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At the beginning of this year the State of CA imposed a law that requires parents to secure their kids who are 8 years or younger and under 4’9″ in height in a car seat or booster seat in the rear of the vehicle! The law used to require this for kids under 6 and under 60 pounds.

I understand that the thinking is to protect children, however, the height requirement is what gets to me. The height requirement is pretty tall for a child. Think about it: Can you picture Snooki Polizzi from Jersey Shore in a car seat? Well, she meets the height requirement! How many children between the ages of 6 and 8 were injured in a car accident because they were not in a car seat? Those statistics are very hard to find…

I did find this comment by Scott Storms. He is a principal at AQCS Environmental. Mr. Storms says, “The California death rate of children 0-5 vs. 6-10 is very small ~2.5/100,000 and the groups are statistically indistinguishable. Since these two groups correspond fairly well to the groups of children effected by this bill, we can say that it indicates that the addition of booster seats to the older age group probably will not effect the already very low death rates. Thus, the utility of this bill questionable. If one takes into account the economic costs, which for many families will be in the form of purchasing and fueling a 3-row vehicle, and the ecological externalities; in the form of additional resource utilization and pollution, it is a bad idea.” Here is the link where I found this comment: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/SB_929/20112012/

Then you have to ask the question: What if my child is 10 years old and is only 4’8″? How does one prove to the CA Highway Patrol, or local law enforcement that the child has past age limit? Will parents now need to carry birth certificates to prove the age of the child?

And how do you get a child of 7 who has not been in a car seat for a year back into a car seat? Well, there is an incentive for you to do so by the State to the tune of $475.

I understand that this is all to protect the safety of children, but what I want to know when the law will change again to encompass anyone under 4’9″

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Whenever there is an election coming up, our politicians hit the “campaign trail.” We are inundated with stories from the “campaign trail” by our news media, and it goes on, and on, and on…to the point that it seems no one can wait until that first Tuesday in November.

What I would like to know is this: Are these politicians, if they currently hold an office, getting paid for their jobs when they are campaigning? Are the people of the State of Texas paying for Governor Rick Perry and Congressman Ron Paul to campaign? Who does their job when they are on the “campaign trail?”

It is my belief that yes they do get a paycheck, and yes we all end up paying for our politicians when they are on the campaign trail. Wouldn’t that be something if my job would pay me while I went out and campaigned for a seat on the city council?

How can we change this? Oh, pardon me, but I forgot. It is our politicians who would have to make this change and that most certainly will not happen!

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I was having yet another discussion with my husband over the Republican candidate interviews, and I thought why not write a blog over this? The issue: What the candidate says they are going to do and can they do it?

Tonight on the news we heard reported on CBS their interviews with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. The candidates all have a plan on what they are going to do to improve the economy, and CBS reported what they were told. But they forgot to ask the most important question out there.

What the media forgot to ask, and what the candidates forget to tell the American public, and what the American public has forgotten, is that our government is a system of checks and balances. So the candidates can tell you what they are going to do, but a sitting President needs the OK from the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Life is like a game of chess because you always have to anticipate what the next move your opponent might make. And these candidates are not telling us what their move would be in the event that Congress does not go along with their plan. And, the CBS reporters should have asked the question.

So, American voters, let me ask you this: How can a presidential candidate promise you what they are going do to improve our economy without that approval?

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This blog begins with me wondering how many folks buy items through mail order. I know that I do only because I can’t stand shopping for holiday presents in the stores. What I want to ask you is this: Do you ever see where, in the catalog, the product you are looking to buy is made? Wouldn’t you like to know this?

Three years ago I bought two sets of dinner dishes through a catalog. When I received the dishes, I carefully unpacked them, and turned over the first plate that I pulled from the box only to discover that what I bought was made in China. Today, I regret buying those dishes as the finish is wearing off and I need to now replace them.

