Monday, December 02, 2013

Always Keep Your Receipt...

...particularly when dealing with a small business. Even though I'm a "frequent flyer" with our local health food store, I tried to return something and even though it had their sticker on it and was unopened, I was unable to do so.
Dulcimer Society

I guess the owner means it when she says, "No refunds or exchanges without receipt." On the other hand, I got a good bit of advice on vegan meal replacements. No, I'm not a vegan. But I do use meal replacements regularly. And I like being able to figure out the ingredients without a chemistry degree. 

Oh well. I'll still shop there. Only I'll definitely put my receipts in my wallet. 


I had a good 1/3 of a post and Blogger ate it. What's up with that??? I'm not happy. Maybe I need to blog in Word and then paste it here? I don't want to do that particularly, but I will if it eats it again.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Fluffy Scarf Project...
Seven Scarves a-Fluffing...
 Drum roll, please.  They. Are. Done. In time for Advent, though we'll use them for Christmas. The picture shows what seven (yes, SEVEN) fluffy scarves look like, piled up on Arlo's table. Arlo is the canary, if you recall... They go nicely with our Cubbie blue choir robes. 

Now, I can concentrate on the socks. The Nephew Afghan. Kid #2 Ripple - which I'm doing as a housewarming present. It was supposed to be high school graduation. Then college. Now, it's when he moves out. It'll get done, never fear. I've started it. 

And that cardigan I want to cast on over Christmas. And any other random WIP that falls out of the closet. I am now on a yarn diet. Go ahead, laugh. And please remind me of that when I post a picture of a yarn I "had to have." I've got enough sock yarn stashed, and since that doesn't count in the "tally of calories" of stash, I'm still good. 


Where, oh where can I start?? How about with our local folk hero, Pope Francis? (I'm hoping that by occasionally hitting the "save" button, I won't lose this one!) In the 11/27/13 Chicago Tribune, the headline above the fold was "Pope decries unequal wealth." Pope Francis wrote a 50,000-word papal statement that condemns the "idolatry of money" and specifically states that "trickle-down economics" doesn't work. The man's a Jesuit. He's smart. And he's the only Pope so far that has exactly enunciated the error of the Republican mantra of trickling. The only thing that trickles down, folks, is the crap. And it's not even GOOD crap. It's just crap. Here's his quote below; I tried to get the link, but it's in the "digital plus" section for subscribers, and I'm not sure it would come through. 

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting." 

This is why uber-conservative Catholic heads are exploding. And there's more...

Pope Francis is apparently sending out his "troops" to get off their rear ends and go help the poor. Click here to see what he's up to. The Swiss Guard is being asked to go out into the night and help the homeless and the hungry. And rumor has it that Francis is out there, too. He did it back in Argentina and now, even though nobody's saying, he might be doing it in Rome, too. Go Pope. 

Editorial Cartoon
Please breathe fresh air into a badly struggling Roman Catholic Church. My very conservative BIL would argue this fact, but it's undeniable. Simply by anecdote, so many of our friends have done what we have: they've left. For more reasons than the pedophile scandal, and they're sad. Catholics carry lots of guilt...well, those pew jockey folks do. Apparently the Cardinals don't. But that's between them and God. 

This move of Francis' is very "Shoes of the Fisherman" and I hope he keeps it up. I desperately hope it's more than window dressing. The Church needs him. By the way, that's one of my favorite movies. If you haven't seen it, please do. It's a little dated, but it's still a cool story. 

And on to my favorite thing. Another article on Congress and its perks. In the 11/30/13 issue of the Trib, there's this story: "VIP dose of health service in Congress." Click on the headline there and read it. I'll hand you a tissue when you're ready. The distillation of this stuff is this: When those congress members do sign up with the District of Columbia health exchange (the one designated for them), their experience has been "better than those of average consumers." Yeah, I know - you saw that one coming. They get more generous benefit packages, VIP customer service and the same government-subsidized (that means you and I pay for that...) premiums that they've always had. And they get 112 gold-plated packages to pick from. 

One Hundred Twelve. Gold-Plated. You and I get to choose from about 34. 

Some of them don't need the insurance; some are veterans, many are old enough for Medicare and some have it from their spouses. Fine. But don't go crying that it's "sticker shock" that your premiums are higher. You make more. The average is $174,000 per year. 

The subsidies are for poor people. People who make less than the Federal Poverty Guideline. A LOT less. Like, a family of four (FOUR), making about $23,000. Per year. Do the math. 

And Bonehead? Quit whining about how you couldn't get on the system. You've enrolled. And you got really lucky with your premiums since you're an old white guy who smokes. Of course, they've dinked with the rules. Members and staff can STILL get subsidies to help pay for their premiums. Those subsidies you and I pay for help pay as much as 75% of their premiums. 

Ready for that tissue yet? 

