Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Biding More Time...

Well, the 20 acre property we were hoping would come through and stay on the market went off today. The Dream Property (Weeping Willow) remains sitting there.

We've been looking at the housing market for weeks, and heavily the last couple of days, and there is nothing desirable in our price range. So. We have decided to wait it out. By our calculations the property should fall into another lower price range that is negotiable by the end of December to mid-January. It's been decreasing in price steadily since June...and so we want to wait until either it goes off the market, OR we can fight for it...again.

At least two more months living in The Mother's basement...

In the meantime, James is looking for work, as are we. We applied for two jobs today. Part-time jobs, our back can't really handle much more than that in the environment we are trained to work in. We don't necessarily need to work, but it'll probably be nice to feel a step-above barely functioning...which is how we feel now, sometimes.

The third day at the gym went well. We feel we're on a path to better health... positive about doing what we've done so many times, even though there is certainly some mild concern about things being discussed in our head these days...some of our others who have been gone for the better part of a year are deciding more here. It's a fine balance...the promise of being fit-feeling again brings all of our crazies to the front yard, so to speak. (Sorry, we had to use that tired old joke format...we just had to!)

So, here's hoping for the best, a Part Time job for the Frankies that won't hurt the back too much more than it already hurts, continued visits to the gym and, of course, the waiting for that property...for two more months.

*fingers crossed*

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What We Read - A Week in Review: October 22-29th, 2012

Highlights from our week of internet reading. A new entry theme we'll try to do twice a month, of the things that influence us, in one way or another, and in many cases inspire further research and reading into the matter. Let's call it resources for learning.
Lawrence Wilkerson, Former Colin Powell Aide, Blasts Sununu, GOP, As 'Full Of Racists'
Peter Finocchiaro, Huffington Post, October 27, 2012

Supreme Court to hear arguments in case of student who resold books
Bill Mears, CNN, October 27, 2012

America's CEOs Want the Rest of Us to Pay For Their Folly
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, October 25, 2012

Bain Capital and the Race to the Bottom in Manufacturing and Wages
Mary Bottari, Center for Media and Democracy, October 24

Romney repeats false claim of Jeep outsourcing to China; Chrysler refutes story
Nathan Bomey and Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press, October 25, 2012

Foreign policy: Is Mitt running as Dubya or Obama — or both?
Sally Kohn, Salon, October 22, 2012

Romney Wants To Disband FEMA- Do You Think N.J. Governor Chris Christie Agrees With The GOP Today?
Rick Ungar, Forbes, October 29, 2012

Seven Things to Tell Your Friends About GMOs
Frances Moore Lappé & Anna Lappé, Huffington Post, October 25, 2011

And our favourite video of the week:
Missouri Pastor's Fiery Speech Against Equal Rights for Homosexuals Has Stunning Twist Ending

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dueling Depression

Like a "virus" it gets under the skin, can't locate the source, or even, many times, how it even happens. All of a sudden enjoyable things, like writing, being awake, things previously obsessed about doing become a chore, become tiresome, become too much. Sleeping twice as much becomes the way to get through the day. Eating patterns change. Everything changes for the worse, everything becomes forced to attain a normal feeling that doesn't end up feeling normal, only heart breaking.

We've felt it coming. We staved it off with thoughts of moving, the anticipation had grown. Whenever we had a bad day we just mentally put ourselves into our new home...and think of all the things we were going to do with it. Pictured painting in our new studio, and gardening in our beautiful gardens, and canning and cooking in our new kitchen. It was our retreat.

And then we lost it, it fell through. Interesting to know, they actually reduced the price by $5000 today; given that we just had to pull out of the sale this last week because they wouldn't accept our amended off after the property inspection, we're not ready to try to deal with them again right away. We've been burned, and we need time to deal with it. Some of us figure that the property will continue to stay on the market, even until after we find an alternative, and in the end be sold for what our final amended offer was.

Now our "safe place" is gone. There is nowhere to mentally put us when a place is needed. We don't like creating fake places to get by, because fake is...well...fake. We want a real place to put ourselves into, a home, a destination...a dream place based on reality and the future.

We've been mourning it in numbing fashion, sliding deeper into the hole we'd been poised above for months, understanding we are depressed, but not clinically depressed; there are marked differences between the two. Over the past couple of weeks we've worked on decreasing our drinking habit again, by about 50%, even though it's our only pain killer for back pain. So far so good, we suppose.

To combat the depression before it gets worse, because it's gotten exhausting to pretend we are mentally fine and dandy, some of us have been doing it for month. We plan to start working out again. The distraction of the gym and exercise will be healthy, both mentally and physically, and is needed.

We went to the gym today and did 30 minutes of cardio, just to start, on the cross-trainer mostly; it's always been our favourite piece of cardio equipment (it burns the most calories per minute while being gentle on joints). We had to decrease the amount of time we run because of our knees and back and so found love in the cross-trainer. It's been two years since we've been to the gym. We used to be frequent (4-5 times a week) gym members. It felt great getting back into it today, until we stood on the scale for the first time in a year...and then a desire to return each day, or at least three times a week, was put into drive. It went from feeling great, to feeling essential. As our weight has been an issue almost most of our life.

