boys and girls

I just did some statistics on our family...

We are 80% entrepreneurs (running our own side gig for money part or full time - I didn't count McKay because I don't know if he does, and I didn't count me because I don't currently - although I have plans to.) But we are 100% fixers.

Business owner: crafts / fixer of household items, Business owner: heavy equipment operation / fixer of metal, Business owner: salvage and heavy equipment / fixer of all things mechanical, Business Administrator / Fixer of dead animals, Mechanic / fixer of cars and computers, Data Operator / fixer of computers, Police Officer, Accountant / Fixer of messes and maker of handmade gifts, Statistician / Fixer of numbers, Security Guard/Student Nurse / Fixer of Cars and motorbikes.

If we had a lawyer, a banker, and a financial consultant, we could start a multi industry business strategy consulting firm.


big day

Mark and I both had exciting days. His version of his day is on his blog, but it consisted of hanging out on the set at our apartment building with the film crew of a tv pilot. Here are some pictures he took. It sounded very exciting!

This is Jamie Kennedy, who Mark got to talk to and who has a new movie out next month.

This is Jamie and the Director, Paul Dinello. Mark said that where he was standing when he took this picture (below) was four or five feet from where Jamie came to stand between takes when he wasn't acting over by the doorway or on the grass.

This (below) is the view from our apartment window. They were setting things up last night and I kept hearing a guy yelling from where it sounded like he was standing on our fire escape.

(Below) is a good overview of what the whole street was like. There were cops and equipment trucks everywhere.
They were still working when I got home, so I got to see Jamie Kennedy, the director and a few other key players before they started packing up. (And suprisingly still got a decent parking place)

In other news, my second day at work was terriffic. I was able to sort of pin down what I am doing and get a deeper discrete idea of how to do it. I have come concrete tasks and some more arbitrary ones, but still, good solid goals and I am loving it. I created a spreadsheet report that filtered some data and drilled down to see some facts that may have actually been useful, had the report been real (it was an exercise... someone else had already completed it, I was just "redoing" it because it will be my job in the future.)

I got my loaner computer set up, some business cards on order, some special programs and a killer powerful laptop and desktop on order, some office supplies, some database training, and I got to sit down with the Chief Actuary.


work sick

I didn't realize how much I missed working.

I survived my first day. Barely. I woke up in the middle of the night sicker than a dog... but you just don't call in on your first day. So, I only got two hours of sleep and went in...

It was mostly human resources paperwork and reading risk management text books, so nothing too terrible. However, I doubt that [as miserable as I was] I made a delightful impression on my coworkers.

I love my job though. Great perks, great benefits, and it looks like I will have a lot of avenues there. I found out I get a bonus of roughly 15% of my salary every year... cool. I also do not feel in over my head, which is something I was worried about coming from a Math theory school to a real world application setting.

I hope I am not worse tomorrow, but I did give them a heads up that if I get worse, I will be calling in until I'm better... This is the most empowered I have ever been on a job.



Mark's latest photography experiment is a move toward portraits.

When I look at this picture, I can't even believe it is me...

Destiny walks with Fire


I've said this before, but scrapbooking really takes me to a stress-free and enjoyable place. I've spent a little time lately working on my 2006 book, and (despite promising not to bore the non-scrapbook appreciating readers of my blog) have some latest pics of my work.

(Graduation - above - using photoshop, I selected myself from the crowd as I am shaking hands and getting my diploma - lower left - and then turned up the saturation of colors on me, and turned down to almost black and white the saturation of colors of everyone else in the crowd to take a mediocre picture and make it awesome. I also included my "Yee-Haw" picture, upper right, which Mark hates because I am so animated I look like a vampire, but I love it because that is how I FELT... and I just love that the picture shows it.)

(The Disneyland layout - above - is done on black and greys with black and white patterned papers infused with bright colored paper to reflect the mix of the sad and happy of the trip. I didn't want it to be too upbeat and gawdy, because between our laughter we all had tears in our eyes that day.)

