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Archive for March, 2009

They have tried everything else (with the exception of the “Fair Tax”) so why not……

Maybe this is supposed to be a joke, but it’s so simple I think it would actually work!! Wish we had a president who would actually try something like this – and the congress to pass it!

This was an article ( so I’m told ) from the St. Petersburg Times newspaper on Sunday. The Business Section asked readers for their ideas on “How Would You Fix the Economy?” I think this reader nailed it!

Dear Mr. President,

Patriotic Retirement:

There’s about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million dollars apiece Severance Pay with these stipulations.

1) They leave their jobs.  Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.

2) They buy NEW American cars.  Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.

3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.

DONE!   Economy fixed.

Sounds good to me!!

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And you thought all this hype was new???!!!

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NOTE: I’m posting this from one of my other blogs: Turtle Rock.

Roads Go Ever On

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Still ’round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

= = = = =

I truly enjoy this! What is interesting to me, is that J.R.R. Tolkien worked with Donald Swann back in the 60’s to create a musical song-cycle from LOTR. The result was a lovely book and a record (yeah, I go back to the vinyl days – and actually a lot farther that that, but more about that another time).

The Ol’ Curmudgeon and I were both distressed that the movies, which were excellently made in every other way, did not use any of these songs! And they are sooooo beautiful. What’s that, you say? Where can I get these lovely songs? There is a relatively new edition (2002) of it out with a CD inside (!) so you can hear them as well as play them! The Road Goes Ever On is available at Amazon, of course! I’ve even linked it for you.

I HIGHLY recommend it!

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I’ve discovered, after much exploration, that no one website is totally helpful in my search for frugality. Many of the “ready-made” menus are not the way we need to eat, given the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s heart problems and given my weight issues. Most places seem to promote adding lots of carbs and other fillers to save money. Doesn’t work for us. We are on a high protein diet. Breaded chicken doesn’t “make it.”

But, I find 2-6 “gems” at each different website. So here are ten of the frugal websites I’ve explored. You, too, might find a gem or two at each site.

  1. Hillbilly Housewife
  2. Frugal Living on About.com
  3. The Cheapskate Guide
  4. Better Budgeting (better than the name suggests!)
  5. essortment – Frugal Living
  6. Frugal Mom
  7. Living on a Dime
  8. The Dollar Stretcher
  9. All Things Frugal
  10. Budget Stretcher – saved the BEST for last!

If you have a favorite frugal website, or frugal suggestions, please tell me – add a comment!

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That’s my husband. The Ol’ Curmudgeon was laid off yesterday. We have a severance package that will help for about 2 1/2 months. After that, nada. So we are soliciting prayers from all our relatives, friends and e-friends.

More on that, later. Right now I want to talk a bit about working through the shock.

The Ol’ Curmudgeon was pale, but upbeat when I arrived home and he told me about it. We immediately had a discussion of his severance package and what it would mean to us – essentially, 3 months of pay and insurance then the option of COBRA for insurance (expensive, but possibly needed).

We have lists of things we  need to do – one for him, one for me. I will need to solicit more cases not only from my current clients, but I’ll need to look around for other clients. Third-party administrators and case managers come to mind, as well as attorneys.

I hope to re-vamp the business website, and get that going, again.

All this will take time, and will compete with my caseload for time. This is why people outsource stuff like their business websites.

I will need to create a website for the Ol’ Curmudgeon, also – perhaps as a sub-site on my business site.

I never thought it would happen, but I will need to check to see if my Medicare can be extended to cover the Ol’ Curmudgeon. He’s younger than I, and can’t get Medicare for several more years. We’ll see about that next week.

As long as we still have insurance, we will got to each of our MDs, explain what is happening, get all the medications changed to the absolute cheapest generic version available. This will be hard for me and my DMARDs – they are very expensive even as generics, and several of our most expensive meds are not available on the low-cost plans through Kroger, Publix, Target, Walmart or Costco. Yep, I downloaded all the lists.

You know, someone (like I) could make a small living helping people who have lost their health benefits find cheaper drugs. Have to look into that!

It’s going to be very interesting. I suppose we both are still in the “angry” phase. We are not depressed – neither of us have problems with depression. Yes, a lot of stuff is beyond our control and we’ll just have to “suck it up” and deal with those things. But a lot of stuff IS in our control, so we’ll concentrate on working those.