So, while trying to figure out where to move, how to move, and when to move, given we don't want to compromise too much on the dreams we have laid out; and with a bit of a new distraction of going to the gym and focusing on our body a bit with a goal of hopefully losing 20 pound before the Tweetup we are (planning) on (co)hosting in May 2013 (that's about as much as we can lose without looking ill); we hope to keep a stiff upper lip, and not let the wrenches tossed into the spoke of our dreams get us down. It's not easy, but we're many-times-survivors, and we can duel this depression like a pro...hopefully soon.

~ Frankie et al

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let's Do The Limbo

So...the 20 acre property that was our backup plan has offers on it...the agent (who was the very first agent in the area where we are searching) said he'd keep up updated, because offers, and purchase agreements fall through all the time. We're a perfect example of that.

So far? So far a counter offer is in play, and we'll be informed if the deal goes through. If it doesn't we are poised to scoop up the property. It was the first property we viewed in the area five months ago, and at this point we will cry so many tears of happiness if we manage to squeeze into into it. So far? So far since we've gotten the bad news we have slept until near noon, distracted ourselves with matters of the world via news, drowned ourselves in Twitter, lost time and disappear to nowhere-land, and drink (at a reasonable hours, and not too much extra).

If we think about it our crushed dreams, we'll cry.

There's a general unspoken issue in the house. We had a cry, and a hug, with The Mother - apologizing for having to stay longer in her house, and expressing our disappointment with the whole thing. We still haven't mentioned it to The Stepdad...we're not sure how to breach the subject, only exist each day and feel uncomfortable here. Hopefully Mother said something...but it's doubtful because she tends to be passive on issues that she fears...(but aggressive the rest of the time).

This is limbo. We've been searching on real estate sites, trying to come to terms with the idea of flipping a house this winter, just to not be a burden in this house and have a place to live...

If the 20 acres sells, we'll be flipping a house in a city for the next year. Until then, limbo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It All Comes Tumbling Down...

After struggles with the property seller agent, who told his broker (boss) that WE never signed a purchase agreement, after we signed the purchase agreement, after the inspections a week and a half a go ( and after we went in with the amended offer,

Obviously his claim we never signed the purchase agreement is false, both we (including James), and his seller, signed it before we scheduled the inspections. Plus we have the documents to prove it.
The seller agent is also saying he has another offer coming in this week for the property...which isn't even legal with a signed purchase agreement.

Our agent went to the broker (the seller agents boss) after the seller agent up and went on vacation after throwing a fit, and leaving our agent hanging last week (

So after our agent laid it all out for the broker on Monday, he said he's been getting a completely different story from his agent and so all the communications, paperwork, inspection info, etc. has been forwarded to the broker. She reminded the broker that they are required to tell the "other buyers" (if there is indeed one) about the failed septic inspection, the environmental hazards, the well issues, the structure problems. It's only "as-is" if they don't know anything...and now they know everything and have legal requirements to disclose much of it.

After all of this, today we finally got word on the latest amendment (they had not agreed to the first one so we submitted one that was our final offer, because we can't afford to pay more PLUS invest roughly $60,000 in renovations/new well/new septic/new siding/new roof/plus more), and they will not budge on the price, despite us being told that after the inspection we could amend it if there were things we found that we had no expected. And there was, to the tune of at least $20,000 more than we were already expecting.

Our dreams all came tumbling down today, as we were forced to pull out of the agreement.
Anybody who has talked to us about this property with any of us knows what a crushing blow this is on many levels.

There has been crying, from both us and James, as the dream we have been talking about, that we had in out grasp...disappears right before our eyes.

This is not the week we expected. We were already supposed to be in the house and starting on the, we are almost back to square one, and the pressure is on because The Mother and Stepdad would have preferred we were out of the basement by now.

Now, we panic, we cry, we question everything...but we move on...and probably go buy a new bottle of Gin.

And build another dream.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Accidental Optimism

Collectively we're not the most negative people in the world. Which might be surprising to a lot of people who don't know us well.

This "accidental" optimism causes disappointment pretty often, especially since we're prone to trying new things and forging forward with living. It would be so much easier if we just became content with staying in the same place and becoming a zombie and burning our dreams at their birth.

We have too much hope, is the problem. And not the problem. It probably has something to do with having survived despite so many strange odds, mishaps and types abuse. Hopeful must just be in our blood.

It probably drives James crazy, because he is a pessimist. It does drive him crazy. We get hopeful, and he gets opposite. While some might say he is just being a realist, to our shades of optimism sometimes his approach seems defeatist. He hates seeing us disappointed, which is probably the part that drives him the most crazy.

Of course he experiences much less disappointment, like most "realists", or "pessimists", than we do, on average. If one thinks the worst of every situation, then when it turns out bad like how they expect then they're less disappointed than if they had held high hopes for it to turn out good.

