spiritual pictures from nature...

wil

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a figment of your imagination
Now the picture that I wanted to insert I can't.

I've been facing some stressful times with my mother being admitted to a nursing home 2000 miles away and weighing bringing her closer while also having a senior in high school facing college choices and moving away. On Good Friday, march 21st I was going over bills , our family is spending almost $2000 a month just for gasoline and health insurance I was very angry that this is 8 times what we were paying when Bush took office. I Got up and looked out the window and this is what I saw.

click here to see
 
Snow a Winter Blanket

Snow itself is a marvel—crystals in an endless variety of beautiful forms!


i have heard that not one snowflake is alike they are all unique .



Snow is a blanket for the earth insulating plants and animals from freezing temperatures.
 
That is too cool, wil. And I feel your pain with the budgeting. Josh and I are astounded at how much the basics cost now. We have two solid middle class incomes (one for each of us) and yet it has barely allowed us to keep pace with the rapidly increasing costs in the last three-four years. Just commuting costs alone are insane, and food has gone up a lot too. It seems like wages have been more or less stagnant for most people since 2003, but the costs of everything necessary for living has gone through the roof.
 
Jeana and I are struggling with this as well. I'm sure that I'll never be able to retire. One day I'll just drop dead with a hammer in my hand. Our college plan for the girls is simple. It's called the military.

Chris
 
that yin/yang is amazing. quite often here after rain, we get, fairy circles. well they are a ring of mushroom or toadstools and in our case, about 2metres in diameter. it feels majic. yeah, i know all the scientific logic of spores and settlement and the cirlce being a natural thing, but to us its magic and also to the kids in the neighbourhood.
 
That is too cool, wil. And I feel your pain with the budgeting. Josh and I are astounded at how much the basics cost now. We have two solid middle class incomes (one for each of us) and yet it has barely allowed us to keep pace with the rapidly increasing costs in the last three-four years. Just commuting costs alone are insane, and food has gone up a lot too. It seems like wages have been more or less stagnant for most people since 2003, but the costs of everything necessary for living has gone through the roof.

I do not mean to sound unsympathetic but welcome to the real world! For decades the US has led a charmed life compared to the rest of us. And your prices there compared to here for basics such as food, fuel, housing and clothing is still consistently 10- 20% less than here as a % of average wage. The one big advantage here as opposed to there is our government has not mortgaged us to China and given the money to a few select corps. LOL, even the almighty dollar is now made in China... what a mess.

Tao
 
even the almighty dollar is now made in China... what a mess.

Tao

Hey Tao, we now have new colored money in the US! It's nothing like those bills that I got in the Netherlands, but it is a step up: on the five dollar bill there is now one giant pink-purple five in the lower right-hand corner--I've seen it with my own two eyes, I have--held it with my own two hands!! :D :eek: :D Thank you, China! :rolleyes: :D :rolleyes:
 
What a great pet. He changes colors to match his surroundings and also kills bugs!
 
Iggy is cute. My dad has a Bearded Dragon lizard and that thing is so adorable. It also likes to sleep on your neck or upper arm while you're on the computer. :)

As for costs of stuff- do remember, Tao, that we don't get any help with health care or education. Not sure how it works in England, but it seems in many European countries you get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of taxes.

Here, it's not just the cost of those basics (food, shelter, housing) but health care (which we generally either pay for ourselves or pay premiums through our employer), higher education (most of us are saddled with huge student loans if we go to college), and high transportation costs (because our country, for the most part, has a thing against reliable public transportation). Stuff might still be cheaper here, but it's a quality issue.

When I was in France, things like food were more expensive, but the food was way better on average. In the groceries and bakeries and whatnot, food was fresher, easier to find organic, etc. You can get lots of things cheap in the US (Wal-Mart). But it isn't good stuff and you know it is cheap because it is made in China and the whole process is exploiting people. If you attempt to buy good food (especially organic food), you are looking at a huge food bill.

Similarly, the cost of gas in France was crazy, but they had excellent public transportation. I had no problem getting anywhere quickly and efficiently (and safely)! Here in the good 'ole US, our train systems run slowly or not at all. Many metropolitan areas, like southern CA, have very inefficient public transportation- huge gaps in coverage, never on time, way too slow to use for commuting, etc. So you are forced into having a car there. Furthermore, you can't afford the housing anywhere near where the jobs are (great city planning, US!) so you have huge gas costs to get to work. You have to keep in mind that this is a nation that is HUGE. All our reasonably priced housing for the lower and middle class family is located in the center and south of the nation, while most of the jobs are located on the coasts. What a mess. It's getting harder for upper middle class dual income families to find jobs in the same location, too- so I personally know more than a few people who have dual households in two states. Mostly it's no more than two states away, but there are West Coast-East Coast couples and even NY-Londoners. In some ways, it's nice to have a huge landmass. In other ways... it causes some problems.
 
That's a pretty good summary path of one...and well written. I like to think we are in transition and envision that things will improve...

I've seen some of the fall out from the housing crisis where new buyers were enticed with lower payments in the beginning and then weighed down with interest that ballooned up beyond their ability to pay back... I don't think the Realtors though are hurting as they get probably some sales profits and they can turn around and resale the same house to another party...etc.

Reminds me of the Savings and Loan crisis of yore when S&Ls were being set up and exploited of their resources and later bailed out by uandme.

Refresh your memory or rewada bout for the first time and tell me what you see today is a peat repeat:

Savings and Loan Crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ultimately the people pay for all of these shenanigans.

- Art :mad:
 
perhaps we should need less rather than more. I think here, in Oz we have it very good. We have good weather, affordable housing (apparently) and a good standard of living. But a recent study of housing affordability was done to compare a little city just north of me (bundaberg) with new york and apparently bundy is dearer than new york. i find it hard to bellieve but it was done in conjunction with some real estate people in new york. crazy.
 
Here are some nice shots of the ocean from Manzanillo Point in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This place was awesome.

CaribbeanWaveResized.jpg



IslandintheCaribbean.jpg




CaribCoast.jpg
 
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