23 February 2009

Just another sign we should all work for the government.

But wait a minute! If that happened who would pay us? One city in America growing, and with plenty of jobs! In an era of declining real estate values one city hasn't suffered. When Barack Obama opened his speech this evening he mentioned that "if you have not suffered from the economic recession we are currently in, you know someone who has". Well, no one in the room with him does or has.

Amazing but DC has become the stable city in the states. Hmmmm. Government growing bigger at our expense. And they think they can sustain it with zero population growth. Does this concern anyone else?

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22 February 2009

Chris, Love, Charity

Saturday as I walked down to get a hot chocolate while waiting for my tire to be repaired, I took this picture with my iPhone. My first thought was I wonder if Chris still loves Charity. The sidewalk has been there a long time. Chris felt deep emotion about Charity back when it the cement was poured, enough, to etch his message in "stone".

Then as I continued to look at the photo over the course a two days, the thought came to me that a simple addition of a letter could change the whole meaning of the message.

Adding a "t" at the end of Chris changes it completely. Christ, Love + Charity. The message is on the sidewalk in a distressed part of town. I have seen many homeless and downtrodden people walk that sidewalk. The simple message to them could be that through love and charity they see Christ. He is in our actions when we sacrifice ourselves for others. The giving and receiving of "gifts" are the things in life that make us better humans. Henry B Eyring has a great talk on the concept here. The talk is worthy of your time and possibly a bottle of cherries some day.

Even in the small bits.

If you wish to read further, I am pasting an excerpt from the talk that illustrates the concept of whole talk:

"Here it is: The Eyring Theory of Gift Giving and Receiving. I call it a theory because it is surely incomplete. And calling it a theory means I expect you will change and improve it. I hope so, because then it will be yours. But at least I can help your theory building along.

My theory comes from thinking about many gifts and many holidays, but one day and one gift can illustrate it. The day was not Christmas nor even close to it. It was a summer day. My mother had died in the early afternoon. My father, my brother, and I had been at the hospital. As we walked out, my brother and I went to the car together, smiled, and looked up at the mountains. We remembered how Mother had always said she loved the mountains so much. He and I laughed and guessed that if the celestial worlds are really flat, like a sea of glass, she would be eager to get away to build her own worlds, and the first thing she'd build would be mountains. With that we smiled and got into the car and drove home. We went to the family home, and Dad met us there. There were just the three of us.

Friends and family came and went. In a lull, we fixed ourselves a snack. Then we visited with more callers. It grew late and dusk fell; I remember we still had not turned on the lights.

Then Dad answered the doorbell again. It was Aunt Catherine and Uncle Bill. When they'd walked just a few feet past the vestibule, Uncle Bill extended his hand, and I could see that he was holding a bottle of cherries. I can still see the deep red, almost purple, cherries and the shining gold cap on the mason jar. He said, "You might enjoy these. You probably haven't had dessert."

We hadn't. The three of us sat around the kitchen table and put some cherries in bowls and ate them as Uncle Bill and Aunt Catherine cleared some dishes. Uncle Bill then asked, "Are there people you haven't had time to call? Just give me some names, and I'll do it." We mentioned a few relatives who would want to know of Mother's death. And then Aunt Catherine and Uncle Bill were gone. They could not have been with us more than twenty minutes.

Now, you can understand my theory best if you focus on one gift: the bottle of cherries. And let me explain this theory from the point of view of one person who received the gift: me. As we'll see, that is crucial. What matters in what the giver does is what the receiver feels. You may not believe that yet, but trust me for the moment. So let's start from inside me and with the gift of the bottle of cherries.

As near as I can tell, the giving and receiving of a great gift always has three parts. Here they are, illustrated by that gift on a summer evening.

First, I knew that Uncle Bill and Aunt Catherine had felt what I was feeling and had been touched. I'm not over the thrill of that yet. They must have felt we'd be too tired to fix much food. They must have felt that a bowl of home-canned cherries would make us, for a moment, feel like a family again. And not only did they feel what I felt, they were touched by it. Just knowing that someone had understood meant far more to me than the cherries themselves. I can't remember the taste of the cherries, but I remember that someone knew my heart and cared.

Second, I felt the gift was free. I knew Uncle Bill and Aunt Catherine had chosen freely to bring a gift. I knew they weren't doing so to compel a response from us. The gift seemed, at least to me, to provide them with joy just by their giving it.