But then, there is far less happy hopeful feelings overall in that situation. 

This is a lot of off the cuff babble, but we're trying to work through a potential disappointment that we are teetering on the edge of (which we wrote about on our Tumblr blog last night: and it's going to be a long weekend. And we need to just get stuff out and work through things, and it's always easier with words on "paper", than words swimming in our head, being squished and tossed back and forth between the players in our head.

It's hard to walk a solid line of pessimism, but we're not sure if that walk looks like something we are even capable of. We just want hope. We always want hope.

Without hope, there is no need for strategy, without strategy there is no moving forward.

That's just a philosophy of sorts, we suppose.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's In The Mail

Today we sent our absentee election ballot in.

Our voting is now done for the 2012 Elections.

Why absentee? We expect to be living in a different state, with any luck, on the day of election and won't be a resident to vote in that state in time and won't have 12 hours to "waste" at that point to drive all the way back to the city where we are supposed to vote. (generally you have to live in a state for at least 30 days before you are considered a resident there)

The house we are in the process of purchasing closes on the 22nd, though the paperwork they signed has the 25th listed on it, which works because we are in the middle of an addendum to our signed agreement after the inspections last Friday and the date is coming fast, we could use a couple more days for negotiations. We hope to hear back from them before the weekend. *fingers crossed*.

There is still a chance the deal will fall through; it simply comes down to the seller (bank) realizing the actual state of the house and property. If it falls through we'll be looking to moving to a large city for awhile, or putting an offer on another property in the area that we've been watching for the same amount of time we've been watching this one (almost five months).

James got his government ID to legally be allowed to work in this country, so he's halfway to being a legal resident in this country. We're pretty excited about it. The only thing that's left is an interview with immigration sometimes in the next month or so.

If two years ago, if one year ago, you said this would be our life now...we'd thought YOU were the insane one. While no day is perfect (nor should we expect it to be), and there are still many of the same issues (back pain/body pain/mental health difficulties) on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis...most of us feel we have a lot to be thankful for, and will hopefully have more if this house deal pulls through! We'll be so busy and stressed trying to get the house reno done quickly...and we'll be thankful for it.

We're not ashamed to share our vote:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What We Read - A Week in Review: October 8-15th, 2012

Highlights from our week of internet reading. A new entry theme we'll try to do twice a month, of the things that influence us, in one way or another, and in many cases inspire further research and reading into the matter. Let's call it resources for learning.

Note: Tonight is the 2nd Presidential Debate, at 7pm EST (6pm CST). It's the town meeting format, which should be interesting because it's the people asking the questions.
We'll be "live-Tweeting" it, like we did the 1st Presidential Debate, and the VP Debate.
It's what some of us call a fun time...yes, it's a bit geeky. We're okay with that.
Bain Capital: Pitting American Workers Against Workers in China Earning Just 99 Cents an Hour
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights - October 10, 2012

Paul Ryan: Obama Won't Take Away Your Guns
Time Murphy - Mother Jones - October 9, 2012

Viewpoint: In defence of narcissism
Mark Vernon - BBC News Magazine - October 9, 2012

Rick Berg, North Dakota GOP Senate Candidate: No Abortion Access For Rape Victims
Amanda Terkel - Huffington Post - October 12, 2012

Charlie Fuqua, Arkansas Legislative Candidate, Endorses Death Penalty For Rebellious Children In Book
John Celock - Huffington Post - October 8, 2012

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): Evolution, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’
Benjay Sarlin - Talking Points Memo - October 5, 2012

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013
John Vidal - The Guardian  - October 13, 2012

UPDATE 1-US Senate Republicans block bank reform bill again
Reuters: US Edition - April 27, 2010

Feds charge 91 people in $430 million Medicare fraud scheme
Joan McCarter - Daily Kos - October 6, 2012

Candidates' Views On Poverty Get Little Attention
by Pam Fessler - NPR News - October 15, 2012
Our comments (via Facebook): 
"Obama's stimulus spending has helped, but Republicans argue that government aid helps keep people in poverty."
You know what REALLY helps people stay in poverty? Sending [manufacturing] jobs to China and keeping low-paying service jobs [in America], low-paying. 
If the country doesn't have manufacturing, services jobs are the primary jobs available for the people. Not everybody can be, or has the money, for example, to be a lawyer, a doctor, or go to trade school. (With student tuition debt so high in this country, and potential cuts to higher - education tuition assistance under Romney, that's not likely to change.)
People with University educations are working in low-paying service jobs.
This is a sick cycle.
Top Reasons the Walton Family and Walmart are NOT “Job Creators”
The WalMart 1% - 2012

Paul Ryan Stimulus Funds Requests Show VP Nominee Asked For More Than Previously Reported
Stan Stein and Jason Cherkis - The Huffington Post - October 15, 2012
Linda Carroll - NBC News - October 8, 2012

CORRUPTION: Bain-Controlled Company Owns 2012 Voting Machines - October 8, 2012 (not reading, we know, but still has good information!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hot Water Bath Canning

One of our regular readers, @Streetlights94, asked us to explain how to can (preserve) vegetables and fruits using a hot water bath, since we spent much of the summer doing canning for the coming winter. This entry is to serve as a basic primer. There is loads of information on the internet about canning, including many recipes. (we even have our personally created (Spicy) Green Tomato Chutney recipe here:

Why canning? Canning is a good way to preserve a summer bounty. Many times it's difficult to keep up with eating everything a healthy garden is producing during the summer/early fall, and rather than giving away all the extra to your friends and neighbours, it's wise to "put up" some of the food for the fall, winter and spring months.

