When I was a kid, I did not live in the biggest house on the block. My parents did not wear designer clothes, nor did they drive new vehicles. Our house stayed the same color for at least a couple of decades, until it really needed to be painted and even then, my father knew a guy who knew a guy who could get buckets of exterior white paint for cheap. We were not upper crust ... we were a typical working class family.
My father always paid in cash and never bought on credit (and this includes his mortgage and automobiles). Every month it was the same routine ... basic utilities, groceries, gas, and the rest went into his safe. My dad's motto was, "If you can't afford to hand over the money for it, you don't need it." He never borrowed a cent from anyone ever ... and that includes the bank.
Then there was that couple of years while I was in high school, my mother started receiving offers for credit cards in the mail. Credit cards? What a novel idea. Buy now, pay later. She could buy me all the designer clothes and shoes my teen heart craved and not have to worry about paying for it. In fact, the credit card companies were so helpful, she'd only have to pay a bit back of the total balance each month ... just one little tiny bit. So, one card turned into two, then three, and then, and then, and so forth until she realized she was in big trouble. Every month when the bills were due, she worried over how she would pay and how the debt had turned from hundreds into thousands.
I don't remember how it happened exactly, but I do remember it was I who convinced her to tell my father. My mom was deathly afraid my dad would leave her, but I knew he'd help, even if he couldn't understand what she did or why she did it. I remember she began crying hysterically as she admitted it to him, but that he was quite calm when he told her, "Listen, quit your crying, I'll pay for it, but you give me every single bill from every single company you have and don't hold anything back. Then you go get cashier's checks for every balance, send the payments by registered mail, you promise me to never do this again, and cut those damned things up." Off to the safe he went, off to the bank and post office she went ... feeling lighter than she had in months. Credit cards were out of her life forever as was over-consuming.
I look at Wall Street, the bail out, the Fannie Mae/mortgage fiasco and I think of my father and people like him. People who only bought what they could afford and lived well below their means, even if it was meager. People who understood your worth was directly tied to how you treated others and not what you possessed. If these people were in the majority, would this be happening now?
Every time I see my daughter's ex-boyfriend's parents in their Escalade because as the ex told us, "People look at us and are jealous because we have one," I know they're on the verge of bankruptcy (he told us that too), yet they want others to be envious. Desire trumped rational behavior. Stuff means more than integrity these days. Moms shopping with credit cards so their child can have the latest, greatest fashion trend is traded for stillness. Buying a house 10x bigger than you need and 10x more than you can afford is normal these days. More space seems to equate to being a better person, a better family ... just better.
I truly wonder when will America finally understand peace of mind is worth more than anything you can buy? Will it take another Great Depression for families to finally stop consuming? I must admit, lately I've been looking at the financial news thinking, "Poverty is a wake-up call American desperately need." Global warming, hurricanes, and floods aren't doing it, but being homeless, maybe that'll shake things up a bit." Will it turn into "my box is bigger than your box?"
So, what are your thoughts on the current state of economic affairs in the US? How have you been impacted? Are you a saver or a spender? Do you want America to wake up or do you think it never went to sleep ... buy, baby, buy? I'd like to know.
Hi, all. Serious topic time. As a kid, I loved monster movies. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, werewolves ... those were for me. Sure, I was scared and couldn't sleep like ... well, ever, but I loved them just the same ... and kept on watching. My mother always told me, "Oh, Beth, monsters aren't real." And I knew that, I believed that, but now at 37, I know it isn't true.
On September 26th, Bill 1738 (Protect the Children Act) will be going to congress. It is a bill that will raise the funds needed for law enforcement to not only catch, but to prosecute online child pornographers and child rapists.
As child pornography has grown on the Internet, so has the demand for more violent, insidious videos. Right now there are fathers raping their infants (yes, infants) and children, then passing these videos on electronically to other pedophiles. The younger the victim, the more heinous the rape, the more popular the videos become.
With the current funding, only ONE HALF of ONE PERCENT of these disgusting and vile criminals are being prosecuted. One half of one percent. It's astounding.
If you are interested in helping protect the children and convict these criminals, you can write your senator(s) to demand that that they pass bill 1738, which is a bi-partisan bill. Here is a link to make it easier for you and with a lot more information than I am putting here. Bill 1738: Protect the Children Act It is from Oprah Winfrey's site. REGARDLESS of what you think of the woman, she is the only one putting this information out there along with links to how to contact your senator(s), if you don't already know. This has nothing to do with Oprah Winfrey and if there were a better website to give you the information, I would have used it.
I hope all of you will take part in this. One of my senators, Hilary Rodham Clinton, is already a co-sponsor of the bill. For more children than you probably want to realize, monsters are real. They're not Dracula or Frankenstein, but Dad. Please, help kids to fight the real monsters of this world.
(Thanks to Dr. S for providing a link to the complete text of the bill!)
It's been sparse around these parts. I'm starting to feel like like my blogging buddies are too busy for good ole Beth. There's my self-pity party for the day.
This week I actually do have a bit to say. Actually, ask. Where to start? Yeah, the beginning is good ...
Scaled down and edited post due to hubby's request, but keeping lewd lion photo. =)
Yes, Beth, we get that, but what's your question? Well, my question to the few stragglers who still come around these parts is this ... do you ever have times in your relationship/marriage/union where you feel absolutely unloved and disrespected by your partner to the point of feeling like they're a complete stranger?
OK, I'll admit it, the titles aren't coming easy to me these days, BUT this one is relevant. Today my teens went back to school. My youngest is now a freshman in high school. High school! I have two kids in high school. Two! Why do these facts astound me so? No idea.
Big problem at this house is breakfast. I like to make my kids a traditional breakfast during the school months -- eggs and bacon one day, old-fashioned oatmeal the next, but both my kids absolutely hate eating in the morning. At the end of last school year, it got to the point where they were eating one bite of food and drinking their Ovaltine with milk. Then no bite of food, just the Ovaltine.
And since I can't eat right away in the morning, I get it. So when I saw a cooking show where the host was making smoothies, I thought, "Aha, this is it! Drinkable healthy breakfast!" I tweaked the host's recipe a bit, but it turned out great and even though this may bore the heck out of some of you, I wanted to share my teen-approved recipe. Super healthy, low in fat, and loaded with good stuff.
(This is the basic recipe for one)
1/2 cup frozen berries (I like whole frozen strawberries & it ends up being about 4 if they're whole)
1/2 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 - 2 tbs. honey (to taste)
Puree until smooth in your blender. The frozen fruit gives it almost the texture of a milkshake.
So, there's my new back-to-school recipe, which worked out great this morning. You can have any frozen fruit you want, including peaches, which means lots of different choices!
How about the rest of you? Any changes this September? Feelings on breakfast? Discuss. :o)