End of Week 291 – Tis the Season…

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Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and a joyous any other holiday that may be happening this time of year!  We are waiting for our son and his fiancé and her son to arrive for dinner and a gift exchange.  Most of my hard work is done for now.  Tomorrow I’ll make ham for Christmas dinner.  After Christmas I’ll have four days in the office and then I will be officially retired!  I can’t believe it has arrived.

One of the things I want to do after I retire is spend more time at the gym.  I won’t have to get there quite as early (although I am a morning person by nature), and I won’t have to worry about getting to the office at certain time.  Also, my husband is starting a medical regimen that may have me driving him, and the place he has to go is close to the gym, so I may work out during the 3 or 4 hours it takes at each appointment.  Will and I are going to work on getting me back to walking 5Ks.  I’ve even ordered a food journal since I know the first thing he is going to want me to do is record what I eat.

Since it is the holiday season you would think SCROTUS would give the nasty tweets a rest.  No such luck.  He has been generating a twitter storm and most of it is either self-aggrandizing or full of name calling and insulting others.  Well, I’m tired and don’t want to bother with him at this time of goodwill toward all, so I’m not going to talk any more about SCROTUS today.

This one is short and sweet.  Enjoy your holidays!

Until next week…

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End of Week 290 – I have good news and I have bad news….

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We had a second snow. Surprise!! It was pretty and did not interfere with much.  I hope it warms up a little.  Makes it easier to get to the gym.  We have entered that quiet time between Christmas shopping and Christmas day.  That time we sit and wonder what we’ve forgotten.  I think I’ve done ok this year.  We finally got our tree today.  It is short and squat because there wasn’t a lot from which to select.  Everyone else got their trees last weekend.  My husband likes to procrastinate.  However, I will say he got the inside of the house decorated early and it is beautiful.

I’ve decided I’m just going to do the best I can on eating and working out between now and Christmas.  Working out should not be a problem.  Eating – well, we’ll see.  I need to start drinking more plain water as well.

I have only 9 work days until retirement.  It is really 2 full weeks, but one of those days is Christmas so that makes 9 work days.  My husband is having a good time asking me how it feels to be “a single digit midget”.  He says it is an old Air Force term.  It should be an interesting time.  My last day in the office is my mother’s birthday and my first day home that I would normally be in the office will be our 37th wedding anniversary.  After that it will be a completely different world for me.

This week’s picture states something we can all keep in mind, but is something I especially wish I could tell SCROTUS.  One of the things that irritates me the most about him is how he uses name-calling and insults in his tweets.  I don’t like the lying either, but it’s the name-calling that makes him look like a spoiled child and a bully.

As the title says, there is good news and there is bad news.  The good news is Roy Moore lost the special election in Alabama.  It appears the state of Alabama will not be represented in the US Senate by an accused pedophile who waves guns around in public and thinks stating that “one of our attorneys is a Jew” makes him tolerant.  Bama will be represented by Doug Jones, a somewhat conservative Democrat.  He is a supporter of the second amendment and supports reducing corporate taxes, but in other ways he supports Democratic positions.  Most important, he is not accused of any type of harassment or abuse.

The bad news is passage and signing of the Republican tax overhaul is all but certain – maybe before Christmas.  Personally, I don’t think the changes are going to affect us much if at all.  Our taxes are just too basic.  We don’t itemize any longer – we are too far into our mortgage for it to be of benefit.  For a few years we may benefit a little from an increase in the standard deduction.  Other than that this bill does not appear to involve us at all.

I’m worried about others, like my son and our friends.  I’m not sure what will happen to the student loan deduction, but my son needs that.  Democrats are saying the bill does nothing but make the rich richer and give a huge windfall to large corporations.  That is not entirely true.  There are some modest benefits for the rest of us.  Problem is, those modest benefits are temporary.  They will phase out in about 5 or 6 years.  On the other hand, the much larger benefits aimed at the wealthy and large corporations are permanent.  Most of the bill will not take effect until the 2019 tax year.  A lot can happen in the meantime.