Canning is a method of food preservation dating back as far as the 1790's (in France). Other forms include drying, freezing, fermenting, pickling, cure and smoking. See National Center for Home Food Preservation for a wealth of information on all types of preservation.

There are two types of canning, boiling water bath, and pressure canning. Hot water bath canning is commonly used for produce that are high in acid (LESS THAN 4.6 pH, so 4.6 pH to 2.4 pH, which is the pH of cranberry juice, one of the most acidic fruits), such as fruits (apples/apple sauce, peaches, pears, apricots, berries, plums, cherries, rhubarb, cranberries and *most tomatoes), fruit/tomato juice, fruit jellies, jams or have additional acids (such as lemon juice or citric acid) added to them, things such as pickled beets, pickles, relishes, "butters", marmalades, preserves, chutney. Pressure canning is used for vegetables and fruits of low acid level...which is most of them. Pressure canning is a topic for another day.
Equipment Needed:
- Sharpie – for marking the jars with date and content after being canned.
- Towels – for spillage and setting wet jars on.
- Jars, rings and covers – for filling with contents.
- Timer – to use for canning the appropriate time.
- Boiling water canner/kettle – the pot used to process the canning in.
- Tongs -
- Jar funnel – eases the filling of jars with minimal spillage.
- Jar lifter – makes removing hot jars from water safely.
The Produce:
Wash produce you plan to use well. The best types are recently picked, not over-ripe and relatively blemish-free.

Assemble all the ingredients you will need, prepare all the other vegetable fruit ingredients you plan to add to your main ingredient.

Process recipes as per the instructions you are using.

The Steps:
The Jars:
Sterilize jars with hot water and mild soap prior to filling with contents, turn upside down on towel until needed.

Fill canner/kettle about half full or more with water, so that when the jars are places inside, the water is at least 1"-2" over the top of the jars. You may have to remove some water once you place the jars in.

Sterilize the lids in very hot water, in addition to sterilization this softens the sealing compound and makes a seal easier to attain.

The Contents:
When filling the jars make sure to leave a bit of a space, about an inch. We've had them "explode", and not achieve a seal, when filled too full.
Gently tap the bottom of the jar on the counter, if not using a spatula to remove air bubbles (we use the tapping method).
Place the tightly closed jars in the water and cover the kettle/cooker.

The Bath:
Time your gentle boil, there is a chart for different foods that range between 5 (for juices) and 30 (some raw fruits) minutes.
Image Source
After you pull the jars from the water, the jars will not necessarily be sealed right away after you take them out of the water. Let the jars cool on the counter; you will hear them make a popping sound, which one of the signs of a good seal*. Sometimes it takes longer than you would expect. Once it was about 10 hours until the jar finally popped, and it popped hard.

Canning is a fun and useful skill to learn, and if you learn how to pressure can then the creativity of your canning is nearly limitless and is extended to things like meats/proteins and vegetables that don't include a high salt-preservative content.

If you have some basic questions, feel free to comment in the section below. We realize we may have missed some things due to current distractions in our life.

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any outcomes from the information used in this entry. This is how we can foods using the hot/boiling water bath methods. If you have questions seek the advice of a professional. *For expanded information guidelines on tomatoes, additional indications of a seal, other in-depth information, including instruction on canning jams and jellies, we recommend this document from the Virginia State Extension Office:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Options Finite

The house closes in 8 days.
The inspection was far worse than we expected.
We'll write about it soon, once we have the official report.

Meanwhile...we feel paralysed with the sheer amount of unexpected work and money that the property will require, and have sent in a amended offer to the seller (bank).

At this point the whole thing could fall through. Which is not an option. Our options are limited. We have a finite budget to work with.

So, we'll be over here...finding distractions, quelling the panic.

Happy Saturday.

Stupid dreams.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Headed Towards An Off The Grid Life

Tomorrow we're having most of the inspections on the house done. Septic, well, and house.

A roughly 6 hour drive one way, a couple hours of inspections, and return trip home back. We're saving money by not renting a hotel room, just like we did last time, the day we signed the paperwork. It's going to be a long day.

For people who have lived their entire life in the city, septic systems and wells may be confusing things, because in the city those are called city water and sewage, and they are city (public/government) operated. In the county those services aren't so much services as private responsibilities of property owners. Our dream, for the future, is to have geothermal, solar or windmill energy; so that, aside from the internet (which will be satellite service) , we will be living off the grid...someday. So far, we've got water, gas and sewage, off the grid (the furnace, water heater and stove/oven will be gas appliances).

