Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Europe's Arizona

This is a quote from "Arizona on the Aegean."

Ray Hartwell has written a column for the Washington Times called "Europe's Arizona." That would be Greece, which has an enormous problem with illegal immigrants -- mostly Albanians and, to a lesser extent, Turks. As in Arizona, it is estimated that roughly 10 percent of the population in Greece is there illegally. And many of the problems that the illegals bring with them are quite similar.
Illegal immigration didn't cause Greece's financial collapse, of course. But Ray argues persuasively that illegal immigration is making the economic situation worse.
Click on the link and read the entire article.

Monday, August 02, 2010

This Mess Has Got Me Depressed

Depression is not a word that generally applies to me. My marriage is good, my children are healthy, my grandchildren are perfect in every way, my life is busy and filled with laughter and happiness. So why do I feel depressed?

It's this economy and what it's done to people - and I mean people I know and love - not some "people." First, though, is the fact that I am sad about the death of Ron's sister, Betty, in Florida. She was a victim of old age. After selling their home in Myrtle Beach, she and her husband, Frank, moved to St. Petersburg and bought a condo in a high-rise by the water. They were fine for several years, then Frank got a diagnosis of lung cancer and died within two years. And those last two years were extremely hard on his wife, since she never left his side except to go grocery shopping.

After Frank died, we all thought Betty would move to California to live with their daughter. But the timing was off. The housing bubble had just burst and the condo that had been worth $400K was now unmarketable. She had it on the market off and on for two years, and wouldn't come down to a price that might have drawn buyers, saying "I'm not going to give it away." So she stayed there, waiting . .. waiting.. . waiting. Then she got an infection that spread to the plastic valve in her heart and then she was terminal. She wasn't strong enough to survive the heart surgery to replace the valve and antibiotics can't work on plastic. So, after two months of pain and suffering and (although it's not important, probably a bill of about half a million) she passed away.

There are so many "if only's" in that story, it just makes me sad. Now her kids will sell the condo for $150K and that will be that.

And my daughter's mother-in-law is facing foreclosure on her condo, she's walking away from her car lease, and declaring bankruptcy. My friend and her husband are walking away from their house that three years ago they were thrilled with, but now see as a really bad investment since it's worth about half what they paid for it. They found out this weekend that about 5 or 6 of their neighbors are going to do the same thing. My son refinanced his house to pay off his ex-wife to get her out of his life, and was hoping and praying that the market would recover before the loan adjusted so that he could either sell it or refi it again into a 30-year fixed. But no. He's going to try to short sale it.

I feel like I'm on an island and the tide is coming in. Where can we move? I can't bear to watch what's coming - I don't think the worst is over.

And forget about the kids that are looking for jobs!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GOING HOME

Ron, Mike, and Steve are getting excited about their upcoming trip to Scotland for a week of golf. Nancy and Mike gave Ron a trip for his 70th birthday, and they will be going in October. This will be Steve's first trip to Europe and Mike's second. Steve will have an extra treat, since Kyle is flying over to meet him on the last day and they will spend another week split between London and Paris. OH, I am so jealous!

The boys are on the internet constantly, looking at all the 600+ golf courses they might be able to play. They already have a tee time at the New Course (which is only 90 years old) at St. Andrews, and have booked a small apartment that is centrally located for their stay. If anyone has any suggestions for great courses or anything else "Scotland" please let us know.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How Come?

Here's a health care question that I hope somebody will have an answer for: why is it that Medicare will pay for me to see a doctor about a malfunction in any body part I have except for my teeth and my eyes? I can see my family doctor for a diagnosis when I am not feeling quite right; he can refer me to a specialist for treatment for whatever is wrong; but if I am suffering from an inflammation of a tooth, I have to go to a dentist and Medicare won't pay for it. If I need to be able to see better (no different than if I need to be able to sleep better) then I have to see an opthamologist. Oh yes, and also, if my hearing starts to go, Medicare doesn't care. What is the justification for leaving these important things out of my health care provisions?

Anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Triporati

Wow! Another photograph chosen for the internet! I am so excited - my photo of the windmills of Mykonos was chosen for the blog post about Greece that appears on the Triporati web site. Here is the link: http://www.triporati.com/blog/2010/06/21/greek-diary-mykonos/

I am happy to know about this site, since we are in the process of planning a trip to Italy next fall.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Check it out!

