Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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I Do Nothing

July 13, 2011

I do nothing physical at all.  My typical day starts out by getting out of bed at the last minute possible before I know I’ll be late to work.  Then I get in the car and drive 25 miles to work.  For 9 hours I sit at my desk and answer the phone and work on the computer.  Most of the time I’m too lazy to even leave the office for lunch.  At the end of the day I drive 25 miles home, do about an hour cooking and taking care of the pets.  Then I pretty much park it on the couch til bedtime, which is early.  Sad.  I mean really sad.  I’ve got to change this lifestyle.

Last week I decided to join a gym.  I did several days of research on aerobics classes, locations, times, and prices.  I finally ended up signing up at a gym I was a member of when we lived in Stockbridge the first time.  I think it was in 2003 or 2004.  I was so pleased to find out that the same step aerobics instructor was still teaching and the place had pretty much not changed.  I signed a 6month contract for $30 per month.  However making it to the classes on time is going to be a challenge.  That 25mile commute takes about 40-45 minutes!  My boss agreed to let me leave early on the days I go to class.  Score!  Ok now I just have to actually do it.

First I set a goal.  Do Something.  I like the first goal to be very achievable.  I need the ego boost and some instant success to keep me motivated.

Day 1

Box spent a few minutes giving me a tutorial on the treadmill.  Bless him!  These things have a lot of buttons!   I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill total.  The machine took my heart rate and calculated how many miles I went.  High tech!  The girl on the treadmill next to me was swinging her arms so I tried to do that too.  Oh, it takes practice.  I think by the 15 minute mark I was able to let go of the handrails.  I can see that if I keep practicing I’ll need some headphones so that I can listen to some music but, for now it takes all my concentration to stay on that dang machine!    I also need a routine.  I need to have a plan when I walk through the doors of how long I have to go and at what speeds.

The next goal will be to survive my first step class in what feels like 100 years.

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War is Not the Answer

June 16, 2011

I’m so tired of seeing these bumper stickers.  War is Not the Answer.  Doesn’t it depend on the question?  What’s for dinner? War is Not the Answer.  How do you tell the male from the female blue bird?  War is Not the Answer.  How do you respond when terrorist kill thousands of your citizens?  Well, War MAY BE the Answer.

Another reason I’m sick of seeing these useless bumper stickers is that they don’t offer any alternatives.  If you disagree with one answer you could venture a suggestion. I guess the alternative suggestion bumper stickers would sound too insane.  Just try this one on for size:  Hug a Terrorist.  Or how about this one:  Sit Down to Tea with a Terrorist.  Or:  Roll Over and Play Dead.   It is so easy to just be a naysayer.  It’s much more challenging to be a problem solver.  When I see one of those bumper stickers on a car I know what type of person drives it…  A naysayer.  I’m so happy and thankful to live in a country with a wonderful military full of problem solvers!

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Responsibility = Happiness?

June 8, 2011

Could it be that having responsibilities leads you to happiness?  I was thinking about this because my sister said something to me about a memory she had of us from 1995 and, I couldn’t help but think back to that time in my life.  I was 16 and the livin’ was easy!  I had very few concerns on a daily basis and next to no responsibilities.  I had to help clean up around the house and make sure I was making good grades but, that was about it.  I was really happy.  I had a great time being a teen!  I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to have no responsibilities again?  wouldn’t it be wonderful if I was taken care of and had nothing to be concerned over?”  Then I thought of all my current responsibilities:

Improve performance at work everyday

Pay all my bills

Keep my house clean and maintained

Maintain my car

Feed, care for, and clean up after my pets

Being a loving and supportive wife to my husband

Renew the car tags and my driver’s license

Spend time with my family and friends to continue to build the bonds

Maintain my health by visiting the doctor and dentist

Prepare the tax returns

Watch over and adjust our retirement investing

Those are just the major headings.  Each of those items I listed has its own subgroups as well.  Some of those responsibilities require more time and effort than others.  Some I enjoy and some are a chore.  What I find amazing is that I’m so happy.  I think that each of those responsibilities comes with such great reward that I am only more and more satisfied with my life.  What a wonderful revelation to have especially when I was just feeling so overwhelmed recently.

In addition to my sister bring on this thought process and blog, my cousin, Ryan, also contributed.  He posted on his Facebook page multiple times since we’ve been “friends” about his boredom.  He came to mind immediately as a contrast to my happiness.  I hope that one day he’ll figure this out.  It seems to me that he needs some responsibilities.  However, I know this is something no one will ever be able to tell him.  He is a young man and cannot fathom wanting things to be responsible for or the rewards that go along with it.

