American public, let me put my two cents worth in...I'd much rather see our savings, our homes, our income and our credit ratings protected first. You can debate about your "views" once you've saved us from this crisis. Although - quite frankly, your actions have already spoken much louder to me than any words you could possibly utter.

Oh and one more thing. Speaking of those debates. I keep hearing about how much planning has gone into these debates and how important it is that they go on as planned and how many man-hours have gone into the planning and how many "millions" have been spent on them. I did some research on these debates and, while I'm sure they took quite a bit of planning and and quite a bit of man-hours and quite a bit of money, I gotta say, if these people have actually spent "millions" on getting this done, they are not much better than those bankers who made all those worthless loans that have helped cause the crisis our nation now faces. I think they may be guilty of a bit of bad money management because, honestly, it just shouldn't cost that much to get these things set up. I'd love to see their budget breakdowns and their financial statements. Also, these debates are not the free-wheeling debates of the past. Since 1988, they have become far more orchestrated than they should be (in my opinion). Do a little research on the process. I think you'll see what I mean. If Obama and McCain want to give us American citizens a chance to hear their views as well as their answers to important questions, why not do a series of town hall meetings across the country? Why are these massively preplanned and basically "rehearsed" debates the end all and be all of presidential politics? Hey - it's just another question from me, an "uneducated, stay-at-home mom type"....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Finding a Weigh Out of Fat and Whining

Okay, okay, okay. I know I'm a whiner. To be honest, I'm a whiner from waaaaaaay back. It's sort of a way a life with me. Matter of fact, I guess you could call me a genuine Whine-O. I would say that I'll try to do better in the future, try to not whine about every little thing that happens in my life, but well, then I'd just be a lying whiner instead of just a plain ol' whiner and that would make me even worse, right? I suspect I'll always whine so what's the point of trying to deny it. At any rate, I'm at the point of my latest crisis when even I'm sick of hearing me blubber so I guess that means I need to move on now. Cars and cousins are just a part of life and grousing about either won't change the circumstances surrounding those subjects. At long last, I've arrived at the "suck it up" stage of this particular whine. So YAY me. LOL
Now on to "weightier" issues. I'm happy to report that I've lost another 1.6 pounds for a grand total thus far of 41 pounds. I'm pretty darn pleased with myself about this (ha! Talk about an understatement!). I got a comment on my previously referenced "big whining post" from Vee, asking if I was learning what to do when stressed instead of eat? I have to tell you, I hadn't even thought about it until she asked! But you know, there was a time not so very long ago when I would have buried my face in chocolate cake or maybe a bag of Hershey kisses or even a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos when faced with as much stress as we've been through the past few weeks. Without trying to sound like a cheerleader for their program, I have to give credit to Weight Watchers for my not doing that anymore. WW has taught me how to eat and, more importantly I think, they've taught me how to have a healthy emotional relationship with food. I no longer look to food for comfort or solace. I eat because my body needs the fuel, not because I'm feeling depressed or anxious or happy or sad. I'm so glad that Vee asked me that question because I feel much more confident in realizing through actual actions that my relationship with food has changed so dramatically. If I could impart one piece of advice to anyone trying to lose weight, it'd be to learn that food is fuel - nothing more, nothing less. That's not to say I don't want my food to taste good, because I do, but I don't plan my days around food anymore. I don't plan my life around food, other than to eat it because I need the fuel for energy. It's incredibly liberating to not be focused on food 24/7 (and here's to this being a life-long attitude and not just a phase, eh?). Heck, I'm even able to happily focus on other things these days...things like my husband, my hobbies, my home, my clothes... speaking of clothes, let me tell you this; the other day, I was telling Randey that I had tried on a pair of size 8 Levi's and actually got them on! SIZE 8s!!Okay, so it wasn't pretty, but that wasn't the point (*smile*). The point was that I was able to put them on my body and zip them up without rupturing anything. And despite my arse looking like a twisted balloon (strange little creases abounded!), it was a thrill to be able to do that. And maybe in a month or so, those size 8s will fit like they're supposed to. Maybe. Hopefully. (Hey! It's a goal! Don't judge.)
Before I leave, I want to share a picture of the Halloween tree. Yeah, it's the same tree I posted about and called my Fall tree, but I decided to dress it up for Halloween now. I had these "witch shoes" from Hobby Lobby last year. Don't know why I bought them, other than they were on sale after Halloween. They have little handles on them so maybe they are to hold candy or flowers or something, who knows. Anyway, as I was staring at them, trying to think of where to put them, it hit me: I needed a pair of Halloween tights to stick into the shoes! I found some at Wal-Mart, stuffed them with fiber-fill and set them up under the tree. Then I found a totally cool witch hat for the topper. And if I had those gorgeous feather-trimmed witch gloves I'd bought Maddy a couple of months ago, this tree would have arms as well as legs! (Yeah, Jake was pretty grateful those gloves are with Maddy now, too. lol) So what do you think? Too much?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Does character matter anymore?