SCROTUS thinks giving all this money to the corporations will make our economy come roaring back and we will all make more money, spend more money, and give SCROTUS all the credit.  I can see a temporary uptick in consumer economic participation due to having slightly more money from the temporary tax benefits of the bill, but I think that will fade once the benefits phase out.  Anyone who thinks the corporations are going to take their extra money and funnel it to employees through higher wages is living in a fantasy.  That money will either be invested in updated technology (costing jobs), or will be given to investors and senior management as dividends and bonuses.  Trickle down economics does not work.  It didn’t work with Reagan and it will not work now.  All it will do is add over a trillion to the national debt, according to non-partisan analysis.  What we have not heard is how they intend to pay for that increased debt.  You can bet it won’t be from the wealthy or the corporations.

Until next week….

End of Week 289 – Delaware, Land of Surprises

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This week’s picture represents the weather that surprised us this week.  Actually, just yesterday.  Here it is, early December, not even officially winter, and we had enough snow Saturday to shut down some social functions and make for some dangerous driving in some areas.  I’ve lived in Delaware for well over 30 years and I’ve always heard “Don’t like the weather?  Just hang around.  It’ll change.”  It was in the 50s most of last week, and now we have snow.  I watched it fall a lot yesterday.  It was pretty.

Are you ready for (insert holiday or season name here)?  That is the question I’ve heard, and probably will continue to hear, this whole month.  Surprisingly, my answer is “pretty much”.  I still need to get stocking stuffers, but my main gifts are secured! Each year I list the names of those to whom I give gifts, and this year the list was amazingly short.  I guess that’s what happens when nieces and nephews get older and start having kids of their own.  You get to the point that you simply cannot buy for everyone.  Fortunately, by then it is much more important to be with family and to communicate than to give gifts. My list now consists of husband, son, his fiancé, her son, son’s best friend who is also other son, and the people in my office.  This is the last time around for the office.  3 weeks and counting until retirement!

Working out was difficult this week.  My knees, especially my right knee, felt like they were falling apart.  I even used my cane a couple of times.  Thank heaven Will, my trainer, knows what to do for bad knees.  They feel much better now. I’m hoping to get back to fuller workouts this week.

Food? Maybe we shouldn’t go there.  Stuff comes out during the Christmas/Holiday season that we don’t see the rest of the year.  And there are traditions that must be maintained, no matter how much one wants to lose weight.  There are red and green M&Ms, chocolate chip cookies, butterscotch oatmeal cookies, German stollen and other German goodies, and of course fudge.  None of this stuff is in my house any other time of the year.  I know – just because it’s there doesn’t mean I have to eat it.  I’m not pigging out on it, but I want to enjoy myself, too.  Oh, well.

SCROTUS is tweeting up a storm, as usual.  The big thing now is the special Senate election in Alabama.  SCROTUS has officially endorsed the republican candidate, Moore, who has been accused of child molestation.  Think about that.  We have an admitted (on tape) sexual predator endorsing an accused child molester, and there is a good chance Moore will win.  Moore has denied the accusations, and I am all for due process, so I will not judge him on that yet.  Thing is, there is plenty of other stuff about Moore that should keep him out of the Senate.

Moore spoke at one of his campaign rallies and waved a gun around on stage.  He has said that the last time the USA was great was when slavery was still an accepted practice. He used to be a judge – he’s been thrown off the bench TWICE.  He has actually been banned from a shopping mall in Alabama.  The man is completely unfit for the US Senate.

The timing of all this is fortuitous for SCROTUS.  It just so happens he was going through adoration withdrawal and needed a fix.  He needed a fix and Moore needed an endorsement.  SCROTUS arranged a campaign rally (a rally for SCROTUS, not for Moore) in a part of Florida that is in the same TV market area as Alabama.  SCROTUS gets his adoration fix, Moore gets his endorsement, the RNC starts funding Moore’s campaign again, and everyone is happy.  At least all the hypocritical, gun-wielding, tunnel-visioned conservatives are.  We’ll see on Tuesday.  I don’t live in Alabama so I do not claim to know what is best for them, but I wouldn’t think having someone who is suspected of being a child molester as a senator would be good for anyone.

The other main action by SCROTUS this week was his announcement that the US is now recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  The problem with this is that now he has destroyed the tenuous peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.  Jerusalem is a city considered holy to 3 major religions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.  The reason Christians are not in this argument is that the importance of Jerusalem to them is not political – just historical.  The Jews and the Muslims, on the other hand, are fighting for this city for political as well as historical reasons.  I do not pretend to know how the Jews and the Muslims can work this out.  My opinion on this is strictly about SCROTUS.

