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Bertrice's Blog

April 27, 2011

Okay, the wedding is now 2 days away. Personally I can't wait. I love a good royal wedding. 30 years ago in June I had my gall bladder removed. In those days it was a real operation complete with long scar and a ten day stay in hospital. I told my doctor I had to be home for the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles. I was. I remember getting up that July morning, and settling on the couch in the den with my scones and tea. It was high summer and so it was light at 4 a.m.

I'll be getting up at 4 a.m. on Friday to have my tea and raisen scones with lots of butter so I can watch Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton marry. They're a lovely looking couple with a 9 years long relationship unlike his parents who had only met 13 times before their wedding. Times have changed, and the royal family has slowly and reluctantly entered the 21st century thanks to the late Princess Diana.

Will and Kate are going to do just fine. They understand their duty which is important in a constitutional monarchy. It is after all their job. I wish them all the happiness in the world. Now lets hope the loonies and crazies let them have their day in peace. The rumblings out of London by fringe groups, the sinister mumblings of al Quaida, go beyond annoying. For pity's sake let the kids alone and don't horn in on their celebration.

In a world mired in such misery right now, with unemployment, natural disasters et al this spectacular that the British royals are putting on come Friday should allow us to stop a while, eat scones, drink tea, and enjoy the show if only for a few minutes, or an hour or two. It's free and it's fun.

~ Bertrice

April 19, 2011

After a long hard winter I could use some spring warmth and lotsa sunshine. Oh Spring is here on the North Fork of Eastern Long Island alright. If you doubt it just look about you. Golden forsythia, yellow and white daffodils and narcissis, the decorative pink apple, cherry, and pear trees, the delicate creamy white Star Magnolia, all in bloom. The lawns are all greening up and looking lush. It's their time of year and they will not be denied. But it's still chilly here. We get one glorious day of clear skies and bright sun which is followed by 2, 3, 4 chilly, damp days.

However just when I am starting to feel sorry for myself I think of northeastern Japan and how its beautiful landscape has been destroyed not just by a terrible devastating earthquake, and tsunami but by the horrible pollution from the nuclear plants set up in their midst. The soil will take several hundred years to rid itself of this poison. Yes, when I think to whine about the unseasonable chill and damp I think of my readers and friends on South Island New Zealand who must rebuild the city of Christschurch destroyed in an earlier earthquake this winter past. Their city will rise up once more you can be certain, but nothing will ever be the same again for them. Don't forget these folks out on the Pacific Rim. Say a prayer, and not just for them but for the flood victims in our own country.

Then look around you and appreciate the new life that is burgeoning in our midst despite it all. Flowers blooming, lawns greening, the maples and the oaks with their swelling buds just waiting to leaf out. Despite the weather it really is spring. A time of hope and of renewal for us all. The April moon is full. Passover is being celebrated world-wide. All the Christian faiths will come together to celebrate Easter this coming Sunday.

And the cherry on top of it all? A royal wedding in England a week from Friday! Rain or shine. Hot or chill. I just love Spring!

~ Bertrice

April 11, 2011

Well, dear readers, I have pushed my agent - he calls me his "Irish" yenta - and I have pushed the Ballantine Books division of RH, but at last I have good news to report and share. But you will have to go to the new Announcements page to learn it. I want to get you all used to checking that page, and in the next few months there will be several updates of import put up on that page.

~ Bertrice

April 7, 2011

Romance writers probably shouldn't get political but sometimes I cannot help but be outraged by the shenanigans of the folks "in office". You can check out the Wall Street Journal on this one. The president recently decided "to loan" Brazil 2 billion dollars to drill for oil off its coast near Rio. The oil will all go to....China! EXCUSE ME? We're, meaning the U.S taxpayers, paying 2 billion dollars so China can have oil? You didn't see this on any of the national news broadcasts, did you? And the media claims to be unbiased.

First of all if we have two billion dollars, which we don't being in debt up to our ears, why are we "loaning" it to Brazil for the benefit of China? If we have 2 billion dollars shouldn't that money be used to pay for health care for the poor; for repair of roads, bridges, and for bringing every school building in the U.S. of A. and its territories into the 21st century not to mention a laptop for every kid from kindergarten through high school? For paying our military men and women and their families decent wages? None of this is as glamerous as oil in Brazil of course until you discover that the biggest contributor to the president's last election campaign, and probably this one too, is the largest stockholder of that Brazilian oil company.

Please, someone please tell me where it is written that the tax monies collected by this government from U.S. citizens has to be "loaned" or "spent" on other countries. Our tax dollars should be spent on U.S. citizens not foreigners. And if by chance with all the waste down in D.C. we still have monies left over lets invest half of it for future U.S. emergencies, and then share with the rest of the world. The citizens of the United States of America should come FIRST with their own government not LAST as we usually do. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

~ Bertrice

April 2, 2011

The media and the government have taken in the last few years to calling Social Security an "entitlement". It is not an entitlement. I have paid into it since I was 17. At 73 I am still paying into it because I am still working. I could have made more money had I been allowed to invest that money myself over the years. A helluva lot more money than I get back in return. I'm not advocating Social Security go private. I'm just saying what I could have done. I'm a careful conservative saver, and have been ever since I was 12 and my maternal grandmother took me to the bank to open a savings account with my birthday and Christmas money. I was fascinated by the fact if I gave them my money they would give me back more money. Wow! What a concept for a 12 year old brain to absorb.

Today, however, I am going to rant about Social Security. 3 years ago I took money from my retirement fund to renovate the small house George and I had bought and were moving into. The house built in 1957 hadn't had anything done to it since except a roof or two. But that money added to my modest income put me into the higher bracket. After I had filed my taxes I was informed by Social Security that they would be giving me less money in the following year because I was now considered "rich" by virtue of the fact I had taken money from my retirement fund. Now I certainly expected to pay my taxes on that money even at a higher rate than I usually had. What I did not expect was that my Social Security would be docked because of it. The money, I was told when I asked, would instead be put towards my Medicare account. Yeah. Sure. And that's why I also pay AARP over $6,000 a year for a MedGap policy for George and me.

Okay, I thought. You can't fight the government. I'll bite the bullet. But then they informed my husband that his Social Security was going to be docked too. We file together because it's a bit to our advantage. George is a WWII vet who saw action. He was self-employed so while he supported our family until 30 years ago when we moved out here he didn't make a big income, and was able to save just a little. And he is what is called a "notch baby". He is now 88, has dementia and a heart condition. In the last 3 years Social Security has STOLEN, yes, damnit, STOLEN $240.05 from his monthly social security check or 1/3 of what he is entitled. It's his only income. Sure I support our family but that's became I'm the one who is working. A man is entitled to retain his dignity, and Social Security has taken that away from my husband.

This is how we treat our veterans? A member of the greatest generation? Our elderly? And all the while Social Security is giving money to undocumented persons? But the worst thing of all is that there is nothing we can do about it. Oh, sure, I could stop working. But I won't. But when the day comes that I have to stop working will Social Security restore to me the monies they have been siphoning from my account during these past few years? I doubt it. Even if I am "entitled" to it.

~ Bertrice


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