(This Christmas layout - above - is what I did today, and I am really proud of it. The design is a lot more streamlined and sophisticated than my usual stuff, and was inspired by this holly and argyle patterned paper. Also, my first attempt at hand stitching paper. I got a few design suggestions from Mark, who is always really honest and insightful with his artistic eye.)


the business

The Big White Van with many strangers staring at our building and "awww"-ing and then quickly getting on their cell phones. And then more vans. And more cell phones. It was weird. I actually took a picture. I heard one guy say "oh, yeah (pointing at the top of the building) that looks like it will just come right down" and for a minute there, I thought they were going to blow our building up.And then a van with a logo came and they started ripping out the base of a wall.

And then they called to tell us Buena Vista is filming in the apartment directly above us next week and give us a film crew schedule so that we wouldn't be alarmed. Just as long as there are no bombs going off...


got work

I just accepted a formal "Para-Actuary" job offer (Actuary in training).

I start on Monday.




I made Indian Curry Pork for dinner.

Some exotic facts about me:

  • Yodeling, and learning to sing Jazz
  • Trying to walk my cat on a leash
  • Art, mostly involving photography
  • Sewing Barbie Clothes and other pointless crafts


  • Utah
  • North Carolina
  • Arizona
  • England
  • California


  • Wales, Scotland, Germany, France, Amsterdam, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, England
  • New York, Chicago, Idaho, Yellowstone, Florida, Maryland, Four Corners


  • Bungee Jumping, Rock Climbing, Skateboarding, Rappelling, Sailing, Wind Surfing, Snorkeling, Flying a single engine plane,
  • Guitar, Piano, Violin, Viola, Banjo, Harmonica, Flute, Saxaphone, Trumpet, Recorder, Bass
  • Writing a Novel, Film Script, TV Pilot, Music, and Educational Text


  • Tattoo, Skydive, Scuba, Hang Gliding, Sewn my own clothes
  • Anything I regret


nature day

Adventures of the still-currently-unemployed continues... this episode, in nature.

We went to the "Lake Shrine" which is a garden/lake open to the public for all-faith spiritual reflection. We walked around and sat for a while, enjoying the smells and sounds. We saw a little mouse in the flower bed. Here is a picture of me trying to look relaxed: We also went for an unplanned hike up Topanga Canyon. I usually don't go hiking in a skirt but, we were being spontaneous.
So now you know that we have nature in LA. (Also... of note, I think they filmed the opening sequence of M*A*S*H in these hills somewhere.)


santa monica pier

We went out to the beach over the weekend. We caught it at the perfect time, just an hour before sunset.

We walked around a little taking pictures and taking in the scene. At one point, I sat down and just enjoyed the waves rolling in.

This beach has a lot of vendors hawking crafts, talents, and wares. This guy was twirling stuff for tips. Another guy there was squatting the weight of two volunteers from the crowd in shopping carts. Another played a one-man-band. In the past, we have seen sword swallowers, guys who jump off chairs onto shards of glass, and all sorts of fun entertainers. Right on the end of the pier at sunset, a guy was playing the pan flute.

After dark, the arcade seemed like the place to be. We went on a ride on a historical carousel, with hand carved unique wooden horses. There are only a few of these old ones in existence, and they go around pretty darn fast.
The horses are very detailed.

When we got home, we ordered in some Thai food. I had Thai on the lunch with my interviewer for the first time in my life, and it was so good that I couldn't wait to have Mark try it. Now, we are hooked and have gotten it a few times. We'll have to learn how to cook it... but getting the ingredients sounds hard... and I might not like it so much if I know what's in it.

I like the Yellow Curry Chicken. It is like a soup with chicken and potatoes in a coconut milk creme based sweet and spicy sauce, served with white rice. It kind of reminds me of what would happen if you mixed Chinese food with Indian food.

a pro

This is me in my fancy outfit the day I went to my interview. I was pretty nervous when this was taken, but by the time I got up there early and killed an hour at Starbucks with my favorite latte treat, I was all smiles. I filled out paperwork today to facilitate getting an offer.... looks good.


around town

We went to the top of one of the hills in Hollywood to a place called Yamashiros, which is kind of a famous for it's view. It was a nice clear day, so you can see downtown.

