Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Year, New Background

Big changes this year.  I lightened up the background of the blog.  Brown was too dreary.  Falling leaves on a washed out peach color is good for old people.  Oh wait, that's another change.  We are too young to be retired.  PLUS, retirement as we knew it, as we planned for it, has changed and changed without our permission. 

Were We Find Ourselves in 2013

At odds with the world, politics, finances, opportunity or lack thereof, in search of ourselves in spite of ourselves.  I am lost without the daily news yet I hate what is reported in the news and most of the news shows are just talk shows disguised as news with flirty, attractive journalists.  Please, somebody deport Pierce what's his name, oh, Morgan.  What right does this Brit have critiquing America?  Go back to the Queen's village. 

New Year, New Views

I'm annoyed with how life is perceived in the media, all media.  For instance, in the last minute a couple flew in a hot air balloon, bought a chevy, went to a basketball game, visited disney, used a huge million dollar camera to photograph bugs and a group of friends were getting drunk in a bar while eating chicken wings.  No wonder my life sucks so bad.  Then, we are bombarded with financial planning and planning for retirement however, nobody takes responsibility for when circumstances outside of our control change drastically and the few rules I did follow are blown out of the water because made a few mistakes in the market.  Five years ago we both lost 1/3rd of our retirement accounts.  That puts us in the company of almost all our peers however as modest the original balances they were ours. Please, when they find the guy who took our money, I would like mine back.   

The next change kills me.  You work 30 years and earn a retirement pension but when you reach the age of SS, your pension is decreased by the amount of SS you receive.  Growing up (ha ha, I'm still growing), I heard "I have my pension and SS"; however, I never heard from a single pension that it is reduced when SS kicks in.   We assume, and this is where we make asses out of ourselves, I am sure that the reduction of pension is published in one the million pieces of mail we got from GM during and after the bankruptcy and had one of us read a few of those million pages we would have realized we would not be getting a full pension plus SS.  So it is what it is and that's the fact.  Well it is also a fact that somebody stole our 401K money.

So there is the working retired and I haven't discussed them yet.  There are alot of people putting off retirement and continue working.  It is also healthy to be socially connected.  The whole concept has me considering looking for a job, just to be out and about.  Maybe 2 days a week, for about 5 hours a day.  That's social enough, don't you think?  So who do you think will hire a woman with MS and fatigue and mobility issues?  My husband found a job in Utah driving a shuttle bus between the hotels and the ski lodge but I wouldnt let him take it because he would be away from home for 5 months.  He's still annoyed with me about that.

What They Failed to Tell Us

Shared hobbies, interests and sleep schedules are overwhelmingly important when retiring with a spouse and nobody has stressed that point clear enough.  Seriously, forget about each person having their own lives, friends and interest.  That's fairy dust thinking.  You need each other until the bitter end and it is so much easier when you're in step with one another.  My husband could live in an RV and drive from shore to shore over and over until the Big Guy calls him home.  I don't care for that. I prefer staying in one place and playing with fiber and other earthly gifts like pine cones and rocks.  He doesnt care too much for that.  We both agree on the grandkids.  Watching them grow, stated simply, rocks. 

I'm a daytime person.  The husband is a night owl and sleeps in. 

We have major differences but we'll live with it, or die trying.

Meanwhile I see starry-eyed couples on TV, obviously retired, enjoying couple's messages in foreign countries, golfing 18 holes (obviously nobody has back/knee/hip problems), riding roller coasters (I'll do that with my daughters now that I realized life is too short not to ride them) and finally, dressed to the 9s and dancing under a starlit sky gazing into each other's eyes like it never gets old.  Perhaps I'm the most unromantic woman in the world or far too realistic for my own good.   I fear the Edith and Archie Bunker version of life.  But they didn't have a pool, never left the Bronks and don't have two adorable grandchildren who walk on water and have halos.  At least I can see their halos.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spring is here in Las Vegas

