Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One more way to give/share this season...

Over a year ago a friend sent me a link to a site where you click a set of banners each day, each click raising money for a cause. Since there is also merchandise shown that raises funds for each cause, their hope is that you will buy something on occasion. I have done my daily clicks almost every day since; I've also bought more than a few items for holidays and birthdays, each unique and wonderful. The idea that I'm also contributing to a cause while doing it has delighted both myself and those I gave the gifts to.
Not being the brightest light when it comes to HTML, I'm going to put the URL below, then see if I can paste it into my sidebar...if the whole internet crashes tonight, it's my fault, sorry!


Make sure you scroll down after you click on the first banner to see the other cause banners...if only a few people find time to do this each day it will make so much difference in so many lives! Thank you!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday afternoon...

is about half over now. Being a nightshift person, I slept 'til 11:30 the slowly started my day. Wife called from work at noon, then I went outside before the "front" breaks later this afternoon. 40's most of last week; 69 yesterday, 58 overnight and 61 now. We get thunderstorms and possible tornadoes this afternoon, turning to snow tonight with mid 30's, then 27 by Tuesday morning. (Peeking at the TV and they just issued a tornado watch.)

I went out and wrapped up the air conditioners in heavy plastic, shoveled the yard (cleaning up after our dog before I can't) took the swings off the swingset and put them in the garage, and put the storm windows in the doors while I could still clean the glass.

Some day I'll figure out how to post pics here to join in the Sunday fun...

A lovely lady on the West Coast brought a thought to my mind earlier; I give to Harvesters, the United Way (heavily, if that makes sense grammatically, since I can payroll deduct it) and some other causes through the year, but with all that 's going on in the world, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just get everyone to give up one gift and donate it's value to some cause, any cause? Even if only half of us did it (tempted to say the good half since that seems to be how many of "us" there are at the present time) and it was a $15 gift value, that's over a billion dollars (if my illiterate autoworker math skills are correct).

At work it's time for the annual "Adopt A Family" program; teams go through the United Way and adopt a local family for the holiday, contributing money, gifts and food to brighten their holidays, culminating with our Christmas dinners at work when the families get to come in and watch us build cars, join us for dinner and we get to watch the kids open part of their gifts, since we always try to make them save most of them for Christmas morning. I've gotten much too involved in this at times over the years, being bit over-emotional and too sentimental for my own good. It has gotten me "in trouble" at home a few times, since we have kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews...

As I said, it's just a thought, but all it takes is a few of us to start something that could do a lot of good...


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Our turkey's in the oven...

Potatoes on the stove top; she just got home from work and is in the shower. Quiet day of fixing things, and perhaps an evening of TV ahead. I don't know whether to be grateful that the holiday is past, or fear that this might be the last minutes peace before the next one...


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The best laid plans of mice and me...

Shopped yesterday to avoid the day before Thanksgiving; of course last night I get a list of things we still need, plus a trip to the bank because I finally talked her into direct deposit, but only mailed the stuff last week for that. Then last night at work I remembered that last year I bought little fold out paper accordion turkeys for the grandkids like the ones Dad used to bring my sister and I home from the grocery store he worked in. Needless to say, they were all sold out...but as I wandered through I saw a Christmas Tree pinata, so a different idea was born. I now have it and about 6 different kinds of candy to fill it with (feed them sugar and leave them at home?) so we'll see what the family thinks about that about this time tomorrow afternoon!

A wonderful Thanksgiving to all!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shopped today to avoid tomorrow, lol...

and bought our "cook" turkey that I will cook on Saturday while wife is at work for "our" Thanksgiving dinner, as Thursday is at my son's and it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without turkey leftovers. Bought one last week and put in the freezer, but didn't have room for two...
At 200 for the moment, we'll see how that does through the holidays, but since I started at 288 in February, I'm not going to beat myself up if it creeps a bit. Was in 58's, now in 38's and leaning towards 36's; I haven't seen that waist size in almost 20 years!
As we enter the real rush of the holidays, try to remember to take a moment or two every now and then for yourselves! Catch your breath, enjoy! Each year snowballs by faster and faster, they go by in such a blur it's hard to remember distinct moments; try and save one or two for memories!