And third, there was sacrifice. Now you might say, "Wait. How could they give for the joy of it and yet make a sacrifice?" Well, I could see the sacrifice because the cherries were home bottled. That meant Aunt Catherine had prepared them for her family. They must have liked cherries. But she took that possible pleasure from them and gave it to us. That's sacrifice. However, I have realized since then this marvelous fact: It must have seemed to Uncle Bill and Aunt Catherine that they would have more pleasure if we had the cherries than if they did. There was sacrifice, but they made it for a greater return: our happiness. Most people feel deprived as they sacrifice to give another person a gift, and then they let that person know it. But only expert givers let the receiver sense that their sacrifice brings them joy.

Well, there it is--a simple theory. When you're on the receiving end, you will discover three things in great gift givers: (1) they felt what you felt and were touched, (2) they gave freely, and (3) they counted sacrifice a bargain." Henry B Eyring, BYU 1980, Gifts of Love

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21 February 2009

We were listening to music this evening. One of the family's favorite songs came on and everyone took a chance to pause and sing along. We love Rob Thomas and his These Small Hours...

let it go,
let it roll right off your shoulder
don’t you know
the hardest part is over
let it in,
let your clarity define you
in the end
we will only just remember how it feels

our lives are made
in these small hours
these little wonders,
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away,
but these small hours,
these small hours still remain

let it slide,
let your troubles fall behind you
let it shine
until you feel it all around you
and i don’t mind
if it’s me you need to turn to
we’ll get by,
it’s the heart that really matters in the end

our lives are made
in these small hours
these little wonders,
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away,
but these small hours,
these small hours still remain

all of my regret
will wash away some how
but i can not forget
the way i feel right now

in these small hours
these little wonders
these twists & turns of fate
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away but these small hours
these small hours, still remain,
still remain
these little wonders
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away
but these small hours
these little wonders still remain

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The happy dance is being done!

Yes, I quit! My brother died at age 32. One thing I learned from his death is that life is too short to do something you hate. So today was my last day at Godiva. Yay!!!!!!

Someday I'll tell you all the reason why, just know now that I am on to bigger and better things! I've been to hell, survived and returned a better person for it.

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19 February 2009

Yes, we will continue with the discussion.

I mentioned in my last post corporate greed. Please don't misunderstand me to think that I am a socialist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I like America. I like the fact that a person can work hard, be inventive and make it all the way to the top. But also, let's not forget that sometimes hard work just doesn't pay off. If it did the Mexicans on the planet would rule the world. Most I know are very hard workers!

The problem lies in that little bitty word - greed. Over the past few decades we have witnessed the death of integrity, personal integrity, honesty, and basically the "do what is right" choice of self sacrifice for the greater good. We even sat by and allowed the definition of is to be challenged.

When the highest ruling body in the world, ie our government, sets an example of allowing votes to be purchased instead of earned, it tells the world that money is the rule of law. Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, General Electric, Peanut Corporation of America, all thought that they could skirt important issues because they had a lot of money to give to politicians to make their problems go away. Our government has become Vito Corleone so to speak.

Large corporations have an obligation to the public. Many would argue with me over that thought. However, I really think they do. If the public chooses not to use their products or service they suffer. Take Disney for example. When I was a girl, we would go to Disneyland maybe once every three to four years. You would get a specific number of tickets, each with a grade, when you used that ticket, you were done or you could purchase additional tickets. The grades were from A to E. E tickets were for the best rides. Only you didn't get enough to go on all the best rides, just a few. You had to make the choice which ones you were going to go on and which would have to be ridden on another visit. It was a good way to teach the concept of decision making and good choices. There weren't huge lines to stand in, there were crowds but not like the crowds of today. Today one price gets you into the park, on all the rides, and as many times as you choose. Sounds like a great deal! I can go on Splash Mountain until the cows come home! Well, that is if I didn't mind standing in line for eight hours to go on the ride four times. You see now Disney also sells as many tickets in a day as possible. No longer is the park and adventure for the day. It is an exercise in patience, futility and frustration. Unless you choose to go on a rainy day, or a random day that for some reason the park on has a few visitors like 15,000 instead of the usual 25,000 (all vying for the same 12 rides).

Is it wrong that Disney has chosen to manage their park this way? Well, no, people flock to it still. However, would it be a better choice to limit attendance and make the experience all that much better for their patrons? Of course it would. The rule of economics is to offer an excellent product, at a fair price and the people will flock to your door. And, if you limit the opportunity, people will usually stand in line to get a chance to be a part of it.

All I'm saying is it is time to prudent. Think about your customers and the experience they have at your business. Are they really just a mass of people that give you money and you don't care if they are there or not? Or does it matter if they return again and again because it was a great way to spend their money?

Think about it. Comment.

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18 February 2009

Oh Gosh, just when I thought we were getting a handle on things.

