I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When Does the Horror Stop?

How can you look at images like this and not feel it personally? I think in this world today we can relate all too well with the people of Mumbai. We need to keep asking ourselves -- where does all the hatred come from? Why is this kind of horror related to religion for so many?

This woman lost her son, his name was Gohil. He could be mine or yours.

I have lots of questions, not a lot of answers.

Sounds Familiar to Me!

Dear Employee,

As a result of the reduction of money budgeted for all departments in your area, we are forced to cut down on our number of personnel. Under this plan, older employees will be asked to take early retirement, thus permitting the retention of younger people who will represent our future.

Therefore, a program to phase out older personnel by the end of the next fiscal year, via retirement, will be placed into effect immediately. This program will be known as SLAP (Severance of Late-Aged Personnel). Employees who are SLAPPED will be given the opportunity to look for jobs outside the company. SLAPPED employees can request a review of their employment records before actual retirement takes place. This review phase of the program will be called SCREW (Survey of Capabilities of Retired Elderly Workers).

All employees who have been SLAPPED and SCREWED may file an appeal with upper management. This appeal is called SHAFT (Study by Higher Authority Following Termination). Under the terms of the new policy, an employee may be SLAPPED once, SCREWED twice, but may be SHAFTED as many times as the company deems appropriate.

If an employee follows the above procedure, he/she will be entitled to get: HERPES (Half Earning for Retirement Personnel's Early Severance) or CLAP (Combined Lump sum Assistance Payment). As HERPES and CLAP are considered benefit plans, any employee who has HERPES or CLAP will no longer be SLAPPED or SCREWED by the company.

Management wishes to assure the younger employees who remain on board that the company will continue its policy of training employees through our: Special High Intensity Training program (SHIT). We take pride in the amount of SHIT our employees receive. We have given our employees more SHIT than any other company in the area. If any employee feels they do not receive enough SHIT on the job, see your supervisor immediately. Your supervisor is specially trained to make sure you receive all the SHIT you can stand.

And once again, thanks for the countless years of service with us! Have a great day!

Human Resources

Friday, November 28, 2008

Searching For Beauty

The news has been so grim the past few days, the terroists in Mombai, the Wal-Mart employee killed by frenzied shoppers, the picture of a starving child in Africa and suddenly I felt an almost desperate need to find and share a little beauty. This picture I found quite by accident on the web and loved it! The others I just picked randomly from my photos because they're beautiful.

Posted by Picasa And, of course, my best friend, Sam Schnauzer.

One Down, Two to Go!

Thanksgiving is now behind us and we can all start looking forward to the next winter holiday, Christmas! Here in Seattle the big shopping began – can you believe this? At 4 AM! That’s when many of the big stores and malls opened! I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass! I really don’t like to shop any time, but certainly not this time of year and I don’t feel pressured to do so even for Christmas because – first of all, I have no grandchildren and we made such a big deal out of Christmas when all four of our kids were little, anything now would seem paltry. I sewed clothes and made toys for most of November and early December for many years. Now days we prefer to spend the money on plane tickets so as many of us as possible can spend the holidays together.

This morning I was catching up on some columns from the New York Times and got a real kick out of Gail Collins column from yesterday regarding counting our blessings. No, it most definitely is not going to be the brightest and best holiday season ever, but we still have things to be thankful for – great time to buy a condo in Reno, or a plane ticket to or from Dallas or Disney World! Bargains do, indeed, abound!

And we are the insolvent innocents! Retirement funds evaporated and who knows how we’ll celebrate birthdays in the coming years, but we can always take comfort in the fact that it wasn’t our fault! If it had been left to us, the subprime derivative never would have been invented in the first place and a clean conscience is worth more than all the golden parachutes, indoor squash courts and $13 million vacation houses around the world. And we can also be thankful we’re not in Iceland!

And then the really big blessing! George Bush is almost gone! Sure wish he’d stop dragging his feet though and just get on with it and bless Crawford, Texas with his presence.

And there’s Barack Obama! Now he’s a major blessing! in spite of everyone trying to second guess him with regard to his appointments. Maybe we should just focus on being grateful we aren’t widely respected economists ourselves, because like Collins, I feel God only knows what they’re going to do with this latest hairball

So, enjoy the holiday movies, be grateful you’re not related to Ashlee Simpson who just named her baby Bronx Mowgli????? And although we can never feel quite the same about turkey after that Sarah Palin video, lighten up! Start planning Christmas dinner and try to figure out how you can afford a bottle of bubbly for New Years Eve.

