Saturday, August 02, 2008

Martha's A-Z Photo Challenge: "J" Is For Jewelry

"Jewelry takes peoples mind's off your wrinkles."

-Sonja Henie

A couple weeks ago, I showed you a new outfit I purchased recently at Old Navy. It was a pretty good example of my personal style in clothing. Well, what I didn't include in that entry was an example of the accessories I wear with my outfits. I am a pretty simple gal in terms of style. I like classic lines, and earth tones. I don't look good in pastels, but I love pink and mauve. I try to keep those colors to the spring months, but every once in a while you will see me wearing pink in autumn! GASP! And as for white after Labor Day, GET OVER IT! I wear what I want, when I want. That's just me.

When it comes to accessories, cameos, pearls and pearl beads are an everyday thing with me. I love ankle bracelets, even at my age, and I like bangles as well. I like fabric, and chain belts when they are needed, and nothing, nothing can beat a good Hobo bag. Although in the evening I prefer to travel a bit lightly with a clutch purse. A good piece of jewelry works wonders to an outfit, if it doesn't distract too much from the clothes. Clunky jewelry is fun, but not always appropriate. Like I said, I have a simple style, but it works for me! :)

Have you played along with Martha's A-Z Challenge? You can find all the information to play along right here.

"A Few Of My Favorite Things"
Berkeley, California
August 2nd, 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Golden Dream By The Sea

"Don't vote, it only encourages them."


"I have big hopes for California. President spoke of America as "the shining city on the hill. I see California as the golden dream by the sea."

-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his 2003 Inaugural address

Like most voters, I listen when the politicians talk. I am willing to listen if they really have somethings to say. When California decided it would be a good idea to unseat Governor Gray Davis, I was interested in hearing why a new guy would be the way to go. Personally, I don't think Davis was given a fair shake, he had come into his administration facing a lot of damage, left behind by the evil that was known as Gov. Pete Wilson. When I looked up the Wikipedia page for Wilson, I found a shockingly one sided definition of the man. Nowhere did it mention some of his harshest actions as California's 37th governor, such as during the IOU's he paid state workers, during the 1992 budget impasse, which lasted 67 days. Maybe President Bush is right, maybe history will remember him as a good president. Personally, as long as I have breath and access to the Internet, I am will to keep the record straight, that alone gives me plenty to live for.

Last night I decided to Google Governor Schwarzenegger's 2003 inaugural speech, to see what he was promising at that time. It really reads like the same old promises, made by just another politician. It's funny, when he took office, I thought it would be a strange spectacle. But like with most of those I have voted for, there have been good times and bad.What I liked about Arnold, was the fact that he, for the most part, made some good decisions, and didn't much act like just another republican. In fact, there have been times over his time in office, that I have been downright proud of his abilities. What I feared the most, way back in 2003 was his eventual downward spiral into business... political business... as usual. He has finally made it all the way down to the bottom of the barrel. It's actually sad to watch. I wish he would remember what he said in the beginning, and strive for that ideal he had. As I sit here today, trying to decide which to shut off first, the satellite TV or the Internet, I have to wonder who is the bigger schmuck? He for saying/acting those words, or me for believing them.

Text of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2003 Inaugural Address

I know the last few posts have been a serious departure from my usual blog entries in terms of attitude, and while I have felt like I have to be brutally honest about life from time to time, I also know that you get out of life, what you put into it. So, in an effort to live my life the best I can, and hopefully encourage others along the way, this is my last snippy entry about how unfair life can be at times. Time to make that lemonade I have been craving, I do, after all, have a delicious Meyer lemon tree right in the backyard of my cottage. :) So, starting tomorrow, and continuing on as long as I am here, things will be back to normal with Elvis updates, original photography, assorted political rantings (mostly about presidential politics) and maybe a recipe or two. We'll see. So, stay tuned.

California Capitol Building
Sacramento, California
Late October, 2006

Thursday, July 31, 2008

California Budget Crisis Update: Schwarzenegger Makes Good On His Threat

Photo by Associated Press

Update: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made good on his threat and signed the executive order at a little past noon, Pacific time.

I wonder when it will occur to him that he has lost his soul?

Wish us luck.

"Schwarzenegger Cuts State Worker Jobs, Moves To Cut Pay."
(Sacramento Bee)


Surreal Moments

"Tough times are there so you can have a good time later on and really appreciate it."


Saying Thank You...

First of all, I want to tell everyone I am sorry for the delay in thanking all of you for the many comments and emails I have received. I want to say an especially big thank you to Connie, who authors the blog, "Thoughts On My Life And Other Mindless Chatter," and her readers, who have been especially supportive to me in the last 48 hours. Connie has been my good friend, through good times and bad, for so long, I can't even remember when we first met, but I do know that she was brightening my life when I was still in the early days of AOL Journals.