When I chose to go back to work, I thought it would be good to help out our personal economy. I could help get the truck paid off sooner, pay off a credit card I'd overspent on and those kinds of fun things. Then I wake up this morning to a headline at Yahoo that says something like "Lower standard of living is probably going to be permanent". Well, heck, if we're going to have a lower standard of living, why work? This Forbes article isn't makiing feel any better about it.

Why shouldn't we all just go to work for the government. Get a government job, become part of a union that choke holds the economy and have a great pension. I knew I should have gone to work for the government years ago! Unfortunately that didn't happen.

Instead some lunatic talked my husband into getting his social work degree along with his license and he's work for a public entity his whole career. I've worked in the food industry. Believe it or not, the food industry has a better pension program. The husband has not been able to join a union in his field of study. All around him, nurses, PTs, and all those other hospital workers have had union representation. And because of that, his pension has suffered - meaning been non existent - throughout his career.

We have paid our way through life. On occasion the bridge loan from his parents has helped but it was never more than a few hundred dollars. The minor amount of money we were able to put in a now defunct 401k plan (defunct in my world is no longer are we receiving any matching dollars - it's all us babe!) has shrink to less than half it's value. Thank you Corporate America!

So instead of paying off the truck adding to the retirement plan, my car needed a new clutch and his truck needed a new fuel pump. Yep. Life is getting worse. Our home's value has shrunk to about half it's value from three years ago. Any chance of refinancing it is laughable. Equity? yeah right, not in California's real estate market. So much for remodeling, maybe we could burn it down. (just kidding!)

Maybe we should just chuck it all and move to the ranch in Arizona. Purchasing the land was the best decision we ever made. I know some people don't even have land and I'm sorry for you. However, if you're one of those people whose home is paid for, has a nice retirement going to be provided by the taxpayers of this nation because of your union's skilled arm twisting in government, or you got a nice inheritance, don't even think about judging me because I'd love none other than to hand it all back at this point and try my hand at living off the land.

Maybe I just shouldn't read the news.

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16 February 2009

Mm, K - 10 things meme

S'mee took the challenge from a blogging buddy and I was at a loss for things to post. So I decided to join her in her random list that begin with the same letter meme. Random because she chose the letter K for me. K???!!

S'mee says that I can easily name ten things I love that begin with K. Well, not counting my two darling, make that three darling nieces (sorry Pea - I love you too!) whose names begin with K, and of course, Kooshgal too, I'll try my best to name ten things that I love that begin with K.

Well, the obvious K is up first. Yes, Kissing. Count me in as one who loves to kiss that man I love. Our first kiss still makes the two of us giggle. Let's just say I was the most experienced kisser out there - and leave it at that. Still, after 33+ years of kissing the same guy, I still love to snuggle up to him and make out. (yes, I hear my daughters!)

Phew! Now let's see what else we have that begins with K?

2. Knives. Yep I love me some good knives! You can't cook without them, and if you know how to maintain them they don't even have to be name brand knives.


Keepsakes. Little pieces of life that I have saved for years. Each piece simple in its own right, yet filled to overflowing with wonderful memories of people, and places. The pics are a couple of shelves in my crafting room of some of those keepsakes.

4. Kindergarten. Yep, everything I needed to know about life I did learn in kindergarten. Even that when you push boys to the limit, they react differently than girls. I ended up bugging a kid so much that he poured his entire bucket of red paint all over me one day. I learned that kindness, like kindergarten begins with me. It was then that being kind was instilled in my paradigm and have tried to be kind to others. That's not to say, I don't go ballistic like my school buddy on occasion!

5. Kneading. I love the satisfaction gained when kneading a few ingredients together like flour, salt, sugar and yeast and the result is the best loaf of bread ever! Such a simple process, that has been experimented with and challenged and perfected over time, with grand results that bring the staff of life to a table near you. Such satisfaction that someone can learn to do it easily and provide such comfort to those around them.Finished Breads

6. Kneeling. While I must admit the actual process of kneeling has eluded me for a few years, as my knees don't work so well anymore... But the very act of finding somewhere quiet and without distraction to calm oneself enough to petition God. This act is a sacred time for me to talk to the only Father I really know. If I did not have so many examples of those prayers being answered I could scoff and say God is a myth that people use to comfort themselves when they are in the midst of trials. But not so, He is not a myth, and has intervened for me and many I love, and even random strangers, that I cannot deny His existence.

