Monday, June 30, 2008

Memorable Moments

Break a leg

This is how I celebrated my birthday in 1970 - my main gift was a bike!

See that slide to the right? That was the staging area for my attempts at recreating paratrooper training. My friend from next door and I were jumping off the top of the slide for fun. I didn't want to jump anymore, so she pushed me, causing me to land "awkwardly". Compound fracture to the tibia. That was the first of many visits to the emergency room over the next decade or so. I was neither graceful or athletic, but the injuries were in line with an active and sporty youth.

I don't plan on breaking anything today.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Quotes

The reason I talk to myself is that I'm the only one whose answers I accept.

George Carlin

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

Here's one of my dirty little secrets. I like Bollywood movies. There's something about the musical pieces that are just addictive to watch to me. So here's a video I found on youtube that is - to me - a total throwback to the 80's a la Michael Jackson.

Friday, June 27, 2008

FO Friday

I have a few things to catch up on, since I didn't do an actual FO Friday last week.

Rowan Big Wool Fusion

Rowan Big Wool Fusion Baby Hat, as sported by my very large plush Gromit. I love these hats - they are quick and thick!

Detonator #3

Detonator #3 from Sock Wars III. I finished the 2nd sock only, not the entire pair. It was interesting trying to match gauge, but it worked.

Detonator #4

Detonator #4 - I finished the foot and toe on sock 2 only. It gets better every time!

Berlin Muster

Berlin Muster from SKP2008. These were done in Regia Tweed 4-ply. The yarn is scratchy, but the fit is good. I like how these turned out and how quickly they knit up!

So that's it for Finished Object Friday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


A quick favorite this week - and it's sorta silly. One of my favorite things are my contact lenses. I've worn contacts since I was 15 because my glasses were so thick that I had difficulty breathing through my nose! I am fearful of lasik, because I have known a few people where the surgery didn't go as expected. I'm glad that I've been able to wear them all these years and that I have my sight in general. There would be a lot of things I couldn't enjoy without them!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's On The Needles

This week there was another Detonator sock, but I finished that last night and sent it off today. I only had to finish a foot and toe this time. Can I say that I'm tried of the pattern and want to die? Sock Wars III certainly has been a long experience for me this time.

I finished Berlin Muster yesterday, the second pattern for SKP2008. I started it on the 17th and they went very fast.

I cast on a new pair of socks yesterday, that I am calling Blue Marble.

Blue Marble WIP

The yarn is OnLine Supersocke 100 Walking Color 845. I'm using a Basic Rib leg and plain stockinette foot, I think. I'll let you know what I decide.

That's all for now. See you back here with finished stuff on Friday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

I wish there were more hours in the day. It seems that there is less time to do what I want and need to do. Sometimes it the simple stuff like laundry and dishes that get behind, or sorting through the mail. Sometimes it's email, and not having the time to get through it all. And now it's also learning this new job, and all the new language.

When we were young, summer seemed to last forever. Now it seems to pass in a blink. It seems like yesterday that we were looking at a New Year and hoping for better things in 2008.

I guess it just seems like time is speeding by and I getting worried that I won't be able to do what I want to accomplish before I hit a certain time or age.

It would be nice to be 15 again with the whole summer ahead of me. Endless summer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Memorable Moments

The beauty of roses

While searching for a photo for this week, I came across this one. Though it's a couple of years old, it still is a very special memory. Out of the blue one day I got a package at work. That in itself was not unusual, what was in it certainly was. For no reason other than "because", Kevin sent me flowers. And they were beautiful. Two dozen roses in shades of peach, yellow and white. They survived for two weeks. Every time I looked at them, regardless of what was going on, I had to smile.

He still manages to surprise me, even after 16 years.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Quotes

The first time I saw a comedian live was in Las Vegas and it was George Carlin. I'm glad he was my first, because he set the bar. He is on my short list of comedians that I can listen to anything they do and throughly enjoy it.

And now, some of his pearls of wisdom......

