So what kind of year was 2015? Statistically, not too bad. But statistics can be misleading (in both directions). Financially, I earned about as much in 2015 as I did in 2014, but my earnings went further. Much to my surprise and delight, I was able to sweep a fair amount of money from my checking to my savings account, and have more than enough in checking to pay all my bills. It sure does help to have no mortgage!
The stock market has taken us all on a wild ride this year, but I did not panic, and continued contributing to my 401(k) account at work. I am at full retirement age now, so I did slightly reduce the percentage of my contributions, but still have over 15% of my wages withheld for retirement. So, when I look at the total of all my investments, every single account has gains! Even if I wanted to harvest losses to cancel out some of my gains, I couldn’t do it, as I have no losses!
I gave mightily to charity this year, and the people at Hillsdale College, Curtis Institute of Music, and the American Society for Yad Vashem happily received increased donations from me in 2015. I can’t emphasize enough how good it made me feel to write those checks to causes I believe in. [Here’s a statistic. People self-described as Conservative donate a higher percentage of their earnings to charity than people self-described as Liberal. Liberals depend on the Government to help the needy.]
This was my first full year reporting to a new boss at work. That made work more congenial, working for a boss who I knew liked me, instead of working for someone who I knew would have liked to be rid of me. As a member of a new department, it was extremely gratifying to know that all my coworkers were happy that I was in their group. I worked a lot of overtime, and really didn’t mind too much. On the “minus” side, the company is engaged in a “total transformation” directed from the corporate level, and this is having many uncomfortable consequences for most employees. Entire departments have been re-formed, and physically moved, resulting in a much higher level of stress. Production employees have half the “personal space” they used to have, and since some heavy machinery has been moved from behind a wall out into the main production floor, everyone’s environment contains more noise and bad smells. “Standard work” practices will be applied more commonly, and I have heard some employees objecting to being made into machines. It’s no fun, and morale-lowering, to have less control of your work situation. I consider myself extremely fortunate that my department so far has been less-affected in this than most, but we know what’s coming for us.
I did some traveling in 2015, and both trips were delightful. In April, we went to Denver for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar on Churchill. We connected with some Ricochet friends there, and had a great time. After the seminar was over, we went down to Colorado Springs for a few days to connect with some more Ricochet friends. Our visit there, and to the Garden of the Gods Park, have been documented here.
In September, we went down to Reno for another Ricochet meet-up, and met some wonderful people who will be lifelong friends. We got a look at some beautiful country, and felt the effects of the wildfires in California. From the air, we were able to see the effects of the five-year drought, too, with the level of Lake Tahoe way lower than normal (leaving some docks high and dry).
Back home, there was a windstorm in November that caused a big tree to fall across our driveway, taking out a section of brand-new fence. During that storm, we were without power for 12 hours, but that did not stop the people from our neighborhood from getting out their chainsaws and cutting up the tree so we could get into and out of the driveway. My car was in the garage and undamaged, and hubby was away, so the main effects were a chewed-up lawn, a damaged pear tree in front, and a roof full of cedar droppings. Later, heavy rains caused the gutter over the garage to become detached from the edge of the roof, and we went through a week of anxiety before it was finally repaired, before it had a chance to fall off.
Our holiday party this year was a rousing success, and we made the acquaintance of more local Ricochet members. Our Ricochet memberships have been great to have this year, as we are able to document our meet-ups, and make many new conservative friends. Living in an area that is deep-blue like Seattle, it is very gratifying to know that others who think like us are just around the corner!
Around the world, 2015 was a year filled with Islamic Terrorist attacks, on their home countries in the Middle East, and on countries in the West. Paris came in for more than its share of Islamic Terrorist atrocities, with a satirical magazine, kosher supermarket, concert hall, and street cafes being attacked, and dozens of innocent French citizens slaughtered. Boko Haram continued its reign of terror in Africa, murdering hundreds and wiping out entire villages, basically with impunity. And Islamic State, Al Quaeda, and the Taliban continued to dominate entire swathes of territory in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, slaughtering men and enslaving women. Europe found itself inundated with waves of “refugees” from the Middle East conflicts, and proved incapable of handling all the crowds of essentially illegal immigrants supposedly seeking asylum. We already know that a huge percentage of those migrants just happened to be military-age males, and we wonder how many of them are not-so-well disguised jihadists. We actually found out, as at least one of the November 13 Paris attackers had recently entered Europe as a “refugee”! The United States also was attacked by Muslims who were sympathetic to Islamic State, and haters of the American way of life. Garland, Texas, successfully dodged bullets, and San Bernardino, California, was devastated by the married Muslim couple who attacked a holiday party.
And through it all, the president of the United States and his party, refused to acknowledge the source of those attacks, and to lie about the possibility of a “backlash” against “peace-loving American Muslims”. The denizen of the White House is a Muslim-sympathizer, and continues to ignore the imminent threat to Christians everywhere in the Middle East. He delights in accepting hordes of Muslim “refugees”, while ignoring the religious cleansing being carried out by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. His behavior is despicable, and he does not support the basic American values that he likes to tout. He also encourages hordes of Hispanic illegal immigrants to illegally cross our southern border, and claim services they have not earned and do not deserve. He continues to release “detainees” (terrorists) from Guantanamo Prison, to return to their terrorist ways overseas. He values Muslim Terrorists over innocent civilians.
Our country was roiled this year by the “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators, who caused mayhem, interrupted presidential candidates’ speeches (Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders!), and made policemen’s jobs more difficult. Funny how they totally ignore the thousands of blacks shot and killed by other blacks! Baltimore and Chicago saw huge increases in their murder rates in 2015, largely black-on-black crime. And they continue to deflect attention away from their own problems, toward policemen who are trying to protect them.
The US Supreme Court distinguished itself this year, ruling against the values that still motivate a majority of Americans. They found a right for homosexuals to “marry”, canceling out dozens of state laws affirming the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman. And they again ruled ObamaCare constitutional, so it can go on to ruin the best medical care system in the world.
Still, we here in the United States of America are still the world’s most prosperous and peaceful nation. More downtrodden people all over the world still wish to come to America, where they know they can make a better life for themselves by their own hard work and determination. In spite of all the cultural degradation taking place daily, children not being taught in government schools the real history of their nation, and college campuses being turned from institutions of learning into glorified day-care centers, this is still the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth. I am proud to be an American.
On Calling-all-RushBabes, 2015 was a very good year. I discovered the Weekly Photo Challenges at the Daily Post site, and participated in many of them. I am thrilled that so many professional photographers seem to like my strictly-amateur photos, and follow my blog. I thank everyone who follows and comments on my blog. This year, I posted two important efforts, my paper on Medieval Music, and the photo essay on my 1991 Cambridge trip that spawned that paper. I had fun doing photo essays on my two big trips, too. Now that I have learned to use my home scanner, I plan on more photo essays, on the Everett Symphony trip to Vienna in 1996, and our New York trip in 2006.
Happy New Year, everyone!