It's going to be interesting, we haven't lived a life mostly off the grid since we were 13 years old...we really never thought we'd want to go back, but 20 years changes a person, we've been around enough, we've seen enough, we've lived in enough is the time for something different.

That's it for now, tomorrow will be a long and expensive day...and it's just the start of many of the same.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why Watching the Vice-Presidential Debate is Important

The Vice Presidential Debate is tomorrow night.

The debates are important, even if you are already a decided voter (if you're not a voter at all, well, we have nothing to say to you today). The debates are an important way to get the information from "the horses mouth", so to speak. Remembering of course that you have to check out even what you hear from the trusted horse. It's common knowledge a week later that Romney's side of the debate from last week was packed with lies or "fibs", if you prefer. (Allegedly, 27 or more myth/lies in 35 minutes (1)). It's important to be an informed voter, in a society where people stick to party-line voting, often you could be voting for someone who's not at all interested in your best interests. Party line voters vote for a party, and not a platform, no matter how much it might hurt them in the future, no matter what the party stands for today (for example, since the 1950's the Republican party is almost completely opposite on many topics); party line voters would benefit from being more informed as to the similarities and differences between the candidates. Not only that, but what the opposition plans to do for your future, if elected, should be a concern. Raise taxes, lower taxes. Cut funding to important programs, not cutting funding. Improving education. Not improving it. Healthcare. Restrictive healthcare. The issues go on and on.

This Vice Presidential debate will be important because some people, like us, are still waiting to hear about those tax cuts and loopholes the Romney/Ryan ticket said they were going to offer, then said they weren't going to offer. Not sure what they are saying this week. They seem to be going back on almost every platform they started off the year with.

What about topics like abortion? No, Romney says doesn't "know of any abortion-related legislation" he would pursue as president. Even though it's been part of campaigning for months leading up to the first Presidential Debates.

While he knows not of "abortion-related legislation", his party/campaign has said he plans on cutting Planned Parenthood funding, which is detrimental to many low income women for simple things like exams and pap smears. We've personally used Planned Parenthood in our younger days for affordable birth control (still paid a fee for it though), and yearly female exams to check for breast cancer, and other female cancers (still paid a fee on a sliding income-based scale). Men are even welcome for basic low-cost STD testing at Planned Parenthood clinics, an important service to maintaining a healthy society. Just because you cut the funding doesn't mean people will stop having sex. To think so would be idiotic.

The Romney/Ryan ticket has said more than once they plan to cut the funding for Planned Parenthood because some of the centres provide services like abortion. Cutting funding will in turn make it harder for women to get birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies, thereby increasingly unwanted pregnancies, which, with no abortion services, will lead to more unwanted babies/children to low-income women, and will equal more people using welfare services, meaning you will have to pay more. Oh, you don't want to, so you'll cut all the services to people in need? The "blood" from the infant deaths can be on your hands then. Making abortions harder to get will also revive "back-alley" abortions, which were common prior to Roe vs. Wade (1973), and caused many women to die, be ill, and sterile, for life.

But Romney has come out this week and said his platform does not include support abortion legislation (despite the walk back on the comments by his campaign (2)). So maybe Ryan will have more to say about that tomorrow night at the debates. It'll be interesting to see if they flip-flop on it overnight, but it's unlikely to even come up.

Then there's the 47%.

Maybe Ryan, who seems to have stuck to his 30% comment (3), will have something to say on behalf of Romney who said this week in an interview with Wolf Blitzer that he was "wrong" about the 47% (4); even though after the release of the infamous video, and weeks after, he "doubled down" and stood by his words. Now he says he was wrong, meaning people who supported the conflated accusation that people, 47% of them, who at some point in their life needed a government service (under-employed, retired people, disabled people, and military veterans among them) are lazy or refuse take responsibility for their life; if you supported that statement by Romney, he told you this last week that you were wrong.

But who knows, he might jump back to your side any day.

In countless interviews over the past few weeks were both Romney and Ryan have refused to talk about real plans for reducing the deficit, refused to supply real numbers and real descriptions of the loopholes he plans to close; Romney and Ryan want you to trust they can reduce the deficit while also giving you tax cuts, which they say they are both planning, and not planning, depending on the day. They want you to believe they can fix the deficit by increasing military spending, which is already 20% of the budget. Many professionals, from both sides of the political center line, speculate over the plausibility of all of it.

We'd like to hear more about everything the Romney/Ryan ticket has flipped-flopped on, just to see where they stand as Romney edges towards a more moderate platform, turning on everything that he's said he strongly stood for and has since become soft on.

So, we're watching the Vice Presidential Debate tomorrow night to hear concrete information about the Romney/Ryan plan to reduce the deficit, as well as other things dear to us in this election: namely human rights, education, and the environment; because no matter the outcome of the election, something will have a personal effect on us, though far less when compared to the impact it will have on other people. Like we've said in the past, our choice in the election has very little to do with us personally (the only way it effects us is whether or not we can get health insurance or not. Uninsured pre-exiting conditions under Romneycare are not eligible for his plan), rather it has more to do with people we care about.