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven't tried that for a while. Maybe this time it'll work.

I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

I'm always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I'm listening to it.

Rest in peace, George.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Finished Friday

I have to admit that this week there wasn't much getting finished. I took a little break from knitting. I did finish three books in 36 hours however.

Last Christmas, my mother-in-law gave my The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. I thought it was about time to pick it up - and I couldn't put it down.

It's a poignant work of writing, and tells the stories of several women and how they came to be part of a knitting circle at a local yarn store. What I took away from it is how we find solace in knitting. It gives us peace and brings some tranquility into our lives. (Except when we have to frog something!)

The stories of these women, their trials and tribulations, were at times depressing and then uplifting. These are stories about finding your way back from loss - emotional, physical, personal.

I am glad that I finally sat down to read it and thankful for my mother-in-law's gift. It gave me something to think about, and do a little mental inventory. I like it when a book does that!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Anne McCaffery - She is best known for her fantasy books based on the mythical world of Pern. I started reading about the Dragon Riders of Pern many years ago, and it took awhile to get through all of them. I eventually succeeded. Mrs. McCaffrey's son has now written a couple of books to add to the storyline, and he also co-authored a book with his mother in 2006 called Dragon's Fire. I picked it up again today, and I have a feeling I won't be putting it down until it's done.

I haven't done as much reading in the last few years. Nothing close to what I used to. I remember why. Once I start, I can't stop! It's like an addition. A few more minutes - a few more pages - I might as well finish. But with the amount of unread books in this house, I need to spend a little time every week reading. Like any thing else we learn, we need to use it to keep it performing at it's best. Another thing I noticed when I was studying for my State test is that my retention level is not what it used to be. I guess I need to "exercise" more often!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What's On The Needles

Only one this week:

Berlin Muster SKP 2008 WIP

This is the Berlin Muster pattern from SKP2008 KAL. I am using Schachenmayr Nomotta Regia Tweed 4-ply in Burgundy with gold flecks. They look very nice and the socks are coming along quickly. I started them yesterday and you can see how far I have gotten.

I wonder if I will have them done by Friday?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

I've been suffering from a lot of self doubt lately. I'm sure the majority stems from my less than steady work history over the last 2 years.

When I got laid off from my job on 6/19/06, I figured I would be back at it in fairly short order. The mortgage industry was still robust. But I was in Operations, and quickly found that someone with my skills wasn't really in demand that much. Obviously, we all know where the industry went, and in fairly short order.

Trying to break out of that field has been a major struggle. Finding something that paid a fair wage was even harder. No one wanted to hire someone who had been a manager for a secretarial or administrative position. Also, there seemed to be a stigma attached to those who had been in the mortgage or real estate industry.

Now I'm going into a pure sales position, something I had tried to stay away from. With this last go around of sending resumes and registering with temp agencies, it was worse than ever. With the temp agencies, I was told I could get top dollar for admin work since I scored so high on the tests. The hourly rate was the less than what I made as a temp back in 1995-1996. If I want to make a decent living, I have to go into sales. It's a little scary.

The state of our economy is a lot worse than most people think. We're all being impacted by gas prices. Food prices have increased as well, but just wait. The floods in the Mid-West and the drought in the West will cause prices to go up even more. Those of us who are struggling already will find it even harder to make ends meet. Then when winter is upon us, we'll have the increased cost of heating oil or natural gas to contend with.

Regardless of your political affiliation, or lack of one, our government has failed us. Decades of ignorance have brought us to this place. It doesn't matter which party we're speaking of, both have failed to protect the nation. We can spend billions on an ill-advised war in Iraq, we can give billions to Pakistan with no accountability, we can throw billions away on ear-marks and pet projects. We can't provide decent, accessible health care to the men and women returning from service. We can't provide them the promise of a paid education for their sacrifices. We can't maintain national infrastructure to insure our security. One word - levies. We have thousands of qualified, educated unemployed people across the US, and big business still wants more work visas. America is on sale to the highest bidder, more often now they are international interests.

