End of Week 267 – That’s his story and he’s sticking to it….

20170301_111511

There’s not much to talk about on the eating and exercising front, so I thought I’d give an update on our solar experiment.  This week’s picture is from back when we got our solar panels installed.  The system went live the beginning of April this year.  By the end of May our bill with our regular electric company was a NEGATIVE $73, meaning we produced more power than we used and sold the excess to our electric company.  By the end of June our NEGATIVE balance had grown to $375.

It is now mid July, and the temperatures and humidity have shot up and stayed there.  This summer is on track to be constantly hot, humid, and miserable.  We will see what happens to our credit balance with the electric company.  The air conditioning is on all the time, but we have it set on 76-77.  Last summer we had a problem with our house getting incredibly hot whenever the outside temps hit around 95.  The heat from the day was getting trapped in our attic (where the AC ductwork is) and heating the air coming from the AC unit.  We do not seem to have that problem this year despite having several 95 degree days already.  I think it is a combination of my husband figuring out a way to vent some air from the attic and having the solar panels on the roof.  I believe the panels capture most of the sun’s heat and keep the air in the attic from getting too hot.

We lease our solar panels – only the very rich can afford to buy them.  We pay a flat $268 per month to lease the panels.  What it costs to lease depends on how many panels you have – we have a lot.  There are several companies that have lease programs.  We use Solar City and have been very satisfied so far.  The only time something went wrong with the equipment (a problem not of Solar City’s making) they knew about it before we did.

We have family visiting from Germany.  Haven’t seen them in years.  It is so nice to have them here!

This week the news has revolved around a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian attorney.  At least that is what we were told at first.  As the week progressed, the number of meeting attendees increased.  We are now up to 5 or 6 people, all associated with SCROTUS somehow.  The administration and SCROTUS say it was a “nothing meeting” that lasted no time and involved nothing.  They seem oblivious to the real point.  When DTJr received an email about having the meeting in the first place it stated that the meeting was specifically for the purpose of DTJr obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton that the Russian government wanted him to have.  It doesn’t matter that the actual meeting was a disappointment; the point is DTJr’s intent.  He was willing to work with Russia, somehow, to get information that would be detrimental to Clinton’s campaign.  Russia wanted SCROTUS to win, and this was just one of many attempts to influence the outcome of the election.

The problem with the administration’s reaction to this meeting is the same as the problem they have with the entire Russian issue.  They keep pointing out that Russia didn’t change any votes.  That is probably true, at least physically.  I really don’t think anyone working on Russia’s behalf went in and switched votes or anything like that.  However, just like with the meeting, that’s not the point.  The point is that any hacking occurred at all.  The point is while there may not have been any actual vote changing, Russia certainly tried to affect US voters psychologically.  The point is that they tried at all, and if anyone in the US worked with them in any way they should be made to answer for their actions.  In any event, this is going to take a while and we must be patient.

Until next week….

End of Week 266 – Same Stuff, Different Stage…

black-ribbon

I’m still trying to figure out my eating and exercise.  Got to most of my workouts last week, but the gym is so humid in this weather that I get to work dripping wet.  At work we are trying to get a major project done with almost no people.  Retirement is looming and I need to prepare paperwork.  I have a lot on my mind.

The main distraction this week has been the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany and the business that preceded it.  So many things this week left the US citizenry shaking its collective head.

In Poland SCROTUS made a speech that was well received by the bussed in crowd.  He spent most of the speech criticizing the USA and the freedoms for which it is supposed to stand.  Think about that for a minute.  We now have an appointed president who goes overseas and trashes the USA, and then expects to be adored by the people he trashed.  We shake our collective head.

At the summit in Hamburg, how it went depends on whose interpretation you believe.  The meeting between SCROTUS and Putin was big news.  We were told SCROTUS confronted Putin about Russian meddling in the election.  “Confronted” may be a strong word – how much can SCROTUS really challenge his handler?  Putin denied any meddling.  The minions of SCROTUS then said he listened to Putin and moved on to more important matters. (Question: What is more important than the event that is the basis for our democratic republic?)  The minions of Putin said SCROTUS “accepted” Putin’s denial and stated that some people in the US are feeding the conspiracy.  Who are we to believe?  Personally, I don’t fully believe either one, but I think the description given by Putin’s people is probably closer to the truth.  After all, SCROTUS had to stay on his handler’s good side.  What it boils down to is a lot of nothing.  We shake our collective head.

