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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!



Daylight Savings Time.....

...ends this Sunday, November 2nd at 2am - don't forget to set your clocks back 1 hour! Curious about the history of Daylight Savings time in the US? Read this article if like me you're curious how this ritual got started and why we even do this in the first place....

Another random fact - did you know that Arizona and Hawaii don't observe Daylight Savings! And in fact states are not even required to follow this rule but most choose to do so anyhow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home....

Our kitties have officially adjusted to their new home. And they are very excited to have full access to our bedroom now.....and as you can see they've settled right in. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One of the many reasons I voted for Obama....

Trick or Treat!

David and I went out last Saturday to a big costume dance party in the City and had a blast! I am always impressed at the time and creativity that many people put into their costumes - I just love Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Catnip....

Lol! Cute lil video from Mike Monday....enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeling the Economic Pinch.....

OUCH...
No raises for us UC employees this year. At least we still get our wonderful health & vacation benefits!

Information for UC employees about 2008-09 systemwide salary increases

As previously announced, Governor Schwarzenegger and the Legislature recently adopted a final state budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year that did not provide funding for increased student enrollments or inflationary increases in fixed costs such as utilities and health benefits. As a result, the university must take approximately $100 million in cuts internally to address the shortfall.

Additionally, given the immediate and near-term projections regarding the state economy, the state Department of Finance recently informed UC that, as part of the state`s effort to achieve $340 million in additional savings across all state agencies, the University will need to achieve another $33 million in savings to offset reduced state funding, creating a total of $148 million in budget reductions the University will need to make in the 2008-09 year as a result of the final state budget. Cost savings of $28 million in the Office of the President in Oakland are also included in the budget. (See http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/18804 for details).

Although UC avoided deeper cuts than other entities, the final state budget for 2008-09 essentially means that UC received no increased funding for core costs, including employee compensation and benefits. By keeping the University's funding flat relative to last year, the University will not be able to offer systemwide salary increases to employees, and UC will need to defer progress on changes to the faculty salary scales for 2008-09. (Wages for union-represented employees are subject to collective bargaining, and obligatory merit increases for faculty will follow UC policy.)

Competitive pay and benefits for employees is one of the University`s top priorities, as it is fundamental to rewarding UC`s hardworking employees for their many contributions to the University, and it is critical to UC`s ability to attract and retain quality personnel. Throughout the budget process, UC continually stressed to the legislature and the governor the importance of competitive salaries and benefits, and we are very disappointed this year`s final budget does not provide funding for salary increases.

Fortunately, medical and retirement benefits for UC employees remain among the best in the country. As was just announced, the University has taken extra steps regarding 2009 employee medical insurance rates to help shield employees from escalating health-care costs. Not only is UC continuing to pay the vast majority of next year`s premium increases, UC is applying a special one-time subsidy to defray employees` share of premium increases. UC is also continuing its salary-based approach to rates so lower-paid employees pay lower monthly premiums. The net result will be that many employees will see either decreases or only modest increases in their monthly premiums, for the exact same benefits as last year -- no benefits are being cut. (Health insurance rates for union-represented employees are subject to collective bargaining).

The University values deeply the many contributions of its faculty and staff and their ongoing dedication to the University, especially during these difficult economic times, and UC will continue to impress upon state officials the critical importance of competitive salaries and benefits for all employees.

Additional Information
UC Budget information: http://www.ucop.edu/news/budget/welcome.html
UC Benefits: http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/

Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving Day.....

....was a great success thanks to all of our amazing friends who pitched in to help make the process less painful! A HUGE thank you to Charlie, Daryl, Leah, Lukasz, Hayden, Jason, Scot, Scottie, Mike, and Michael - you guys ROCK! David and I are so blessed to have such amazing (and buff!) friends & family! xoxo

Now if only unpacking could be so quick! ;)

Here is a pic of our new pool! I can't wait until next summer - pool party time!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New pics....

A few cute pics from last week's outings and events. ;)

My adorable niece - Little Miss Hayden


My mom Deborah & my little cousin Bailey


My dear friend Torrey - we had a lovely lunch at Cheeseboard Pizza in Berkeley


Kitties helping us with the packing....


Oliver is ready to move to his new home! ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Interesting Tattoo.....

Unique or just strange??

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Art & Creativity.....

I definitely consider myself to be a creative person, but I wish I was a better artist. I have lots of creative insight and skill, but not in a polished, refined medium. I feel that I'm a great writer, collage maker, and photographer, and I am pretty handy with craft projects and design. But I wish I had more natural talent for painting, drawing, and graphic design. And if I could create the images that I see in my mind, they would probably look something like these - amazing, gorgeous, intriguing, captivating, colorful, fantasy-based characters and surreal images that remind me of my dreams. Luke Feldman is an amazing artist and I greatly admire and envy his talent. Hey, maybe someday I can find a way to meet him and ask him to illustrate the children's books I hope to write?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Little Pink Pad...

I love my kitties. I love each of them for their unique, quirky, entertaining, loving and silly personalities. Molly for her gentle, pacifist soul, and the way that she flops over, stretches, and then grunts when she wants affection and to have her belly rubbed. And the way she loves to cuddle on the couch with us - not on our lap, but right next to us on the side...and she tilts her head up to look at us longingly with love and affection in her eyes. She also has a foot fetish and LOVES to sniff peoples socks and shoes and rub her head all over them. It is kinda gross but funny too.

Oliver for his spastic, rambunctious spirit, and the way he darts across the house like he just saw a ghost, and then jumps up to crash into the door and then into the window when he is hyper. (Seriously, you should see it!) And for the way he head-butts our legs when he is hungry and wants attention, and for his wide vocabulary of meows. And his meticulous cleaning mannerisms and the way he chews and gnaws on his own claws - it his hilarious. He is a total daddy's boy and I get a kick out of the way he follows David into his bedroom like a little puppy.

And my little Aimee for the way she cuddles with me everyday on my lap, and for her broken whiskers, and the sad little meow she makes when she wants attention. And for her cute little black lips and the way she cackles at the birds outside that sit on the light post. She also knows how to play fetch! Oh, and last but not least for her one little pink paw pad amongst all the other black ones. Here is a picture. :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Love Fest Pics!

We had a blast again this year at SF Love Fest last weekend. Here are some pics - we all enjoyed dancing, mingling, people watching, and grooving to lots of great dance music! More pics to come on my Flickr account soon.....




Monday, October 6, 2008

Our new home!

Here are some pics of our new condo! We're moving just down the street here in Alameda, only about 1/2 mile away from our current apartment - still close to the beach and the park! ;) Becoming home owners is extremely exciting, but a bit overwhelming too. We're busy packing and finishing the sale process, and our escrow will close on 10/17 - moving day is 10/19!

Living Room & Balcony


Kitchen & Dining Room


Master Bedroom


2nd Bath w/deep soak tub


Master Bath with large walk-in closet!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nuff said....



And tomorrow is Love Fest!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Condiments...

I admit it, I have an addiction to condiments. Well, maybe its more of a fascination than an addiction? Anyhow, I love them. LOTS of them. Mustard, relish, ketchup, BBQ sauce, dressing, soy sauce, hummus, light mayonnaise, jelly, chutney, honey mustard, salsa, light spreads of all kinds, you name it! And I love to mix my condiments - usually the more the better (well certain combinations can be too much, of course). To my taste buds, the "perfect" veggie burger includes lettuce, tomato, pickles, dijon mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, AND some pepper. YUM! Yes, sometimes all these condiments lead to a soggy whole-what bun, but its totally worth it.

Anyone out there share this condiment craze? :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008