Politicians pander to polls, similar to leaves in a shifting wind. I will bring up one item that has received some airtime, and it easily solvable. It's called the Enron loophole. The Congress could close this loophole with a vote. It could be solved in half an hour. It takes speculation out of the power market. This is a matter of national security. Many key economists and financial experts have spoken to various Congressional committees regarding the loophole and that if removed, could reduce oil barrel prices by $30 per barrel. One joker actually said that the barrel price would still be above $100. So? Isn't it worth reducing the cost by 22%? It's something. Congress has been debating this for months. McCain was for closing the loophole, now it's off the table, perhaps because two of his advisers were instrumental in getting this passed in the first place. I haven't heard Obama coming out for this to be voted on before the summer break.

And speaking of the summer break - do you think it's right that Congress will be off for a couple of months? We complained when the Iraqi Parliament was taking a summer vacation because they had work to do. Our Senators and Representatives are paid enough so that they don't have to have a second job to support themselves. The summer break was initially set so that our elected representatives could go home and attend to their businesses or farms. That is no longer the case. Coming home to campaign for reelection is not a good use of my tax dollars. We have a national crisis, and they are completely paralyzed when is comes to any solution.

I'm not worried about a recession anymore. I'm worried about a depression.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Memorable Moments

Footprints in the sand

Some of my favorite moments in life have been related to the sea. Maybe it's like these footprints - mine and Heidi's - from the last trip we took together to the shore before Fen passed away. I wish I had gotten a similar picture of Kevin's footprint's with Fen's. That would have been something.

I remember the summer days that Dad and I would head down to Bolsa Chica to swim and lay out in the sun. We didn't know that it would be bad for us later in life. I think that's part of the reason that Mom and Dad moved so far inland. Dad didn't feel safe in the water anymore. The rip tide almost took him out when he was in his 70's. His body had started to fail him. If it wasn't convenient, then he wouldn't be tempted. The "Active Adult Community" they moved to has a beautiful pool and country club. He enjoyed spending the day there, swimming and enjoying the sun.

I remember taking Heidi down to Huntington and Balboa. She would chase birds and later I would share my Ruby's hamburger with her. Of course, we could really only do this in the winter months when the patrols weren't out. That was fine. There's something about the beach on the So Cal coast around dusk in winter. You can't see the horizon because the incoming storm has the sky and sea similar shades of gray.

Sailing to Alaska was an amazing experience, and Kevin planned it all. For Kevin, it would be his first time on a real ship and I could really give some substance to my love of them. It still ranks #1 for cruises.

I miss the Sea. Getting to it from here isn't easy. The weather is unreliable, and the water too cold. There are Great White's in them there waters! When we go down to Southern California, every once in a while we get to the coast. It really is one of the things I miss the most.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Quotes

It's taken me a couple of days to digest the loss of Tim Russert. I had started watching Meet the Press again a few months ago. I thought he was a good journalist, someone who looked out for the rest of us. He was a lonely voice in the wilderness. He was one-of-a-kind.

Thank you for all that you did, and the gauntlet you put down for others to challenge. We'll miss you, Tim.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

I'm putting this up because I thought it was funny. What do you expect, I live in the Bay Area and enjoy NPR. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid and went back for more.

Expect more political stuff as we head closer to the General Election. Even though both parties are really ticking me off at this point, I have to vote for someone. "Staying home" to "make a point" is idiotic to me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finished Friday

I intentionally sat down tonight and finished something. Otherwise, I would have struck out this week. Detonator #3 is coming along, but won't be done until the end of the weekend at the earliest. I just cast on for the second sock tonight. It is official - I am tried of the pattern and Tofutsies. I went down to a US1 because the thought of knitting a pair in that gauge for someone with a size 6 foot seemed like a throwaway. Some accommodation to size needs to be considered if they do this again in the future. I'm just sayin'..........

