Bible Verse of the Day

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Happy the Shoes

My photo. A stack of used-up walking and running shoes early in my athletic transformation.
No, this post is not about athletics or running. It's about donations.

I woke up way too early this morning, but dozed a little after 5 am, only to have the phrase, "Happy the shoes" echo in my head. I suppose it's because I donated four pairs of running shoes yesterday at DSW Shoes in Lexington to Soles 4 Souls, a charity I especially like. S4S takes gently-used (or new) shoes of all types, not just athletic shoes, and gives them to people who need them. As they say, a good pair of shoes can change a person's life--preventing disease and other health problems, keeping them warm, making it possible to go to school or work, and helping them feel better about themselves. (Please, the shoes must be in good condition if you are thinking of donating--my running shoes are used up for running after 500 miles or so, but still have plenty of other life in them and look okay. I run through about three pairs a year, and I can't keep them all for walking and other uses. So I donate the best ones.)

Anyway, I lay there, thinking how strange the phrase was and what it might mean. Are the shoes happy? Are the people who receive the shoes happy? Are the people who work at the charity happy? I haven't decided yet which is the right question to ask, or what any of the answers are.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

And I'm Back

My photo.

How did it get to be nearly a month since my last blog post? Well....

  • Work
  • Bad tooth
  • Other health concerns (not serious)
  • Other chores--fall is busy when you have a house and garden
In fact, fall has come and nearly gone by now. We've had more than one frost here.

I'm starting a new phase of my life. I'm taking a break from contract writing and plan to improve my mental health, which is in a state of disrepair. Going forward, I'll concentrate on fiction writing and nonfiction articles about personal finance when it comes to work. But I'm going to make a lot of time for other activities. I need to. I have to keep too many plates spinning at once, and they had begun hitting the ground and crashing.

One of the first things I'll do is participate in NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. While I do so, I'll remember my friend Glenn, who often took part but, even when he didn't, supplied much encouragement to other writers. God bless Glenn, wherever he is now in the wider life, as we like to say in my church. I miss you, you cranky not-so-old bastard.

More will appear soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Sandestin Beach at evening. Photo courtesy of family
After the Senior Games, I took care of neglected things for a couple of days, then headed to Sandestin, FL, for time with my grandson and family. What a wonderful trip! Travel, going away, and just spending time by myself in airports (and writing) all help clear my head.

I came back home with realizations that my life needed to change. I have issues I need to deal with. Therefore, I gave notice at my job. It had to happen. Because it's an open-ended contract, I might ask to come back sometime next year, as I am leaving on good terms. But for now, I need to get my head together, as we used to say around 1970 or so.

For now, it's finish out the work I've committed to, then it will be time to take care of some long-neglected parts of me. I will also write things I want to write and have been stifling for three years. Once I see how I can do writing other material (and whether I can make some money at it), I'll decide on my next steps.

I'll probably never have the money to own at place at this location, but I can rent a place and go back to visit. That I will do. Maybe even with family again! I sure hope so.

One view of the immediate neighborhood. Photo courtesy of family.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Senior Games

I'm heading out tomorrow to see family and take a 3-day Florida vacation. Today is busy, but I wanted to post how I did at the Kentucky Senior Games, which were Sunday, Sep 16. If you've already seen this information, feel free to skip this post.

I ended up with 5 golds, 5 silvers, and one bronze. Some of those medals are qualified with, "Kentucky gold," etc., meaning I didn't take first place overall, just among KY participants. Which means, in cases like the javelin where I was dead last but was the only one competing from KY, I got a gold medal. So the medals are not a big deal to me.

What matters is that  I qualified in the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m race walk, shot put, javelin, discus, high jump, and long jump for the National Senior Games next June. I'm especially excited about my 100m race, where I had the fun of actually beating someone (LOL) and turned in my best time ever--23.62 sec, or around 9.5 mph (I was second). The 200m makes me even happier--54.64 sec, or a little less than 8.5 mph. I have never done either distance that fast before. None of the rest of my results are all that exciting, but the 100m and 200m make me feel proud.

So, it was a great day where I also had a lot of fun and enjoyed talking with like-minded women my age and older. Tropical Depression Florence stayed away--only a few sprinkles of rain and it wasn't unbearably hot. I won't train all this week, just do normal exercise and enjoy the moment!

Yesterday was a rest day, so today I run myself ragged, metaphorically speaking, to get ready for my trip. See you on the other side!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Poor and Middle Class are Still Under the Wheels (Links)

Courtesy of Free-Photos on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.
This blog post will be long on links as we approach the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the bullshit known as the Great Recession, among other names, of 2008.