As for me, I’m going to kick back and watch Il Divo and wish to hell I was fifty years younger – well, at least for as long as the DVD lasts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sky Watch #19

I can't claim to have taken this photo, it was sent to me by a friend. Still, I couldn't resist using it for this particular Sky Watch -- how often do we get to see God smile? I love God's sense of humor.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

This was a recent sunset -- no smile in the sky, just a beautiful sight!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Counting My Blessings

I sat down at my computer this evening intending to listen to some beautiful music, play a little solitaire, enjoy a glass of wine and suddenly I felt such an incredible sense of gratitude for and to all of the lovely and loving people that I have met through blogging! Over the past six months you have given me the joy of such a very special community of friends. Friends that care for and support one another in spite of the distances that separate us, the differences in our lives -- past and present. It was such an overwhelming feeling that I knew I simply had to express my feelings, my joy, my gratitude on this Thanksgiving Eve. I wish for each of you, joy and love and laughter, not just for this holiday season, but always.

A very Happy Thanksgiving!

Prayers for Mumbai

Terrorists are holding hostages in Mumbai, 80 people are known dead and at least 250 have been injured, including children. Please, let us all hold good thoughts and prayers for the people of Mumbai.

Golf for Beginners

Works for me!

Our Financial Nightmare!

How could this have happened and why! Those are two questions I’ve been asking myself a lot lately regarding the economic disaster this country finds itself drowning in. And not just this country -- it has had major repercussions all over the world. I’m not the most savvy person where big money is concerned; I’m not sure exactly how it all functions even when things are going well – it’s pretty much a foreign language to me. But I do try to grasp the basics and lately even that is all but impossible because it’s hard to believe so many “intelligent, knowledgeable” people could have so totally screwed up! And from what I’ve read over the past several months, I’m not the only one that is totally disgusted.

Thomas Friedman, Op-Ed columnist with the NYT apparently feels exactly the same way and has a great piece today on the latest meltdown, Citigroup. I would urge you to read the entire piece, but I will quote a few of the things he had to say. The NYT piece that he quotes is one from the front page of the Sunday NYT by Eric Dash and Julie Creswell about Citigroup, entitled “Citigroup Pays for a Rush to Risk”

“That article exposes in searing detail – using Citigroup as Exhibit A – how some of our country’s best paid bankers were overrated dopes who had no idea what they were selling, or greedy cynics who did know and turned a blind eye. But it wasn’t only the bankers. This financial meltdown involved a broad national breakdown in personal responsibility, government regulation and financial ethics.”

The thing I guess that amazes me is that there were so many people in on all of this, people who had no business buying a home, with nothing down and nothing to pay for two years! People who had no business pushing such mortgages, but made a fortune doing so; people who had no business bundling those loans into securities and selling them to third parties as if they were AAA bonds, but made a fortune doing so; people who had no business buying those bonds and putting them on their balance sheets so they could earn a little better yield, but made fortunes doing so.

That’s just some of how we got where we are today – almost a total breakdown of responsibility at every link in our financial chain, and now we either bail out the people who brought us here or risk a total systemic crash. These are the wages of our sins. Friedman says he used to say our kids will pay dearly for this. But actually, it’s our problem. For the next few years we’re all going to be working harder for less money and fewer government services – if we’re lucky!

So, with those cheerful thoughts, let me again wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

More Thanksgiving Humor

I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you can spend it with those you love, that you run out of numbers as you count your blessings. And because a smile and a giggle on any holiday are good things that we can all use, I send you some extra ones just for good measure!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joy, Beauty and Thanksgiving

This is a brief but lovely reminder of the joy, the love, the beauty that is available to all of us if we just take the time to look, to listen, to see. Click here for a glimpse at it all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Ruby Tuesday!

Posted by Picasa

My World for Tuesday #5

A couple of months ago I took a bus tour to the Black Diamond Coal Mine Museum and found it to be very interesting and colorful. Maybe I found it interesting because I had never really thought of coal being mined here in the northwest. Here is a little of the history and a link where you can read more and see more pictures. http://www.blackdiamondmuseum.org/

In the early 1880's The Black Diamond Coal Company of Nortonville, CA was facing a monumental task. As the coal supply they were mining was beginning to deplete, they faced moving their entire operation -- miners, their families, equipment and all -- 1,000 miles north to a remote area in Washington Territory where a rich and plentiful seam of high grade coal promised to keep miners busy for the next hundred years. The area also provided all the timber they needed to brace mine tunnels and build a town. By 1885, the Company had completely settled in the new town they named "Black Diamond".

Coal is no longer mined here but the little town hasn't changed a great deal. There is an incredible restaurant called The Black Diamond Bakery and the food is fabulous!

It was fun and interesting trip back into history. I know that for those of you who live in England or Europe, what we here in the states consider history is almost like last year to you -- our country is still very young in comparison. The area around Black Diamond, WA doesn't have all the spectacular beauty of so many places in our state, but it is an interesting and fun place to visit.

