Monday, April 18, 2011

No Picture Monday, but an Important message all the same!

It's that day today.  You know the one you dread every year (if you are not expecting a refund that is!).  Yes, it's tax day.  And Oh My God, is it ever tax day!  Mr. Tax Man is not a very nice man this year.  He insists we owe him lots of money and I just don't get it.  What did I do to deserve such a severe penalty?  Was I un-American?  Did I sit home on my butt and not pay my fair share to live in the best country in the world?  Did I insist that someone else pay my way, buy my food, cross over my borders uninvited to have my babies so they were considered legal and could partake in my hard earned money (that I now have to go in debt to give away to others?).  NO, I didn't do any of those things!  I worked until my government decided it wasn't important to have a space industry anymore.  Then I took the lay off and happily accepted the severance payment to pay off my middle class debt.  I became debt free and thought I was going to live the good, ole American retirement.  Yeah, right.  Now I get to go into debt AGAIN, to pay the tax man.  It's not that I didn't prepare for this day, Oh yes I did save money for this day... I just didn't save enough.  Oh well, that's the American way of life right?  I am grateful to be in the country, and I am grateful to have my own home, and my cars and my animals, and the freedom to have all of those things.  I will pay Mr. Tax Man what he says I owe him and move along because I like having my home and cars and all the things I own.   My message today is a rant and I am sorry if I offend anyone with it.  But, I can write these words because I have the freedom to do such things, and I am grateful for that.  But think about this:

How many zeros is in a billion? (This is too true to be funny)

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it's releases.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were Living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
E.  A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain...let's take a look at New Orleans   ...
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D) is presently asking
Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans .  Interesting number... What does it mean?  (not that I would wish that tragedy on anyone again, because it was very tragic).  But, there is a limit to my charitability senses.

A.  Well .. If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) you each get $516,528.
Or... If you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787..
Or... If you are a family of four....your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D.
C.      HELLO!  Are all your calculators broken??

Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax (Fed)
Federal Unemployment Tax  (FU TA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax

IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties(tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax 
State Income Tax 
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax 
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago.....And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt.... We had the largest middle class in the world..... And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?  Can you spell:


And I still have to Press '1' For English. 

Don't misunderstand me:  I still love my country and wish to be no where else in the world.  And if you don't like my message, you are free to leave whatever kind of comment you like.  Of course, I am free to disagree with it too!  Love you all!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What do you collect?

I collect.  I'm a collector.  My collection(s) are varied and over the years I've had different collections of things.  Once upon a time I collected pig items.  It started innocently enough when I was on a chili cook-off team at work and we were called "Pig Chili Cook-Off Team".  Well, we had to have pigs for props right?  So I started buying some pig paraphernalia.  A few things here, a few things there and all of a sudden I'm known as the Pig Lady.  Birthdays, Christmas, Anniversary.... I got pig related things.  People at work brought me pig related things.  I got some really cool pig things.  Then before you know it, I had a HUUUUUUGGGGGEEE pig collection.  Hmmm, what to do with it?  I sold some of it in my resale shop, but most of it is packed in boxes in storage now.  I don't want to bring it back in the house.  I'm over pigs. 

Now, a few years ago, I also started collecting Vaseline depression glass.  Do you know what Vaseline glass is?  It's glass items that have uranium in it so when you shine a black light on it, the item glows bright green.  Really cool stuff.  Depression glass items are described as machine-pressed, tinted glassware mass-produced during the 1920s and 1930s.  There is also Early American Pattern Glass or EAPG.  EAPG, also known as simply "pattern glass", or Victorian glass is pressed glass tableware (& some related novelty glass items) made only during the Victorian period ca 1850-1910, only in America, and in "sets" such that all of the pieces in the set matched in design (definition is from: - lots of good information there if you're interested in collecting).  Admittedly, there are lots and lots of reproductions being passed off as EAPG or Depression glass, and one has to be very savvy as a collector to know the difference.  That's not me yet!  I know I've got reproductions, but I like them just the same.  Maybe someday I can consider myself an expert in knowing the difference.  I have some cool pieces though, and some I think are the real thing.  If not, I hope no one bursts my bubble!  I also have some clear glass, ruby glass, and pink glass items.  My glass pieces include makers and patterns like Fenton, Kings Crown pattern, Westmoreland, etc. (too many to list all the glass makers and patterns of glass here).

Isn't the glow under blacklight cool?

This is a Fenton piece.

This is a Westmoreland piece.

I also collect vintage items like this Jaguar TV Lamp.  When I was a little girl I so fondly remember my Grandma having one of these on her TV and when I saw one at auction, well, I just had to have it!  It has a light on the backside of it and it's in mint condition. 

I recently started acquiring (or trying to anyway), Jadeite pieces.  So far, I have a grease jar collector with a rooster detail painted on it, and I have some kitchen canisters that just came in the mail, but sadly one of the pieces was shattered.  Darn it!  I will still use the flour, coffee, and grits canisters though..... the sugar was the shattered piece.  So, anyone have a sugar Jadeite kitchen canister they want to donate to me?  Fire King, by Anchor Hocking is the REAL Jadeite I would like to collect, but those pieces are expensive.  I might acquire some real pieces mixed in with the reproductions.  What I have now are of course, reproductions.  That's OK for starters.  One of my blog reads, Pioneer Woman, collects the real Fire King Jadeite stuff and I know she has a fortune invested in her pieces.  It's pretty stuff, and I like green (i.e. see green Vaseline glass above). 