So, for my lonely finished piece for the week:

Rowan Big Wool Fusion

A child's hat in Rowan Big Wool Fusion. It is being modeled by my 3' Gromit plush. He's just too cute! The head circumference is about that of a 4 year old, so he's a decent stand in. I also have a plush duck, that I use primarily for propping up his head, but it is also good for modeling baby hats. That's it - that's what I finished. Next week will be a different story.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I have forgotten how much I like to read. Probably because most of my reading has been study material of late. However, I have been making my way through Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and Double Cross by James Patterson. Patterson has a better chance at getting finished first. I swear, his books are like sweet tea on a hot day - you just can't stop. Or maybe it's just me. I have been contributing to his retirement fund for many years now.

Anyway, this isn't going to be a long post because I'm feeling a little brain damaged today. The world of insurance is fraught with ancillary products and riders, benefits, limitations and exclusions in sufficient quantity to confuse, befundle and bewilder even the most prepared. Imagine that deer in the headlights look. That would be me right now. Blink. Blink.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Was On My Needles Wednesday

Detonator #3 WIP

Detonator #3 - yes I have another victim in my sites. I started these on Monday. The participant who sent them to me recieved them basically not started. A rib cuff doens't count. I ripped it out and started over. I took the picture Monday night after I got a few rows done. I love the colors in this skein. I wish I had it! I think it's interesting that I'm still under the radar. I haven't heard anything since the first weekend when SWIII started. We'll see how long I last.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Beginnings

I started training for my new job today. I'm a little nervous and slightly apprehensive, but it's something I need to do. My job search has been lackluster at best, and you can only send out so many resumes and not get a SINGLE response before you say quit.

I guess I'm just worried about the fact that I'm going into a pure sales job for now, and I haven't done that before. It's the fear of the unknown.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Also, worth noting, I received my 2500th hit today on the blog. I added the counter last November. It's kind of cool to see that people come to the blog, even if they don't leave any comments. And for those of you who do leave comments - thank you. Really. A most sincere, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Memorable Moments

When we were driving home last summer after our first road trip with the new car, we stopped in American Canyon at a foundry and took a look around. What caught Kevin's eye was a 15 foot tall gorilla. What I thought was funny was this:

Kev and Lil' T Rex

I seriously can imagine having something like this is a back yard someday, or greeting guests at the front door. They had a bigger T-Rex glaring at the passing traffic over the fence. It was about 20 feet tall.

If they made one that looked like Godzilla, it would be sold. Godzi holds a special place in our hearts, and not that sorry excuse of a Sony movie with Ferris Buehler a few years ago.

I guess we are just refusing to grow up.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Quotes

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, June 06, 2008

FO Friday

I've had a crazy week. Studying. Taking the test. Going to LA to say goodbye to Grandma.

Yesterday, after I took my test, we headed down to Southern California. My Grandmother-in-law's ashes were going to be buried next to Grandpa. My in-laws were driving down from Idaho, and it was an appropriate opportunity to be there for support and to spend some time with them, however short.

We went to the Riverside National Cemetery, by March Air Reserve Base in Southern California. The grounds are beautiful and the grave site is near a stream. There were several young trees in the vicinity. As they mature, the area will take on an even more park like setting. I saw a hummingbird flit by. Erma loved hummingbird's.

I got some knitting done in the car. I finished two more chemo caps. It just seemed "right" to be knitting something for the benefit of others. I'm getting very close to my goal of 36.

Chemo Hat - Green Apple #2 Chemo Hat - Coral #2

One in Green Apple and one in Coral, Knit Picks Shine Sport.

The other knitting I finished this week was also for the benefit of others.

Snuggle Blanket

A simple snuggle blanket, about 16" by 16". Made from Red Heart in the color Blueberry Pie, the garter knit blanket was the perfect thing to keep my hands busy while I was reading the chapters for my test. I hadn't tried knitting while studying before, and it certainly kept my mind from wandering too much and I didn't feel as sleepy as I usualy would get reading such dry stuff. I'll have to remember this when I take my continuing education.