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Why I Love McDonald’s

May 9, 2011

Many people who know me know that I too often eat fast food.  McDonald’s is my favorite.  Although, I really like Arby’s too.  It’s a close second.  I really enjoy a roast beef sandwich with Arby’s sauce and horsey sauce on it.  I also get curly fries and a jamoca shake.  I usually spend about $5 to eat at Arby’s.  However, I LOVE McDonald’s!  My love for McDonald’s is about more than just the food.  I truly appreciate so much about what they provide their customers.  Here is a list of some of the wonders of McDonald’s.

They are everywhere.  Any town I visit has one.  I never have to drive any more than about 3 or 5 miles to find a McDonald’s from pretty much anywhere I find myself.

The food is always the same.  I can rely on the cheeseburger being the same at the McDonald’s near my home and at the McDonald’s near my work.  I can order anything on the menu and I know what to expect.

I know what to expect.  That means I’m never disappointed with my meal.  I never leave too full or too hungry.  I know exactly what to order that fits my mood and craving.

The sweet tea.  It comes in a huge cup and it’s only $1.

They are quick.  These people have burger making down to a science.  It doesn’t matter if I drive through or walk up it never takes more than a minute or two to order and then receive my meal.

It’s American.  McDonald’s is someone’s American dream built from nothing into something!

It’s cheap.  I usually get a double cheeseburger, sweet tea and small fries.  That delicious meal, which fills me up, costs me about $3.

I’m Lovin it!

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The Alchemist

April 15, 2011

I was recently given the suggestion to read The Alchemist.  “It will change your life” the lady told me.  She also said that Will Smith read the book and said it had changed his life too.  I’m not dissatisfied with my life in any way but, I was tempted to find out what she was talking about.   She did say it was just a short read.  I downloaded the book to my Audible account on my iPhone.  Much to my pleasure, Jeremy Irons was the narrator and the total time was only 4 hours.  It is a story about a boy who followed a dream and went on an adventure to find his treasure.  He met several challenges and was tempted along the way to give up the search but, in the end finds what he’s looking for.  It was a pleasant read.  I enjoyed it but, that was as far as it went for me.  I wrote an email to the lady who suggested I read it to let her know that I had.  I told her that even thought it was entertaining it did not change my life.  I think she was disappointed and I’m pretty sure she won’t be sending me any future book suggestions or reading the ones I gave her.  Too bad.

Now it’s been several weeks since I finished reading The Alchemist and have read another book since then but, I have to admit that I can’t stop thinking about it.  I’ve been going over the adversity that the hero faced and the spirit with which he proceeded.  I admire his courage.  I admire his ability to focus.  I admire the way he saw something good in each downturn.  I’m starting to think the book could change my life. 

I always wanted to go to cosmetology school.  I love haircuts and hairstyles and I even just like being in salons.  I have had this love for as long as I can remember.  It never seemed legitimate though because I was going to college and probably going to become something else like a lawyer or business manager or something.  I remember when I was about to finish up high school I asked my parents if I could go to cosmetology school and they said, “Yes, after you graduate from college”.  So off to college I went. 

After college I wanted to find my own apartment and job.  I was eager to be on my own.  I got a great job at a large corporation and spent 7 years there.  In that time I got married and accumulated obligations.  I couldn’t go to cosmetology school and still pay the bills. 

When I left the corporate job looking for a new challenge I took a job with a small business.  I mean a very small business!  For the last 4 years I’ve been in a crash course on building a business.  I work alongside the owner and together we make decisions that we see and feel the consequences of first hand.  There has been a great deal of trial and error and drama and turmoil but, the bottom line is that I’m learning.  Our company is growing even in the face of a market that truly tanked.  Everyone else in our industry is going out of business and we’re growing!

Now after reading The Alchemist and rolling it over in my head for a month I’m starting to think that maybe I’m on a journey to reach my dream.  It would have been a mistake to go to cosmetology school after high school.  It would have been a mistake to go after college.  But, maybe someday it won’t be a mistake to go.  I’m honing my skills and developing my personality.  I’m starting to see a dream forming that I could one day own my own salon combining both my love for hair and the business building strength that I’m gaining.

Maybe The Alchemist is a life changing book but, maybe it takes a long time to work its magic.

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What I Hate About Office Depot

August 19, 2010

This topic could lead to a long blog post and I only have about 5 minutes so, I’ll just keep it to the  top three things I hate about Office Depot.

1. The quality of the bags they use at the check out counter leaves so much to be desired.  They are the thinnest of thin plastic.  Then the cashiers will put two and three reams of paper in one.  The bag falls apart completely before I can even reach the car.  The bags are completely useless.

