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Archive for December, 2012

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is when most people think of partying and celebrating and making resolutions for the upcoming year (generally resolutions that will never make it more than a few weeks).  To me, however, for the past 24 years, New Year’s Eve has been a much more personal reason for celebration.

I’m not one for going out drinking till I drop or driving with the idiot DUI crowd.  If I get together with people, it’ll be close friends and neighbors, and none of us plan on driving far.  This year, for example, we’re going to dinner with wonderful neighbors early in the evening, and then we’ll be coming back home where we can just walk between our two houses.  There are no roads for other people to drive on between the two houses.

However, the *main* reason that I celebrate and have celebrated for the last 24 years is my daughter’s birthday.  Kara was born at 5:47 PM on December 31, 1988.

She is one of my best friends, my pride and joy, my baby girl.  She grew up riding on my hip, going to her brothers’ Boy Scout Meetings, Little League games, soccer games, and my meetings when I was PTA president or whatever political thing I was doing at the time.  She grew up riding on my hip with me speaking into a microphone, so it’s not a surprise that she grew up with a love of being on stage – speaking, dancing and performing.  She grew up as a cheerleader.  She grew up in dance classes.  She grew up to receive a scholarship, accepting it publicly on stage at the age of 18, in front of several thousand people, reading her winning essay to all in attendance.  She grew up to major in Communications/Public Relations, graduating last May, cum laude.

She grew up riding on my hip, going in and out of the hospital, visiting her now deceased brother.  She grew up watching her oldest brother struggle with ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, and OCD.  She grew up in a car seat with a box of juice and a container of Cheerios, cheering on and supporting her brothers.  She grew up watching my first marriage struggle.  She grew up watching it collapse.  She grew up watching her dad and me go our separate ways.  She grew up watching Roy come into the family, accepting and loving him as her step-father.  She grew up knowing life can be tenuous.  It’s not a surprise she’s a loving, accepting, caring individual.

With all of that, she is now an incredibly understanding and sincere individual that knows how to have fun and knows how to be serious, depending on the situation.  She has seen and been through more in life than most people will see, experience, or even know about in 90 years of existence on Earth.  She works hard, plays hard, and is good to her friends and family.  She is my youngest child, my baby girl, my joy.  We think a lot alike and have been there for each other no matter what.  She’s seen me at my highs and lows and everywhere in between, and she has supported me in whatever makes me happy.  I feel honored to be her mother, and when she has told me in the past that she has learned a lot from *me* and that I am a “role model” or “mentor” to her, I can’t imagine how.  This is more the way it *truly* is:

In my daughter’s eyes, I am a hero.

I am strong and wise, and I know no fear,

But the truth is plain to see.

She was sent to rescue me.

I see who I want to be

In my daughter’s eyes.

In my daughter’s eyes,

Everyone is equal.

Darkness turns to light,

And the world is at peace.

This miracle God gave to me,

Gives me strength

When I am weak.

I find reason to believe

In my daughter’s eyes,

And when she wraps her hand around my finger,

Oh, it puts a smile in my heart.

Everything becomes a little clearer.

I realize what life is all about.

It’s hanging on when your heart has had enough.

It’s giving more when you feel like giving up.

I’ve seen the light.

It’s in my daughter’s eyes.

In my daughter’s eyes,

I can see the future,

A reflection of who I am and what we’ll be,

And though she’ll grow and someday leave,

 Maybe raise a family,

When I’m gone, I hope you see how happy she made me.

For I’ll be there,

In my daughter’s eyes

                              Martina McBride

 

 

KARA

This is my baby girl, Kara, graduating from Cal State Sacramento, “cum laude”, May 2012

 

I love you dearly, Kara.  You are a joy to know.

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This explains the so-called “fiscal cliff” perfectly. Nothing more need be added. The sad part is that Congress doesn’t want citizens to really understand this or that the BO-desired tax hike will pay for roughly 8 days of government spending only.

Wake up, America. You’re being bankrupted by unethical politicians and the fast approaching “Taxmageddon”.

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… uhhhhhhh … I’ll pass, thanks anyway though …

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As the year comes to a close, here is the resolution left from society’s expectations of 2012 that someone at least should work on for 2013.  Roy and I are still waiting.  We were both raised as “Jetsons” kids.

 

 

blanket

 

 

Logan … this has always been your job in the family.  INVENT THIS FOR US!!!!!!

We have enough blankets … and I don’t need any with sleeves, thank you just the same …

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On a cold gloomy end-of-December day, where people all over are worried about global warming (just a few decades back, they were all worried about global cooling):

 

 

global warming

 

 

We never said we were politically correct, now did we?

 

 

🙂

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Since I don’t have to work on New Year’s Eve (I’m glad that it is a day off for me although I’ve worked it in the past and many will be working it this year), I want to send out my appreciation that, in this terrible nasty ugly economy (I won’t get started on a political diatribe, I promise), I have a job that keeps Roy and me going along with our multiple other endeavours; that I received a couple of good promotions and raises this year (I work hard); and that Roy ended the year being offered an awesome job on top of his self-employment.  Things have not always been easy for either of us over the last many years.  Therefore, we offer the following … and hope that all of you out there going through challenges in life always remember this … and keep moving forward, no matter what.

life

Be a survivor.

