Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Home-The American Dream

Since Sabrina has been here we have been going on a bike ride every morning. "UGH" We live in a huge, closed neighborhood so it's a great place to ride bicycles. Well it used to be anyway.

Our neighborhood-"Crossroads" was built during the big housing boom-low interest, variable rate loans, no down payments, and anyone would qualify. The great American dream of owning a home became a reality to families who thought they never would. The neighborhood filled up, and values went up and up and up, and then it all came tumbling down.

Now everywhere you go there are empty, abandoned houses. I've heard stories of people in foreclosure just gutting their houses-taking everything with them-floors, counter tops, lights, even toilets. And just leaving.

Some put their home up for rent and then buy something cheaper somewhere else, only to let the rental fall into foreclosure. What happened to honesty?

How did this happen? More importantly, how is it going to be fixed? Everywhere you look there are dead, burnt lawns. Empty houses everywhere. Who will buy them?

And then there are those of us that still pay our mortgages on our homes that are no longer worth what we paid for them.

I'm sure there are analysts and economists, realtors, brokers, and investors who probably understand how and why this all happened. There are even probably long-range plans for recovery.

But I'm just an ordinary person who sees the dead lawns and empty windows and feels sad for the lost American dream.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Making A List

Recently I read a blog where the writer listed her accomplishments in the last 20 years. Needless to say, I felt like a loser. So... I got to thinking about my accomplishments ...

* never marched in a protest during the 60's or 70's, but during that "free love" and drug era I made probably the most important decision of my life: I joined the Church. I can't imagine who I would be without my membership.

* never traveled abroad, but I moved from coast to coast with my husband and 3 kids while he was in the Navy. For 16 years I spent a good part of my time raising those 3 kids alone while Rich was on deployment (He went to Japan, the Azores, Iceland, Israel, Italy, England, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Spain, Panama, Puerto Rico, Africa, Thailand, Phillippines, Tahiti, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Bermuda.)

* went back to school and got an AA. I know it's not much, but I worked hard on what I loved: Art and found a new love: Theater. I won 2nd place in a writing competition, had a showing of watercolors in the lobby of the theater, aced Algebra, designed costumes for several plays (Aesop's Falables, Crimes of the Heart, Little Shop of Horrors to name a few), did horrible as a sculptor, sold a mixed media painting to a guy in New York who I've never met. And although my education only went that far I'll never forget what Dan Peterson (my art adviser) told me: "No matter where you get your degree, it's your portfolio that counts".

So although I never got the teaching degree I'd planned, I taught art through a county program and loved it. I still teach the occasional class for my grandkids in school or church groups.

* had Harry when I was 40--Now that is an accomplishment! He has been the joy of my life. Not that the other 3 weren't joys; Harry just helped to make Rich and me realize it. We call him our "Do Over".

* worked for more than 10 years as a scenic artist and painted walls and trees and furniture and murals and I only retired when they gutted the theater scene shop so they could remodel it. I decided it was time.

* have been a teacher in every Church auxillary except Priesthood. I've been in several presidencies, but my favorite was when I was the Home Management teacher in Relief Society-15 minutes, once a month (they don't have that position anymore).

*never been "published" but I do have a website where you can see some of the tons of drawings in my portfolio:

* became a GRANDMOTHER. Not just the kind that sends birthday cards either, but the kind that babysits and has a "toy closet". The kind that picks grandkids up from school when they're sick, let's them stay over night and then has to listen to them cry because they don't want to go home.

No matter what you do in life as long as you're not sitting on the couch all day, everyday, you're going to have accomplishments.
Make a list.
It'll be great!