There were meetings about trade.  There were meetings about climate change.  And there were headlines about how all the nations were in agreement except the US, and the others are going to do what they have to, without us.  SCROTUS is taking the USA toward an increasingly isolationist position.  He calls it “America First”, but a more accurate name would be “America Alone”.  This is not a realistic position in a world of instant communication and social media.  We shake our collective head.

During one of the big summit meetings SCROTUS left, and his daughter sat in his place.  Picture that.  The person representing our nation in a gathering of 19 other nations wasn’t our Secretary of State, or one of our other diplomatically experienced professionals, or even someone knowledgeable in national security.  The person representing our nation was an unqualified, inexperienced, apolitical (by her own admission, if you believe it), fashion designer!  And his daughter, to boot!  This is completely unacceptable, even for a short time.  We shake our collective head.

There will be plenty of head shaking to come what with North Korea, the Middle East, and the healthcare debate looming.  Those are topics for another time.  For now, we need to comprehend how embarrassing SCROTUS was; how he damaged the way our country is perceived by the rest of the world; how we are no longer the leader of the free world; and how he has damaged the national psyche.  I hope we survive to consider all this.

Until next week….

 

End of Week 265 – Happy Politically Incorrect Day…

newyorkmarch

Ever feel like you’re backsliding and have no idea why?  That’s me now.  I’m sure I need more gym time, but I’m not sure how to go about it.  This time of year the gym gets really hot in the afternoon and evening.  That leaves more morning time.  For some reason I have yet to fathom, it has been very difficult getting up lately.  I need to meditate on the problem and maybe go through a revamp.  I seem to be doing that a lot.

I hope everyone has a great Independence Day, which is Tuesday.  My reason for posting this week’s picture is to do what everyone else does on all the other “patriotic” holidays – emphasize the true meaning of the day.  A lot of people forget what this day is really about.

Independence Day is NOT a military holiday.  It is not another Memorial Day; not another Veterans’ Day.  Sure, we fought a war to win our independence, and the military is definitely a part of our nation’s history, but that one brief mention is all we need in this case.  Independence Day celebrates our freedoms, such as freedom of assembly as shown in this week’s picture.  Such as freedom of religion (or FROM religion, for that matter), and freedom of speech.  Additionally, Independence Day celebrates our history – not just our military exploits, but everything else as well.  It celebrates that we are a nation of immigrants; that the ingenuity of many considered “minorities” has advanced the way we live in this nation; that (despite today’s political climate) this nation progressed over the decades to enfranchise immigrant citizens, people of color, and women.

Independence Day is a time to celebrate our diversity.  By “diversity” I don’t mean everything has to be from a minority point of view.  To me, one has diversity only if everyone is represented.  And contrary to the wishes of some, believe it or not those of us with a little less pigment in our skin cells are still around and still part of the great national pattern.  That pattern includes people of every hue, every economic level, every political persuasion, and quite a few very interesting cultural backgrounds.  No single group should feel that only their perspective should be represented.  That went on for decades – far too long – in the past when US history was presented from a “whites only” perspective.  That was wrong and is being corrected, but letting the pendulum swing too far in the other direction is not the solution – just a different type of distortion.

We have a similar problem with the way we perceive the US military.  Back during the Viet Nam conflict the pendulum had swung way too far toward “anti-military” and the result was mistreatment of the rank and file military members by the citizens back home.  I was against the conflict, but in a broader, more comprehensive way.  I did not blame those who fought in the conflict; who were simply doing their jobs and following orders.  But many did.  Now, decades later, the country is going through what I call its Viet Nam Guilt Trip.  The pendulum has come back and traveled too far in the other  direction.  There isn’t a day now that someone either in person, on TV, or in print doesn’t tell me to “thank a vet”, “remember our heroes”, or beg me to sign up to donate tons of money to a military oriented charity.