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This time of year and attempts at weight loss (or even just not actually gaining *additional* weight) are not tasks for the weak, the faint of heart, or those without a will of iron. I do love to eat and the foods for now are *my* kind of food … hearty, filling, warm, rich, high calorie, fatty down-home cooking. It’s hard too as you age to lose weight anyway (see picture attachment).

So after eating like a &$%{«#@ pig the past few days, imagine my sheer amazement and delight that my weight stayed even. I wasn’t trying to lose. I was just trying to remember my lessons in portion control taught to me by MyFitnessPal and the weight maintenance and exercise tools I’ve been taught.

I’ll log my exact weight loss and current goals on January 1 (New Years Day, 8 months into my “better health regime”), but suffice it to say that I’m thrilled.

Remember: no matter your age or overall general health, you *can* get in better health and shape without a lot of excess money like the exercise & healthcare industries try to push at us all.

You just need self-discipline and backbone to do what is right for your health. Period.

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Perhaps this should be kept near all fire protection & safety gear? (Ok ok remember … we’re just joking … but it made us laugh. It’s important to always keep your sense of humor about you, especially living in a wildfire area like we do.)

🙂

Merry Christmas, all! Roy and I *do* love our smores on the firepit! Have a joyous holiday.

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I write about a lot of things … sometimes about my background … sometimes about food … sometimes about my weight loss … sometimes about the ridiculous political situation in our country right now … or anything else that comes to mind.  Most blogs are focused to one particular topic from what I can tell.  Ours is focused on the ups-and-downs of our lives, which can be a lot of different things.

So today is to put in some good news.  I’ll start however with some of the ridiculous that has befallen Roy and me over the past many years.  Like I said previously, we met online and have known each other for quite some time.  We’ve been married for slightly over 5 years … on 11.23.07.  My daughter and my oldest son were, respectively, Maid of Honor and Best Man.  It was a fairly small and relaxed wedding done in our home the day after Thanksgiving in 2007.  We had a party and I did the food myself by ordering from delis and making some and having friends and family help.  It was wonderful.

In December of 2007, Roy bought into the house that I owned and was already paying a mortgage on, making it so we owned it together.  Just before Christmas, he was in a multi-car pile-up on I-680 in the SF Bay Area, and his car was totaled.  Thankfully, *he* was ok, and that’s all that mattered to me.  Right after New Year’s Day of 2008, we bought a used 4-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe that was in wonderful condition.  We were both working full-time and had decent income.  I won’t say “good jobs”, because in our minds, jobs are unstable and not secure, which is why we have always had other streams of income with our various private businesses.  In April of 2008, we went on a 15-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale, FL through the Panama Canal that ended in San Francisco, CA for our honeymoon, stopping in Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and 3 places in Mexico.  It was marvelous to put it mildly.

Then the wheels fell off the bus.

In June 2008, I was laid off from my job.  I had difficulty finding a full-time job so I was working part-time jobs on commission only.  We lost our health insurance and Roy had to have necessary surgery.  His job picked it up for us (thankfully) and he was able to continue on it and receive his surgery.  He was off work from August through September on Disability.  He returned to work on September 29, 2008.  On September 30, 2008, he was let go.  (There’s a lot more to that story, but it’s not necessary.  Suffice it to say we had to fight for him to receive unemployment insurance, but we won because we were right.)

They stopped his health insurance effective September 30 … with no warning … so when I went into the doctor for a scheduled appointment on October 1, I was refused service.  Now … don’t take me wrong … I am in *NO WAY* for Obummercare.  I would rather get my own health care at my own choice with insurance that I choose or do not choose.  Government, in my opinion, should not be forcing this down my throat.  However, when we are PAYING for insurance, I think that we should at least be provided warning of impending cancellation, particularly when the COBRA payments are high and neither of us is working.

Anyway, the company I was working part time (retail) for offered a very minimal insurance coverage, which I thankfully took, as it covered at least something partially.  They also offered Roy a part time low wage job.  While we needed much more than that, it certainly was better than nothing while we searched for something else.

… and we searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and SEARCHED …

While we are building our own private businesses, government intervention and legislation makes it very difficult to build it the way we want, so it’s slower than we have wanted.  Thus, in the meantime, we needed to have a “job” that paid us a wage to be able to pay mortgages and every other thing that costs money in our society.

… and we searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and searched … and SEARCHED …

The United States economy was tanking big time so people were being laid off by the millions and few were hiring.  Companies were going out of business.  However, finally, I got a break … and in April of 2009, I was offered and accepted a job working for the State of California Employment Development Department in their Unemployment Insurance Division.  It wasn’t a great or high-paying position but it gave me a wage, medical insurance for us both that would start in June, and something steady.

… and Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

Then in May … just before the end of the month … while I still had the *VERY* limited health insurance … I got deathly ill and had to go into the hospital for emergency surgery.  I was assured by the hospital that it was truly an emergency but that they would work with us to pay it off a little at a time since the minimal insurance we had wouldn’t pay much of the bill.  I was in for 5 days.  My new insurance kicked in the day after I was released.  Marvelous.

