Month: February 2016

  • Money Money Money

    I've heard said that one should always have 6 months of cash at the ready. I now must assume this means in a mattress, because it certainly can't be retirement income if you are of an age where withdrawing it means paying taxes AND early withdrawal penalties.

    I wish I were more math and money savvy. I wish I had paid more attention instead of letting The Husband deal with finances until he couldn't anymore. If I had been any of the above, I would not have allowed him to use cash out of his investments to build an addition for his mom onto our old house. That decimated the account and was something we couldn't get back out of the house when we sold it.

    But water under the bridge. There's a bit of money left, but I don't want to touch it because, not yet 59 ½ means paying a penalty. Until then I would like to try to live on my social security. The problem is, 2 ½ months after The Husband died, there still IS no social security. The employees at the Social Security office for the most part sound pleasant enough on the phone. I'm thinking that's just  attempt to prevent the person on the other end from become enraged and yelling into their earpieces. They are as incompetent as those employed at the DMV. And really, they just don't care. They don't care whether you are completely broke, if you're out of food, if you can't afford your meds. They don't care. They're working at whatever pace they work, and your sad story isn't going to make a bit of difference.

    So back to that six months of income that you need stored away. I  wish I'd done that, though realistically, there's no way I could have managed it while still raising kids. Any monies squirreled away would eventually have to be dug back out for something or other. The last of my personal 401k was cashed in to pay off my deceased son's college loan. Oy, that was painful.

    So, if you're a girlfriend reading this, statistically speaking, you are going to live longer than your husband. If he is the breadwinner, try to figure out your finances before the bureaucratic sh*t storm hits, because there are tough days ahead before it's all straightened out. It will all get straightened out, right?

  • Moms

    Intellectually I think I need to spend my time in the present and look towards the future. Emotionally I think I spend too much time in the past. It's hard to leave it because there's a much loved son there.

    My brother just had a birthday. Whenever we call each other, we spend some time in the past too. This time we had a lot of present to discuss also. Our mother has Alzheimer's just like dad did. She forgot his birthday for the first time. (I was extra glad that I took time out of my ohsobusy schedule to call him and sing happy birthday.)

    Mom is still living alone, with her dachshund, just two miles from my brother. Thus far he feels she can still manage alone. She eats, she feeds and walks the dog.  Unlike dad, she is physically healthy. She will turn 79 next month. Along with comments such as, "she'll outlive us both" and "only the good die young," we did discuss the realities of "what next?" We discussed an aid coming in to help her, maybe a live-in, and the likely eventuality of nursing home care.

    Dad spent the last three weeks of his life living with us, eventually on hospice care. Mom has steadfastly refused to even consider moving here to the Midwest (insert huge sigh of relief) so being her caregiver is off the table. The only twinge of guilt I have is because my brother has really been saddled with huge responsibility with both parents. Plus he worries about his own future. Already a cancer survivor and two parents with Alzheimer's.

    Just one of my worries is becoming a burden to my kids. (Have I already done that?) It's probably something most mothers think about.

    No answers but sharing is good.


    Mom at nephew's wedding two years ago.



    Two winters ago we had a little family nesting in our tree. It was fun to watch them from the upstairs window. No nesting this year.

  • Post Superbowl 50

    So the game this year was a real sleeper....unless you are defense minded, or enjoy fumbles, turnovers and penalties. Broncos 24, Panthers 10. Big money must have been on the Panthers though. I wouldn't have cared about the outcome much, but I have to have someone to root for so I chose the Broncos because a son and a niece live in Denver. I was glad they won so Peyton Manning can retire on top. If he chooses to retire. Apparently I missed some good commercials, as well as the brouhaha over the political tone of the half time show. On one of the commercials I did catch that this is the last season of The Good Wife. I don't watch a lot of TV, but that is one show I have watched from the beginning, so I'll miss it.

    I almost missed the game itself because I had the puppy bowl on and it was kitten half time. Cupcake was enthralled. I'm not sure I would have had the heart to change the channel on her if she hadn't gone off to be distracted by her kibble.

    The morning was taken up by Sunday morning news shows. While I'm still focused and paying attention, I'm turned off by how ugly things turn once the caucuses and primaries begin. Despite promises to the contrary, it's heading in that direction as usual.

    I did finally get the rest of my downstairs bookshelves done. That was pretty much the point when I remembered there are bookcases upstairs too.  I finished a book this morning too, and was about to choose another when I vowed to finish the other two I am reading first. Does anyone else read more than one book at a time? I'm not sure when (or why) I started that silliness.

    I am now a few movies into my quest to see the Oscar nominees. Not all of them of course, just some of the major ones. There are about half a dozen or so that I'd still like to see. Does anyone here have Oscar Parties? I know two families who dress up as though they will be walking the red carpet themselves. I will watch the beginning, the fashion and intro monologue. In pajamas. Rarely do I stay up until the end. Maybe I will this year since I'll have seen the movies in that category.


    Happy Chinese New Year and Fat Tuesday. Or Shrove Tuesday, day before Ash Wednesday and Mardi Gras.

  • Beating Down Anxiety

    Today I am going to the movies with Lona May. It's like a three-fer. Actually getting out of my comfort (home) zone, and meet with a friend, and cross another movie off my list. I'm really looking forward to it. We're grabbing a bite at Panera so we can chat a bit, then going to see The Finest Hour. Will update a review-ish later, but the previews look great and everyone who's seen it said it was awesome.