My father was a vet; I’m married to a vet.  I cannot support the military for reasons I won’t go into here, but they are, again, very comprehensive and basic.  In fact, they are philosophical – and I’m sure would be quite unpopular.  I am definitely not politically correct in this area.  But this is why I try to emphasize that Independence Day is not a military holiday.  We have quite enough of those already.

Until next week….

End of Week 264 – And the Tweet Goes On….

MikeysShowAgain2014

I got to the gym all 6 days this week.  It felt good.  Next week I’ll probably miss Friday and Saturday because my husband is having minor surgery on Friday, but this past week was good.  Eating is still a challenge.  I’m trying to figure out what to do.

This week’s picture is of my son and his band, Fate Eternal.  They have found a place to play on Wednesday nights.  A bar called “Tom’s Bullpen” has open mic night every Wednesday.  It is so unusual to find a place that lets metal bands play.  However, one of the owners happens to be a metal fan.  The guys have a blast there.

Work was an adventure this past week.  Our computer system is constantly finding new and more imaginative ways to mess us up.  And on top of that, I had a person from out-of-state call me on a complaint they filed against one of our banks.  I’m used to angry people, to people who claim an institution is discriminating against them, to people who think our office is there just to agree with the banks.  None of that bothers me.  This person was no different until he said one thing, “I know you white people!”  Until he said that I had no idea what color this guy is.  Still don’t for that matter.  I’ve never seen him – only talked to him on the phone.  And I’m not sure why he assumed I am “white”.  I am Caucasian, but why would he conclude that when he’s never seen me?  Personally, I don’t care if a person is plaid, from Mars, and worships Boulder the God of Rocks.  All the same to me.  I investigate whatever comes my way.  I’ve never had the race thing thrown at me personally, and when he did that I terminated our phone conversation.  There is a lot I’m going to miss about my job.  This type of thing is not on that list.  I’m sure we will hear from him again.

Remember the Russian election meddling that SCROTUS insisted, again and again, was “fake news”, “lies”, and a “witch hunt”?  Well, this week he tweeted (of course) that Obama knew about the meddling during his presidency and did nothing about it.  Ok, which is it?  Did the Russians meddle or not?  One cannot stop what is “fake” and not happening.  What this amounts to is an admission on the part of SCROTUS that Russia did, in fact, try to throw the election to him.  Of course, his supporters are saying none of the votes were really changed.  First, we don’t know that yet, and second, that’s not the point anyway.

I wish people would get off the thing about whether vote totals were changed.  The fact that Russia did anything at all trying to damage us, and very likely had an effect indirectly (propaganda), should be enough to continue the investigation by the special counsel and any other investigation that may be going on.  As for vote totals, SCROTUS lost the popular vote by at least 3 million even if Russia changed some of them.  He was not elected. He was appointed by the electoral college.  I consider this presidency illegitimate; not that it means anything – just my opinion.

There are many more questions about this administration than simply the Russians.  We must be patient.  Discovering the truth takes time.  In this era of instant communication and gratification, that is something many have forgotten.  And in the meantime, SCROTUS is destroying our country and has lost the respect of the rest of the world.

Until next week….

End of Week 263 – Two for the Price of One…

0204131910

Well, up until last week I’d been gaining weight with no explanation since I’d been going to my workouts and watching my diet.  I did notice, however, that my lower legs and ankles were swelling, so I thought a lot of the weight might be fluid.  To battle that I started wearing my old pressure stockings again, and trying not to sit too long at one time.  After a while I could tell my body was letting go of more fluid than usual.  Then I got on the scale and had dropped 5 or 6 pounds!  Just goes to show we need to pay attention to all our bodily functions and parts, not just the number on the scale.

HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY to all the dads I know – my husband, my step-dad, my brothers, my friends, and even my son, who has assumed a kind of unofficial part-time dad role regarding his fiancé’s little boy.  He’s doing a very good job.  He will be the first to tell you he learned from the best.  This week’s picture is my wonderful husband, who sometimes says he spent too much time working to be a good dad while our son was growing up.  My son begs to differ, big time.  Hopefully, someday Dad will realize he did a great job.

Today is also my birthday.  It is one of those birthdays that falls on Fathers’ Day.  Happens about every 7 years or so.  I’m to the point where I enjoy knowing I’ve made it another year, but am beyond making a fuss over it.  The main thing about turning 64 is thinking about the potential changes at 65.  It’s time to start planning for things like Medicare, since I’ll be retired before I reach 65.  It’s also time to double down on trying to get in shape and losing weight – easier said than done, but I’m determined.