Today it is really warm, in the low 70s. The white and pink flowering trees are in bloom and some other tree is dropping its seed coats all over the roads. I love spring. Even so, I'm busy indoors working on my loom. I finished my first project, it is off the loom, it has been washed (called fulling because it fills in the spaces between threads and it is waiting for me to haul out the sewing machine so I can hem the weft edges and seperate the projects. I ended up with three sampler style table napkins. I'm a little thrilled.
I think you can tell where they start and stop, where I lost track of my stripe pattern when preparing the warp (I wanted blue/white/blue and 2/3rds has white/blue/white). I played with all sorts of weaving patterns on these and generally had fun.
My next project is going to be a table runner. I have to stick with a pattern and not play around and that's going to be hard to do! My mind tends to wander and before you know it I'm doing something completely different.
I dont' have a warping board yet. I spent my mad money on boat shuttles so I have to improvise. The rick/rack shelves didn't work too good so I graduated to the dining table chairs. It works. I measure the length I need, space the chairs and wrap the warp. I get my cross and count off sets of 10. I was so excited to be able to show off my make-shift warping set up that I forgot to tie off the cross. Thankfully, I doing 5 (or 6) sets of colors so I only have this one to fiddle with when it is time to find the cross.
Well I think I had better get outside for a while and see what I can do so I don't feel like I'm wasting this fabulous weather.
Love, Mummy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Entertainment 101

WELCOME THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON! It's my kind of year.

What I do to entertain myself amazes even me. It's no big deal, people all over the world weave. But it is so exciting to learn, apply, admire and fondle. I could only wish to be able to sit on the ground and weave a tapestry warped on sticks and tied up by hand. It's never going to happen but Ashford makes it possible to for me to produce fabric. Yes, FABRIC.
The whole loom in a heavy but relatively tiny, small box.
Following directions . . . not too challanging.
Decisions decisions. Project (towels), colors and pattern (basic twill). Seriously, the choices are endless and for someone like me, it is daunting.
The holiday's are past, the visiting is basically over and Tim is back to work driving shuttle at UNLV for students. And I have my loom. It has taken several weeks to get this show on the road. I had to wait for my order of yarn, decide what to do for a first project and which colors to use and which patterns to explore. Shamefully, I do not know the terms yet, well, most of them. It is a language of to its own and so are the patterns. I'm waiting for a new magazine to arrive and I haven't bought any books yet but I'm perusing them too.
First order of business. Assemble the loom. Great learning experience. Although I already had one very similar to this one, I didn't have to assemble it because I picked it up from the shop. This time, since there are no decent fiber stores in Las Vegas, I had to assemble it and now some of the mystery is gone. I know how to insert new heddles and tie up the shafts. I also know how easy it is to ruin the heddles if you don't keep them tied together. Second I chose a color combo. I like the bright Mexican or "South American" colors so I got 8 of them and a white. The colors are basicall all the colors in the table cloth shown below. Final decision for project: kitchen towels, white, blue and yellow.
The whole 9 yards. Not too shabby for a first project. There are errors but they are few and the parts done right far outshine the errors. Granted, I had a loom in 2004 or thereabout and did several projects, all basics, but sold it to become a snowbird. Regret sat in this last Christmas season and I yearned for another. This one is one size narrower but has 8 shafts, not 4. I'm very satisifed with it. I need a stand however. This height is a hair too high for real comfort but it works for now.
Okay, let's weave (and kit and spin) and don't forget those resolutions! Drop pounds, drop pounds, drop pounds.
Love and prayers, Mummy

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Soooo behind on blogging

Dear Blogspot:
Retirement takes a major turn and life is just "normal" again. It confirmed . . . the second star on the right is in North Las Vegas. Our good intentions to travel during the winters, avoiding the cold and snow, have been replaced with a permanant address and one child living at home. We are pretty settled here in Vegas and life can be pretty busy at times yet Tim misses Wisconsin, fishing, the woods, etc. and is currently healing his back which wouldn't hold up too well in Wisconsin while fishing, hiking in the woods, etc. I like staying put. I don't have the wonderlust gene. Once I get somewhere, I enjoy it, but I don't dream about it. I dream about fiber and grandkids.
Tim's bad back has caused him to cancel a job he had last weekend. We was supposed to drive the Miss America contestants to Hoover Dam and back. Jobs like that make working fun. I actually felt bad for him not being able to drive for them. He won't be driving again until the semester starts up so hopefully his back heals fast.
Christmas 2011 was fun. Rachel came out the week before with her family and even though we celebrated early, it was so nice. The kids are growing faster than anything I could imagine and in another 4 to 5 years, the magic might be gone. However, being around them will never get old. Only Tim and I will get old.
Tim and I drove the RV to Laughlin for a night. The RV park at Don Laughlins is very pretty and set on levels terracing up and away from the river. We got in alot of walking, a fabulous dinner and some gambling fun before he pulled his back out. We made it through the night and he was able to drive home but it has been bedrest, hospital and doctor visits and a lot of medication.
Speaking of old . . . Tracy will turn 40 on January 15. Tina and Tracy, with two of their friends, are coming to celebrate here in Vegas. Jennifer is flying out and Rachel and the kids are driving in. Jackie has a good job right now and has to work while they are all here and that sucks but being in school, it is important to work. She has three semesters under her belt and has 5 As and 3Bs to show for it. This semester it's Physiology and Anatomy. I can't even spell that. Go Jackie!
Tim and Jackie decided they needed a parrot or maccaw last summer and got one. I hate it. Enough said.
I began missing the art of weaving. I tried to teach myself tablet weaving, a concept as old as fabric itself but I had never heard of it. The ancients, "those without fire", were smarter than I. So I bought a loom similar to the one I sold prior to snowbirding. It is put together (by moi) and after the big 4 0 party, I'll warp it and post a few pictures. I'm aiming for kitchen towels as my first project.
For now. Diane