Living here in the Sierra Foothills, our U.S. Congressional representative is Tom McClintock. I looked him up and sent a note: A note requesting that we, as consumers, are informed where the products we buy through catalogs, or any other source are made. I asked that this include companies that are noted on packages as “distributed by.” The distributor may be a U.S. company, but where was the product made? I want to know what economy I am supporting.

The “occupy” movement is about corporate greed. Where does this start? Take a look at the bottom line on any publically traded company. Stockholder’s invest and they want a return on their investment. If they don’t get it, they pull out their money. So what do companies do to keep their stockholders? Decisions are made that reduce the costs of production by taking the production to a country where production costs are less than they are here in the U.S. It looks like they are cutting costs but are they really? Look at the number of recalls U.S. companies have had, and how many issues there are with quality.

Are you tired of spending your hard earned money on something that will break in two to three months? Are you tired of the poor quality of what you buy? Are you tired of company’s not caring that you are only one small, tiny, miniscule piece of the big pie: The Bottom Line? As a citizen of the United States, would you like to support this country by helping to create jobs, and by pumping money into this country? Has your job or maybe the job of someone you know have their job disappear due to the company moving production to another country? Did that savings to the company end up in the pockets of the executives of the company you or someone you know worked for?

I ask that you too contact your federal representative to ask to have information on where a product is made disclosed so that you too can support this country’s economy!

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I decided to take a short hike in the forest which is just at the end of my street. The birds were happily singing, the ground squirrels were sniffling around for acorns, and occasionally a deer would scamper off. I was following what appeared to be a trail. You can imagine my surprise when I came upon a lean to in an area that had been cleared. There were a couple of fruit trees and a huge vegetable patch! A creek bed flowed nearby.

Something rustled off to my right and caught my eye! It was a man, who had been hunkered down by a small cook fire. Startled, I said hello and excused myself for invading his privacy. He told me not to worry about it and offered me a cup of hot tea. He seemed harmless, so I accepted his offer of tea. He poured me a cup and offered me a seat on a tree stump that looked like it was carved out to create a chair.

Here is a snippet of our conversation:

Me: How did you end up living here and how long have you been here?

Hermit: I came to be living here because I wanted to get away from the things of man. How long have I been here? Not long enough and years…ever since 2007.

Me: Why is that?

Hermit: Because back then corporate greed was all the rage, and I lost my job. Didn’t have any place to go. Lost my home, and tried to find jobs, but the government was too busy bailing out corporate America a year later. They could not bail out the individual who was suffering more. I had no other alternative but to find someplace to go where I could be alone, and away from it all.

Me: Why did you choose this place?

Hermit: It is public land and open to all for use. It’s away from everything and is away from the daily grind of the media that reports on items like the Kardashian’s instead of what’s really important. You know, the true issues of what life is in this country. And, it gets me away from people.

Me: Why do you want to be away from people?

Hermit: I got tired of being surrounded by those who wanted to take credit for things that I did. I volunteered my time quite a bit. I liked helping others out. And one day one of the folks that worked for where I was volunteering wanted to take credit for all of what I had done for them. This reminded me of jobs I had had in the past where I created new processes and procedures and had supervisor’s take all the credit for the work I had done. So whether a paid job or as a volunteer, someone always wanted to take credit for what I had done. I got tired of it. I also got tired of other people knowing everything, and not being able to back up any of it with factual information. And, if I did not follow their viewpoint, then I was deemed as a bad person in their eyes. And they spread around rumors about me that had not one ounce of truth, and pretty soon others shunned me for believing the rumors. What was really sad was seeing how other people could be swayed by what I consider to be the bullies in life. These are folks that haven’t left their bullying days on the playground behind. They huff and puff, throw tantrums just to get their way, and I was tired of it.

So, now here I am surrounded by nature. Nature that does not judge me, tell me what to do, or how to behave. It lets me live in peace.

We continued our conversation for a while. I had finished my tea and needed to get back home. I told the hermit what a pleasure it was to have met him and wished him well. He wrapped up our conversation with the following sentiment.

“The difference of working for man or working with nature, is that nature gives back.”