Read our review on the First Presidential Debate here: 'Big Bird On The Brink of Extinction...and Other Debate Foibles

Listen to some interesting words from Franklin D. Roosevelt: (sorry, embedding has been turned off, otherwise we wouldn't ask you to follow a YouTube link)
The transcript:
"Let me warn you, and let me warn the nation, against the smooth evasion that says 'Of course we believe these things. We believe in social security. We believe in work for the unemployed. We believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die.

'We believe in all these things. But we do not like the way that the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them, we will do more of them, we will do them better and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything'"

Sources and Citation:
(1) At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths In 38 Minutes, Igor Volsky, Think Progress, October 4, 2012

(2) Romney promises no abortion legislation will be part of presidential agenda, Associated Press, Washington Post, October 9, 2012,

(3) Rep. Paul Ryan Claims 30% Of Americans "Want Welfare State", Michael Allen, Opposing Views, October 3, 2012,

(4) Mitt Romney CNN Interview: The 47% Comment Is 'Not What I Meant', Sam Stein, Huffington Post, October 9, 2010

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trying Not To Be Nervous...

Fall/Winter weather fluctuations do nothing for our back arthritis, and other myriad of back issues we have. We started being more concerned last night, as we laid in bed, tossing and turning and worrying about the upcoming move, the renovations and yard work that needs to be done, and how well our back will fare over the following years as we tend our large gardens and the animals we will raise for consumption. We worry we are being too optimistic about our ability to deal with the back pain.

There's a lot of work to be done on the house too, we are starting to focus too much on the sheer amount of work; so to calm our worries we had to remind each other that we know how to do this. We took a college course in building construction in high school (many years ago), as well as working for The Father in his construction company during high school, and we worked at a building center for two years during and after high school. In addition the last house we owned we did most of the bathroom renovation ourselves, gutting three layers of it's history, from floor to ceiling, which included tearing out an external wall that was rotted and rebuilding it, moving a window to a different wall, running electrical wiring from the basement and doing minor plumbing work to reroute the shower drain. So, some of us can do this. Or we have, and we hope we can again.

James renovated his bathroom and kitchen in his flat in England.

So, between him and us...we can do it. But it's still an ENTIRE house renovation...

If we could have afforded a property like the one we bought, with a finished house on it, we would have. But we had to compromise, and do what we have to do, to have the dream we want.

So, we're a little nervous.

There are fourteen days from today left until the closing on the house, in-between which there will be a a house inspection, a well inspection and a septic inspection, and then we will be moving to the country 5-6 hours from where we are now. We haven't lived in the country, on a farm, since we were 13 years old.

Just Call Us Nervous. (and excited, and OMG! We are finally getting our own place again!!!)

Sorry, dear readers...soon you will be reading a lot about our adventure...there is no running water in the house yet (something is wrong with the water where it comes in the house), we don't know if the furnace works (and there is no insulation in the attic yet), the electric needs to be redone...the entire one and a half story needs to be gutted, including replacing the windows and doors...and the yard and 40 acres has been untended for two years...

So, if you're into mental breakdowns, renovations and survival stories...mixed with the usual topics of health, food, politics (the VP Presidential debates are Thursday!), etc., of course...keep coming back.

This has been a very random blog post.

~ C et al

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Just A General How Do You Do

The weather roller coater is really doing a number on our joints and back, and yesterday we slept in so long we decided to skip the coffee, which resulted in a day of being comatose and an early night to bed. Part of our decision to leave the house today and get some fresh air.

We ended up getting invited to the family gathering on Thursday night, and decided today that we'll go. After this blog entry we'll hit the shower and then the road.

It might be one of the last times we get to see Grandma, and that's the driving source behind our decision, even though last time we saw her it was really hard. Also, we're sure our absence would do nothing but encourage family members to talk, and speculate, as to our whereabouts - we've been to enough family gatherings to know how that goes with other people who aren't around. They like to talk, and gossip, and talk.

Anyway, we'll going to try to keep politics off of the table, because we don't really need to have discussions with people who aren't informed. Heads up: we'll be re-reading the new UN Arms Treaty, just in case, even though we already know it has provisions for granting and keeping personal rights to firearms written in there, the gun-totting conspiracy theorists, however, make their wild claims. Some of these conspiracy theorists reside in our family...should be fun. *shakes head Nooooooo*

"They" (conspiracy theorists) are the kinds of people who want to tell you who you can love, and what decisions you can make with your body, but GOD FORBID you touch their guns...even though nobody is trying to, they will spread their conspiracy. Meanwhile, government imposing on real human rights, why should they care...they have guns. BUT DON'T TOUCH THEM.

(if you know us from our past writing, or from following us on social media, you know that we are not anti-gun, far from it...)

