Random thoughts about life.

Meteoric Demise

They came in, heralding their expertise. Halfway through it, I knew one was a self-indulgent con, the others just plain conceited and ignorant, a deadly combination. Yet “meteoric rise” was a phrase the con liked to use, but truth was, he’d executed a “meteoric demise”.

Sadly, others believed in them, despite the warning signs. Some believed because they were too junior to know better, others because they felt they were too senior to start again, and others just because they wanted to believe – the promises sounded so good and it all sounded easy.

I have a poem for you, and later, I’ll write the book – a “How NOT to….” versus a “How to…”. Because I have witnessed first hand how not to do certain things in life. And some things should not remain a secret.

In the meantime, here is a post that they (and I) should have read before agreeing to do ANYTHING together. I think the first point would have signaled all that this was not going to be a good move.

“When your ego is too big to manage a company”

Where does the time go?

We are struggling to keep up with ourselves. It seems we just got up, and we turn around, and it’s time for bed!

Yes, we are early risers. And these days, we are spending about 3 hours hiking the hills. By the time you get up and piddle around the house, do chores on the computer, we head out by 8 or 9 am if we are lucky. Finish that hike around 11 or so. Now we are hot and grimy, so home to shower and clean up. But oh wait, what about those errands? – think we can squeeze them in while we are out? Sure! So a stop here and there for supplies, and we are home around 2:30 or 3. Now it’s shower time, stretch, upload photos and document the hike, and 6 pm is here before we know it. A glass of vino, some chores around the house, and bedtime.

And tomorrow we will do the same thing, but different hike, different errands, and different chores. And the next day, and the next day. So when people ask what’s new?, well, nothing really. Morning, noon and evenings all blur into one warm cozy memory.

We look forward to better weather, which will force earlier hikes, and patio dinners (which will force more gardening chores). And friends over to enjoy the evenings. We are happy with this simple life. And we hope you are, too. If not today, maybe tomorrow.

And here we go

Enjoying a Saturday morning, after a 3 mile run. Best morning, with coffee and IBD (except the hot water heater stopped working, but that is another story).

Sequestration has begun. The President got his tax hikes a while ago, and couldn’t find his way to negotiate away from his own “bad idea” sequestration policy. He could find his way to campaign against Republicans in his constant blame-game.

My notes:
So IBD reports (and I want to capture here) that Americans, in January paid record taxes ($2.6B for personal and social insurance (Obama-care)), as the payroll tax relief expired, and tax rates rose on higher earners. And let’s not forget the Medicare payroll tax hikes.

Real personal spending was anemic -> 0.1% of GDP. Personal income was down 3.6% in January, with disposable income down by 4%. Households about $250k now face a 3.8% hospital insurance tax on income – earned and investment gains.

Personal income suffered the biggest drop in 20 years, and disposable income its biggest drop in 50 years.

These essentially erased on all the income gains since September. Consumer spending did increase – but not due to prosperity – rather due to rising energy prices.

It is my personal belief that Obama’s redistribution of wealth plan is not aimed just at the wealthy or upper middle class, but at all Americans.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if I work 60 hour weeks to get ahead, but the government takes half of that, then I might as well only work 30 hours, net about the same, and have more free time.

As a matter a fact, here are two true stories for you:
First, and ex-employee returned to our business to apply for a work. He had originally left 5 years earlier to go to a competitor, and since he was a good worker, I was happy to have him back. Seeking info on my competitor, I asked why he left them. He replied that he had left them years ago. I then asked why he now wanted to come back to us and he replied, “because my unemployment insurance ran out”.

Second true story. A contractor friend of mine had a (legal) visiting worker from Mexico, who later brought his wife and young son to the States. The son had spina bifoda. It was not long before CA had purchase a brand new shiny wheelchair for the family. The wife became pregnant. Twins. Wife became pregnant again, twins again. All the while, they were on food stamps. The worker had to ask the contractor to pay him half in cash, because his benefits were going to be cut due to his income. When the contractor refused, the worker quit. And we taxpayers are paying for the son’s special needs, and the food supplies for that family, and their extended family.

Meanwhile, our daughter and her family sold their home and are moving out of CA due to the high cost of living here.

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Crafting Things

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I find I am driven to make things (but perhaps not boilers).  Mostly things that will mean something to others, that will be my gift of my time and good karma thoughts while making the item. As I make them, I think about how to improve it the next time around.  I think about it as a business, and capturing costs.  And I think about how to scale the production process.  Silly, but by that time, I am happy to return to my simple thoughts about how much the receiver will enjoy the gift, and I leave it at that.  Till the next time aroung.

The three images shown here are of a current baby blanket done for my good friend Matt’s daughter, which features his son on it as well, and of a baby blanket done about 30 years ago.

