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Friday, February 29, 2008


So far, this Presidential election has been one of the most entertaining we've ever had. I usually yawn through the primaries and don't pay much attention until the conventions are over and the real campaign begins. But there has never been an election in which a woman and a black man were pitted against each other for their party's nomination.
I've been following the primaries this year and am waiting to see if the results of the voting in Texas and Ohio next week will determine the Democratic candidate or if it will drag on into Pennsylvania's primary on April 22. Usually by the time Pennsylvania gets around to voting, the choice is apparent and our state merely adds a nod to what other states have already done.
Since the Republican candidate is already apparent, the show has now boiled down to watching the two Democrats slug it out. Both of them have some liberal ideas I do not agree with, but if I had to choose between Clinton or Obama, I would take Obama. We've had enough years of Clintons in the White House, for one thing. And for another, women do not belong in leadership. God designed men to be the leaders and women to be their helpers. We create problems when we mess with that order. Yes, England has had a Queen for 50 years, but she is mostly a figurehead and the (male) Prime Minister is actually the leader.
I'm not an educated person or a political analyst, but I am going to stick my neck out and make a few predictions. Time will tell if my gut feelings are right or wrong.
1. If Clinton loses her bid for her party's nomination, she will whine that she was treated unfairly because of her gender. If that happens, I will say "hogwash." If she was running against a white man, that complaint might hold more water. But she is running against a man who is also setting a precedent. The Democratic playing field is level. There are no "traditional" players in the game.
2. The Democratic candidate (whoever that is) will win the election in November. The economic situation is being blamed on the Republican administration---never mind the fact that the government has operated on deficit spending for decades. And don't tell people their personal financial mess is their own fault because of improper credit card spending. If you spend more than you earn year after year, eventually you will go broke. The same is true for the government---which has no money of its own but only what the citizens give it. Nevertheless, people want things to change and will look to a Democrat to solve their problems.
Now I'm going to sit back and see what happens. I won't lose my job or my reputation if I am wrong on either of these predictions.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

An Extra Day

I have often wondered why the extra day we have every four years is in February. By now, I think most of us in northern parts of the world are longing for spring. Some parts of the country have had a lot more snow than we've had this winter, but we have had plenty of gray, dreary days here. Last week I felt like I was half asleep and could not concentrate on anything.
This week we've had a few sunny days and it has done wonders to lift my spirits. One day I went out to burn the trash and heard flocks of Snow Geese overhead. That was a hopeful sign! But this morning it was 16, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, and spring still seems a long way off.
Why should we stretch out winter any longer than necessary? Why can't we have that extra day at the end of June instead of in February?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Price of Oil

We have two oil tanks which hold a total of 550 gallons of heating oil. The price per gallon is lower if we take 400 gallons on a fill-up. We did not pre-pay last fall in hopes the price would drop as it did last year. That was wishful thinking! The price went UP instead.
We've been monitoring the dropping oil level in our tank the past couple weeks, knowing we will not be able to postpone filling up much longer. Yesterday I decided we have to bite the bullet and ordered oil. It was delivered this morning---508 gallons. We could probably have waited a few more days but that's about as close as I like to cut it. The price per gallon was $2.98. Do the math! This is a record-setting heating oil bill. The most disgusting thing is that the oil companies are showing record profits. Does that tell you anything?
On the bright side, I am thankful for two things. We have the money to pay the bill and will stay warm. In some parts of the world people simply endure the cold because they cannot afford to heat their homes. Sure, it hurts to pay so much for oil. But realizing how fortunate we are softens the blow. We'll have all the heat and hot water we need for the next ten months.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Charles Swindoll said, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."
I know some people (and you probably do too) who make a big deal out of minor issues and others who take major lumps in stride. What makes the difference? Attitude.
My only surviving aunt turned 94 last week. Aunt Nora was married and widowed twice. Between the two marriages she raised her four sons without a husband's help. She has lived through two World Wars and the Depression. She has outlived all of her own immediate family, the families of her two husbands, and two daughters-in-law. But I have never heard her complain about her lot in life.
Aunt Nora lived alone until she was 93 1/2. The aging process took its toll on her body. Her knees are worn out and replacing them is not possible because her heart would not take the stress of the operation. Last August she decided it is time for her to go to a nursing home. She had a family sale to dispose of the contents of her house and then sold the house on public sale. She was at the sale, watching all her things being carried away by others.
Naturally, it took some time to adjust to living in a nursing home, but it did not slow her down much. She is still on the go with her children and grandchildren. Every time I see her she tells me how many great and great-great-grandchildren she has. And the number always increases.
On Saturday Aunt Nora attended the wedding of her great-granddaughter. She uses a wheelchair because her worn out knees make walking painful. She told the great-grandmother of the groom, "There is nothing wrong with me; I just can't walk."
Aunt Nora is an inspiration to me. She could make herself and everyone else miserable by harping on all the hardships she has had in 94 years of living. But she goes on, making the best of whatever life hands her. The fact that she can no longer walk doesn't count. That short fact is tacked onto the end of a longer positive statement. I think that positive attitude is one of the reasons she has lived so long.
So there you have it! If you want to live a long, full life, don't sweat the small stuff!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Granny Shoes