Prayer? O yes! Lots. We are saying the Akathist to St. Xenia of St. Petersburg daily – St. Xenia is known to have success in helping people to find jobs (and find housing, and have babies [but that’s not what we will be petitioning for!!]). I’ll probably post it later on my Orthodox Christian website. But I’ll have to re-work it to eliminate the “you-hoo” language. Get back to the thees and thous.

We get up early, so we have a bit of time to kick back in the mornings, before people are in their offices and ready to receive “I need a job” calls. And that time is coming to a close, so I’ll close  this blogpost with an appeal (again) for your prayers – not only for us, but for all who are having these problems.

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No, I’m NOT going to talk about Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) (although  that is a very good way to save some money on food). This is about going to the local grocery store, the one you usually go to, and coming out better; and NO, it’s NOT about couponing and making hundreds of dollars! It’s just about plain, ordinary, common sense grocery shopping.

First, go with a list, but keep an open mind. If there are low cost specials on foods you ordinarily purchase, pick up 2 or 3 of them – but only if you can store them safely (if frozen or refrigerated) and use them before the expiration dates. Don’t get large amounts of meats unless there is a really good sale and you can quickly and safely divide the packages and repackage into meal-sized portions and freeze. This will have to be done immediately upon arriving home. If you don’t have the time, don’t do it.

Coupons can help you take up to 20 – 30% off your food bill, but only if you have multiple coupons and actually USE them. The best place to get usable coupons is not on the internet (too many stores have stopped accepting them). No, rather it is your Sunday newspaper. If you are going to get serious about it, you need to buy at least 2 and preferably 3 or 4 Sunday papers. This is where the large national companies’ coupons are inserted.

The mistake many people make is to purchase products they don’t normally use just because they have cents-off coupons for them. Don’t do tht. join up with neighbors or friends and trade the inserts you have removed your coupons from for their cut up inserts. The more coupons you have the better – if not this week then next week.

If your store had a day or several days, a week when they double or triple coupons, shop on that day. If you are a senior citizen (usually defined as over 60), one or more of your local stores may have a “Senior Discount Day” on which they give 5% off on the groceries to Seniors. Yay! Add coupons, and you may be able to save 25% – 35%. That ain’t hay!

If you are as forgetful as I am (I’ve never been able to get myself together with my coupons on grocery day), you can still save. Purchase store brands when you can. Certain store brands you may not like, so get the brands you prefer – preferably with a coupon. But there are many things on which you can save a few cents here and there.

Plan your meals out for each week plus 2 days at a time. When you shop, be sure the ingredients for those meals are available in your pantry and refrigerator or freezer. Otherwise, add the ingredients to your list. Buy for 1 week plus 2 days at a time. That way, if you can’t shop on your usual day, you easily will have enough on hand to go the next day.

So:

  • Shop sales
  • Plan your meals 9 days at a time
  • Shop for the ingredients of your meals
  • Stock up (when feasible) on sale items
  • Use coupons if you can – and if you do, remember to get 2 Sunday papers each week and trade coupons with family members, friends and neighbors.
  • O yes – Clark  Howard’s website is: http://clarkhoward.com/clarkmedia/tv/grocery_tips.html

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… are our historical documents? Check out these links!

Historic Documents on the Patriot Post website includes all the historic documents that have influenced the formation, writing, and framing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US – back to the Code of Hammurabi. This is an excellent source for information.

The United States Constitution. {NOTE: This site has some excellent commentary on the Constitutions of the USA and Canada.

Charters of Freedom – the website of the US Government with excellent historical explanations of how and why the Constitution came to be. However, watch out for the discussions of the Amendments, as these get a little biased.

GPO Access – Free downloads in both text and PDF formats of the Constitution with some analysis and interpretation included.

Emory Law Library in Atlanta GA.

The Federalist Papers contain the mind of the framers of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They are critical to understanding the true meaning of each element of the Declaration and the Constitution. “… the essays explain particular provisions of the Constitution in detail. For this reason, and because Hamilton and Madison were each members of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers are often used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution.” (Thomas – LoC) Warning – these are tough going for those used to light reading. I suggest printing  them out as you get ready to read each one. There are a number of locations where you can find them:

Emory Law Library in Atlanta GA.

Library of Congress (Thomas)

Just as there was support for ratifying the Constitution, there were those who were cautionary or openly against it. Their collected writings are called the Anti-Federalist Papers. These are just as important to read as the former.

Another place for reading the Founding Fathers Documents, with some different commentary, is the University of Groningen, Netherlands.

Happy reading!

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