SCROTUS wants a war (for political and economic reasons). North Korea is not getting there fast enough for him, so he is trying to start one in the Middle East. This is only my opinion, but it makes sense having observed the careless and irresponsible behavior of SCROTUS regarding these two areas of the world.

SCROTUS is also tweeting about immigrants, blaming them for crime, and is tweeting “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” at random moments for no discernible reason.  It is pretty obvious that he wants the presidency to be one long campaign.  He is not knowledgeable or comfortable doing the real work of governing.  It calls for a level of calm, class, and ability that SCROTUS simply cannot attain.  His need for adoration fixes is coming more and more often.

The most interesting things are yet to come, I’m afraid.

Until next week….

 

End of Week 288 – Countdown…

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Ok, I finally got back to the gym.  My right knee was completely gone, but I knew I had to get back on the elliptical to get it back in line.  I was in a lot of pain, but the more I worked out, the better I felt. By Friday I was ready for Will and my training session.  He worked on my knee, which he had taped earlier in the week, and on Saturday morning it was greatly improved.  Now I’m feeling almost normal.

I asked Will if he thought it was a realistic goal to want to be able to walk a 5K by this time next year.  He said, “Sure!  Sooner than that!”  I’ll settle for this time next year.  I told him I’d do whatever it takes.  I know the first thing it takes is for me to start a food diary.  I keep trying to, but I eat on the run a lot and it is difficult to stop and write about food all the time.  However, I’m going to give it another shot.

This week’s picture is symbolic of my 28-year career with the State of Delaware.  It is now December, and I have made it to my last full month as an active State employee.  The sun is setting on my current career, but that’s ok.  I’m looking forward to doing other things after I retire, like maybe doing a lot more writing – work besides blogging – spending more time at the gym; reading more; doing some projects around the house.  By the way, credit for this incredible picture goes to NASA.  It was taken by them during the great North American solar eclipse.

SCROTUS is smelling blood in the water. The House and Senate have each passed their versions of a tax reform bill, so now all they have to do is reconcile the two versions.  Both versions are Republican up one side and down the other, so the middle and lower classes break even at best while the wealthy and large corporations get huge tax breaks.  What few breaks we regular people get are temporary and a lot depends on what type of group you are in – parents with children; grad students; retirees; singles – it all depends on the bill that finally comes out of conference.  The only thing guaranteed is that wealthy people and large corporations will benefit big time from this.

The worst thing about the passage of the Senate bill, which was the last one passed, was the way they did it.  It was edited behind closed doors; distributed with almost no time for reading and understanding it; distributed with handwritten notes in margins, most of which could not be read; and voted on in the wee hours of the morning so no one could do anything about the horrible way it was handled.  It was sneaky and deceitful and very typically Republican.

That was the good news for SCROTUS.  The bad news was that Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller.  SCROTUS claims he is not worried.  He should be.  Personally, I have no problem with Flynn avoiding jail if his information nets Mueller some bigger fish from the current administration.

The quality of SCROTUS’ tweets has not improved.  His claims get more and more outlandish everyday.  He started out this week claiming the Access Hollywood tape, which he basically acknowledged and said was just “locker room talk”, was a made up fake.  He finished by trashing the FBI via Twitter.  That’s entertainment!

Until next week…

End of Week 287 – Trying to take a break…

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Happy Thanksgiving! I truly hope everyone had a great holiday with family.

That is my picture this week – family.  This is an old picture, but it has a lot of people from different parts of the country, and we can’t all get together that often.  I was lucky enough to spend this Thanksgiving with several relatives from this picture.  We had a wonderful time – we ate, but I think we had a better time singing and dancing.  We marveled at how musical our family is.

Tomorrow I go back to the gym before work.  I feel as though I have been away forever.  In reality, I don’t think I’ve gone a full week without at least a couple of workouts.  The main problem has been my reaction to the Augmentin I had to take for a sinus infection. I couldn’t get more than a few feet from a bathroom.  I stopped taking it the Sunday before Thanksgiving so that I could travel that Thursday, and I barely made it.  I know Augmentin is old school and that it gives most people a similar problem, but I still feel my reaction was not normal. Going forward, I’m going to avoid it.

Anyway, I know getting back to the gym is going to feel like starting over.  My knees are already hurting without my regular sessions on the elliptical.  They are the first things to go when I don’t get the exercise I need.  I’m looking forward to getting back.