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Last night while watching CBS evening news, I heard a disturbing number. I heard that one in fifteen people in the U.S. are now living at 50% below the poverty level. Robert Moffitt, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins was reported as stating, “There now really is no unaffected group, except maybe the very top income earners. Recessions are supposed to be temporary, and when it’s over, everything returns to where it was before. But the worry now is that the downturn — which will end eventually — will have long-lasting effects on families who lose jobs, become worse off and can’t recover.”

When I heard this story, I thought to myself, this reminds me of 20 years ago. I was working for a service company after graduating from college. We placed folks in jobs at a number of various companies. I was excited to have this job, and I was told when I was hired, that I would be given a raise after three months with the company.

A month after I signed on, the company announced a wage freeze and raises were on hold for the next fifteen months. Working in the accounting office, I discovered that before the wage freeze was announced, eight, yes eight, Vice Presidents were all given raises. The average wage twenty years ago for these folks after the raise was $125K, not including bonuses. What this wage freeze did for me was keep my earnings at poverty level. Why do the top wage earners forget about the worker bees who keep the company running, make the money and whose hard work is providing them their salaries?

The thought in my head at the time was, “It is easy for these VP’s to accept this decision, because for them, they are really not affected.” The affect on me? Living in the San Francisco Bay Area meant for me no extraneous costs. Food that topped the list included Top Ramen and a lot of stone soup. Rent was taking up 60% of my after tax income. Dining out was not an option. Cable TV was not an option. Getting sick was not an option. Vacations away from home — not an option. Presents to others at the holidays for the first time in my life could not be done. Couldn’t you have made something you ask? No. I could not afford the materials.

C. Northcote Parkinson wrote a really good book that I had to read while getting my college degree. In the book there was a chapter that had to do with a board of directors of a company. Basically it said that the board could make a decision involving millions of dollars in two minutes, but when they had to discuss what kind of coffee to buy for the office it took a half hour of their time. Why? Because the coffee immediately affected them in their daily lives. The millions, did not. For a good read check out “Parkinson’s Laws.” Look for it in your library: C. Northcote Parkinson (Nov 19th, 1955), “Parkinson’s Law.” While the book focuses on UK bureaucracy, it fits for us in the U.S. as well.

The question is: Today, how can these top earners sit in their offices, look at themselves in the mirror in the morning, and feel good about themselves for making one in fifteen people survive below poverty level? How hard would it be for them to take a pay cut so that someone else can eat something more than Top Ramen or stone soup?

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Have you ever read “The White Book?” This was the interview of John Lennon and Yoko Ono when they did the bed-in while they were on their honeymoon in New York City. I read this book, and the one thing that struck me the most was a comment that John Lennon made that has given me a perspective to life that few ever seem to follow.

The comment that had such an impact on my life after reading this book, and I paraphrase: It is all fine and well to protest for something you would like to see changed, but using that energy to make the change rather than putting it into just protesting for the change, would be better spent. I really liked that when I read that. What a concept? Let’s use the energy to create change rather than protesting about how things are. Hmmm…I liked that then and I still like that today. And, in my own way I follow this. Nothing that needs to be on the news, but something I can do myself behind the scenes. And I do it.

In relation to today, I have to go back to John Lennon’s statement again. What are those people who are protesting, and stating that they are part of the 99% doing to create the change they want to see? What is it that they could be doing with the energy they are using in protesting, to make the change that they are seeking?

It is always easier to follow, but it is harder to come up with a plan to create change. I do believe that attention needs to be brought forward on corporate greed. Greed is not of a company but of the people who run the company. Greed: One of the seven deadly sins. Change needs to happen. But, what are these folks that are protesting doing to create the change that they are seeking?

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OK – so here is the United States offering a foreign person that if they buy a house, then they can get a Visa. No-no-no-we are not talking about a credit card, we are talking about someone being able to stay here in this country with benefits. Benefits, that if you are a citizen you cannot get! What is wrong with this picture? Our government can take care of other countries, citizens from other countries but not our own?