On the political front, SCROTUS has confirmed that he is being investigated by the independent counsel regarding possible obstruction of justice.  Of course, he didn’t simply state this.  He sent angry tweets.  This would have been big news if it had not been for one thing.  Last week a homeless supporter of Bernie Sanders opened fire on a group of Republican congresspersons and staffers practicing for their annual ball game.  They were at a ball park in Alexandria, VA.

This horrific act had the usual effect of temporarily uniting the Dems and the Reps, but it didn’t last long.  Soon the republicans were blaming Democratic rhetoric for the shooting, saying they hope everyone on the other side will “tone down the rhetoric now”. They seem to forget all the rhetoric they spouted over the past 8 years, and all the name calling and insults currently being hurled at anyone who does not support SCROTUS.

They also do not seem to realize that the rest of us noticed there was no call for civility after a white conservative stabbed three people, killing two of them; or after a white conservative gunned down a group of black people at a bible study in a church; or after any of the other mass shootings that weren’t done by Muslims or immigrants or anti-SCROTUS liberals (like, pretty much all of them).  In fact, the conservatives have come to basically the same conclusions this time as in all the other times: All our problems will be solved when 1) Liberals quit opposing the conservatives and the current administration, and, 2) everyone decides to carry a gun.

It is amazing that the right thinks this tragedy demonstrates how everyone should “bear arms”.  I’m not suggesting banning guns.  That would not be practical or constitutional.  But what would be wrong with stronger background checks?  Or with closing existing loopholes? Or with limiting the size of magazines?  None of these actions would keep a normal, stable American adult from purchasing a firearm.

Now we wait to see what happens regarding the Mueller investigation.  Will SCROTUS try to fire Mueller?  Will he try to fire DAG Rosenstein?  Stay tuned….

Until next week….

 

 

 

End of Week 262 – Possibilities…

NotMyPresident

I’m writing this with Senator Lindsey Graham in my ears from Face the Nation.  He admitted that Russia probably tried to mess with our election.  However, practically every other sentence he uttered was some form of “The president did not collude with Russia.”  I think that’s for the special counsel to determine.  I honestly don’t know if anyone associated with Trump worked with the Russians to win the presidential election.  I have no doubt at all that people close to Trump and his campaign had some kind of dealings with the Russians – we just don’t know what those dealings were.

Of course, all this is because former FBI Director Comey testified before a congressional committee this past week.  He delivered no bombshells.  He had let it be known way before he testified that there would be none.  However, he did not shy away from saying SCROTUS and his henchmen lied about him, about the reason he was fired, and about how the rank and file employees at the FBI felt about him.

I watched the testimony. Part of the time, Comey was treated like a rape victim in court.  The GOP members of the committee asked him not about SCROTUS being inappropriate, but about why Comey didn’t do certain things to stop SCROTUS – in other words, victim blaming.  A man who is currently filling the role of President of the United States and was Comey’s ultimate boss said on more than one occasion that he wanted to talk to Comey alone, and the GOP committee members wanted to know why Comey didn’t just stand up to SCROTUS and tell him no??  It was nothing but political grandstanding on the part of the GOP lackeys.  Judging from posts and tweets I saw, many felt those asking these questions are the type of people who would ask a rape victim why she didn’t scream, why she was dressed the way she was, or why she didn’t “just run”.

The testimony was Wednesday.  By the end of the week SCROTUS had called Comey a liar in public.  No, he didn’t use that word, at least not during the press conference.  But when a reporter tried to pin him down, what the response boiled down to was Comey testified that SCROTUS said certain things, and SCROTUS said “I did not say that.”  That, by default, calls Comey a liar.

So, is Comey lying?  Is it possible?  Yes, but only because it is possible the Sun could turn purple; it is possible I could win the PowerBall Lottery; it is possible my two younger brothers could give up their fundamentalist Christian faiths and become Buddhists.  In other words, it all falls under the category of possible only because, technically, anything is possible.  If any of these things actually happened I’d be looking for the apocalypse.