Then we went to Hollywood Blvd to walk around and saw this TV film crew shooting something.


time flies

We've been here almost two weeks, now.

I just had a neat chat with Aunt Velora, and she made some profound remarks. She said, 'To go from taking the horse and buggy to man-on-the-moon and the ipod generation, it's the biggest transition mankind has ever had to make and for those of us that have lived through the whole thing, it's a lot of transition.'

I had my big interview yesterday. I think it went well and I really hope they make me an offer. I should hear back within a week or two. The job sounds really fun and dynamic and the commute would not be as bad as I thought.

I decided to buckle down and take advantage of this period of unemployment to try to get a breakthrough on my actuary exam studies so that I can see the mark of improvement necessary to get success in May.



We're going stir crazy. I never thought I would say this, but we can't wait to go back to work. It is nice to have some free days to lounge around, take care of things, or go do something. But, when all that is done, what do you do?

Good news is, I have an 6 1/2 hour interview on Friday for the commute-70-miles-a-day job. It seems like a good opportunity, and I guess I will get a test drive on how that commute goes when I go up for the interview. I've always wanted to commute to work in a helicopter. I hear they are hard to fly, though...

Our internet is up and running (fast) now. Please write me an email. I'm so bored and I don't have anything left to alphabetize or organize.



Mark and I drove quite far up the coast yesterday to feel the ocean wind in our hair. We stopped off at this rocky cliff side beach area in Malibu where a lot of folks were digging clams and mussels.

When we lived here last time, we went to the beach nearly every weekend... with a book, our rollerblades, or just a blanket to sit on. I think this is a tradition we will have to renew. It was so nice.

I hear some people in the family went resort skiing on the same day. What a fun contrast!


see our place

Our edifice. The building is four stories and a basement. The laundry is in the basement. Here are some of the features I love, from left to right and top to bottom...
The window in the hall leading out to the fire escape is lovely and keeps the hallway from getting dank... we open it periodically. The metal work for the railings, stairs, fire escape, etc all appear to be hand crafted and have lots of swirly touches. The tile is pretty groovy... it's old and spattered with paint in places, but lovable. The door knobs and cabinet pulls are all these crystal glass antique style that we used to have a long time ago. Our entryway has these great marbled mirrors and art deco interior design. All the ceilings are rounded out by hand. There is a great little gap between the stairwells with light pouring down from a skylight high above in the hallway. Some (not all) of our light fixtures are antique candelabra deals. The elevator door is a gate that you pull to the side.

The kitchen has lots and lots of cabinets. There are two ovens and I love the glass case for the dishes. It finally got me to set aside the not matching dishes. No automatic dishwasher...
This little nook between the living room and bedroom is (according to Scott) a common feature in upscale urban neighborhoods... it is for dressing to the nines for social events. We are using it as an office nook. I will do my hair and makeup at the dressing table, though. Our view from the front living room is really pretty. The houses on the street are all very architecturally interesting and it is a well groomed and affluent neighborhood.
We took today off. It was nice not to play tetris with real objects in real space and not carry heavy stuff up the stairs... well we did get groceries, but we get to eat them, so it is worth it.

We drove out to Malibu and I sat on the beach for a while while Mark took pictures. It was very relaxing, and it is starting to set in that we are actually here.

I hope you called Evan.


simple life

Wow. We have parking permits. It took most of the day, but we don't have to take turns driving around in circles while the other person unpacks. We also picked up some matching bedside tables with drawers to accommodate our new space. While we were shopping, a casting director asked us to audition for the "simple life."

We are almost done unpacking. Another day, maybe.

I feel like I have gone, nonstop, for two months. We decided to take Saturday off and not do anything productive whatsoever. Sounds well deserved!