Monday, August 8, 2011

Can we make some new rules?

I have to ask this question again. How do elected officials get so rich? I mean filthy rich? I guess it is dirty work but somebody has to do it, I mean, living out of someone else's pocket can't be easy.

I know am not alone in showing my displeasure (i.e., I'm pissed) with our elected officials. So much so, I'm proposing new rules. My plan crosses party lines and goes into affect Second Monday of September. I figure in order to get results that are more reflective of the real people (like me) they must more like the real people (like me). Beginning on the Second Monday of September: No cell phones are allowed, ever. No suits. As a matter of fact, no one shall wear any clothing exceeding $250 at any given time, including shoes. HOWEVER, no sneakers, jean or sweatshirts are allowed. Handbags, totes and brief cases will be Walmart standard issue. Bag lunches or lunch in the cafeteria only! No CEOs, lobbyists, business persons or persons with personal agenda shall have access to the capital or any offices in Washington housing senators or congressmen. Businesspersons will have to run for office themselves if they wish to control the hill. Imagine that. At this point, people pretty much have removed all power cloths, power phone calls, power lunches and must make decisions based on their own vision of what the average real person (like me) needs in order to obtain a job, eat, provide housing with heat, cooling and water, own a car and have two chickens in every pot. One more thing. All material voted on much be read pesonally, not by staff AND if a bill is presented by someone that same someone better have written it themself. Am I asking too much! Am I?

Politics can be exciting though and I have to admit that the posturing for the republican candidate fills the gap left behind by Casey Anthony.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer in the Desert

It's hot here right now with 110 being the average daily temp so there are alot of fun things I'm doing indoors. Spinning, knitting, dying some wool, reading some new fiber books (check out Amazon folks and don't be afraid to get used books for dirt cheap prices!) and the Casey Anthony case has been on the TV for a month. Shame on me but at least I'm honest about it. I'm showing off Jackie's tomatos. She started them from seed and I'm amazed with her results. However, they are small and very thick skinned. Not really edible. I sliced a few and sucked the insides out and oh yum but that is the extent of it. The good thing about the desert is we get a second chance. After the heat diminishes - late August maybe, new plants can be put out this time I'll get involved with choosing the type of tomato she plants.

Our desert landscape garden is really coming along. We are adding red rock and red lannon stone style pavers. In this heat, maybe 3 or 4 pavers are going in at a time. The ground needs to be scraped to achieve some sort of level and when they are all in, the stone goes down around the plants and between the rocks. Exciting work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Thor

Well, it might appear impulsive, and althought it sort of is impulsive, it isn't exactly a spur of the moment purchase. Jackie and Tim had been talking "birds" for a while now. Sticker shock at pet stores didn't keep them from looking at more pet stores but it finally sent them to Craig's list where they found this guy. "Thor" is his name. He has a multiple personality. Very sweet, very threatening, very insane. There are a series of CDs we are going to get for handling him and I'm pretty sure we are all going to be best friends, making the "forever" in the phrase BFF more meaningful than ever.

As an aside, the diet went well until this weekend, I'll be getting back on track today.

Back to the news of the day. Thor is eight so we have the rest of our lives to enjoy him. He talks. When Tim asked why they were getting rid of him the guy said Thor had a potty mouth and the wife wanted him gone. Well Thor says more than just swear words and I only heard him swear once, at least only once that was loud and clear and unmistakeningly foul. He also has periods of sqwauking - awful to listen to but we are getting some materials to teach us how to break that habit.

The kids were also here this weekend and Jackie's friend, Shelia, from Wisconsin is here, making for a very lively two days. The pool got a workout and so did all of us. I came into the house at one point to see Thor watching the fun through the window. He has a "bird's eye view" of the pool. Pets are fun but the grandkids trump all of them. Mackenzie swam for a while without floaties and is doing a pretty good doggie paddle.