I also want to thank Steven and Karen for their continued support. They have also been with me since the wee old days, and their friendship means a lot to me. As you probably know, they are also my teammates for the Round Robin Challenges. Things are so up in the air for me right now, it is good to know that both of them are willing to fill in for me should I have to go offline. Giving up the Internet as a whole won't particularly devastate me, what will be sad is the loss of creativity I see all around me. The RR Challenges mean a lot to me, it is a project I hold very dear as I have watched it grow and blossom over time. It might sound silly, but I really do look forward to every other Saturday, and what the Robins will come up with next. I have given them the go ahead to replace me, if need be. I don't expect them to pull up my slack indefinitely, and I will be much happier knowing it's in good hands. One less thing to worry about.


Dr. B was all set to give Elvis his chemotherapy the other day, when we got a call telling us that Elvis's blood level was not where it should be. That is a normal occurrence with chemotherapy, sometimes the chemo is done every 3 weeks, and sometimes it is every 4. In this case, Elvis will be, more then likely, be able to have his chemo next week, which probably buys us another week or so with him. We are literally taking things on a week by week basis. The best news for right now is that he isn't in any pain, no facial distortions are taking place and because of the additional medication Dr. B gave him the other day he is sounding a lot better, and is able to purr again. I can actually hear him purr. It's music to my ears. Lovely music. So, with some fingers crossed, I might have as much as 3 more weeks with him. The miracles continue to happen, thanks to a lot of prayers from some really special people. Including Dr. B.

Dr. B is an extraordinary man. He has done everything, just everything he could possibly do to make it all easier. He has counselled us, and told us everything we needed to know upfront. He has cut corners for us, and then cut even more corners for us. So much so that really he should be made a saint. Truly. He is so good to Elvis. I know, I know, he is a veterinarian, so why wouldn't he be? Well, to be honest, I have met one or two vets over the years who really shouldn't have chosen that as their life's work. Dr. B was born to be a veterinarian. We have that important agreement still in place, the one that says it is now time to say goodbye. He will tell us when it is time, but something he said one time leaves me with some hope... "We won't lose this cat to time or money." So there's hope.

What About The Budget?...

As of this morning, the executive order had not been signed. It may take place later today. If and when it happens, I will post a special entry to let everyone know what's going on. Back during the Wilson administration, there was a budget fiasco which resulted in Alan working for no pay, while the politicians duked it out. He was eventually paid his salary, but let me tell you, working for no pay was a difficult time for us. At that time we had some money saved, so we rode it out, but I can only imagine what it was like for folks with children to feed.

Alan and I know several people who have no idea what to do. Gas prices at an all time high, and little mouths to feed at $6.55 per hour. So while things are dire for us, please also consider the folks who have children and elderly to care for. Also disturbing to me is the vendors who haven't been paid since July 1st. The Sacramento Bee has one such story about the, Superior Produce Company, which supplies fresh fruit and vegetables to the California Prison system. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a necessity to life, not a luxury, so to deny it is in my opinion a crime in itself. The men and women in the California prison system could use your prayers and good thoughts as well.

Get A Room...

I am damn tired of the latest political bantering of John McCain and Barack Obama. Shut up. Deal with real issues. As things stand right now, I don't see myself voting for my democratic nominee, and you already know that for me, John McCain was NEVER an option, although I was willing to listen. No more. Barack Obama has all but lost me. It's really likely that I won't vote this coming November. And before you say that if I don't vote, I can't complain. Yes I can. Freedom of Speech gives me the right to complain. I will not vote for the lessor of two evils. I will give it another month, or until I am forced to leave the Internet before I decide what I will do in November. Barack Obama is on my sidebar for now, but there is a good chance he won't be their for long. Hey guys, GET A ROOM!

Well, that's about it for now. Stay tuned. Things are getting interesting!

"Surreal Moments"
Palace Of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
Spring, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's Going To Be Interesting Living Out Of My Car...

"Money doesn't make you happy. I now have $50 million, but I am just as happy as I was when I had $48 million."

-Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California

It's going to be interesting living out of my car, at least until the finance company repossesses it. Thing are just the dire. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has chosen this coming Thursday, July 31st, as his target day to sign an order to reduce the pay of over 200,000 state employees, Alan included, to the federal rate of $6.35 an hour. He isn't even offering the state minimum level of $8.00 an hour. What that means for us is that we will be homeless in just a few months, Elvis's chemotherapy treatments will have to stop, and we will be putting him to sleep as soon as 2 weeks from now.