I have to ask: Is this kind of assistance only because there is a desire to look good? Let’s put forward a face of humanitarianism for the world, and let’s not let anyone know that we cannot take care of our own.

Have you seen homeless people on the streets where you live? Why are they on the streets? How is it that we can take care of folks who come here with a desire to live here but we cannot take care of the homeless on our streets? I just don’t get that; do you understand this? If you do please explain this to me.

I have personally paid into the U.S system for more than 35 years, and when I needed assistance, I was turned away. I pay taxes on every paycheck I have ever received, and companies that I have worked for have paid for me to be able to benefit if I am unemployed. When I needed to draw on this I was denied. Yet I saw folks new to this country receive thousands of dollars per month to be here and I could not get a dime.

What is wrong with this picture? Are the people of this country fed up? Is this why there have been protesters for more than a month protesting the greed of Wall Street?

Our politicians have this need to take care of everyone except the citizens of this country. Why are they still in office? Why have you not rebelled in the voting booth? Forget political parties, all sides are responsible for the state of the U.S. And we are too for letting them remain in office.

Let your U.S. representatives know that buying a home in the U.S. should not be a ticket to a Visa.

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Why Take This Drug?


I wanted to write an article on a couple of drugs that I have heard about recently, both on the radio, and the side effects. My husband asked me, “What does this have to do with life in the foothills?” My answer: Nothing, except I hear the ads on the radio and I find myself astounded. Why would anyone want to take a drug that has these side effects? I write about this because if anyone would suffer the “rare” side effects, it would be me and has been me.

Recently I have heard ads for two syndromes that I did not know were considered syndromes until the drug companies decided they were. What are they? One is restless leg syndrome, and the other is shift work disorder.

What is restless leg disorder, otherwise known as RLS? It is defined as “A disorder in which there is an urge or need to move the legs to stop unpleasant sensations.” Wait a minute! I have had this all my life. More than 50 years worth. Did it ever bother me? No. Did it bother others? Sometimes. So, why now is this a big deal? Because a pharmaceutical company decided that they could make a drug that would suppress the urge to shake your leg while you are sitting in a chair. The scientist that came up with this idea? Someone who grew up with me and was bugged by my legs constantly shaking.

One of the drugs to treat this “new” syndrome is called Restoril. I believe that this is the drug that I have heard might cause one to gamble, but do not quote me on this as I could not find this in all the drug information I looked at. Gamble? Did I want to gamble in all the time my legs were going a mile a minute? No.

Here are this drug’s “rare” side effects. This drug has caused people to get out of bed and drive vehicles, prepare and eat food, make phone calls, or have sex and they are not fully awake. And, the people do not remember that they have done any of these things. Gee — would you want to do any of these things and not remember? Can you just hear the defendant’s plea in court? “Honestly your honor, I did not know that I was committing rape! It was the drug I was taking!”

Other side effects of this drug are confusion; euphoria; tremors; restlessness – the thing this was supposed to relieve; memory loss – see above statement to the judge; sweating; hallucinations; and the list goes on. You can also suffer from fever, persistent sore throats, unusual paleness or tiredness, irregular heartbeat or yellowing of the skin and eyes. The serious bad reactions of this drug are rash, itching, severe dizziness or trouble breathing. Hmm…I think I would rather let my legs move up and down as if using a sewing machine treadle.

So the other syndrome I heard of is a new one. It is called shift work disorder. It is characterized as “…insomnia and excessive sleepiness affecting people whose work hours are scheduled during the typical sleep period.” How much of a bonus did the guy who came up with that name get? In my day, if you worked swing or the graveyard shift you worked your day around a sleep schedule that worked. Yes it took time to get into the groove, but you got into the groove without the need for drugs. Today there is a drug for this called Nuvigil.