To begin anew

It’s diffilcult to summarize all that has been going on, but suffice it to say that we returned to Oregon this past week, for two weddings. Because we had a week between each wedding, we used the time to visit with old friends, and I cannot say enough about how good that felt. It is heart warming, to say the least, to sit down with your old friends and visit for awhile. We met almost everyone in their home, and kept things simple so we had no distractions, no servers, no other patrons, etc.

And our son, Byron, has decided to join Dan in his business, which, of course, we are thrilled about. While he only knows the business from the sidelines, we believe it is a good match for him at all levels – professionally and personally. Only time will tell, but we are pleased he will give it a try.

Work – this has been evolving. I have the MKG partners, and a CEO that is from their group. While there are conflicts, in the big picture, I am hopeful it will be what we all know it can be. The potential is there, and now the expertise is in place. I stopped going in to the office on a daily basis as of May 1st, and that has been quite a release.

Health – all is good. After this week, though, weight is a bit high for me….but it was well worth it — to enjoy wine with friends. I did just complete my physical. All is well. Except insurance company said I was covered, and now want to charge me $3,000 because a polyp was removed. Really? Isn’t that the whole point of the exercise? My dear sweet broker is going to fight it for me.

LifePlan – Not sure yet. Still enjoying my hobbies – sewing and knitting, and baking. Would like to do more, but just am not sure of what that would be. I am exploring taking a recipe to market.

I do feel we are beginning anew in our lives. We have lost so many friends this past year, shed them to their new beginnings. I miss them being here, and respect them all the more that they have crossed over. I do keep looking for my dad, in special moments – look around for a glimpse, but to no avail.

To re-connect with old friends is invigorating, and gets one pumped up about things or feelings we may have forgotten. It is so nice to feel the warmth of those special friends once again.

When I travel, and then come home, I always unpack and use that time to re-organize my closet. Another new beginning. And we just put in some new cabinets – so another re-org, and new beginning. And my new website – clean out the clutter, get organized, and get going with life. Smarter better faster. That’s the way I like it.


Time To Come Back!

I am a bit tired of always being too tired to blog.  I find I enjoy reading my past blogs/thoughts – and while I have little doubt they are of little value to anyone else, I find a bit of relief and refreshment when I read my thoughts from times gone by.

And I am really grateful for the few blogs I did through dad’s demise.  It helps me remember what otherwise would have been lost.

So with that in mind, I start again.
For those keeping track with me – I lost 20 pounds.   A huge feat for me, as I have not been at this weight (except for one brief time 6 years ago) since high school.  Somehow, I just got tired of eating, and tired of watching America gorge itself on its excesses – and I don’t just mean food.  Lifestyle change – long desired, finally here.  But alas, I have lost that disengagement, so eating has returned to being an enjoyment.  Fortunately, I have discovered, as my girlfriend tells me, that nothing tastes as good as thin feels, so think I shall keep my vessel at this weight.  Just feels too good not to do this.
Onward to more enjoyable topics:  I am knitting and sewing now.  My girlfriend, Carol, shakes her head in disbelief.  She is already disgusted with me because I quit drinking (all my girlfriends say I am no fun anymore), but a world traveler and one who can’t sit still, she doesn’t udnerstand the pleasure I get from making something for someone, and giving it to them.  I love to bake, too, but sadly, I have no will power when it comes to white sugar!  So I bake on occassion, and busy myself with knitting and sewing projects in the meantime.
Which leads me to my new machine, and tonight’s late night foray into the world of embroidery.  Quattro 6700 D.  I fell like the Christmas Carol story of the little boy and his BB gun.  My sewing machine.  It seems simple and straightforward enough, but my dear friend, it is not.  I had visions of decorating my Easter Brunch table with embroidered napkins – I think I have to let that one slip by the wayside.  Not that I won’t do it in the future, but this is not an art you just turn a machine on, and it does it.  No, I have a new-found appreciation for experience in this art, and since I am lacking said experience, I will need to put the time in, learn from my mistakes, and THEN I can decorate my table with embroidered napkins.  (but by then I will probably be giving this art away, too).
I miss wood carving.  I did that years ago with my good friend Barbie.  Actually, I miss Barbie too.  She’s still with us, but I moved, and she didn’t.
Which reminds me – note to self – this is a time when we are losing more friends, which is causing us to cling even tighter to each other. First Diane, then Bob, and in between, Kim, and right behind Bob, was Dennis.  Now Richard is diagnosed with cancer, first just in lungs, but now discovered in colon and brain.  All of this in a relatively short period of time.  No one said getting old was easy, but I never thought about the sadness of watching friends pass, and even greater sadness in watching friends lose their beloved partners.
All of the above has me yearning for more time – time to spend with my son, my grandchildren, my husband.  Heck, time to spend with me.  I am tired of getting up at 3:30 so I can squeeze my gym time in to my day. I am tired of coming home at 5, and having just 3 short hours before I have to hit the sack.  I guess I am just plain old tired of schedules.  I want life on my time, on my terms.  Is that too much to ask?
Which also reminds me, we saw some old friends when we were at Dennis’ funeral.  Mike dropped out and dropped back in years ago – I suspect he is one person who is living life happily ever after, albeit simply, but really living.  Actually, my son is living his life on his terms.  To my chagrin, of course, as I want grandchildren, and he isn’t even dating. Ok, too much information here, and i remind myself this is a public blog, and there are kooks out there.
Oh – and before I wrap up – I am in my third acting class.  I thought I was finished with it, but another girlfriend ( a new one who I like a lot, and think I will like even more once i get to know her better) emailed and said “let’s sign  up together”, and we shook on it and said “deal”.  Long story short – she didn’t get in to the class!  I thought about, and am still thinking about, giving her my spot becuase I don’t really have the time for it – we’ll see.
That’s it for now, except one last sentence to say I do not care for arrogant people, and that is code-speak for me, and when I read that years from now, I will know instantly what I am referring to.  Hugs.

