Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What to do about the "Wall of China"

Am I the only person who is noticing what is going on in our country these days? Have I been living in a fool's world longer than I care to admit to myself, or to anyone else, for that matter? I alone cannot do much to right any perceived wrongs within our country's borders, but I can take this opportunity to spout off about them to whomever might choose to read this!

Next time you go shopping for groceries, clothing, elctronics, small home appliances, shoes, automobiles - whatever, take a closer look at the labels proclaiming from whence these items either are maufactured or where the home office of the company is located! Also, please take note of the smaller packages containing less weight for more cost to you, the sonsumer!

The dog food I always have purchased for my precious Miss Freckles used to come in eight-pound bags for a reasonable price (for my pocket book, anyway). Now, the same size bag only contains seven pounds for $1.50 more! Cereals are in smaller boxes for higher prices. Have you noticed how thin the sliced cheese has become? One can nearly read the newspaper through the slices! The packaging has gotten thicker to make it look like you are getting the same amount of cheese, and the price has increased 20% - guess we have to pay for all that expensive plastic wrap!

Produce which used to arrive at our grocery stores used to have been raised by farmers in America. Now, fruits and vegetables come from everywhere EXCEPT America and so expensive one can't begin to eat according to the government's accepted Pyramid of Food!

I've found canned goods with "China" emblazoned on the lid or bottom of the can! Toys and games come into our stores from China! It is difficult to find clothing that doesn't bear the "Made in China" label affixed! I wasn't one bit surprised to see "Made in China" proudly displayed on the equipment required for my fast internet service! Holy Cow, walk through the electronics section of any store and you might just be taken aback to learn how much of that merchandise is "Made in China." Talk about the Wall of China!

Have you visited one of the hundreds of so-called Mini Mart/Gas Stations lately? Who are managing the majority of these name-brand institutions? Not Americans, my friend. Our country is being sold off slowly but surely to China, Japan, India, all of the Mid-East countries, Mexico, Germany, France - you name it, there's not a country which doesn't own a huge chunk of our nation.

I can remember the days when it mattered to the citizens of the United States of America to "Buy American." I also can remember the days when a man or a woman took pride in his/her job because it was honest work for honest pay! The days of the little guy making good are over in this country and the big corporations could care less about the welfare of their employees!

Who's to blame for the fix in which we now find ourselves. We are - we the people! We have become complacent little sheep who will follow the leaders into the chasm of ruin without even going baa, baa, baa! Each of us has a voice, but none of us wants to say anything or do anything because "I'm only one person, what can I do and what difference can I make?" I'm an old lady and I'm glad to be on the down side of life. We are heading for the toilet folks, and I don't want to be around to watch it happen.

Mickey Finn is despondent.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Welcome to the 21st Century!

I'm as giddy as a kid expecting Christmas to arrive soon! Within the next couple of months I will no longer have to rely upon this terribly slow dial-up internet connection - I will have broadband service ! Hooray, Yippee, Eureka!!

It's been horrible for many years having to surf the internet, access my favorites, and visit via e-mail with my friends utilizing my dial-up service! Not that I haven't been grateful to have internet access, mind you - because I have been and still am! But, dial-up service limits one so!

In one way or another, I've been involved with computers since the early 1980s. The very first computer with which I worked was a humongous Litton 3-tape drive monster, which had to be kept at a certain temperature all of the time. It filled the room in which I worked, leaving only enough space for me to scrunch into a chair to stare at a miniscule green screen! The printer, nearly as large as the computer, was in another room - wiring was a nightmare! Embarrassingly, I have to admit to crashing the accounting program innumerable times - thank goodness for backups and a very patient employer! When tax time rolled around, I had become an "old hand" at computing! Yeah, right!