Someone has used one of my photographs in their blog. You can see it by clicking on this link:
http://lemonadecleansetogo.com/2010/06/top-10-glam-wedding-dresses/

The picture is a frou-frou wedding dress that I shot when we were in Paris. It's fun to see your work recognized by someone else! Thanks to Lemonade Cleanse!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Trip, 2010



We had a great trip to the midwest. I want to go back! We flew into Cincinnati, rented a car, drove to Bethel, Ohio, to Bill and Verda's house, and left the next morning on a ramble up to Lake Michigan. We started out with a delicious brunch prepared by Verda's cousin, Gary, at his beautiful home outside Cincinnati. Then we departed for French Lick and to see the resort at West Baden Springs. We stopped that first night at Salem, Indiana, and stayed at a lovely B&B named Laning House. Mrs. Hart was our gracious hostess, and we had the entire annex to ourselves for $65 per couple! Living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms and two baths! We highly recommend the Laning House if you are ever in Salem. The next morning we saw the amazing West Baden Springs resort and played the slots at French Lick. That night we stayed in Bloomington, Indiana. What a neat college town that is! Verda and I went into Buffalouie's for wings, and while we were there we were talking to the owner. During our conversation, he stopped to welcome George Taliaferro, the first African-American to be drafted into the NFL. George played for the 1945 IU football team. I had the pleasure of talking with George for several minutes and he told me the story of how he used to peer through the window of that restaurant at his picture on the wall, but wasn't allowed to come in because he was black. Now that same picture resides in a place of honor in Assembly Hall. We toured the campus the next morning and went to the library to use their computers. In the afternoon we headed north for the southern shore of Lake Michigan and stayed in Chesterton. The following pictures are of this first part of our trip.










































Friday, May 21, 2010

Off to the Midwest

We leave tomorrow morning for a short trip to the Midwest. We're flying in to Cincinnati and will meet up with Bill and Verda. Then we're going to tour around the Great Lakes a bit to see a part of the country I've never seen, with a stop for a day at least in Chicago. I have always wanted to see that great city and am really looking forward to it. Then back to Ohio for our flight home. It will be nice to have a break - we haven't been anywhere for a while now. Will post pictures when we get back.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2nd Game of the Western Conference Finals

Well, the second game was a little, teensy, weensy bit better. We needed Channing Frye to hit 5 3 pointers, and for Steve Nash to not throw the ball to the Lakers, and we could have won that one! We will be traveling for the rest of the series, which may be a good thing. Maybe we'll be in a sports bar on Sunday for Game 3. Still - think about it - this is the NBA Final Four. To make it this far is exceptional, and nobody gave Phoenix even half a chance to be here. Someday it will all come together, but not as long as Pau Gasol is playing in Los Angeles.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What a Disappointment!

For the first quarter, I thought, "All right, hangin' in there!" Second quarter, still not too bad. Even the TNT crew said the Suns and Alvin Gentry should have been smiling - they were only down by 7. But then, oh my gravy! Kobe and the Gang came out and clobbered our guys in the 3rd quarter. I've always personally thought the 3rd quarter is the most important. It's when you make your statement, when you try to put the game out of reach, when you make all your free throws. Well, Phil Jackson may feel the same way, because they really put the hammer down. Maybe Wednesday will be better.

Monday, May 10, 2010

WE R ORNG!

Phoenix is a fun place to be right now. Reminds me of when the Diamondbacks were on their way to winning the World Series back in 2000. We've been through a lot of ups and downs with our basketball team and especially with management. But the Suns are shining again, Steve Nash is the Ironman, and the arena is packed with cheering fans.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law

I have a question for all Moms (and Dads) out there today. When you teach your children about obeying the laws, do you tell them that they can pick and choose which ones to follow, and which ones to disregard?

That is what the opponents of the new anti-illegal immigration law in Arizona want you to do. It is, and has been, the law of the United States for anyone to be in this country illegally. That means without having gone through the legal process of being admitted to this country. My family has ancestors who came from Europe - legally - and Ron and his family came here from Scotland when he was 11 - legally. So we are in FAVOR of immigration and the contributions immigrants make to our country - but there are legal ways to do it.

So, when there is a law passed by Congress saying it is unlawful to be here without documentation, why are people saying that a state law upholding and enforcing the federal law is unconstitutional? Why are they saying that we should continue to look the other way when we know - we know - how many people are here illegally? Why do we, as taxpayers and residents of Arizona, have to continue to pay for people who are here illegally? The least the federal government can do - if they are not going to enforce the immigration laws - is give us the money to take care of these people.

So, teach your children that if they think a law is wrong, they don't have to obey it. See how that works for you.

Happy Mother's Day!

Whether you are doing anything special today or not, you have already done something extraordinary by becoming a mother and raising your offspring.