Two Years Ago

It’s been two years since my father passed away.  I am lucky to have had time with him, and wish everyone would have the opportunity to spend adult time – lots of it – with their parents. I am a lucky girl.

I blogged at the time of his passing, capturing my thoughts and anguish, and am glad I did.  It is interesting to revisit one’s thoughts.

Took today off from work to reflect, and work around the house, pay my respects, and so forth.  I placed two batches of White Lilies – the big ones – at his site last night. Will return today to add red roses.
I have taken up some hobbies – to keep me busy, and to satisfy my natural need to do things for others.  I am knitting, and still sewing, but sewing more regularly.  I’ll work on those projects today, in addition to office work.
I stopped drinking alcohol just after Thanksgiving, more on a whim than anything else, and it’s February now, so I am a little surprised I have kept it at bay.  I keep saying I will have it when I want it, but I guess I am not ready for it.  I was a bit tired of drinking alcohol – tired of the weight it puts on, and the drag it was having each evening.  I would go to parties and watch how I would socially drink on “auto-pilot”, and a little voice in my head would mock me for not taking control since drinking alcohol was not what I wanted.  I guess I am now listening to that little voice.In part, that’s why/when I took up knitting, and returned to sewing.  Keeps my hands busy, fills me with purpose each evening.  And it is such a pleasure to make nice things for people I care about.I have lost weight too – down to size 2, again in part to absence of alcohol, but also because I am eating less.  Much less, as it turns out.

I have come to the conclusion that Americans have too much food in front of them, 24/7, and have just pulled back from that.   I am disugsted by our prepondernce to gorge ourselves on food and drink, indulge ourselves in over the top lifestyles.  We are a gluttonous (not sure that is a word, but what the heck) society, always having too much around us – too much food, too much drink, too much stuff.   I want away from that.
We have a friend getting married in Cayman Islands, and are thinking of joining them on their cruise. We haven’t had time together like that in a very long time – it will be like a second honeymoon.  It will be nice to do for “just us” – take that time and spend it together —  somewhat in a group, but also on our own.  I am looking forward to that.
On another front, I came up with an idea for a TV show – like everyone else, probably.  I just wish we – society – could get back to more sensible values.
The Superbowl just occurred, with pop singer Madonna (who did a horribly dated show, plus, she piped in her own vocals), and one of her “guests” was a singer who markets herself with a someone having a bad attitude – an angry person.  During her 30 seconds of performance time, ths guest flips the camera off!  What is up with that???  Her own customers – the audience – she gives the middle finger to!    I guess the kids in today’s market “take it”??
I hope not. I hope there is enough wisdom at all levels to recognize the value of the gentle society.  There will always be the shock jocks and girls offering titillation, but cannot that be for the few, and not for the masses?

After Life

I have given up on the ability of those in the after life to come back and visit us mere mortals.

Dad died February 8th, 2010.  I thought for  sure he would find a way to come back and, if nothing else, give me a thumbs up.  Nothing, nada.  Yet I KNOW he would have if he could have.
So it must be that death really is final (yes, I know how dumb that sounds).  And now, I appreciate every living thing so much more, because there is no second chance, no ‘reaching out”, no “message” we get to send.
I know some people swear they see loved ones that have passed, but right now, I think it is their imagination.  I did see dad in some dreams, but it was nothing that was compelling – it was just a dream.
I will know if that moment ever comes, and I will let you know if it does.
But for right now, I think we do our work here on earth, and return home to much greater things, such that we never even look back, knowing we will greet our loved ones as their time comes.  And, I think we never look back because by the time we make it to the other side, we realize how insignificant most of the earthly life is, so what is the point of coming back?  To say what?  Everyone already knows what you would want to say to them, so what is the point of trying to overcome what must be an enormous amount of energy to try and deliver some obscure message?
So I say, go in peace, dad.  I know you would come back if you could, and I am good with that.
post note, added July 23, 2012:  dad has returned once to me, twice to his beloved Louise.  And once to my cousin, whom seems to attract the souls from the other side.  Her “channel” is more open than the rest of ours, and people who have crossed over seek her out to get their message into our world.