Remember the "Tandy"? Oh my, I thought I'd really come up in the world when I opened my own office, with my own accounting program, and this wonderfully easy-to-use computer! Of course, there was no room on the so-called hard drive to save any data. The money I spent on 10" floppy disks would make a very nice nest egg for me now that I'm in my so-called "golden years!" Naturally, the screen was still that putrid green - made one's eyes feel as if they'd been pierced with thousands of pins and needles if one worked at it for more than an hour at a time! And, my dot-matrix printer NEVER gave me any trouble at all, you understand. Can't count the times I had to dig pager jams out of the middle of its jaws! Oh my, but those were the good old days! (sitting here chortling)

Then, I invested in a computer with (I think I remember this correctly) 100 meg of space on the hard drive and 64 meg of RAM. Still had to invest in floppy disks by the gazillion - 3" ones ! Windows 95 was so much more user friendly than that DOS system which had to have come from the mind of a completely insane computer geek who had nothing better to do with his time than make things difficult for the general computer-using public! But, I could now get on-line with something laughingly called a modem! My goodness, but in those days the internet was not only limited with available information, but difficult to connect to unless you were sure (completely sure) there was a site with an absolutely correct URL!

Since then, I believe I've had two other desk tops and two lap tops! I now have a Dell with a much larger hard drive than needed, an all in one printer that does everything but wipe my nose for me, and all kinds of gadgets and gizmos for perpherals. I'm beginning to catch up on some of the computer lingo, but much prefer English when chatting on line while I play in Pogo!

I've been told when I use my computer the first time after having broadband available to me, I will NEVER contemplate going back to dial-up again! Not that I plan on doing so anyway, you see! I've been hounding the powers that be in my area for nearly ten years to make this type of internet service available to those of us who live in rural areas - and it's finally coming true! Better late than never, is what I say!

Mickey Finn is counting the days until she can actually talk using VOIP!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Take a walk in my shoes !

It seems the older I get, the more vivid my memories become. A psychiatrist would more than likely profoundly proclaim such is not the case - it's merely selective memory! Somehow, I doubt this learned person would enjoy taking a stroll through my lifetime with my shoes pinching his/her feet!

My oldest son is 51 - he's a user, a moocher, and in general likes to pose with his hand held out for someone to place whatever he desires there, preferably money! My second son would have been 49 next month - he died from acute respiratory infection at the age of three months. Son number three is 46 - got kicked out of the Air Force Academy for disciplinary infractions and truly believes he's perfect in every way. He gave away his three daughters for adoption to his ex-wife and her new husband so he wouldn't have to pay child support! Fourth son is 44 - he's a giant of a man, with a gentle nature and a boundless love for animals and the underdogs of the world! Child number 5 was my only daughter, who would have been 41 last month. She passed away from what was then called "Crib Death," but is now known as SIDS at the age of 4 months. Fifth son would have been 39 this month. He was killed in our front yard by a drunk teenaged driver who lost control of his car. Each birthday and death day is emblazened in my mind and heart.

It never ceases to amaze me how three boys, who were raised with the same values and morals, turned out so different from each other! Over the years I have lived with a sense of guilt that "I must have done something wrong." However, when grandchildren started coming along, I noticed those same values and morals were being taught to them! Where and why did their fathers stray from them?

Some of my fondest memories are of my grandmother (on my mother's side of the family), who taught me how to over come the abuse dealt out to me by my alcoholic parents . Without her love and kindness, there's no telling what kind of a person I would have turned out to be. I was seven years old when she died at the age of 47 from cancer. Her memory is as clear as if she were still alive and sitting here reading what I'm typing!

I'm an abysmal failure at marriage. My first husband abused me and his children (all six were conceived with him). He convinced me thoroughy that I didn't need friends, was as stupid at a rock, uglier than dirt, and deserved punishment to keep me in line. I never complained to anyone and protected the children as much as possible. One day, however, something within me snapped! I gathered up the kids, our clothes, and walked out - never looking back! Within three months, I was divorced and was working three jobs to keep a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and clothes on our backs. The kids and I were free from abuse!

Nearly five years later I fell hard for a guy who (it took me a while to realize) would climb a tree to tell a lie as to stay on the ground and tell the truth! He was a womanizer - would bring his paramours into my home and my bed while I was at work! When I caught him with one of them - came home early from work because I had the flu - he thought he could whip me. Little did he know I had made an oath that no man would ever again lay a hand on me in a violent manner - I swung an unopened cold drink at him and cold cocked him! He was gone within a matter of hours! However, he was kind enough to leave his mother with me to take care of - she was then in the first stages of Alzheimer's Disease and the kids were all grown and gone from the home. I took care of her for two years (24/7) with no help, and ended up broke because it took all of my savings to take proper care of her.