Monday, November 21, 2005

Whirlwind weekend!

We signed all the refi papers Saturday morning; because of the "cooling off" period and the holiday, the check gets mailed next week. House payment dropping almost 50%, so that will let us dig out of the other debt we're mired in and maybe someday I can think about retiring...

Wife's birthday weekend (Sunday actual) so had planned on 4 movies she really wanted to see this weekend. Oldest (Bill) called from Lawrence on Saturday with their shopping list for Sam's Club, so though I had already been Friday so she didn't have to shop this weekend, we went back there and Costco. We got home 4ish and Bill and Laura arrived; threw in a roast for dinner and then watched "Jumanji" which I had bought for her birthday but she found by accident. That was the precursor to seeing "Zathura" (better than you'd think, not that it takes a lot to tear me up). Back home after the movie, since it was after midnight she got to open one present. Kept telling her "I knew she didn't like jewelry, but" as she was opening Janis Joplin's "Box of Pearls" set, then dishes, a bit of TV and off to bed.

Sunday was a bit more laid back; her favorite cinammon rolls for breakfast, and then she opened her card and presents from me (the last thing I'm keeping 'til the family party on Friday that she doesn't know about yet). Then we slipped off to see "Zathura" a bit later than I had planned on. The other movie was to be "Goodnight and Good Luck" but there was one at the "art house" I had been wanting to see for weeks and fearing it would be gone before we got to it, she said we could go see "An Unfinished Life" instead; stunning movie! Next weekend we'll make Gearge Clooney (hopefully still at the art house, as I keep trying to support them when I can) along with "Chicken Little" for the family day after Thanksgiving movie.

So for the first time in 3 weeks I'm off to the gym now since I'm not between phone calls from the mortgage people, life insurance people and trying to work on the kitchen (it's not done yet, they did a drive by assessment and so things are moving at a more leisurly pace now, thank goodness!). Then I'll come home, shower, eat, pack my cooler and go off for my 9 hours at work...


Saturday, November 19, 2005


The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic

Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.
But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.

Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Finally, the closing!

After weeks of anxiety, Saturday we close the refi...having that off my mind will make the holidays a lot more bearable!

The string of family birthdays has begun, between shopping for those and Christmas, if I had much hair left I'd balder by the time we get through it. Guess it's good it's too short to get ahold of...

Sorry if my last post was a bore; the idea of losing the one thing I thought I could depend on in my future was a bit much; I don't know how it will turn out, but I know it will, somehow. Believing in Karma makes everything so much easier to bear! :o)

Put a second payment on my 50th birthday present this last week (in layaway 'til the refi closes and we get the money). Buying a mountain bike might not be the sanest thing I'll ever do, but when I weighed 288 in February and now that I'm down to 200, I plan to do everything I can find to keep from going the other way again! Not planning to stunt or race, but just spend some time on some single track on the weekends when the wife is working. She keeps saying if I'm going to ride then she is too, but with a replacement knee and hip everything I keep reading says she shouldn't...we'll see! Somehow the idea of going through the surgeries again would be enough to make me not do it, but then I'm not a hard headed Vermont girl!

Off to eat and pack my cooler and go do my 9 hours in the car plant!


Monday, November 14, 2005

Now they want our pensions, too!

Just before our Veteran's Day ceremonies at work on Friday night (no, we don't get Veteran's Day off until they Monday after) I was handed of the following from the UAW Newswire (I will put a link to the page at the end of this):

"Next week the House may take up a dangerous pension bill (H.R. 2830) crafted by House GOP leaders and the Bush administration. This legislation could force GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and other companies to freeze all pension credits and/or prohibit any further benefit improvements.

Please call your Representative toll free: 1-888-355-3588.

If pension credits are frozen, this means no workers would be able to earn any more credits. For example, a worker with 15 years of service would be frozen at that amount of pension credits, no matter how much longer they worked. Similarly, a worker with 29 years of service would be frozen at that amount of pension credits, and would never be able to qualify for a 30-and-out pension, no matter how much longer they worked.

If benefit improvements are prohibited, this means the UAW could not even negotiate to update benefit levels to keep pace with inflation. This would be true both for active workers and for retirees!

