I turned these ordinary ingredients...
Into this delicious cakey goodness
Anyway, they left around 3:30pm Friday and got to the site around 4:30pm. My mom and stepdad were already up there in their big-ass motorhome. Bill didn't want Cassandra to be dependant on grandma and the motorhome, so he chose a spot further down. My stepdad is turning all this property into a subdivision, and one road has been pushed through to where it will intersect with the cross road. Bill decided to set up camp at the end of that road...
After a week of step aerobics (without the step), I needed a change of pace. I hadn't done my Cardio Salsa DVD in about a year, so I took it out and did it. It's a fast DVD, and would be more fun if my ankles weren't bothering me so much. I simply can't do the moves as completely as I want, but hopefully with time that will get better. Back in the day, I used to go dancing at latin clubs, and it was a LOT more fun than this *sigh*.
I miss smoking. I quit three years ago, and now they cost $9.17 per pack at the chain gas station. Alaska has one of the highest cigarette taxes in the country. Alaska sucks.
So, I sort of had an issue two weeks ago. Simply put, I couldn't take another bite of the pre-packaged food. I just couldn't. The food itself is fine, I just reached my saturation point. I got a bit hysterical when my consultant called, and I was ready to give her the "I can't do this anymore" speech. Thankfully, she adjusted Bill's and my program, and now we can eat real food that I cook without feeling guilty. All in all, I've lost about 10 pounds, so that's something.*sigh* I haven't been mall-walking since April, so we're going to start again on Monday. New month, new start...yeah...
Speaking of new month and new start, I think I might start participating on Sig Showcase again. I still make sigs and blinkies, but don't post to the social threads. I'll start with the next Roll Call.
I'm wicked fast on a 10-key calculator. Every February there's a 10-key contest as part of our Fur Rendezvous. Is it sad that I'm thinking about entering? I don't think the NBA playoffs will ever be over. Really. This is Mt. Susitna, otherwise known as the Sleeping Lady. Can you see her sleeping? She's lying down in profile, with her head on the left. She's a very popular sight in Anchorage. I've lived in Anchorage my entire life, but never knew the legend. Here is what I found Native Alaskan Folk Tale The new season started a couple of weeks ago *yay*. I usually only watch the auditions, but maybe I'll make it through the whole season. Like other performance reality shows, once it gets to the meat of the show, there's too much talking and not enough performing. I don't care about everyone's background, inspiration, blah blah blah. Just show the dancing!
The story of Sleeping Lady has traveled by word of mouth throughout the region since at least the 1930's. The source of the original story is unknown. Here is the folktale retold by Ann Dixon, a librarian at the Willow Public Library in Willow, Alaska.
Once, long ago in Alaska, there lived a race of giant people along the shores of Cook Inlet.
The land then was warm and covered with fruit trees of every kind.
Woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed the forests and beaches but did not harm the gentle Inlet people.
Peace and happiness ruled the land.
Especially happy were a young man named Nekatla and a young woman named Susitna, for they were in love and soon to be married.
As the wedding day neared, the Inlet people eagerly prepared for the celebration. But the day before the wedding a stranger burst into the village. "Danger!" he cried. "Warriors from the north are coming! They roam from village to village, killing people, stealing from them, and burning their homes!" "Stranger, how do you know this?" someone asked. The man's face clouded with pain. "They have destroyed my village, my family...everything," he answered. "Only I escaped. Beware, these people are cruel and crazed for blood!"
All plans for the wedding were forgotten.
The villagers gathered in council. First one person spoke then another. Some thought they should quickly fashion weapons and attack the warriors. Others thought they should prepare to fight the warriors when they came to the village. Still others wanted to hide in the forest until the warriors passed them by.
Nekatla and Susitna listened in silence their hearts deeply troubled.
After everyone had spoken, Nekatla rose. "I, too, have an idea," he began. "But I do not know if there are people here brave enough to go with me. I say this: I will not fight these people and neither should you. We have few weapons, for we gave up the ways of war long ago. We've learned a better way, which is peace."
Many of the people nodded their heads in agreement. "Continue," the elders encouraged him. "I will not run away from this danger, for then the warriors will kill many more. This is my proposal: we travel north to meet them. We convince them to lay down their weapons and live in peace. We will carry gifts rather than weapons so they'll have no reason to attack us. "And I am willing to go first." It was a bold plan but the people agreed to it. All the men of the vilage would go. Immediately everyone began preparing for the dangerous journey north. By morning the men were ready to leave. Sadly, Susitna and Nekatla said goodbye on a hill above the village where they had spent many hours together.
"We will be married as soon as I return." promised Nekatla. "I will wait for you at this very spot," answered Susitna.
Susitna watched thoughtfully, hopefully, until the forms of the men disappeared into the forested mountains.
