Friday, November 30, 2012


So I didn’t hit the lottery.  Oh well, the dreams were good while they lasted.  I actually very rarely play but after reading an article about the lottery, I just might do it more. 
Of the $2 cost of a Powerball ticket, $1 goes to the prizes and the other dollar is kept by the state lottery organization, said Lingle, who also is executive director of the South Dakota Lottery. After administrative overhead is paid, the remaining amount goes to that state's beneficiary programs.
Some states designate specific expenditures such as education, while others deposit the money in their general fund to help supplement tax revenue
I thought about what I would do if I hit the big one and won $500 million.  While I was thinking about all the groups I would give money to, including my school district, my municipality, and some other organizations I work with, I thought people who hit should share the wealth.  Sure there are taxes taken out and I believe the states who sell the winning tickets probably get a big share of that winner’s taxes, but it occurred to me that people who win lotteries pretty much keep the money for themselves where they should be helping others with it.  I have heard terrible stories of people committing suicide or spending it all on liquor, drugs, prostitutes, and fast cars.  I am sure there are plenty more who spend it wisely and help a lot of people along the way, and that’s the way it should be.
But overall knowing that the $5 or $10 that I spend on lottery tickets can help my state, maybe I might be inclined to play more.  I am certainly not advocating gambling as a way of life or as a way to pull us out of the debt our state is in, but it sure if fun to dream a little, and maybe that’s just the point of it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Invisible Illness

At this time of the year we often try to think of gifts for Christmas.  Often I see posts on Facebook about “invisible illnesses” where people look perfectly fine but are suffering inside.  These kinds of illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Epstein Barr, Lupus, and other autoimmune illnesses can play havoc on ones lives and the lives of their families.  They often go undiagnosed for a long time because the person is uncertain why they feel so wretched yet look totally normal and don’t think they have something really wrong with them.  Many doctors often overlook them as well. 
For many years I suffered from CFS.  It was shortly after my son was born that I developed a high fever that lasted about three days.  After the fever went down, it stayed at 99 degrees for about 2 years and was accompanied by an incredible feeling of fatigue and a mild sore throat and swollen glands.  In addition, I had spells when my memory was so bad I couldn’t remember how to get to work.  Through it all I still went to work and cared for my young son with enormous help from my husband.  It is not an experience I would like to go through again.
I was lucky in that I found a doctor who was sympathetic with my condition and tried various things to determine what I had and how he could help me.  I ultimately went to a doctor who prescribed massive doses of certain vitamins which took me into a remission.  I also think that my symptoms were not as severe as others who may have the disease otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to continue working through it.
One needs to be understanding if a family member is going through such a time in their lives.  Outwardly they don’t appear sick, but inwardly they are fighting everyday to maintain some semblance of a life. It a time like this that they would certainly appreciate a small amount of help in doing daily chores that we often take for granted.  If there is someone in your life who is experiencing anyone of these conditions, doing a small job for them could be the greatest Christmas gift of all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The company I work for has a rather well established Green policy and one part of this is a swap table in the break room where people can put books and other media on instead of throwing them away.  I recently saw a book on the table about ADHD which was written a few years back. Since my son and I have ADHD I am always curious to read any book on that subject to see the latest theory on the “disorder”.  I put the word disorder in quotes as I am not thoroughly convinced that it is truly a disorder.
I read a book a while ago called Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception where the author suggests that rather than thinking of ADHD as being a disorder, that it be thought of as a different personality type.  This theory made all kinds of sense to me.  The author theorizes that there were hunters and farmers in early man times and those personalities have carried over to today.  The reason there are less hunters in the population (ADHD is less of the population) is that hunters are a high risk group and most likely to be killed so that gene was less likely to be passed on through the generations. 
I believe that telling a child they have a “disorder” even if you put it as “special” sets them up for failure.  I don’t think that you should tell your child anything other about why they have difficulties other than helping them cope with things that don’t really go their way during their development.  If you can send them to a school where they are surrounded by other children like them, then they will have less of a problem with self esteem and understand when they get older that everyone is different in their own right.  This is also true by helping your child become aware of diversity at an early age.  By not even thinking that ADHD is a problem and steering them toward thinking of it as a different personality type, then I believe that integration of teaching methods could be done to satisfy all personality types.  Since ADHD is being realized more and more due to population effects, it will eventually become less of a rarity and more of the norm

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sour Grapes

In what can be called a big sour grapes situation, Mitt Romney is now claiming that there were too many minorities how voted for him. A recent article points out that Romney’s campaign was probably one of the least diverse campaign offices around and that seeing a person of a color other than white was a rare sight during his campaign stops.  I noted this myself and was not shocked when I heard his “47% speech”. 
I am sorry to say I just cannot grasp why any minorities would registered as a Republican when that party has become one associated with elitism and privilege.  Being a woman and half Mexican, I don’t believe I could ever register in the GOP.  But being a different color wasn’t all he was complaining about when lamenting about his loss.  He pointed to “gifts” given by the Obama administration.  These so called presents are things like student loans, Social Security and Medicare. I hardly call them “gifts”, but I suppose anyone in the entitled class would consider any help outside of their trust funds and daddy’s wallets is just that.  I just look at all of this as a case of sour grapes and more of a reason why it was a good thing Mr. Romney was not elected.