The Recovery Threw the MIddle-Class Dream Under a Benz

There were those who could recoup their losses and those who could not...

Please note the story of Terry Sadler of Richmond, KY. More and more people are in her position ten years on.

The Banks Changed. Except for All the Ways They’re the Same.

I used to document software used by big banks. I have worked for the Federal Reserve Banks. Banks are emphatically not your friend.

The Next Financial Calamity Is Coming. Here’s What to Watch.

Debt levels are higher than ever. Hackers are a wild card.

Did the Government Bailouts Work and at What Cost?

The short answer is Yes, we avoided financial Armageddon — but at a cost. 

Read. Reflect. Talk about it. And remember in November.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Who, me?

I am an athlete.

I have never said that before in my entire life.

Last night my first-ever pair of track shoes arrived. Today I tried them on the EKU track to see how it felt to sprint in them. Wow! I felt positively propelled.

Yes, they are meant to be two different colors.
I cannot believe this is ME who runs miles, who sprints at track meets, who actually hired a coach to teach her how to throw the discus, javelin, and shot put, and how to do the long jump and triple jump.

I cannot believe that, if I qualify at the Kentucky Senior Games a week from tomorrow (Sunday, Sept 16), I will be eligible to compete at the National Senior Games next June.

Look, I was such a nerd in high school. I HATED gym class. I felt stupid and uncoordinated playing sports. I never felt that way in the classroom, where I shone.

I always liked to walk long distances and to run and jump, but I never thought that was anything special. It's just what kids do when they play outdoors.

But eight days from now, I'll put my practices and training to the test.

I keep waiting to wake up. Surely this is not me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

My Head is on FIRE

I am a material girl. I am not ashamed to admit it. But not in the pursuit of diamonds and luxury. I'm all about pragmatism and I'm hard-headed about numbers. Save now, spend later. "Only boys that save their pennies make my rainy day."

(I had fun blasting this song while driving through my little town earlier today...)

FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is all the rage. I see bloggers praising quitting your job and retiring once you have enough money to live on for the next 50 years. (Notably, the bloggers doing the praising are pulling down big bucks as famous bloggers, so, consider the source, y'all...)

Let me be clear: I am all for quitting a job you hate and following your bliss if you can do so! As most of us in their 60s and beyond could tell you, life is short. But I find so many of the FIRE bloggers rather clueless on the practicality of FIRE. They are in their 30s and they simply can't envision the day when they can't find another job because they have aged out of the market.

You have to turn 50 or 60 to run into that concrete reality.

I remember those days... basically I could go out and pick a job off the job tree and never, ever worry about periods of unemployment. But these days, after 50, especially in certain fields, doors shut forever. Don't believe me? Okay, go ahead.

I am all for frugality, for fun, for spending as much time as you can with family and friends, for doing only work you love (or at least tolerate well). But Millennials and Gen Xers entranced by FIRE should keep this in mind:

"Just go find another job" if/when you run out of money only works up to a certain age.

Trust me, you do not want to be still working at 67 because you must. Or be 67 and no one will hire you because you are old. Or be 67 and work at a job paying minimum wage that's beating up your body because otherwise you will starve.

Or be 67 and have all your money gone because health care costs were higher than you thought they would be when you retired at 35. As someone who has paid for their own health insurance, it only costs more the older you get. You might be shocked.

Yeah, you're 35, have a family, and think $500,000 that's well-invested will do the job for the next 50 years? Good luck with that. I do mean that. Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who makes it work. Maybe you're a market genius and your investments will pay off wildly well. Maybe you will be spectacularly lucky with your health or with life in general.

Most people aren't.

Please, please, for the love of God, if you are considering FIRE and feel cocky about how much you have saved/invested, think again, or at least consider the following suggestions:

  • Find someplace that has a low cost of living.
  • Find something else to do if you truly hate your job that you can do in said location with a low cost of living that still supports you.
  • Be free of debt.
  • Know how to live without all the perks of 21st century life. (If you can't do without cable or a new phone every year, you might not be ready for FIRE.)

Take a look at our country. The trend is to provide less of a safety net, not more, for people in trouble. It's a cold world when you can't pay your rent/mortgage, when your EBT card (food stamps) runs out of money before you run out of days, when you have to get to work but can't afford to repair your beater car.

If you have never been there, you're in for a rude awakening.

FIRE is a fine goal. But know yourself, and be honest about what the next 50 years will cost you to live. I suggest FIRL (Financial Independence, Retire Later) and aiming for a 45-50ish retirement rather than throwing in the towel at 35.

In any case, may you never run out of cake to eat.

Photo courtesy of gorartser on pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.