We digress. Lest we get too fired we did Wednesday night when we posted this to Facebook at 1:35am:

"We've spent some time on various "news sources" (wacko websites spewing speculation and ignorance based on news, so shit deep you could scuba dive for days) this evening, reading the most outrageous conspiratorial bullshit we've ever read in our entire life...and trust us, we've made simple claims in the past that have made people slap the conspiracy label on us. But these people, with their hate-
speak, backed with uninformed ignorance, are borderline dangerous to the general public.

Tonight, however, we also learned that reading and comprehension is as much dead as common sense, and they go hand in hand. Well, we had our suspicion anyway...

First, people (proud gun tottin' citizens) should realize:
The government, and the people in your country, do not want to take away your godforsaken guns. They want regulation to keep the "free" people of this country safer. If you are not being deceptive, or planning on breaking the law, regulation should not make you crazy with irrational fear. Going all batshit over it makes you look like you are guilty of something, or trying to get away with something. It's highly suspicious.

Second, separation of church and state is simply that. By preaching politics at the pulpit, while taking advantage of government tax exemption, churches are breaking the guidelines set forth by the constitution. THEY are the ones disrespecting the constitution.

Third, church and state being separate also means that according to the constitution you are not allowed to make laws based on your religious belief. That's what SEPARATE means.

Stop cherry picking the constitution and warping it to fit your needs, as a document it's pretty clear cut. Blowing shit out of proportion because of selfishness, hatred, and irrational fear of the wild creations that exist in your imagination, is what is destroying America. Hatred, intolerance, greed.

Furthermore, it's deplorable and disgusting for humans to stand by their guns and constitution, waving the flag, "preaching" their "unalienable God given rights", preaching Gods love, and claiming things like ACCESS TO FOOD ISN'T A BASIC RIGHT GRANTED BY GOD.
It's not just a right, it's a requirement as a living creature*.

Guns are a right, but nutrition isn't??

Are you fucking kidding.

Some people need their heads screwed on straight.

(*You want to talk about how over time people have come to depend on businesses to provide affordable food, as resources and incentive to grow, raise and prepare your own declined under the industrialized of the food supply, we can have that conversation.)"

Anyway, like we said...we have to go shower, and prepare...for trying to keep our mouth shut.

~ Frankie et al

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Bird On The Brink of Extinction...and Other Debate Foibles

What a debate, hey?

In an attempt to lower the deficite Mitt came up with "firing Big Bird". You know that already though, it's all over the web, all over TV. It's the biggest meme to hit the internet since 'Eastwood's Empty Chair'

People are saying, wait "This is what you're taking from the debate?!"

Well, not exactly.

First, his big idea to cut PBS, and other programs likes it, seems a And how it would help the economy is a little illusive in the grand scheme of the federal budget.

PBS is .012%...yes, there is a decimal point AND a zero before the 1 and the 2...

He wants to CUT the .012% budget funding for PBS, but RAISE military/war spending this is already 20% of the budget...1

It's really a joke that writes itself.

There's a lot of reports from all over about how "he won" the debate, but then in turn they talk about how he did it with lies. He was a slicked up and 'smooth criminal' on-stage, what with the disingenuous smarmy look on his face half the time, forcing himself to appear the "caring" candidate, while re-branding the 47% as "less fortunate" and saying he's going to fire Big Bird. How sweet, right?

Anyway, our take on what details he actually provided, and our take on the night.

He wants to lower your taxes, but remove itemized deductions; deductions which LOWER your taxable income rate (if you file using itemized deductions), deductions like:

Child deductions
Home owners deductions
Classroom expenses for teachers and educators
Qualified performing artists and other professions
Traditional IRA deduction
Student loan interest deduction
Tuition and fees deduction
Health savings account deduction
Moving expenses
Self-employment tax deduction
Self-employment health insurance
SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA and 401(k) deductions for the self-employed
Early withdrawal penalty
Alimony paid
Domestic production activities deduction

Removing deductions potentially increases your taxable rate. He also wants to but a cap on deductions to the tune of $17000, which we understand, for household with children, you can hit the ceiling of that cap pretty fast.

Of course he won't tell anyone which of these deductions he's planning to cut, or which "loopholes" he will close...guess you'll just have to wait.

We also wish Obama would have brought up that in March, when he implored the GOP-dominated Congress to eliminate the $4 Billion in Big Oil subsidies (handouts), they said 'no' to the suggestions while simultaneously requesting to end tax credits for wind power development.2 Which actually caused a wind turbine manufacturing company in North Dakota to lay-off 345 this past week, and opt for moving those jobs to Brazil.3 We would have liked Obama to ask Romney how "his people" think that that means funding renewable energy, like he says he plans to do.

It's essential to fund renewable energy sources while raping the earth for it's non-renewable resources, because one day their won't be anything left to take. It also creates jobs, which is essential to fixing the economy.