We have some food put aside in case of an emergency, enough for a month. I don't know what will happen with our cars, we might sell one of them back, but I don't know where we will get gas money for the one we will keep. I will get rid of all non essential items, such as the Internet. That will happen first. The thing that hurts me the most it the thought of looking at Elvis in the eyes, as I take him to Dr. B's to have him euthanized. What do I say to him, and then how do I live with it? He is at Dr. B's right now, getting the last chemotherapy treatment we will be able to afford. The pain over losing him is more then I can take sometimes. As I write this, and I face head on what is in front of us, I can't even breathe.

This still doesn't have to happen, but I know it will. From everything I have read, the slashed pay rate will probably go well into October. Oh we will get a big fat retroactive paycheck when the politicians finally have their way, but by then my little boy will be gone forever. Forever is a very long time. Now ask me why I will never trust a republican, any republican, again! If I lose the roof over my head I will survive, but Elvis won't. His little life shouldn't end this way.


Correction: The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In About 100 Days Or So...

"Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left, instead of right or wrong."

-Richard Armour

Can you believe that we are finally down to the last 100 days of the race to the White House? It has seemed at times, that time was standing still and we really weren't moving forward at all. Things will be picking up speed now, and if you haven't really been paying attention all this time, or if you were paying attention, but decided to give yourself a break from all the endless political fussing, well now is the time to start listening again. It is your future after all, but more importantly, it's my future as well!

Let's face it, about this time, every four years, we Americans get a little selfish with our decision making. When we step into those tidy little voting booths or sit down to cast our absentee ballots, we put ourselves first. Which candidate will serve me best? There's nothing wrong with that, it is your future, and mine, and the guy next to me. LOL. That would be Alan. LOL. But don't think for a moment, that he and I have always agreed on a political candidate over the years, not at all, as you probably know, he was a republican when I met him. I take credit for helping him see the light, lol, but he will tell you he wised up all on his own. Well, yeah, that's partially true, but I think we have both changed our minds about certain things over the years, as we matured in our relationship. I think it's one of the best things about us as a couple, we can still talk to each other intelligently after nearly 18 years of marriage!

The other day, Alan and I were commiserating with each other about how we would take back the vote, we both cast, for Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor. The change of heart came with the last straw either one of us could handle regarding politics either nationally or for the state of California. That straw being that Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting the pay of over 200,000 state workers, in order to balance the budget. Can you imagine trying to take care of your family on $6.35 an hour? And that is not the end of the fun, colleges and universities will be affected as well, and there will be layoffs and hiring freezes in place when all is said and done. What's particularly despicably about the governor's plan is the fact that California's state minimum wage is $8.00 an hour!

California was one of the hardest hit states in the mortgage meltdown. Stockton, leads the list nationally, with the most foreclosures, and the figures continue to rise. I find it insulting that both candidates, McCain, and Obama are have nothing to say, about Governor's Schwarzenegger's threat. I know, I know, Obama was in Europe and Iraq last week, demonstrating his foreign affairs prowess, and McCain was ready with the jabs, about how inept Obama apparently is, and how if we vote for Obama, all hell will break loose. Wake up McCain... ALL HELL HAS BROKEN LOOSE! Now what are we ( you and I) going to do about it?

Well, I can tell you one thing, a vote for McCain would be like cutting our own collective throats. Tell me, do you really need another object lesson when it comes to the way republicans do things? Bush sat back, and nearly bankrupt this nation fighting a war that had no merit. A war based on, if you believe it, faulty intelligence. A year ago, most Americans considered the war in Iraq to be their number one concern, today, it's the economy. My gawd... how convenient for the republican party, that we are concerned mostly about our own pocket books. Go figure. Sometimes the war seems a million miles away at times... doesn't it? Can you believe that there are still folks who hold steady the belief that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the events of 9/11? Every time I hear that, I shake my head and wonder who these people are, and then I remember, they are the ones who have admitted they will be voting for John McCain.

I have to admit, I am not sure what my biggest concern is right now. I know that if Schwarzenegger has his way, and he cuts the pay to state workers, it will affect this state in all kinds of negative ways, that it doesn't really matter if you are a state worker or not. Foreclosure rates will take on a whole new momentum. Again education will be affected to the core, and we won't even discuss morale. Every single industry will be affected. One month of that kind of oppression would be devastating, but Schwarzenegger is poised to do just that, as early as tomorrow morning. State treasurer, John Chiang has said that he will override the governor and cut the checks at the usual pay, but that will be a fight that will be hard to fight. I appreciate the gesture, but I don't count on it.

One thing is for sure, this close to November, the state of California will be keeping this move in mind when voting for a presidential candidate. At the same time, it might serve McCain and Obama to watch what happens with California very closely, and be standing ready to address the possible catastrophe waiting to happen. I am really tired of the two of them playing to each other, and forgetting about what we hold dear. I will be watching both candidates, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for a political solution.

State Workers Upset Over Proposed Pay Cut (ABC 7)

Governor's Pay Cuts Could Affect Colleges (ABC 7)

Correction: The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour.