Friday, December 2, 2016

Baking and Sewing and Ministry and Budgets and Health Insurance: This Week in Retirement

Occasionally we something that is incredibly moving and know we'll remember it for awhile. For me one of those occasions was today.  Last week, a police officer was killed in a traffic accident on Interstate 25. While the officer was not targeted, it was a tragedy for all involved (the driver stayed in his lane instead of moving to the left and since he was driving a semi, he had not a good view of the officer during the stop). As a driver of more miles than most people do in a lifetime-always, always, always move to the left lane for a stopped truck,care or emergency worker. Yes, even if you own a mini or small sedan.

This morning that accident was brought home to me a gain, as I drove to my volunteer gig.  The US highway going the opposite direction was completely blocked up and filled with vehicles-police cars, fire trucks and more. All with their lights on and moving, headlights on and flags. Tragedy as it was, I wish I had had a chance to stop and take a picture. 
Not my photo, but moving nonethless

Meanwhile, this was a sightly busier and (sometimes) happy week. My journey this morning took my to my residential shelter for women, where I prepared and set out two "craft" projects that could also be gifts.  One of the problems with receiving gifts for Christmas for the homeless or low income is that the recipients often want to give something -anything-back so that the exchange is even. While we talk about receiving gifts in the spirit they are given, I can appreciate the problem. So today, we did two things. First we decorated sugar cookies with holes at the top, and then I left Christmas Ziploc bags and gift bags so that they can put them on a tree or gift them to the folks that are putting on a full spread "Mother's Day" in December program on Sunday (this will include gifts, a meal, manicures, pedicures, haircuts and the like). We also painted mini flower pots white so that they can be painted like snowmen, to be used as gifts or decoration.

Not the best picture as I strive to not use flash or get physical features at the shelter.  This shows the cookie "workstation"
Yesterday, I spent most of my day sewing. I have promised preemie twins who are approaching a year quilts that are the same, but different. My solution to this dilemma was to use the same six fabrics but make two different quilt patterns with two different borders and two different backs. These are the rough, unfinished quilts, but you get the idea.  

Completed quilt 1, ready to be backed.

The still to be finished unpressed quilt

I also researched insurance. This is open season for federal employees (even those no good congressmen). While I am keeping my retiree insurance and going on medicare, I do have what is known as "standard option". Since I will not be getting Part D and relying on my retiree insurance for the drug coverage, I want to see if moving to the high option ($100 more per month) is financially a win to get better drug coverage (if I can pay $100 more per month and avoid the donut hole, basically). Still researching this one.  I also cried wolf a little bit for providing the dinner at my regular Thursday night church event (service, dinner, and then discussions and fun). At this time of year I try to go out at night as little as possible, and I was just feeling "punky".

On Wednesday I met with one of my three book groups and discussed the new Harlan Coben book, which every single one of the group rated a 10. For those who read Coben (this book is titled Home), I am a big reader of the Myron Bolitar books and not so much of the stand alone titles.  I then skipped my local knitting group (a rare situation) so that I could get home and mix up batches of Christmas cookies before sitting down to sew some more. In the evening, I watched the final season of The Fall, one of the best shows on television. 

My fairy garden now has a surfing santa and a boarding Santa, so I guess it is tropical. Hence the removal of most of the snow.

Tuesday is one of the days I rarely leave the house until my evening class, and this week was no exception. Instead I spent half the day doing research.  Research on Immigration and Refugees, mainly in Colorado. You see, recently my church (as part of that Thursday night program), had an eight week series on how to live into our commitment as a neighborhood church whose motto is "sanctuary in the city". After eight weeks of discussion and focusing on direction (rather than choose many we choose one or two directions), we felt it was the right thing to do to support immigrants and refugees at all levels and form a racial justice ministry (while this topic series was scheduled long before the election, I would never deny that some of our discussions took results, platforms, and current events and appointments into play. When the President elect indicated his choice for a cabinet post was one of the most racist politicians of the current times, for example, we took that into consideration.).

Being one who doesn't shy away (and who also has difficulty with the no word on occasion), when they asked who would be interested in being a coordinator for the Immigration and refugee group, I raised my hand. Of course. So half of this day was spent researching groups to partner with, issues and need and more. Thankfully, the rest of my day was spent sewing and baking and sewing and baking-my primary jobs for the next two weeks. Oh, and I was also snuggling, since winter finally arrived in Denver a few days ago! 
Frosted eggnog cookies ready to go into the freezer

Christmas napkins for gifts in the works
Following carolers on my way to the movies
On Monday, I went to the movies and saw Doctor Strange.  Great movie and glad I went to see it even if it was my second choice. Arrival was my original plan, but it was the 3D version and I don't do three D ever. Imax, yes. I also did my basic errands, fun, fun, fun. And then, to keep with our theme of the week, I sewed and baked frosted eggnog cookies (now in the freezer) and knitted and sewed and read and watched football (yea, I'm trying to nest in December! ).

This weekend? On Saturday I have either another movie or a gingerbread house making class ( I am one of those folks that enjoys group activities and learns best from a real person rather than Utube or a book when it comes to hands on learning).  Follow that with a quiet dinner and book and there you have it. I have to stay home all Saturday because I have a frighteningly large Amazon order coming (yep, I got all my gifts, even movie gift cards on Amazon), and even though I live in a lovely neighborhood, would rather be home when that many boxes are delivered.

Sunday? Well, Sunday I am going to put on my German in full, pretend I am back home, and go to the Denver Christmas market. Where I will buy German pewter and glass ornaments and smokers, have a schnitzel platter, and listen to German music from polka to rock (I have German artists that I love) Follow that with lessons, carols and a reception at my church, and there you have it.  A week in retirement.

Happy Friday!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Frugal Retiree And Christmas Beginnings

Happy Thanksgiving to all this morning! Yesterday, I was blessed to have a lovely dinner with family and friends, after a very relaxing day of not doing very much, which is as it should be.  Today, my tree is up and the lights are on, although it will probably take a week of arranging and re-arranging ornaments by all parties to make sure said tree is "perfect".

As always happens on the weekend post-Thanksgiving, articles, posts and commentaries about Christmas, how to celebrate it, and how to spend for it abound. Some folks do no gifts. Some do gifts for children only. Some only gift experience gifts and some go whole hog. Just as on this Friday, some people will shop for deals, some will have a "no spend day" and some of us will simply stay at home, go to a park or enjoy the long weekend.  Personally, I don't shop on this particular day-but it has much more to do with not being an early bird and not doing well in crowds than an absolute opposition to Black Friday shopping. So I am liable to sit here in my chair, perhaps go to a movie, and enjoy my day in other ways.

As for my own attitude towards Christmas well....I am into the giving aspect. I do so as often  as I can. To family members, to friends in my various "activity groups" and more. Many of these  gifting situations are reciprocal, some are not.  And that is fine with me. While I also enjoy getting gifts the reward is in the giving. In fact, if someone were to ask me (not that anyone ever has mind you), I would suggest that the problem with holiday giving is not the giving, but the assumptions that 1. All gifts have to be equal among a family or group and 2. That every gift given is deserving of a gift in return of an equal kind of value. It is possible, for example,  for me to spend more money one one child on any given year dependent on needs and wishes.

Obviously everyone has different perspectives on Holiday giving and celebrations. The biggest number of comments I get on this blog and elsewhere on frugal Christmas gifting tend to be one of three. Some assume that because I am on a fixed income and gift, I automatically go into debt.  Never. I don't use a CC. Others wonder how I afford it and/or how my family and friends react to handmade gifts. The short answer is that most of them are thrilled and the long answer is probably deserving of it's own missive.

The biggest comment I get on holiday giving always has to do with "Jesus being the reason for the season" and Christian values. To those folks I simply say that I am a devout Episcopalian who goes to church twice a week and is taking a four year long masters level class on the history and cultural tradition of the bible-and I see no conflict in giving or exchanging gifts on any level. The problem, of course, arises when we get into the " Well, he got me this and I think it costs fifty dollars so I need to go spend fifty dollars" or "I spent fifty dollars on my daughter and all I got was a thank you".  If you get my drift....

This year, as always, my gifting is a combination of made by me gifts, experience gifts, gift cards and gifts purchased after reading a wish list.  How many gifts am I sending out?  In my case I buy gifts for my two kids and my Denver family contingent of six people. I also participate in a gift exchange with my Dallas family, participate in gift exchanges with some groups I belong to, give two large charity gifts, and exchange small gifts with a couple of other groups.  

To some folks the above list is huge, to others the number is small-I have a couple friends with grandchildren in the numbers of ten or so, for example. We all have different giving needs and traditions. I would only say that my Christmas giving is by choice and if I wanted to opt out of any of the above I could. I enjoy the process and preparation.

And of course it's also fair to say that I don't have other Christmas expenses that retirees may have. I have not hosted a Christmas or Thanksgiving celebration or party or family dinner in almost seven years and it works for me. (Although I may have suggested that a cookie exchange party might be a new tradition for my church).

Today I ordered almost all of my physical gifts from the evil empire that is  It will all come at once, the shipping will be free, and no store visits will be required. There will be a few items I will purchase at my local individually owned stores. I've already begun the Christmas baking journey with frosted eggnog cookies (I love baking or it would not get done), and part of this weekend will be spent making cloth napkin sets for family, and knitting a scarf for a family member.

We all have our own Christmas traditions. Mine includes church, charity and family. It also includes giving. My own personal Christmas no longer includes much entertaining, going into debt, or shopping at the mall. 

It works for me.

And since the greatest comments I have on handmade/homemade and experience gifts have to do with cost and acceptance by others, I hope to go out of the retirement zone a bit and add a third blog post east week on giving on the cheap-in retirement or any time.

Meanwhile-enjoy your weekend. And get out and walk of that pie (or pies)!!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Let's Do The Time Warp (er..Time Map) Again!!

What can I say. My daddy always told me "just tell it, don't explain it".  Either you get it or......your movie education is less than full.

I am not by nature necessarily a very organized person in retirement.  While I do have a little calendar, I am not one to plan my days as such.  I keep track of where I have to be and important deadlines such as when open season ends on the calendar. Other than that however, I do little. I have a journal in which I write, and I use one journal for everything. Since this journal has quilt sketches and family history notes and perhaps grocery lists, it is not a planner in any sense.  And for the most, it works for me.

Having said that, I want to be sure that I personally am getting value from the time I spend, be it puttering, reading, sewing, hiking or doing absolutely nothing. I don't feel that I need to do more-some days I feel that I need to less than I already do (and that's okay). But it is nice to know that too much time is not being wasted and that  I would not enjoy doing something else more.

Enter the time map. From my understanding, a time map serves two purposes, just as so called budgeting tools often do.  A time map can be used to track, or to plan future days. Personally I tend to run screaming from the room when people say "plan". My point in trying the time map is simply to make sure that I'm doing what I really want to do and that what I'm doing brings value, physically and mentally.

The writer Julie Morganstern compares those little pockets of time in our lives to the upper closet shelf. Only a certain amount of things will fit.  Obviously in retirement we have much, much more time. Our time vs money quotient almost always inverts, for example. Even so, I want to make sure that what I put in that proverbial closet has value, even if I only half fill it.

I did try this before, with little success (hence the Again) However, that was a different time in retirement when I was doing more traveling, and so on and so forth. This time in preparation for my annual budget check and setting of priorities for 2017 (good grief!!), I'm determined to do at least a little better.

Except for one morning a week, I turn up the heat if necessary, and grab a blanket and coke and head to my corner chair for"morning time".  Since I also have said journal and my tablet in that  corner as well, if nothing else I will sit and write down what I remember of the next day.  We'll see how that works. My intent is to write in "broad strokes".  Dishes and showering and getting dressed may not get mentioned as they are the kind of things that must be done, if you will. And rather than "I sewed five blanket scarves", I may end up simply writing "sewed from about ten to twelve".  But, this is a work in progress so we will see.

Hopefully in a week or so, I'll know more. I'll know if it was worthwhile to do it, if I kept with it, if I need to make changes and more.  I will keep all of you in the blogging loop and share my successes and failures (there are always both), as I go.

As I wrote this evening, I did realize that today was probably not the best day to begin (see below) but we gotta do what we gotta do.  After my morning time and breakfast, you see, I remained in my PJ's and robe and spent the morning with my son on our monthly meeting. We go over his finances, schedules for the month (mainly to figure out meals and dog walking), and all kinds of things. This month included what we are getting whom off their wish lists to avoid duplication, if we are to go separately or together to Texas, logistics of seeing my ill father-in-law and more.

My afternoon was spent making a quick trip and getting fabric for Christmas gifts, baking one kind of Christmas cookie (I already mixed the dough) to freeze, watching football and reading. It's now nine thirty and I'll most likely craft until I hop into bed, take my Colorado medicine and read. Overall this day gets a B-mainly because I had no "down time" and I usually take an hour to read, meditate or listen to a concert online. Since I spent much of what would be my usual down time with a notebook and a calendar and pen, the day gets a B-.

And now, I'm off for that last little bit of sewing this evening.  Christmas throw pillows for gifts. This Monday in retirement.

And now, I'm off to start on Christmas throw pillows as gifts, this Monday in retirement!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

But What Can We Do? Do What You Can!

Hi Everybody.  Listen, regular readers know that I comment once in a blue moon about my liberal beliefs. I usually regret doing so-not because I get a lot of flack but because this blog is mainly about retirement, a rich retirement on a fixed income to be precise. Sometimes I fee a greater need, as now. For the record, feel free to comment no matter your beliefs, assuming you can do so without being insulting. I am well aware that some friends, even blogging friends differ on this subject, and I am truly interested in your  perspective over the long term.  Just be kind in the process.

Last week, I got a lot of emails outside the comments. Most of those emails were along the lines of "give him a chance, he's not really that bad", or "we have the constitution and checks and balances for situations like this", or, again "stop whining".  For what it is worth, I actually considered those perspectives for a few days.

Aaaaaand then, our president elect chose the head of the alt-right as his personal advisor. A fellow who has said publicly that "women who use birth control are less attractive", that his organization is really in favor of white supremacy and more. All in print, folks. Please understand that appointments like this leave me both not confident about his ability to lead, and even less confident that he is willing to rule for "all of us". I believe that the man is completely lost, trying to decide which Trump he is, and right now the worst parts are showing.  We need good leadership all around. My problem is that I am not seeing that, and what I am seeing except for one brief word in an interview, has been no attempt to control the hate that has spewed in his name, from defacing black churches onward.  In fact, not only have I seen no denials of violence from him, I have seen it from no Republican leader. So that's my perspective at this very moment.  Again, he's who we've got. But it's our job to make sure that he serves us all-every day.
So the question becomes, what can I (we, us) do?  While I am not an expert, I am going to suggest that we all need to be vigilant. We are looking at turning back the clocks, at least on social issues and equality. While I'm pretty sure in the long run the President will be on the wrong side of history, discrimination is a slippery slope in the meantime and easy to ignore if it does not affect us directly. And for the record, I know Republicans who voted for Mr Trump as an up yours response who are also wondering what to do. I also know many Republicans who think that Trump is really a moderate and this is all fear mongering. If that turns out to be true, I will be the absolute first to apologize. So.  These suggestions are not just for the liberals among us but for all those who SAY that they care about everyone, and want to make our country great again.

First of all, I have to say, we all need to talk to each other.  We have become SO much an us and them society. Making a cake for a gay couple means suing someone out of business, or turning a basic disagreement into "religious freedom".  Which of course really means worshiping as you choose, on your own and nothing else, Constitutionally. People who are pro-choice are baby killers whether they would have an abortion or not. The list is much longer. If you are fortunate to have folks who have different perspectives that you can have calm conversations with, please do so. The primary ill with our country has nothing to do with the economy or taxes or immigration in my perspective, it is rather our us vs them society.

Secondly, since I realize that most of my fellow bloggers and readers are of the middle aged white guy (or gal) persuasion, I would say this:  We all need to recognize our white privilege for exactly what it is. I am not saying deny or be ashamed, but do recognize your experiences. Recognize that while you may have been dirt poor, this is still true. Yes, many of our parents suffered discrimination if they immigrated in the early years. Some suffered worse indignities during the war. There were sects and divisions.  But that is not what white privilege is about.

For those unsure about the definition, this is the best essay I have ever seen on white privilege, and how to identify it. If you were ever unsure, I doubt you will be after reading this.

For me, white privilege means that for white heterosexual males, life will go on as it always does, with little adjustments here and there. White women have some privilege, but we are looking at losing a variety of basic rights, from birth control onward. And the rest of the world? Almost every other group in the country  may well experience a different result, a much worse result,  if what we have seen so far is any indication. The question is, are you okay with that?
If not, my next suggestion is simply not to be silent. It can be really easy to walk by when we see someone harassed or threatened.  We can tell ourselves it's impolite to say anything when our host spews something hateful about Muslims, especially when we don't have any individuals in our lives.  I would suggest that there are in fact both tactful and necessary ways to make ourselves heard on the important issues. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying include politics in all social activities. I have a knitting group for people of all persuasions and we simply don't talk politics. I am saying that when your supposedly nice neighbor says something that is hateful or incorrect, you find an easy way of saying, "I'm sorry I just can't agree with that"

Third, think about one cause that relates to individual rights, and find one way to stand up for it.  Believe in access to birth control for everyone, even though the pro choice issue doesn't affect you personally?  Simply join a list or Facebook page and keep current so you know what you care about. I care about immigrants, the rights of all genders and while I hope that no woman ever has to make some of my early life choices, I will preserve the right of anyone to make that choice. My energies may be a drop in the bucket, but many energies together is another thing.

Write to your representatives. They do listen, and it does work if done in the correct way (without swearing and ranting). In fact, were I in Texas I would still be voting for my republican congressman because of how he helped me with a personal issue. I may have to write about that story at some point.

If you are insulated (as many of us frankly are) from those populations who are endangered, consider changing that. Find ways to meet people who are radically different from yourself.  I have been blessed to have Muslim friends (my daughter's lifelong best friend) and coworkers, and I have both gays and transgendered folks in my family. If I did not have that, I suspect my perspective would be different. The challenge is to treat people equally even when you don't have that perspective. To put it a different way, Dick Cheney changed his views about gays because he has a gay child. Equality should not depend on personal perspective.

I realize that this would seem to be the opposite of my first suggestion, especially since I enjoy a variety of friends from all walks of life and political views. But, you may need to consider who you hang out with, a least for awhile, depending on your own well being.  When I go to that knitting group, we have plenty to talk about and politics does not come up. However, some of my other social contacts react differently, and I am finding that they and I disagree (in a large way) on almost every topic.  For now, my solution is to come to an agreement of "no politics", but in the long run I have also been evaluating non-family relationships, I have to say.  My sanity requires it.

Last but not least, vote, vote again. Make sure your family votes. Less than twenty five percent of people in the country voted for Mr. Trump. Forty percent of people or more did not vote at all, and many people were denied their voting rights. So vote, and make sure everyone you see and know also votes-even if they disagree with you.

This list was just a few of the things that I plan to do. Your response and what works for you may be entirely different. I have to believe though, that the worse thing any of us can do is go back to our corners, write and vent and come out swinging four years from now. Because honestly, that may be too late.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Girl's Day Out-Fairy Gardens and Fountains

Once a month my sister-in-law, sister, and I aim for a girls day out. Occasionally said day out includes brunch or lunch or happy hour. Since we are who we are though, more of them are spent "doing".  As a result I've been compiling a long list of "experience" ideas that might work for us. 

