Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Whom can you trust?

I can tell you, this cat will not harm these partridges, or any other animal she encounters. She doesn't have a hunting bone in her body! Or maybe, she's so set in her ways that nothing or anyone can tempt her to change her habits; after all, if food appears daily in the same place, what is there to hunt for?

What if she had to find her own food. Would she then change her ways?

I wonder about humans too, how they vote for things/programs/ services that have been there automatically, provided for them by their parents. Would young people know that taking care of themselves means to control risk as well, pay for health and car insurance and fire insurance they may never need?

Some of us retirees are finding out what it is like to live on fixed income. If we experienced our own parents' demise in old age, facing mounting medical bills, wearing the same clothes, eating less and less, doing fewer and fewer activities that cost money, we might have learned that planning for old age should have started long before old age appeared in the back door.

Who is out there in government, in businesses,  that we can trust? Can we trust banks with our savings? And investment companies with our retirement funds? How do we know that their habits are fiduciary, meant to protect us?  I know that after the Northridge  earthquake of 1994 in Southern California many insurance companies stopped writing earthquake insurances, or automatically increased the premiums and the deductibles to protect their interests in the future.

Businesses are there for profits.
Their only goal is to grow their profits.

As long as our health is run like a business, profits will be the ultimate goal.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

What we talk about when we don't want to talk.

We sat in the waiting room while our respective husbands had their post surgery tests. We talked about the landscape outside the window, the beauty of the grasses, the time and energy necessary to keep that water clear and those paths debris-free. We talked about our respective garden philosophies, she exclusively with flowers, and I tending to vegetables most of the time.

I let the garden do what it wants, I told her. I try to grow what I can't get at the markets.
Oh, like what?
Fava. Fava beans. I'm obsessed with them;  I eat them fresh right off the husk...

She didn't know fava, except that remark made by Hannibal Lectern in Silence of the Lambs. Was wondering what/why that remark was there in the first place.

Her husband returned from the lab and they were off to their next appointment. When my husband returned, I told him the woman's husband had the same surgery, at about the same time. Is that what you guys talked about?No. We talked about gardening.

He looked out the window and remarked there were herons hiding in the grasses.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What happened to the American Dream?

*a re-enactment of early pioneer days

We think of life as a mortgage note, a promissory note with an amount and a date, a place and time in the future when debts are all paid up and we can live our golden days without worries. Just sign, work hard, and see. You may not see the benefit of your hard work before you die, but your children will as they inherit the place free and clear and start their future with your help. A house will make their American dream come alive.

Our grandparents, with a life expectancy of fifty-sixty years managed to pay off their mortgages, raise five to eight children, and help the next generation become more stable and self reliant. Each dreamed that the next generation was to be more secure and better educated than the last.

About thirty years ago, in my generation, taxes for the wealthy were frozen by a series of deductions and shelters concocted so the wealthy had ways to hide their money, while the average Joe's salary and benefits began to shrink and costs for a gallon of milk, and car insurance jumped faster than the average raise.  If your company had previously promised you a pension for the many years you worked, it began to find ways to renege on that promise by  a variety of mergers, negotiations, or declaring insolvency.  

Wall Street managed to screw up the American economy and took State and Municipalities' accounts into the same vortex as savings held in stocks and bonds and bank notes by ordinary citizens.
When Wall Street  collapsed, the economy collapsed. None of the individual investors recouped their losses. Companies liquidated. If you anticipated a pension, chances are your company was no longer able to deliver one. So many regulatory standards had been ignored; and policies to re-intestate strong safeguards came under attack.  Somehow, in our naivete' we thought, for sure, that having a lot of regulations meant we were not going to get a good return on our investments.

So where are we today? There are still many of us who are in the dark about how the recession occurred and who is to blame for it. There are still many who feel regulations are bad for our economy. There are still many who want no government at all.

I only know one thing for sure: our American dream has collapsed.
Why are we not talking about that?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What happened to the list on the left?

I've gone a week without this computer, and what happened? It jumped to another time zone. The usual dashboard is nowhere to be found. The usual list of blogs I follow, gone. The routines have changed and I'm left to figure them out on my own.

This is not the first time.
Nor will it be the last time.

Is Blogger trying to tell us something?
Or it just doesn't like Me to be part of the past I knew.

Is this a Halloween prank? It can't be, too early for Halloween. Is this a ploy to sell me some product or app I should have to maneuver as easily as I did last week?

Or, am I in a paranoid state, a change brought about by visiting the Puritan compound at Plymouth?
You know, they believed smoking was good for you, for your lungs, for pleurisy...