If the human race survives, it will be because people like you have passed their genes on to the next generation. So, congratulations! No matter what, you have made an invaluable contribution to life on this planet.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

New Immigration Law in Arizona

Does anyone else think it's curious and more than a little coincidental that just when all the protests are going on about the new "strict" Arizona immigration law, the feds (ICE) "arrested 596 illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions in a three-day sweep across the southeastern United States this week?"

"Most of them will be deported, though 22 may be prosecuted for illegally entering the U.S. after previously having been sent home," (italics mine) "These are not the kind of people that we want walking our streets or living in our communities" Morton told reporters. WELL WE DON'T WANT THEM EITHER. Why doesn't anyone get that?

"All but two dozen of the criminals, some previously convicted of murder, sex crimes, assault and fraud, had been released from jail or prison without being turned over to immigration authorities for removal, as the law provides." That statement is exactly what the Arizona law provides for when criminals are arrested. The ONLY way the Arizona law could be found to be unconstitutional is if the Court decides that a state law cannot mirror a federal law. And if that is the case, then a majority of state laws across the country will be declared unconstitutional.

Wonder how Janet Napolitano sleeps at night. When she was Governor, she refused to sign similar laws because she said it would take resources away from the feds who were busy doing other things. Now, all of a sudden, we are told that in the southeastern part of the United States, criminals should not have been released from incarceration without being turned over to immigration authorities. I didn't know that federal law only applied in certain states or certain parts of the country.

Quotes are from The Arizona Republic, Saturday, May 1, 2010. Reprinted from Tribune Washington Bureau.

Comments welcome.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Illegal Immigration

Perhaps you all have become aware that there is a bill sitting on the desk of the Governor of Arizona that will - wait for it - make it a state crime to be in the country illegally! Now, I guess I missed something along the way. I thought that it already was illegal to be illegal - DUH. There are demonstrations going on by people who are afraid that even legal residents will be required to carry identification with them in case they have to show that they are here legally. Well, I don't know about you, but most of the time when I go out, I have my driver's license with me. No problem. And, I'm sorry, but the last time I traveled to Europe, I had to give my passport to customs agents when I entered a foreign country. In England, in France, in the Netherlands, I couldn't just stroll across the border, enter their country, and set up shop without a by-your-leave. Why do Mexicans think that they should be able to cross into Arizona and never be challenged to show that they are here legally? We don't seem to have this same problem with Canadians. Some people say that the convention business will suffer, that companies will choose not to come to Arizona because they will be worried that their attendees will be stopped at every corner. I think it's probably the opposite. If out-of-staters know that the chances of being murdered, robbed, assaulted, or hit in their car by an uninsured, unlicensed motorist, I think they would be more inclined to visit our state. The economy of Arizona will suddenly improve dramatically when we are not having to pay for immigrants' medical bills, education, welfare, not to mention their incarceration.

I am as grateful as anyone for the contributions that immigrants have made to our country and to our state. But people who are here legally are not part of this discussion. I think that if there is immigration reform, we will still have many people who want to come here and make contributions - but they will do it legally. And, to be fair, our government needs to assist the Mexican government in making that country a desirable place to live. Maybe then there will be crossings in both directions!

So show me what part of "illegal" I don't understand.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WE R ORNG

The Suns played last night the way we all love to watch them play! Let's hope they can do it again in Portland. Our old guys can take you youngsters to school!

Monday, April 19, 2010

NBA Playoffs

I'm watching some of the games in the NBA Playoffs, but I don't know much about most of the teams. I follow the Suns, of course, and then I watch games when someone is playing that I have come to know by going to games here. Steve, Michael and I went to the State championships when Jerryd Bayless was playing for St. Mary's; James Harden and Jeff Pendergraf played for ASU. But I'm thinking that LeBron deserves a championship ring. He has been so loyal to Cleveland and has been patient and dedicated to trying to bring home a championship. I don't want the Lakers, or the Celtics, or Detroit, or the Mavs, or the Spurs to win. Who else is in contention?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recent Photos





I was 68 when I finally saw a Panda.

I think I am going to make this blog more of a photo blog than a written one. Either that or learn to write more succinctly and not ramble on and on. Maybe a combination of the two? Anyhoo, recently my daughter, Nancy, and I took her two daughters and Steve's son, Alex to the San Diego Zoo and to Legoland. It was so much fun - the kids were great and got along perfectly. The only problem we encountered was that the first night, they all ended up in one room because Grandma was snoring so loud! The next night, Grandma slept in the living room of the suite and everyone else was in the bedroom with the door closed! Ah, well.

The zoo has an amazing underwater hippo viewing area. You can see them when they are underwater, and also when they come up. What a great idea!