… and Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

In June of 2009, someone from that car accident Roy had been in in 2007 decided that we looked like good targets because we had a house so they chose to sue us.  We had to fight that.

… and Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

Now … the job that I had secured was very understanding about my time off as well as about my second surgery in November 2009 … and I finished my training and I did well in what I did and I worked diligently.  However, the hospital ignored all attempts made by us to work with them and started harassing us for payment and referring it to collections and not taking our calls.  On July 5, 2010 (very nicely the day after Independence Day and the day before Roy’s birthday), they served us with a lawsuit for approximately $20,000.  At that time, we were looking to sell our house (one that I had lived in for 30 years and raised my children in), since I wasn’t making enough money to cover the mortgage, and we were using my IRA to make payments and help us survive.  We wanted to move from the over-priced SF Bay Area and find something easier to pay for and find a better job for me and more opportunity for Roy.  I was doing numerous job searches.

I won’t now go into all the gory details … but it was a general mess for quite some time … with unscrupulous realtors and contractors that cheated us and others … with a bank that we had to fight to get to cooperate with us … with a car accident lawsuit … with a health insurance lawsuit … and with numerous lawyers helping us.  The details aren’t important at this time.  What is important is … we got out from under the house mortgage; we got out from under the lawsuits (winning on them both); we got out of the Bay Area; and I was transferred/promoted to the EDD in Sacramento.  There’s more, but it doesn’t really matter.  We won.  That’s all *we* cared about.  Roy left his very minimal part time job to move with me and to focus on our two private businesses, and we moved to Placerville (love it love it LOVE it up there) so that I could start working at the Central Offices in the State Capitol, 2 blocks from the Capitol Building. 

That in itself was more complicated than apparent on the surface but I’ll just put out this much.  I was told on a Thursday night that I was to start working in Sacramento on the following Wednesday when I still lived in the Bay Area.  I stayed with my sweet, wonderful, college-age daughter for a few days after driving the first day to Sacramento from my home in the Bay Area, leaving at 3AM in a driving wind & rain storm.  She was awesome in bailing me out of a jam until we could find somewhere to stay until we got a place to live.  (There aren’t many college girls that would allow or want their mother to stay on their couch for a few days.  She’s an awesome human being and I love her dearly.)

There are a lot of things that I have left out of this just to shorten this story.  The story has been one comedy of errors after another.  I say comedy because I might as well laugh.  Otherwise, I’d sit in the corner and cry all day long.  We just know that *WE* are ok … and that life goes on … and that we won.

So since that time … I moved for higher pay … and was promoted again … and received a pay raise (I will say … when I work … I am a HARD worker … and at least they rewarded that) … but the economy for hiring still was terrible, and the government jobs were few and far between as their economy was just as bad if not worse.  So Roy worked our businesses … and continued to look.  However, the economy has been hard on businesses … and his private mobile DJ business has suffered big time, because when the economy is bad, people will not have parties or pay for music services.  Then … in the midst of it all … the IRS found a huge mistake we’d made in our taxes the year we were trying to move and sell the house and fight lawsuits and everything else … and they hit us with a large amount due.  We worked that out and have carried on. 

So in any event we have struggled but made it work.  At least we got the house sold and the lawsuits, etc, handled and the bills paid.  Sometimes we needed help from my dwindling IRA that also wasn’t earning much interest due to the bad economy … but we have made it work, which is all that really matters.  We have met great friends and we have made awesome political contacts and we love where we are (as long as the current federal government fools don’t mess it up too). 

 

Life goes on.  What can I say?  You make the best of what you have and carry on.  What more can you do?

… so Roy continued to search … and search … and search … and search … and search … and SEARCH …

… and I had started looking for another promotion or a better job myself … yet again … to try to supplement the massive Taxmageddon that is coming from the idiot in the White House in 2013 …

So … at the beginning of December … Roy was called back about a job he applied to in March of this year.  We’d nearly forgotten about it.  Last Friday, December 14, 2012, he was interviewed.  They called and offered him a job on Tuesday, December 18, 2012.  He starts after the 1st of the year, in January 2013.

Then today … my last day of work before I take a Christmas “vacation break” until after Christmas, I received more good news.  A promotion that I have worked for and asked for and applied for and wanted … came through effective today.

Our house may not have all the funds it wants right now … but we are definitely “Christmassing it” already.  We choose to look for the good in things.  We hope you do too.

Joy to the world …

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US …

and JOY TO *US* …

JOY TO ROY AND JILL!

Always look for and work toward the good.  It is well worth it, no matter what is going on in life.

Bethlehem

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This picture attachment may have been originally intended as just a FaceBook post, but Roy and I felt it appropriate to share here. As we have said before, we are not and will not ever be among the “politically correct” sheeple … PERIOD.

So … with that … we hereby state that God and Jesus Christ are and always will be welcome in our home, in our non-politically correct spoken or written comments, on our FaceBook pages, and in our blogposts.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone, and GOODWILL TO ALL!

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