The Indianapolis 500 will be run tomorrow Sunday, May 27th., just as it has most Memorial Day weekends since the first race on May 30, 1911. Winning this race is an accomplishment for a driver and team not on par with any other.

I haven’t had the pleasure of attending this particular race, or even visiting the Indiana track on an off weekend. However, I did have the pleasure of going to the Las Vegas Speedway and the last race of the 2011 Indy season in October, and meeting last years Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. Dan was actually a two time winner of the Indianapolis 500, in 2005 and 2011. He was the nicest person we met the entire week we were there! He was infectiously bubbly, upbeat, positive and confident. In his trailer before the race he proudly showed us Susies’ initals he had tattooed on his wrist, saying it was a spur of the minute thing they just decided to do to mark the love they had for one another.

But then there was the ultimate tragegy in lap 11. I was standing behind Dan’s pit when the accident happened across the track. I couldn’t see anything but flying debis, fire and smoke. I found myself screaming, where are the fire crews? Why aren’t they out there? What’s taking them so long? And I watched as Susie screamed, took off her headset and ran crying to the waiting cart.

The only Indy car race that I ever attended ended in tragedy and was cut short, having only run 11 laps. But that doesn’t mean the race wasn’t extreme in both excitement, and in speed. The Indy cars go so very fast (over 200 MPH), you cannot actually see them go by ~ whish, whoosh and gone. I certainly would have preferred any other outcome but the one that day. Tomorrow as I celebrate my 40th. Wedding Anniversary, I am doubly saddened by the thought of Dan’s family without him.

Some of the biggest names in autosports have run and won this race, names like Bobby and Al Unser, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti. And although some of the drivers of the Indy cars have moved to other racing circuts, for example Tony Stewart, Scott Speed, Juan Pablo Montoya and most recently Danica Patrick, there is still nothing like the Indianaplis 500! So if you want to see some exciting racing start to finish, from the comfort of your living room without all the extreme noise that goes with actually being at Indy – watch the race tomorrow at 11:00AM EST.



Today is the 33rd anniversary of the day Etan Patz, a New York City 6 years old disappeared. He was on his way to his school bus stop – the first time he was allowed to go alone. He never returned home.

That day changed how we looked at things, caused us sadness for his family, and fear for our own children. Brought to national attention by the media and his picture being posted on milk cartons, all parents now had to worry, would my child be next?

I lived in a city close to NYC as a child. I can tell you in 1959, it wasn’t like that. Our parents didn’t show any sign of worry as they pushed us out of the apartment in the morning and off to school. I was 4 years old and walked ten city blocks to Catholic school. And yet, I don’t remember ever being afraid.

I know Etan wasn’t the first child to ever go missing, and I know he won’t be the last. Today is the anniversary of the day that changed the way we view other adults. It turned any interaction by another adult with our child from “innocent” to potential “suspicious behavior.” Somehow the realization that Etan (or any child) could be snatched on his way to the bus and never returned shakes any parent to this day. It’s the day that started us watching, waiting and doing all we can to avoid the unthinkable – losing our child to some stranger. It made us hold them close and not let them be a free to be children as they once were.

Is it good, or is it bad? I think it’s a little of both. I am happy to see that parents care enough about their children to take them to the bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive. I am happy to see them paying attention and holding onto them in the stores and around town. I am happy they installed GPS to the school buses – but down deep and overall I am sorry it’s all necessary. And despite all of our efforts, kids still go missing.


Earlier today while reading the news – this item caught my eye. I wonder today where common sense comes in when dealing with issues such as this.

Sixty-four (64) High School Students were suspended for the day because they rode bikes to school! Ok, they called it a senior prank, but wasn’t it harmless? Would the principal rather they did something bolder, irrational, or down right scary? If you read the story (and the link to the original article is below) they had the mayor, a police escort and even parents lining the streets and cheering them on. But then the principal had to have the last word and suspended all of them…..why? In fact, if she would have known about it in advance (and we sure don’t know if she did from the article), I think she should have rode with them to show her support to the graduating class. Where has all the fun parts of life  gone?Kids On Bikes

So again here is another story that gets you thinking — what’s missing from this story? In my opinion, this is a fun way to do something that marks your senior year, something you can remember at subsequent reunions, tell your kids, and hurts no-one. Can’t you see them borrowing their sisters, cousins or neighbors bikes to ride so they can all participate — I’ll bet the parents were very supportive of this — we know the police and mayor were.  So, in my opinion ~ what I think happened is that the principal said, if you can pull this off, and all ride bikes to school, I’ll give every one of you the day off. The only way I can do that officially is to call a suspension day, but teens the day will be yours! Enjoy it and stay safe.

