I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nevada Caucus

Today's the day that Nevada voters will turn out to caucus for the candidate of their choice. I've spent a lot of time figuring out what this means. And it obviously means something..the candidates have been here a lot. There is more enthusiasm than I can remember for this race for the presidency. We've been getting about 6 calls a night asking if we're voting in the caucus and asking who we're voting for. It's gotten so bad that we lift the phone and put it back in the cradle.

So what does caucus mean. You publicly declare who you're for. You receive a paper ballot and declare your choice. People than physically stand in groups of people who are for the same candidate. I met a Democratic precinct committee man on my job last week and he told me how it works. If your candidate doesn't have a lot of votes, enough to elect a representative to the county election to select a rep to the state convention, then you have a chance to change your affiliation. Some people can remain uncommitted or they can move to one of the more popular candidates. At the end of the process, the number of delegates elected to the county convention is based on the percentage of total votes that are polled. Is that clear? I didn't think so. I think it's akin to a straw poll to see who has the most support. But you are seriously selecting people who will carry your opinion and vote to the next level. That is the county level. That vote will send people to the state vote and ultimately to the national conventions.

What I find most interesting is the number of young people who have gotten involved in this process. My granddaughter is campaigning for Obama this weekend in South Carolina. She's a college student in Florida. I love seeing this phenomenon.

Most people are apathetic about politics as long as nothing interferes with their life, in my opinion. There seems to be more turmoil in our society. All the greedy people have gotten us into a pickle. Here's what has happened in the past 8 years:

Less Clean Water

Less Clean Air

Ability to pollute and not have to report

No Jail Time for intelligence agencies that break the law

Spying without a warrant – no actions taken

Spying is fine, spying on US citizens is fine if done according to the law – with oversight

Bankruptcy laws that favor credit card companies

Not a single word or action about the malfeasance in the “sub prime housing market”

No actions on the malfeasance and failure of fiduciary responsibilities of the loan originators

Allowing loans to be made to people to pay that clearly do not have the ability to pay

Laws that are so blatantly favor big business to the detriment of the average person

Invading and occupying another country – a single hellfire missile locked to Saddam’s cell phone location would have been a lot cheaper

Not allowing Medicare to negotiate for better pricing from the drug companies

Why not regulate the price of oil -$50 a barrel?

US schools continue to aim low and are successful

We should have:

Social Security Tax on all income – no cap -- will not impact anyone with an income under $102,000 a year

Build “Free Hospitals” and not give money to insurance companies

Doctors and nurses can work in the Free Hospitals vs. Paying Taxes

Wal-Mart drives cost and profit to supplies down – why can’t the US Government adopt the same strategy?

I think all of the above are reasons that more people will become involved in the political process than ever before. And hurray for us that we can do this. Hurray for us that whoever is elected will be our president for the next 4 years. Change will not happen by bloodshed but by the ballot. I'm very proud to be an American. If we want change we are free to elect a candidate that will make it happen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I've been busy planning my class reunion

I haven't posted for a few months. That's putting it mildly. I have been on an internet hunt for my classmates from high school. It will be 50 years since I graduated from high school. I haven't figured out how that happened. I sure don't feel old enough to be out of school that long.

I start out a couple of years ago by finding our class president enjoying his retirement on the east coast. He was interested in having a reunion but felt he couldn't be of much help since he too lived far away. I worked on our 25th reunion. We didn't have the resource of the internet then. Many of our group was not to be found.

At any rate, I volunteered to find almost 400 people. Since I live far away from my hometown, searching out my classmates seemed like something I could contribute to this once in a lifetime get together. So here is what I learned about finding folks.

My main site is called zabasearch. It allows you to search the entire country or just one state.
There are links to other sites as well as google searches. There is, very helpful. I also used and Some websites give the month and year a person was born. Others tell cities people have lived in during the past 20 years. Some give phone numbers and the approximate age range of the people at that number. You can put the phone number into google and sometimes will get an address for that number. Frankly, I don't think the sites that charge you money will give you any information that you can't find for free.

When I couldn't find people, I looked at the SSDI. That stands for the social security death index. I used the rootweb site that has a powerful search engine. It was sad to find the name of a classmate who was deceased but I could stop search for them. On the SSDI site, you can put in the year the person was born. Most of my class was born in 1940. That was a help.
This is a good site.

I started with my year book from the year we graduated. I also had the booklets w
e published for the 10th and 25th reunions we had in the past. Some people were a real challenge to find. I could find no trace of one fellow. Finally I googled his name. I got one hit, he worked for Boeing Corp for 35 years in 2004. So I looked up the Boeing headquarters and called them, he was still working. Lo and behold, the operator connected me to his desk at his office in California. Finding women is a little harder, sometimes they've been married, divorced and remarried.

Most of all, I tried to phone everyone I found and verify their information. It was a hoot, talking to old friends from the
past. I spoke to several people who I went to grade school and high school with, we shared so many old memories. I was impressed by the number of educators in our class. None of us would be where we are today without the dedication of our teachers. It was a lot of fun. I can hardly wait for the reunion.

Our reunion dinner will be held at a local restaurant that serves Lake Michigan perch. Many people were thrilled that we would meet there. Most of the eateries from our high school days have long since closed. I had quite a few dinners at the restaurant where we'll meet. We have fond memories.

We mailed out the first letter to the people I've found so far this week. Now we'll see how many are interested. Surprisingly, only a few said they weren't interested on the phone.

In case you're curious, here's how I looked then and today.

You'd think after 50 years I could change my hair style?
What can I say?