This morning we went to Cabelas and bought me a new pair of shoes. I never bought shoes there before and the only reason I did now is because we had a gift certificate. Leroy is not a hunter or fisherman by any stretch of the imagination. We aren't happy campers either, so there isn't much at Cabelas we are interested in buying. But I did need a good pair of walking shoes for our tour of Israel in May. So, all things considered, we went to Cabelas and bought me a pair of shoes.
Deciding which pair of shoes to purchase was a weighty matter because the state of my feet will go a long way in determining how much I enjoy the trip. After a lot of deliberation I chose a pair of sensible tie walking shoes. I hate to say it, but they are exactly the kind of shoes you would expect a granny to wear. I don't like the looks of them but decided this time comfort has to come before vanity. I'm going to wear them awhile to break them in so they are really comfortable for all the walking we'll do on the trip. Have the courtesy not to laugh when you see me wearing them. After all, it will be my feet that suffer if I wear something more fashionable. I am a bona fide granny now and I've got the shoes to prove it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

May City, Iowa

Yesterday we visited Leroy's Aunt Lydia who turned 95 in January. Her parents were part of the failed attempt to establish a new Mennonite settlement near May City in Osceola County, Iowa. The first settlers arrived in 1887 and the last ones left in 1915.
Lydia's parents, Eli S. Stauffer and Mary M. Brubacher were married in Iowa in 1905. They had three children when they left Iowa in 1911 and moved to Snyder County, Pa. Eli's parents, Daniel and Susanna Stauffer, moved to Snyder County with them.
Lydia was born in 1913. In 1919 the Stauffer family moved from Snyder County to Groffdale, Pa. and a year later to Ephrata, Pa. where they lived the rest of their lives.
Lydia's maternal grandparents, Jacob and Elizabeth (Martin) Brubacher, left Iowa in 1912 and moved to Stanton, Michigan. In 1926 they moved from Michigan to Lancaster County, Pa. where they lived the rest of their lives. Lydia has this sale bill from her maternal grandparent's sale in Iowa in 1912, nearly a century ago. A cemetery is the only thing that is left of the Mennonite settlement in May City, Iowa.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tea Party

On Thursday we celebrated the 50th birthday of Leroy's sister, Rose, at a fancy tea party. I'm not a fancy person and would not enjoy hosting one of those affairs but I can manage to be a guest at one. The pink and purple tulips on the tables were a welcome sight for winter-weary spirits.I have trouble remembering I am no longer in the 50s class and find it hard to believe our younger siblings are either there or fast approaching the 50s. Here's the proof we're all going the same way. Rose is seated on the right with her mother and sisters. Do these seven sisters know how fortunate they are to have their mother this long? Some of us had to give up our mothers much earlier.

We had a nice time at the tea party (thanks to Bon who hosted it) and got Rose officially launched into her 50s. Happy Birthday Rose!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sweetheart Supper

Last evening we went to the church's Sweetheart Supper, held at Blue Lake. We had a very good catered meal and inspirational talk by Jim Weaver followed by a few other activities. One of them was a quiz of sixteen questions, eight about the husbands and eight about the wives. Each couple wrote down the answers to all the questions and at the end compared the answers to see how many were the same. If you would like to try this, here are the questions:
1. What is her favorite place to shop?
2. What is his favorite meal?
3. What is her favorite restaurant?
4. Does he like olives?
5. What is her maternal grandfather's name?
6. Where does he want to go on vacation?
7. What is her favorite flower?
8. How long has he worked at his current job?
9. What is her birthdate (year included)?
10. How many pairs of shoes does she have?
11. What color does he most like her to wear?
12. Is she wearing a new dress?
13. Where did you take her on your first date?
14. What does she like him to do for her?
15. Did he ever sing to you?
(The other one had a yes/no answer and I have forgotten what the question was. Sorry!)
The first question was the only one we answered differently. I said my favorite place to shop is Walmart and he said Dutchway (grocery store). I shop most often at Dutchway but I didn't think that is the kind of shopping they had in mind. We won the prize for having the most matching answers---15 out of 16. The one that brought down the house was our answer to #14. We both said, "Take out the slop." I'm a down to earth, no-frills person and he knows it!