I am so disheartened with recent events in my life. I'm struggling with the notion that, while I know good people exist (in addition to some I know in "real" life, I've also "met" so many good hearted, fine, upstanding people through blogging!), I wonder if the larger population even cares about good character or integrity or personal responsibility. As I mentioned before, my husband was involved in a hit and run accident last month. The young man (22 years old) who made an illegal lane change and hit Randey, fled the scene of that accident. An off duty police officer witnessed the accident and following the offender as he fled, catching up to him after about 15 miles as the young man turned into and parked at a shopping mall. Upon his apprehension, police escorted the young man back to the scene of the accident, where he proceeded to lie about his version of what happened. He claimed he had no idea that he had hit someone. He thought he'd merely "spun out" on the wet road. Because there were witnesses to the actual accident (another witness returned to the scene and also gave his information to the police), the police arrested the young man for hit and run. At that time, the guy claimed he had insurance. Another lie. I don't really get that one. It's not like they were just going to take his word for it. He had to produce evidence of that insurance coverage and, of course, he could not. Yet he lied about it anyway. This young person hit another car with his car, fled the scene of the accident, lied about how the accident happened and what actually happened in the accident and then lied about having insurance coverage. No character. No integrity. No personal responsibility. Then someone rams my car in a parking lot and leaves without thought as to the hardship they have caused. They were more interested in avoiding responsibility than owning up to it. What's that all about? How does that work? How can you cause that much damage to another person's property and be only concerned for yourself? I'm no saint, God knows, but I can't fathom ever doing that to someone. Then again, maybe I would. Maybe I don't have any more character or integrity than the next person. I like to think I do, but maybe I'm just fooling myself.
This last situation that makes me question things like character and integrity and personal responsibility has to do with one of my cousins. Does anyone remember me talking about our "cousin getaway" from earlier in August? Well, Randey had actually reserved the room for us at the resort and used our credit card to pay. When we arrived at the resort, one of my cousins asked if we could transfer the reservation over to her name so that she could use her husband's Marriott points and maybe get an upgrade (maybe free breakfast or something like that, she suggested). Not caring whose name it was in, I said fine. As she and I checked in, I was standing there when the clerk said there would be no problem with doing that. He then asked for her debit card for any incidentals, etc., which she gave him. The next morning, as we were all "paying up", there was a discussion amongst us about whose card the room charges were on. My cousin called the front desk and upon hanging up, told us all that her debit card was the one charged. So we all paid her for our shares of the room, approximately $34.00 each. I actually gave her $40.00 because all I had was twenties and told her not to worry about the change. Imagine my surprise when I got my credit card bill in the mail and saw that my credit card had been charged for the room ($169 and some change!). I immediately called my cousin to tell her about this and to request a copy of her bank statement so that I could contest the charges on my card. At that point, I was hoping it was an error on the part of the resort ( i.e, they double billed us for the room). Days later, my cousin calls me back and tells me that her debit card was not charged and that she would send me a check right away. A week later, I still hadn't received a check, but my cousin called to say it was a bank error - she had requested the payment to me via Quicken, there had been a screw up, but not to worry, a check was on its way. Another week passed with no check. Upon inquiry, my cousin told me that her bank was just "really messing up bad" - even her mortgage payment was screwed up, but no fear...a check was on its way. And now, more than yet another week has passed. Still no check. Still hearing about her bank screwing up, only now the story is joined with tales of a sick kid and admonitions that I should not be "ugly" about it and should be patient. ("Ugly" consisted of me e-mailing her, asking what was up and to please tell me if she was having money problems or even if she never intended to pay me so I would quit looking for the check to arrive.) It's been over 6 weeks since our "cousin getaway". I don't know about you guys, but if I'm expecting a $169 withdrawal from my bank account via my debit card, I'm aware of it and would have questioned why it hadn't been processed within a week of the resort visit. Assuming that didn't occur to my cousin, however, I would hope that I would have rectified the situation within days of learning of it just because it would be the right thing to do. It's now been over 3 weeks since I told her my credit card was charged and I still have not received payment from her, and in fact am being "briefed" over my lack of patience and understanding. It's crushing me that this is happening. Us cousins had sworn to each other that we were going to treat each other right - we wouldn't make the mistakes of the previous generation. We were going to be open and honest and straightforward with one another and be family. But, for whatever reason and for whose ever fault it is, at least two of us don't seem to be doing that. I've agonized over this. Is it me? Am I not patient enough? Have I not given her plenty of time to fix this? Am I wrong to feel like I've been screwed after this much time has passed? I keep telling myself not to judge too hastily, not to be too fast to feel like history is repeating itself in this generation. But I can't seem to help but feel like enough time has passed and even if she should send that payment now, the damage is done. There was no consideration for my point of view - no thought to my credit card payment being due - no feeling of urgency to set things right. This "cousin getaway" room charge cost one cousin $34. It cost my sister and her daughter a combined $68. It cost me $209 (the entire room charge, plus the $40 cash I gave my cousin). My other cousin, however, made $142.00. It just doesn't seem right, it doesn't feel right and I can't help but wonder if I simply was not meant to be a part of a larger family picture. I seem to be involved in way too many bad feelings within the family and this is just one more incident. Maybe I'm taking it too personally, or too hard or whatever. Maybe I am just an impatient witch. Doesn't really matter at this point, now does it? Either way, I'm even further outside my extended family than I've ever been. Sometimes it seems like the harder I try, the more I learn I shouldn't. Yeah. Like I said earlier, I am so disheartened by recent events in my life.
Maybe this new season will bring changes for the good, eh? One can only hope.