Detonator #2

I only finished one of these. The other was completed by Sonia Whitely in Australia. There are Detonator socks from the Socks Wars III KAL. I'm surprised I'm still in it. I started my contribution Sunday and finished it Tuesday morning so I could get it out in the mail. There was no ball band, but I know it was Tofutsies. It's the same colorway that I used for my Wild Kat socks that I finished a couple of weeks ago. Or was that last week? I'm suffering from brain damage after cramming for a week. It was just a really weird coincidence.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

No Favorite's Today

So, I've mentioned this whole cramming thing, and that I would be taking a State licensing test today. I did - this morning - with all of 4 hours sleep and less than a week to study. There were 150 questions. After an hour and twenty minutes all of the questions were answered, and I never go back and check. Ever. If I change it, it will be wrong. At least now everything is computerized. No more scantrons. No more waiting 3-4 days to check to see if you screwed up. We are truly in a digital society. Immediate gratification. I passed.

No one is more surprised than me.

I will never put myself through that again. I say that now, of course. Not me, the Queen of Procrastination and Ms. "I work best under pressure". If I didn't have stress, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

I actually passed.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What's On The Needles

I finished up a few things already this week, which I'll show on Friday. I cast on another chemo cap today. I need to work on my Mystic Light shawl, which I will have an opportunity to work on tomorrow since we're going to be on the road.

Studying for my State exam has taken up a lot of time.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

Let me preface this by saying that I am not currently affiliated with a political party. I am so disgusted by the partisan politics and lack of substance that I can't take anymore.

I've been in the Mortgage and Real Estate industry since 1992. I've seen the good, the bad and the disgusting. I know many very reputable loan officers, real estate agents and brokers that were ethical and acted in the best interest of their clients. The bad ones, the ones who were looking only for a paycheck, really cast all of us in the worst light possible.

Thanks to Phil Gramm, former Chair of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, actively and decisively removed regulations that had been in place since the Depression to protect the financial markets and consumers. I have been watching CSPAN more than usual lately. I have watched various committee hearings having to do with the financial markets, the impact on oil, the value of the dollar and the sub prime meltdown. It's all part of the same problem, and it comes down to lack of regulation. When Gramm left Congress, he became a vice-chairman for UBS Investment Bank. Gramm has also served as the Econ adviser to McCain, and on April 18, 2008, UBS deregistered Gramm as a lobbyist. The following is from

"A year after the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the old regulations, Swiss Bank UBS gobbled up brokerage house Paine Weber. Two years later, Gramm settled in as a vice chairman of UBS’s new investment banking arm.

Later, he became a major player in its government affairs operation. According to federal lobbying disclosure records, Gramm lobbied Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department about banking and mortgage issues in 2005 and 2006.

During those years, the mortgage industry pressed Congress to roll back strong state rules that sought to stem the rise of predatory tactics used by lenders and brokers to place homeowners in high-cost mortgages."

Thank you Senator Gramm. How much did you and your cronies make off the American homeowner?

The new regulations that are being considered are placing more regulations on the those providing services, not those providing the money. What this will eventually result in is less competition, and higher cost. What has deregulation done for the Airline Industry?

I could go on about this for days, but most of you are probably bored out of your minds already. What it comes down to is I'm done - I'm out - I'm finished.

Last week I met with a company that provides Life Insurance and Medical plans to the self-employed and small business. This Thursday, I am taking my State Exam for an insurance license. The industry that I have loved, and became a specialist in, is dying a tortured death. If I want to survive financially, I need to move on to something else.

So keep your fingers crossed for me. It's going to be a bumpy ride for a while.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Memorable Moments

There are few times that you get to see this view.

Quite a view

Taken from the Bank of the West building in San Francisco. Pity my reflection popped up. I thought I had adjusted sufficiently. I was waiting for a follow up session after having passed the first stage of interviews and testing with a financial planning company. Seriously, if you had a camera and saw this view, wouldn't you want to take a picture of it?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Quotes

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Winston Churchill