Black Diamond Coal Museum and boxcar in the snow.

This was called the mule train.

The larger building below was the jail and the small one next to it was the fire department -- a long hose on huge wheels.

A Tad of Humor for This Tight Holiday Season

My Dear friends and family,
Somewhat embarrassing to admit, I'm not getting an annual bonus and Christmas is tight this year. I will be making bedroom slippers for you all as gifts. Please let me know your sizes. You'll most likely agree that it's a splendid idea, and should you wish to do the same, I've included the instructions below.

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads: You need four maxi pads to make a pair. Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top. Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part. Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc.

These slippers are: * Soft and Hygienic * Non-slip grip strips on the soles * Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh * No more bending over to mop up spills * Disposable and biodegradable * Environmentally safe * Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the Sand Bags. I've attached a photo of the first pair I made so that you can see the nifty slippers for yourself.... Awaiting your response. It's crucial that I get the right size for each one of you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little Early Thanksgiving Humor

This isn't my story, but one a friend sent and I could relate!

One November afternoon when my daughter was in kindergarten, I
Picked her up after school. She bobbed out to the car and crawled into
The back seat.

"What did you do today?" I asked.

She couldn't wait to tell me. "We learned that boys are
Different from girls" she chirped. Looking into the rearview mirror I
Could just see the top of her head. "My teacher told us that boys have a
Thing the girls don't," she added.

"Well, yes they do..." I said cautiously.

Then she piped up again. "That's how girls know that boys are
Boys," she said. "They see that thing hanging down and they know that
he's a boy..." I mentally calculated the distance home. Our five-minute
Commute already felt like an hour.

"Did you know that when the boys see a girl they puff up?"

My palms were beginning to sweat. "Um...well.." I was still
Searching for something to say, to change the subject, when she asked,
"Why do the girls like boys to have those things?" Well I didn't know
What to say. I mean, what woman hasn't asked herself that very same
Question at least once? "Oh, well...um..." I stammered.

She didn't wait for my answer. She had her own. "It's cause it
Moves when they walk and when girls see that they know they're boys and
that's when they like them. Then the boy sees the girl and he puffs up,
Then the girl really knows he likes her too. And then they get married.
And then they get cooked."

That last part confused me a bit, but on the whole I thought she
Had a pretty good grasp on things. As soon as we got home she hopped out
Of the car, fishing something out of her school bag. "I drew a picture,"
She said. "...you want to see?"

I wasn't all that sure I did, but I looked anyway. I had to sit
Down. There, all puffed up so to speak, looking mighty attractive for
The ladies, was a crayon drawing of a great big Tom Turkey. His snood,
The thing that hangs down over his beak, the thing that female turkeys
Find so irresistible, was magnificent. His tail feathers were standing
Tall and proud.

She was a little offended that I laughed so hard at her drawing.
I laughed until I cried. But I told her I loved it - and I did - and she
Got over her pique. That was the end of that... For her anyway. But I'm
Not so lucky. Every year I remember that conversation, and to be honest
I haven't looked at a turkey or a man the same way since.


Another Anniversary – Another Reminder

As we remember this day 45 years ago it serves as a reminder that even one of the most powerful figures in American history could lose his life in a matter of a few deadly minutes on the sunny, streets of downtown Dallas, Texas. It was a beautiful day there and I remember it well. I was going to the University of North Texas in Denton – about thirty miles from Dallas, but I happened to be in Dallas that day in order to go to a dentist at Baylor University. My appointment was at one o’clock. I remember the groups of people huddled together listening to radios as I parked at the Dental Clinic. I remember the looks on their faces – horror, disbelief, fear, tears. I stopped one man who had a dazed look on his face and asked him what was happening. He stared at me for a minute and then said, “They’ve killed our president! Kennedy is dead!” Then he turned and walked away. I walked in to my appointment with my own dazed look and tears running down my face. I will never forget that moment.

And with those memories still so vivid, I found myself this morning being very frightened for our new President-elect – there have been so many threats; there are so many nut cases – like Oswald, who are angry and bitter about so many things; still so many racial issues that have never been completely put to rest. I know security is so much tighter than it was in 1963, so much more awareness of the dangers, but when you have witnessed such violence it is hard to forget.

Kennedy ushered in a new and incredible period for this country and I believe Obama has the ability and desire to bring about that “new day” we have all been talking about over the last year. I think we have come from “hoping” to “believing” that it is possible. So, as we celebrate the life and mourn the death of John F. Kennedy, let us all renew our faith in our country and in our new leaders. Let us once again become a country the rest of the world can respect, admire and look to for hope of a new day.

What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

Portland Time