I have not been trying to follow SCROTUS at his golf getaway.  It’s Thanksgiving, and I do not begrudge even SCROTUS a holiday weekend with family.  The problem is, he won’t stop tweeting, even to enjoy the holiday.  He is tweeting about the senate race in Alabama, and is endorsing an accused sexual predator in the process.  Of course, the candidate denies the accusations, and I would like to see the correct process take its course, but that may never happen.

SCROTUS also tweeted something about having turned down being chosen as Time Magazine’s person of the year??  So, that means he said he did not want the honor but wants to make sure everyone knows he was chosen anyway?? Well, first I want to hear from Time Magazine. I want them to confirm that the honor was actually offered to SCROTUS.  If so, that is one good reason to never subscribe to Time.  I know that being Time’s POY does not necessarily mean you are the “good” POY.  Sometimes the person named is more infamous than famous, but they are extremely influential in national or world developments.  Shoot, sometimes the person named is not even human.  I remember when they named the personal computer POY.  Still, offering POY to SCROTUS would turn me off for good.

In any event, I will probably spend more time trying to get ready for Christmas over the next few weeks than trying to gather political details.  May you be blessed with the holiday spirit as well.

Until next week….

End of Week 286 – A Period of Transition…

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Mark this day.  Anyone who reads this should make note of the picture, since it may be the only time I post one like this.  This is a picture of me and my son.  It is a couple of years old, but my son looks pretty much the same.  I am one of those people who HATES to have her picture taken.  My son wanted a picture of us together at the Old Dover Days Festival – this was that picture.  As pictures of me go, it’s not too bad.

From this picture you can see why I say I am fighting the weight war.  And losing, in my opinion.  However, that doesn’t mean I am giving up.  I watch my diet.  I exercise.  I intend to continue.  I figure at the very least it may keep my health from deteriorating as I continue to age.  I’m currently 64 and want to continue for quite a while to come.  Beats the alternative.

Speaking of alternatives, it is six weeks until I formally retire from my position with the State.  I am already in the process of transitioning.   Fall is a season of transition during which I am trying to transition physically and definitely transitioning professionally.

Politically, if you are walking around in this world and haven’t heard of the various accusations of sexual misconduct being brought up lately, you’re just pretending that you’re breathing.  I think it started with Harvey Weinstein.  Suddenly, every female who has ever been on the proverbial “casting couch” comes forward to accuse Weinstein of all types of sexual harassment.  This leads to others coming forward to accuse all types of other men of all types of sexual harassment.

I have mixed feelings about all this.  Do I think sexual harassment has been going on between men in power and their victims for a long time? Certainly.  Do I believe those who have victimized others sexually should be held accountable through our justice system, be it criminal or civil?  Absolutely.  Is this what is happening?  No.

Aye, there’s the rub.

Although it was a little before my time, I am old enough that I am familiar with the era of “McCarthyism” in the US.  For those who have not learned about it, a US Senator named McCarthy went on a witch hunt to ferret out “Communists” from the US government, and other US industries, including the entertainment industry.  This was during the height of the Cold War.  It actually began in the late 40s and extended to 1954. The problem with McCarthy and those working with him was that all it took was an accusation, or an association with someone who was accused, to be a victim of what was known as the Un-American Activities Committee. Some were jailed, but many others were blackballed from their professions without any kind of due process.  Lives were ruined based on accusations with no solid proof.

Make no mistake, I do not equate sexual harassment with taking a political stand.  However, I do see a disturbing trend in the current tidal wave of accusations.  All it takes is an accusation to have endorsement deals cancelled, TV appearances cancelled, movies literally remade, and premiers scrubbed.  All it takes is accusations to make people shout that a political candidate should drop out of a race (I can’t stand Moore, but this does apply to him), or resign from an office to which he has already been elected.

The way this matter is being handled, and the way people are reacting, smacks of McCarthyism.  Part of the problem may be time.  Many of these accusations involve things that happened years ago.  It may be too late to use the justice system since there are things like statutes of limitation.  However, if that is the case, part of the blame rests on the victims that did not come forward sooner.  I know – they were scared, wanted to be able to work, etc.  I understand that, but that does not change the time factor.  So, those who want to get revenge for these acts of harassment see a chance to do so simply through accusation – just like in the 50s.