I collect other things too (Coach bags and purses, Thomas Kinkade paintings, horse paintings and drawings), to name a few.  So, that's some of what I collect.  What are your collections?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What a Sad Day for Houston

I just had to post today about how sad I am to see that Houston and the NASA, Johnson Space Center was not chosen to receive one of the retired Space Shuttles when the Program ends this summer.  What a tragedy for this area of Texas.   With the end of Space Programs as we've known it for the last 4 decades, this area of Texas - Houston - loses a huge amount of work for it's residents.  The fact that one of the Space Shuttles could retire here would have been a great boon for our economy, and would have created hundreds and hundreds of jobs for it's laid off space employees.  This area will be devastated even more economically now.  The Johnson Space Center area of Houston employed thousands, and thousands of employees.  Now there is nothing!  Why does New York get a Space Shuttle?  Why, when New York has an economy that is so diverse, and Houston has a failing space economy, does New York get a Space Shuttle?  I just don't get it!  I am sick to death of politics playing a role in EVERYTHING these days.  And this is so obviously politically motivated, in my honest opinion.  I am very sad for this country.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Flower Child Memory

About 5 years ago, a co-worker gave me one of those boxed flower bulb gifts that are so prevalent during the holidays in stores like Walmart.  It was labeled as "Amaryllis", but in actuality is probably a  HippeastrumThis bulbous flower is often used in mass production with the name Amaryllis, more commonly called Naked Lady or Belladonna Lily (see this link for more info if you're interested  Anyway.....I brought it home and threw it in a nice pot with some potting soil I already had in there from another plant that probably died on me.  I haven't ever really considered myself to have a green thumb (but here I am trying to grow a garden this year.... I'm just sayin'!).   The pot was outside, in and out of full sun or wherever I happened to move the pot as it got in the way, and I occasionally threw some water on it if I happened to notice it was dried out.  Fast forward 5 years, and somehow this flower sprouted out this year!  I began watering it in earnest this past fall up until now.  It's still in the same pot, and has now taken a place in my new landscaped area with the rest of the beauties.  I can't believe this thing lived this long and is even throwing out a nice flower for me!  Now that's a persistent little bugger if I do say so myself!

Yesterday afternoon, I was out in the barn and paddock picking up horse and donkey poop and discovered this:

I was immediately transported back to my youth remembering that I used to go hunting for things like this with my very bad friends.....except that I think we were looking in cow patties for these, and then boiling them down to a tea to drink and experiencing the worst mind trip I've ever been on.  Yes, I am talking about those days when I was open to, shall we say, different experiences.... but I'm older and wiser now and know better.  Hey, I am a product of the 60's and a flower child at heart, which means I did experiment with illegal substances once in a while at some point in my youth...... but I guess if something grows from cow poop it isn't considered exactly illegal, right?  Oh well, you may or may not know what I'm babbling about, but if you do, I can tell you I NEVER LOOKED FOR MUSHROOMS IN COW PATTIES AGAIN AFTER THAT ONE TIME!  (Sorry if you're reading this Mom.... I wasn't exactly an angel all of my life.  I did do things I'm not proud of, but I hope I'm redeemed as your favorite daughter these days!  Love you Mom!).

Oh the memories of youth.  Some good, some bad.  Glad I'm a responsible adult now!  And on that note: good night!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

All the Pretty, I Mean Weeds!!!!!

Today was another busy day.... hmmmm, I'm detecting a pattern to my days.  They all seem to be too busy lately.  But, wait - tomorrow maybe I can have a restful day.  Sure.  Keep dreaming. 

I love Spring time more than any other time of the year.  I love seeing everything flowering and blooming.... that is except my pasture flowers..... I mean, weeds.  The fields have erupted in beautiful and flowering weeds.  It was time to call in the tractor guy to mow them down for me.  We don't have our own tractor, but I sure wish we did.  It's an expensive item and one I just don't have the funds for.  The few times I need my pasture mowed I call a local gentleman with a tractor to come do it for me.  Much cheaper than a tractor payment.  But it sure would be fun to do it myself!  Next, we'll need to fertilize to get rid of the weeds.  Even though they are weeds, the different colors of all the weed flowers is such a pretty sight to see. 

I cleaned out the chicken coop today (again).  I changed out the bedding in 8 nest boxes, swept up all the old litter on the floor and put in new; set up housekeeping for the 10 new Rhode Island Red pullets I got yesterday; cleaned out chicken waterers; introduced myself to the new chickens by picking each one of them up, holding them in my lap, inspecting each one thoroughly for any signs of illness or injuries, and caressed each one until they went to sleep.  I'll get some pictures of the new little ones tomorrow (while I'm getting some rest you know :-)  ).  They are about 12 weeks old, so it will be a bit yet before they start laying eggs. 

I managed to capture a picture of my Pekin duck in her new egg laying spot.  She has picked the rosebed on the side of my carport for her laying place.  She thinks we can't see her there!  Whenever she's in there and we walk by, she flattens herself out like she's sure we can't see her.  After she lays her egg, she goes back to her pond.  She faithfully lays an egg every day, but they will never hatch since I don't have a drake for her to mate with.  Oh well, maybe I will try to find her a mate this year. 

I planted all of my strawberries in the border boxes.  I hope this works out well.  I'm trying something new this year.  I used cedar window boxes for the landscape border and planted strawberries in one section of them.  I plan on planting pretty flowers in the rest of them.  I worked some more on the side house landscaping too.  I got my Hyrangeas in the ground.  I hope they grow well and thrive.  I remember Hydrangeas from  my childhood and it's a very fond memory, so I'm trying it out to see if they do well in this hot, humid Gulf Coast area.  I'll keep you posted on the progress.  Speaking of progress, I attached a picture of my veggie garden too!  Growing, growing, growing.  Can't wait to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

So now it's time for bed.  I think I will sleep soundly tonight after all the hard work today.  Like any good farmer girl should!