All opinions are mine, including the made up portions and new ending to this story.  I just can’t help myself from doing this, otherwise it just doesn’t make sense!
Credit for the original report to Kyle Olson,  Original story here:



I am going to start a new column where I comment or give you my opinion on things that are actually in the news.   The local, national or the world news is all fair game.  The subjects will run the gambit from just plain mundane to the weird and unusual.   Most of them will make both of us wonder where this world is headed.

Remember these will all be my personal opinions – I have no inside data, or sometimes even a solid reason for having these particular opinions.  These will all be based on what I read in the news — and quite honestly we all know that from one paper to the next the stories are slanted to the left or the right of center.

Starting off  I also want to say that sometimes the news just doesn’t add up.  Take the Trayvon Martin case as an example.  They spell his name different in several different accounts – aren’t newspapers supposed to check that before they publish?  News agencies and even some of the more involved parties have already said they lied, hid data, twisted the information a bit, and did other things that compromised the real story for the sake of sensationalism.

In this particular case, his death is a tragedy.  I am sorry it happened. I wish it could have been avoided.  However, being a gun owner, and having been trained and schooled in its appropriate and inappropriate use, I do not for one minute believe that George Zimmerman is guilty of second degree murder.  I think the officers and original decision to let him use the Florida Stand Your Ground defense was the correct and adequate decision.  Why? Because I cannot believe that he would have ever shot Trayvon if there hadn’t been a darn good reason to do so.  No person trained to use a firearm and who understands the protocol of appropriate use, would do that.  It’s a last resort choice, not a first resort.

Here in Virginia, we were trained that no matter whom we shoot for whatever reason, we will be charged with second degree murder until all the facts are weighed.  We were told to expect to pay $250,000 in lawyer fees to defend yourself against a rightful shooting.  George is from Virginia – and I am sure he didn’t just pick up a gun one day at a gun show and not learn why, how and when it would be appropriate to use it.

Maybe I am naive in this thinking, maybe there are people out there just waiting for a reason to shoot and to kill a teenager?  But I’d like to think I’m not.  In closing, I like to say a word to Trayvon’s mother and father – making this a media circus and trying to make money off of your son’s death is disgraceful.


May 152012

Two nights ago was only the second time I had to shoot someone. Dreams can be good or bad, the bad ones are called nightmares.

I grew up around guns. To say I was afraid of them would be putting it mildly. Maybe because I was a girl I had no interest in them and had no desire to even see or touch one. My father kept his guns handy and knew how to shoot. He was a pistol champion. As a child I always saw dad cleaning his pistols. He also used to mimic shooting the bad guys on the black and white TV set we had in our living room. There wasn’t much room in the four room apartment that held the seven of us, and there wasn’t really any place to go to not be around the guns.

At some point in time, I started dreaming about being shot every night. No one ever made a move to actually shoot me, or even threatened to do so in real life but the dreams became more regular and came more often. I was sure that one of these days after dreaming this night after night that it would come true. It made me want to avoid any and all firearms. It almost made me want to avoid sleep. It certainly could be called a reoccurring nightmare. Until one day they stopped, after I was married, out of my parents house and maybe because of the distance from the actual guns?

