retirelazyandhappy

There are lots of things to think about.


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Leather handbags

I picked up the WordPress Daily prompt and googled the word “Handbag.”  The prompt was to choose the 11th picture and to write a blog post about that picture.  The 11th picture was of an “Amerileather ” “Tutu” top-grain lambskin leather handbag.  See it on Overstock.com, shoulder bags, Item #: 12882081

This is neat for me because I was thinking that finding really good soft Italian leather handbags and selling them would be a fun way to make money.  Why Italian, why leather, why handbags?

First memories.  Picture being on the Ponte Veccio in Florence, at the end of it.  We have just passed all of the shops that are filled with the glorious gold.  At

Ponte Veccio - Florencia

Ponte Veccio – Florencia (Photo credit: José Rodríguez)

the far end are a variety of small shops, one of which sells handbags.  Sue picks up one and strokes it, asking us to feel the softness, the luxury of the leather.  Wow!  That moment turned me on to my love of luxury.

Another picture.  I have just been to a movie with some friends, and one (actually it was Sue, same woman) asks if my handbag is new.  Well it isn’t, but I do have a lot now and I confess that I have enough that I change them monthly.  While the others laugh at me (I am not wealthy, it isn’t that I can get anything that I want), I recognize that I love the variety (this is part of my brand, see posts dated 8-17-2012 and 8-23-2012). So there is always the opportunity to have one handbag that might be an old friend, or relatively new, one that I haven’t used for a long time.

So back to the handbag from Overstock dot com:  This isn’t a handbag that I particularly like, I wouldn’t buy it.  I don’t care for all of the fringy frou frou.  But the appealing part is the description of top-grain lambskin leather and the word ‘tutu’ with its association with a pretty, graceful ballerina. That part is yummy.


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Obama and Romney Agendas

Today I want to riff off an op-ed column in today’s New York Times by Bill Keller.  The name of he column is “The No Agenda Myth” in the Opinion Section of the New York Times, October 29, 2012.

We know, even if we don’t admit it, that it is dangerous for a candidate to be specific about his or her agenda for office.  We only have to review the Romney family history for an example.  When Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, was running for president he took a trip to Viet Nam.  When he came back he was very public with the appalling news that the American people had been “brainwashed” about that war.  Instead of being praised for his honesty and his courage he was widely mocked in the media for admitting that he had been brainwashed.

The lesson in this story?  Be careful about telling the truth.

So we need to look to what we know about the men running for office today to discern what each one would do if elected.  In today’s environment, it is dangerous to tell the details.

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama would continue his work to make health care universal and affordable.  He would probably tweak the Affordable Care Act.  He would continue to work for more regulation of business, especially for the financial business.  There would be more pressure to reduce pollution, and more protection for our air and water.  There would be a continuation of incentives to improve education, and to make higher education more affordable. He will withdraw from the middle east war, but continue to have moderating  influence in the Middle East.  He will continue to work with China and the balance his ties with the other Eastern countries, such as Korea and Japan.

If Governor  Romney wins the election there is less certainty, because he has tried to sound more moderate in the last few weeks.

However, financial success is very much a part of who he is and this is also reflected in his religion.  His success is seen as ordained by God and as an affirmation of his right to lead.  (This is of concern only because this belief that one man’s leadership is part of God’s plan leads to unquestioned approval of his decisions, a dangerous position. This is often seen in candidates from more traditional Christian religions as well as the Mormon.)  Therefore one safe prediction is that Romney will protect his own wealth and the financial strength of other wealthy people.

There will be limited attempts to reduce the financial burden of the less well off.  He will try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and he will try to reduce the protection afforded by the Environmental Protection Agency.  He will try to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood

Mitt-Romney

Mitt-Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and for Public Broadcasting.  This will be done in the name of reducing the deficit.  But with a large tax cut and a build up of the military that might be impossible.  Governor Romney claims that he wants to reduce the deficit by closing loopholes.  I would predict that it will be much easier to pass a tax cut than it will be to close treasured loopholes.  Therefore I predict that the deficit will increase, perhaps dramatically.

Traditionally the Republican administrations have been less interested in protecting the environment, and in promoting broad public programs (even though they do create jobs) than have the Democratic administrations.


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Great Book: Where’d you go Bernadette?

Español: Hermosa vista de Bahia Paraíso en la ...

Where’d You Go Bernadette is a great read by Maria Semple.  Maria has written other books including one other fictional book: This One Is Mine.  She has also written for TV shows including Arrested Development, Ellen and Mad About You.  I saw part of the first episode of Arrested Development and I have decided that it will be the next sitcom that I catch up on, once I have run out of one of the 6 that I am watching now. Admittedly I am on my second run through of Boston Legal, but to be fair, it only ran for 5 seasons.  I am on season 5 of Mad Men and I am hoping that some of season 6 will be available before I have run out of season five.  If not: well here comes Arrested Development.  I thought Arrested Development was a very funny somewhat wacky satire, with a mix of unlikely, yet winning characters.  somewhat like the characters in Pride and Prejudice and Boston Legal, and Niles Crane in Frasier.  They are somewhat exaggerated, but not too far out, and in an odd way extremely likable.  That combination makes great satire.

And Where’d You Go Bernadette is very much like that.  Very funny, odd situations, but recognizable.

I am not sure that Bernadette is the main character, perhaps it is Bee, her brilliant and very giving, kind daughter.  Bernadette was an acclaimed architect, a professional who could not follow the traditional rules, and was able for a while to make her own.  She left the traditional architecture firms to do her work her own way, and created such unusual buildings that she won a McArthur grant.  However, her personality was so hypersensitive, that she had to retreat into unlikely places.

Her marriage was surprisingly traditional except for her choice of a living space.  The family consists of Bernadette, her husband, Elgin, who works at Microsoft, and Bee, their daughter who attends a local private school.

By the way the book provides some really fun insights about work at Microsoft.  True or not, they are amusing and enviable.

Bernadette finds life to be overwhelming.  She retreats from normal work by taking on projects such as her housing that is falling apart.  She retreats from interactions with Bee’s school by removing herself from their email list.  She retreats from normal interactions with the business world by hiring an “assistant” from India to manage daily transactions and bill paying.

When her husband and others who are concerned about her believe her to be mentally ill, Bernadette withdraws again, but this time to Antarctica.  The rest of the story is about Bee’s determination to find her mother.

Because Bee’s experience was that her mother was there.  In the hospital while she underwent many heart surgeries, at her meals at night, at her school, to pick her up, always there for Bee in spirit and in interest, even when Bee wanted some withdrawal of her own.

So when Bernadette finds the reality overwhelming, and really leaves, Bee is horrified, sad, lonely, and frantic to find her mother.  The story explores the varieties and tragedies of mother love and father love, from the child’s perspective as well as from the adult perspective. And it does this in Antarctica, with its brilliant light, piercing cold, and otherworldly ambience.  And does this while being extremely funny, very sad, and so real.  This combination doesn’t seem to be possible, but gosh, it is.

Read this book:  “Where’d you go Bernadette” **** (The four stars reflect the quality of the book.  I just finished Ruth Reichl’s book “Garlic and Sapphires” about her expereinces as a food critic for the New York Times.  that was another good read, but can wait for another post.