    So, I had a much needed and great girl-time this afternoon. We met about an hour before the movie and sat with coffee in front of a fire at Panera. That gave us ALMOST enough time to catch up and gossip a bit before driving a couple of blocks to the theater. I thought the movie was enjoyable. Based on a true story, light on plot but great special effects. We saw it at an IMAX  in 3D too. I'd say you could wait to see it on demand but getting the full magnitude of that storm, ship and, oy, the ocean, made the big screen worth while.

    Oh, oh, almost forgot to mention, my date didn't utter a word during the movie. Perfect! =)

  • Real Life

    Yesterday was a real life day. I'm having more and more of them as the Facebook shine wears off. It's like beating an addiction, but it's all good.

    It was the first day using my new turntable. Oh what fun it was digging out my box of OLD albums and playing them all day. It was such a mood pick-me-up. Music was a huge part of my life...until it wasn't. After Dylan's death, I actually had to avoid it. Every song triggered memories and made me cry. I'm too old to appreciate new music. So at least yesterday the answer was old music. By old I mean sixties, seventies and eighties, the music I grew up with, the artists I went to see in concert. A couple of times I found myself dancing. That can't be bad.

    I put the turntable in the living room. While deciding where to put the albums, I thought it might be time to clean off the bookshelves, arrange and cull books. It turned out to be a much bigger project than I initially expected. Going through William's books was emotional. I'm sorry to say I really hadn't paid much attention to his shelves before. I spent a lot of time browsing and arranging, deciding to keep rather than donate. It's impossible to part with my own books, apparently it's also impossible to part with his books also. (One son inherited book hoarding.) Needless to say, I didn't finish the chore yesterday, but I did get 3 out of 4 book shelves done. Will finish up today. My lungs will be happy when the dust settles. (Does anyone dust behind the books on their shelves?)


    This shelf is just cookbooks and gardening books. Below is mostly art and architecture.


    Happy weekend everyone!


    Had to add because this is weighing on my mind. Last night, in response to a Facebook entry about my social security still not coming through for me, I received a private message from a long time online friend who hasn't really participated much on Facebook. She responded to my hypothetical question, "what do people do who have no savings, have a mortgage, have debt, but have no income?" Her response was, "they are me." While this just reinforced how lucky I am, I felt her fear and had no answers for her. I couldn't think of a thing she hasn't thought of herself these last two years of no work, and finding herself in her sixties and unhireable. She's afraid of losing her house at this point, but mortgage payments are still lower than any rents of apartments in her area. "There but for the grace of god go I."

  • Deciphering The Caucus

    It's taken me a lot of years to have the interest to even learn how a caucus works. It's only been the last few years that my casual interest in politics went into warp drive. Now I understand what goes on at a caucus, (how quaint) how easy it is to cheat, and thanks to the Internet and everyone's cell phones, be caught cheating, and how antiquated a system it is. Oh, but also why there would be incredible resistance to giving up such a (quaint, antiquated) hands on, neighborly, democratic way of voting.

    And all this was hammered home yesterday while watching the process and the returns, and this morning, reading the various analyses, opinions, and seeing videos of some of the problems in action.


    But there's still so much I don't understand. For instance, the DNC can't be very happy with how close Bernie came to winning. (And but for a few coin tosses and some machinations of Hillary supporters, might have actually won.) So, would they try to replace her with someone the party sees as stronger, maybe someone with less baggage? She's already got the establishment, politics-as-usual endorsements, as well as millions of dollars being shoveled into her account. Bernie says he's in it to win it, but does he have enough left in his trick bag to get him the nomination? The "kids" (young new voters)  are sending him money, attending his rallies, volunteering, but yesterday it looked like they can't be counted on to actually get out to VOTE when the time comes. Will that change?

    The republican side: Cruz upset Trump and is now leading that party. He did his homework, prepared well, did the full Grassley, and it looks like it all paid off for him. Shrewd. Rubio isn't far behind. I think it might come down to those two going head to head as I can't see Trump in it much longer.


    This morning I started a big pot of hot Hungarian smoked sausage soup. It's still simmering so the vegetables get done. Will divide it up later and freeze some. As it turned out, it became a perfect day for soup. It's raining, hailing and thundering. Also a perfect day for goofing off now that I paid the fee by getting somethings accomplished first.

  • Rabbit, Rabbit

    So it's happy February. The calendars have been flipped. Can Spring be far behind? I went out this morning to find heavy frost covering everything. Now, a few hours later, with the sun shining, not only is it all gone, but most of the leftover snow has disappeared too. Thanks to a few days of above freezing temps.

    Will probably turn the boob tube on to talking heads today so I can keep an eye on the Iowa caucuses. I smiled when I saw this this morning:


    I don't know of anyone, who isn't already a Hillary supporter, who is ready to settle yet.


    Today is a chore day. "Big" laundry days are when I strip beds and do not only the linens and blankets but the spreads and comforters too. Then it's outside for pooper scooping. It's a pet peeve (no pun intended) having to clean up after a dog who doesn't belong to me. I clean up after my own whether it's in my yard or my parkway, or in someone else's. Last night someone was not as courteous.

    Next will be some more furniture and book shelf rearranging. Last of the chores I intend to accomplish is a drop off trip to the Salvation Army, then listing a few items on Craigslist.

    That, along with dog walks should see me through to evening, when I allow myself to chill out with a book or a binge watch. Anyone have good recommendations of either?