I have a small home on 21 acres +/- for which I've worked very hard to maintain and keep for these past 20 years (thank goodness it's paid for). Husband number 3 came on the scene and we both wanted companionship more than romance. For nearly 5 years, my deceased husband made some of my dreams come true. I learned he truly loved me - for me! I one day gave him an ultimatum - you can't have both me and the booze, one of them has to go. He chose me!! I have a college education because of him - who would have ever thunk it ! For nearly five years I knew security, peace, happiness, comfort, love, new friends, travel, and much, much laughter! A wise lady told me I at least have those years to cling to in my memory! She further stated not everyone has even half of what I had during that short period of time!

Wonder of wonders, friends from all over the world remember me on my birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day to chat and catch up on the latest news - I might hear from two sons once during the year (one to borrow money I don't have and the other to brag about what a perfect specimen he is). They don't seem to realize how much they mean to me and how hungry I am to hear them say to me "I love you." Youngest son stays in close contact with me by phone and e-mail and always signs off with "I love you, Mom."

Let that psychiatrist tell me about "selective memory." Yep, my memory is so selective i can recall the good as well as the bad. I've learned from both - mighty lessons I've learned. Wonder if anyone would want to have walked in my shoes?

Mickey Finn is in a very somber mood today.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Why worry?

Sometimes I wonder why do I worry! What good does it do? To the best of my knowledge, none whatsoever! Yet, I find myself worrying about things over which I never could have any control!

For example, I worry about my kids. Doesn't help them the least bit and just puts me into a tizzy! None of them live near me, have very full lives of their own, and probably don't waste a moment of their time worrying about me. Hmm, where's the logic in that?

The weather has been inordinately cold here this winter and I worry about keeping warm enough and then adding more worry about my ability to pay the power bill! I'm perfectly capable of turning the thermostat down and putting on more clothes! Duhh!

More recently, however, I've found myself worrying about stupid things. Like, why is the law of physics so out of control that I drink two cups of coffee and P38? Why, all of a sudden, have I contracted the most disconcerting habit of burping (and rather loudly, I might add) after eating? Doesn't matter what I've eaten either - even do it after drinking a glass of milk, for Pete Sakes!!! Another thing that worries me is that I seem to have my days and nights mixed up. I do my best sleeping lately during the day and want to play on Pogo during the wee hours of the morning! Why this should bother me completely bumfuzzles me, as what difference does it make in the larger scheme of things?

I'm proud to announce, though, I've quit worrying about the wrinkles on my face and body! At my age, who the heck looks at me anyway? The latest fashions don't worry me one bit, either! I mean, blue jeans and a sweat shirt - comfortable - is the closest I get to making a fashion statement! As for makeup - well, we won't discuss how long it's been since I've used any! To what end? Just makes the wrinkles show up more ! Don't need that worry! So, when I'm out and about, I may have to rely on my cane for safety. It doesn't worry me that someone might think I'm old because I am! Worked hard to get here, thank you!

Friends have ever so politely suggested it might be a good idea to seek some companionship! Sorry, I'm laughing so hard at that proposal I might not be able to continue pontificating! (I could tell a few horror stories about those with whom I've been "fixed up!") I'm not worried about companionship - nobody would have me because I've become very set in my ways this past ten years and I'd be impossible to be around! Never was much to look at, even when I was younger. But, my motto was "I'd lots rather be ugly and smart than beautiful and dumb!" Yeah, right. Would have been nice to have been beautiful for just one day! But, haven't worried about that for many moons!

The moral of this posting is I've realized how wonderful life is and that living it is a terrific way to eliminate worrying! I'm thankful for each day I've been given, don't make any long range plans, and will make every effort possible to remove all forms of worrying from my life! Won't make any promises I will achieve this lofty goal, but don't count me out!

Mickey Finn is going to watch another movie on TCM. See you later!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's the small things that matter the most!

My thanks to "Elron" for the encouraging words posted to my blog! Time seems to slip away from me much too quickly - seems like my last post was just yesterday! Now I fully realize my age has definitely caught up with me!