Fast Forward … 2004
Ever catch someone trying to break into your home? How about a second attempt? The first time we experienced this and tried to catch the intruder — we didn’t succeed. The second time, we were able to get a license plate number. With the help of several friends and a series of coincidences, which I prefer to think was divine intervention, we found out what was going on. A neighbor rallied the neighborhood to file a lawsuit against us, making up charges and opening a dummy corporation “representing” the homeowners association. The reason was one particular man who wanted us “out of his neighborhood”. Nothing more, and nothing less would satisfy him. He was wealthy and thought he could control everyone and everything. He made up lies about our family and spread them as gospel truth to the other homeowners. He even had another man strong arm the neighbors into signing – mostly by lies and intimidation. They hired private investigators to follow, track, record, film and to break into our home.

Because we were not guilty of any of the dozen charges he made up, we did what we felt was right. We stood our ground. This was the last thing he expected. Surely the power of a seriously wealthy man would intimidate most, but not us. We have no “dirt” to dig up, no skeletons in our closet we haven’t dealt with, no secrets to hide. I believe he found and used things like that against others in our neighborhood but with us there was nothing to find, so he resorted to making them up.

When someone is “out to get you” and makes it pubic knowledge that they are, the options are almost always either fight or flight. Since flight wasn’t going to be our choice, we decided to get our concealed carry gun licenses.  We wanted to be prepared should he decide to escalate his efforts.  Here in Virginia, you don’t actually have to have a concealed carry license to have or wear a gun on your side. Virginia is an open carry state. As long as the gun can be seen, and not carried into prohibited places (schools, etc) – you can holster your gun and wear it while you go about your day.  The requirements for concealed carry (where your gun is hidden from view) in our area of Virginia, is to take an 8 hour class, then pass a written and a shooting test.  After that, a judge has to sign off on your request to carry a firearm and your concealed carry license is issued.

Continue reading »


Wasting, wasting it’s been quite a few days talking about it.  So I don’t need to tell you, I feel waste should be avoided – by now you already are on that page.

Today I am going to tell you three real ways our family avoids wasting money.

Planning our spending:
It’s impossible in our house not to plan our spending, check out the best deals and then “layer” the deals.  What I mean by layering is to plan the purchase in a certain order where you can get a benefit from each layer.  Layering for us starts by deciding what we want to buy,  which can take time because we will want to compare value, costs and details.  We will want to know this particular product is one we really need or want before we move to the next step.  Once we do know ~ we go out to the internet to find sales on that particular make, model or brand.  We find and check out any coupons and or rebates and even print out the rebate forms.  We print the forms because not all vendors will have a link, note a rebate or even give you a hint there is one available ~ but if there is, we want to be able to take advantage of it.  Then we go to one of the sites that give back a percentage of the price, or points for your purchases. We will buy our item after we calculate if points or cash back is our best option.  Lastly, we pay for the items with a cash back credit card.  We use credit for ease of purchase, for the benefits the credit card provides, and for the cash back from using the card. (Note:  We have no annual fee cards  and we pay our credit card in full each month, and the cards give back $$ or points that can be changed into $$).

Finding new ways to cut costs:
Every month I try to find one more way to save.  Last month I ordered my prescription medicine from a Canadian pharmacy.  If you know me, you’d realize I didn’t do this lightly or without quite a considerable amount of thought.   With our income slashed to the bone, I just felt like I had to slash my prescription costs too.  So I first tried at my doctors’ office asking for a lower priced medicine.  When that didn’t work and my only options were the same medicine, or one that wasn’t asthma sparing – I had to stay with my old one.  The old one’s price is now  $128.40 for a 30 day supply (that’s over $4.00 each) – the Canadian pharmacy price is $1.21. Great right, but how do you chose one?  My in-laws currently use one they are happy with, so I went there, and took them up on their referral fee offer.  It gave my in-laws $25.00 off any $90 or more, and it gave me the same offer.  I wound up paying $0.916 per pill delivered for mine.  I chose non-generic pills because of my allergies, but generic would have been even less!  You are reading this correctly… I paid $50.00 less for 3 month supply, than I would have had to pay for a 1 month supply at the local Walmart Pharmacy.  So on my regular Rx, brand name pills, with the lower price, and the referral discount – I paid 72% less for my medicine.  I should have done this sooner!