My list includes high tea, taking a wood shop class and making a candle log, going and decorating gingerbread houses together, and taking a one day glass blowing class. It also includes day trips on occasion. Because both other gals  are still happily in the working world, our "girls day out", is one of those times when I do make plans to do things on the weekend (hence no Friday Funday title for this one)

This morning was fairy garden time. One of my many local nurseries advertised a class. For $25 we could get a pot, dirt, three fairy garden plants and choose from a variety of accessories. There were also more pieces that we could buy.  This was earlier than I usually promise to be anywhere  (Imagine if you can, me dressed, out of the house and sitting down somewhere else, all before ten am), but it sounded like fun so off we went. 

Now, I not a plant person (I know that shocks you! !), so I even had to have someone help me dig holes in the bowl and fit in the plants propery.  If you can, imagine me trying to pull the little plant out of the pot without breaking it (I think that was because it was root bound?), and trying to decide where to put my little plants. Good thing there were experts-including young kids-in the area.

After planting my little trees, I laid down moss and began "arranging".  I ended up putting a Christmas bear in a lawn chair, a lone Santa, some gifts, and a sign that says "Noel" made out of part of a hangar.  Since I knew I would want to make adjustments, add stuff and make it snowier, I definitely left empty space.  For me at least, when I make things or do table arrangements it takes some time. It seems like no matter how much I plan it out, I keep moving and fixing at least for the first couple of days.

In the case of this baby, I had thought that I would get out some of my small figures and perhaps an icy pond that goes with my Christmas village. The one that I probably won't put out this year since I am traveling much of December.  I may have had a Eureka! moment since then, though. You see, my thirty something daughter lived in the carribean for many years, and during that time she sent me many a tropical santa ornament-at least one with a topless Santa in board shorts on a surf board. 

So now I have a dilemna.  Tropical Christmas fairy garden. or traditional fairy garden. Surfing Santa, or New England style skaters and sled?  I guess I'll just have to get them out and see. Or make another one. Or find some dressed up beagles that are small enough, make it a dog Christmas fairy garden and send it to my daughter?  Something different?  I promise I'll let you know (and as always to take pictures)

Since this is a frugal retirement blog, and for the curious among my readers, I generally alot $50 for a days outing, be it a field trip like last week or something like this week. If I know I'll be buying things like the  yarn last week it may be a bit more.  This outing had no lunch, as we have a dinner this evening. The basic price of the garden was $24, and I added about ten dollars worth of "stuff".  In truth, I really love the chair and may paint it red or green, so I guess we've commited to tropical.

As always happens on days like this, a good time was had by all, and our fairy garden experience was followed my thrift shopping, a snack, a walk, and a nap-all before dinner.

And since we can't forget the fountain portion. below is a picture of the fountain that the other inhabitant of this house purchased. This was just a quick take, and does not show the fact that the duck's mouths open and close as the water pours out. Once I have it hooked up, I'll grab some more photos.  Fortunately it's not near the house, because that opening and shutting makes a noice, to say the least.

And so it was this week in retirement. Happy weekend all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Politics of Hate

Today as I write, tens of thousands of demonstrators are in towns all over the country expressing frustration and fear. The Internet and social media abound with comments from those who are upset, fearful, and unsure. They include me. Now, some of my fellow bloggers and readers who voted for the Republican ticket would like to just write this off as sour grapes and leave it. We're mad, but we'll get over it.  To you friends, I say NO.  This has nothing to do with being poor losers. On the contrary, it has to do with fear, pure and simple.

Now, don't get me wrong. I certainly do not think that everyone who voted for Mr Trump and Mr Pence are filled with hate.  Many did so simply to stick a finger in the eye of the establishment, not even sure that he would win. Others voted for the Republican ticket because of conservative evangelism.  But let's be clear, there were a whole lot of folks who voted for Mr Trump because they cared more about US than THEM.  I keep HEARING that he is good for all Americans, but frankly words and actions show me something hugely different.

Do I think friends, family members and aquaintances are bigoted, homophobic, misogynist, or xenophobic or racist?  Of course not.  Do I think that Republicans knew that Trump was all those things and still voted for him? Absolutely.  It's impossible to miss.

So, to  those Republican voter friends who say that using the word hate is unfair, my answer is simple. Show me.

For the first time in a very long time, you have both a congress and a senate and a President.  I have been hearing for years and years about how conservatives actually care about people more than liberals...I could go on and on.  This is your chance, both as a party and as individuals, to prove me (and us) wrong. Show me that you really are the best party for Hispanics, blacks and women, and that we just don't know it. For example:

What will you tell the friend who has degenerative disease and was not insurable, and who without insurance cannot afford to treat the pain, never mind the disease. Will you tell her tough luck, or will encourage your representative to have an alternative in place BEFORE repealing what is current? What will you tell the young woman whose mother texted her this morning and told her not to wear her hijab because she didn't want her to get beat up?

How will you protect my young transgendered nephew from harassment?  Will you let him find the kind of love and caring arrangement that most of us have, or will you write him off as an "aberration".  If your husband agrees when someone cause your daughter a lovely piece of ass, do you laugh or do you kick his rear out of the house for good? And when the KKK holds a victory parade for the Donald tomorrow will you be appalled?  Or will you write it off as boys will be boys. My daughter has catastrophic insurance. The only place in driving distance is Planned Parenthood-where she is treated for teen onset endometriosis, has her annual pap exam and has her boobs checked. Without planned parenthood she could not afford that.  Will you tell all those poor women in places like Texas that life is too bad?  Or will you find other ways to deal with the abortion controversy without making poor women pay the price?

You've been tasked with the job, hell no, the responsibility of caring for all Americans since you have won such  a massive election.  Are you up to it?  Frankly right now, with Donald Trump as the standard bearer, I would not be too sure. For months and years, people have been telling me that Mr Trump is what is best for all Americans.  I'm sorry folks, but my eyes and ears tell me otherwise. I have seen women mocked and abused. I have seen handicapped people both tormented and removed from rallies. I've seen a man who is  hesitant to apologize, compromise in any way, or admit wrong.

So to all you folks celebrating today, I say again. This is your chance to show that you can be inclusive, caring and make life better for all of us, not just a select few.  Personally, I think that in a year Trump will be the second worst president (after Taft, no one can be worse than Taft).  But believe me, I'm more than happy to be shown the error of my ways.

Until then, I'm going to be one of those people both standing up and counting and being counted.  I'm going to become a supporter financially of Planned Parenthood.  As a part of my church, I'm going to be involved in putting a small house village for the homeless in my church parking lot. I'm going to be writing to my (Democratic and Republican) representatives on issues. And most importantly, I am not ever going to be quiet when someone is insulted, hurt or marginalized, in person or in print.

So enjoy your celebrations today.  Just remember that many of us are not just disappointed, we are fearful. For ourselves, and for others. Fearful because the campaign gave us good reason to be.  So while you are having a party to day, do me a favor.  Turn around to your gay and lesbian, black and Hispanic and Muslim neighbors and friends as well as the women in your life.  Let them know that you don't think like (or talk like) Trump. Let them know they are valued.

Show your fellow Americans and the world at large, that rather than voting in hate and fear, rather than going low, we can go high. Show us that we did NOT actually go back more than fifty years in equality and caring. Because right now?  I gotta tell ya, it sure feels like it.

And last but not least, consider this.  Trump loves Putin. Trump thinks he and Putin should be good friends. Trump thinks he knows more about Isis than any general alive and that the best American generals are idiots.  Trump is now the Commander in Chief of the military. He also has the keys, the nukes and the football.  How does that make you feel. Really?  You don't have to say it out loud, just think about it and let it stew awhile...............

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friday Funday and a New Hobby

One of the advantages to keeping commitments and activities on the low side in retirement (at least mine), is that it gives me a chance to say "yes" to things fairly spontaneously. Don't get me wrong, a good part of the reason behind pulling back some of my scheduling was to have long periods at home to quilt, read, enjoy the day or whatever. But it also gives me chances to do last minute things or day long things on the weekdays, so that I can avoid the weekends.

Take Fridays, if you will. I don't have any regular "group" or volunteer activity.  Many weeks, I go to the new first run movie first thing in the morning (which really means at eleven or so), and many days I go meet a knitting group at a local shop that is kind of a "we'll see who shows up today" kind of thing. Other weeks, I spend the day at home, sewing, quilting, reading, baking, playing with the dogs or watching TV on Netflix while doing some of the above. I also make lunch dates as the mood strikes. Depending on the day and my mood of course.

A couple table runners I've been working on during my at home time for the past week or so

This one needs to head to my daughter while it's still fall!!

On Wednesday, I have a regular knitting group that is really also a crafting group. While most of us knit and crochet on Wednesdays, we are all also crafters and enjoy a variety of creativity.    Every month or so, one of those Friday afternoons is "crafting with the Twisted Stitchers".  We've painted wine glasses, made cork pumpkins, and more. Last year we made decoupaged eggs and baskets for easter. We try and do lunch once a month, and happy hour is our favorite time. We all also love a really good field trip now and then, and yesterday was no exception. Sometimes our road trips are to quilt and yarn stores further afield and also include lunch. Sometimes it can be more involved, like visiting our local "upstairs circus".  While I am not the "program" director, I do have ideas on occasion that I offer up-mainly because my sister and sister in law and I have promised each other a girls day at least once if not twice a month. Since we all like to "do things" rather than just lunch and some wine. my list has gotten fairly long when it comes to ideas.

Yesterday's outing arose because I caught sight of a flyer for the Boulder, Colorado handweavers guild sale and show at a local fairground. Since one of the students in my Monday night class is a member, I asked her about it-and found that the group really consisted of all kinds of fiber artists and all kinds of things would be shown.  So, since our Twisted Stitchers group has a Facebook page, I put out a call seeing who wanted to go, and ended up with a carful. A road trip was born.

Unfortunately there was a big sign at the outside of the fairgrounds building, banning any and all pictures-even large panoramic ones just of the general space. All I can say is that for someone like me, who already has too many hobbies, it was like heaven. More actually. Since there were piles of demonstrations throughout, I saw a weaving demo, and if I do say so myself, I may be hooked. Especially since I spent part of today deciding where a tabletop loom would fit into my craft room. I mean really, I can no longer call it a sewing room or studio when I draw, quilt, sew, knit,paint and now do weaving it would seem.

The loom I am getting no time soon

Now this one, that's better!

As often happens, during our wanderings,we found out about other places to visit-in this case a knitting, fiber and weaving store down the road. After another beautiful eighty degree November ride (yes, I know),  a wonderful brew pub lunch was had by all. As the designated driver, I had to settle for a mere taste of the raspberry wheat beer. Thankfully, I had a to die for build your own grilled cheese which included tomatoes and mushrooms!

The final stop of the day was the aforementioned boutique, where I was shown a room full of weaving looms and spinning wheels, after which I said to myself "group Christmas gift hint"!  As a beginner, I am more than willing to start with a basic tabletop model, but as often happens in the hobby crafting world...not cheap.  Almost three hundred dollars for the basic choice. But sometimes you need ot do what you need to do-even the frugal crafter.

A big step, a my previous knitting was always Joanne style prices, but I figure I'm do for something really nice, as soon as I can figure what to make out of this beautiful yarn!

The verdict for the day?  A wonderful, fun time was had by all, and we need to do this again, really, really soon. And since this is the frugal retiree, I'll assure everyone that I managed to keep my spending under $50, since my gas contribution was a lovely paid for lunch. Admittedly, that fifty dollars was on a single large hank of hand dyed yarn, but again, you gotta do what you gotta do.

And so it was, this week in retirement.