The question is, how many of these accusations are accurate; how many are inaccurate or being made for other reasons; how many are being made by someone seeking their “15 minutes of fame”?  Right now it doesn’t matter.  All that has to happen is an accusation by someone against someone else.  The accused is guilty, regardless, just like in the 50s.

The other thing that makes this interesting is the reaction of SCROTUS.  He has roundly criticized anyone who has been accused and happens to not agree with him politically.  For example, he wants an investigation of Senator Al Franken.  However, SCROTUS has not mentioned his own indiscretions.  The Electoral College knowingly appointed an admitted sexual predator to the White House, and no one is calling for an investigation of his transgressions??  Disgusting, but we already knew that.

Until next week…

 

End of Week 285 – We Have Returned….

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Not much to report on as far as diet and exercise goes.  This is because my laptop and my body decided to get sick at the same time.  I’ve been fighting some kind of virus for 2 weeks.  I missed work, missed an entire week at the gym, slept in a recliner in my living room for 2 nights because I couldn’t breathe.  My breathing was so raspy that I kept myself up at night with the noise.  I am still coughing, trying to get rid of the remaining congestion.  However, I do feel human once again.

My computer was even sicker.  It was hacked.  It didn’t just get a virus; someone or some group actually took control of my computer, called me on the phone, and tried to get me to pay them $500 to “repair” it, claiming to be from Microsoft!  Boy, did they ever get an earful from me!  I literally told them I knew they put the freeze on my computer, that there was no way they were getting any money out of me, and if I had any idea where they were or who they were they would be seeing law enforcement.  I ended up taking my laptop to a local repair shop.  It cost me $150 to get it wiped and reloaded, but that beats the hell out of $500, for which I would have received nothing.

Yesterday was Veterans’ Day.  I was finally on line again, just in time to read every post thanking veterans and the military.  As I explained in my last post, I don’t share the opinion of most others when it comes to the military, veterans, military exploits, etc. (Despite being the daughter of one vet and the wife of another). My opinions have nothing to do with the individual soldier, sailor, airman, or marine.  They are doing a job just like teachers, nurses, accountants, carpenters, plumbers, bankers, and any number of other employed adults do a job.  My objections stem from a broader concern beginning with the opinion that the worst thing to happen to Earth was the development of the human intellect.  That concern continues into the opinion that humans are the only species that kills its own for reasons other than sheer biological survival, and the only species that not only conducts mass murder on an organized level, but also glorifies it.

As you can see, it’s not that I object to the military.  I object to the reasons the military exists. I object to the human behavior that makes organized mass murder necessary. I object to the greedy, the power-hungry, the self-important, the bigoted, the narrow-minded, and those who think everyone must agree with and live by their religious beliefs.  I object to those who think government must be based on the tenets of any faith.  These are some of the human characteristics that cause wars, and are the basis of why we, as a species, are rapidly ruining the planet.

I refuse to glorify war or the actions required to wage war.  It makes me sick that medals are awarded for being better at killing other humans.  I do not look on military veterans, or those who died in war, as heroes.  I see them as victims.  I truly feel for them, and feel the government and the human race owes them an apology.

Before anyone jumps on me about this, keep in mind this is based on very broad opinions about the human race in general.  I simply cannot make myself say that something as horrendous as war is “good”, “glorious”, “heroic”, or should be celebrated with parades, holidays, songs, and medals.  And before anyone asks me about defending ourselves when attacked – of course one would defend oneself. Even the lower animals fight back when attacked.  That is the idea of “sheer biological survival”.  However, the fact that one portion of the human race attacks a different portion in the first place over something like religion, or race, or international economics, only proves my point.

We have several days set aside during the year that observe something about war and the military – Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day.  Even Independence Day is slowly being taken over by those who feel we must use it to honor those who participate in war.  I’d like to know why we don’t honor other professions?  Because those in war face dangers for their country? Teachers face dangers for our children – sometimes from our children – and put up with idiot parents, lack of funding, and administrations that seem bent on destroying our educational system.  That’s just an example.

I know nothing about this will ever change, but I figure this is my blog and I can vent if I want.  I’ve always felt this way about war and the military, but I think the appointment of SCROTUS brought it into focus.  I truly feel he is a danger to not only the USA, but perhaps the world.  He seems to long for armed conflict.  He is a toddler with nuclear weapons.

Until next week….