What are the serious side effects of Nuvigil? A possible serious rash or allergic reaction that could effect your liver or blood cells and result in hospitalization as these maybe life threatening. You could end up with hives, again a skin rash, sores in your mouth, blisters, swelling, peeling or yellowing of the skin, trouble swallowing or breathing, dark urine or fever. Hmm…

Possible side effects require you calling your doctor or a trip to the emergency room for psychiatric symptoms that include depression, anxiety, hallucinations, an extreme increase in thoughts of suicide, aggression or “other mental problems.” What are the other mental problems? No idea. Nothing noted on what I was able to find.

Common side effects are headache, nausea, dizziness, or trouble sleeping. Trouble sleeping? Isn’t this drug supposed to help you sleep? The radio ad states that this drug will help you sleep, but may cause the inability to sleep. So how can this be good if the effect it is supposed to have can also be counteracted by the very same drug? Why, then, should this be taken?

Do I want to take either one of these drugs for these “new” disorders or syndromes? No. Why would I when I could be in worse shape after taking these drugs. This, then, begs the question: How do these drugs pass the FDA? Is the FDA being paid off, or are they using inappropriate antiquated standards? What could be behind all of this you ask? Money.

Have we become a society of self medicating hypochondriacs? Don’t worry about the side effects — you need this drug to cure what we think ails you. Read our ad in some named periodical and then ask your Doctor. Why are these two syndromes something to worry about today? Are they both just another excuse for what has become an “It’s not my fault” way of thinking?

In older times these two disorders or syndromes were nothing to be worried about. So my legs move a lot. So I work a swing or graveyard shift. I can change my habit patterns. Would you suffer the side effects of these two drugs or would you work your way around it? I want to hear from you!

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How about those catalogs that come in the mail by droves from now until Xmas with some great and not so great slogans and signs. Here a some that I found in just one catalog.

**”Public Notice: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil, plus the current state of the economy, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off. Have a nice day.” Mojo — ya gotta love this one!

**For Xmas: “This is as merry as we get”

**Life of mothers and daughters: “By the time a woman realizes her Mother was right, she has a daughter that thinks she is wrong”

**Wine: “Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”

**A notice for their realm: “I didn’t ask to be Queen but hey..if the crown fits!”

**The fairy came again: “Ahhh…I see the screw up fairy has visited us again.”

** Regarding S**T happens: “Accept that some days you are the pigeon and other days you are the statue.”

** Family: “Everyone has the same family, they just look different!”

** Life in General: “Enjoy the little things in life for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things.”

** Ditto: “there is always always always something to be thankful for”

** Quote: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t…you’re right. ~ Henry Ford”

** Waking up on the wrong side of the bed: “Mirror mirror on the wall…what the @#%* happened?”

** On no regrets: “Four things you can’t recover:
–The stone after the throw.
–The word after it is said.
–The occasion after it is missed.
–The time after it is gone.”

** With the morning coffee: “I’m a crabby bitch before my coffee, after, I am just a bitch!” Or, “How about a nice big cup of shut the h**l up”

** On style and fashion: “I believe if you wear enough pretty lipstick, sparkly jewelry, and great shoes no one will even notice the size of your butt.”

** In the kitchen: “A good cook knows that it’s not what is on the table that matters, it’s what is in the chairs.” I really like this one!

** On men: “Five Tips for women:
1 – It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
2 – It is important that a man makes you laugh.
3 – It is important to find a man you can count on and who does not lie to you.
4 – It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.
5 – It is important that these four men don’t know each other.”

** On dogs: “A house without a dog is like a garden without flowers”

** On marriage: “The first 50 years of marriage are always the hardest.”

** Emergencies: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”

** Feeling good about you: “T.G.I.F. – Thank God I’m Fabulous”

** Another quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines! Sail away from the safe harbor Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover! ~ Mark Twain”

** On spanking: “Children are often spoiled because no one will spank Grandma.”

A disclaimer for the grammar or punctuation patrol: I copied these directly from one of the many catalogs that I receive.

Have one of your own? Or, which is your favorite from the list above? Please feel free to comment.

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