7. Knight in shining armour. Yes, that's my man. He is my Knight. I wasn't a damsel in distress by any means, but he arrived in his white stallion 1966 Ford Wagon way back when and swept me off my feet. It wasn't the car, or the fact that he was in a rock band that drew me in, no it was those gorgeous long legs, and the fact that he thought I was the only girl around worth looking at. He's still my knight and I'm still his princess. He even made me a plaque for a wall in my bedroom that reads "As you wish". *flutter*

8. Knowledge. I will be a student forever. I love the act of learning something new and strive to daily learn. Sometimes, I find learning difficult, others not so much. We live in this HUGE world and there are so many things outside of our small corner of it, how can you not want to learn more about it. I worked with a man a few years ago and he told me once that he had never been more than forty miles away from where he was born. I was shocked and dismayed.

9. Kodachrome. I learned to take pictures while working for a camera shop just out of high school. Film is not the easiest way to take photos now days, in fact it is a dying art. However, once you've shot film, developed it yourself, and then printed it, there is no greater satisfaction. Learning to work with light is challenging, but the results are magnificent and simple.October Sunset

10. Last but not least. The Kookaburra song. I sing this song in my head more than one would think I should. It takes me back to about third grade when my brother learned the song. Pretty soon I had it down too and we would sing this song as we walked to and from school in San Diego near the zoo, where we actually saw a Kookaburra!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gum drops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
Leave some there for me!

We weren't all that gay back then, and dreamed of a place like Australia where life could be carefree and and simple. Little did we know then that my brother would spend two of the best years of his life in Queensland when he was 19. It was a dream come true for him.

Now, if you want to try your best to name ten things that begin with a random letter, let me know, I'll send one your way!

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14 February 2009

I heard an interesting statistic

The bailout of the banks back in Novemeber? Yes, we've all heard about it. The bankers still going on spa weekends. Insurance companies and banks paying huge bonuses to fat cat CEOs. Waste. waste. waste.

So this is news you say? No this is:

The amount of money given to the banks via the American taxpayers (you and me) would have paid off all the mortgage debt in America! Yes, the government, if they really wanted to stimulate the economy and help individual citizens, could have written a check to pay off our mortgages. Not that I am asking that to happen, but wouldn't it have been a better idea than what they did with our money?

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13 February 2009

Other secret places on the net.

Oh yes. I have all kinds of them. Funny though, several of them are up for blog awards from one source or another so they must not be just my secret places.

Here are just a few random places I spend time:

Many of these people fascinate me. But then again, one of my very favorite things to do is to people watch. So most of these bloggers are "my people". I watch and learn and go hmmmm sometimes.

I stumbled upon Deborah Roby, of A stitch in Time a few months ago. All I can say is I think if we had to travel together, we'd have a great time!

Kate will also be on another post soon. Kate was my very first blog bookmark. I keep up with her life and smile. She is very Courageous!

My newest find, yet top of the list currently is Big Hollywood. As most of you are aware to me celebrity does not equate smart, intelligent, witty, or worthy of other than my entertainment time. Big Hollywood helps that cause! I love them. Some of you gentle readers will think I'm silly. sigh.

I have difficulty with color matching, coordination, and just knowing what goes with what. So what to do? I cannot always go to S'mee's so I have to go to Color rules of thumb. It is not a blog. But it is a learning portal. It will help you too if you are color challenged.

I cannot tell you how long I have had Anna Marie bookmarked but it seems like forever. She's so creative she's now making a baby! Wow!

I love Turkey Feathers! I found her long ago at her other website (which I love) and have been keeping up with her forever.

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11 February 2009

Secret places on the net.

Are you like me? Do you have favorite places bookmarked on the net that you love to read but never put them in your sidebar? Yeah. I do that a lot. I find these great people and love them, and get involved in reading about their lives, and then I don't want to share them. Like no one else will find them. Gah. I am such a dweeb.

Well, my most recent find is at Matt, Liz and Madeline. This is a heart wrenching story and unless you are willing to get sucked into drama, don't go there. Oh come on, you know you love drama as much as anyone else.

Matt tells his love story, the birth of his lovely daughter Madeline and quickly the death of the love of his life. It is a tragedy to the highest level. Two loving sweethearts bonded for life, starting a family only to have it torn to shreds in a quick beat of the heart.

Good news, Matt and Medeline were on Rachel Ray this morning. There's a picture of Madeline meeting Selma Hayek on Matt's site. How cool? If you have a few dollars and want to share them in a good cause, donate to the Liz Logelin Foundation. I don't know about you, but I know a family that certainly could have used the help of this worthy foundation a few years ago. It could have alleviated a few problems for my sister in law and my nieces and nephew.

Why are you still here? Go!

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09 February 2009

Random pieces of life this past week...

Well, little Eden Sidney made her debut in Virginia this week. She is beautiful and perfect. Just like her brother. Mom is doing fine. Dad is in his last semester of law school and will soon be a full fledged lawyer. They will all be living much closer to us sooner and I will be very happy!