Avoiding Debt:
Another of our ways to stop wasting our money has been to not carry any debt. I know that’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone.  When we purchased our third home – we paid cash for it.  We moved into a smaller place on a smaller piece of land, and a house that needed work.  But it meant no mortgage – and it also meant that my husband could now work anywhere and pay our bills because they were now that “reasonable”.   We just felt that any interest we had to pay to own or have anything wasn’t something we wanted to do.  We preferred to save for what we needed or wanted. Not having debt is very freeing.  And …all those dollars we would have paid?  We saved them by not having to spend them on interest.  Thousands and thousands on mortgage interest, thousands and thousands by not keeping a credit card balance, and we saved thousands and thousands by not having car payments, etc.

Others in the Waste Series
Stopping Waste in Our Home Part 1 ~ Click here‎
The Goverment Wastes Your Tax Dollars  ~ Click here
Stop Wasting Your Money ~ Click here


Waste is something I try to avoid at all costs.  I guess we all have our own unique and sometimes quirky ways to deal with it.  Today I am going to tell you a few of the ways we stopped wasting material in our home over the years, laughing allowed.

First and foremost – we try not to waste natural resources and recycle everything we can.  Lots of times that means a quick wash and then into the recycle bin.  At our house we have a recycle bin the size of our trash bin – and most weeks it’s fuller than the actual garbage.   I would say about of 75% is either recycled or fed to the wild animals who live with us on our 5 heavily wooded acres.

We reuse jars for things like homemade jellies and jams, and other canning.  The Ball® canning jar lids fit the quart mayonnaise jars perfectly.  We store nails, screws, buttons, anything small and in need of some organization so that there isn’t a drawer full of junk.  The huge jars we use as sort of a greenhouse when planting seedlings outside. They protect them from light frost and animals as well as storing heat right around the plant itself.  And as our last example, we use them for materials that need a container they cannot penetrate. Think of this as just a small jar of paint from the gallon for touch-ups, or some stain where you don’t need the entire container.  Or if you need to transport a small amount of anything to another location – glass is great for that.

We also recycle all our plastic containers, paper, newspapers, foil, used oil, wood, etc. and I hope you do too!  But do you actually reuse your Dixie® type paper plates.  Well, we do.  Anything that doesn’t really compromise the plate, we dust off the crumbs and pile them up to use again.  There’s also nothing wrong I understand with hanging up your teabags to dry and then reusing them either.  Sometimes you do have to use more than one “recycled bag” though to get a good cup of tea!

More on waste tomorrow, but I’ll leave with some things you might not think are reuseable or recycleable, but are!  How about metal hangers, dentures (for the precious metals they contain), cell phones,  phone books, hair, golf balls, bicycles, trophies, old computer parts, floppy disks, christmas lights, and keys.

Others in the Waste Series

Stopping Waste in Our Home Part 2 ~ Click here‎
The Goverment Wastes Your Tax Dollars ~ Click here
Stop Wasting Your Money ~ Click here


As I said yesterday, wasting money bothers me.   But truthfully, any waste bothers me.  Wasting natural resourses, money, time, anything — because I view waste as unnecessary to living happily and healthily on this earth.  It always saddens me when I see waste ~~~ any type of waste.

Since we all view waste differently we will each approach ” doing  away with it” in our own way ~~ but in this economy not doing it ….  just doesn’t make sense.  So today I am sharing some ways that you might stop wasting your money, get off the spending roller coaster and get your expenses to more reasonable level .  A level that  might allow you not only to live better overall but also might put you on the right path to accomplishing your financial goals.

First, make up you mind to cut your costs.    That’s step one towards ending the waste.  It’s going to benefit you. You can’t do it unless you make up your mind that it’s something you really want.  In this economy with rising prices, bleak job prospects and the reality of inflation – you need to stop wasting your money now!

Second, decide what is most important to YOU.  That’s right, figure out what you really want out of your life, what you want for your children, and where you want your life to end up.  For some it might mean a home, college savings, or a new car, for others the reality is that life without debt and with a healthy emergency account would be a Godsend. Each of us is in a different place, and our goals are different. You need to know yours!

Third, start cutting.  There are usually things in every life that can be cut or shaved down to cost less.  Here are some of the things that come to mind.