The joke in all this (and let’s face it – there is always a joke where SCROTUS is concerned) is that SCROTUS has said he will stick by his story, in front of a congressional committee, under oath.  The joke is the “under oath” part.  Is he really not aware that it does not matter if he “swears to tell the truth”?  That most of us are not going to believe him anyway, because of his history of spouting “alternative facts”?  He probably isn’t.

There will be more acts to this drama this coming week.  Stay tuned.

Until next week….

End of Week 261 – Cats and Catastrophe…

From Phone March 2014 031

Happy Hug Your Cat Day!  Obviously, that is why I have posted this picture.  From the top, we have Mr. Sleuthy and Ms. Olyvia.  We love our cats.

I am getting back to harder workouts, slowly.  I got to the gym Tuesday through Saturday and made my private session on Friday.  When I woke on Friday morning I even felt pretty good – no bad aches and pains like my knees and shoulders usually deliver.  Made my session easier.

Otherwise, it has been a weird week. Catastrophe #1:  SCROTUS pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.  What’s scary about that is he thinks he knows about the environment.  What’s even scarier is that he wants to promote “clean coal” and he thinks he will put miners back to work.  There are problems with this way of thinking.  First, there is no such thing as clean coal.  Have they developed a coal that is a little cleaner than what was burned in the past?  Perhaps.  But burning any fossil fuel is going to be a dirty business and will deplete the planet’s supplies.  Fossil fuels are not sustainable.

Second, he will not be putting miners back to work in the numbers he anticipates.  SCROTUS thinks mining more coal means more jobs for miners, and it might, in a limited way.  What he does not seem to realize is that miners have not lost their jobs because we are trying to stop using coal, at least that’s not the main reason.  They lost their jobs because mining companies became more and more automated.  Our factories went through the same thing.  The more we use automation, the less we need the basic miner or factory worker.  We need people who can understand and use manufacturing and mining robotics.  What we really need is to retrain those in the fossil fuel industry to work in the areas of sustainable energy.

Third, many states, cities, industries, and individuals will not support using fossil fuels.  What will the coal industry do if there simply is no market for their product?  Already, several states and cities have declared they will follow the Paris Accord even if we do not as a nation.  Even individuals can participate.  I have solar panels on my roof.  I have an opinion I’ve already put out on Facebook – I think that later, when we have made some progress toward improving the environment despite his efforts to destroy it, SCROTUS will try to take credit for the results by saying that making everyone else do it on their own was always his plan.  He is very good at taking credit for the work of others.

Catastrophe #2: An attack that killed two men on an Oregon train.  The men were defending two women from a right-wing zealot (looked like a neo-Nazi, but I can’t be sure) and the zealot, who was shouting anti-immigrant rantings, stabbed the men to death.  A third man was injured.   Also, more attacks in London, seven dead.  Some were stabbed and some were victims of a rampaging van on London Bridge.  I won’t even go into how SCROTUS tweeted.  That is for another time.

Remember what I said last week about how human beings suck?

Catastrophe #3: This one is minor.  A member of my staff has decided she cannot abide the rest of us expressing our opinions about SCROTUS.  Having grown up in an environment that included healthy debate over just about anything, I guess I just don’t understand why anyone would want to restrict another’s freedom of speech.  I admit everyone in the area except this person dislikes SCROTUS.  We do, on occasion, enjoy a good discussion about him, especially when he does something stupid, which is almost daily.  Well, instead of jumping in and defending him, or just ignoring us (which is what I would do in that situation), this person complains about us to the part of State government to which our boss reports!!  Fortunately, the person to whom she spoke knows how to handle something like this in a low-key way, but it doesn’t matter.  The damage is done.

I have decided to retire, sooner rather than later.  It will be before the end of the year.  My husband wants me home – he wants us to have quality time together, before old age health issues dictate our every move.  I had pretty much already decided on this before the work complaint.  Having time with my husband is a good enough reason.  What this latest episode has done is remove any lingering doubt I may have had and solidified my decision.  I simply do not need to spend my time in an environment where I do not have freedom of speech, and where I have to watch my every word and action.  I’ve been at this for 28 years – enough is enough.

And you know what?  Now that I’ve really made the decision, it feels good!

Until next week….