The holidays were excruciating for me. Why? Don't really have an answer that makes much sense as these past holidays were no different than the previous nine had been! Spent them alone - well, not quite alone, had my faithful companion Freckles with me! But, the aloneness seemed much worse for some strange reason, and I let it get to me for a while. Would have thrown a pity party for myself, but was afraid nobody would attend!

During a difficult cold snap (difficult for the "Heart of Dixie", that is), I became most aware of the fact that what gives me the most joy, delight, and ultimate pleasure is the smallest of things. One evening, as I let Freckles out for her next to last "piddle" for the day, I stepped onto the front porch and viewed the most spectacular sunset ever! The red, purple, blue, mauve sky was a feast for the eyes. For the next few days, I made a point of going outside to view the sunsets which (in my opinion) were awe inspiring as a result of the extremely cold weather! I found myself saying thank you for the cold - without which my eyes wouldn't have viewed such awesome displays and my heart was uplifted each day!

While chatting with a friend on the telephone about some of our favorite foods, I mentioned how I hadn't enjoyed a meal of pinto beans in quite a while. The next evening, she brought me a bowl of pinto beans that had to have been the best I've ever eaten in my entire life! Was sorely tempted to lick the bowl, they were that good ! No way would anyone have been able to wipe the smile from my face that evening!

I've been leaving a handful of catfood on my patio table on the front porch for what I thought was a feral cat. Each morning, within a few minutes after rattling the box and making a huge display of placing the food on the table, the critter would skulk ever so carefully up onto my porch, leap gracefully onto the table, and very guardedly devour the food. This went on for about three weeks. Then, one morning, I was later than usual with the ritual and changed it slightly - without meaning to do so. I put the box of food inside the house, and proceeded out to the mailbox to see what bills might be waiting for me! As I walked back to the porch, the cat met me on the next to top step, meowed at me, and then rubbed against my leg whilst purring! I was able to pet the beauty before he (it is a he) sped away. So, each morning I look forward to a visit from Mr. Stranger! Brings a smile to my face and gives me a warmth all over!

I recently celebrated my 71st birthday - never thought I would live this long! I fixed a killer guacamole dip, baked some terrific brownies, and pigged out on "junk" practically all day! It was wonderful, especially when I realized I'm not taking ANY medications, am in fairly good shape for the shape I'm in, have most of my mental faculties working quite well, can eat whatever I want, and each day I'm given is a gift!

The pecan crop from my two trees was bountiful this year. I placed a sign on my fence informing anyone driving past to help themselves to the pecans. The squirrels got their fair share, as did the deer and the crows! But, a couple of my neighbors reaped the harvest as well, and brought me some individual pecan pies which have been lovingly placed in my freezer to enjoy whenever the urge strikes! Yum!

It's not much fun being a widow - that's for sure. Sometimes I find myself screaming inside of my head "Why did you die and leave me alone?" I have as yet to know the answer to that question. I DO know alone absolutely stinks and is unbearable. But, I also know I'm here for some reason and whatever it is, I need to spend more time looking for and enjoying the small wonders of good in my life rather than dwelling on the things that are bad and scary to and for me. A lot of times, that is easier said than done. All I can do is try to do the best I can with what time I have left to me and be thankful for the small things that become huge in their wonder and delight.

Mickey Finn has spouted off, AGAIN!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sometimes down, but never out!

Sometimes I can't help but wonder why things happen the way they do! For example, why did I have six children, only to bury three of them way before their time? Is it possible for us to have any control over our lives or do we just take the hands which are dealt to us and do our best to cope?

I certainly believe in God and His power in my life. I cannot begin to count the times over the years I've stated, "God looks after fools and drunks, and He's looked after this fool for many years!" After becoming a Christian, that mantra became even more viable to me!

During this, the most difficult phase of my life, I find myself more often than not in a very contemplative mood. Why am I still here? What is being planned for me? How much longer do I have to remain here on this old earth? If I could live my life over, would I change anything?