This awful pension bill would also outlaw special early retirement benefits that are now triggered when there is a plant closing. This would eliminate one of the most important mechanisms for cushioning the impact of plant closings on workers.

This terrible pension legislation represents an enormous attack on the pensions of UAW active and retired members and tens of thousands of other workers employed at major manufacturing companies throughout the United States. It is an attempt by the Bush administration and House GOP leaders to undermine negotiated defined benefit pension plans.

At the same time that House GOP leaders are attacking pension benefits for workers and retirees, they have not done anything to the lucrative pensions earned by Members of Congress. Despite the huge federal deficits, Members of Congress would continue to have their pension credits and benefits increase automatically every year.


Please call your Representative toll free: 1-888-355-3588. Urge him or her to vote against this dangerous pension bill (H.R. 2830), that would freeze pension credits and benefits for American autoworkers and other industrial workers. Tell your Representative that Congress ought to be protecting pension benefits for American workers, not freezing pension credits and benefits, or outlawing plant closing benefits! Also tell them it is wrong for Congress to freeze pension credits and benefits for rank-and-file workers while lucrative pensions for Members of Congress are continuing to increase automatically every year!"

My stomach has been churning all weekend, each time I thought of losing the one thing I thought I could count on for the last 27 years. Following is my letter to my Congressman:

"Congressman Dennis Moore
1727 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Moore,

Thank you for your response to my writing you about ANWR. Each time I hear from you it is the highlight of my day. I never thought I would be honored with a response the first time I contacted you, let alone each time!
I work at the Fairfax General Motors plant, and am starting on my 28th year there. Friday night before our Veteran's Day ceremonies, I was handed a notice that there is a majority crafted bill H.R. 2830 afoot that would freeze my pension credits, making me unable to retire, that it would prohibit benefit improvements for not only active employees, but retirees as well, and would also outlaw our negotiated early retirement benefits for plant closings, which only apply to those with more than 25 years when their plant is closed allowing them to retire at the 30 year rate instead of trying to relocate with the rest of the workforce from their facility. In the dwindling environment of American autoworkers, I have known people to have waited years to be able to transfer somewhere else to try to be able to get their last few years towards retirement. I worked with one man who had hired in in 1968 in Southgate, California and was working in his 5th plant since he hired in, each time starting at the bottom of the seniority ladder as only his corporate time held, not his plant seniority. He had hired in setting park brakes at 28 years old, he was almost 60 and doing that same job again when I worked with him 6 years ago, and finally managed to get his "time to retire" last year at 64 years old.
We each hired in knowing that no matter how physically demanding our jobs, be them in the paint booths, or the body shop, or chassis that we could look forward to doing our 30 and getting out with a pension and our medical benefits for whatever time we had left. Recently someone said in researching our retirees that they live an average of 5 years after their retirement date, regardless of their age when they go out the door. There are times each of us would have quit over the years and gone to a less demanding job, something less physically abusive, or less stressful, but knowing we had a pension to look forward to has kept us there. As of late we've had more than a few who haven't made it to retirement, and their ages are a lot closer to mine than I like to think about!
Now it seems that even that is to be taken away from us by those who have no compassion for anything but their wallets. I have always counted on my retirement, figuring that when I did get out I would go do something else as I knew I couldn't count on Social Security and I have no savings; I also knew that when my day comes that my wife would get half my pension (somehow unfair when I still get the full amount if she dies) and get to keep her medical as long as I retire first and don't die while still working at GM.
I don't know if there is anything you can do to save us from this; sometimes I wish it was more like the old Jimmy Stewart movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and that one honest man could stand up and change everything because I know you are that man. Reality is that in this day and time I know it takes more than one, but somehow I am hoping that you can put together some kind of coalition that can stem this assault on benefits that our grandparents and great grandparents negotiated for us because they had a vision of blue collar workers being able to retire with dignity instead of being discarded like the scrap from the factory floor.
Once again, forgive me for bothering you amid your busy workday, and thank you for being my representative!"

I don't know how anyone else will feel about all this; in a world where most people don't have a pension to count on, perhaps no one cares about the few of us who do having it ripped from under us, but if someone reads this and doesn't mind writing their representative, I would be truly grateful!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005