Susitna made ready to wait. She ran back to the village for her needles, knife, and baskets, then busied herself gathering nuts and berries.
On the second day she tired of gathering fruit, so she cut roots and grasses to weave into baskets. This task amused her for many hours, but eventually she tired of making baskets, too.
Susitna spent the third day sewing, for she was too weary to gather fruit and cut grasses. Yet she could not sleep, wondering if the men had succeeded in their mission.
Perhaps Nekatla would return at any moment!
But many days and nights went by, each more slowly than the last. Finally Susitna could no longer pick berries, weave baskets, or even sew. "I will lie down just for a moment," she said finally. And she fell fast asleep. While Susitna slept, word of a terrible battle reached her village. "Nekatla was brave." reported a boy who had escaped. "He led our men to meet with the warriors. But as he and their leader were about to speak, someone threw a spear! Their men set upon ours and we fought until all our men were dead or dying, and many of theirs, too." The women and children wept to hear the names of the fathers, sons, and brothers they had lost.
When the women went to tell Susitna the terrible news, they couldn't bear to wake her from such peaceful sleep. Let her rest, they decided. Why break her heart any sooner than we must? And they wove a blanket of soft grasses and wildflower blossom, which they gently laid over her. May Susitna always dream of her lover, they prayed.
That night all warmth and joy left the village. As the air grew colder and colder, Susitna settled more deeply into sleep.
All around her, the fruit trees froze and died, falling like the men in battle.
The tears of the villagers gathered into clouds and, in the chill air, returned to earth as Alaska's first snowfall.
The snow fell slowly at first, one flake at a time, but soon it filled the sky, spreading thickly across the entire land.
For seven days and nights the snow fell, until Susitna and all her people lay beneath a blanket of shimmering white.
Days passed into years, and years into hundreds and thousands of years.
For a few months each summer, warmth returned to the land, allowing birch trees and spruce and willow to grow.
Grizzly bears, moose, and other new animals appeared, taking the place of the old. After a long time a new race of humans, smaller than the first, came to stay. Today Susitna still sleeps through the seasons, dreaming of Nekatla.
If you look across Cook Inlet in the winter, you can see her covered by a snowy quilt.
In summer, you see her resting beneath a green and flowered blanket.
It is said that when the people of war change their ways peace rules the earth, Nekatla will return.
Then Susitna, the Sleeping Lady, will awake.
I'm wicked fast on a 10-key calculator. Every February there's a 10-key contest as part of our Fur Rendezvous. Is it sad that I'm thinking about entering?
I don't think the NBA playoffs will ever be over. Really.
This is Mt. Susitna, otherwise known as the Sleeping Lady. Can you see her sleeping? She's lying down in profile, with her head on the left. She's a very popular sight in Anchorage. I've lived in Anchorage my entire life, but never knew the legend. Here is what I found
Native Alaskan Folk Tale
The new season started a couple of weeks ago *yay*. I usually only watch the auditions, but maybe I'll make it through the whole season. Like other performance reality shows, once it gets to the meat of the show, there's too much talking and not enough performing. I don't care about everyone's background, inspiration, blah blah blah. Just show the dancing!
After buying two houses, I still have no clue how it's done. When Roy and I bought our first house, I didn't pay much attention to the financing because it was done through Roy's VA loan program. All I had to do was show proof of income, sign the closing documents, and voila we owned a house. After he died, I sold the house and moved into a rental townhouse with the intent of buying another house after a year. Since I was single, I could only apply for a loan with one income (that was probably the only part I understood). That made it harder for me to qualify for a conventional 30 year mortgage, and the bank would only lend me $170,000. Sounds like a lot, but that would only get me a townhouse-type dwelling. No thanks, I wanted a house, not a shared-wall situation. In December 2001, my realtor and I found an empty lot in a really nice neighborhood, and she found a builder with a houseplan I liked. Next thing you know, 6 months later I'm writing out a check for the down payment, signing more closing documents, and voila I have another house. My realtor did tell me I had an ARM, and that in 5 years it would adjust according to the blahblahsomethingorotherfederaldeweycheatemandhowe index. (ok ok, I looked it up, and it's the Index Rate plus 2.25%.) She recommended in 4.5 years I look into refinancing to lock into a 30 year fixed rate. No problem, that was 4.5 years away, and I would worry about it then. I assumed that the ARM loan made it easier for me to qualify, and I did end up having to borrow $175,000. With my 20% down payment, I was in a sweet house in a sweet neighborhood, but without the mondo mortgage and payments.