Then, I find myself in total amazement and awe because of my life and my achievements. They can't be held in my hands or displayed for others to see in a beautiful cabinet - they are probably meaningless to anyone other than me, too! My sons raised their children in the same manner as I raised them! Hmm, makes me realize I MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING RIGHT during their formative years ! My oldest son and his wife, along with five of my grandchildren are striving for college degrees as a result of my receiving a BBA at the ripe old age of 60! Their statements of "If Mom can do it and If Gram can do it so can I" create a warm spot in my heart!

Friends and acquaintances have told me how I influenced them to lose weight, stop drinking, quit smoking, get a hobby, love their children more, live life to the fullest! My goodness, as they tell me these things, I can't remember being such a paragon of virtue !! I've known all of my life I'm very opinionated, stubborn as a mule, independently natured, and very sentimental about stupid things! What happened during my travels through this life of mine whereby I receive these kudos from family and friends?

We never know how much we are being watched by both those we love and hold dear and those whom we will never really know. Others have been influential to me, why wouldn't I be the same for others? That never occurred to me until recently. How wonderful it is to live a life during which we offer others comfort, solace, friendship, love, compassion, even anger sometimes!

So, as I wax sentimental about my life and my old age, I am grateful to all those who have helped me make my way along. And, if I were able to assist others, I no longer consider myself any where near a failure - my life has counted for something to many others and for that I am blessed. Don't count me out yet, though! Life is wonderful and I've still got a lot to give!

Micky Finn has pontificated again!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stone Age!

Somehow, someway, I find myself behind the times - technologically speaking, that is!

I have no idea what a blue ray or a blue tooth is! I have a VCR that is still showing 12:00 - blink - blink -blink! Cell phone? Don't have one - the newer ones (from what I see on the commercials advertising them on television) I'd never be able to figure out how to dial, much less use my arthritic thumbs to send text messages or play games! Can't help but wonder what the heck an RSS streamer is!

The only reason I know what LCD stands for is my 21 year-old 27" television laid down and died on me. Ordered a new television (over the phone - how kewl is that?) and was blown over when it was delivered the next day ! It is a 22" flat screen LCD! Fits ever so snugly in my entertainment center, with plenty of room left over for a night light! Of course, it took me nearly three weeks to figure out that LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display!

Wouldn't have had any notion as to what "broad band" meant until I learned that I can't get it because I live so far out in the country! It must be nice to be able to push a button on the dashboard of your car and learn exactly where you are and what the status is of your vehicle! Imagine not already knowing your car is due for an oil change! Another new-fangled invention in automobiles - also using satellites out in space - allows police, nosy parents, and the drivers to discover exactly where the car is at any given time of day or night! Heard the other day that there soon will be a device installed in vehicles which will prevent the ignition from being started if the potential driver is under the influence of alcohol! Hmm, wonder where the designated driver went! Followed in the footsteps of the dinosaurs, I guess - extinct!

Pay bills using the computer? I'm afraid to open my e-mail most of the time because of the fear of getting a "Trojan"! That's when I REALLY knew I would never catch up with the times because of my knowledge of what a "Trojan" used to be and why it was used! A friend of mine has a remote control which can start her car for her so that she won't be hot in the summer or cold in the winter when she decides to brave the elements to walk the four feet out her front door to her car! It took me 3 weeks to get used to the fact that I had to use two remote controls for my television sets throughout the house - yes, I have 3 ! One remote turns the television set on and off, while the other one I can readily use to change the channels.

I have satellite television service - sure do miss not using my old antenna on a tall pole out behind the house. I guess the satellite doesn't know the difference between a heavy dew and a cloudy sky! Haven't quite figured out yet why my "touch lamp" in my sewing room is on every morning when I shuffle to the bathroom. Either I have gremlins living in the house or there's someone hiding in the closet playing pranks on me - or, technology is just too difficult for me to figure out!

I'd like to think I'm fairly well computer literate - but some of the lingo leaves me colder than a brass witch's boobies in Siberia! High definion ? what exactly is that? and why does one have to pay for it? As for ATMs - I do all of my banking in person at my bank! Don't want nor need a piece of plastic to withdraw my money and have to pay for doing so!

Yes, I'm old lady. And yes, I manage to keep myself mentally and physically active. But, I think I was born at the wrong time and in the wrong age. I believe I would have been much better off in the Stone Age where I wouldn't have to try so hard to keep up!