Monday, November 26, 2012


My husband said to me the other day that he was having a hard time being a Democrat.  It’s not like he was going to register as a Republican or anything, but he was tired of being in a party that was associated with giving handouts.  He and a neighbor were talking about it the other day and both of them were fed up with working hard and getting nothing and seeing others doing nothing and getting so much.  To some extent I agree, but I agree to the point that something needs to be done with the abuses going on.  I believe that if these abuses were taken care of, that a measure of the budget would be taken care of too.
The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about this issue and made some very interesting points.  Their main premise was that entitlements are corrupting this country and have grown significantly over the last twenty five years.  In addition, even though Democrats have been the party associated with entitlements in actuality, according to the WSJ article, it is Republicans who have really jacked up the amount distributed.
What is monumentally new about the American state today is the vast empire of entitlement payments that it protects, manages and finances. Within living memory, the federal government has become an entitlements machine. As a day-to-day operation, it devotes more attention and resources to the public transfer of money, goods and services to individual citizens than to any other objective, spending more than for all other ends combined.
The argument can be made that with today’s economy more and more are deserving of things like food stamps.  It is true that there are more people on food stamps primarily because they have been unable to find a job.  However, entitlements are not just programs for the poor.  Medicare and Social Security are also part of that pot of money, and to me seniors are deserving of it because they have put into the system all those years and should be permitted to take from it.  My issues, like my husband’s issue is the one where generations have lived on handouts and are a leach on society rather than a contributor. 
I personally don’t have issue with paying taxes to help invest in our schools, provide needed infrastructure, and help those who are less fortunate.  But I do have issues with handing over my hard earned dollars to give to someone who is abusing the system and who are making a living off me. In my opinion the abuses to the program is what is in serious need of work rather than the actual amount of money going out.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hank the Cat

Hank is a 10 year old cat who is running to be a US Senator.  No, really.  And even stranger, he appears to be coming in third for this race. Hank received enough write-in votes in the state of Virginia to even be considered and now they are petitioning the White House to request he receive an honorary status on the Senate floor.
A friend of mine and I had this little fantasy that our cats would battle for State Rep a few years back.  She and I live in neighboring districts and thought this would be fun project to do to see how many signatures we could obtain to get them there.  Both of our cats have human sounding names but we decided that we would probably get caught for fraudulent activity and didn’t pursue it.  We actually never thought of doing a write-in campaign. 
This is actually the funniest election news I have heard in a long time.  Hank is a Maine Coon, and my cat, Simon is one too.  He is quite the handsome cat too but I wonder how he will govern if he wins.  Would he create “Hankcare” to allow universal access to vets?  Would he promise a fish in every bowl?  Would he legalize catnip?  What exactly are the issues that Hank would work on?  It’s a fun little fantasy and takes the stress out of all this Election Day related news of suppressed voting and voting irregularities that are going on in Philadelphia. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I ran into a person who I have known for a while but have not talked to for some time recently.  At first when she came up to say “Hello”, I didn’t recognize her face, but did recognize her voice.  She really looked different.  It turned out that she recently had gone through cancer and had lost all of her hair, which was slowly growing back, so she looked quite different than before.
I am not very good at remembering people’s names, and it has gotten worse as I have aged.  Usually when I meet a person it takes me a while to remember their name even after they have told me.  I try doing that thing where I use the name three times in succession and try to build a memory key, but that doesn’t always work.  I think it is odd that often I can remember a person’s voice though and then after a while their name comes to me.  It was that way with my husband.  We had met and dated briefly and then parted for a couple of years.  When I saw him again I couldn’t remember his name when I saw him, but as soon as he spoke his name, and the memory of knowing him before, came to me. 
Memory is a funny thing and age does strange things to it.  It is said that the sense of smell is one of the best triggers for memory there is.  When we smell something that is familiar to us, say the scent of cookies baking, we can remember many things that are associated with that smell.  This is because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain's limbic system, which is an area closely associated with memory.  So maybe if there was a way I could associate a name with a smell maybe that would help me remember better.  But then again, sometimes the smell of some people just makes me sick.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Year of the Woman

According to an article I read recently, 2012 was the Year of the Woman, with women making large gains in getting elected.  Women still represent a meager 12% representation on all governmental levels in this country where they are over 50% of the population.  In the United States, as you know, we have never had a women president while in other countries they have had several women leaders.  The USA does not have any quotas to fill to get more women in office and therefore leave it to chance, while other countries such as Ecuador actually mandate that a certain percentage of women should hold elected office.  Even with those countries taking a progressive lead, overall, women represent only 20% for holding elected office worldwide.
Many factors decide these numbers, mostly it is the expectation that woman are to raise the family and simply do not have the time to dedicate to running for office.  In this country the time both for running and for governing is considerable, not to mention obscenely expensive.  Additionally, the acceptance for a woman to hold an elected office is low even considering a recent study showing that women actually govern better than men.  Since women have gotten the right to vote only in 1920, they have done it in record numbers.  It is a proven fact that when women do vote, their participating numbers are higher.  No wonder every candidate has catered to women to get their vote.
Whether this year is the year for women in office, to me it is not going to THE YEAR until we actually represent the total percentage of total population.  Unfortunately I believe that will be a long, long time coming and I will be worm food when it happens if at all.  Unlike past generations, there is a growing enthusiasm for women have to be taken seriously, both in the boardroom and in the legislative chambers.  Regardless of our uterus, we must be accepted as equal partners who are just as capable as men.  Until that time, the thought of a woman as the leader of the free world will be a small voice yet to be heard.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I read recently that several states have petitioned the White House to secede and create their own governments.  This is following the election and predictably came from states that supported Mitt Romney.  However, it appears that some blue states have also sent petitions.  This is highly disturbing to me.
President Lincoln went through the same thing when he was elected in 1860.  Seven southern states petitioned the White House to secede, and four more followed in quick succession. While they have this right under the constitution, Lincoln refused saying that secession would destroy Democracy:
The distinct issue, "Immediate dissolution or blood"...embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man the question of whether a constitutional republic or democracy -- a government of the people, by the same people -- can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes.
However rather than politics this time, I believe the reason these states’ actions is purely racial.  Will Bunch, author of The Backlash suggests that the Tea Party movement has largely risen because many of the older, white Americans are scared to death their culture is going away.  After reflecting on that premise, I wholeheartedly agree.  We all have to get used to the idea that we are a widely diverse country, and our idea of the leader of these UNITED States is not always going to be an older white male, and frankly I am glad for that. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Little Things

It’s the little things that excite me.  As you may know my husband built a cold frame for me and I ordered an automatic opener for it.  If the temperature goes up above 60° the lid will open.  As you can see from this picture, the lid did open the day after we put it together.  I am so excited!
I know that it is silly that I get so excited over this, but I don’t want my plants in there to have issues because it is too hot and I am not there to open and vent the cold frame.  Since I leave early in the morning, these temperatures don’t rise until well after I have left and I am not really in a position to run home to take care of it.  Even though it is advertised as solar powered it doesn’t have panels, the opener operates on with a piston that adjusts to temperature inside the cold frame or the greenhouse.   When I had heard of these things I thought maybe I would have to run electricity out to the garden, so not having to do that is great.
The one thing I do have to remember is to water.  I do see a fair amount of condensation on the plastic panels so I know that some moisture is happening in there, but I have set up a schedule to water, or at least check the cold frame, weekly to determine if it needs to be watered.  It only takes one 5 gallon watering can so it is not that much and I don’t have to drag the hose out there as I did during the summer.  Maybe next year I can get a water source closer.  My husband did talk about a rain water collection system but it never got done.  I will have to work on him for that. His honey-do list is quite full!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Different Perspectives

As you may know, one of my team members at work recently became an American citizen.  He and I have engaged in various political discussions for the short time I have known him, and I suppose he uses these talks to learn more about the political process.  I am flattered that he would think my experience in the field is worth listening to, but I sometimes wonder what his take on all of this is.  I tend to go a bit off at times standing on my soapbox, as my husband is so fond of saying, but is rather refreshing to be able to talk about this stuff to someone who is so eager to learn.
He is not able to vote quite yet basically because of timing.  He gained his citizenship after the deadline for registering for this election.  It is a pity, because I think it would probably be really cool that his first voting experience is in a big, high profile, Presidential election that we had.  But I am so impressed that he wants to vote while so many don’t.  So many don’t care about the direction this country moves in, and so many don’t think about where their local municipalities are going.  If you look at the numbers of citizens versus the number of registered voters, it is quite alarming to think that basically a third of this country actually takes the time to have their voices heard, and that’s just in a Presidential election.  Despite the fact there are two Election Days in a year, far less vote in what they call “off-cycle” elections - but I digress.
This week we had Election Day, and I hope you exercised your civic duty and voted.  Whether you stood in a long line to do so, you took your time and did your duty.  But don’t stop there.  Exercise your civic duty as often as you can and pay attention to those people who are your public servants. Make sure they are doing what you think they should.  After all, you are living in a country where you can.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Putting the Garden Down

Over the last several months since I built the raised beds, I have been taking pictures showing the growth, or in some cases, the failure of growth, of my garden.  Today I compiled those pictures into a video.  I wanted to do a time lapse kind of thing, but I don't know how to do that so this will have to suffice.

I also ripped all the old plants out and laid straw on top of the beds so that they are prepared for winter.  We had our killing frost and the peppers and scarlet runners were very sorry looking indeed.  I think I was supposed to allow the beans to dry on the vine, but only two of them did. So I may have to lay them out and let them air dry before opening them up and storing them.  If there is something else needed, then you can comment below. I also harvested several of the herbs and bundled them to be dried from the basement rafters. I had planned to make some tea mixes with those; lavender, stevia, chamomile  and lemon verbena.  It will be several weeks until they are dried enough to do that, though.

So the end of another growing season has come.  I am very pleased with the raised beds this year and know that I will have fun planning where things will be growing in the next season.  Meanwhile, I have things in the cold frame that I can concentrate on in the coming winter months.