4.5 years later, in 2007, life had taken a bit of a turn and I couldn't really afford to refinance. I could afford the higher payments if my interest rate adjusted upward, but I didn't have the chunk of money for the refi closing costs. Of course, the interest rate did go up, and my mortgage went from 6% to 8 point something percent. Not the end of the world, but not an ideal situation. I decided to save up for a refi the following year. We planned to be in the house at least another 6-8 years, so the cost would have been worth it.
Then something funny happened. The economy started taking a nosedive.
The index that my interest rate is tied to went down. In April 2008 I got a very nice letter saying my interest rate would be 5.625%, and even after higher taxes, insurance, and escrow shortages, the total payment would only be about $20 more than when I bought the house in 2002. Whoa, what a nice turn of events. I could pull another Scarlett O'Hara act, and think about refinancing another day.
Fast forward another year to last month. I start thinking about heading to the credit union to see what they could do. Life had happened again in a big way, and some of our savings went to Alaska Airlines, Hilton Garden Inn, Hertz Rent A Car, etc. I kinda sorta have enough for closing costs, assuming it's less then $5,000. My rate is set to adjust July 1, so 3-4 months should be adequate. Oh but wait! I forgot that our economy is still in the toilet, and the Feds reduced the index rate a few months ago. Sure enough, when I opened my bank letter yesterday, my new interest rate will be 4.125%, bringing my payment down roughly $133 per month. Folks, there is probably no way on earth I'd qualify for a rate this low. I don't think conventional 30-year loans go this low. I could be wrong, but I don't have to worry about it for another year.
OK, so now I really should get cracking on finding out my FICO score, saving more money, and getting ready for next year when I have to think about this again. I don't think the rate can go any lower, so yea, I will have to deal with this next year. I cringe at all that will be involved in buying my house a second time. It's aggravating, and there are 20 million other things I'd rather be doing. But just to show you all that I CAN get stuff done, I did manage to re-register Cassandra for school :D
I'm going to say it. I love Milli Vanilli. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed to admit it, either. I'll say it loud and proud. I don't care if the songs were lip-synched, I love the songs! I don't care if Rob and Fab had to give back their Grammy, they were victims of the cut-throat record industry. They were young when they were discovered in a club in Berlin. They were given money, clothes, women, and all they had to do was perform on stage.
The first time I heard this album was October 1989. My mom, brother and I went on a road trip to Fairbanks, which is a 6 hour drive give or take. My brother brought his Milli Vanilli cassette tape, and we probably listened to it 3 or 4 times during the trip. There was just something about being in a pickup truck with my mom and brother for over 12 hours listening to "Blame it on the Rain". I fell in love with that album, and we still talk about that trip.
In November 2000, my brother came to visit and borrowed my mom's brand new car. I gave him my much loved Milli Vanilli tape to listen to in the car. While he was out, he called me at work in a panic. I thought he had wrecked my our mom's car. It turns out, when he put my tape in the stereo system, the stereo ATE my cassette. After I counted to ten, I asked him why couldn't he have wrecked her car!!!! The car is insured, but they stopped selling Milli Vanilli tapes ten years ago!! What was I to do? Oh but wait, I had recently discovered EBAY, so we went online and ordered not one but TWO CD's! woohoo! Life was worth living again!
I still have that CD, and I even made one of the songs into a ringtone to alert me when my brother calls me. Twenty years later, that little album has gone from cassette tape, to and EBAY CD, to an MP3 file, to my phone. Now THAT'S a classic!
Bill and I spent last Friday cleaning out the refrigerator because we're just that kind of exciting. I didn't take a "before" photo, so you'll just have to pretend to be thoroughly amazed at the difference. I didn't think it was that bad, but when Bill took out the shelving and took apart the bins, oh goodness it was icky! We didn't have to throw out too much because I've been pretty vigilant about getting rid of old stuff, but the surfaces took a bit of cleaning *blech*
Once we got everything back in it, Bill thought it looked a little empty. He's got to be kidding!! What all do we need? The problem is Bill tends to see an empty refrigerator as some sort of statement about our household income. I see it as a statement on our not wasting food. We had just gone to the liquor store the night before, so it looks like we have a lot of booze. There's only about half of that now, hehe. I think he thinks it looks empty because it's nice and bright in there now. Honestly, I don't know how food that's IN a container gets on the walls. Seriously, does anyone know? It's crazy! This is definitely a semi-annual job *blech*
I love doing the Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle. I started doing them about 15 years ago, and have yet to finish one. I love to get the Sunday paper, fish out the Arts section and fold the puzzle into a perfect square for my solving pleasure. I fill my big blue mug with coffee and go for it. I do them in pen, so sometimes they have cross-outs and other "oopsies". I'm proud of this particular puzzle. (click for larger view)
I think I'm going to get rid of my MySpace account. Those who want to keep in touch with me have several other ways of doing so. If they don't, then obviously they didn't mean much to me to begin with.