The other thing we have an issue with is Romney's healthcare claim that those with pre-existing conditions WON'T be denied medical insurance under his plan, when the truth is that those who already have, or have had insurance in the last 3 months, are the ones who are protected, not those currently uninsured, as stated by Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's own advisor 4 ;and instead funding for them will have to come from the individual states.

Uninsured people with pre-existing conditions, like us...and over 50 million other Americans.5

Anyway. We're not sure if we'll be able to watch the other two Presidential debates in "real time", we're 18 days from closing on our new property and have inspections to arrange, moving to do, and we just found out last night that while they have finally gotten the well pump replaced, and the water running...the plumbing in the house isn't working. Just another thing we have to figure out and fix before the snow hits and stays.

In any case, hopefully you've done your election research, looked into claims by both sides, and continue to stay informed and un-biased as you can muster.

There's much fact checking to have a crack at.

FactCheck.org to read about who said what, and how much truth were in the words. Don't worry, "righties", it's actually a fair and balanced fact checking website.

Articles of Interest:
Mitt Romney wants to cap tax deductions. Here are five ways to do it, Dylan Matthews, Washington Post, October 3, 2012

At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths In 38 Minutes, Igor Volsky, Think Progress, Oct 4, 2012

Sources and Citation:
1) Does Washington have a spending problem or an income problem? We offer some key facts, Fiscal FactCheck,, July 15, 2011

2) 46 Republicans Claim Wind Credits Are Too ‘Costly’ After Voting To Retain Billions In Big Oil Subsidies, Rebecca Leber, September 26, 2012

3) LM Wind Power Eliminates 345 Workers In New Round Of Layoffs, NAW Staff, North American WindPower, September 27, 2012

4) Top Romney Adviser: States Will Have To Cover People With Pre-Existing Conditions Under President Romney, Brian Beutler, October 3, 2012

5) Healthcare Reform: Help For Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions, Families USA, May 2010

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Drinking In The Presidential Debate

That's right, a drinking game based on the first Presidential debate of 2012.

It's tonight, by the way.

You should know that, if you are American.

The debate starts tonight, October 3rd, 2012, at 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on your local channels. (Click for Time zone map for the time-zone-challenged) Tonight's debate focuses on DOMESTIC policy, that means things that will effect you and your fellow Americans on the home front. Social and economic issues: Equal rights (women's reproductive rights and fair pay, gay marriage rights, healthcare, ect.), economy (jobs, stock market, small business, big business, etc.) and education. From watching the weeks leading up to this debate, it's going to be sloppy, entertaining and, hopefully, informative. The Republican debate trainers has been touting it's "bag of zingers" for days...that Romney has been practicing some for months (maybe that's why he has no idea how to define his economic plan in specific numbers, to busy memorizing "zingers") - clueless as to how childish and petty that seems. The debate isn't about personal jabs and zingers, it's about the information people need to make an informed decision at the poles. There will likely be a couple heated moments. American people love theatrical drama, how else can you explain the "reality television" craze.

(Note: The Foreign Policy debate is October 22, 2012)

Yes. We're trying to make politic seem fun, because it's important. Some might disagree the importance of the government, but at this point in America, if we didn't have a government like we do we would surely be attacked by increasing amounts of "enemies" on our homeland.
If you don't think we have something that other countries want, you're kidding yourself.
And no, that thing they want it NOT freedom. There is actually a lot of freedom in a lot of countries, and a growing amount at that; it's narrow-minded, false-nationalistic, and xenophobic people who don't educate themselves that don't understand that. Who don't understand the atrocities and violence that are carried out each day in our own country, the ever increasing limit on personal freedom; who focus on the sensationalization of limited and targeted coverage of other countries by the television news organizations to juxtapose their own country. That thing that other countries want is land. Not the people, not the freedom.


You should watch the debate, because word is the Mitt Romney is finally going to tell you what his plan it to help America, not simply that they have a "framework" that you should blindly trust. It's all well and good to claim you are going to help, but a growing number of people want to hear exactly how. Tonight has to be the night he tells us. It's a month until the election. (November 6, 2012)

Speaking of framework, that's one of the key, or buzz, words.

The list, in no particular order:
Middle Class

The "rules":
So, you take a drink when you hear these words. Simple as.
(For a get-you-drunk-faster-game, scroll down).

ALSO: No harassment if you are playing along on-line (we will be on-line with our usual snark). That's it. Don't be a fucking dick to people on Twitter (or Facebook, or G+, or whatever social media entity you use), try to be an adult, encourage discourse...and pay attention. Try to refrain from name-calling. Swearing is obviously okay, because we're all adults here, in theory.

REMEMBER: Tomorrow (Thursday), when you wake up... research things you've heard..and keep researching, keep reading, be informed, it's a few hours out of your life in the grand scheme of things. Ask questions, demand answers. Be informed.

Media Matters Action Network
Media Matters for America
Open Secrets - Center for Responsive Politics

OR, alternatively you could play by this guideline, it's far more involved and you won't make it off the floor at the end of the night:

Thanks goes to @IAmTheCrew for sharing this today on Facebook!

Have fun, be safe, watch the debates.