The rest of the past week goes something like this...

My car died on the way to work. It wouldn't shift. There was a burning smell. I knew it could not be the clutch it was just a $25 part that the husband changed out. Then it still wouldn't work. It seems the mechanic that we finally towed it to said the only thing that would make it shift gears again was a $1500 clutch. ouch!

Then the husband's car decided to stop in the middle of no where the next afternoon. It seems it did not want to be upstaged by some foreign model. It got towed to the nearest dealership and they wanted $1000 for a new fuel pump. Good news is that this one has a lifetime warranty on it! It seems to me that if the auto industry really wanted to help America that lifetime warrantied product would have been built into the car as it was put together first time around. Yeah, when pigs fly!

I am hating my job. Yes, the glorious job handed to me on a platter is not so glorious. The $2500 car incentive has me thinking I can't quit just right now, but I don't think it will be for long before I realize my own company needs me to work harder in it and therefore make me master of it instead of someone else's. If by chance you happen into my place of business, even if you absolutely love those frozen chocolate concoctions in a glass, don't buy one. Buy something that doesn't make me get all sticky and gross and feel like I did when I worked at Del Taco when I was 16. It's a chocolate shop, not a malt shop!

It's actually raining in Southern California. Yes, we've had three wonderful days of the stuff. I'm good for possibily another two and then we need to bring in the sun aqain. We dry stater's can only take so much water. Unless of course it is salted and comes in waves of gleaming teal with sunshine and sand.

Go ahead, tell me about your week.

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05 February 2009

Cute Dolls to embroidery from Allsorts!

Okay, I love to embroider. Untill recently I haven't done any for quite some time. I'm in the mood and Jenny from Allsorts has given me the perfect inspiration!

I have been thinking a set of these dolls around the hem of a skirt, sounds like the perfect way to bring them to life! There are two sets available at her etsy site! I'm buying both when I get paid. I see plenty of embroidery work in my future. Oh! Wouldn't a cute little set of dolls be the perfect thing?

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04 February 2009


I have spent a few years of my life watching tv. Not a lot of TV, but some. It usually revolves around TLC for a good dose of What Not to Wear or some other random fashion related show because you know my life is fashion and all. Well, it could have been if I'd just have followed through with my FIDM acceptance way back when...

Yeah, I could have probably been Lauren Conrad's boss at Teen Vogue if I'd just listened to my mother. Sigh.

Instead, I didn't. I do other stuff that takes up time. So I have to be selective in my TV viewing. So There is a lot of things that get TIVO'd (best invention ever!) One show I do not miss, even if it is late at night and I'm watching all alone, is The Big Bang Theory. I heart Leonard! And Sheldon. And Raj! Then there's Howard. Howard reminds me of a kid who crushed on me in school. I have to giggle every time I think of him.

Big Bang Theory is wonderful. It's funny, with my kind of humor. The kind of stuff that is funny for a few, and then a few others join in, and then everybody gets it. I love laughing first, I see where the nuances are going and it tickles me to see it happen again and again.

My favorite episode is the "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" so far this season. But choosing one is like picking a favorite child. It's impossible, because as soon as you do, another one of them does something so great like win the science fair, and you've got a new favorite. So go online if you must and watch an episode or two. You'll have a new crush every week. Do not miss an episode!

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03 February 2009

And she emerges, a shadow of her former self...

That's right. Six and a half pounds of a shadow. Not sure if that's the weight of a shadow or not, I should check with Peter.

I discovered the key to weight loss! Not counting calories. Not evaluating all the nutrition information and making sure you are in some sort of balance. Not all protein. Not all carbs. Not sugar free even! It's a little known virus. It will make you feel as if you are truly going to die.

Yes die. Your skin feels as if you've been on some tropical island (without the rest of you) and you fell asleep on the beach. You've awakened to find you've bathed yourself in so much sunshine that even the thought of clothing, or anything for that matter, close to your skin will make you scream like a newborn who has just found out that they live no where near the beach!

Then you won't remember the last time you ate. It won't matter because you're going to die. Chicken tortilla soup from your favorite restaurant is just a fond nod to all those enjoying it without you. No pouting that they didn't bring any for you, even though they did. It doesn't matter. You have no need for food. You just want to sleep. Sleep the sleep of the undead. Well, maybe not the undead, they only wake at night. Hmm. maybe that is right, because that's the only time I was awake during the past few days.

When the fog lifts, you'll find you've lost six to seven pounds. You'll jump for joy and wish they could bottle the virus. You'd be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Because we all know most of us would do anything to lose six or seven pounds!

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