  • Paid Subscriptions – Can you get that same information online and cut out the cost of those magazine subscriptions?  If you cannot cut all of them, can you cut most of them?  Just write cancel on your next invoice and be done with it.
  • Cable Subscriptions/Special Channels/Movie Packages – Do you have one or more of the ones that you pay extra dollars each month for that you really aren’t using to its full advantage.  If you find you don’t need or use it, eliminate it.
  • Trash Collection – If you pay for it, can you find a less expensive hauler?
  • Newspaper – Can you get the same information online for free?
  • Utility Bills – Can you figure out a way to save hot water, water in general, or electricity?  Look around your house yourself, or get a free energy audit.  Many utility companies offer free energy audits to homeowners.  Everyone can save some energy and therefore some dollars with utilities.  Maybe it just means filling your dishwasher full before running it, turning down your hot water heater a few degrees, or getting it an insulation cover.   Look into resealing your window or doors, using a programmable thermostat to save energy by lowering the heat or air conditioning while no one is home or hanging out your clothes instead of using the dryer.  Maybe you could plan on making 2 meals at one time, so you only have to reheat the second (in the microwave!), or baking twice the amount and freezing the items to have on hand.  Continue reading »

Wasting Money bothers me.  I am appalled when I see others doing it.  I am of the opinion that one can avoid this if they take the time and effort needed to search out an alternative.   But I am actually a bit angered by it when I see my taxes paying for ridiculous things.  Our government budget never seems to cut out any waste, they just seem to keep adding on crazy expenditures that are a waste of money.

And while I have a short list of a few of the wasteful  ways  below, I also think there are lots of valuable things our government does with their money —  I just can’t think of one right now.

Last time I checked the US Debt Clock,  we were over 15.7 trillion in debt.  Their continuously updating site shows debt of each citizen at $50,090.  So why don’t  we cut some of the waste!  My belief is that each representative wants as many dollars in his district/state as possible any way he can get them?  Let’s face it – it creates jobs, keeps the economy going and  the voters on his side….but ladies and gents, enough is enough!

These are some of the more ridiculous things our government wasted money on (in my opinion) in the past few years.

1) An Internet Dating Study – really?  Somehow they needed to know how Americans use the internet to find love.   I could have told them,  Americans aren’t searching  for actual “LOVE” , they use it for something else ….ahem.  This is where I think they should mind their own business and just butt out. Cost $250,000.

2) Super Bowl Commercial no one really understood.  The Census Bureau sponsored a Super Bowl Ad to the tune of $2.5 million that tanked because it was too ironic to actually be understood by most who watched it.  Duh?

3) Replacing 36 Toilets in Alaska’s Denali National Park – 1.49 million dollars.  They might have needed toilets, I know I’d like one in the if I had to go while at the National Park, but an outhouse with a roll o f TP would have filled my needs.

4) A pedestrian bridge 20 steps from an existing pedestrian bridge in Puget Sound $260,000.  And next year they may build another, after all there might be more pedestrians who want to cross.  I wonder who’s brother in law owns the company that builds those?

5) National Institute of Health spent $55,000 dollars to promote awareness of a vaccine that doesn’t exist.

6) Funding the creation of a video game to the tune of $600,000 – to be called WolfQuest.

7) They funded $120 million for federal retirement benefits to retirees — seems Ok on the surface, until you find out that those retirees are already dead.   AND one retirees’ son collected his father check for 37 years until he also died.   My fix… Spend 1 million to fund new employees to find these kind of system abusers and put the $119 million towards the debt.

8)How about the $3.4 million to create an underground turtle tunnel, or eco-passage, in Lake Jackson, Florida – Really!  Were they endangered turtles or regular ones?  This is money that could have been better spent feeding the hungry in America, but don’t get me started on that.

Is there never going to be an end to this.  I remember when they used to call it pork belly spending.  Spending by any name is spending.  And we need to rein in government spending  NOW!

Other Articles in the Waste Series:
Stopping Waste in Our Home Part 1 ~ Click here
Stopping Waste in Our Home Part 2 ~ Click here‎
Stop Wasting Your Money ~ Click here

All opinions in this post are 100% mine and have not been influenced by anyone.

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