On the upside, Kentucky is doing just fine, thanks. Old Mitchy will have to eat his already unintelligible words. Click here to see the Washington Post article. They're signing up like crazy. Out of the estimated 640,000 uninsured in the state, over 56,400 have gotten signed up "lickety-spit" as Hubby would say, either by being qualified for Medicaid, Medicare, or getting a subsidy for premiums. For some of them, it's the first time in their lives they've had insurance. Kudos to their governor for having brains and not quailing. 


Let's eat!
So this past Sunday I attended a concert at our church which was put on by the local Dulcimer Society. I love dulcimers. I mostly like the hammer dulcimer; these were picked, but it was nice. We had a soup-and-sandwich reception afterwards. I took a few pictures, and it was nice to see everyone outside of Mass. Check out the picture of the group at the top of my post. All of their dulcimers are hand-made.

I love this church. We're small but mighty. We're partnering with the Methodist Church next door for their Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots goes up to about age 12. Our church has taken on the 13-17 year old kids, since they're too old for the program. The parents get to shop in the Methodist Church basement and we have carols and cookies for them. 

I love this. I mean, this church DOES things. The dulcimer concert had a free-will offering which went to Adopt-A-Platoon. We have adopted a soldier. We donate weekly to the local food pantry. I was a Catholic my whole life, up till almost 2 years ago. I'm so glad I have found a home and that it feeds my desire for service as well as providing a spiritual life. 

First Amendment...

As long as we're talking about church, here's what Clarence Page has to say about the spate of lawsuits by religious organizations and corporations run by people who profess a religious faith (which are two different things, in my opinion) in regard to having to implement the Affordable Care Act. Thomas Jefferson himself - one of those Founders that the Tea Party repeatedly tries to bash us over the head with - said that because belief "lies solely between man and his god, the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions." Page says that government "should not intrude on religious FAITH, but for the sake of the common good, it occasionally must intervene in acts that are motivated by religious BELIEF." (my emphasis) 

This is where Citizens United gets into the act. If corporations are people, according to that misbegotten piece of garbage law, then they should have the rights of a person, right? Well, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals says no. They said, "Corporations do not pray, worship, observe sacraments or take other religiously motivated actions separate and apart from the intention and direction of their individual actors." 

In English, corporations don't sit in pews. Read Page's editorial. It's a good, clear explanation. I thought I saw that SCOTUS refused to hear a case, which is here. Apparently, Hobby Lobby is still in the wings.

The 2013 Ornaments...

Those are also done. Yep, I'm on a roll. Just have to get the baking cracking - and I will as soon as I have freezer space. Hubby is supposed to defrost the small freezer for me, and I'm hoping that gives me some room. 
2013 Ornaments

Remember, I posted them "in progress" -- well, I finished them up and Kid #1 took his (the pale blue ball in the upper left). In a weird bit of coincidence, Kid #1's ornament I made this year matches his Hallmark ornament - which is a blue and white 1957 Chevy coupe. 

And in yet another bit of holiday weirdness, so does Kid #2's... a red angel and his ornament is that red one next to the blue one. 

Normally, of course, I make them till the respective nephew or niece hits age 18. But the fact that my kids are asking? Well, how do you refuse that? 

Kid #1 is putting up his first Christmas tree. Let's see if Larry-the-Cat will let the tree alone. She's my grand-cat. Yes, I know. Larry was Larry when The Kid adopted her, and we knew nothing about cats. Larry proceeded to have 5 kittens on The Kid's bed, so now we know. And Larry is fixed. But we're not sure what her experiences with Christmas trees may have been. This ought to be interesting. 

Yes, I'm also listening to Sirius Holly channel. Sorry - I like Christmas music. Just not in October! 

Does Anyone Know...

Why my office ficus would drop its leaves? It was donated to me by a friend; it was "trimmed" by her hubby and I re-potted it almost a month ago, so transplant shock should be gone by now. It's in a south-facing window; she was helping me decide where to put it. 

I was going to put some small lights on it for Christmas, but now I'm not sure it's a good idea since it appears to drop leaves pretty frequently. I do water it; it's been fertilized with fish fertilizer and it's in a nice-sized pot. 

Any help appreciated!! 

Random Picture...

This is the centerpiece from the dulcimer concert food table. It's pretty and I love that it's Christmas but not the typical colors. While I've decorated our office with traditional colors, I'm not against using those that are non-traditional - although what's 'traditional' lately is perhaps up for grabs. 

 I was actually going to change my profile picture, but I'm still in the midst of the 16 Days of Activism campaign and I don't want to change from that just yet. 

We haven't done any decorating yet. We're likely to do something relatively modest at home because Hubby hasn't been feeling well. 

We'll put the tree on the table again, and probably the ceramic tree in my office (stored on a top shelf) will make it to the TV set, but I'm not sure what I want to do for the rest of it. A nativity set will be somewhere. Not sure where, though. I hope I can find the one Kid #1 painted for me when I was in the hospital delivering Kid #2 (a Christmas baby...).  I'd like to have Kid #1 make a stable for me - the set needs one. 

Well, thankfully, Blogger didn't eat THIS post, so I'm going to publish while I have the chance. 

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