2. The employees there have WAY better things to do.  They have zero interest in making the store a pleasant place to be or assisting customers in any way.  I feel like I’m a HUGE inconvenience to them.

3. There is always trash in the parking lot.  Without fail there is some form of garbage littering the lot.  I can count at least 4 times that its been bones of eaten chicken wings.  People sit out there and clean out their cars into the parking spaces.  Disgusting!

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Yikes!

July 29, 2010

The article below was just copied and pasted from the CBO Director’s Blog at http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=1249

I find this information to be truly alarming.  It is not coming from Rush or Hannity or anyone in the Republican party.  This is from the CBO.  It is not opinion.  It is fact.  We can not allow our government to continue down the current path regardless of which party you relate to.

Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis

In fiscal crises in a number of countries around the world, investors have lost confidence in governments’ abilities to manage their budgets, and those governments have lost their ability to borrow at affordable rates. With U.S. government debt already at a level that is high by historical standards, and the prospect that, under current policies, federal debt would continue to grow, it is possible that interest rates might rise gradually as investors’ confidence in the U.S. government’s finances declined, giving legislators sufficient time to make policy choices that could avert a crisis. It is also possible, however, that investors would lose confidence abruptly and interest rates on government debt would rise sharply, as evidenced by the experiences of other countries. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict with any confidence whether and when such a crisis might occur in the United States. In a brief (“Federal Debt and the Risk of a Fiscal Crisis“) released today, CBO notes that there is no identifiable “tipping point” of debt relative to the nation’s output (gross domestic product, or GDP) that would indicate that such a crisis is likely or imminent. However, in the United States, the ratio of federal debt to GDP is climbing into unfamiliar territory—and all else being equal, the higher the debt, the greater the risk of such a crisis.
 
Over the past few years, U.S. government debt held by the public has grown rapidly. According to CBO’s projections, federal debt held by the public will stand at 62 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2010, having risen from 36 percent at the end of fiscal year 2007, just before the recession began. In only one other period in U.S. history—during and shortly after World War II—has that figure exceeded 50 percent. 

Further increases in federal debt relative to the nation’s output almost certainly lie ahead if current policies remain in place. The aging of the population and rising costs for health care will push federal spending, measured as a percentage of GDP, well above the levels experienced in recent decades. Unless policymakers restrain the growth of spending, increase revenues significantly as a share of GDP, or adopt some combination of those two approaches, growing budget deficits will cause debt to rise to unsupportable levels, as shown in the figure below. (For more details, see CBO’s recent report The Long-Term Budget Outlook.) 

 

Note: The extended-baseline scenario adheres closely to current law, following CBO’s 10-year baseline budget projections through 2020 (with adjustments for the recently enacted health care legislation) and then extending the baseline concept for the rest of the long-term projection period. The alternative fiscal scenario incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions that might be difficult to sustain for a long period. 

Although deficits during or shortly after a recession generally hasten economic recovery, persistent deficits and continually mounting debt would have several negative economic consequences for the United States. Some of those consequences would arise gradually—but a high level of federal debt, combined with an unfavorable long-term budget outlook, would also increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis prompted by investors’ fears that the government would renege on the terms of its existing debt or that it would increase the supply of money to finance its activities or pay creditors and thereby boost inflation. The resulting abrupt rise in interest rates would create serious challenges for the U.S. government. For example, a 4-percentage-point across-the-board increase in interest rates would raise federal interest payments next year by about $100 billion; if those higher rates persisted, net interest costs in 2015 would be nearly double the roughly $460 billion that CBO currently projects for that year. Such an increase in rates could also precipitate a broader financial crisis because it would reduce the market value of outstanding government bonds, inflicting losses on mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, banks, and other holders of federal debt. 

Options for responding to a fiscal crisis would be limited and unattractive. The government would need to undertake some combination of three actions. One action could be changing the terms of its existing debt. This would make it difficult and costly to borrow in the future. A second action could be adopting an inflationary monetary policy by increasing the supply of money. However, this approach would have negative consequences for both the economy and future budget deficits. A third action could be implementing an austerity program of spending cuts and tax increases. Such budgetary adjustments, in the face of a fiscal crisis, would be more drastic and painful than those that would have been necessary had the adjustments come sooner. 

This brief was prepared by Jonathan Huntley of CBO’s Macroeconomic Analysis Division.
  

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 5:26 pm and is filed under Budget Projections, Long-Term Budgetary Issues, Macroeconomic Analysis.